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Kiss My Sass

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Dani doesn't take garbage from anyone. Especially not from the jerk next door. Seventeen-year-old Dani Parker can't be more excited to graduate and get out of the hellhole poor excuse of a town she lives in. With enough family drama to land her a role on a reality TV series, Dani is more than ready to leave everything behind. Her plans to lay low and enjoy the rest of her senior year take a turn when she gets new neighbours. Meet James Hastings. Ridiculously intelligent, brooding, moody, and harbouring his own baggage, the last person he expects to befriend is the obnoxious girl next door. After being forced to spend more time together, Dani tries to make the most of the situation while James wants nothing to do with her. James pushes Dani to her limits while Dani forces James to see the more positive side of situations. Through navigating their own personal troubles and turmoils, the two realize there's a thin line between love and hate.

Humor / Romance
Age Rating:

An Introduction of Sorts

THERE WASN’T MUCH that scared me, but a furious ten-year-old sure topped the list. He sat in the passenger seat of my car, slamming the door shut behind him. He was mad, and he wanted the whole world to know. “You were supposed to pick me up forty-five minutes ago!”

“Give me a minute while I think of a good excuse.”

Alex folded his arms across his chest. “That’s not funny, Dani.”

My foot pressed down on the gas pedal as I drove home, giving the road extra attention to avoid eye contact with him. “Would some apologetic fro-yo make up for it?”

I peeked at him out of the corner of my eye, letting out a sigh of relief when a grin made its way onto his face. He smiled so wide I could see his missing front tooth. “Can I get a chocolate fudge brown—”

I raised my right hand to stop him. “So long as this stays between us, I don’t care what you get.”

Alex bounced excitedly the entire ride, which made me start to question whether giving him more sugar was a good idea. I flicked on my right indicator to signal as I turned into the familiar plaza. Before I could even fully park my car, Alex hopped out, his excitement taking precedent over safety.

Again, I was really starting to question if this kid needed more sugar.

I opened my wallet and pulled out some cash as I trailed behind him. “Here’s a twenty. I better get my change back.”

Alex swiped the bill out of my hand. “Want anything?”

I patted my stomach as I contemplated. Spending nearly every evening on the couch eating junk food wasn’t exactly doing the best job for my figure. “I should really watch the calories...”

He shot me a flat look, an unamused expression on his face. “Vanilla cake shake with extra sprinkles?”

Then again, one little dessert wouldn’t kill me.

I ruffled his hair. “You’re a good man.”

While Alex scampered off to order our desserts, I sat at a table near the windows. Since I was a little girl, my family had always gone to our town’s local diner, Stone Creek Café, for just about every damn celebration. It was a cozy little place where they had a jukebox and the workers knew everyone by name.

The only downside was since this was such a small town, everyone went here.

“Dani?” a familiar voice called out, making me instantly regret bringing my brother here.

“Shit,” I murmured as I feebly tried to cover my face with a menu.

It was to absolutely no avail when the figure sat across from me, a longing looks in his eyes. “It’s been a while.”

“Clearly not long enough.”

He looked taken aback, his mouth ajar.

“Oops, did I say that out loud?” I said dryly.

“I’ve missed you.”

I stood up, not wanting to get dragged into this again. “I should get going.”

“Dani, please.”

I made the mistake of looking into his soft caramel eyes. Those damn eyes. They emitted nothing but warmth and love, but I knew better.

“I have to go.”

Just then, Alex came over, his hands filled with our desserts. A puzzled look appeared on his face, and his lips pulled into a slight frown.

“We’re leaving,” I told him.

He nodded his head in understanding, not a single protest coming out of him. I mentally thanked God for giving my little brother enough sense to know when to shut up.

Alex didn’t speak until we were back on the road. “Was that—”

“Don’t bring this up when we get home,” I interrupted.

“Okay.” He quietly ate his frozen yogurt for the rest of the ride.

I pulled into our driveway, and Alex hopped out of the car, making a mad dash for the door. I didn’t entirely blame him though, the atmosphere in the car was unbearably awkward. I held onto my milkshake, suddenly feeling a loss of any appetite I had. I was just about to dump its contents into the dying plants in the front yard until I heard a bunch of voices.

“Thanks for the ride, Mike.”

I suppressed a groan upon hearing that irritating voice. Unable to hide, I turned around to face the car filled with teenage boys.

“Don’t forget about the party on Friday,” the aforementioned Mike said to the boy.

“Expect me there.” He hopped out of the roofless car and waved to his hooligan friends.

“Oh, and Dani can come too,” the driver added, shooting me a smirk that made me want to chug this milkshake and puke its contents in his convertible.

The boy flung his arm over my shoulder. “She’ll be there!”

His friends hollered in response as the idiots drove off.

I elbowed his rib. “I’m not going anywhere with you.”

“Don’t be such a buzzkill.” He swiped the milkshake out of my hands. “Thanks, Dan, how thoughtful.”

“Give it back, Brent.” Even though I didn’t want the drink anymore, that didn’t mean I was fine with my brother taking it. I’d rather feed it to the dying plants.

He held the milkshake over my head, smirking down at me. Curse him and the stupid five inches he had over my 5′6" stature. “Or else what?”

I wanted to comment on his height making up for missing inches elsewhere, but someone else beat me to the punch and spoke.

“Brenton Wilhelm Parker, stop being a dick,” another voice chimed in.

“Niko!” we exclaimed in sync, both of us momentarily forgetting about the milkshake.

I ran over to our older brother, shoving Brenton in the process, before leaping onto him and throwing my arms around his neck. “You never told us you were coming home!”

He sheepishly grinned as he put me down, his arms still wrapped around me. “Surprise.”

“Here, a gift for you.” Brent handed him my milkshake, earning a gasp from me.

“Unbelievable.” I wriggled out of Niko’s grasp and kicked Brenton in the shin.

“Tell your sister to work on her anger management,” he winced, clutching onto his bruising leg for dear life.

Niko shook his head disapprovingly. “You idiots fight too much.”

“He started it!” I yelled at the same time Brenton said, “She started it!”

“Man, you really are twins.”

“Don’t insult me like that again, Nikolas,” I scoffed.

He raised his eyebrows. “Full names, huh, Daniella?”

I scowled at him. “Suddenly I’m not so thrilled that you’re home.”

“Tell me,” Mom said as we sat at the table. “How was everyone’s day?”

“Today was great!” Alex exclaimed, evidently not over his sugar high. “We watched a movie in class, and I won manhunt at recess, and Dani got frozen yogurt!”

“Damn it,” I hissed.

“Daniella,” Mom said, making me wince. “What did I say about sugar before dinner? You’ll stunt Alexander’s growth!”

“Mom, I don’t think that’s actually—”

“I don’t need the attitude.” She turned to my twin. “How was your day, Brenton?”

“We won our lacrosse game,” he said with a grin.

“That’s excellent, sweetheart! Tell my secretary when the semi-finals are, so she can clear my schedule for that day,” she said as if she’d actually come. Mom turned back to me. “How was your day, honey?”

I played around with the unseasoned mashed potatoes on my plate. Seriously, this crap tasted like baby food. “It was okay.”

Mom frowned, displeased with my answer. “Just okay?”

I shrugged. “Nothing happened.”

“You saw Cade today!” Alex chimed in. I had to fight the urge to stab my brother with the butter knife on my plate. What happened to keeping his mouth shut?

“Cade?” Brenton demanded. “As in Cade Thompson?”

“Looks like I came home at the right time,” Niko added, rolling up his sleeves. “Where’s this prick so I can beat his ass?”

I avoided their gazes. “There won’t be any ass beating, okay?”

“I agree. No violence under my roof whatsoever,” Mom ordered.

Niko waved her off. “I’ll just invite him to my dorm and kick his ass there.”

“Speaking of which, your semester break isn’t for another month, so why are you back home?” Mom asked.

Niko gave her a sheepish smile. “I was feeling homesick?”

“If I left home I’d never come back,” Brenton mumbled. I couldn’t help but internally agree. Niko was living his best life the past two years at college, so what on earth possessed him to come back to this shit hole?

Niko let out a sigh, ignoring Brenton’s remark. “I broke up with Monica.”

Mom’s face was filled with concern before it morphed into something else. “Oh, thank goodness! I never liked that girl.”

“It’s about time that ship has sailed,” I piped in.

Brenton nodded. “She may be hot, but that chick was psycho.”

“Unbelievable.” Niko stood up, abandoning his steak and mashed potatoes. “Thanks for the support.”

“You’ll find someone better, honey,” Mom assured him.

“Hopefully there are fewer crazy fish in the sea,” Brenton said, not making eye contact as he stabbed his fork in the steak on Niko’s plate.

Mom gave him a stern look before focusing on Niko. “Why don’t you go to your room and rest, darling?” She glanced back at Brenton. “As for you, dish duty.”

Niko snickered as he and Brenton left the dining room.

“I can’t wait to move out,” Brenton called over his shoulder.

“We can’t wait either!” Alex called back.

“Alexander, honey, go upstairs and start your homework. I expect it all to be done by seven-thirty,” Mom said.

He gave her a mock salute. “Yes ma’am.”

“I guess I’ll go upstairs and do some work,” I said in an attempt to leave. I did not want to be alone with Mom.

“I know I always seem busy, but if you want to talk about Cade...”

I gave her a forced smile. “I’m fine.” I’d rather hear the gruelling details of Niko and Monica’s breakup than have a relationship heart-to-heart with my mother.

I went upstairs to my room before she could call me back. I walked over to my closet and changed into a pair of shorts and one of Niko’s old t-shirts. Now dressed in more comfy clothes, I plopped down on my bed and took out my laptop, actually choosing homework over talking to my family members. I opened up an unfinished document to work on a research report for school.

After I finished a decent amount, I grabbed my cell phone from my side table as a treat for myself. My eyebrows shot up in surprise when I saw the numerous notifications on my phone. Of course, they were all from Cade.

8:12 Missed Call from Cade Thompson

8:14 Missed Call from Cade Thompson

8:19 Missed Call from Cade Thompson

8:25 Missed Call from Cade Thompson

I let out a sigh and deleted all of the messages he left on my voicemail without listening to any of them. Every time I was ready to move on, he came back and clung like a leech.

A knock on my bedroom door snapped me out of my thoughts. Before allowing me the chance to respond, Niko popped his head in. “Permission to enter?”

I laid down and turned on my side, facing away from the door. “Permission denied.”

Niko snorted in reply, entering anyway. “Move over.” He laid down beside me. “Want to talk?”

“Not in the slightest.”

“Want me to bash his face into my car?”


“Want me to bash his face into his car?”

I chomped on my lower lip to hide the smile creeping its way onto my face.

“Nice try, Dan.”

I turned to face my big brother. “Why are boys so infuriating?”

He mussed my hair affectionately, a sad smile on his face. “Trust me, girls are just as bad.”

I sighed, propping myself up on my elbow. “I’m sorry about Monica.”

He waved me off. “Don’t be. Everything happens for a reason.”

“Think what you want.”

Niko smiled at me. “Cheer up, little girl.” He stood up and walked toward the door. “Nice shirt by the way.”

“There’s more where that came from.”

He chuckled. “Night, Dan.”

“Wait, Niko?”

He stood in the doorway, eyebrows furrowed.

“I’m glad you’re home.”

“Same here, kid.”

“Wakey, wakey!” a voice cooed in my ear.

“Five more minutes,” I groaned.

“You have five seconds, or I take the car.”

That was enough to have me bolt out of bed. “Brenton, put your hands on my car and I swear your ass is done for.”

“We made a deal, Dani! Fifty-fifty, remember?”

“That was before you started leaving me empty tanks. Mom said if you don’t get your shit together then the car is mine.”

On that victory note, I went to the bathroom. I slipped off my clothes and stepped into the shower. I wasn’t even in the bathroom for two minutes before my stupid brothers infiltrated it.

“Gotta pee!” Alex yelped.

“I need to shave,” Brenton added.

I peeked my head out from behind the curtain. “Get out!”

“Has anyone seen my cologne?” Niko, too, entered the already crowded bathroom. Despite our large house, all four of us were forced to share one cramped bathroom. “It’s not in my dorm, I’m pretty sure I left it here.”

“Dude, watch out or I’ll cut myself,” Brenton whined.

“Move over! I need to wash my hands,” Alex said.

Niko sighed. “Look, guys, I just want my cologne!”

“Everyone get the hell out!” I screamed. All three boys looked at me, dumbfounded. I closed the curtain and resumed my shower, pleased with myself for taking control.

“You made me cut my goddamn face, man!”

“Let me wash my hands!”

“I just want my cologne!”

So much for that.

“Good morning, sweetie,” Mom said as I entered the kitchen.

I scowled at her as I poured myself a glass of juice. “We need another bathroom.”

“I second that.” Brenton swiped my drink, sitting on the barstool beside me.

“Get your own OJ.” I tried to get my juice back, but he chugged it all in one sip.

“Ah, that sure hit the spot.” Brenton handed me back an empty glass, a devious smirk on his face.

Being the mature seventeen-year-old that I was, I folded my arms across my chest and stomped on the floor like a brat having a tantrum. “Mom!”

“I don’t have time for these petty arguments. I’m going to be late for work.” Mom poured coffee into a thermos, and she grabbed her briefcase. “Please drop off your little brother at school.”

Before I could protest, Niko entered the kitchen. “Don’t worry, I got it.”

“We need to discuss your plans to return to school,” Mom said. “Goodbye my darlings, have a lovely day!” Just like that, she was out the door.

“I’m surprised we even saw her this morning,” Brenton muttered.

Niko rolled his eyes. “Cut her some slack. It’s not easy raising four children.”

Brenton shot him an annoyed look. “Could have been three if the overgrown baby didn’t have an episode and spontaneously come back home.”

“Is there a problem here?” Niko shoved Brenton, his 6′3" stature towering over my twin.

While it was refreshing to see Brenton get picked on by someone bigger than him, I knew I would have to intervene before my twin’s short fuse sparked. As predicted, the idiot curled his hand into a fist, but I stepped in before things could get ugly. Brenton had a nasty temper, and I wasn’t going to let him hurt Niko over something so stupid.

“C’mon, let’s go to school.” I grabbed my twin by his hand and led him outside.

“You didn’t have to do that,” he grumbled.

I shot him a bored look, placing my hands on my hips. “Someone needs to step up and be mature.”

Brenton stuck out his hand. I narrowed my eyes at him in reply. He raised his eyebrows in anticipation as we stopped in front of the car.

“Fine.” I smacked the keys onto the palm of his hand.

Brenton sat in the driver’s seat, looking too damn pleased with himself. “Hey, what’s that?”

“I don’t care,” I muttered, annoyed that he was driving.

“No, look.” Brenton pointed his finger at something in the rearview mirror.

I followed his finger and noticed a large white truck behind us. “No way. New neighbours?”

“That house has been empty since before Alex was born!”

“I wonder who bought it, and why?” I thought aloud.

Stone Creek seldom had new residents, so us living beside new neighbours was an absolute rarity. I was beyond curious to see who these people were, and more importantly, why on earth they decided to move here of all places.

When we reached school, Brenton and I parted ways. At home, we were forced to be together, but at school, we liked to keep as much distance as possible. If we weren’t the spitting images of each other then no one would have known we were siblings. What a nice world that would be...

“Thanks for replying to any of my texts last night,” my best friend, Amber, said as I took my textbooks out of my locker. I was so preoccupied with Cade’s missed calls I didn’t even notice she sent me any texts.

“Sorry, something came up.”

“Sounds like gossip! Spill.”

I closed my locker door to look at her. “Cade called.”

Her jaw slacked. “What does he want?”

I shrugged my shoulders. “Hell if I know. I thought he was old news, so I don’t know why he keeps coming back.”

“What you need is a new man,” Amber said. “That way he’ll finally leave you alone.”

“I think I’ll pass on the dating scene for now.” We started to walk to our homeroom - biology.

“You’re going to have to move on eventually.”

“That doesn’t mean anytime soon.”


“Can we drop it?”

“So,” a smirk graced her face, “I hear a certain babe is back in town.”

I felt bile rise in my throat. “Please don’t refer to my brother like that.”

“How’s his crazy bitch?” she asked.

“They broke up.”

Amber stopped in her tracks, an elasticated grin on her face. “Oh my God, shut up! Does this mean I finally have a chance?”

“Amber, you’ve been my best friend since forever. If anything, Niko sees you as another little sister.” Seeing her deflated expression made me feel kind of bad. “There will be other guys.”

“But none as hot as Niko,” she whined.

“Niko’s overrated, I think Brent’s hotter,” the irritating voice of my twin filled the air. Brenton placed his arms over my and Amber’s shoulders as he stood in between us. “Good morning, ladies. Fancy seeing you here.”

I pushed his arm off. “I should be saying that to you considering you’re never here.”

“Congrats on your win yesterday,” Amber said.

“We’re having a celebration party on Friday. You should come.” Brenton flashed her his signature smile, suddenly making me relieved I didn’t drink the orange juice, otherwise, I’d puke on both of them.

“I’d love to!” she beamed.

“Bring little miss moody while you’re at it.” He nudged his head in my direction.

“I should’ve let Niko break your ugly little face.”

Brenton patted my cheek. “Nice try, kiddo. We have the same face.”

“Damn it.”

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