Crushed Page 32

“Sure,” I say, even though my current bottle is only a little under half-full.

He uses one of the nearby bottle openers to open both, before handing me mine.

I think he’s just being decent, but instead of heading back up to the main deck to hang with his people—or his girlfriend—he mimics my posture, shoulders propped up on the railing, an outsider looking in.

For several minutes we say nothing, and I wonder what his angle is. The guy’s always been polite, but we haven’t had a real conversation.

Chances are he’s casually checking me out as competition, although I don’t know if it’s competition for Kristin or competition for Chloe. He may have the hots for Kristin, but he’s not unaware of the younger sister.

It’s strange, actually, that my first thought upon seeing Devon isn’t hey, we’re brothers!, but stay away from Chloe.

This whole fucked-up thing with Chloe and her weird love triangle, or love square, if you count poor Scott, has almost had me forgetting the reason I agreed to this stupid holiday in the first place.

Meeting my real father.

As though reading my thoughts, Devon turns his head and studies me. Not in a weird way, and the glance is brief and casual, but I can’t help but wonder if he knows.

Knows that I’m his half brother but that I’m too chickenshit to say a word about it.

But the words out of his mouth aren’t what I expected.

“You know I’ll kick your ass if you hurt her, right?”

What the hell is this?

I glance at him, but his eyes are already back up on the main deck, his expression pleasant and easy as though he hasn’t thrown out a token threat.

It’s only when I follow his line of sight that I realize what he’s talking about.

Who he’s talking about.


He takes a sip of beer. “Whom else would I be talking about?”

Whom. He’s a whom guy.

Devon clearly has no idea that I’ve had a boner for his girlfriend for the past month. Not her mouthy sister.

Although … Kristin is losing her appeal quickly.

And I’ll tell myself over and over that it has nothing to do with that kiss with Chloe until I believe it.

“Chloe and I are friends,” I say.

He gives me a skeptical look. “Friends.”

“Yup.” I continue to stare straight ahead. “Sort of like you and she are friends, right?”

He laughs. “It’s not quite the same.”

“Yeah? How so? Because I don’t secretly want to jump her bones?” I ask.

It’s a bullshit question. I know it’s out of line. It also might be a lie, because I’m not sure I don’t want to jump her bones, too, now that I know how she kisses. But I don’t let my brain go there.

I expect him to deny it, but he surprises me by shooting me a level look. “You don’t know anything about it.”

I shrug. “So tell me.”

As soon as I say it I want to punch myself. My tone had been almost … pleading. It’s not like he’ll want to talk to me.

We’re not brothers by anything other than a technicality.

I didn’t come to Texas for fucking brotherly bonding.

He takes a swallow of beer, staring straight ahead. “Chloe’s different.”

Shit. So I guess we’re going to share after all. I tell myself to remain silent. I don’t want to get in the middle of this. Any of this.

“Different how?” You idiot.

“Well, for starters, what the fuck is she doing draping herself all over Scotty?”

“Maybe she likes him,” I say.

He laughs incredulously. “Nah.”

I shrug as though it doesn’t make a difference to me. Because it doesn’t.

“I don’t know why she’s lost weight,” he grumbles. “She looked just fine before.”

“Maybe she wanted someone to see her as more than fine.”

Devon seems tenser now than when we started, and I can’t help but keep pushing.

“Where’s your girlfriend?” I ask.

He grunts. “Pissed at me. Again.”

“Trouble in paradise?”

He gives a half smile. “Hasn’t been paradise in a long time.”

“Then why you in it?”

He shoots me an incredulous look. “We really doing this? We haven’t exchanged five words before now.”

I don’t respond. Guy doesn’t want to talk, I’m not going to beg him.

Even if for a minute it had felt like a flashback to my old life. A life where Ethan and I could talk about stuff that mattered.

“You know Kristin’s trying to lure you into her web, right?” he says, apparently deciding to keep talking after all. “Using you to make me jealous.”

Interesting. The guy’s smarter and more observant than he lets on.

“Is it working?”

Devon tilts his head back, closing his eyes against the heat of the early afternoon sun, and says nothing.

Then he does. “Damn. Must have misplaced my shades.” Followed by “You always wanted to be a tennis pro, St. Claire?”

I get it. Subject change.

I snort. “Hardly.”

He looks at me. “Then why you doing it?”

“Why do you care?”

He rolls his shoulders. “Don’t. Just trying to figure my shit out.”

“The shit, in this case, being law school versus your girlfriend.”

Prev Next
Romance | Vampires | Fantasy | Billionaire | Werewolves | Zombies