Publisher: Paper Gold Publishing
Genre: Stepbrother Romance
Content Warning: 18+
Eli Cooper and Violet Holt haven’t gotten along well in the year their parents have been married, so it’s better that they don’t see each other often. After an averted disaster, sparks fly and now Violet can’t get Eli off her mind. Violet only has to avoid him for thirty more days, then she’ll be safely back at college and can focus her energy on her studies, but Eli isn’t so easily ignored.
Eventually, passion flares and they both give into temptation. Only one question remains when it’s over– What do you do when the one person you can’t get over is the one person you’re not supposed to be with?
“Eli!” I screamed up the stairs as I led his dog toward the back door by the collar. “Keep your stupid mutt out of my room.”
Eli sauntered in through the kitchen, shirtless, as always. I didn’t think he knew how to wear a shirt anymore. He grinned. “What did Boomer do this time?” He loved the fact that I hated his dog.
I held up a pair of shredded panties. “Your dumb dog was eating my underwear, again.”
He shrugged. “So he likes to eat things that smell.”
I punched him in the arm. “My underwear does not smell.”
“Tell that to Boomer.” Eli grinned and walked outside to join his stupid dog.
I stormed upstairs and then gathered the shredded underwear off my floor. I tossed them into the garbage. I was half-tempted to steal his credit card and go shopping at Victoria’s Secret for a bunch of lingerie, but there would be no point in spending all that money to show them off to no one. I went to my window and looked out at the backyard. Eli lounged in a chair by the pool. He lifted a hand and wiggled his fingers at me. I flipped him the bird.
Eli smiled, then put his hands behind his head. He thought he was some kind of hotshot just because most girls fell all over themselves to be near him. I closed my blinds, grabbed my iPod and flopped down with my sketch pad. I’d been on a series of re-imagined Disney Princesses for weeks. I drew them as science fiction heroines outfitted with laser blasters and badass space suits.
If I had things my way, I’d draw for the rest of my life, but Dad had other plans. He said the term “starving artist” existed for a reason, and no child of his was going to spend even a minute on unemployment.
He had me stuck in business school for a stupid degree that I had little intention to use. When he wasn’t looking, I was drawing, illustrating, building my portfolio. Anything in the art world was better than the best job in the business world. My classes made my brain bleed. Luckily for me, it was summer vacation, my dad was in France with my stepmother, and the only annoyance I had to suffer was Eli.
Over my earbuds, I heard something thump. I killed my music and listened. Someone hammered on my door.
“Go away, Eli.”
“Open the door, Violet.”
His voice sounded weird. He was probably going to make me regret it, but I opened the door. He had Boomer in his arms.
“What did you do to my dog?” His face was red with anger, pinched with worry, as if he didn’t know whether to punch me or cry his eyes out.
“What are you talking about? I didn’t touch your stupid dog.”
“He threw up a whole bunch outside. Now he won’t even walk around. What did you do to him?” Eli screamed.
I tried not to get mad, I tried to remain sympathetic because he was clearly worried about Boomer, but he was always a dick to me.
“I didn’t do anything to your dog.”
As if on cue, Boomer vomited all over my carpet.
“Eli. Fuck, that’s so gross.” I took a step back. “I’m not cleaning that.”
Eli looked at me. “What’s wrong with him?”
Crap. So much for not giving a shit about Eli and his stupid dog.
I sighed. Boomer really didn’t look well. “Go downstairs and get into my Jeep. I’ll clean this up and be right there. We have to take him to the vet.”
For once, Eli didn’t argue with me. He cradled Boomer against him, which was no easy feat. Boomer was a full-grown German shepherd, but Eli carried him as if he were weightless. “Don’t be long,” he said before he left the room.
E. M. Denning is a writer from British Columbia. She loves her family and her animals and anything cute and fuzzy. She was born a hopeless romantic and when she’s not writing romance, she’s probably reading it. She loves love.