They thought they were safe in their elite little world. They couldn’t have been more wrong.
When Charity Daniels was seventeen she fell in love with Literature, and a man who taught it. Their forbidden love was held back until graduation, until legally she could be his.
Flash forward three years, Charity is studying at Yale and still in love with her Princeton Man.
Quinn (Q) Everett is on scholarship at Yale, and finds himself inexplicably in Charity’s path. He tries to stay away, but his mouthy best friend thinks he knows better. Suddenly it’s lunches and crashing private plans for the duo just to see her.
But their flirtations do not go unseen, and Logan’s love turns and goes from jealousy to murderous intent.
Can these unproven lovers stay the course and avoid the devious plot of a scorn man or will everything crash and burn?
*Trigger warning: Violence
**Strong Sexual Situations
Copyright © 2018 J. Haney & S.I. Hayes MisGiving Hearts
Last night was the last time I go out on a school night. I feel like I was run over by a Mack truck. I stayed at Logan’s last night and memories of what happened filtered through my sleep, which left me not sleeping well, and today happens to be one of my longer days. I don’t get out of this place till at least eight. I think, instead of going to see Logan tonight, I’ll call him when I get home and let him know I won’t be over. I don’t have to study as hard as most, but I still do.
I walk through the blue light district to get to my class. Its blue lights set throughout campus. I like having it, especially when I have late classes. I see the gate I need to go through just ahead of me.
As I step through, I hear someone say forcefully, “Naked in bed, Iago, and not mean harm! It is hypocrisy against the devil. They that mean virtuously, and yet do so. The devil their virtue tempts, and they tempt heaven!”
I drop my Great One, twenty-four ounces of pure black Dunkin’ Donut bliss and my copy of The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri. I grab my chest. “Jesus Christ!”
I get a glimpse of white flesh through black ink reaching for my items. He stands, towering over me with my book and now empty cup. “Sorry, Q-” He pushes the other guy who’s covered by his hoodie. “-over here was just working on something for his class. Thinks he’s Shakespeare or some shit.” He smiles, looking down at me.
“I don’t think she cares, Stryker, let’s go,” Q says, walking off.
“How would you know what I do and don’t care about?” He doesn’t answer, just keeps walking.
Stryker gives me my stuff before walking off and mumbling something to his buddy. I continue my walk to Multicultural Middle Ages class. I notice the two guys once again as I’m walking in. Somehow, they managed to go around me? This is going to be a long class. I try to pay them little mind as I take a seat and start pulling my things from my bag.
The professor walks in and is immediately on alert. “Mister Jordan, you know you’ve got no business in here.”
“Come on, Prof, I was thinking about auditing today.” Stryker has just slipped into the desk beside mine.
“Stryker, is it?” I ask, and he looks at me with what I’m going to assume is his sexy look. “Pretty sure ya can’t handle this.”
“Mister Jordan, it’s time for you to go.”
“What? Would you like me to recite in its original Italian?” Stryker asks and proceeds to do just that. “Nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita, mi ritrovai per una selva oscuro, ché la diritta via era smarrita.”
I smile. “Actually, it’s oscura.”
“Let it go, Miss,” the professor orders, looking at her book, “Daniels. Even if he’s wrong, he thinks he’s right.”
“So, just like any other man,” yells a girl in the back.
“One day, we will figure out how to teach them just right, but until that day, we just have to chalk it up to foolishness,” I remark.
Stryker looks down at me before reaching into his hoodie and producing a card. “I like you, come to the shop anytime.”
I take the card and look at it. It reads Lucky Stryke Tattoo Design and Piercing with the address and phone number. “Thanks.”
After class, I messaged Logan to let him know that I won’t be over tonight, lots of studying to do, then I stopped at Seoul to pick up dinner for myself and Hope. If anyone can help me work through what happened last night, it’ll be her. Korean food is one of her favorites, so I get dinner for both of us along with mochi ice cream. Never show up empty-handed. I knock on Hope’s door and wait for her to answer as I hold the food in front of my face.
Hope opens the door and demands, “Bitch, where you been?”
I lower the bag. “I brought food.”
“Oh? You are a lifesaver.”
“Seoul, your fave.”
“Awesomesauce.” Hope pushes the door open further and lets me in. I head for the dining room as she walks into the kitchen.
“I need talk time, and nobody but you can help me.”
“Why? Did you wake up with a strange dick in your mouth?”
She stops in her tracks and looks at me, shock plain on her face. “What the hell do you mean, kind of? I was kidding.”
“When I got to Logan’s last night, he sort of bent me over the couch, but we weren’t alone.”
“Mmm, tell me it was that guy, Toby? You know I always wanted a piece of him.”
Hope is a couple years older, but we went to the same high school, so she knew the teachers, knew the stories. “It was Hank Smiley.” I thump my head against the table.
“Oh, honey.” Hope pats me on the back. “What happened?
“I’m not sure exactly. I didn’t even know he was there till he shot his load on me.”
“Well, look at it this way, better on than in, and it’s good for the skin.”
“I’m disgusted. I lied to Logan because I’m not even sure how to look at him, then add in this stupid ring.”
“What ring, girl?” Hope questions.
I dig the ring from my purse and set it on the table. “He popped the question Saturday.”
“I don’t know. Because he wanted to?”
“So, are you finally moving in? Because if you are, that’s cool, you’ll be closer.”
“No, he’s moving to New York or Jersey, and I’m staying here to finish school.”
“Why aren’t you just breaking up with him and getting on with it?”
“Because I’ve spent almost three years with him, and I love him.”
“I’ll never understand why. He’s such a cad.”
“He just understands me.”
“He understands wet, pink hole, thrust, and repeat.”
“I didn’t say that I was okay with him asking me, Hope. I just didn’t want to embarrass him because we were in public. I don’t know what I’m doing, and then there’s whatever last night was. I’m so confused.”
“Listen, there’s no point in being ashamed of something you’ve done. I’ll tell ya right now, if it were me and I wasn’t fancying another dude on top of me, I’d have fucked him up right quick. Don’t be afraid to say no.”
“I’m still nursing my hangover, so I know I drank way too much. I think he knew it too.”
“Then he’s even more of a scumbag than I thought because he took advantage of you, and he let someone else do it too.”
“UGH!” I cry out.
“Look, I know you love him and all, but he’s really not a good guy. Nobody should make you feel bad for who or what you are. You’re not me, don’t let him make you act like it if you don’t want to. You tell him that last night was a one-time deal. Don’t let him push you. Okay?”
“Yeah, okay,” I say defeatedly.
“Alright, you want to take this outside? Grab the wine and glasses?”
“Gotta have that smoke.” I shake my head. “You can take the wine, I’ll just grab a bottle of water. I still have to drive home.”
Hope walks out the back door to her porch while I go to the kitchen to grab a bottle of water. By the time I get to the porch, she’s already puffing on her cigarette.
“So, how’s school going?” I ask, sitting across from her.
“I actually just took the test for LPN, and I’m waiting for my results.”
“How do you think you did? You didn’t show your tits this time, did ya?”
“A red bra may or may have not been worn under a red blouse, but these things happen.”
“Whatever brings out the grade. We’re not all you.” Before I can say anything, Hope speaks again. “Oh, look at the puppy.”
Out runs what I’m pretty sure is an albino pit bull pup with a much bigger one right behind it, which must be the mom. Hope is calling the dogs as she climbs over the rail.
“Hope, you’re going to hurt yourself,” I warn as she drops to the ground. Yeah, I’m not jumping, I’d break a bone.
“Nonsense, puppies,” Hope says, squatting to pet the dogs.
“Nonsense, jump, I’m sure one of us can catch you,” a male voice breaks in.
Wait, I know that voice. I stand and walk over to the railing. “Jesus, you again?” I ask as Stryker comes into view.
“I’m not the one that followed me home. Hey, Q, little miss Obscura's here.”
“I didn’t follow you. I needed to talk to my best friend who happens to live here. Wait, did you just call me obscure?”
His buddy walks out in camo pants and denim button up over another shirt. He looks up at me. “If the reference fits. Do you feel we should put a pin between your shoulders and put you on a board somewhere?”
“I’d rather you didn’t, I’d never get down. Height problems and all.”
“Hmm, shorty got your number,” Stryker quips.
Q licks his lips and nods his head before running a hand through his hair. He reaches his hand up to me. “Hey, my name is Quinn, folks around here call me Q.”
I put my knees on the porch because I’m not climbing over the railing to fall to my death and take his hand. “I’m Charity and just because I go to Yale doesn’t make me like most of the snobs,” I introduce myself and extricate my hand from his before standing back up and dusting myself off.
“I always heard it takes one to know one, and I’ve never known one.”
“Hope is the snob in my group. “
“That’s good to know because we don’t associate with assholes.”
Hope looks up at me. “Then don’t ask about her boyfriend. Oh, excuse me, fiancé.”
I shake my head. “You were just dying to say that, weren’t ya? Can’t even let me decide what the hell I’m doing before you start spreading that news.”
Hope stands up and starts dancing and snapping. “Start spreading the news,” she sings.
“Hope, we love you, but only if you shut your mouth,” Stryker teases.
“Oh, but don’t you know that’s her best asset?” I quip.
Quinn reaches down and picks up the puppy. “Walked right into that one, huh?” He gibes before turning to me. “Do you like dogs?”
“When they're nice. Never really been around animals. Ma wasn’t okay with them.”
“How’s about you come down? She doesn’t bite and neither do I. I promise.”
“But who says I don’t?” Shit, stupid filter. “Be down in a minute.”