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My Fiance’s Brother
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1731590369 (ISBN13: 9781731590367)
The last thing any man wants to see is the woman of his dreams getting engaged to his brother…I thought I still had time to win Marlena back, but seeing the brother I despise lock his arm around her waist at his engagement party catches me completely off guard.I can’t really blame her. She didn’t know he was my brother, and I’m sure he never talks about me, but now that she knows, she’s begging me to forget about our past. Well, she’s out of her mind if she thinks I’m going to let her get away from me that easily.Most men are willing to sacrifice a greater love for the sake of other’s happiness, but the thing is, I’m not like most men. And that fiance of his? She knows me better than anyone else, which means she knows I’m not letting her go without a fight.
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I didn’t know what the hell I was doing.
I hadn’t really thought things through.
I was torn, that was for sure, but deep in my aching heart, I knew this had to be done.
Thunder rumbled, pulling me out of a deep, blank stare. I looked toward the square window as rain poured, trickling off the rooftops and dripping down the gutters. It was dark outside—gloomy, ugly, and depressing.
I swung my eyes over to the other visitors. They sat across from their recovering loved ones, trying to keep their faces dry and their chins up. I understood exactly how they felt, and I didn’t even have to know anything about them.
It was hard to witness the pain and sadness. It was hard to accept the truth of the matter—that the recovering one had to be here because he or she wasn’t clean, and you couldn’t do much about it to help but this. Just visit. Just be there, watching them hit bottom before building themselves back up again . . . at least, that’s what you hope they came to do. Improve. Be sober. Live again.
Most people with an addiction wouldn’t. They’d go back to their old ways eventually. I feared Vin was one of those people.
I never thought a time would come when I would give up on him. I never thought he’d push me to my limit or shove me all the way to the brink, yet here I sat.
After hearing the truth, I’d reached the final straw with him. He’d never crossed me, never really wronged me, never truly hurt me—not physically, anyway.
But this was it.
This wasn’t the past.
He wasn’t twenty-four, and I wasn’t twenty-one anymore. We were just kids back then. Three years later and I was finally considering myself a mature adult. I was ready to move on, face the real world, improve and do better, but Vin?
He wasn’t. He was still the same boy I met three years ago.
“I’m doing this for you, Marley. Because I love you. I will do whatever I have to do, as long as you stay with me.”
He wasn’t doing this for me. Turns out he was only doing it for himself, and that shouldn’t have surprised me at all. He was known for being selfish sometimes.
A loud buzzer went off, pulling me out of my tangled web of thoughts, and two heavy brown doors across the room split apart. My grip tightened on the hem of my skirt, waiting, knowing he was coming any second now.
And in he walked, looking more tired than ever. Purplish bags hung beneath his eyes, like he hadn’t slept in weeks. His cropped brown hair was a mess, as if he’d been running his fingers through it ever since he’d checked in. He hadn’t gotten it cut, so it was longer by a few inches, curling around his ears and forehead.
He saw me, and his whiskey eyes lit up, almost instantly. Even his eyes weren’t as bright as they used to be. They were dim in comparison to the ones I used to stare into every night while we lay in his bed, talking about our lives—our future.
He walked to the table I was sitting at, dragging a hand over his face and taking the seat across from me.
“Marlena,” he said in a singsong voice, reaching across the table for my hand. He only called me by my real name to be playful or serious. Right now, he was being playful. I let him touch me, but even his hands weren’t the same. They were icy and rough.
“Vinny,” I murmured, forcing a smile at him. It was the tightest smile I’d ever put on for him, but only because the truth weighed heavy on my chest and lingered on my lips.
“I’m glad you came to visit me,” he said, adding some pep to his voice. “It’s nice to see you.”
“Yeah,” I sighed. “I’m . . . glad too.”
“It’s been a while. Haven’t seen you in about a month.” His eyes roamed me. He looked at me like I was different, and maybe I was. I wasn’t dressed like the old Marley. I wasn’t wearing a snug graphic T-shirt and jeans, or a flashy skin-tight dress from Forever 21.
I wore a white silk blouse and a black pencil skirt, pointed black flats I bought from a thrift store, and even pearl jewelry. Granted, the pearls weren’t real, but it made do.
“You all dressed up for me?” he asked, putting on one of his crooked smiles. That smile—it always pulled at my heartstrings. It always got me into trouble. It was so perfectly imperfect.
“No.” I exhaled, pulling my hand away, hoping he wouldn’t notice. He did because his eyes immediately dropped down, silently questioning the act. “I actually had an interview before coming here.”
“Oh, yeah? What’s the job?” He slowly pulled his hand off the table and met my eyes.