Home > Torn (All Torn Up #1)

Torn (All Torn Up #1)
Author: Carian Cole


My love,

Walk in the rain with me. Kiss me in the misty fog.

Let me hold you all night under the hush of the wind.

I'm waiting for you. Throwing pennies...making wishes.

I'm wishing only for you. Always for you.

Come back to me.

I'll fight for you. I'll fight for us.

Wish for me, too...and I'll make it come true.

The frayed parchment paper is soft in my fingers, perfectly worn and aged, and I'm very aware that he chose this texture of paper, this color of ink, with careful consideration. Because he knows how much it means to me. Because he knows me. Like no else ever has or ever could.

I read his words over and over again; long after I have them memorized and they're burned into my heart and soul, yet I still hold the handwritten note and stare at the words until they blur. I can hear his voice saying them; deep, yet soft and sensual. Raw.

I like touching the paper that I know he held in his hands. The hands that had once held me, caressed me, ignited passion and desire in me so deep that I still can't forget. And I don't ever want to.

The faint scent of his cologne drifts from the paper. Or maybe I've just wished for it so much that I've imagined it. Either way, it's comforting and stirs memories.

Reading his words, all the feelings rush back like acid on a wound that won't heal. He's my other half; the one who makes my heart beat. The man who makes me feel every feeling that could possibly be felt - and then some. The man who held me and loved me through almost every moment of my life. I have no past without him, and no future without him. Quite simply, he is my world. There is no way I will ever move on from a love like ours. We belong to each other. I've always known it, and I am utterly exhausted from fighting it, denying it, keeping myself from it, and hiding it - as I'm sure he must be, too.

And now after the silence...he still loves me. He still believes in us, and his words assure me he's willing to take on the world for me. For us.

It’s time for me to go back home to my love and to my heart. Time is precious, and I don’t want to give any more up.



Kenzi ~ one day old

Toren ~ fifteen years old

"We want you to be her Godfather," Asher says as he gently lays his newborn baby into my arms. I have to tear my gaze away from her spellbinding eyes to look up at him from the chair I'm cradling the baby in.

"Me?" I repeat, glancing over at Ember in the hospital bed, who beams back at me with a tired, yet genuine smile.

"Yes, you," they both say at the same time. "If it wasn't for you, we probably never would have met," Ember adds, grabbing Asher's hand. "And we wouldn't have this beautiful little baby. We know you'll always protect her."

"That's right, man. You're Uncle Tor now."

I'm an uncle. And my two best friends are parents. And we're all fuckin' under sixteen.

But Kenzi Allyster Valentine would change us all forever. She needed us.

"Wow. I'm honored, guys. No doubt, I'll always be here for her."

I kick back the pang that hits my stomach. I didn't get the girl...but I got something better that I never expected. A gift in the form of a little tiny hand wrapped tightly around my finger, huge eyes like gems staring up into mine like I was the most amazing person in the friggin' world, and the first glimpse of what I could already tell was going to be a heart-stopping smile.

At that moment, a connection was born.

That was it.

She owned me.

My niece.

My goddaughter.

The love of my life.


I hop off the back of the motorcycle and run my fingers through my shoulder-length hair, trying to detangle the mess. The wind is brutal on my hair and turns it into a tumbleweed in less than five minutes of being on the bike. Grabbing my hips, he pulls me against him and plants a dry kiss on my lips that tastes like dirt from the road.

"Kenzi!" A deep male voice bellows from the top of my driveway, making us both jump. "If I see your ass on the back of that bike again, we're gonna have some fuckin' issues."

Jason quickly pulls away his hands that had inched their way down to my ass. "Holy shit, is that your father?" he asks under his breath.

I let out a sigh and shake my head. My father is not one to raise his voice. Unless he's singing on stage, of course. But never out in the driveway. And never at me. "No, it's just my uncle."

Jason squints at Toren before his eyes dart back to mine. "Isn't that the guy who owns the motorcycle place in town? I think I bought my bike from him."

"Yeah...we're not really related, though. He's my dad's best friend."

Tor is coming farther down the driveway toward us, his black leather boots thumping heavily along the stone, his eyes riveted on the boy that just had his hands on me. "You hear me?" he points a finger at Jason, his inked arm muscles bulging menacingly. "I don't want her on that fuckin’ bike again."

"Yes, sir." Jason calls back, visibly paling.

"I better go inside before he starts foaming at the mouth," I throw my purse strap over my shoulder. "Have fun tonight at the party."

"You could come to the party with me." The teasing glint in his eye and his slightly raised eyebrow hints at more than just a party, and while I should be jumping up and down at the chance since he's one of the hottest guys in my class, he seemed way more interesting from afar. Before he proved he can't kiss and has zero conversation skills. I'd much rather stay home and read a book or hang out with my father's friends who are coming over tonight for a bonfire.

"I really can't, Jase. I'm sorry." Not sorry. "I'll call you."

Before Jason has a chance to reply I head up the long cobblestone driveway, glaring daggers at Toren as I walk by him.

"Hey, listen to me," he turns and catches up to me as Jason speeds off down the street. "That kid just got his motorcycle license. You don't get on a bike with someone who barely knows how to ride. He's way too squirrely. You could get killed. You can ride with me or your dad or your uncles, but not some fucking kid."

"I was only on it for like six miles to get home from school. Stop yelling at me. You're not my father," I throw back.

"I'm close enough. I mean it, stay off that bike."

"Fine, Uncle Tor. Don't get all rabid."

"I'm not even close to rabid. Yet." He rushes ahead as we approach the house and climb the stairs of the back deck to open the french doors for me that lead into the kitchen. Inside, bags of groceries are lined up on the granite-topped center island. Twice a month my father likes to have his friends and the members of his band over to hang out in the back yard, eat, have a few drinks, take a dip in the pool, and jam a little. Toren usually brings over the food and alcohol and sets everything up.

I should help him put the food away, but I'm not in the best of moods. I just want to be alone so I disappear down the hall and up the stairs to my bedroom, closing the door behind me. After kicking off my shoes, I collapse onto the bed and stare up at the vaulted ceiling. Just one more month 'til my high school graduation and then I can get away from the drama, fake friends, drunken parties, and groping boys who don't know how to kiss.

What will I do then? Not a freakin' clue. I just know I want to get away from school and the people in it.

I don't fit in with them. I never have. My parents were only fifteen years old when they had me. Still in high school themselves, attending the very same school I'm graduating from, in fact. Some of my teachers were also their teachers, and of course, the entire faculty knows this. It's a bit bizarre to think that my mother was pregnant with me, sitting in the same exact classrooms I sit in now. Maybe that's why I'm so smart - I was in high school in utero.

I was born into a family of rather famous people. My grandfather is a popular singer and songwriter from the seventies, and my grandmother is a best-selling romance author who has written over one hundred books, twenty of them turned into television movies. My parents started a rock band when they were seventeen, and both went on to become well-known musicians. My father’s band, Ashes & Embers, now consists of his three brothers and two cousins. I grew up right in the middle of all of this; by the time I was ten years old, I was certainly no stranger to tour buses, loud concerts, drugs, and drama. But despite all that, I was loved and adored. I was everyone's baby, really. Everyone took care of me. I wasn't hidden from much that went on, and that wasn't because my parents were negligent or irresponsible. They just wanted me to be a part of everything they were doing. They exposed me to things in life way before I could truly understand them, but in time it all caught up and sunk in. I think that made me older and wiser earlier than I should be, which has made me feel out of step with everyone else my age.

It didn't take me long to figure out there were people who only wanted to be around me because of who I was related to. Kids pretended to be my friend to get concert tickets, t-shirts, an autograph, or to try to see the inside of our house - which might be big and have a small recording studio downstairs, but there's nothing overly exciting going on here. Boys pretended to like me to get me to slip demo tapes to my father, or to meet the sexy women of my mom's band, Sugar Kiss. And the high school girls hoped they could meet my hot rock star uncles, or even worse, my dad. I never know who I can trust, or who wants to be friends with me just for me. So other than spending time with my best friend Chloe and my Dad's younger sister, Rayne, I mostly stay home and hang out with my family, the band, and their friends. They're the only ones I feel comfortable with.

My pocket vibrates and I pull out my phone to read a text message.

Chloe: Jason said you're not coming tonight?

Me: No, I'm not in the mood for a party.

Chloe: Come on! It's Friday night! :) Jason really likes you.

Me: Eh...

Chloe: Don't mess this up! You can totally lose your V-card with him! He's hot as fark!

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