Edge of Chaos(Love on the Edge #1)(7)

By: Molly E. Lee

The classroom consisted of three rows of long black-topped tables, a large projector screen at the front, and a computer system to the left. I took a seat in the front, pulled a notebook out of my oversized shoulder bag, and opened it to a fresh page. Three guys were the only other students in the room, and they all huddled around one table near the back. They chatted with excited voices and sounded like they were discussing a past road trip, but I tried not to eavesdrop. Their easy camaraderie and banter made my chest tighten—the aching fingers of loneliness wrapped around my heart and squeezed.

Between classes, work, and Justin, I hadn’t had much time to make new friends, unless you counted my bulldog, Hail, which I did. She’d been my best friend for the past two years. I had some acquaintances that I talked to in class or at work, but outside of everyday chit-chat, the only person I spoke with was Justin.

I supposed the boyfriend being the number-one priority was natural, though. It’s definitely how he wanted it. There had been fewer blowups from him―which resulted in less tears and less broken furniture―since all my friends went off to college. And the few times I’d thought seriously about integrating myself into a new group of friends, Justin would remind me of the sacrifice I’d be making—the little time we had together.

Checking the time on my cell, I noticed the professor was a few minutes late. I tapped the Facebook app and scrolled through my feed. I’d lost touch with all my high school friends, but I still checked out their photos. Shots of party scenes dominated the newsfeed, each one with a string of comments about how awesome the event had been. A sting of jealousy bit my insides as I shoved my cell back in my pocket.

I hadn’t been to one party since I started college.

Justin had promised me a huge one for my twenty-first birthday, but when I’d shown up at his place it was instantly clear the party wasn’t for me at all. He’d invited all of his friends because I didn’t have anyone outside of him to ask, and he’d blared his favorite music—heavy metal—from the huge speakers he’d rented, as opposed to my preferred alternative rock. Keystone Light was the only drink option, not even cheap champagne or a bottle of wine for me. Not a scrap of chocolate in the place, either—didn’t matter if I turned twenty-one or fifty-one, the best part of the birthday would always be the cake part. And I may have been able to overlook all of that, if he’d remembered to get me a card. Hell, I would’ve taken a Happy Birthday note written on scrap paper. Anything to show he’d thought of me in the process and not just him.

I shook the memory off and glanced around the classroom. I studied the pictures of different storm cell formations that papered the walls. An intriguing shot of a roll cloud caught my eye, so I crossed the room to take a closer look.

A fat, cylindrical, dirty-snow-white cloud stretched horizontally across green pastures that were broken apart by a strip of road. The sky surrounding it was dark gray with the orange sun attempting to break through the storm from behind. The sheer power contained within those slowly churning wisps of elements took my breath away, and a hunger to see something as extreme in person bloomed within me.

“Ever get a look at one of those in the field?” a deep voice asked, practically in my ear, making me jump.

I turned to answer but stopped short. My mouth dropped open. Oh my God.

Dash Lexington. The freaking gatekeeper to all my weather fantasies.

He stood less than a foot away, a few inches taller than me, with short sandy-blond hair and the greenest eyes I’d ever seen―clear and sharp like bottle glass. A wave of heat crashed inside me, sending my breath in a zigzag pattern. Damn, the pictures on his website didn’t do him justice.

“No,” I finally answered and swallowed the lump in my throat, stopping myself from fan-girling about how much I adored his site and that he was in my class.

“We’d chased all day. Struck out each time. Then we caught this bad boy. It made up for all the busts.”

“You took this?” I asked, looking from the picture and back to him. I resisted the urge to face-palm myself. Of course he had.

“I’m Dash.” He held out his hand.

I took it and sparks shot across my skin with the connection. “Blake,” I said, releasing him before I combusted.

“How’d I do?” he asked, glancing back at the incredible photograph.

I grinned and shrugged as heat rushed to my cheeks. “You did all right.” I walked back to my seat in an effort to hide my own surprise at my boldness. Dash chuckled as he walked behind me and went to sit with the boys in the back. I swear the air crackled with electricity as he passed.