Skylar Orion’s life has been complicated ever since his mother abandoned him and his sister Evie. Making ends meets seemed impossible until Tate Chandler took them in – his knight in shining armor who promised to make life about more than just surviving. But Tate is not the man he seemed to be, and even his whispered I love yous and generous gifts do little to soothe the pain he causes. Knowing he can’t give his sister all she deserved without Tate, Skylar stays with him, relying on bad puns and a worse sense of humor to keep up the charade.
He will do anything for his sister, even if that means acting the responsible adult and going back to his old high school to meet Dexter Weston, the hot math teacher who can make even algebra interesting. Sparks fly between the two of them, but with his dependence on Tate, Skylar isn’t free to follow his heart. He wants what is best for Evie, but can he pass up the chance to find love that heals instead of harms?
Warning: This book contains scenes of domestic abuse and violence that some may find triggering to read.
Dinner is a disaster. Again
I swear I followed the recipe to the letter, but the chicken is dry as a bone and I somehow managed to scorch the broccoli. The bottom of Tate’s expensive pot looks ruined, and I grab my phone to try to find a solution on Google as I try not panic.
Before I can even enter the search terms, I hear footsteps, and I wince.
Bracing myself, I flash a bright smile at Tate as I try to discreetly move so I’m standing in front of the evidence of the latest dinner debacle. “Hi!” I chirp. Well. I’d say chirp, but I’m not sure a dying bird has it in them to do much of anything. I feel like I’m trying to commune with the damn chicken on the counter.
“What did you do?”
Of course he doesn’t even waste any time.
My smile flickers and threatens to go the way of the chicken, but I force it to remain in place. “Minor mishap,” I assure him. Hopefully. “Dinner’ll just be a few more minutes. Promise.”
Or maybe longer, since I have to figure out how to hide the probably ruined pot and learn how to wield the cosmic powers of the universe to make this mess disappear.
I’m aiming a little low, obviously, but right now, I just want to avoid a fight.
Tate strides toward me, and I tilt my head up, hoping to distract him with a kiss. The few charms that caught his interest to begin with are usually good for something, but today, he ignores me. He snatches the pot from the counter, and I edge back as my stomach turns.
Why the universe couldn’t have the man running late every once in a while, I’ll never know. It’s not like I need to set my clock by him when I have a perfectly good cell phone that automatically syncs.
“For fuck’s sake, Skylar!” he snaps, slamming the pot down so hard that I jump.
My eyes dart to the door, and I desperately hope Evie doesn’t hear the noise and turn up right behind him.
“I’m sorry!” I don’t know how he can make me feel like a cherished lover one minute, a hopeless fuck-up the next, and a mediocre whore the one after that, but I’m ready to flip the switch back to lover or whore.
“Is it really so hard to pay attention?” he demands.
There’s no right answer to that question, and I know it. I stay quiet.