~ Prologue ~
I sit brooding at the table in the dining room with my dad and step-mother, step-brother, and his best friend, Max.
Max, Max, Max, how his name sings like a dirty song whenever it plays on someone’s lips. He’s a wannabe football star with muscles in all the right places. Huge bulge. Short, dark blonde hair. Gulf of Mexico blue eyes. Sexy as hell.
Cliché as fuck.
Annoying as fuck, too.
Last weekend, he was hanging off my breasts like a two-year-old while his fingers were buried deep. Now, he’s charming the pants off my step-mother, telling her that she doesn’t look a day over twenty, let alone forty.
It’s enough to make me want to vomit.
“I swear, if most women took care of themselves the way you do, Mrs. Brine,” he rasps in his deep, playboy British accent, eyes roving over her cake-contoured face, “the world would be littered in beauties.”
“I couldn’t agree more!” Dad cheers in a fuzzy state from all the whisky he’s had, clinking glasses with his new buddy. “I’ve been telling my wife to let all her friends in on the secret. Maybe then some of their husbands wouldn’t go astray—if you know what I mean, ay boy?” He shatters with gruff laughter, amused at his own joke.
I palm my face, rolling my eyes. Most men would clobber Max for being so forward. But oh no, not Dad. He’s proud as punch—even offers up a part time job in banking at one of his associates firms, so Max can earn well while concentrating on football with my step-brother, Josh.
“You’ll both be stars one day.” He beams, all white teeth and fucking ugly fake tan. “Isn’t that right, Marian?”
“Absolutely,” my step-mother gushes in a sultry tone, barely able to take her brown eyes off the boy who is literally half her age. She’s blushing like a schoolgirl, too, while playing with tendrils of her golden hair.
I sip my coke, poking a plate full of spaghetti. It’s cold now, like my mood.
“What’s with you?” Josh shoulders me, inclining in to whisper, “You’re awfully quiet.”
I gulp down what’s in my mouth, tiredly blinking up at him from under my lashes. “I was just thinking about last weekend.”
He doesn’t follow, turning up his lips in a shrug. “At the party?”
He means the house party he threw in Dad’s and Marian’s absence. They’re always away on business, which means we’re always home alone—doing things we shouldn’t be doing.
“Max didn’t tell you?” I ask with an agenda, and that gets his attention. Silence casts over us, and Mr. Motherfucking Charming manages to tear himself away from tonight’s challenge. He glares at me with a look that says, don’t you dare. Don’t you fucking dare. Even the pulse in his temple is ticking like a time bomb.
“What happened last weekend, Izzy?” Dad rests his elbows on the table, on either side of his empty plate, and cups his chin.
“Yes, tell us, munchkin,” Marian says, sipping a glass of wine. “You’re unusually quiet tonight. Fill us in on all that happened while we were away.”
I cock a shrug. If you insist.
“While you were busy closing a big deal, Daddy,” I say, internally tittering on a precipice of, should I, shouldn’t I? But in the end, I think, fuck it. “Max fingered me in your bed.”
END OF PROLOGUE