All Rights Reserved ©



I squint my eyes open and groan when a stinging pain shoots up my neck. Falling asleep in a seated position has caused my body to cramp up.

I move the blanket away from me—wait, what? I don’t remember putting on a blanket. Glancing around, I realize I’m still in Xavier’s room.

I can hear the shower running so he must be in there. A pulsing headache makes me clench my eyes in exhaustion and I grit my teeth.

“You’re awake.” My eyes fly open to be graced by the sight of Xavier in nothing but a towel.

Water drips down his neck, over his hard chest, down the toned pecs before disappearing underneath the towel.

I could get used to waking up to this sight.

My mouth runs dry as yesterday night’s images flash between my eyes. His body pressed against mine...

I shoot up from the bed and almost tumble in my steps. “I’ll, um...” I clear my throat and shake my head to get rid of the images, “I should get going.”

Just as I turn around he calls my name causing me to halt with my back to him.

Suddenly, his very naked chest is against my back making me stiffen as I feel his breath near my ear.

“Thank you.”

When I turn around, he’s already gone.


“You worry too much. It’ll be fine. The guy just wants all of us to be introduced.”

Beth shot her son an anxious look. “Yeah. It’ll be fine. How do I look?”

“Like you’re forty-five.” That earns him a smack on the head.

“Just because I am doesn’t mean you get to announce it around.”

Caleb turns to be and mouths ‘violent woman’ which earns him another smack.

I smirk at him as we enter the common room—a set of couches surrounding a coffee table and some indoor plants decorating the interior along with a chalkboard wall.

“Elijah, so glad to see you again. Your hotel is marvelous!”

The man chuckles as he greets my aunt. “I’m glad you liked it.”

“Where are your nephews?”

“They are running a bit late but don’t worry. They’ll be here soon.” He smiles and then mutters under his breath. “Once they stop trying to kill each other.”

Beth is oblivious to the last statement but I catch it. Before I can dwell on the thought, Elijah steps forward and smacks my cousin on the arm.

I glance towards Beth in question only to see her mirroring my expression.

“You haven’t visited in a long time! Forgot about me so quick, hm?”

Caleb chuckles. “I’m here now, aren’t I? By the way, guess what?”


“I’m moving back with Mom for the year.”

Elijah’s eyes widen in shock before joy replaces his features as his gaze flickers to Beth for a second. “That’s good!” He pats my cousin on the back. “Spend time with your family. Not everyone gets the chance.”

The last sentence hits me with a knocking force. For more reason than one...

“I’m sorry, you both know each other?” Beth finally asks what’s been on our mind.

Elijah’s arms go over Caleb’s shoulder and the later grins. “He’s Luca’s uncle.”

I’ve only ever heard of this person’s name. Despite never having met him before, I know he has been Caleb’s best friend since his last year in high school and throughout college. Still is.

But Elijah being his uncle would mean...

My eyes widen in realization right at the moment the door bursts open as the Darkwood brothers enter.

The younger one is as bright as ever, practically oozing negative joy.

While the older one...his eyes are fixed on my cousin as he stands there with a straight face.

“What are you doing here?”

Caleb steps away from Elijah’s hold and with an expression mirroring Luke’s stoic one, answers, “What do you mean?”

“Elijah said you’re cheating on me.”

Wait, what? WHAT?!

“Babe, you know you’re the only one for me.”



My fleeting gaze moves over them confused out of my mind.

I know for a fact Caleb’s straight. Or is he? Is that why he never dated before?

Luke looks towards Elijah. “You lied?”

“I would never do anything to break your very, very closely knit bond. Ever.”

Again, WHAT?! My head reels towards the oldest Darkwood as a horrified expression takes over my features.

Xavier sighs as if this is a normal occurrence before muttering under his breath. “Here we go again.”

Caleb and Luke break into huge grins, simultaneously, before stepping forward towards each other. Then they...intertwine their hands...together...

What kind of fucking Shakespeare shit am I witnessing?

While one of their hands stay locked in a grip, Caleb motions using her free hand to call forth...Elijah.

“Come on. You’re the only one missing from this threesome.”

My eyes widen to the size of the moon at the sexual implications of my cousin’s words and I glance at Elijah in worry, hoping he doesn’t take it in a bad way.

He sighs. Then to my surprise, “You guys, there are children here. If you wanna talk dirty, come up to my room.” And then he winks.

Beth clears her throat drawing everyone’s attention. “As much as I would love for my son to finally be in a relationship, I know you’re not in one. Don’t mock me like this.” She sighs, amusement glinting in her eyes.

“Seriously, you guys. I know your love lives are drier than Sahara, but still, you’re going to confuse people. Just look at Thea. Poor girl looks like she’s about to faint.” Elijah states.

Luke snorts. “Look who’s talking. Your ass is just as single.”

“Now, now. We don’t make fun of other people, kids.”

“Sure, old man. That’s exactly why you once mocked businessmen for being uptight yet here you are, with a stick up your ass.” Caleb chortles.

“I’m not old, I’m twenty-seven,” Elijah puffs his cheeks out like a child. “And I’m more fun than you both combined. Besides, what’s your obsession with my ass? Luke might think you’re cheating on him with me.”

“Ew, no. Elijah, you just ruined it.”

Xavier rolls his eyes and finally decides that he’s done with both of them as he moves to leave the room.

“I see you’re as cheery as always,” Caleb calls out after him to which he responds by waving...his middle finger.

Deciding to follow him, I take a few steps back but just as I’m about to leave, Beth grabs my arm.

“I forgot to tell you but Giovanni texted me yesterday. He’s coming over to meet you. Apparently, he has something important to say and it can’t wait. He’s down at the lobby now.”

That’s a lot of confusion so early in the day. I nod before heading out of the room as the boys continue their bickering over who can inhale most food in a minute.

Giovanni was my father’s most trusted man. The man was his right hand, best friend, and an amazing family friend as well. Having no family of his own, he always considered us as one.

After my father’s death, he had to take over until Alex turned of age. However, with the unfortunate incident of him passing away as well, Giovanni had to take over permanently as Dad never considered me good enough to do so.

Knowing him, he would never want me anywhere near the company he spent his life building.

Over the years, Giovanni has made the effort to stay in contact and meet with me to catch up on everything. He’s the Uncle our Dad’s brother could never be.

But for him to show up so suddenly, far from home—it has to be something important.

A strange feeling swirls in my stomach as the sense that something bad is about to happen makes me feel uneasy. My palms start to sweat and I have to wipe them on my dress.

As I enter the lobby, I find him standing up at my sight. He looks the same, just more aged as I see lines on his forehead are more prominent than ever indicating I was right about the news being bad.

If he already looks this stressed, how worse can it get?

“Thea!” He embraces me for a quick second. “You’re growing into a beautiful woman. I’m sure your parents must be proud.”

Parent. I think.

“Sorry for being so blunt but is everything alright?” I notice the smile wipe off his face as he rubs his fingers to his temple.

“It would be better to talk somewhere private.”

“Giovanni, what is it?” I can hear the blood pumping in my ears as my body goes numb at his next words.

“It’s about your parents.”


What do you think about the trio’s friendship? I honestly don't even know what I wrote at this point but I's too sleep deprived to care. So, forgive any errors.

And don’t forget to leave a comment!

Continue Reading Next Chapter

About Us

Inkitt is the world’s first reader-powered publisher, providing a platform to discover hidden talents and turn them into globally successful authors. Write captivating stories, read enchanting novels, and we’ll publish the books our readers love most on our sister app, GALATEA and other formats.