Authors: Caitlin Daire
A STEPBROTHER ROMANCE
Sometimes a match made in heaven can give you hell…
2016 by Caitlin Daire
**Warning: This novel contains explicit sexual situations which may be objectionable to some readers. Not recommended for anyone under the age of 18.**
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Please respect the work of this author. No part of this book may be reproduced or copied without permission. This e-book is licensed for your personal enjoyment only.
This book is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to persons living or dead is purely coincidental. Any similarities to events or situations is also coincidental.
2016 Caitlin Daire
All Rights Reserved
“Have you thought about calling Jack back?”
My friend Robin gave me a meaningful look to go with her question, and I stared at the table in the campus coffee shop a little too intently, wondering if there was any way I could change the subject without her noticing.
I didn’t want to talk about guys, but I knew she wouldn’t let it go, either.
It had been over a month since I’d broken up with my cheating ex-bastard—er, I mean ex-boyfriend—Travis. I’d found out he was sleeping with another girl in the best way possible…by walking into a room and seeing them sucking each other’s faces off in various states of undress. Best of all, the ‘other woman’ was one of my former best friends, Becca.
What a bitch.
Robin, Becca and I had once been a package deal. Robin and I were still adjusting to the loss of our friend, but after finding Travis with Becca, I couldn’t forgive her. She’d done something truly horrible, and as the truth came out, I’d discovered more and more things she’d hidden from me, like a secret coke problem. I couldn’t ever trust her again, so I wanted some distance from her. Permanently. Thankfully, Robin was on my side, so at least I hadn’t lost all of my friends in one go.
“Jack...which Jack?” I asked, pretending not to remember as the waitress deposited our orders on the table—croissant and a mocha latte for Robin, Greek yogurt with fruit and a glass of orange juice for me.
Truth was, I knew who Jack was—I knew a little too well. I’d gone out on a date with him the previous week; my first official date since the Travis debacle. I’d gotten all dolled up, actually excited about spending some time with him, and I’d been hopeful that our date would help pep up my mood, which had been rather sour since I’d caught Travis and Becca.
Jack was in some of my classes at college, and he’d seemed really nice in our initial encounters. He was hot as hell too, so that didn’t hurt, but unfortunately, it turned out that was about it. He’d responded with one-liners at our dinner and tried to feel me up in his car afterwards.
What a night.
“Don’t play dumb,” Robin said, narrowing her eyes as she took a sip of her latte. “You know well enough. You can’t just pretend nothing ever happened between you two!”
I raised my eyebrows. “It was exactly that…nothing. I’m just not interested in him anymore. Trying to have a conversation with him on our date was like extracting teeth.”
She pouted for a moment, and we dug into our breakfasts as an uncomfortable silence lingered in the air. I was waiting for her next question, already knowing what it would be.
She would undoubtedly ask about Travis and whether I’d heard from him recently, carefully trying to discern what the situation was there. I knew she’d support me in any case, but it must’ve been hard for her to cut Becca off. They’d been best friends since high school, and I’d only joined the gang in college. Sometimes I’d felt like the third wheel, even though we’d all become the best of friends early on in our freshman year. The decision to stick with me and not Becca after what she’d done to me had come from Robin, though. I’d never tried to influence her, but I still appreciated it so much. After everything that had happened, I’d felt so miserable and alone, and her support meant the world to me.
“Go on, then,” I said, arching a brow as the corners of my lips turned up in a small smile. “I know you’re gonna ask me anyway. Just come right out and say it.”
“I’ve got no idea what you’re talking about.” Robin was faking it, and we both knew it.
“Sure…” I replied, one eyebrow still arched.
Good lord, when did I become so cynical? I guess I was still angry at the whole world even though a whole month had passed since I’d been cheated on. Travis and I hadn’t even been together for all that long in the grand scheme of things—only eight months—so I knew I was probably being overly dramatic.
More so than losing him, I felt the loss of my best friend. Becca had been a key person in my life for so long, and I missed the connection we’d had, despite what an awful person she’d turned out to be.
“But anyway, have you heard from Travis at all?” Robin finally asked me in an innocent tone, nibbling on the edge of her croissant. I grinned at her, glad that she’d finally come out and said it.
“He still calls me every so often,” I responded, an edge to my voice.
I’d figured out a while ago that Travis had given up on trying to win me back. His incessant, wheedling calls—over five per hour after I’d caught him with Becca—had dwindled down to a booty call or a drunk dial on Friday and Saturday nights.
I’d stopped picking up the phone ages ago.
“I’m just done with him. I don’t want to deal with his crap anymore,” I said.
“I get it.” Robin patted my hand sympathetically and I giggled inanely. She gave me a quizzical look and I shook my head, a sigh escaping my lips.
“I think I’m going nuts. We’re like a couple of old ladies,” I explained. “We need some more excitement in our lives before we both go off the deep end.”
Robin nodded vigorously, a spark of mischief appearing in her eyes. “I thought you’d never say it,” she said with a grin.
I raised my eyebrows at her. She was up to something, and I was intrigued.
She scooted closer to me with her chair before leaning down and grabbing her cell phone from her bag. Then she started talking and swiping across her screen so fast that I could barely keep up.
“I know you don’t really like going to parties and stuff,” she said. “So I thought of the perfect way for you to meet guys.”
I looked at her expectantly and she looked so excited that I had to return her smile. “On Matcher!” she continued.
I just stared at her blankly, having no idea what she was on about. “Huh?” I finally asked. What was this
“Oh, you’ll love it,” Robin said with a grin before showing me her phone.
She opened an app and showed me the screen. There was a photo of her; a great one from a night when we’d gone out with Becca. It had been Halloween that night, and we’d all dressed up as flappers.
“So, this is my profile,” Robin went on to explain. “Basically, you fill in details about yourself, and you put a list of your interests, too. Then it shows you people who are close by, prioritized by your common interests, and you decide whether you like them or not by swiping either left or right. Left means no, right means yes!”
She demonstrated it all for me with her swift fingers, and several profiles of nearby guys popped up. Robin scrolled through everything so fast I could barely keep up.
Truth be told, I wasn’t thrilled about the idea of online dating or whatever this app thing was, but then again, I didn’t love the traditional way either—I was quite shy and I had a tough time getting to know people. Maybe this app was just what I needed, although to be fair, I wasn’t sure I was even ready to meet anyone new right now. I was still partially into my ‘man-hating’ phase after what Travis had done.
“You think you want to give it a try?” Robin asked me, her eyes sparkling with excitement after her demonstration was over. Sensing my hesitation, she gushed about the app some more. “It really is so much fun. I’ve met some cool guys on there recently. I think you would love it, and it’s perfect for meeting new people on campus, even just as friends!”
I hesitated a while longer, but my friend was so excited that I didn’t have the heart to say no to her. Finally, I gave her a brief nod and she beamed.
“I knew you’d love it!” she said, and I gave her a restrained smile. I didn’t want to get too hyped up about the whole thing. I’d rather be careful and contain my excitement—pleasant surprises were better than negative ones, after all.
“Just give me your phone and we’ll set something up,” she continued, giving me her best puppy-dog eyes. How could I resist those?
I handed over my phone and with a few strokes, the app was installed on it. Robin guided me through the sign-up process, and within a few minutes, I had my own profile with my name stamped on it—Sasha V. in big bold letters on top, and a small description box below.
“What do you want to put here?” Robin asked me, pointing at the little box.
“Something about me…” I read from the app, taking a moment to think about it. “Umm...say I’m nineteen, and I like...cats? Wait, no, that’s too boring, right?”
“It’s fine.” Robin grinned at me. “Might put a little spin on it, though.”
I watched in wonder as her fingers flew over the screen, and a short description popped up.
Sasha, 19. Not your average cat lady.
She added an emoticon of a cat. “What do you think?” she asked, waiting for my approval.
“Cute,” I said with a nod.
“Cool, let’s pick a photo next.” Robin scrolled through the photos on my phone, and my expression soured as she found some pictures of me and Travis. Nothing embarrassing, but just seeing his face flash next to mine still stung. Badly.
Robin swiftly moved away from those photos, picking a selfie instead. “How about this one?” she asked, glancing up at me.
I actually looked pretty decent in the picture. I’d taken the photo a year ago in front of a pretty cherry tree in the springtime; one that grew in my childhood home’s backyard. My Dad had planted it when I was a baby, and by time I turned six, it had grown to be a beautiful tree. It had been affected by some sort of blight a few months ago, so it wasn’t there anymore, and neither was my Dad. He’d died in a car accident when I was only nine.
“Mm…yeah, that works,” I said, nodding again. With a few more swipes and clicks, my profile was done. It looked just like everyone else’s profile on the app—not some sad, disappointed girl. I actually looked normal.
“Now for the fun part,” Robin grinned at me. “Let’s look at some guys.”
I didn’t think I’d get excited, but I found myself moving my chair just a little bit closer to Robin as she swiped through the photos. She waited for my approval on each guy, and I was shocked to find that not all of them were awful. Sure, there were some guys whose profiles were about as appealing as a shower drain clogged with pubes, but there were a lot of hotties as well. The ‘interests’ thing was pretty cool too, showing me exactly what I had in common with all of them.
“Look at this dude,” Robin said, pointing to the screen. “It says he’s really close by. Isn’t he in our sociology class?”
“Oh god, Jason Lowry,” I said, practically moaning at the mere thought of him. Another photo of him flashed on the screen as Robin clicked through his profile. He was a super sexy, ripped guy with a grin which could melt the panties of any woman within a hundred yards. He was in our sociology class indeed, and he was also smoking hot.
I hesitated for a moment before deciding what to do. Jason was a nice guy, but he was also in a frat, and I’d learned my lesson about frat boys with Travis. He’d seemed okay at first, but all he’d really wanted was a piece of ass, and that was all I’d ever been to him, which hurt more than I liked to admit.
“Well, I guess you can swipe right,” I said slowly, and Robin gave me a grin as she did just that.
What the heck,
I thought to myself.
Better not judge every guy on the example of just one douchebag. Maybe Jason is a perfectly cool guy.
“Oh wait! Who’s this?”
I interrupted Robin, who was just about to swipe again. My eyes were suddenly glued to the screen of my phone. I was sure I’d never seen this guy before, yet he looked familiar for some reason. The picture of him was blurry; obviously taken by a shaky hand in bad lighting on a beach somewhere, and he was wearing a silly hat, which was something I would’ve laughed at any other day. This time around, though, something about the guy intrigued me. I found my eyes glued to his profile, unable to look away from his abs and muscular arms, which were the clearest part of the photo.
“I’ve got no idea, I’ve never seen him before. Although to be fair, his picture isn’t very clear. I can barely even see his face,” Robin replied. “I guess he goes to college here since he appears to be nearby. Just look at the location down at the bottom here…he seems to be only a few hundred feet away. Maybe you’ll run into him on campus.”
She winked, and I laughed nervously, not knowing whether I wanted that to happen or not, and before I could react further, Robin had already swiped right. I playfully elbowed her, flashing her a horrified look.
“I guess I just had to decide for you this time around,” she said before poking her tongue out. She closed the app, which displayed the home screen of my phone, and when I saw the time flashing across it, I gasped.
“We’re going to be late for class!” I said. “We better get going.”
Robin nodded her approval, and we both put some cash on the table, getting ready to leave for our lecture. My mind was still stuck on the guy in that photo. I had no idea why, but I felt strangely drawn to him. I could barely even see him in his profile picture, but nonetheless, I was secretly glad Robin had swiped right on him.
We left the café in a hurry, rushing to get to the building where our next class was starting in mere minutes. Robin had already changed the topic, her mind on something else, but I was still stuck on the dating app.