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Saving Face (The Bancrofts Book 1)

Saving Face (The Bancrofts Book 1)

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Murder, Mystery, Romance at a Christian university. When the sitting president of Mount Faith University, Edward Carlisle died mysteriously the race was on to find his replacement. Taj Jackson was in the running for the presidency against a formidable opponent, the terrifyingly powerful Ryan Bancroft, a man to whom he has more than a passing resemblance... Meanwhile, Natasha Rowe and her partner, Harry Campbell, were asked to go under cover to investigate the president's death. In the process of investigating, Natasha finds herself attracted to Taj Jackson, though he was on their list of suspects. She also realizes that all is not what it appears to be at the school. There are secrets and lies; especially in the dead president's past and the line of suspects for his murder grows longer the more they dig.
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Annette couldn't believe that was it. She gazed at Ryan's scrawny back as he pulled on his clothes. Her mind tried to come to terms with the fact that she was no longer a virgin. She had given up her precious virginity for this. The romance books she had been reading told her that the world would move, her body would shatter into pieces, and she would feel complete. She was not feeling complete now. Instead, she was feeling a boatload of guilt, and the only thing that was shattered was her dignity.
Ryan turned around and stared at her. He was feeling uncertain as well. They were both just sixteen. They should have been at choir practice, but they had been practicing things of a different kind in his room, and now they were staring at each other, a bit shell-shocked.
Ryan cleared his throat. "We should get going. Mommy will be home soon."
Annette widened her eyes in consternation. She only had to find her panty, which was somewhere on his wooden floor and pull down her skirt.
He had just hiked it up earlier, fumbled, and clumsily pushed his way into her. She winced as she got up from the bed. Her purity bracelet got caught in the sheets, and she tugged it free.
Ryan was wearing one as well, and the irony of the situation hadn't escaped him. They could no longer consider themselves members of the Purity Club at their church. They were no longer set apart by their refusal to conform to societal pressures regarding premarital sex. They were now just regular fornicators, just like those of his peers he had sneered at and pitied because of their lack of morality.
"Come on!" Ryan said harshly. He was hearing the stern voice of Sister Edna in his ear, and his guilt was multiplying rapidly because he saw tears in Annette's eyes.
How could one act, which lasted nearly a minute, be so devastating? It wasn't even that good. For one moment in time he had felt a rush of release so sweet, and then a slap of guilt so sharp he had rolled off Annette's prone body and turned his back to her. It wasn't even worth it, Sister Edna's voice said in his head. In his mind's eye, he could see his father, who was also a first elder, nodding in agreement.
Annette wasn't faring any better. She was castigating herself for stopping at Ryan's. They had been steadily dating for a year, and they hadn't gone much past chaste kisses on the cheek and innocent hand-holding until Ryan had gotten it into his head that he wanted to practice French kissing.
For several weeks they indulged themselves. Eventually, French kissing led to breast touching. She should have said something because she was not comfortable with the whole direction that they were taking into newer and sexier waters, but she had found it pleasant, and besides, that was not even what they called heavy petting.
Today when she came by to get her choir book from Ryan, it was the first time she had gone into his room. It was the first time they had attempted heavy petting, and it was the first time she had sex. The thought made her shudder.
Sex wasn't all that it was hyped up to be. Sister Edna, their youth leader, kept telling them, "Wait and do it God's way. Don't listen to the echoing shouts of the world on the topic," but Annette had guiltily thought that Sister Edna was bitter in her outlook on sex because she was not getting any.
How wrong she was. It was not worth it if you felt like this afterward. No way was it worth it.
"Where's the bathroom?" she asked Ryan. She couldn't look him directly in the face.
"Through there." He pointed to a door in the passageway. She grabbed her panty and walked gingerly toward it.
She hurriedly wiped up the wetness between her legs and then washed her face. There was a chipped mirror above the face basin. She tried to avoid staring at herself, but she could see that her neatly combed hair was sticking up all over her head. She fixed her hair and then rewashed her face.
She wished she had not done it. If only she could time travel, she would stay at the gate and call Ryan. When he came outside, she would have just asked him for the book. She would not have come inside his house. She would not have walked into his room and sat on his bed, or watched him while he got ready, or smiled pleasantly at him while he sat beside her, or opened her mouth for that dratted French kiss, or laid back on the bed while he leaned over her. She wouldn't have done any of that.