The Good Luck Sister (Wildstone #1.5)(4)

He hissed in a breath and she set a hand on his chest. He remained still, but the steady beat of his heart reassured her. And something else, something that was her own little secret.

Whenever she was close to him like this, she felt warm. Hot, even. And tight, like her skin had shrunk and her body didn’t fit inside it.

She sighed, hating this big, fat crush she had on him. If he knew, he’d vanish from her life, so she kept her damn infatuation to herself. “Hungry?”

Eyes still closed, his lips curved. “Always.”

She laughed a little. This wasn’t a lie, the guy was truly always starving, like he was hollow on the inside and nothing could fill him up.

She reached across Dylan for the pack of crackers she had on her nightstand. Her arm brushed his and she felt a tingle make its way through her body. “Here,” she said, dipping the cracker first into the peanut butter and then the jelly, and holding it out to him.

He opened his eyes and then smiled. “PB and J for dinner.”

“Is there anything better?”

“No.” He sat up gingerly enough that she worried he’d been hurt elsewhere as well, but when he saw the look on her face, his eyes went dark. “Don’t,” he said and took the cracker, shoving the whole thing in his mouth.


“Not talking about it, Tee.”

They dipped crackers into the peanut butter and jelly until they were both full. Actually, she got full right away, but she didn’t want him to stop until he was full as well, so she totally overate.

And then had to open the top button on her jeans.

After, Dylan pulled her down with him to the bed again and closed his eyes. She thought that she couldn’t think of another place she’d rather be. She wanted them to grow up and still do this, still be like this. She’d be an artist and he’d be . . . “Dylan?” she whispered.


“What do you want to be when you get older?”


Her heart pinched. “I mean as a job.”

His hand squeezed hers. “It doesn’t matter,” he said a little dully.

She knew what that meant. He didn’t see himself making it out, and that made her so sad that she couldn’t speak for a long moment.

As if he knew he’d brought her down, he stirred himself and changed the subject. “Did you finish your biology homework?”

“Shh,” she said. “I’m sleeping.”


“You can help me tomorrow,” she murmured softly, letting herself relax against him, purposely letting him think she was exhausted.

She felt when the tension finally left him and he fell asleep. Only then did she allow her eyes to close. She was comfortable and she should’ve been thrilled because she never slept as well as she did when he was in her bed. But worry for him kept her up long after he’d drifted off . . .

On Wednesday, Dylan got to day two of graphic arts early, this time waiting for Tilly in the parking lot. After yesterday, he’d realized that surprising her in front of other people had been a tactical error. At the time, he’d thought seeing her in a public place might be easier for her. No, that was a lie. He’d been protecting himself.

He’d been wrong.

For a long time, he’d been aware that someday his mistakes would catch up with him and he’d pay. There’d been so many he also knew it was going to hurt.

Pain had been a way of life for him growing up, so there’d been no reason it should change now, but this pain was different because it was pain he’d caused in someone else, in Tilly of all people, the only person who’d ever been there for him through thick and thin.

There’d been a hell of a lot of thin in those days.

And as Tilly pulled into the lot, parked, and got out of her car and caught sight of him, he could see the pain he’d caused her etched in every line of her tense body. Her big baby blue eyes, and all the emotions in them, sliced him open.

He should’ve left well enough alone. And maybe those words would be on his gravestone, but for now he had to see this through.

Shaking her head, she gathered her things and started toward the campus. He reached out to stop her and the little dog in her purse went apeshit.

“Arf, arf, arf, ARF!”

“Leo,” Tilly admonished. “Stop.”

“Arf, arf, arf, ARF!”

And since this was accompanied by a show of teeth, Dylan pulled his hand back, surprised because dogs loved him. “Tilly—”

“No,” she said, and then as if she’d been holding it all in, the words burst from her like a tidal wave as she whirled back to face him. “I mean you just up and vanished on me after graduation! You said you were going off to think, which implied you’d be back. You didn’t come back, Dylan, you went into the military, which is the opposite of coming back!”

He never took his dark gaze off hers. “I know.”

She shook her head. “You were my best friend and the love of my life, and you never even looked back. You’re such an asshole.”

“I know,” he repeated. “And I didn’t mean to throw you by taking your class. I just . . .”


“Wanted to see you.”

She shook her head, like she didn’t believe him, not that he could blame her. “Drop the class,” she said. “We have nothing more to discuss.”

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