I’ve never hated anyone as much as I hate him.
The day my sister died, I told her best friend I never wanted to see him again, and I meant it.
I lost her because of him. Everything I used to care about means nothing now because of him.
It’s all because of him.
So when he shows up on my driveway two years later and tells me he’s moving in with me for his freshman year of college, I kick his ass and tell him to disappear. For good this time.
But I already know the defiant little brat’s not gonna listen. He never does.
Being near him again makes me crazy. I’m supposed to be the college basketball star my father raised me to be, but now I’m focused on a new game. I’m obsessed with watching him, touching him, breaking him. His body, his head, his heart, anything I can get my hands on…
I’m gonna take it all until he’s got nothing left.
And even though he knows exactly what I’m doing to him, he’s gonna let me do it anyway.
“Since when do you venture all the way over here?” Frankie asks, grinning at me over her shoulder as I follow her into the coffee shop.
She chuckles and moves up to the counter to place her order. Looking around, I find Xavi sitting at his usual table by the window, wearing a dark gray hoodie with the hood pulled up over his head. I force my face to remain cold and impassive as I watch him be, enjoying the way he shifts in his seat and pulls his sleeves down over his knuckles. His eyes crinkle at the corners when they find me, like he’s trying not to wince.
My face is a punishment for him. And if he insists on sticking around, I’ve got no problem going out of my way to make him look at it every chance I get.
“Nate,” Frankie says, probably not for the first time.
“What do you want?”
“Whatever you’re having is fine.”
She raises a brow at that. “A pumpkin spice latte?” she asks, and I scrunch my nose in disgust. “That’s what I thought.” She laughs, turning back to the barista. “He’ll have a cappuccino.”
Once we’ve got our drinks, we sit side by side at one of the empty tables in the corner, both of us people watching for a while as we warm our hands with our cups. We don’t say anything, but it’s not awkward. It’s easy with Frankie. Comfortable.
A group of people rush inside the shop, relieved to be out of the cold, and I don’t miss the way the guy at the back of the group turns his head to look at Xavi, chewing his lip as he takes in his form.
“Does that happen everywhere he goes?” Frankie asks, subtly tipping her chin at Xavi. “Girls and guys?”
I nod, my hands clenching into fists on the table.
“He has no idea, does he?”
“Not a fucking clue.”
He’s always been this way. Even back in high school, the kid was oblivious to all the attention he got. He’s oblivious now too, his head lowered as he tries to pretend he’s not peeking up at me every five seconds to check what I’m doing. I like that I’m his sole focus, that he’s clearly jealous of me and Frankie, but at the same time, that sad, broken look in his eyes makes me want to throttle him. All I can think about is forcing him to his knees, digging my thumbs into his jugular, and shoving my cock down his throat so hard he chokes on it. Taking him as hard and as roughly as I can and giving him something to really be sad about.
“Jesus, the way you look at him…” Frankie mutters. “I wish someone would look at me like that.”
“Like they wanna fight me and fuck me at the same time.” She smirks, and I smirk right back, leaning into her space and taking her chin between my thumb and forefinger. “You hate it, don’t you?” she whispers against my lips, playing along like the good friend she is. “The way you want him. It pisses you off.”
“Right now, the only thing pissing me off is you,” I tell her, digging my fingertips into her skin, but not hard enough to hurt. Never as hard as I’d do it to Xavi.
“That’s not very nice.”
“I’m not a very nice person, Frank.”
“I know,” she says. “That’s why you’re my favorite.”
Fighting a grin, I tilt my head to the side, kissing the corner of her mouth. “Is he gone?”
My grin slips free, and I kiss her cheek this time. She playfully pushes my face away, and I drop back in my seat, resting my arm on the back of her chair. Lifting my coffee to take a sip, I laugh under my breath as I watch Xavi storm off through the courtyard.
Do I love angsty books? You know I do! And this one delivered. Drug addiction, death of a sister and best friend, self loathing, hate, blame, meddling best friends, you name it.
Xavi and Nate haven’t seen each other in two years. The why is shown in various flash backs that just break your heart. Xavi the misfit who becomes best friends with the blind girl. They are both from wealthy families where appearances are everything and they do not fit the mold. Katy’s older brother Nate did fit the mold. Everything changed with Katy accidentally overdosed.
Xavi retreated deeper in drugs and alcohol. Nate fueled himself with hate for Xavi who he blamed for Katy’s death. Xavi got clean after rehab (his reason for getting clean gutted me) and is finally going to go to college. And stay in the house Nate rents. It was the original plan before Katy died. And Nate’s best friend convinces Xavi that it’s fine.
It’s far from fine.
Xavi takes a lot of emotional abuse from Nate. But at the same time, Nate has to sometimes remind himself that he hates Xavi. That Xavi is the reason his sister is dead.
Nate moves to using Xavi for sex. And then ignoring him after. And Xavi thinks he deserves it. Self flagellation much? It’s brutal. Xavi hates himself as much as Nate hates him.
I’ll say that I didn’t love that Xavi’s depression seems to lift when Nate is nice to him. And I really wish Nate had more of a wake up call with how he treated Xavi. AND his friends. He really treats Carter and Easton like crap. Carter I can almost see because they had been friends for so long. But Easton? There’s also Frankie, the lone girl in the group (and house) who seems to have a bit of a tragic back story that we don’t get.
So there were a few things I didn’t like that much but there was a lot that I loved. This was my first book by this author and I hope there are more dark and angsty stories in her backlist.
4.5 pieces of eye candy
Bethany Winters is a Romance author based in the UK.
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