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She’s the closest thing I ever had to a sister
*** A steamy STANDALONE contemporary romance with a sizzling hot alpha. No cliffhanger, no cheating, and a guaranteed happily-ever-after.***
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A weird sensation washes over me.
Everything is the same and everything is different all at the same time.
On the street that I grew up on, the Petersons finally got around to cutting down the big oak that cast their whole front yard in shade, while the Angelinos put up some kind of weird flag pole. The Kings moved out, I’d heard about that from my mom, and the new people living in their house had repainted.
I can still almost see the way things looked the last time I’d been in the neighborhood, but at the same time the changes make me look twice to make sure I’m in the right place after all.
My parents’ house, as I get to it, looks exactly the same as it did when I’d pulled out of the driveway after New Year’s Eve. Brick and mortar, with black trim and a slate roof that my mother had apparently insisted on, the bane of my dad’s existence, and a red door that almost glows in the hazy yellow afternoon light.
I turn into the driveway and pull up to the garage doors, throwing the car in park, and sit there for a minute. On the other side of my parents’ house, I see the Lewises’ cars on the driveway, and the big flower flag hanging over the entry on their front porch.
As soon as I get my stuff into my parents’ house, I need to drop by and say hello. After all, the Lewises are why I’m in town in the first place.
I shut off the engine, and spot my mom coming out of the house to greet me. She’s covered in speckles of paint, and I’m glad I thought to pack some old jeans and T-shirts in my suitcase, along with the nicer clothes I knew I would need for the week I’d be in town. Obviously Mom is helping the Lewises set up everything.
“You’d better run over next door real quick and say hello to your other mother,” Mom says as I’m climbing out of the car. I laugh and roll my eyes, reaching into the passenger seat to grab my purse.
“I just drove for hours,” I point out. “She knows that.”
“It’s her anniversary,” Mom counters.
“And her husband’s too,” I add, standing up straight again and turning around to face her. Mom hugs me tight and kisses me on either cheek.
“The drive must not have been too bad,” she observes. “I was expecting you in another hour or so.”
“I ended up getting out of the city early,” I explain. “I figured if I’m up anyway, I might as well get on the road.”
Mom rubs my back and I unlock the trunk. “So you’re here for a full week?”
I nod as I grab my suitcase from the trunk, along with the present I’ve got for the neighbors’ anniversary.
“Bev was just telling me she expects Zane in tonight, too.”
“Zane is in town?” I raise an eyebrow at that. I haven’t seen Zane in years, in spite of the fact that we’ve both come back to our parents’ homes dozens of times. Around the time I started my sophomore year of college, he shipped out to the army, and somehow we both managed to miss the other one ever since.
“He’s not about to miss his parents’ twenty-fifth wedding anniversary,” Mom points out. “Not without a good reason.”
“I would think ‘the army wouldn’t give me leave’ would be a good reason,” I say.
“Well, they would, and they did. So he’s flying in tonight from wherever-it-is they have him stationed right now.”
“Good for them,” I say, shrugging. “It’ll be nice to see Zane again.”
“The army’s done wonders for him,” Mom tells me as we walk back up to the house. “Before he joined all he did was use his looks to bed half the girls in town. Although it’s easy to see how, he’s such a gorgeous young man.”
“Mom!” I look at her sharply.
“It’s fine to look at someone like him, as long as looking is all it is. He’s not exactly boyfriend material.”
“You’re married, and old enough to be his mother. I don’t know that it is okay for you to be looking.”
“Sure it is. As long as I never intend to do anything about it, or even try to intend to do anything about it,” Mom tells me cheerfully. “Besides, your dad isn’t even discreet about it when he gives a younger woman the once-over.”
I feel my cheeks burning and I close my eyes for a moment. I can’t really say why I feel so embarrassed to hear something like this. I mean, my parents obviously have a sex life, and they’re human beings and all that. But it feels weird hearing her talk about the guy I grew up with like he’s someone from a GQ spread or something.