Take the Risk - Book cover

Take the Risk

Mars Mejia

Chapter One


“Come on, Kara,” my friend Layla slurred to me, fanning my face with her alcoholic breath.

I groaned as I swung her limp arm over my shoulder. Layla leaned on me for support and I tried my best to keep both of us from toppling over. We’ve been here for barely an hour and she was already wasted.

I made my way through the large house that reeked of booze and cologne. The strong scent tickled my nose.

“Where’s Jess?” I asked my drunk friend, and it felt as if I were talking to a wall.

Layla took a moment to adjust her shiny green skirt. Her long blond locks were still perfectly curled and I moved them behind her ears so they weren’t sticking to her pink face.

Even though fall was upon us, the house was warm and humid.

“Over there.” She stretched out a slender finger and pointed in the direction of the small crowd of people that were dancing wildly. Jess was in the middle, grinding on a guy.

“I’ll take care of her.” Layla’s boyfriend showed up. They’d been dating since sophomore year. Milo quickly brushed his sandy-brown hair back before coming closer and pulling her weight off me.

“Oh, thank God.” I carefully removed her from my shoulder and breathed a sigh of relief. Layla squealed in delight and wrapped her arms around her boyfriend, who chuckled in response.

“Go have fun, Kara.” Milo gave me a smile and I did my best to return it. I was feeling extremely antisocial tonight. My heart was in a heavy place and I wanted to heal it.

“Kara!” Jess yelled my name over the loud music. I turned to see my flush-faced friend bobbing up and down behind a few other people. It was obvious that she had been dancing all night.

“Are you having fun?” she asked as she walked up to me with a worried glance.

I gave her a quick nod. “As much as I can.” My lips formed into an uneasy smile and Jess squeezed my hand before holding it tightly.

“Come dance.” She tugged me toward the crowd of dancing people before I could say no. Jess loved to dance. It’s a part of our Mexican roots, she liked to say.

Jess dragged me farther into the middle of the active crowd. Bodies bumping against me, the strong scent of alcohol, and the overwhelming amount of perfume were a deadly combination of things that were suffocating me.

I watched my tipsy friend begin to move her body along with the loud party music. Her thick black hair was cascading down her back, and the blue dress she was wearing made her dark brown eyes pop.

I stood there awkwardly at first, closely watching as everyone else danced and swayed their bodies to the beat of the music, seeming carefree. I somewhat envied them. Overthinking was a bad habit of mine.

Jess leaned forward and brought her red lips next to my ear. “Dance, Kara. Stop thinking about Adam.”

My heart instantly ached at the sound of his name. I wanted to never hear that stupid name again, but I knew that it was inevitable.

Three weeks ago, I had walked into my boyfriend’s house thinking that we were going to go on a date, but instead I showed up only to find him in his room making out with some other girl.

I yelled at him, he said some hurtful words, and I left. It was over, and I hadn’t spoken to him since. It’s been an agonizing three weeks.

Jess was right, though. I hadn’t left my room for a whole week, and if it weren’t for her and Layla, I’d probably still be an emotional wreck.

It took me four seasons of Supernatural to get over the major heartache, and even then it still hurt.

Another popular song began to play and Jess squealed loudly, causing me to laugh at her reaction. I started to slowly dance along with the beat, pushing away any thoughts in my mind.

As I began to get more comfortable, I danced wildly with Jess and adrenaline spiked through me. It was nice to finally feel the slightest bit of relief.

The rush of freedom and feeling carefree took over, and my mind was at ease for the first time in weeks. I was out with my two best friends, and that’s all I needed.

After the song was over, I felt my high come down and thankfully felt a bit more relaxed. “I’m going to go get us some water,” I shouted over the booming music.

Jess nodded in response and continued to dance with another friend who showed up as I exited the dance floor. That girl could literally dance the night away.

My throat was dry, and I desperately needed something to cool me down. My once-straight hair became a frizzy mess due to the uncontrollable heat, and I felt like throwing myself into a pool of ice.

I quickly glanced at myself in a mirror and cringed when I saw how flushed my face was.

I walked into the kitchen only to find a long line of people trying to push their way through. The small kitchen was crowded and I huffed in annoyance while standing at the end of the line.

“Kara!” a muffled voice called out for me over the music and chatter. I frantically searched around the busy hallway to see who had called my name.

I scanned the faces in the crowded area and my body went stiff when my eyes met a pair of very familiar green eyes. My heart lurched into my throat and I felt vulnerable being completely caught off guard.

Panic took over and I tried to control the whirlwind of emotions rushing through me.

“Fuck off,” I snapped, sending Adam a heated glare. I had to get as far away from him as possible. My heart raced as I searched for one of my friends.

Multiple emotions began to overwhelm me, I had to bite back tears. This couldn’t be happening. I wasn’t prepared to face him just yet. It was too spontaneous.

“Kara, wait!” Adam shouted after me.

Don’t you dare follow me. I grimaced at the thought of having to talk to him. If that were to happen, I wouldn’t know what to say or do.

My feelings for him weren’t as strong as before, but they were still there.

I thought I was moving away from him pretty quickly, but I was stopped when a firm hand gripped my elbow and spun me around.

I gritted my teeth in irritation. I had no patience to be around him right now.

“Please don’t run from me,” Adam begged, staring down at me. I curled my hands into fists trying to re-collect all my emotions. I couldn’t let him know how much of an effect he had on me.

My grip was so tight that my knuckles began to turn white. Maybe if I punched him he’d get a clue. Before I could go off on him, Adam was pushed slightly from behind.

“Watch it,” Adam growled over his shoulder, not taking his eyes off me. I tried my best to pull away from his grip, but failed. We were still too close to each other, and it was driving me crazy.

“Excuse me?” the deep voice growled back. Adam turned to the guy behind him. He had a bit of a short temper, so I didn’t want to stick around to see what was going to happen.

If anything, it made me want to run farther away from him.

“You’re the one who bumped into me,” Adam said in a low voice, trying to sound threatening.

Honestly, it didn’t sound that scary. He was just trying to be macho about it and I almost scoffed. Adam wasn’t fooling anyone; he was just causing more of a scene.

The grip he had on me loosened and I took the opportunity to pull away, but as soon as I went to turn away he grabbed my wrist tightly causing me to yelp.

When I turned, my eyes met intense blue eyes. Jason Kade. Adam was talking—arguing—with Jason fucking Kade. Great.

“Is that how you treat your girlfriend?” Jason gestured toward Adam’s death grip on me.

My body stiffened. His words sent rage through my entire body, and I ripped my hand away from Adam’s tight grip.

“I’m not his girlfriend,” I spat venomously. I could feel my blood boiling so I began to take deep breaths to contain my growing anger.

Adam turned to me in disbelief, pain in his green eyes. It was quickly replaced with possessiveness.

“You’re still my girlfriend.” He emphasized girlfriend through clenched teeth, taking a step closer to me.

My eyebrows furrowed and I shook my head in disbelief. Over time I’ve realized how toxic Adam was, and is. His true colors were shining brightly.

“No, I’m not your girlfriend.” The whole situation was making my head spin.

Adam cheated on me, called me many terrible, hurtful words, and expected me to get back with him after not talking to me for weeks?

That was never going to happen. I’ve finally realized that I deserve way better.

Adam grabbed my arm tightly, and I winced. I’ve never felt so terrified of him, let alone seen this side of him.

“What the fuck are you doing?” I heard Jason growl. “You’re hurting her.” Fear ran through me. I had a feeling that this wasn’t going to end well.

“Mind your own business.” Adam turned his head to his side to speak to Jason.

I wanted to disappear as soon as a few bystanders gathered around the two enraged guys. A small crowd was forming, and my skin began to boil from embarrassment.

If only I could dissolve into the floor and disappear from this mess.

“I’m not just going to stand by and watch you lay your hands on a girl,” Jason snapped and grabbed Adam’s arm in an attempt to stop him. Adam immediately turned around and threw a fist at Jason’s face.

Jason scoffed and dodged it. Adam growled and lunged at him, letting go of me in the process. They both fell onto the ground, landing with a loud thud. Everyone’s attention was now on them.

Jason stood back up within a second and hovered over Adam.

“Get up,” he snapped and gave Adam a rough kick to the side, causing him to grunt.

“If you can lay your hands on a girl, then you can try to lay your hands on me.”

Wetness pooled between my legs. Fuck. This, of all situations, was not one where I should be getting turned on. Jason’s chiseled arms flexed and I trailed my eyes down his muscular body.

Adam’s eyes darkened as he stood up and threw another punch at Jason. This time Jason grabbed his arm and twisted it.

Adam yelped as his arm was tucked behind him. A loud crack echoed throughout the room.

My jaw dropped in shock when I saw Adam’s eyes roll to the back of his head and he dropped to the ground.

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