Entangled:An Evolve Series Novella

By: S.E. Hall

Prologue



People probably think streets like this don’t exist anymore. I know I did. But as Dane and I drive down Elmhurst Drive in his shiny silver Roadster, top down and an unusual Georgia breeze in my hair, the neighborhood looks downright picturesque. All the lawns are perfectly manicured with huge maple tress dotting the area and 1428 loves pink, evidenced by the rows of flowers lining the walkway. I glance sideways when I hear his chuckle; his tan, smiling face looks back at me, a flirty glint in his dark eyes.

“You trying to break my fingers, baby?” he asks, lifting our joined hands between us.

“Oh, sorry.” I blush, relaxing my grip, seeing that the ends of his fingers are now crimson.

“It’s okay,” he kisses the back of my hand, “I know you’re excited. I’m glad.”

The street is a dead end cul-de-sac, a community basketball hoop in the circle, several young boys playing a game there now. Two older men watch the game from their lawn chairs parked nearby and wave to us as we climb out of the car. I giddily wave back, once again earning Dane’s lighthearted laugh. The whole scene is worthy of a “Welcome to the Neighborhood” brochure and makes me smile, already feeling homey.

My duplex is precious, red brick with white shutters and a large bay window right in the front; I literally bounce my way up to the front porch. The landscaping needs to be touched up, the hedges are way overgrown and all the plants looking half-dead since no one’s lived here to keep it up, and I can’t wait to do just that. I look over and notice Bennett’s already got a sunflower flag flying proudly over her porch next door and it just makes my fire to get started burn brighter—I have my own house to fix up! I’ve never been so pumped about a project in my life!

“You ready to go in, Miss Walker?” he teases in my ear, swatting me playfully on the butt.

My “yes” turns into a squeal as I’m swept up, bride-style, in his arms. “Then go in you shall,” he responds before leaning down to kiss my lips and carrying me over the threshold.





CHAPTER 1



***Laney***





I love everything about the place, from the long list of things that need to be done to those which are only necessary to make it mine. As we wander from room to room, my excitement spills over and I start to tell Dane my ideas.

“I think in here I’ll paint it softball yellow and then draw red stitches all along the top, like a border.”

“I think that’s the worst idea I’ve ever heard,” he groans, backing away from me as he says it—good idea.

“Don’t hold back, Dane, tell me what you really think.” I cross my arms over my chest, because he just lost his boob ogling privileges with that comment.

He’d bought this duplex for me, sick of the 11pm curfew that often can’t be “worked around” in the dorm, not to mention it’s a closer drive to his house, strategically located at almost the dead middle between Chateau Kendrick and GSU. But, he’s being a bossy boots caveman—a trait he’d kept somewhat hidden until he felt absolutely comfortable with me—and shooting down all my top notch decorating ideas.

“Baby, if that’s what you really want, go ahead, but it sounds gaudy and juvenile, and you have to think of resale. When it comes time for you to marry me and move into the big house, we’ll have to make the room look normal for potential buyers.”

Some girls probably would have heard “marry me” and melted right where they stood, fanning themselves and batting their eyelashes.

Not this girl.

“What do you mean gaudy? Juvenile?” I mock and shrink him on the spot with my glare. “Just because it’s not black, white or gray,” (yes, I’m referring to the sterility of his house right now) “doesn’t mean it’s ugly. I think it’d look cool and you said this was my place. I should be able to decorate it how I want.”

I’m not pouting, really. I’m standing with my legs braced apart with my hands on my hips and a scathing frown on my face—ready to spar.

“And the other bedroom?” he asks, patronizingly calm.

I wave a hand and scoff, “do whatever you want with it. Go absolutely crazy with your three-color palette.”

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