Home > America's Sweetheart

America's Sweetheart
Author: Jessica Lemmon






Ten years ago, Allison’s dorm room




I’m settled between my girlfriend’s legs, slowly rolling up her scarlet-and-gray OSU T-shirt to kiss her flat belly when her fingers, twining in my too-long hair, halt. I place my lips on her belly button, dying to go lower. It’s play-off season and I’m tired as hell, but we agreed to blow off studying to blow each other’s minds. It’ll mean pulling an all-nighter, but she’s worth it. I’m here on scholarship and can’t afford to lose my funding, so I take studying seriously.

“Jackson. We need to talk.”

This isn’t news to me, so I say, “After,” and roll her shirt higher. I bare the undersides of her breasts and the breath in my lungs stalls. I’ll never tire of her tight, naked body and the fact that she’s wearing only panties and a shirt is making me hornier.

We’re on her dorm room bed with her on her back and me trying to fit as much naked time into the evening as possible before her roommate comes back. Brenda is gabby, and even if my head is beneath a blanket, it won’t deter her from talking to Allie. Time is of the essence.

“My aunt called me again about the internship.”

The California aunt. The one who works as a casting director for a big TV network.

“What about school?” I ask, but there are bigger implications to her moving across the country. Me not having her in my arms on the regular, for example. I expose one of her nipples, but she tugs her shirt down.

Damn. So close.

“It’s only for a summer.” She reroutes her hands to my beard. I haven’t cut my hair or shaved, and our team keeps winning. It’s completely superstitious but it’s also working. She doesn’t mind the beard. Especially when it’s soft like it is now. I brush my lips along the waistband of her panties, attempting to tempt her.

“We’re business majors,” she says, sounding too business-y for what I have in mind for us tonight. “What career opportunities could we possibly have to look forward to?”

My efforts to get her naked thwarted, I blow out a sigh of defeat. I release her and climb higher, resting my chin on her ribs. She looks down at me, her thick, dark eyebrows pinched with concern, her reddish-brown hair lying silkily over her pillow. I send a longing look at her...well, everything, and commit to talking about this.

“I’m not good enough to go pro, Allie. I need a degree. I’m not working for my dad forever.” Not that there’s anything wrong with hard labor, but my dad gimps around his construction site like he’s eighty. His back problems have back problems.

“I have to leave Ohio. I’m going nuts here. You could come with me?” The hope in her voice is pronounced. We’ve talked about this before, too.

I intertwine our fingers gingerly, like I did for the very first time. We were sixteen years old, and I was so nervous I thought I might puke. I didn’t, though, and we held hands that entire Saturday afternoon before I called up enough bravery to kiss her. A year later, we made love. If I wasn’t an absolute goner for Allison Murphy then, I sure as hell am now.

“I’m heading up a project with Dad this summer. I can’t bail on him.” I also won’t fight her on leaving. I understand how badly she wants to go to California. She has the means—rich folks who will send her—and as much as I know I’m going to miss her when she leaves, I refuse to be the clingy, needy boyfriend back home who kept her from pursuing her dreams.

“I know.” More playing with my hair. She likes it long, so I’ll keep it long even after playoffs. Win or lose. She sighs and, because she’s been mine for four years, I sense every emotion behind it.

“It’s only for a summer.” I lift her knuckles and kiss her hand. “We’ll live.”

Her mouth curves. She’s always loved theater, always been fascinated by celebrities. She may have a shot at a walk-on role, since she knows someone who knows someone, and that would be incredibly cool for her. Her heart’s not into sitting behind a desk. Allie’s always been a free spirit.

“I love you, Jax.”

That hits me right in the center of the chest like the helmet of a blitzing safety. In other words, it knocks the wind out of me.

“Love you right back, Mini.”

She smiles at the nickname. Not only is she a petite little thing, but she also wore short, short skirts in high school. Like, bite-your-knuckle short. Hide-your-woody-behind-your-backpack short.

Hot as she was, the first time I laid eyes on her I swore she wasn’t for me. A big jock and a petite artist? Unlikely. My heart had a different idea, lurching forward so hard I nearly fell flat on my face. I’d never felt like that when a girl at school looked at me. My dick stirred, no doubt about it, but I’d never before felt anything in the vicinity of my chest. Not until Allie.

“Summer’s a long way away.” A foxy smile appears, her pelvis bumping my chest. “You have plenty of time to make me miss you.”

I grin.

She lifts her shirt and pulls it over her head.

We stop talking about summer.



Chapter 1



Present day, the Murphy household




Daryl and Tommy had the flu this week, which put us behind schedule.

Between you and me I’m betting the illness they have is “whiskey” flu. I gave them bonus checks on Thursday. They each called in on Friday.

To make up for lost time, I’m at the job by myself, on a Sunday. When you’re the owner, shit runs uphill not down.

The “job” this time around is at my ex-girlfriend’s parents’ house. My ex and I were over so long ago that being here shouldn’t have any sting left, but I’m not sure I ever shook her. Not because I’m pining, but because after we ended, she became famous.

Famous famous.

I’m talking walk-the-red-carpet-who-are-you-wearing-can-I-have-your-autograph famous.

How’s that for a kick in the nuts?

The Murphy house is quiet and there are no interruptions distracting me from sawing a hole in the wall where we’re expanding Cheryl’s walk-in closet. Allison’s mom “joked” to her husband (Allison’s dad, Stephen) that he could have the hall closet, but I don’t think she was joking. Stephen shrugged like the nice guy he is and said, “Whatever you want, doll.”

Whatever you want, doll.

Even I think that’s sweet and I’m a guy.

I’m remodeling Cheryl and Stephen Murphy’s bedroom. They’re celebrating their thirty-fifth wedding anniversary in style with an extended trip to Italy. My team and I are taking care of the remodel while they’re gone. Makes it easier for everyone to work in an empty house. We’re knocking out a wall, extending the deck, and expanding the closet into a sizable walk-in. Their house is on the ritzy side of Columbus. A far cry from the brick ranch I grew up in, or the even smaller one I live in now.

Since walking into this house, I’ve been struck with the oddest sense of déjà vu. The memories don’t shout so much as whisper. And being here has triggered more memories than I care to admit. Allison and I broke it off within the first year of her fleeing to California. Long distance relationships are as hard to maintain as they say.

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