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Unspoken Vow (Steele Brothers #2)
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There’s a long list of things I don’t handle well:
But there’s one person above everything else I can’t seem to get a handle on.
In short, he’s perfect. The reality, he scares me.He’s the opposite of what I usually go for. He’s bigger. Intimidating. He reminds me of someone I’d rather forget.
When I need to find a new place to live, Brody offers me his spare room, but I have no plans on taking him up on the offer. He doesn’t know what happened to me five years ago, and I want to keep it that way.But with limited options, I find myself outside his apartment holding a full moving box and wondering: How can I do this without exposing the darkest part of my past?
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It’s a sight I never thought I’d see. Hell, I’d never even contemplated it. Yet, there it is in front of me in a gay bar, happening as if it’s the most natural thing in the world. It’s been over six months, but—
“It’s still weird,” I yell over the loud music.
My brother doesn’t stop kissing his boyfriend. Yup, boyfriend.
“So when you said you’re not straight, you really meant it, huh?”
Law doesn’t pull away from Reed, but he does flip me the bird.
Law’s kept a lot of secrets from me lately, but it’s not like I can blame him. If I had pretended to be him and slept with one of his dates, I probably wouldn’t have told him either. Not that I’d do that. I have some morals.
My conscience laughs at me.
Okay, so I might have a grey moral palette, but it comes from self-preservation instinct, not complete wanker-ism.
“Oh, come on,” I complain. “I get this is still new for you guys, but being the third wheel sucks.”
Finally, they break apart, but their matching in love smiles may be worse than watching them attack each other’s mouths.
Eww, happy people.
Law keeps his arm wrapped around Reed as he says to me, “You could always leave us and go pick some rando on the dance floor to fill your next month.”
“Funny. So fucking funny.”
He knows I haven’t dated since I stupidly decided to change my life six months ago.
I realised I’d been too reliant on Law to carry around the burden of my issues, and I couldn’t do it anymore.
This is supposed to be the new me.
More independent and put together.
I’ve had one tentative boyfriend since I decided I needed a new me, and my issues were still the same. No connection, no trust, and I ended up needing Reed to break up with the guy for me because I was sweating more than a hooker in church. Nothing’s really changed, even though I’ve been trying.
I’ve been trying really hard, and I’m getting nowhere.
I’m about to give up and go back to my old ways of using guys and then running away. It’s unhealthy and unfair, but it’s easier.
A large body appears behind me, and not in the it’s so crowded in here I’m just trying to slip past you kind of way. I don’t have to turn around to know who it is.
“Hey, guys, sorry I’m late.” The warm, soothing voice makes me jump. It always does. There’s been no progress on trying to change that either.
Fucking Brody Wallace.
In short: he’s perfect.
The reality: he scares the shit out of me.
It’s not only his size—taller and wider than me. It’s everything about him. His charm, his easygoing nature … He’s smooth and too good to be true, which is why I avoid him every chance I get.
At times, his mannerisms and stature remind me of the same man who gave me my issues.
He rubs me the wrong way when my body wants him to rub me in all the right ways.
I hate him.
I hate him because I want him.
Reed actually manages to pry himself away from my brother to give Brody a hug, and I hate that too. But oh, look at that, he springs back to Law like they’re attached by a rubber band.
It’s not that I don’t like Reed. I do. He’s great, and he makes Law happy, which my brother deserves after all he’s been through with me. But they get to have the life I thought I’d have once upon a time. A long, long time ago. You know, back before I became this shell of the person I used to be.
Law believes everyone’s life is divided into two—before some event or defining moment and after—but I call bullshit on the theory.
My life hasn’t been divided into two. You can call me Voldemort with how many times my soul’s been split apart.
One: the day I came out. I had the perfect amount of support from my family and friends, but it was still scary as fuck.
Two: the day my boyfriend, Kyle, attacked me.
Three: the day I realized I was no longer able to leave my apartment because of fear.
Four: the day I had to move in with my brother because I couldn’t look after myself.
Five: the moment I finally accepted I’ll never go back to the person I was before number two and learning to deal with my shortcomings.
Six: the night six months ago when I found out all the things Law had been keeping from me because he knew I’d revert to number three.
Seven: the moment I met Brody Wallace and realised if I didn’t do something to get over my issues, I’d never be able to have someone like him.
My soul’s been split seven ways, and I’m only twenty-eight.
“Anders.” Brody’s usual cocky tone is ever present and ever annoying. So is that damn smile that has the ability to bring me to my knees. Or would, if I didn’t know an impending panic attack would follow.