Kiss me again, p.1

Kiss Me Again, page 1


Kiss Me Again

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Kiss Me Again

  Table of Contents

  Title Page

  Copyright © by Emma Hart 2019






















  Emma Hart

  Copyright © by Emma Hart 2019

  First Edition

  All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other non-commercial uses permitted by copyright law.

  Cover Design by Emma Hart


  Not A People Person

  It wasn’t every day you woke up to a strange man in your apartment.

  I wouldn’t necessarily know how that felt because I hadn’t yet done it, but tomorrow, I would.

  He wasn’t all that strange, either, if I was honest with myself, but I hadn’t seen Ethan in months. Not since last Christmas, actually, which made it around ten months. That was kind of a stranger.

  Had I been able to get over him?

  Had I fuck.

  No. Here I was, unlucky-in-love Ava, still stupidly in love with my brother’s best friend. A person I wasn’t even sure I liked half the time. We’d certainly never really gotten along. We bitched and sniped at each other more than most siblings did, and Ethan had spent a good portion of our teen years making himself as much of a pain in my ass as possible.

  I still bore the mental scars.

  Ever had a man in a rubber suit climb out from under your bed and grab your precariously dangling foot at eleven o’clock at night?

  Yeah, well, I had. And he was the reason I didn’t risk sticking my foot out from the covers anymore, no matter how hot I was.

  Monsters under the bed existed, people.

  Yet now, here I was, standing in my kitchen with my coffee, watching as he carried a huge box labeled ‘BEDROOM’ to my spare room.


  He was moving in with me.

  Right now.

  There was not enough brandy in this coffee. Not that I was in the habit of drinking at eight-thirty in the morning, but I was in the very well-practiced habit of drinking away my problems.

  Unfortunately, if I woke up with a hangover tomorrow, he’d still be here.

  As my new roommate.

  I really needed to find a therapist…

  “Aren’t you going to help me?”

  I blinked, focusing my vision through my glasses. Ethan was two years older than I was and towered over me by a good six inches. His dark blue eyes were currently widened in question, and he reached up to run a hand through his thick, dark blonde hair.

  “Am I going to put down my coffee and help you carry heavy boxes up three flights of stairs?” I raised my eyebrows. “Yeah, let me get right on that.”

  “Fuck sake.” My brother, Leo, shoved a large box through the door. He flicked his head so his black hair that was in desperate need of a good cut got out of his eyes. “It’s been thirty minutes since you handed him a key. How are y’all gonna live together if you can’t even pretend to get along?”

  “We’d get along if he didn’t ask such stupid questions,” I pointed out, blowing into my steaming mug. “It’s really not my fault.”

  “I’m starting to regret this already,” Ethan muttered, walking out the door.

  “I regretted it the moment I said yes!” I shouted after him.

  But seriously, I did. Regretted it like hell. There was no denying that I’d made a terrible mistake. It didn’t matter that I needed a roommate because my broke ass was struggling to pay the rent—I should have just moved back in with my mother.

  Leo sighed and leaned against the small kitchen island. “Ava, why can’t you just be nice to him?”

  “Because it would go against everything I believe in,” I said smartly. “I can’t be nice to people who aren’t nice to me.”

  “You’re going to live together.”

  “Really? It never occurred to me.”

  He held his hands up. “I see this isn’t the time for this conversation. Do you have enough chocolate in the apartment to get you through this week?”

  My nose twitched as I glared at him. “Run. Now. Before you find yourself wearing my coffee, asshole.”

  So what if I was on my period? That didn’t give him the right to be a dick just because I was extra snarky this morning. You’d be extra snarky if you were cramping like there was a velociraptor trying to escape your womb.

  Also, it was shark week for a reason.

  Sharks weren’t exactly known for their friendly disposition.

  Leo grinned and slipped out of the apartment as Ethan carried in another box with ‘BATHROOM’ scrawled on the side of it. I sniffed and put down my huge mug so I could grab my phone. It blinked with an unread text, so I opened it.

  HALLEY: How’s it going?

  REAGAN: Killed anyone yet?

  If they weren’t so spot on with how I was feeling, I’d be annoyed.

  ME: It’s HELL. I came on my period this morning, and we’re already fighting.

  HALLEY: I can’t say that I’m surprised.

  REAGAN: Me either. At least your boyfriend’s dog didn’t steal another pair of your underwear.

  ME: You need to get that dog to a therapist.

  REAGAN: I don’t think they do therapy for dogs.

  HALLEY: Yes, they do. They’re called behavior classes, and Poosh needs them.

  ME: Says the one who lives with a horny raccoon.

  HALLEY: I don’t live WITH Boris. He lives near me.

  HALLEY: Also, I’d rather live with a horny raccoon or an underwear eating dog instead of the guy I’m in denial about my feelings for.

  ME: Wow. Thanks for your support, asshole.

  REAGAN: Calm down, children. We’ll meet for lunch where we can discuss this over cocktails and chocolate ice-cream like adults.

  ME: Done.

  Yes. I was that easy to please. Chocolate ice-cream was good for the soul, and cocktails were good for simply no longer giving a fuck.

  As far as giving fucks went, I was a fan of not giving any at all.

  Big, big fan.

  Something clattered against the doorframe, and I jerked my head up. Ethan was carrying a small animal carrier, and my eyes narrowed at the sight of it.

  “What is that?” I asked, eying it as he brought it into the kitchen.

  “It’s an animal carrier,” he said, eyes flashing with laughter.

  “I can see that. What’s in the animal carrier, genius?”

  “That will be Mr. Prickles.”

  “And who, or what, the fuck is Mr. Prickles?”

  He set the small carrier on the kitchen island. “He’ll be a hedgehog.”

  My eyebrows shot up so far I think they went into orbit. “A hedgehog? You have a hedgehog?”

  He had a fucking hedgehog?

  I peered into the carrier. A small ball of blonde needles was attached to
a little body, and when it unrolled, a little dark, pointed head stuck out. Black beady eyes blinked at me, and fuzzy little ears twitched.

  He had a fucking hedgehog.

  I glared up at him. “Did you think to mention the fucking hedgehog?”

  “Leo said he told you.”

  “Leo didn’t tell me a damn thing. It’s not like I asked, either. I never expected you to show up with a fucking hedgehog.”

  “You can just call it a hedgehog, Ava.”

  “I’m gonna call you something in a minute!” I put my mug down a little too hard, sloshing coffee over the granite countertop. “You should have told me you had a pet!”

  Ethan shrugged. “I checked the lease and called the landlord. He said it was okay.”

  He was also a balding sixty-something man who hated me because I’d refused to date his son, so he probably would have said yes even if it wasn’t allowed.

  “I don’t care. It’s not unreasonable to be pissed off that nobody thought to tell me at the very least.” I folded my arms and focused my best glare on Ethan. “It’s rude and inconsiderate. I didn’t have to let you take my spare room. I did it out of the kindness of my heart—”

  “Oh? So you have some kindness in there? You hide it well.”

  “—and I am not afraid to come into your bedroom and break your nose while you sleep,” I finished.

  “Oh, Jesus,” Leo muttered, dropping a box by the coffee table. “Are you still fighting?”

  “You can shut up! You’re on my shit list!” I pointed at him and stormed around the island. “A hedgehog, Leo!”

  “Ah.” My brother almost stumbled over the box as he backed up. “I didn’t know he was definitely bringing it. I thought he’d take it to his mom’s.”

  “And why didn’t you?” I rounded on Ethan, hands on my hips.

  He shrugged, completely unbothered by my rage. “She refused to take it.”

  “So if I refuse? Is that fair game?”

  “No. This is my apartment, too.”

  “No, it’s not!” My voice reached a pitch only dogs could hear. “This is not your apartment. You’re renting my spare room for a few months until you pack up and piss off again.”

  His lips tugged to one side. “Actually, I don’t know if I’m leaving yet.”

  “Why?” Leo muttered, rubbing his hands down his face. “Why today?”

  I jerked my head between them both. “I’m sorry? Did I just hear you right?”

  “I don’t know what you heard,” Ethan said. “But if you heard me say that I don’t know if I’m leaving yet, you heard right.”

  I opened my mouth to yell at him, but the anger and shock that fizzed through my body were too strong. I said nothing, so I clamped my jaw shut and ground my teeth together.

  My hands waved, and it was all I could do to stop myself from reaching out and slapping Ethan for this. My brother, too, for that matter. I didn’t know what kind of shit Ethan was pulling, but first the hedgehog, and now this?


  I was pissed, and I had to leave.

  I stormed past them both into my bedroom and quickly changed out of my pajamas into jeans and a tank top. I grabbed a hair tie instead of brushing my hair, along with a sweater, my keys, my phone, and my wallet. I stuffed everything into my pockets, then headed back out while I swept my hair into a topknot.

  Ignoring them both completely, I walked right out of the front door and slammed it behind me. It echoed through the empty hallway, and I looked up and down it before I headed for the stairs.

  I had made a terrible mistake.


  I was going to take out an ad in the Creek Falls Herald newspaper. It would be for The Wright Bouquet, and it was going to say, “Great for flowers! Shit for sympathy, unless someone is dead.”

  Yep. Coming to Reagan was not the best idea. Then again, I was at the tail end of a whole bunch of bad ideas, so one more didn’t seem that much in the grand scheme of things.

  “Did you specifically tell him no pets?” she asked, cutting a rose stem.

  “No, but—”

  “Did you tell him he could only stay for three months?”

  “No, but—”

  “There you go, then.” She put down her cutters and looked at me, eyebrows raised. “You didn’t lay out your terms. He’s using the terms of the tenancy agreement, which he has every right to do.”

  I frowned at her. “Whose side are you on?”

  “I’m on the side of the law, Ava.” She carefully trimmed another rose stem and laid it with the rest of the bouquet she was putting together. “Your tenancy agreement says something, and he’s using that against you.”

  “I knew I should have gone to see Halley. She would have at least pretended to be sympathetic.”

  “Why didn’t you then?”

  “You’re closer to my apartment now.”

  Reagan snorted. “Look. You said he could move in. We all knew this was a bad idea, and you did it without talking to us first. You can be mad at him for not being entirely truthful at you, but you can’t be mad at him if you didn’t explicitly state it either way.”

  “I didn’t know he had a hedgehog when I said yes.”

  “How did he get a hedgehog? Why does he have one?”

  I sighed and rested my chin on my hand. “I have no idea. I didn’t ask. I stormed out, instead.”

  She glanced at my hair. “I guessed.”

  I stuck my middle finger up at her. “They blindsided me. Leo knew about it all and didn’t give me a heads up. It’s one thing to live with Ethan for a few months, but longer? I can’t do it, Reagan. Can’t you move in with Noah so I can have your apartment?”

  She barked out a laugh and wrapped the bouquet in the plastic. “Uh, no. We’re not there yet. I don’t think Halley and Preston were totally there, but they did it for me.”


  With a nod, she tied off the bouquet and said, “Preston’s stayed with me a couple of times. They’re both used to their own space, and it’s taking some adjusting. I offered him the apartment back because I don’t want to be the reason they have issues, but they’re both happy. They’re not majorly fighting or anything, so…” She shrugged and handed me the bouquet. “In the one by the window.”

  I carried it over to the storage thing by the window and put it in the hole. “They’ll get used to it. They were made for each other.”

  “I know.” Reagan smirked. “I’m still waiting for your destiny spiel about Ethan living with you.”

  “Don’t.” I held up a hand. “Destiny can fuck itself and its mother. There’s nothing destined about it at all unless it’s destined to medicate me.”

  “You were the one who said yes to all this.”

  “Before I knew about the spiky piglet and the extended stay in Creek Falls.”

  Reagan shrugged. “You’re just gonna have to tough it out, girl. Sorry to say it, but you are.”

  I sighed and slumped against the counter. “Ouch!”


  I lifted my finger to my face and removed the thorn. “Wayward thorn. Pricked me.”

  “If you’re lucky, maybe your roommate will prick you.”

  “Fuck off.”


  Spiky Pigs And Shit

  I shoved the front door open and set my gaze on Ethan on the sofa. “If you’re going to lie to me about living here, we’re going to have to set some hard and fast rules. The first one: the stinky, spiky pig lives in your bedroom.”

  He peered over at me, one hand in a bag of cheese Doritos and the other tickling the hedgehog who was now lying on his chest.

  It was quite a sight.

  “How do you know he stinks?” he asked, licking his fingers and cradling the animal before he put the chip packet on the coffee table.

  “I Googled. They need cleaning every day. I’m not doing it, and neither am I living in a smell of tiny animal who should be wild.”

  “He’s a pyg
my hedgehog. He’s bred to be domesticated.”

  “His spiky bits could be made out of solid gold, and I still wouldn’t give a shit.” I put my purse on the island and looked at him. “You can send me Google links to them if it pleases His Highness, but my stance won’t change. That animal is not living in my living room, and I’d rather you didn’t snuggle with him on the sofa.”

  “It’s ironic,” Ethan mused. “I have a hedgehog on my chest, and you’re still the prickliest thing in this apartment.”

  “If I wasn’t staunchly against animal cruelty, I’d throw a saucepan at you.”

  “You can still hit me over the head with it.”

  “I was talking about you, not the hedgehog, you pig.”

  “May I say that you are an absolute fucking delight, Ava. I can’t imagine why you’re still single.”

  “Probably the same reason you are. The asshole gene is strong as fuck and not all that attractive.” I smiled sardonically and hit the button on the coffee machine to turn it on.

  Ethan wiped his fingers on his leg, leaving bright orange streaks across the navy sweats he was wearing. Then he licked each one, getting rid of the residue before he put the hedgehog on the sofa despite my glare.

  “Look,” he said, getting up. “Mr. Prickles is trained, okay? He even has a litter box.”

  “He’s a hedgehog, not a cat.” I shot a dark look the way of the animal. “If he shits on my sofa, I’m going to go insane.”

  Ethan held up his hands. “He won’t shit on your sofa. I promise never to leave him unattended when he’s out of his cage.”

  “Damn right you won’t leave him unattended.” I slammed my mug down. “If he’s out and you need to piss, he joins you in the bathroom. If you need a drink, he comes to the kitchen with you. Preferably in a bowl so my counters aren’t contaminated.”

  “Our counters.”

  “Don’t fucking push me, Ethan. I’m already on edge.”

  He gripped the edge of the counter, choking back a laugh. “You’d like him if you got to know him.”

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