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The deaths of her mother and new stepfather leave eighteen-year-old Lorraine Mattina with many challenges.
Telling her twelve-year-old siblings their worlds are about to shatter.
Asking her estranged stepbrother for help.
The deaths of his father and his father’s new wife mean practically nothing to nineteen-year-old Noah Mack—until the stepsister he barely knows comes begging for help. His response? Pretty much—”Get the hell lost.”
But when he can’t get his new stepsister out of his mind, he goes to the extreme and gives up the NCAA Wrestling Championship title and his college education.
That’s when the real problems begin.
Lorraine and Noah face many obstacles when picking up the pieces of their parents’ deaths, but none as big as the secrets they keep.
Noah watched Lorraine apologize to her grandmother for leaving without letting anyone know as he stood there attempting to tamper down his sad emotions. He didn’t want to be sad. There was no purpose to it. It wouldn’t bring his father back. If sadness could do such a thing, he would have been back in his mother’s arms a million times over. But watching Lorraine hold back her tears while she spoke to her grandmother was making him sad. It upset him that his father was dead, but truth be told, since his mother died, he and his father grew further and further apart each passing year. And then when Brick had met Tatum, well, Noah pretty much wrote his father off. It was his mother’s life insurance that was paying for his tuition at Duke, so he felt he didn’t really owe his father anything. But Noah knew. Noah knew that one day, that wall he’d built to keep his father out of his heart was going to come crashing down and kill him.
Noah shook his head. He was being contemplative. He did not like contemplating. So, he left Lorraine to her grandmother and went up to Norah’s room. Once again, he sat in her chair and watched her sleep. This wouldn’t help to keep him from thinking, because seeing his little sister, so innocent, so young, he felt bad that she had to go through her teenage years an orphan.
Fortunately, Lorraine stopped in Norah’s doorway before he’d gotten too maudlin. “You want me to show you that apartment? You can stay there while you’re here.”
Noah immediately stood, picking up his leather coat as he did, and left Norah’s room. “Yeah. That’d be great.” He followed Lorraine down the stairs and to the kitchen where she grabbed a set of keys off the hooks by the back door.
“Here. There are two of the same key.” She shrugged and led the way through the back hall and down a set of three steps. “It’s pretty nice. You’ll like it.”
They walked into a small corner kitchen that housed a table and two chairs, and a small living area to its left. “Wow,” Noah said almost half-heartedly, but more out of surprise than anything. “Why did he do this?”
“Brick? I don’t know. He kept saying he wanted it to be a surprise. He never said why he wanted to do it.” Lorraine pointed to the back of the apartment. “Your bedroom’s on the left, the bathroom to the right. It’s only got a stall shower, but it’s really roomy.”
“Roomy? You’ve used it?”
Lorraine blushed then ducked her head. “Yeah. Sorry. Some nights, when no one is home, I come here and pretend I have my own apartment.”
Noah raised his eyebrows. “Are you alone when you pretend?”
Her eyes grew wide. “Yes, I’m alone.”
Noah wanted to say, “We can change that,” but this was his stepsister, for all intents and purposes, so instead he said, “Too bad.”
She shook her head. “There are sheets on the bed already.”
“Oh? Did you change them for me?”
“No. I put them on when—” She blushed again. “There are sheets on the bed, but I can give you a fresh set if you want.”
Noah snickered. “Not necessary.”
She side-stepped Noah in the little hallway to go back to the kitchen. “Okay, well, I’ll let you be.”
“Tell me,” Noah said before she walked out. “Did you sleep in my bed? On those sheets?” Why Noah was flirting, he had no idea. She wasn’t even his type. But she was cute when she blushed.
Noah was here for his sister and his father’s funeral, not to seduce his father’s stepdaughter. Snap out of it, Mack, willya?
“See you tomorrow, Noah. Thanks for the ride.”
“Hope I didn’t get you into too much trouble with your grandmother.”
She shrugged and opened the door. “Nah. She’s cool.”
“Oh, wait.” Noah slid one of the keys off his new key ring. “Here,” he said as he handed it to Lorraine. “You keep this. In case I lock myself out.”
The side of her mouth quirked. “‘Kay. See ya.”
“See ya,” he thought, but didn’t say.
Noah didn’t feel like going back outside to get his backpack, so he stripped down to his boxers and went to bed without brushing his teeth. He lay there wondering why the hell Brick built him this apartment even though Noah had barely spoken to him in the last few years.
And now that his curiosity had been piqued, he let his mind wander over to Lorraine sleeping on his sheets.
Maybe she was naked.
About The Author:
J.P. Grider is a New Adult and Young Adult author who is a sucker for a good love story – whether it’s reading one or writing one. And when she’s not reading or writing a fairy tale, she’s living one.
One winner: When Glass Shatters (signed paperback) by J.P. Grider – (international)