Pebbles kicked under Katerina Gray’s sneakers as she trekked across the driveway and ascended the few steps to the porch. Her new house was the only in the neighborhood to be black as night. The neighbor’s homes were a sea of white and beige, but hers, hers was dark, matte black. The door was intricately carved with beautiful patterns she had never seen before, and wondered if someone living there had been talented enough to do it. Furrowing her dark, freshly waxed brows, Nina checked the crumbled piece of mail in her hand to make sure she was in the right place. She zeroed in on the address. 1828 Glenn Place Drive. Yep, she was in the right place. Tightening the grip on the strap of her bag, Nina blew out a breath and shoved her key into the hole, twisting open the knob.
The house was even more beautiful on the inside than it was on the outside. Nina’s face lit up as she took in the modernized fixtures and the sleek, black leather furniture littering the open concept living room. Between the couch and the kitchen was a long oak dining table with enough space for every cousin Nina had to sit and eat.
Trailing up the stairs, Nina’s ears perked at the sound of men’s voices floating between the two floors of the house. Her hazel eyes caught sight of the banner hanging across her door: Welcome Home, Katerina. Her name was scrawled across the flimsy paper, but she was warmed at the thought of her new housemates thinking of her. No one called her by her full name anymore.
Stepping into the bedroom, Nina immediately felt at ease at the simple decor. She hadn’t had a room to just herself in a long time, too long to even count. This was just what she needed for a fresh start: a new room, new house, hopefully new friends, new everything. That was all that mattered to her, getting away from the past and starting anew.
A deep voice filled the room while someone cleared their throat behind Nina. She whipped around with a frightened yelp and stared wide-eyed at the intruder. The man - now in front of her - was tall, sculpted and buff, and incredibly handsome. Dark tones peeked through his tattooed skin contrasting his light hair. A knot formed in Nina’s stomach as she took in his attractiveness. He cocked his head to the side, folded his arms over his chest, and twisted his eyebrows as he studied her. “Katerina, I presume?” His voice was gruff, but hot as fuck.
Nina stared at him, stunned by his presence. The smell of his cologne surrounded her and she memorized the notes of sandalwood and moss, like she was standing in the middle of the woods on a crisp, cool morning. He narrowed his near-black pools at his new roommate and cleared his throat again. She blinked away the dryness in her eyes and clenched her thighs together as a wave of heat washed through her. She wasn’t sure if the heat was arousal from how attractive he was, or from the embarrassment from catching him staring at her too long.
Shifting on his foot, the tall, dark, and handsome man gave her a judgmental glare. “Do you speak, or are you only good for your looks, Katerina?”
Nina scoffed. Finding her voice, she straightened her back and narrowed her eyes at him. “It’s Nina. No one calls me Katerina.” She clipped, any arousal she felt dissipating as he rudely greeted her.
“Ooo, she’s feisty.” The man took a step closer and dropped his arms. Nina’s breath hitched in her throat; his body heat was radiating against her body. “I like feisty.” He murmured, trailing his index finger down her cheek. Shivering, Nina let out a breathy gasp as his skin touched hers. A new voice filled the room, interrupting their moment. Nina practically jumped away from the man as two men entered the room behind him.
Soft blue eyes connected with hers and she felt ease. “Hi,” He greeted, sporting a goofy grin. “You must be Katerina. I’m Dallin.”
Dallin had strawberry blond hair, that was more strawberry than blond but accented his freckles nicely. He was the shortest of the other guys but was easily still six feet tall. He was slim, but fit, and sported tattoos all over his arms, with small lines poking out from the collar of his shirt.
Nina shook her head clear and extended her hand with a soft smile. “Nina,” She corrected. Dallin’s hand engulfed hers, warmth filling her. She noticed he smelled like fresh lemons.
“You’ve already met Alex,” Dallin gestured to the big mean guy beside him. “Don’t let him scare you off; he’s really a big teddy bear.”
"Dallin-” Alex ground through his teeth, sending daggers to Dallin who seemed to pay no mind.
Instead, Dallin turned slightly to look at the last of the three Nina hadn’t met. He looked like the epitome of a hot, popular guy who never heard the word “no” in his life. He was tall, slim but extremely muscular, and hot. Hot with a capital H. O. T. Nina bet he had abs. All three of them were easily the three hottest men she had ever seen - and she had seen a lot of men. Dallin threw his head back to the guy. “That’s Kai.”
“Nice to meet you Kai, Dallin, and Alex.” She murmured sheepishly, feeling overwhelmed by their presence. Their names sounded perfect on her tongue, like they were named just for her to say.
Kai smirked at her. “Pleased to meet you, angel.”
“Do you need help with the rest of your things?” Dallin asked, referring to the suitcase Nina had pushed aside.
“Um, no.” Nina glanced down at it. “That’s it.”
Alex scoffed and raised a brow. “That’s all you brought?”
“That’s all I have.” Nina replied shortly. Alex’s eyes instantly flickered with guilt but he didn’t say anything else.
“Well, we’ll just have to take you to get more things so you can feel more at home.” Dallin blurted, giving her a reassuring grin.
Home. Nina had never felt like she had a home . . . until now.