SNAKE (a Stepbrother Romance)

BOOK: SNAKE (a Stepbrother Romance)
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Snake
a Stepbrother Romance
Emilia Beaumont
Elwynn Cottage
Contents

C
opyright
© 2015 by Emilia Beaumont

P
ublished
by Elwynn Cottage

A
ll rights reserved
.

N
o part
of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means, including photocopying, recording, or any information storage and retrieval systems, without prior written permission from the author, except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.

Y
our support
of author’s rights is appreciated.

All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

1
Mila

S
tanding
in my property manager’s office after he’d called me to tell me I was late on the rent again - as if I didn’t know - I kneaded my temples. How had I let this get so out of hand? I was risking homelessness! What had I been thinking? “Can you give me another month? I know I can get the money together.”

“Mila, I’ve given you a lot of latitude already. You’re a great tenant, responsible and quiet, and I know you take great care of the place, but I can’t float you any longer.” Harvey folded his arms across his chest, adamant in his decision; there was no way I was getting out of this mess by batting my eyelashes. “I’m sorry.”

I let out a breath, the urge to scream building up inside. “So how much time do I have?”

“The end of the month. That’s it.” He sighed, his eyes darting away in guilt. “But if you can get me the full rent for next month, we can do a payment plan for the back rent that you still owe. If you can’t come up with the full rent by then, well, you’ll have to find a new place. It’s out of my hands - I have a family to feed.”

Smiling, I nodded. There was a sliver of hope after all, yet it would be a struggle to come up with all that I owed. But I was grasping at straws, and I knew it. Even if I managed to get another job in time and they paid me in advance it wouldn’t come close.

“I can do it, Harvey, I promise,” I said, lying to myself and to him, unable to stop the words. “I’ll get a second job,” I mumbled, talking mostly to myself, all the while trying to figure how I could earn some extra cash. I was a lowly secretary for a big real estate firm making a little more than minimum wage. The hours were erratic, and even though I knew I was good at my job, the work never ended. I always had to bring paperwork home to finish it on time, so god knows how I was going to fit in more work. A night shift job perhaps?

I said goodbye and walked over to my place, just a few buildings over from Harvey’s office. My apartment was on the second floor, and I climbed the steps quickly, wanting nothing more than to just crawl into bed and stare at the wall for a while. I’d lived in my cosy little apartment for five years, since I had graduated from college, and it was the only place I really considered home. I’d decorated it myself, hung up the curtains, painted the walls and bought furniture that fit the rooms’ dimensions perfectly. I’d been doing fine on rent for the last few years, but early on in the year, the rent went up, and the struggle began. Six-months of barely scraping by.

And now I needed to come up with more than a thousand dollars; that’s how much I was short, and that was just the back rent I owed, I still had this months to pay. Then there was also another month after that, and then another, and the rent wasn’t going to go down. What I needed to do was win the lottery.
As if
, I thought,
I’m not that lucky.

My cell rang and I answered it, grateful for the interruption into my spiralling, doomed thoughts. If anyone was going to cheer me up it was my cousin, Suzanne.

“Wassup?” she said.

“I need to win the lottery or sell my body parts. Fancy buying a kidney?” I joked.

She snorted, “I’m not quite in the market for one, but I’ll let you know. However what I do want is a thick juicy burger. Wanna meet at Tasty’s?”

“Hell yes,” I said, grabbing my keys off the counter and walking to my car. “I’m on my way as we speak. I have to brainstorm with you on how to get more money.”

“More money, more problems,” Suzanne said.

“Less money, less apartment,” I said.

“Oh, shit, really?” Suzanne grew serious. She could be a completely sarcastic bitch, but she knew when to put the joking aside when a situation called for it.

“Seriously. I’m fucked. I just had a meeting with the manager. I have to have what I owe for last month by the thirtieth, or I’m out.”

“Are you going to be able to do that?” she asked.

“Right now, no. That’s why we need to have a brainstorming session. I’ll buy.”

“The hell you will. I’ll buy you a burger, and we’ll get your life figured out. See you in ten.”

I clicked off my phone and drove to the gourmet burger restaurant, thankful for the distraction and for the support. There were a lot of things I had control over in my life, but my absolute, complete addiction to hamburgers was not one of them. Tasty Burger was the best place in the city; there was always a line out the door and frenzied workers shouting orders out, either back to the kitchen or to customers. Suzanne and I had solved most of life’s problems in a booth over the full works: hamburgers, fries and thick shakes.

As I pulled up, Suzanne waved to me from the line. I sneaked in with her, and she hugged me.

“We’ll figure something out,” she said.

“I’m just worried I’m going to have to prostitute myself or something. Seriously. Or, I guess I could always just go live in a cardboard box.”

“I don’t think either of those are good long-term plans.”

We ordered food and waited in the pick-up line. “What did your manager say, exactly?” she asked.

“I asked if I could pay half, and the rest later but he said I needed the full amount for next month but that he would let me set up a payment plan for the back rent. He’s not being a dick; he really wants to help me out.”

“Well, okay, then we just need to find a way to get you a decent sum of money in a short amount of time.” Suzanne said it simply, as if it was an actual solution.

“Well, no shit,” I said. “How are we going to
do
that?”

“I have an idea…”

“I’m not going to like it am I?”

“You’ll just have to wait and see,” she replied and tapped a manicured finger against her studded nose.

O
n the way home
, I called Mark, an ex-boyfriend. I knew I should’ve resisted the urge, but he was always willing to come over, especially when neither of us was dating anyone and I had an itch to scratch. All the built-up tension of my disastrous life was taking its toll, and I needed someone to fuck it out of me, pronto.

He walked in, and without saying so much as a word to me, slipped off his leather jacket and yanked me towards his hard body. His lips found their way quickly onto mine. Mark smelled like engine oil and burnt rubber, and I lost myself in his embrace. I tried to remember why we’d broken up when he smelled this delicious.

Mark’s tongue urgently pushed its way past my parted lips, swirling inside as his hands trailed down my body, stopping to squeeze my butt. Seemed like I wasn’t the only one in need of a release.

“Well, hello there,” I gasped as we came up for air.

“Hey, babe,” he replied and pulled me, almost dragging me into my bedroom. “Let’s get these clothes off shall we?”

He pressed against me and I fell into him, feeling for the first time that day like there was some order in my life.

Mark was dark and brooding, a man of many muscles and few words, and totally wrong for me. We both knew it would never ever work out between us; heaven knows we’d tried, but it always ended the same: him cheating on me and fucking around. Too much heartache when I wanted so much more, someone loyal…

So, we had this little arrangement, and I was relatively happy. Of course it’d taken me a while to forgive his previous indiscretions, but he was set in his ways. I couldn’t change him. Instead I decided not to let myself get attached anymore.

Just fuck me and leave
. No complications. That’s all I needed right now. Mark would have to do until I found someone who wanted to spend time with me as much I wanted to spend time with him.

We fucked that night, barely speaking to each other, and as dawn broke the next morning, Mark slinked out from under the sheets and left. As I rolled over and looked at the empty space, a feeling of being used washed over me. But this was what I signed up for. This was what I wanted, right? And his hands, lips and cock had, I admitted, done wonders to clear away the cobwebs. I felt like I could breathe again. But the feeling wouldn’t last. The relationship was dead in the water, hollow and without substance.

I craved something more substantial, filling and juicy.

2
Devan


H
ey
, honey, I’m cooking dinner – what do you want?” I called out to Monique, my wife, only half expecting an answer. She hadn’t spoken to me in four hours, and if she did now, it would only be because she was starving, but I refused to walk on eggshells in my own goddamn house. “Honey? Monique?”

I knew she could hear me, and that made my blood boil even more. The TV was on in the living room, but it wasn’t loud; I walked in and stood by her. She wouldn’t look at me and kept her head facing forward, not even acknowledging my presence. Her face was red and streaked with tears. Tears of anger, I knew, because we had been fighting for… well, since we woke up.

“I’m going to make dinner. Do you want something?” I said, trying to keep the annoyance of the day out of my tone.

“Fuck off,” she said.

“Fine,” I said, my anger rising in a swell that took even me by surprise. “Feed yourself. I’m going out.” I grabbed my keys and my phone and bailed.

As soon as I stepped outside, the night air washed over me, cooling my skin, and I found I could think again. The tension in our house had reached its maximum point, and I knew that no matter what happened, we couldn’t maintain it for much longer. It was only a matter of time before one or both of us snapped. It was as though a black cloud had settled over our house the minute the IVF treatment had failed.

I got into the truck and drove, having no idea where I was actually going.
Anywhere but there
, I thought. I needed to figure this out; my marriage was falling apart when realistically it should only just be getting started.

I understood Monique’s anger and frustration; we had been trying to conceive for years. Monique’s friends were all having their first babies, and by now they had all either figured out or been told that we were having trouble. And god did it make me feel like an incompetent husband. This fertility procedure had been our last chance; I’d even cashed in my retirement to pay for it, which was probably the stupidest thing I could’ve done. Throwing money at the problem had little chance of solving it.

I caught myself grinding my teeth and forced my jaw to relax. I voice-dialled my mom. She picked up immediately.

“Devan? Is everything okay?” she asked, panic in her voice.

My mom knew everything about the situation with Monique and me. She and Monique got along great, better than any mother and daughter-in-law I’d ever known, and I was both lucky and grateful. And surprisingly, though my mom was known to meddle, she never stepped into the middle of our fights; rather, she found a way to support us both.

“It’s bad today. I think you should call Monique, ‘cause I’m having no luck.”

“Where are you?” she asked.

“I left. I’m at my wits’ end, Mom. I’m going to go grab something for dinner and give us both some time to cool off. She won’t speak to me. It’s like talking to a brick wall behind a soundproof glass.”

“Oh Devan, I’m sorry, honey. What about this weekend? Are you going to be able to be there together?”

This weekend was the family’s annual New Year’s brunch and reunion. My mom and step-dad, my stepsister, Monique and her parents… pretty much anyone who was related either by blood or law was invited.

“You’re joking, right?” I snapped and regretted it immediately. “I mean, I hope so. But, I honestly don’t even know if we’ll be together by this weekend. This might be it.” I felt my eyes getting wet, and I blinked.

“I’ll call her,” she said. “She probably just needs to vent to someone other than you.”

“Thanks, Mom,” I said and hung up. I drove to the closest fast food place and got a couple of tacos and a soda. The food went down quickly, but I gained no enjoyment from it and hardly registered the taste. Everything was bland and colourless while we tried for a baby. It felt like it was all on me, and I was failing.

I don’t fucking fail!

And as if I didn’t have enough to worry about a competing construction firm had just decreased their prices, and my own business was taking a hit. My stress levels had skyrocketed this past month, not to mention trying to put a happy face on for Christmas visitors.

But one problem at a time, I thought. I needed to fix the situation with my family first. And yet, I didn’t know what other options we had left; Monique refused to adopt because she wanted the baby to be “ours”. I tried to explain that a baby was a baby, that we would still love it just the same, but she wouldn’t budge.

My wife was stubborn. Once Monique put her mind to something, that was it; either she’d be victorious in her quest or make herself, and me, miserable trying.

We had been to hypnotherapists, fertility specialists, herbalists, everyone with a license to do anything, and the final suggestion – and the most expensive – had been IVF. The embryos hadn’t taken, and that had been that.

I chewed on my remaining taco and contemplated how to save my marriage. It wasn’t going to be easy, but… desperate times called for desperate measures. I was willing to do anything.

BOOK: SNAKE (a Stepbrother Romance)
4Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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