The lies between my parents and I came to light and now I’m working on a new life for myself. Along the way, I have my trusty superhero, Mason, to lean on when I have a hard time standing or when my crazy ex-boyfriend continues to feel he has a claim on me.
Porter has trouble understanding that there hasn’t been an ‘us’ for more than three years plus all the issues he had brought upon himself. My father was right, drugs do kill. My other concern is the growing feelings I am having regarding Mason. There’s something between us I want to explore but I keep getting mixed signals. Here, I thought that after telling my parents about my lies and having their full support, things wouldn’t be as complicated as they are.
My parents divorced before I even made my entrance into this world. My father has been obsessed with that love for years while my mother searches for love in all the wrong places. I don’t want a place to call home or a girl I can claim as mine. Except… Ainsley Janine –better known as ‘Nine’—has some special power that makes me question my preferences. The more I try to stay away from her, the more she pulls me closer.
Exploring the possibilities of having something steady in my life isn’t a problem; it’s the long term that worries me. In addition to that, the scumbag she dated years ago keeps popping up everywhere we go. If I could use my license to kill, maybe I can stop worrying about one thing and concentrate on what to do with the green eyed girl who keeps me awake most nights.
“Are you sure this is okay with you?
“Yes, Mason Bradley.” This is the tenth time he has asked me the question.
“Did you use sex to distract me?”
I clamp my lips together and refuse to answer the question. I wasn’t going to, but he gave me the perfect idea when I was desperate to make a point that his mother had to stay with me.
Of course, now I’m chewing my lip because Mrs. Reality knocks me down with full force. My boyfriend’s mother is staying with me. Not just any woman—his mother. She’s going to judge me, hate me, and, what else do mothers do?
“Does she know about me?”
“No.” He takes his eyes off the road for a second.
My hands slam against my face.
“Of course she knows about you. She’s known about you since you were little, Nine.”
“I don’t mean that way.” I toss my head against the seat and roll my eyes.
“Girlfriend. I mean, I am your girl right?”
“Oh, that detail. You are?”
I groan like a wounded bear.
“It’s a joke. Damn, you get feisty when you’re nervous. Take it easy. Yes, she knows and she’s aware that you and I are dating. You hold the girlfriend title, the girl who tamed me, my other half, the one who holds the key to my cell and that’s why I stick around.”
I suck on my lip as I gift him with my deep, hard glare of ‘die’. “You’re not funny.”
“Oh, I am.” He laughs as I burn with panic, fear, and unamused anger.
My entire body is shaking at the prospect of having the woman in my house for however long she’s staying here.
“How long is she staying?” I’m trying to figure out my schedule for the next few days.
“She didn’t say.” A response that won’t help me with the jitters eating the insides of my stomach or with planning.
Ugh, I put myself into this situation. Great.
“Stop,” he orders. “I’m the only one allowed to nibble those lips. They’re mine.”
He takes my hand and kisses the inside of my wrist. Then his finger caresses my skin soothing the knotted nerves.
“She’s going to like you.”
Not love me? My world is in danger of crumbling as I learn that winning over his mom may be a bigger challenge that I originally thought.
“Oh, God!” I finally let the excruciating panic out.
“What is she going to think about me?” The question comes out of my subconscious. “That we’re going too fast. I mean, you’re practically living in my house, which I love. Each day a new pair of jeans, a t-shirt, and some other item finds a spot in my closet. Scott, your sports car, lives next to Eleanor. Tucker stays at my parents’.”
“Huh, you just noticed?” He kisses my hand again. “To clarify, I’m not living with you. There are a few items I have around to make things simpler when I stay overnight. That brings me to another issue. Stop naming my stuff. It’s a car, not Scott; a truck, not Tucker.” He pats the dashboard.
“Ready?” he taps my nose with his free hand. “Stamp on that pretty smile of yours. That, ‘I’m about to die’ look isn’t flattering. Here they are.”
Mason parks the car in front of a couple. Mr. and Mrs. Daugherty wait for us outside the terminal with their luggage. Mason’s stepfather is only a few inches taller than his wife, bald but with handsome features.
“Wait here,” Mason orders.
Mason’s mom is an inch or two taller than me, maybe five-seven. Porcelain skin with dark almond-shaped eyes and fine, soft features. Dark hair and a smooth complexion, just like I remember her from childhood.
Due to airport restrictions, within seconds Mason shoves their luggage in the trunk and helps his mom into the car as his stepfather did not offer.
“Mother, meet Ainsley Colthurst-Decker, better known as Nine or the girl I casually date.” He used the dorky jokester voice. I narrowed my eyes at him. “My lovely girlfriend. I’m not sure if you remember her. Nine, Mom.”
About Claudia Burgoa:
Born on the mystical day of October 30th in the not so mystical lands of Mexico City, Claudia grew up with a childhood that resembled a caffeine-injected soap opera. Seventeen years ago she ventured to the lands of her techie husband—a.k.a. the U.S.—with their offspring to start a new adventure.
She now lives in Colorado working as a CFO for a small IT company, managing her household filled with three confused dogs, said nerd husband, two daughters wrought with fandoms and a son who thinks he’s the boss of the house. To survive she works continually to find purpose for the voices flitting through her head, plus she consumes high quantities of chocolate to keep the last threads of sanity intact.
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