Trouble Rising(3)

By: Emme Rollins





I drifted across the kitchen to look out the back doors—a wall of sliding glass, really—to look for Tyler. I saw his head bobbing in the waves, and the sight of his dirty-blonde hair slicked back, his skin tawny from the sun, made me smile in spite of the anger bubbling in my chest.



It was hard for me to stay mad at Tyler.



But he lied to you.



The headline was still glaring at me from the table, along with Alisha-I’m-an-obvious-whore-McKenna’s byline.



Secrets. God, I hated secrets.



Like your secret stash?



“Oh come on,” I muttered, shaking my head with a snort. It wasn’t as if my secret stash of junk food was in any way comparable to Tyler telling a reporter he was leaving Trouble before he told me. Or his brother. Or the band.



And my secret was just a little white lie. It was for his own good, after all. So maybe he thought doing it this way was for everyone’s good?



I snorted again at that, seeing Tyler wading toward the shore. He was like a Greek god coming out of the surf, a reverse Venus, so beautiful it was almost blinding. And he was mine. All mine. To hell with Alisha-call-me-anytime-Tyler-McKenna. She wasn’t the one who had him in her bed every night, was she? So she’d gotten him to tell her he was thinking about leaving Trouble. She’d probably tricked him into it.



Or maybe he didn’t really tell her at all.



That possibility occurred to me, a bright flash through the red haze of my anger. What if Alisha-I’ll-do-anything-for-a-scoop-McKenna had made it up? It wouldn’t be the first time someone in the press had misconstrued something Tyler said, or just outright made something up and lied about it. The tabloids could take one tiny bit of truth and twist it to fit whatever story they wanted to tell.



So give him the benefit of the doubt.



Okay, I could do that much, I decided, taking my seat again at our kitchen table. It was really more of a breakfast nook, cozy and sweet, brightly lit in the morning, a definite selling point when we bought the house.



I slid onto the bench seat, checking my phone—I’d silenced the ringer, but when I flipped it over, I saw a bunch of texts and calls had come in since that first call from Sabrina. Everyone had read the article, apparently. Even Rob had called me.



Tyler came in the back door, dripping wet, a towel draped around his shoulders. He shook off like a wet dog, then toweled his hair dry, smiling as he padded barefoot across the marble floor toward me. He stopped at the coffee maker to pour himself a cup, bringing the pot over to the table.



“Good swim?” I watched him pour more coffee into my cup.



“Great.” He leaned over to kiss the top of my head, hearing him breathe me in. I smiled when he dipped lower to nuzzle my ear, sending little electrical shivers down my arm to tingle my fingertips. “Not as good as you this morning, though… I didn’t want to get out of bed.”



“Me either,” I confessed, feeling that strong, steady pulse between my thighs that being around Tyler always elicited. I still wanted him just as much as the first time we’d met. “But I promised Sabrina I’d meet her for lunch. And don’t you have the read-through? For the show?”



“Rescheduled for next week.” Tyler went over to the fridge, pulling it open and bending to peer inside. Looking at him in profile, I felt the steel in my resolve melting. I wanted to be mad, indignant. But seeing the sculpted angles of his chest and back, the way his swim trunks cinched his trim waist, interrupting that darkly exciting treasure trail of hair from his navel down to his crotch, I found myself unable to keep up my directive.



Remember Alisha-butterface-McKenna.



“You could have stayed in bed, then,” I said as Tyler came back with two hard-boiled eggs—we kept them cooked and peeled in the fridge for a handy, protein-rich, healthy snack—and the carton of goat’s milk. He liked it in his coffee, instead of creamer.



“Nah.” He made a face, talking through a mouthful of egg. He’d shoved the whole thing in his mouth. “No fun without you.”



“So… when did you talk to Alisha McKenna?” I decided to just bring it up, no fuss or drama, pushing the paper across the table, past the coffee pot and carton of milk.

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