I took one look at them and knew why they were here and angry tears began to fill my eyes.

“How did your date go?” Mum asked, her question faltering as she took in my expression.

“Awful,” I bit out and returned my glare to Braden and Adam. “He’s not asking me out again because of these two idiots.”

“Good,” Braden responded flatly. “You’re too young to be dating.”

Mum sighed. “She’s not too young.”

“She’s too young,” Adam agreed. “And look at what she’s wearing.”

“There’s nothing wrong with what she’s wearing. She’s got tights on.”

“She’s fifteen,” Braden argued. “She’s got plenty of time to go on dates. She should concentrate on school.”

“Oh you sound like an old fart, Braden.”

“I can’t believe your attitude, Elodie,” Adam sighed. “I thought you’d be more careful about this stuff.”

“Careful,” Mum spluttered. “It was a date.”

As they squabbled on, my anger had time to grow and seethe, and the humiliation to fester.

The nicest, cutest, coolest guy at our school had asked me out on a date and my brother and his best friend had ruined it for me. “I liked him,” I suddenly informed them, quietly but with an edge that halted their conversation. They all looked at me and a tear slipped down my cheek as I said, “I really liked him. You both ruined it and you don’t even care.” Chest aching with the pressure of my hurt, I whirled and raced for the stairs, ignoring Braden calling my name.

“I’ll get her,” Adam told him which made my legs move faster up the stairs. I banged my bedroom door shut behind me and threw myself on my bed, hiding my face in my pillow as I cried into it.

I heard the knock over the sound of my muffled sniffling and lifted my head just enough to growl, “Go away.”

I tucked my head back into the pillow and waited.

Since I knew how tenacious Adam was it didn’t surprise me when he ignored my command. I heard my door open and the creaks of the floor as he walked over to the bed. The bed dipped on my right side and I heard Adam sigh.

“I’m sorry,” he apologized, his voice deep with sincerity. “Sweetheart, I’m sorry.”

I didn’t say anything, my throat burning even deeper when it occurred to me this was the first time Adam had ever hurt me.


I turned my face on the pillow so I could see him. I ignored the worried look on his young, gorgeous face and told him stonily, “Just go away, Adam.”

He ran a hand through his hair, turning more fully toward me. “Look, I feel like shit, Els. I didn’t mean to ruin your night. Neither did Braden.”

“Oh I’m sure when you threatened sensory deprivation you had no intention of ruining my chances with Sam.”

“Jesus,” Adam huffed. “You are too smart for your age. It’s like arguing with a grown woman.”

“How would you know what it’s like to argue with a grown woman? You never stick around long enough to do something to piss them off.”

His mouth twitched at my response and he shook his head. “Jesus,” he repeated.

After a minute of silence, Adam turned his head to look down at me again. His expression was no longer amused. In fact he looked deadly serious. “If this kid dumped you because he’s not man enough to deal with some familial concern, then he’s not the kind of boy you want to be with.”

The word “familial” pushed that little button inside of me and I knew when I glared at him this glare was colder than any that had come before it because it made him stiffen with surprise. “You’re not my brother, Adam.” I snapped. “Stop acting like it.”

I felt a slash of pain across my chest at the hurt expression in his eyes, guilt instantly making me want to cry even more. “I know that, Ellie.”

Our eyes met and held, and my awareness of him caused my skin to flush. “Do you?” I murmured a little breathily.

Something flickered in his gaze and he stood up, looking uncomfortable. “I’ll leave you alone for a bit. I just wanted you to know I would never intentionally hurt you.”

When I didn’t say anything, Adam exhaled wearily and left.

As he was closing my door I heard Braden’s voice right outside it. “She okay?”

“She’s pissed off. Let’s just leave her alone for a while.”

“I want to speak to her.”


“I’ll get you downstairs,” he cut him off, opening my door and closing it behind him as he stepped inside. Braden’s concerned eyes locked on me as he strode toward my bed.

“Els, sweetheart,” his voice was gruff as he sat down. “I’m so sorry.”

At that I burst out crying and launched myself against his chest, letting his strong arms hold me tight and his soothing murmurs calm me.

Chapter 3

“You forgave Braden?” Adam frowned, holding the diary out to me.

I shrugged, taking it back and putting it next to the one from the year I was fourteen. “You hurt me more. Not intentionally, of course, but I wanted you to see me as a woman, not a girl.”

Adam gave me a look that suggested I was daft in the head. “You were a girl. You were fifteen.”

“So you never saw me that way then? Not that night… in my little dress,” I teased.

“Not then,” he admitted softly as if worried he’d hurt my feelings. “You were still Braden’s wee sister then.”

I wasn’t hurt. I had retrospect on my side, and frankly I’d find it somewhat concerning if Adam had fancied my lanky, boob-less fifteen year-old self. Still, I was curious. “When did it change for you?”

I was treated to another “are you daft?” look. “I’m not telling you that.”

“Why not?”

“Because it’s a guy thing that you won’t get and it’ll probably piss you off.”

Okay, now I was definitely intrigued. “I won’t get annoyed. Just tell me. Please,” I begged sweetly.

“Fine.” He eyed me warily. “It was the morning after your eighteenth birthday.”

My eyes widened as I remembered. Seriously?

“The morning on which you oh so casually told me you’d just lost your virginity.”

That was the moment he realized he had feelings for me? Jeezo… Joss was right. Men were such cavemen. As that morning came back to me in vivid detail I gave a huff of laughter as I now replayed the whole thing but with the realization that Adam had been jealous. Wow.

That was not how it had appeared to me at the time. “I knew you were mad at me but I thought it was another overprotective “big brother” moment.”

“Nope.” Adam shook his head grimly, leaning back on the palms of his hands. “It was an “I’m looking at my best friend’s wee sister who’s just told me she had sex for the first time and I can see her swollen mouth and her bed hair and I’m getting fucking turned on”

moment.” His eyes locked on my mouth as he remembered. “My body reacted to what you’d said before my brain did. I suddenly wondered what your lips felt like, how you’d taste, what it would feel like to have your long legs wrapped around my back as I thrust into you...” I squirmed, feeling my skin heat at the knowledge that Adam was thinking those very appealing thoughts so long ago and I hadn’t had a clue. “Then I got pissed off. At myself for feeling that way about you. And then at the guy for having tasted you. And then at you… for letting him taste you.”

Our eyes locked and I felt my breathing grow shallow.

I knew if I didn’t say something else we’d end up making love in his spare room before we could finish our trip down memory lane and frankly I was enjoying the trip. I cleared my throat and grabbed up the next diary, hurriedly flicking through it.

I found the entry I was looking for and handed it to Adam. “You should know,” I murmured softly, “That it all comes back to you.”

Sunday, April 30th I lost my virginity last night. To Liam. It wasn’t how I’d wanted it to be. It hadn’t been with who I wanted it to be with. It hadn’t been with someone I loved like I’d always promised myself it would be. And it hurt. And then it didn’t. In fact it wasn’t bad at all. But something else hurt last night, and unlike sex it didn’t stop hurting. It hasn’t stopped hurting… The function room at the Marriott Hotel was absolutely packed and as I looked around I realized that I didn’t even know some of these people.

Still, it was some turn out and Allie had pronounced my eighteenth birthday party a total success and it wasn’t even over yet. Braden had hired the room at the hotel as well as a DJ and caterer. My family had invited more family as well as their friends who invited their friends, and I invited my friends who invited their friends who seemed to have invited their friends. It was a crush, the buffet was almost gone, and the dance floor was full.

I watched catering staff come out of the back room with fresh trays of food and I scowled as one of the pretty girls was stopped by Adam as she passed. Whatever he said made her laugh and tilt her head flirtatiously. I watched them, ignoring the burn of jealousy in my throat.

“Have I told you tonight how sexy you look?”

I was pulled back into a warm body and I lifted my chin, turning my head slightly to look up into Liam Fenton’s handsome face. He was smiling down at me, his eyes glittering a little.

He was buzzed, but not drunk like Adam who’d started “getting happy” an hour before the party even began. As per usual he’d turned up alone. From the cracks I’d heard Braden making for years, Adam was a total player and I’d never met a single girl he’d dated.

Probably because he didn’t “date”.

Liam on the other hand appeared to be trying to keep his wits about him. I think I knew why. He was nineteen, a student at Napier University, and we’d met when I’d toured the university last year. We’d kept in touch, chatting online, until seemingly out of the blue Liam asked me out on a date six weeks ago. We’d messed around a little bit (and he’d given me my first orgasm) but I’d been reluctant to have sex with him. I’d filled my head with so many romance novels and movies I was convinced that my first time would be with someone I was in love with. Although I liked Liam and I was attracted to him, I wasn’t in love with him yet.

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