"I love a taboo romance that has class. Loving Jesse is certainly one I won't soon forget. Now I need more!"Lisa
"Andrea Smith is a wonderful writer. She makes this such an easy to read, at the same time having you at the edge of your seat rushing to read faster to the next chapter. Each dialogue is delivered flawlessly and each character is very well portrayed. This is no easy story to tell and yet through her hand it seems effortless task."Isa
Isa Loves Books
"I went into this book thinking one thing and came out feeling completely different, which was a very good thing for me."Ashley B.
This was a complex book, and I find myself thinking about it several days after I finished reading it. I think, at it's core, this is a book about a young woman. It's a story about personal growth, it's a story about love and devotion, and it's a story about learning one's self worth.Katherine M.
Jesse Ryan has always been the love of my life, from as far back as I can remember. But time, distance and circumstances beyond my control separated the two of us for many years.
Now things have changed. Because you see now I'm a grown woman, and it's time that Jesse sees that for himself. But will he see me as anything other than the child I was when we last saw one another? It's up to me to make sure that he does.
Look out Jesse Ryan. September is back!
Release date: December 17, 2015
Publisher: Meatball Taster Publishing, LLC
Print pages: 198
Content advisory: 18+
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Behind the book
I had to take a walk on the wild side just a bit with this one.
If you enjoyed "Unteachable" by Leah Raeder, then "Loving Jesse" is your cuppa. Age-gap, forbidden relationship tropes can be done in ways that have the reader rooting for the MC's. I hope this is one of those times for you!
Loving Jesse: Single Daddy Romance
April 30, 2006
Fort Smith, Arkansas
“Tell Jesse not to bother tryin’ to come after me,” my mom says, as she slips on a pair of boots, cramming the rest of her belongings into an old military duffel bag. “Won’t do him no good. I ain’t livin’ like trash the rest of my life, you hear?”
“But Mama,” I whine, “What about me—what about Scout?”
“You’ll be fine until he gets home. Scout’s napping and she’s good for another two hours. He’ll be home by then—wanting his supper on the table. So fucking predictable.” She shakes her head as if disgusted.
I feel the tears well up in my eyes not understanding how Mama can just take off like this, leaving her ‘babies’ as she likes to refer to us, even though I’m thirteen years old and long gone from being a baby. But my half-sister, Scout? She’s only four years old, how will she get along without her mother?
“What about after that?” I press.
“Oh for cryin’ out loud September!” she snaps at me, while shoving her make-up bag into the duffel and closing it up. “I’ll call your grandparents and let them know to come and get you, okay? I reckon Jesse will want to keep Scout being that she’s his and all. No telling where the hell that sperm-donor of yours is these days. Still running from the law somewhere, I reckon.”
She stops her frantic packing and takes a quick look around the bedroom to make sure she’s not left anything important behind.
Other than her two children.
“Now listen,” she warns, pointing her index finger at me, “You don’t tell Jesse nothing about the car that’s outside waiting for me, you hear? You just tell him I left in a cab and that I’ll call him later on and let him know when your Granny and Pappy will be down to pick you up. That’s all you tell him, understand?”
I nod, the tears now spilling over and making a wet trail down my cheeks. She gives me a quick hug and kisses the top of my head.
“You’re a big girl, September. You’ll be fine with Granny and Pappy until I can come for you. And I will — I promise you that. Once I get my divorce from Jesse down in Mexico, I’ll come back for you. I’ll try my best to wrestle Scout from him, but I don’t hold out hope I can win that one. No matter, I’ll have a brand new step-daddy for you, one that makes lots of money and doesn’t boss me around so damn much keeping me on some budget. We won’t live in a dump like this,” she finishes, looking around the trailer’s one of two bedrooms. “No siree, we’ll have a fine house in the city somewhere.”
She hurries down the narrow hallway, blowing me one final kiss as she lugs the duffel bag outside of the trailer, letting the door slam loudly with the finality of her departure.
As I peer through the mini-blinds behind the front room sofa, I see the large black car waiting for her. She tosses her bag in the back, and climbs into the front seat moving close to the man who’s driving, and then she’s gone.
Just like that.
I hear Scout’s whiney cry from the bedroom that we share. The slam of the door must have awoken her. I wait several minutes until she quiets back down again. The digital clock on the old VCR reads 2:37 p.m.
I know that Jesse will be home at four-thirty sharp, just like he always is, and that he’ll be expecting supper on the table, just like Mama said.
I wipe the wetness from my cheeks and take a deep breath. Mama’s right; it’s time I act like a big girl, not a crybaby. I’ll be fourteen in September, practically an adult.
I stroll to the fridge and take several potatoes out of the drawer and begin peeling them over the sink. I know how to boil and mash potatoes, so that’s what I’ll busy myself with to pass the time and figure out what to say when my stepfather gets home.
I find some sausage links in the freezer, and take them out to thaw. Mashed potatoes and sausage. I climb up on the countertop of the small kitchen and open the cupboard, pulling out a can of green beans.
Mashed potatoes, sausage and green beans. That’s what we’ll have for supper. Mama’s made that plenty of times. Maybe I won’t have to tell Jesse anything if supper’s on the table when he gets home. Maybe he won’t even ask right away.
He’ll figure she’s down the way, talking with Miss Maybelle, her friend who does her hair. I won’t tell him any different until I have to.
Jesse’s gonna be pissed.
I think about when Mama brought Jesse into our lives and to be honest, it seems as if he’s always been there. I’ve always known he wasn’t my daddy—only Scout’s. I was six when he came into my life. He’s always treated me good, raising me like I am his and all. I mean, I don’t call him ‘Dad’ or anything, and he’s never asked me to, but still I recognize that he’s the boss. I show him the respect the same way a daughter would.
I don’t remember my father at all—Mama says he knocked her up at seventeen, and then took off so he wouldn’t have to pay child support. She says he never did see me. Doesn’t matter because she says he’s no good, just poor white trash that was horny.
Mama turned eighteen a couple of months before I was born. We were living with Granny and Pappy in Meridian, Mississippi when she met Jesse one day on a trip to town. He was working a construction job, building a new library for Meridian. Mama says she caught his eye and he gave her the biggest and loudest wolf-whistle ever.
She invited him for dinner the next night and my grandparents thought Jesse was a nice enough guy, but a little young for Mama. She had just turned twenty-five and Jesse was only eighteen—fresh outta high school.
Mama didn’t care much about the age difference though, and they continued going out. I remember lots of nights, Mama didn’t even come home. Granny would shake her head and say that before long, I was likely gonna have a baby brother or sister, what with the way my mother was carrying on.
But Mama continued seeing Jesse, and before I knew it, we had his truck packed up and were heading to Arkansas because that’s where his next job was.
And that’s when we got our first home by ourselves—well, I mean by ourselves with Jesse. It’s the trailer we live in now, but so many things have changed since we first moved here.
For one thing, Mama and Jesse got married, and then Scout came along around the time I was ten. I remember being so excited at having a sister, even though she’s only a half one, I still love her.
I remember how I felt having to share Jesse back then. He’d become mine in a way, but once Scout arrived on the scene, it had changed all of that. He adored her; that much had been obvious.
She’s the picture of him now, only in a little girl way. Thick dark hair like his, sparkling blue eyes that can darken the way his do when she’s upset or happy; triggered by emotion, I guess.
I take after Mama everyone says. Blond hair, tawny brown eyes and long legs. I’m the tallest girl in my eighth grade class. The other girls tease me about it, but I’ve noticed the boys kind of like it. Chad Miller even calls me ‘wong wegs’, but I know he means it as a compliment, because he smiles and winks.
I don’t know what Jesse’s gonna tell Scout when he finds out about Mama, and worse than that, I don’t know what he’s gonna expect of me. I’m not even sure whether I can get up the nerve to tell him. He’s got a temper though he’s never raised a hand to any of us. His eyes can flash sapphires when he’s pissed off, and Mama sure did her share of instigating those episodes.
Jesse works harder than anyone I know. He does keep Mama on a budget, but it’s only so they can save money for a house. She wants to get a job—or did, but Jesse says her job is taking care of Scout until she goes to school full-time in a couple of years. Says he wants his daughter being raised by her Ma, not some daycare center.
I hear his pick-up truck pull up alongside our trailer, just as Scout is coming down the hallway, rubbing the sleep out of her eyes. She’s wet the bed again, and that won’t please Jesse.
“Where’s Mama?” she asks looking around.
“Hush,” I reply, finishing up the mashed potatoes and setting them at the small table on the other side of the counter that serves as our dining room.
I grab a cold beer from the fridge, just like Mama does every afternoon, so that it’s waiting for Jesse when he hits the door.
“Go change your britches before Jesse gets in,” I instruct her, mustering up some authority from somewhere. “Go on, hurry up, Scout.”
She turns and heads back to our room as he opens the door to our trailer, lunch box in hand, and ball cap perched on his head.
At twenty-five years of age, Jesse is more handsome than when Mama first brought him home. I’ve noticed the bulge in his muscled arms, broad shoulders and thick mass of dark hair. I like the way it peeks out from underneath his ball cap that he always wears to work. I dream of finding a guy like him some day. I know I shouldn’t think those thoughts, but I do. I guess Mama thinks money is more important.
He slams his metal lunch pail on the counter, and grabs the beer I set out for him, taking a long swig.
He wipes his mouth, looking around.
“Where’s Libby?” he asks, taking off his ball cap and running a hand through that thick mass of dark hair. Makes me wish I had hair like his.
“September?” he says, “Where’s your ma?”
“Dinner’s ready,” I reply with a meek smile. “Uh, she’s gonna be a little late.”
“Why? Where she’d go?”
“I don’t know.”
“What do you mean, you don’t know?”
“She left,” I finally reply, wanting it off my chest. “She says she’s not coming back.”
“What the fuck?”
I’m frozen in fear; he’s never laid a mean hand on me, like I said before, but then I’ve never had to give him this kind of news before.
“What the hell are you talking about, girl?”
I burst into tears, sinking to the linoleum floor, covering my face with my hands. “That’s all I know, I swear! All she said was that she was going away and not to look for her! She’s said that she would have Granny and Pappy come to get me. I’m so sorry.”
I’m sobbing uncontrollably now—not just for me, but for Jesse and Scout too. We’ve all lost her and I need to feel some comfort. I want him to comfort me and to tell me that everything is gonna be just fine in his deep, rich voice. Maybe put his strong, muscular arms around me and assure me that the three of us will just have to make do until he can figure out how to bring Mama home.
He does none of these things.
I look up from where my face has been buried into my knees. I wipe the salty wetness from my cheeks with the back of my hand, just in time to see Jesse fly out of our trailer like a bat out of hell, cursing loudly. In seconds, I hear him fire up his truck and take off, leaving a patch of rubber on the concrete roadway that winds up to the main road.
I didn’t see him again for two days.
The weeks go by with all of us living in a fog; the fog that Mama had created when she took off. Jesse got the lady down the road, Miss Maybelle, to keep Scout while I’m at school. He calls my grandparents each evening to see if they’ve heard anything from Mama.
They have not.
Finally, school is out for the summer.
Granny and Pappy drive to Fort Smith to pick up me and Scout for the summer. They tell Jesse how ashamed they are of Mama, and promise him they will help out in any way they can.
When fall rolls around it’s only Scout that returns to Fort Smith. She’s going home to Jesse, and I’m starting ninth grade in Meridian, living with Granny and Pappy.
Jesse comes to Meridian for Scout. He gives me a hug, and tells me that he’ll keep in touch. He instructs me to behave for my grandparents and I almost tell him that I don’t want to be here, that I belong in Fort Smith with him and Scout. But I’m afraid to say those words to him.
No one has heard a thing from Mama.
May 15, 2010
“Had a call from Jesse today, September,” Gram says as I toss my schoolbooks on the kitchen table and grab a bottle of water from the fridge. Now that I’m seventeen, I don’t call her ‘Granny’ any longer, ‘Gram’ sounds more refined.
“How’s Scout?” I ask immediately, glancing over at my grandmother who is mending a pair of Grandpa’s work pants.
“Oh she’s fine, but he’s wondering if maybe you’d like to spend some time with her this summer.”
“Why?” I ask.
“Well, school’s out in a couple of weeks, and he can use some help this summer with Scout. He’s gonna be working out of town off and on with some government project in Oklahoma. Something to do with oil drilling, I guess. Anyway, says he’ll pay you for helping out, and I know you’ve been talking about getting a car when you turn eighteen this fall.”
I shrug. “What’d you tell him?”
“Told him I’d ask you. I mean it’s fine with us if that’s what you want to do,” she says, knotting the thread as she finishes the mending.
“I’ll think about it,” I reply, knowing that it’s probably the only means I’ll have of earning any money this summer, but still, I have to think about Todd. We’ve been going steady all school year and the thought of being away from him for nearly three months is something to consider.
Part of me wonders if Gram hasn’t offered me up to Jesse. I know she worries that Todd and I will take things too far, though I’m not sure how that can happen what with the way she and Grandpa watch us like a hawk.
“He’ll need to know soon,” she calls after me as I head out of the kitchen to my bedroom.
My mind drifts back to the day Jesse said good-bye to me.
The day he came here to pick up Scout.
Scout was tickled to death to see him after being away all summer. She had asked about Mama and Jesse shook his head and said, “No word.”
He sent her out to the car after she hugged and kissed us all good-bye. Jesse assured my grandparents they were always welcome, and that he’d bring Scout to visit when he could. Gram and Grandpa were pleased about that.
“And you,” he said, crouching down to be eye level with me, my heart was hoping that the next words out of his mouth would be, “We want you to come with us if you have a mind to.”
But those weren’t his words.
“You behave your grandparents, and keep up with your good grades. You’re a smart girl, September. I know you’ll have a bright future. Now I’ll keep in touch to make sure you’re behaving, hear?”
I nodded, hoping that I could hold back the tears that threatened to spill. Jesse acted as if he didn’t notice. “I have something for you,” he said, reaching into the pocket of his jeans.
He handed me a small box. Inside was a heart-shaped locket on a gold chain. The locket was the kind that can hold a tiny picture. There wasn’t a picture in this one.
“I reckon you’ll be breaking hearts soon enough. That locket is for you to put a picture of your true love inside, that way you’ll always have him close to your heart.”
He hugged me, and I thanked him feeling like I’d never see him again. I waited until he and Scout where just a spec on the horizon before I went upstairs to my room and let the flood gates open.
♀ ♂ ♀ ♂ ♀ ♂ ♀ ♂ ♀
Todd and I are parked off on a dirt road the following day. He brings me home from school, but Gram notices if I’m not home by a reasonable time once school is out. Today, we both skipped last period study hall. We do that occasionally. I forged a note from Gram saying I had a dentist appointment.
We have the seats pushed as far back as they go in his old beater, a 1985 Mustang. My top is off, and he’s already felt me up good and sucked on my tits, left a couple of sucker bites there the way he likes to. I don’t know what that’s supposed to do for me, but whatever it is, I think it’s seriously over-rated.
His hand dips down below the waistband of my jeans, his fingers traveling to no man’s land.
“Todd,” I say, moving my lips from his, “Don’t.”
“Because it doesn’t feel good, that’s why.”
“But I just want to finger-fuck you, babe. There’s no danger in that now is there?”
He presses his lips back to mine and his fingers reach my slit. He spreads my lips apart, and immediately tries to shove his middle finger up inside of me.
“Shit,” I hiss loudly. “That fuckin’ hurts!”
“Give me a minute here. I’ll get you lubed up.”
“Aren’t you supposed to do that first?” I ask angrily, pushing his arm from me so that his hand leaves my crotch.
“Dammit, September, how are either one of us going to learn if we don’t experiment, huh?”
“Don’t you watch porn like most dudes?”
And that pisses him off.
“Fuck it,” he growls, sitting up and scooting back to his own seat. “What the hell are you saving it for?”
And then I’m pissed.
I find my tee shirt, and pull it on over my head. Maybe now is a good time to tell him about my summer plans.
I wait until we’re back on the road, heading to my house and then I tell him about going away for the summer, to help Jesse with Scout.
“What the hell? You’re going to Arkansas for the summer? You can’t seriously want to spend the summer babysitting?”
“Why not? I’m saving for a car,” I remind him. He’s seventeen the same as me, but he already has his own car and I want one. I’m hardly ever allowed to go anywhere with him anyway. If I have my own car, I’ll have more freedom.
“It just blows thinking of spending the summer without you and all.”
“You have a summer job,” I point out, “So it’s not like we’d be able to spend all that much time together, right?”
“Yeah, I guess,” he sighs. “Just thought this might be the summer where we . . . uh, you know sealed our deal.”
“I dream of my first time being with someone . . . experienced. I don’t want it to be a bumbling mess . . . I want it hot,” I say, knowing exactly what those words will do to his ego, but I don’t give a shit.
“Oh yeah? Well plenty of other girls might like the chance of getting their experience with me, did you ever consider that?”
I shrug. “Whatever, Todd. You know where I stand.”
“Yeah, sounds as if you’ve decided on a couple of things,” he says, disappointment lacing his voice.
“Then why tell me at all?”
“Don’t be like that. We’ve still got a couple of weeks and it’s just for the summer. Maybe some breathing room is good at our age.”
But he doesn’t buy it.
He pulls into our gravel drive now, and stops by the walkway to the house.
“Something you trying to tell me?” he asks.
“Look September, you do what you want. You always do anyways. I’ll see you tomorrow at school.”
“Thanks for the ride,” I reply, getting my backpack and exiting his car. He peels off, throwing some gravel along the way.
Gram is peeling apples in the kitchen when I come in. “Sounds like Todd left mad. What’s that about?”
Did I mention I have no privacy?
“Aww, he doesn’t like the idea of me going to Arkansas for the summer.”
I see her breathe a sigh of relief, because up until this point, I haven’t made my decision.
No, that’s a lie.
Up until this point I simply haven’t informed my grandparents that I was going. There was never a doubt in my mind that I’d go.
“So, you’ve decided then?”
“I don’t see how I could refuse. Good money and spending time with my little sister. It doesn’t get any better than that,” I reply, grabbing an apple from the counter, and taking a bite of it.
“I’ll give Jesse a call after supper,” she replies.
♀ ♂ ♀ ♂ ♀ ♂ ♀ ♂ ♀
Later, in the only place I have privacy—my room, I pull my egg-shaped vibrator out of its hiding place. I’m lying naked beneath my sheets; the overhead ceiling fan is circulating a soft breeze as I think about how I want my first time to be totally hot.
I squeeze my thighs together just thinking about how good it might feel losing my cherry to someone who’s been around the block a few times—not my boyfriend who just had his braces removed a month ago.
I gaze at the open locket on my bedside table. The picture I put inside wasn’t one of Todd. It’s a snapshot I found in one of Gram’s photo albums, one of Mama with Jesse. I cut her out of it, so it’s only Jesse’s handsome face smiling at me in my private room while I do things to myself that I won’t allow Todd to do.
Because I need it . . . hot.
My fingers separate the folds of my pussy, and I work them, feeling myself get wet. My vibrator sends shock waves of pleasure through me when I massage my clit, changing speeds back and forth, my hips now gyrating. My eyes are closed, but in my head I envision sapphire eyes and raven dark hair hovering close. Lips touching, tongues exploring, muscles flexing and rippling.
I moan softly as I bring myself to orgasm.
I’m getting really good at this.
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