From two New York Times bestselling authors comes a stunning tale of betrayal and blood…
Simple. The consummate good girl, this is the word I used to describe my life… until my stepbrother Seth came to live with us. Until that point, I’d been a very good girl… but my older, emotionally blocked stepbrother made me want to do very bad things.
In the course of one night everything changed, and my simple world was torn to shreds. I wanted to hate him. I did hate him. Mostly.
But now he’s back. And nothing will ever be simple again.
The Other Brother is a novel told in three parts.
**Contains graphic sexual content and harsh language. It is only appropriate for adult readers age 18+**
The Other Brother, Part 1: Forbidden is available for preorder! Part 1 releases February 24th and will be available for just .99c through preorder and release day! Find out more about Part 2: Taboo and Part 3: Illicit
Here is a peek at chapter two of The Other Brother by Lauren Hawkeye and Tawny Stokes
Groaning, I roll over in my bed at the insistent knock at my door. Glancing at my watch on the bedside table I find that it’s eleven o’clock in the morning. Who the hell is bugging me so early? Everyone knows I don’t wake up until way past noon.
The knocking continues and my mom’s voice comes through the door. “Seth. I know you’re in there. I’ll keep knocking until you open the door.”
Sitting up, I rub at my face. I roll out of bed because I know she’ll be true to her word and I already have a pounding headache. Serves me right for all the beer I drank last night. I blame Tristan. Every time we hang out, I wake up the next morning hung over.
I click the thumb lock that we both know could be sprung with a screwdriver and open the door. My mom stands on the other side, and she does not look pleased. “What?”
“Is that anyway to say hello to your mom?” She pushes past me and into my room, though technically it’s kind of my apartment. It has a refrigerator and a hotplate even, not that I know how to cook. When I first showed up the Flynn’s doorstep, I stayed in the spare room, which was Sam’s office den. It didn’t take him long to fix up the empty apartment over the garage for me to live in, even though Mom said she’d been nagging him to get it done since they’d moved in.
Yeah. Pretty transparent. What he didn’t like was me in the same house as his daughter. Just like back in Boston—same shit, different place.
But in this case? Sam had made a good call. Cause though I had absolutely no intention in ever acting on it, because that would make me the biggest pervert on the planet, never mind asshole of the century…
Well. The fact remained that Allegra was hot. More than that, when she looked at me with those big doe eyes, I felt something… different. Like I wanted something… different.
It was fucking uncomfortable, and it was just better all around if I was out of the way.
“Good morning Mother.” I school my voice into the most polite of tones, which sounds like nails on chalkboard when combined with my thick Boston accent. She grins at me, this woman who is still kind of a stranger to me, and then clears off a stack of magazines and dirty clothes from the easy chair that’s held together by duct tape and sits down.
“You should really clean in here. Come summer you’ll have rats and who knows what living in here with you.” The Boston in her own voice has faded a bit over the last few years, replaced by a hint of a drawl that is pure Texas.
“Sweet. I crave the company.” Smirking, I grab the pack of cigarettes from the counter and light one up.
Her face creases with parental disapproval. “You should quit. You remember Uncle Ian died from lung cancer.”
Irritation flashes through me, followed quickly by a thread of panic. I’ve never been one to kowtow, but… well, this is it. I have nowhere else to go if Mom and Sam throw me out, too.
So I butt out the smoke in the ashtray. “There. Happy?”
“Almost.” She gives me her sweetest smile—the smile I’ve come to know is the most deceiving expression ever.
“What do you want?” I ask this carefully, but really, I know I’ll do anything she asks. I tolerate my real dad. But it’s always been my mom who’s held my heart. The years I spent away from her were what made me a little crazy. Not that I’d ever tell her that, though—she doesn’t need the guilt. Putting up with my father for so many years, she’s gone through quite enough.
“Come to the house for dinner tonight.” She smiles again, and I groan internally.
I’ve made a point of avoiding the house lately. For reason that don’t need to be validated by acknowledging them.
“I’m busy tonight.” My fingers tap nervously on my thigh—I want that cigarette, damn it.
She frowns. “You are not. You’re just making excuses so you don’t have to spend time with the family.”
“That’s not my family.” The reaction is kneejerk, but it’s how I feel. Sam? Well, he’s an okay guy. But I’m kinda old to start calling him Daddy.
Theo is an asshole who can’t stop strutting his stuff like some damn rooster in a cock fight. You know, cause I care.
And Allegra? Given the way I feel about her—that I feel anything for her at all?
Yeah. You know what? Let’s not even go there.
I expect Mom to be pissed off at my asshole comment, but instead she reaches for my hand in a rare show of affection. I’m not used to her touching me, not in the past few years anyway. Not that I blame her. I was pretty much a dick to her, especially after she divorced my dad. A shrink would say that I was trying to push her away all the while hoping she’d make the big play and show me she still loved me. But that shit backfired hard, and I wound up with some real mommy issues.
I’ll never forget some of the choice names I’d called her in the past, things that now make me cringe with shame. I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to make it up to her.
“Yes it is, Seth. If you would just give them a chance. I’ve always regretted not having more children. But here you have a brother in Theo and a sister in Allegra.” She smiles at me and I wince.
How do I tell my mom that I really, really don’t think of Allegra as my sister? That I never have, not since the day I rang the doorbell to this house and she answered it, dressed in a little yellow sundress, with glasses perched on her nose?
I wished I’d known more about her before I’d come to Galveston—that way I would have had some warning. But I’d been expecting some dorky kid sister with frizzy hair who played with dolls or whatever else thirteen year old girls door. Not a sassy redhead who’d looked at me not like I was dirt, but as though she was trying to figure me out with that busy little brain of hers.
Yeah. If I’d had some warning, I would have seen her as a sister figure from the start. Instead I’d responded to her like I’d never responded to another human being… and then I’d found out that this fascinating creature was now related to me.
Joy to the fucking world.
And now, no matter how much I actively try to suppress it, the little witch still sneaks into my dreams. That the way she looks at me sometimes, with that bitchy expression while she’s blushing, makes me hard. Just catching a whiff of her shampoo drives me crazy.
Nope. Can’t be confessing that shit. They’ll toss me in jail.
And I’d give them the key. That girl? She has no business with me, or anyone like me. I glower as I think of the asshole she’s been not so secretly crushing on. She deserves better than any of that.
And dinner at the house—being around Allegra? It’ll just cause her to show up in my dreams again tonight. Not good for anyone.
So I pull my hand away and run it through my mess of hair. “I’ll think about it.”
“Please do.” Mom stands, wipes her hands on the thighs of her shorts. “I’m making chimichangas. Your favorite.” She smiles, and then pushes out the door, shouting over her shoulder as she goes. “Clean your room!”
I snort, a suppressed chuckle. Once she’s gone, I light up another cigarette, but butt it out almost instantly. It’s lost its allure. I remember Uncle Ian too fondly. He used to take me fishing when I was a little boy. I sit back on my bed and rub my face. I could go back to sleep, but it seems I have a job to do. I have seven hours to figure out a way to get out of the dinner invitation without upsetting my mom.
It’s around six o’clock in the evening, and I’m standing at the open back door, listening to the clatter of dishes inside, the smell of spices from my mom cooking. I obviously haven’t figured out how to dodge this dinner without pissing my mom off. Or maybe deep down I want to be here. I know that’s what my mom is thinking when she spots me loitering and smiles.
“There you are. Just in time.”
Allegra, who had been helping my mom with a salad at the kitchen counter, turns and looks at me. I enter the kitchen, feeling nervous all of a sudden, though I hide it beneath a surly sneer. I never get nervous. I’ve always done what I wanted, when I wanted, however I wanted, but Allegra’s gaze always makes me rethink all of my life strategies.
I must have been a masochist in a former life, cause it makes me fucking uncomfortable. And yet I keep coming back for more.
I follow my mom into the dining room where Sam and Theo are already seated at the table. She sets down the plate piled high with chimichangas, then takes a seat beside Sam. Allegra sets down the salad and sits by Theo, and I close my eyes against the image of her in her tight little white T-shirt.
Bad Seth. Really, really bad.
Taking the remaining chair beside my mom, I sit down across the table from Allegra, which is not ideal. It’s only the third time since my unexpected arrival that I’ve had a family meal with these people—my so-called family. Most of the time I eat in my room, not wanting to spend any significant time in the same room as Allegra. With how I feel about her, its best for everyone involved that I keep my distance.
“Good to see you at the table, Seth,” Sam says.
I nod, not entirely trusting myself to speak, but my mom elbows me in the side for my bad manners. Again, that panic snakes through me, and I clear my throat, wanting to make her happy. “Thank you, sir.”
I almost choke on the sir, but the fact is, Sam’s okay. He makes my mom happy, so that’s something.
“Well, let’s dig in,” my mom says. Reaching for the platter, she passes it around. Despite my unwillingness to be here, the smell makes my mouth water, brings back memories, and I cast a sideways look at my mom, wondering if that was what she intended.
She winks at me. Yeah. Of course she did. Sneaky woman.
The dinner is filled with good food and light conversation, had by Allegra, Theo, Sam and my mom. I manage to answer a few questions with more than a grunt. My mom is proud of this; I can tell by the way she looks at me from time to time. What are you doing after high school, Seth? Don’t know yet. Do you have any interests? Music. Oh, you want to be a musician or something? I have a friend who works at a studio; I should introduce you. I guess.
Through it all, Allegra watches me with those fierce green eyes of hers, just taking it all in, and it’s enough to make me squirm in my chair. I don’t like that she’s regarding me with interest… and after that incident at the party, that moment… yeah, I’ve got to nip that shit in the bud.
I don’t want her to be thinking about me, wondering what makes me tick. If I ever told her, she’d run as fast as she could. And it would take everything I had not to chase her.
Theo also watches me, but it’s not with interest. I can see a loathing there. It’s hidden from most everyone around him, but not from me. I can recognize a fellow predator when I see one. It doesn’t bother me at all, so I make sure to smirk at him in return. Theo is no more than a blip in my life and I would dismiss him with a wave of my hand.
Except… I can’t stand the way he looks at Allegra.
It’s subtle. He watches her with this intentness, every time he thinks no one is looking. A person could almost mistake it for the over protectiveness of a brother for his little sister. But I know it’s not. And I know I have no case to throw stones.
But I don’t like it. I don’t like the way he tries to hide it. Because I see him. I know. And it’s the reason I stay.
About LAUREN HAWKEYE
Lauren Hawkeye/ Lauren Jameson never imagined that she’d wind up telling stories for a living… though when she looks back, it’s easy to see that she’s the only one who is surprised. Always “the kid who read all the time”, Lauren made up stories about her favorite characters once she’d finished a book… and once spent an entire year narrating her own life internally. No, really. But where she was just plain odd before publication, now she can at least claim to have an artistic temperament.
Lauren lives in the Rocky Mountains of Alberta, Canada with her husband, toddler, pit bull and idiot cat, though they do not live in an igloo, nor do they drive a dogsled. In her nonexistent spare time Lauren can be found knitting (her husband claims that her snobby yarn collection is exorbitant), reading anything she can get her hands on, or sweating her way through spin class. She loves to hear from her readers!
About TAWNY STOKES
Tawny Stokes has always been a writer. From an early age, she’d spin tales of serial killers in love, vampires taking over the world, and sometimes about fluffy bunnies turned bunnicidal maniacs. An honour student in high school, with a penchant for math and English, you’d never know it by the foot high blue Mohawk and Doc Martens, which often got her into trouble. No longer a Mohawk wearer, Tawny still enjoys old school punk rock, trance, zombie movies, teen horror films, and fluffy bunnies. She lives in Canada with her fantastical daughter, two cats, and spends most of her time creating new stories for teens.
Tawny also writes adult paranormal/urban fantasy fiction under the name Vivi Anna, and is an aspiring screenwriter.