Chased dreams, p.1
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       Chased Dreams, p.1
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           Lacey Weatherford
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Chased Dreams


  A dream is a wish your heart makes,

  When you’re fast asleep.

  In dreams you will lose your heartaches,

  Whatever you wish for, you keep.

  Have faith in your dreams and someday,

  Your rainbow will come smiling through.

  No matter how your heart is grieving,

  If you keep on believing,

  The dream that you wish will come true.

  ~Walt Disney’s Cinderella

  CHASED DREAMS

  Moonstruck Media - Arizona

  Copyright © 2014 Moonstruck Media/Lacey Weatherford/Chase Walden

  ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

  Published by

  Moonstruck Media

  Arizona

  Smashwords Edition

  Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise) without the prior written permission of both the copyright owner and the above publisher of this book.

  This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, brands, media, and incidents are either the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. The author acknowledges the trademarked status and trademark owners of various products referenced in this work of fiction, which have been used without permission. The publication/use of these trademarks is not authorized, associated with, or sponsored by the trademark owners.

  This book is available in print and ebook format.

  DEDICATION

  For all our loving grandpas.

  CHASED DREAMS

  By

  Lacey Weatherford and Chase Walden

  Prologue

  “You ready for this, Walker? This is the rest of your life. Are you sure you’re up for it?”

  I stared down at the gorgeous girl in my arms, as I stepped over the sliding door threshold and into our little beachside bungalow decorated in cream and white. “Oh, I am so up for it.” I chuckled. “You have no idea.”

  “I think I have some idea.” Her eyes sparkled mischievously and she giggled as I let her slide down the length of me onto her feet. I made sure to keep hold of her slinky gown as I did so, enjoying that it bunched up in my hands the further down she moved. “Are you taking my dress off already?” she asked, a soft pink blush touching her cheeks.

  “Yep, I sure am.”

  She lifted her arms and I pulled it off over her head, leaving her standing there in front of me in nothing but her silky underwear. She stepped forward and slid her hand over my white shirt. “You like what you see?”

  I grinned. “Yeah, but I think you’re still extremely over-dressed.”

  She laughed, again, as she fiddled with undoing the buttons of my shirt. I ran my hands over the soft bare skin of her back until she exposed my chest and pushed the shirt away, so I could easily shrug out of it.

  Her eyes followed my hands when I reached down and began undoing my belt buckle, followed by the button and zipper. Leaving the pants on, hanging loosely from my hips, I reached for her, but she evaded my grasp, stepping quickly backward toward the giant bed.

  I raised my eyebrow. “Just keep moving in that direction. You’re gonna end up there, one way or another.” I strode toward her and she bit her bottom lip. I wanted to lick her right there and, well, . . . everywhere.

  She grinned seductively and I felt my heart do little flips inside me. I was crazy about her. “I thought maybe you might want to wait until after dinner. You know, romance, candlelight, and all that.”

  “Heck no. I’m gonna take you right here, right now, in this nice late afternoon sunlight. I’ve waited long enough—watching you waltz around all morning and during the reception in that dress clinging to every curve like a glove. I thought I might die before I got it off you.” I moved nearer and she backed up even closer to the bed. We kept up the game until there was nowhere else for her to go. “Well, now. This is much better,” I added as I sidled up against her.

  I slid my hands around and grabbed her butt, anchoring her body against mine. “Slide your arms around my neck,” I ordered, and she did so without arguing. Reaching down, I grasped her by the legs. She squealed when I picked her up and tossed her on the bed, covering her with my full weight. “Mmmm,” I whispered as I trailed my fingertips up her bare leg, loving the feel of her skin beneath them. “I like this.” I continued my path up her body, caressing over her hip, her tiny waist, and up to her chest.

  My mouth descended to hers and she opened it readily for me, our tongues twisting together, kissing hotly before I moved across her cheek and down to her neck. I sucked there briefly, feeling like I was holding a piece of heaven in my arms, slowly drifting on to farther regions as we quickly divested each other of the rest of our clothes. There wasn’t one place on her I didn’t love exploring. Hearing her soft moans and feeling her feathering strokes and touches in response to me only served to ignite the fire between us even hotter.

  I worshipped every part of her delicious body and thrilled in the fact that she did the same to mine, actively participating and enjoying every single thing the two of us could dream up to do together, over and over again.

  She was mine in every sense of the word and I couldn’t wait to spend the rest of my life losing myself in her this way—every single day.

  Darkness fell with the two of us still wrapped in each other’s arms, listening to the rhythmic sound of the surf beating against the shore. I lazily ran a finger over her bare shoulder, drifting up occasionally to string it through her long blonde hair from where her head was tucked under my chin. Thoughts of how far my path had deviated from when I’d been with Nikki entered my mind, and I shoved them brusquely away. I didn’t want that hurt surfacing here. I didn’t want that pain to mar my relationship with Brittney.

  “Are you happy, Chase?” she asked in a soft, drowsy whisper.

  I kissed her forehead. “Of course I am. Why would you even need to ask me that? Can’t you tell?”

  “You seem to be.” She snuggled closer, wrapping her arms tighter around me. “I just wanted to make sure.”

  I squeezed her, wanting to put any fears she might have to rest. “I’m happy . . . deliriously so. Life is perfect right now. I’ve got my girl, we’re married, I’ve got a shot at the college championship game—all of my dreams are falling right into place. Are yours?”

  “Your dreams and my dreams are the same.” She placed a kiss on my chest. “There’s no doubt in my mind you’ll get to the championship. Then all those NFL scouts will see you play and they’ll be clamoring all over themselves to sign you. The hardest choice you’re going to have is deciding which team to choose.”

  I laughed. “I’m glad you have faith in me. I wish it were going to be that easy.”

  “It will be. Just you wait and see.”

  “Have I told you I love you, today?” I asked.

  She let out a soft quiet snort. “I don’t know, maybe once or twelve thousand times.”

  “Hmmm, is that all? Well, let me say it again. I love you, Brittney. Thank you for marrying me today.”

  She lifted her palm to stroke my cheek. “It was fun. Let’s do it again tomorrow.”

  I laughed. “Okay, but let’s forget the minister, guests, and the ceremony next time and just skip straight to the sex.”

  “Sounds perfect,” she said with a wide smile, and she stretched to kiss me, again.

  Chapter One

  Three months later

  I started my day with a groan, rolling over and burying my face into the pillow, attempting to place the annoying aroma floating in the air. Automatically, I reached to feel for Brittney next to me, b
ut her spot was empty.

  Sighing, I realized what was happening. It was our new morning ritual—breakfast, to use the term loosely; and if I was correct, it was complete with the lovely smell of burnt toast and cheap bacon. I loved her, but I’d learned back when we were in college that cooking wasn’t something she excelled at. It made me miss the Muffin Mondays we’d shared in the past.

  Running a hand through my hair, I couldn’t help but smile. She had been trying so hard these first few weeks to be the perfect wife. Always cooking, cleaning, and even leaving love notes for me in places she knew I’d find them. I didn’t think it was possible, but they actually made me fall for her even more.

  “Hey, baby,” Brittney said as I dragged myself into the dining room, seeing exactly what I had smelled waiting for me on the plate. It looked like she’d tried to scrape off the worst of the blackness and added some butter and lots of jelly in an obvious attempt to camouflage what was underneath. Thank goodness she’d added a bowl of cold cereal to the mix. That would probably save me later at the football combine.

  I’d never been one to do a lot of talking in the morning; instead, I pulled her into my arms for a quick hug and kiss before sitting down at the table. She smiled widely at me and I vaguely listened as she started talking nonstop about some new cooking show she’d been watching and how she thought a certain new set of pots and pans would make preparing food easier.

  I nodded here and there, telling her to get the pans if she needed them; but my mind kept straying to the upcoming NFL camp and focusing on it. Despite all my playing time as quarterback, I knew this was going to be a big test for me. It wasn’t every day that people had the opportunity to try out for NFL scouts. This would be huge for my career, not to mention it had been my dream for as long as I could remember.

  “So, are you nervous?” Britt’s voice broke into my thoughts and I looked up to see her eyeing me. I felt bad for not paying better attention.

  “Sorry. I kind of zoned out on you there, didn’t I?”

  “Just a little, but I totally understand. You have a big week ahead of you.” She reached across the table and grasped my hand. “I wish I could come with you. I’m going to miss you so much.”

  I smiled and squeezed her hand back before lifting it to my mouth and placing a kiss there. “You’ll barely even know I’m gone. I’ll call or text you every chance I get. You’ll be telling me to shut up before you know it.”

  She stood and wrapped her arms around my shoulders. “I’ll never be sick of you, Chase Walker, and you know it.”

  I scooted back in my chair and she straddled my lap, keeping her arms draped around my neck. My hands splayed around her waist, rubbing gently down toward her hips. “Prove it.” I challenged with a grin, totally forgetting about the rest of my uneaten breakfast as I stared at my sexy wife.

  “I thought you wanted me to help you to finish packing this morning.”

  Lifting a hand to her face, I palmed her cheek, gently rubbing my thumb over her lips before sliding my fingers around to the back of her head.

  “Later,” I whispered, giving her a wink and pulling her head to mine.

  ***

  I pulled up to the field and parked, taking a moment to survey the area and check out the massive number of other athletes who would be my competition. There were hundreds and hundreds of them—well over a thousand, if I were to guess.

  Suddenly, I felt uneasy. Even though I’d recently played and won the college championship, this level of nervous anxiety foreign to me. It was something I hadn’t felt since we’d won the State High School Championship. Suddenly I was concerned—worried I hadn’t prepared myself enough. My whole future was riding on this.

  I squared my shoulders. I wasn’t going to talk myself down. There was no way these guys had the same competitive drive I did—the drive that made me special. When I played, I played with my whole heart, body, and soul. I knew this game—inside and out. It was part of me and I was a part of it. I grabbed my things and headed toward the field, more determined than ever.

  There were several people milling about on the track in matching blue t-shirts who appeared to be in charge. I approached one of them, a tough looking guy who glanced up from his clipboard at me with annoyance. “Yes?”

  “Where do we sign in?” I asked quickly.

  He frowned and pointed in the direction of a large sign next to a row of tables, I’d somehow missed, with the giant words “SIGN IN HERE” written in big capital letters.

  “Thanks, man. Sorry, didn’t notice that.” Hurrying over to the tables, I noticed they were organized alphabetically. I found the W section and quickly added my name and position to the list.

  “Throw the luggage you don’t need for practice in the pile over there by the fence,” a kid with wire-rimmed glasses said as he placed a tag on the handle of my duffle bag. “Someone will haul them to the dorm rooms for you.”

  “Anything else I need to do?” I asked.

  “Just suit up and put this in with your luggage for later.” He handed me a lanyard that held a card with my name and picture on it. “Keep it with you all the time. That barcode at the bottom is both your meal ticket and the key to get in and out of the dorms. Don’t lose it. You’re all done with check in. Go find a place on the field to warm up.”

  I nodded and carefully slid it inside my bag. I was already in my football pants, leg pads, and cleats. Since I was wearing my maroon and gold ASU jersey, that proudly displayed my number of choice, twenty-three, I pulled it off and got into the rest of my shoulder gear before slipping it back on. I grabbed my helmet before depositing the rest of my stuff by the fence, as instructed.

  Ironically, just stepping onto the field helped calm my nervous energy. I always felt at home with the grass under my feet. Finding a free spot, I started doing some stretches to warm my body and loosen up my muscles.

  “Hey, Chase Walker, right?” I glanced to my left and saw a huge, burly, Samoan guy with massive tattoos down his arms. He gestured to my jersey before he extended a hand in my direction. “I’m Barney.”

  My eyebrows shot up in surprise and I tried to keep my grin in check. “Hey, Barney. Nice to meet you.” I shook his massive hand.

  He smiled, revealing a space between his front teeth. “You can go ahead an laugh. I bet you don’t meet many islanders named Barney. We are going to be roomies.”

  “Are we?” I asked, wondering how he knew.

  “Yeah. I requested you. I’m a fan.”

  This time I did laugh out loud. “And what made you a fan?” I wasn’t entirely sure if he was messing with me or not, due to the shit-eating grin he kept plastered to his face.

  “You don’t remember me; but we played against each other, once. I broke through your O-line and was getting ready to plow your ass into the ground when you rolled out of the tackle and left me with nothing but a face full of grass to eat. Then you added insult to injury and ran it in for a touchdown. Twice. My coach wasn’t very happy with me. I got myself a real chewing out because of you—first from coach and then from my momma when I got home. They both made me run the bleachers.” He laughed and gave me a little punch to the shoulder pads. I almost fell on my butt.

  I chuckled, amazed by his strength. “I think I’m glad I avoided you.” This guy could totally crush me into the ground.

  “Not many guys can . . . let alone twice. That’s why I’m a fan.”

  “Barney . . . ,” I let my voice trail off as I looked at his purple University of Washington jersey and suddenly the lights went on in my head. “Barney! You’re the one they call the Purple Dinosaur!” I stuck my hand out again and shook his vigorously.

  “That’s me.” He grinned even wider and let out a loud laugh. “I eat tiny white boys like you for dinner.”

  “I believe it. Your reputation precedes you.” I hoped he wouldn’t kill me in my sleep to get even. “We’re leaving the past behind us, right?”

  I didn’t think it was possible, but he smiled wid
er. “Oh, hell no—I fully intend to exact my revenge on you while we’re here. I may not get another chance, and I need to redeem myself in the eyes of my momma.”

  “Couldn’t I just buy you . . . ,” I looked over his giant physique, “an ice cream truck or something, and call it even?”

  He laughed loudly and smacked me between the shoulder blades, sending me stumbling forward. “You’re funny, Walker. I like you.”

  I nodded my head and tried to smile convincingly. I was so dead.

  ***

  The sweat dripped off my warm face as I split the two defenders and let the ball sail to my wide receiver in the end zone. I’d been amazed by the size and abilities of all the athletes at camp. There was obviously a reason there were so many scouts—from every team, here. This was my chance to shine, to prove beyond a doubt that I was finally good enough.

  I let my emotions flare and played hard, knowing I was on top of my game. There wasn’t a thing that could stop me and I could almost feel my childhood dream coming true. I’d be the best quarterback the NFL could recruit.

  My passes had been crisp, and even spectators had commented throughout the day on my leadership abilities. I was in complete control and in charge. Nostalgic memories washed through my mind. I’d grown up playing this game, starting when I was just a little guy in peewee football. I loved this game—learning every trick in the book, there wasn’t any obstacle that could stop me.

  A loud whistle blew sharply, catching my attention. “Time for lunch,” someone shouted and an excited groan of approval rippled through the guys I was playing with.

  “Chase Walker.” The wire-rimmed glasses boy was back, with a scout for the Ravens walking behind him. All of a sudden, my palms felt sweaty and I had to resist the urge to wipe them against my pants. “This is Rafe Johnson. He’d like to speak with you for a moment.”

  “Sure,” I replied, reaching to shake his extended hand. “Nice to meet you,” I added politely.

  “My pleasure. You’re looking good out there, son; a natural. How are you enjoying camp so far?”

 
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