After getting involved with Dylan, the bad boy of the Dixon High Swim team, Charley decides to stay close to home for college. It’s just safer that way. Later, she realizes it’s a mistake, just like dating Dylan. She decides to put the past behind her and leave the small hick town of Grassy Pond. There is only one problem; she makes this decision three weeks before the fall semester begins.
Charley packs up her Honda and heads to Southern College. On the morning she’s about to leave, Cash walks back into her life. He has been her best friend since they were four and is the only one who knows the REAL Charley. She leaves her farm in Grassy Pond with all kinds of “what if” questions.
Charley decides to live her college career to the fullest. She finds a great group of friends, joins the swim team, and meets a guy named Joe. He’s got eyes that make ya wanna melt!
At college, she encounters a new problem. Charley has been away from home for only forty-eight hours before she breaks the two promises she made to herself. Will she be able to overcome her past? Find new love? What will happen with Cash now that he is back in her life? Will she find what she is wanting in Jackalope Joe? How will her first semester of college end? Joe, Cash, or alone?
As we make our way to the door, Georgia slips on the gravel. She starts laughing and the rest of us do as well once we help her up.
“Y’all, I think the ground and curbs are out to get me. I mean they come out of nowhere. The next thing I know, I’m on my ass again!” Georgia is a hoot. She always makes light of situations.
Hank’s Tavern is not exactly what I pictured. It’s an old, worn down, wooden shed. There are five parking spaces in front of the restaurant section of the place. The rest of the parking is located across the road in a gravel lot. It’s gravel, no pavement anywhere. The bouncers are dressed in jeans and Hank’s Tavern t-shirts that fit just a little snug around their arms showing off their muscles. They ask for our IDs, take a brief glance, and in we go. I will have to say, the guys don’t get in quite as easy. They get patted down and driver’s license checked. Sometimes it pays to be a female.
We enter through another set of glass doors and immediately cigarette smoke and stale beer hit my nostrils. The room is open except for a few pool tables and the bar. It is dark, lights are flashing, and the music is bumping. We do exactly what any group of girls would do, walk straight to the restroom. You have got to kidding me! No door really! There is no freakin’ door on the last stall. After taking a few minutes to get over the negative stall door and freshen up, we walk out and head straight to the dance floor.
I have to say that this is exactly redneck meets ghetto fabulous. Whoever thought a place like this would play Mystikal, Dr. Dre, Lil Wayne, throw in a little “Downtown” by Lady A and Old Crow Medicine Show? We have the best time just dancing in a big group. I notice Crystal and Lucas on the floor; she smiles and waves before continuing to do things she should be embarrassed to be doing in public. I am so thankful that I don’t have to deal with that in my room. That is one benefit to her dating a Resident Assistant… he has his own room.
By midnight, Hank’s is packed. I decide to grab a bottle of water, and as I’m about to pay, I hear that oh so sexy voice.
“I got that.”
“It’s okay, Joe. I got it.”
“No, I insist. I was an ass earlier. I didn’t mean to make you feel bad. It’s the least I can do.”
“Damn straight! I’m proud of who I am and where I’m from. I just hate when damn Yankees come down here and then try to make us look like hicks. You don’t like the way we live, then don’t cross the Mason-Dixon,” I say as playful as possible. It did tick me off earlier, but I don’t want him to think I’m a bitch.
“I swear I won’t do it again, and nobody is gonna pick on you eating squirrel but me,” he says with a smile.
“Okay, I’ll give ya that.”
“So Squirrel, you wanna dance?”
“Mr. Scaredy Cat, I’d love to.” He takes the water bottle from me and leads me to the dance floor.
Casey Peeler grew up and still lives in North Carolina with her husband and daughter. Her first passion is teaching students with special needs. Over the years, she found her way to relax was in a good book.
After reading Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neal Hurston her senior year of high school and multiple Nicholas Sparks’ novels, she found a hidden love and appreciation for reading.
Casey is an avid reader, blogger (Hardcover Therapy,) and now author. No Turning Back (Full Circle #1) is her debut novel releasing September 30th. Finding Charley (Full Circle #2) will release spring 2014.
Her goal is to one day be an author who is recognized nationwide like Jamie McGuire, Colleen Hoover, Tiffany King, and Amanda Bennett.
When Casey isn’t reading, you can find her listening to country music, spending the day at the lake, being a wife and dance mom, and spending time with friends and family.
Her perfect day consists of water, sand between her toes, a cold beverage, and a great book!