“Debra Anastasia’s writing is imaginary, dark, comedic, and the perfect sexy.”
— Tijan, New York Times Bestselling Author
Swimming in Sparkles, an all-new not-to-be-missed, New Adult romance that brings you a modern day Robin Hood tale filled with emotion from Debra Anastasia is available now!
My name is Ruffian. To remember my mom, I want to change the world.
I’m going to do things wrong to make things right.
That’s okay, because I’m going to jail.
I know it.
I’ve planned for it. I was always going to end up there.
For now, I need a cover story.
A cover family.
A way to hide from the suspicion that always finds me.
Teddi Burathon is the perfect shield.
Popular, friendly, sassy. Good.
She’s everything I’m not.
And I’ll use her as a pretty distraction so no one sees me coming.
My heart is dead and I’m a bomb waiting to detonate.
Most people want to build a future.
I’m going to rob a bank.
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I flopped around until I really, really wanted a glass of water. Or a bottle. Just anything to get me hydrated. I stood and went to my door, squeaking it open slowly.
No one told me I had to stay in my room, but that was a sense I was getting. I should be settled for the evening. Rocket the dog was nowhere to be found, so I assumed she was with one of the family members. The young cat that Gaze and Pixie had claimed was theirs was on the couch and covered his eyes with his paws when I walked past him.
In the kitchen I had to open three different cabinets until I found some glasses. They were all special liquor glasses. Wine, rocks, beer glasses—they would suffice, but their normal cups weren’t in an obvious spot.
I went to the fridge and skipped the ice so I wouldn’ make a racket. When my glass was halfway full, a person lurking in the doorway caught my eye. I started and my hand jumped, the glass shooting up out of my hand. Teddi lurched forward and put out her hand. I did the same. I managed to get a grip on the glass as Teddi’s arm swung wildly and she poked me in the eye with her pinkie.
“Oh shit.” I slapped my left hand over my throbbing eye while catching the glass with my other hand.
“Oh my God. I am so sorry. Are you okay? It felt like I stuck my finger in Jell-O right then.” She shivered and closed her eyes.
I opened my other eye while squeezing the injured one tightly. “It’s okay. I have two. And I like a challenge.”
“Seriously? Like, I can drive you to Urgent Care or wherever. You might have a scratched cornea and that blows. I hated when it happened to me.”
“Someone poked you in the eye in the middle of the night?”
“No. I had an accident in cheer. Our bottom was a little off her game and I wound up knowing what four inches of her finger felt like in my brain.”
“Man, that’s not the sentence I want to hear wrapped around the words of four inches of finger in.” I staggered over to the counter and set down my glass.
“What did you want to hear?” She was smokin’. Forcing me to tell her about my dirty mind.
“Nothing. No worries. Why are you up in the middle of the night?” I slumped against the counter.
“It’s time for my two a.m. fudge bar.” She moved to the freezer part of the fridge and yanked it open. She had the ice cream she sought set up like a dispenser. She plucked out a cold one and had the paper off of it in a practiced motion.
Here I was feeling spoiled for having water from the dispenser. Girlfriend had her own private ice cream truck in her kitchen.
“You set an alarm for that or something?” I lifted my chin in her direction.
“It’s a built-in notification” She tapped her temple with her phone. “How’s your room downstairs?”
Stupid luxurious. Spacious. Private. Alone. Sad.
“Great. Bed’s a little soft.” I attempted to open my poked eye. Couldn’t do it.
I watched as concern zipped her smile into a straight line. “You really might have some damage there.” She took a step toward me.
If she only knew. The damage I had and the damage I intended to do.
“Let me see.” She popped the whole ice cream into her mouth and clamped her lips around it. Then she was in my space on her tiptoes. She put her hands on my face like we’d known each other our whole lives. I flinched a little and she settled a hand behind my neck. She pried my closed eye open with her fingers. In the meantime, she made sucking noises around the ice cream. It seemed like she might actually be in distress, so I grabbed the Fudgsicle out of her mouth. She licked around her lips and squinted some more.
“I can’t tell crap. It’s too dark.” She stepped back and took her ice cream from my hands.
She did some very thorough licking of the melting parts as she made her way to the light switch. She turned it on and returned to me. “I need to set this down.”
She opened the cabinet next to my head and took out a bowl, setting the fudge bar in it.
Then she resumed her position and clamped onto my neck and eye again. “Sorry, I am so used to being in people’s personal space between makeup and cheer.”
She seemed to be apologizing for putting her chest against me and blowing her sweet breath onto my face.
It was all making things happen in my pants. Too much. As she looked intently at my eye, interrogation-style, I had to stare at her. She had to be the prettiest human I’d ever seen in person. Her eyes were set up like blue starbursts and her skin was beautifully smooth. I wanted to lick it like she was my ice cream treat. She let go of my eyelid and it snapped shut.
“It’s red and bloodshot.” She pointed to the kitchen chair.
I lumbered over and sat down, grateful for a place to hunch over my growing problem.
Teddi went back to the freezer and came back with a cold pack. “Tilt your head back a little.”
I did as she asked again, and she straddled my leg, again holding my neck. Sure, my eye felt like it still had her finger in it, but all this closeness was really having me and my pants hoping she was going to kiss everything and make it better.
She gently pressed the ice on my closed eye. “Keep it closed. The eye really does heal itself a lot. You just need to give it time.”
I grunted in acknowledgment. As I peered at her through my working eye, she rooted around in the kitchen. Her tiny sleep shorts and tank top were my own personal cable channel. She used the water from my glass—whatever was left—and then refilled a water bottle with a straw in it.
“Here, now you can drink easier while your eye does what it has to do.” She held the bottle near my face. I took it out of her hand.
“Thanks. You send mixed messages to weirdos in your kitchen. Attack, first aid, apply water.” I took a deep suck and realized I was super thirsty.
She went back to her ice cream and opened a drawer until she came up with a spoon. Her snack had become a cold soup and she ate it as such.
I hit the bottom of the bottle with a loud slurp.
Teddi grimaced. “Damn, son. You were parched.”
She grabbed my bottle and filled it again. The little kindnesses she was showing me were getting embedded into my skin. Where I was from, how I was raised, kindness was hard to find. I could go whole days without getting treated like a person by anyone besides my mom.
“You’re welcome. And I’m sorry I turned you into a pirate. The good news is, I have an eye patch from last Halloween for you.” She pointed at my eye with her spoon.
“Then I’m all set.” I was able to get half the second water bottle down before I was truly done with feeling thirsty.
Debra creates pretend people in her head and paints them on the giant, beautiful canvas of your imagination. She has a Bachelor of Science degree in political science and writes new adult angst and romantic comedies. She lives in Maryland with her husband and two amazing children.
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