The Good Luck Sister (Wildstone #1.5)(2)

“You’ll be a good art teacher,” she told herself and looked over at Leo. “Right?”


Right. She’d get to impart her knowledge. She’d be content. She would.

She parked at the community college and stared at the busy place. She’d be here every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, teaching three classes on each of those days. Blowing out a sigh, she texted her sister.

Tilly: How you doing?

Quinn: I’m thirty months pregnant, how do you think I’m doing? I’m peeing every two seconds and eating the house. Why aren’t you here dropping Leo off?

Tilly: Thanks for offering to pup-sit, but I’m bringing him with me.

Quinn: Are you nuts?

Tilly: Yes. And also feeling guilty. I just signed the adoption papers yesterday. It’s too early to foist him off on someone.

Quinn: Aw, look at you being a good dog mom. Just don’t look directly into his soft brown eyes. Trust me, he’ll mind meld you into doing whatever he wants. It’s a fatal flaw. Good luck. You’re going to need it.

No doubt. She got out of the car and headed to her classroom, her purse over one shoulder with Leo’s head out bouncing with her every step, his tongue lolling happily at the sights.

“Arf!” he said in an excited bark so high it was almost inaudible.

Tilly tried to catch some of his enthusiasm, and clutching her things, kept moving.

It was going to be a day of firsts. First day of the week. First day of teaching. First day of skipping breakfast thanks to the nerves of first day of teaching.

And first day of being speechless as a few minutes later, with Leo now asleep in her bag, standing in front of her students, specifically the guy sitting front and center.

At the sight of him, time stuttered to a halt. So did the breath in her lungs. She had to be seeing things. Stress induced, exhaustion induced, lack of sugar induced . . . Whatever the reason, she fumbled for her glasses in the front pocket of her portfolio and slid them on. Pushing them up her nose, she took another peek.

But nope, he was still sitting there, the unwelcome blast from her past, his dark eyes taking her in, expression hooded and unreadable.

Her heart kicked hard and she began to sweat. She pulled out her iPad and accessed her class roster, the one she hadn’t had a chance to look at since receiving it late last night. She took a look at the list and froze.

Dylan Scott was listed. He’d registered for her class.

She jerked her gaze back up. His mouth curved slightly and she lost concentration. Quickly, she mentally ran through her tricks for her public speaking anxiety. Don’t look them right in the eyes. Look just over their heads. Smile. Breathe. Repeat.

Don’t stroke out.

“Hello, everyone,” she said with more cheer than she felt. Because what she felt was the urge to run home, dive under her covers, and stay there until the semester was over. Nerves jangling in her stomach, she forced a smile. “Welcome to Graphic Design 101.”

She got a few murmurs. A very few. Still doing her best to ignore Dylan in the front row—and failing spectacularly—she tried not to be bummed at the low level of enthusiasm. It was eight a.m., she reminded herself. And a Monday. Plus, this class was an elective, which meant people took it as a filler and not because they were excited about learning graphic art.

“It’s going to be fun,” she said as cheerfully as she could while also squirming just a little bit under the dark, speculative gaze of Dylan.

Why hadn’t she taken more care with her hair? And had she even put on a lick of makeup? She couldn’t remember. “Really,” she said. “I promise.” She tried to think of her next line, but her brain was on repeat. Dylan. Dylan. Dylan . . . “I’m sorry,” she finally said and looked right at him. “But why are you here?”

Everyone risked whiplash trying to get a glimpse of who she was speaking to. There were whispers and a few nervous giggles.

Dylan didn’t look bothered in the least. He didn’t fidget. Didn’t even blink. “Wanted to learn graphic design,” he said.

Bullshit. When they’d first met, he’d been sixteen to her fifteen and he’d had not a single artistic inkling. He’d wanted to be an astronaut.

She’d wanted to be a world-famous artist. Only she hadn’t gotten even close. That she had that upcoming show at the art gallery downtown was in thanks to Quinn and Mick for donating heavily. But she’d figured a pity show was better than no show at all.

As for Dylan, she knew from a few late night, alcohol fueled online searches that she wouldn’t admit to even under the threat of death that he’d gone into the marines. He’d made something of himself.

And she’d been swimming in place.

From the podium, her phone flashed a Twitter notification.

Day One, Teacher @TillyAdams is losing her shit in art class. Going to be fun . . .

Perfect. “If you’ll all excuse us a minute,” she said to the class and gestured for Dylan to meet her off to the side of the room.

With an easy, almost animalistic grace he rose from his chair and headed toward her while she did her best not to drown in memories. He was still long-legged and lanky, but filled out in all the right places, looking like the hottest thing she’d ever seen. But seriously, he had a lot of nerve showing up after all this time with zero contact after breaking her heart and crushing her soul. Good thing she was no longer a naive teenager. She had her life together. Completely. One hundred percent. Okay, sixty-five percent.

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