Title: An Uphill Battle
A Southern Roots Standalone
Author: LK Farlow
Genre: New Adult
Release Date: January 18, 2018
Azalea Barnes has hated Drake Collins since the day he broke her teenaged heart.
Fast forward almost seven years later and her libido still hasn't gotten the memo.
Now they're frenemies... with benefits.
Which suits Azalea just fine. She gets what her body craves while keeping her heart safe. Kind of.
Drake has loved Azalea since the day they met. He knows that she's his forever. Too bad she only sees him as a good time. He wants more. Needs more.
If only he could convince her that it's real this time. He's more determined than ever to prove to Azalea that chemistry like theirs doesn't exist only in the bedroom.
The odds may be against Drake, but he's prepared for an uphill battle.
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âDrake Collins, I donât see you on our appointment book today,â Seraphine says, wagging her finger at me with a twinkle in her dark brown eyes.
âThatâs because Iâm not. Does Azalea have time to fit me in?â
âHmmm. Magnolia could fit you in quicker thanââ
âNah, I donât mind the wait. How longâs it gonna be?â
âAbout twenty minutes.â
I turn, and make myself comfy in one of the waiting room chairs, âThatâll be just fine, Seraphine.â
She rolls her eyes at me, âIâll let her know youâre here.â
âTotally unnecessary. Itâs a surprise visit.â
Seraphine shakes her head at me, but goes back to whatever she was doing at the computer, thank God. Because Iâm counting on the element of surprise to work in my favor here. If she knows Iâm here, sheâll start working on getting her walls up, but if I catch her off guard, I might just catch her unguarded, if you know what I mean.
To pass the time, I play around on my phone, checking social media and shooting the shit with Simon and Cash in group text. I impress myself by only checking the time every five minutes, but my God, it really does feel like an eternity waiting on her.
I perk up when I hear the sound her sweet voice coming closer. âYou have a wonderful day Mrs. Jones, and be sure to tell Seraphine to book extra time at your next appointment so that we can do those lowlights.â
She doesnât walk far enough into the room to see me, so I stand and follow behind her to her station. She grabs the broom and starts sweeping, but jumps and throws it down when she sees me. âHoly guacamole, you scared the ba-jeezus outta me!â
I cover my smile with my fist, âI can see that.â
âWhatâre you doing here?â
âNeed a haircut,â I tell her, claiming her chair.
She scowls her trademark scowl at me, her eyes drilling into me like lasers. âSo, make an appointment.â She turns of walk away, but I reach out and snag her wrist.
âDonât need one,â I tell her, knowing it will make her that much more irritated. I know these games are stupid, but her mad gets me so hot.
âYou most certainly do,â Azalea replies, her cheeks red with anger.
âPretty sure thereâs a sign in the window that reads âWalk-inâs welcomeâ. Youâre certainly not making me feel very welcome. Not at all. Which, as the owner of this establishment, you should know is bad for business.â I tsk, wagging my finger at her.
âDrake Ulysses Collins, you get your ass up right now!â Azalea hisses through clenched teeth. Her eyes are so big, they look like they might pop right on out of her head.
âNah, donât think so. You get your cute ass over here, and buzz my hair down.â
âNow.â Itâs a battle of wills and Iâm playing to win. We remain frozen, staring one another down, until she rolls her eyes and stomps back over to me, like I knew she would. Drake, 1. Azalea, 0.
With a snap of her wrists, she has the cape draped around me. She shoots me an evil gleam, before pulling it as tight as it will go, damn near choking me. âTake it easy, Bit,â I croak, only to be whopped upside the back of my head with her comb. âWhat the hell?â I yell at her, but she just smiles and pops the guard she knows I like onto her clippers.
With one hand planted on the top of my head, she uses the other to move the clippers through my hair, buzzing it down in fluid movements. Azalea takes her time, dragging out my simple buzzcut because she thinks itâll annoy me. She couldnât be more wrong. Hell, for half the haircut, her perky C cups are all up in my face, and for the rest of itâ¦ her hands are on me, and thereâs not a single thing annoying about any of that. No, I fucking love it.
âThere, all done assface.â
âAssface, huh? That an invitation?â
âGod! Youâre so gross!â
Grasping the front of the cape with both hands, I pull until it unsnaps. Rising from the chair, I take two steps toward Azalea, effectively backing her into her station. âGross? You think Iâm gross?â I gently run my nose up her neck, lingering just below her ear. âNaw, you donât mean that, do you?â My voice is hoarse and low, the sound of it causes Azaleaâs skin to break out in goosebumps.
âSure do,â she fires back, but her toneâall soft with wantâ betrays her words.
I take a step closer, leaving not even an inch between us, âWe both know youâre lying through your teeth, but thatâs okay Bit. Best be glad weâre in your place of business, or Iâd call your bluff.â I cover her lips with mine and tunnel my fingers into her long, blonde hair. âOr maybe I still will,â I speak the words against her lips, delighting in the feel of her rapid breaths. âRight here. Right now.â I punctuate the words with a kiss, hard and rough, before stepping back.
Azalea stands there, bracing herself against her station, almost as if sheâd crumple to the floor without its support, and damn if that doesnât make me feel like the king of the world. âThanks for the haircut. You have a nice day, and when I call you laterâ¦ answer.â
LK Farlow (A.K.A Kate) is a small town girl with a love for words. Sheâs been writing stories and poems for as long she can remember. A Southern girl through and through, Kate resides in beautiful, sunny LAâthatâs Lower Alabama, yâallâwith her amazing husband and three wonderful children. When sheâs not writing, you can find her snuggled up on the couch watching nature documentaries while she crochets or with her nose in a book. All Kate really wants in this life is her family happy, strong coffee, a good book and more Happily Ever Afterâs.
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