He put his hands on his hips and smiled at her. “Well, you are the queen of that particular kingdom. I take it you have a plan for this over-the-top event.”

“I do. I just need you to help me out.”

“As you wish, my love.” He pulled her close. “Now tell me what you want.”

She smiled because the plan could wait. She went on her toes and told her man exactly what she wanted.


Chapter One

In which our erstwhile hero speaks to his brother…and his brother calls him a moron.

Jared Johns settled into the comfy chair in his brother’s office and hoped that his choice of seat didn’t give Kai a reason to start psychoanalyzing him. There really hadn’t been another choice. He kind of thought Kai liked it that way.

“You haven’t worked in a while,” Kai said, sitting across from him. “How does that make you feel?”

Jared sighed. It wouldn’t have mattered if he’d refused to sit down. His big brother was a shrink and he psychoanalyzed absolutely everyone. “It makes me feel glad I invested wisely. I did not come here to ask for cash. I’m good.”

Kai sent him a perfectly innocent look. “I wasn’t implying you came to ask for a loan, Jared. You were on a popular TV show for years. Your last movie part fell through. It’s got to be rough, but you don’t talk about it.”

There were reasons he didn’t talk about his career with his sainted brother. Kai had gone into the military after their mother died and sent back everything he could to support his baby brother. It wasn’t his fault their aunt hadn’t actually given him the cash. Kai had been the one to work his way to a doctorate. Kai was the one who lived a simple life, treating patients with profound PTSD for almost no money at all. Jared had been the one funding him for the last couple of years, though they’d agreed to keep that quiet.

And he was okay with that because Jared was the one who ran around in spandex and leather pretending to be a superhero. He was the brother known for whole YouTube channels devoted to his workouts.

“I wish you would talk about it,” Kai said. “I know the last few years had to have been difficult. The show was important to you.”

It had been everything at one point in time. It had been his ticket to a new life. Now it was hard to think about what his dream job had cost others. “Well, it was apparently my fault Dart got canceled.”

Kai settled his glasses on his nose and sat back. “I don’t see how. You got even better at throwing darts around over the years. Your abs stayed tight. I don’t know what happened.”

Yes, this was why he didn’t talk to his brother about his job woes. “The last two seasons’ storylines sucked. The head writer blamed me because his fiancée left him and he tanked the show by sending Dart to jail and making the whole thing into a political statement on the way prisoners are treated.”

Kai nodded. “Yes, I liked that part.”

“I was sent to Stankfield Prison. No one names a prison that.” It had been the single worst year of his life. He’d rapidly learned the power he had with the producer. None. He was supposed to shut up, read his lines, and not get pudgy.

“You also managed to fashion darts out of any number of things no one can fashion darts out of.”

“I get that you didn’t like the show.” His brother was an overly pretentious intellectual. “I didn’t come here to fight with you. I also didn’t come to have a session.”

Kai leaned over. “I wasn’t trying to fight. I guess I’m not sure how to talk to you. I’m worried about you. I know you made some money from the show, but that place out in Malibu has to be expensive. And I know you were counting on that racing film.”

Ah, there was the man who’d pretty much raised him. Jared couldn’t even blame him. He’d been a fuckup most of his life. His brother didn’t get that he’d gotten his shit together. “Money is not a problem and honestly, the acting thing I can take or leave at this point. The movie fell through because Josh Hunt hurt his back doing a stunt and they recast the role. When he was no longer doing the film, they suddenly didn’t want me.”

Josh had been his best friend for the last couple of years. Josh had stood by him even when it wasn’t great for his career to do so. Even when the world had been questioning whether or not Jared Johns had something to do with his oldest friend’s hobby.

Kai stared at him for a moment as though trying to decide how to continue. “Are you sure the lack of work isn’t due to the social media stuff?”

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