It’s been years since my mother was in my life.
I learned to accept love.
That’s all done. She was away, and now she’s back.
I’ve avoided her for a year and a half, but I can’t hide anymore.
Mason has an internship in Fallen Crest, so we’re heading back for the summer.
And when we got there—no one was prepared for what happened.
(written as a standalone for new readers)
“Logan Motherfucking Kade.”
I heard the slow and sensual drawl behind me and smirked. I’d always know that voice, no matter what frame of mind she was in. Tate Sullivan had screamed underneath me, at me, and behind my back. Anyway there was, I’d had her. Lover. Enemy. Friend. Fuck buddy. We were all of those, and she dropped a bomb on her way out the last time she was in my life. Turning around, she was walking towards me with a sexy stroll, midriff showing under a white halter top and swinging those hips encased in tight-as-skin jeans. I narrowed my eyes and leaned back against my Escalade, sliding my hands inside my front pockets. “Tate Mother Slutting Sullivan.” There was no warmth in my voice. “What do you want?”
She stopped and lifted an eyebrow. “You’re mad.”
I grunted. That wasn’t a question, and she knew better than to give me an opening. I’d fillet her alive, but instead, all I said was, “You fucked with my relationships the last time I saw you.”
“Uh. Yeah.” Her frosted pink lips pressed together, and her eyes glanced away for a second. “About that, you know that wasn’t to get at you, right? That was to fuck things up with your brother. He’s the asshole I wanted to hurt.”
“Not making it better, Tate.”
“Well.” She gestured behind me to the lit up mansion. Hip-hop music blared, even sounding loud where we were, a few yards away in the parking area. “I saw Mason and Samantha inside. They seem happy and still sickeningly in love, so all’s still good in the Kade/Strattan trio.”
“You told Sam that I was in love with her.”
“To my credit, I thought you were.”
“Bullshit.” I pushed off from the Escalade and started toward her. Her eyes widened, and she backed up. I kept advancing. I wasn’t going to hurt her. With all the history between us, physical violence had never been present. Manipulation. Backstabbing deceit. Her just being a slut as she propositioned my brother when we were dating—yeah, that had all been there, but when Tate came back in our lives, she and I became friends. Well, we were fuck buddies, but those were the best types of friends in my opinion.
“You’re scared of me now, Tate? Not when you told my brother’s girlfriend that I was in love with her. You didn’t just hurt Mason. You screwed with all of us. I love Sam. Always have, but only as a friend and a future sister. How’d you feel if I did something like that? If I fucked with your family, the people who you hold most dear?”
She stopped, her back against a truck, and I stepped closer. Looking down, holding her gaze, I let her see the anger there. She didn’t look away. There was shame in her blue eyes, but resolve, too. Her chin trembled and then hardened, and she lifted her chin higher, standing higher as we stood toe to toe. “You did fuck with my life.”
“You mean when we dated for two years, I was in love with you, and you went to my brother’s room to have sex with him? You mean after that, when he called me while you were propositioning him and my dad was nice enough to get you a driver to take you home?”
She bit down on her lip, her eyebrows pinching forward together. “I was naked, and you were both going to cast me out like that.”
I shrugged. “Who was the one who took your clothes off?”
Her. The truth was silent from Tate, until she said, softly, “I thought we were okay, Logan. That’s why I came out here.” She leaned forward, grazing her breasts against my chest. “We were friends when I left.”
We were more than friends, and I reached up, cupping the back of her neck. She shivered, closing her eyes as I said, “When are you going to learn, Tate?”
Her eyes opened. She waited.
“When you fuck with one of mine, you fuck with me.” I leaned forward, my forehead resting against hers. “And you fucked with my family.”
She knew this wasn’t going anywhere. She pulled her head back, out of my hold, and leaned against the truck again. Her shoulders lowered a centimeter. “I didn’t think you’d get hurt by what I said. I really didn’t mean that. I just wanted to hurt Mason. He’s the asshole.”
“No, Tate. We’re both assholes. You just like how I feel inside of you.”
“God.” She shoved me back. Her eyes flared. “You can piss me off.”
My lips curved up. I was being the asshole she liked to screw, and we both knew it. I saw the old lust coming back over her. Her skin was warming. Her lips parted. Her nipples hardened under her shirt. But I meant what I said. “What are you doing here, Tate?”
Her bottom lip stuck out. “You’re going back to Cain U tomorrow.” She rolled her eyes, shaking her head. “I thought one last night, but I can see that’s not going to happen.” She gestured around the parking area. “I thought you were waiting for me. That’s what we used to do. The party’s inside, and you’re out here.”
“Who said I was waiting for you?”
She opened her mouth, then stopped. No sound came out. “God, you’re a prick.”
I rolled my shoulders back. “You’re lucky this is all you’re getting. Did Mason see you inside?”
“No. I saw ’em in the back with Nate, then saw you heading out here. I thought maybe you saw me, too, and here I came.”
My mouth twitched. I could do so much with that last statement, but I held back. She’d take it as flirting. “I came out here for a chick, but it wasn’t you. Sorry.”
“Same old Logan.” Her eyes slid down me and back up, a soft sigh leaving her. “Screwing girls, partying, and,” her eyes fell back to my hand and lingered there. She touched my red knuckles. “still fighting.”
I pulled my hand away. “You say that like it’s a bad thing.”
She sighed, touching the corner of my mouth before letting her hand fall back to her side. “I’m sorry for hurting you. I know I did.”
She was sincere and I frowned at that. “That was a long time ago. I got you back. We made your life hell in school afterwards.”
She groaned, grinning up at me. “You did. Holy shit, you and Mason both did, but I still want to apologize for what I did. I did you wrong, and I’m sorry for that.”
“Apology accepted.” I waited. Tate didn’t do anything without reason. She probably did come out here to proposition me for one more night, and if this had been two years ago, I would’ve taken her up on that, but she hurt my family. There was no going back from that. “What’s going on with you, Tate? Why’d you really come out here?”
“I really did come out to get in your pants, but I know that’s not going to happen.” She lifted up her slim shoulders. “I came to this party to find you and to apologize again. I heard through the grapevine that what I said to Sam had hurt you too. I’m off to my college tomorrow, too, so who knows the next time I’ll get the opportunity to do this in person again.”
I nodded, my suspicions still clouded in my mind. “Okay. Thank you for apologizing again.”
Tate glanced over her shoulder, seeing the real reason I’d come out to this parking lot, and she rolled her eyes before meeting mine. The girl didn’t matter. She had a good rack, and I loved how she gave blow jobs, but who she was wasn’t important. Both Tate and I knew that even if the girl thought she was, I never lied to them. I never made promises where they’d be my girlfriends. On the rare occasion, I’d have to hurt their feelings, but more often than not, they accepted what I offered. A good time. That was all, and with this girl, I’d forget her name in the morning, or even in an hour depending how good she was. For once, a shadow of doubt crossed my mind. I had loved Tate, or I thought I had. She was my first serious girlfriend and I only had one other since her. I loved sex. I loved to party. And yes, I loved to fight, too, but I never considered changing…until I saw the disappointment in my first ex.
Then I shrugged that off. That was crazy.
“Okay. Well, see you, Logan.”
I nodded. “See you, Tate.”
She turned, one hand hooked in her jean pocket as the other girl slowed, passing her by. Tate ignored the girl and said, “Give me a call if you ever change your ways.”
My side-grin turned cocky. “Tate, if that ever happens, you’d be the last girl I’d fall for.”
She laughed. “And there’s the asshole again. Thanks. I almost forgot for a second there.”
“No problem. I’m here if you need an asshole.”
She shook her head and sauntered away, holding two fingers up over her shoulder. “Deuces, Kade. I never thought I’d be saying this, but I really do hope your next year is a great one.” She paused, glancing back, and her voice came out softly, “I hope you fall in love. You can feel what the rest of us feel.”
She left after that, and I shook my head, before pulling the girl against me. That was never going to happen, and then I lowered my head, my lips finding hers, and I stopped thinking altogether.