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Chapter 1

Evelyn

“Evelyn, are you still there?”

I’ve been listening to my mother talking in my ear for the last forty-five minutes straight. She’s gone on and on about the party she is having at my parents’ beach house to celebrate July Fourth.

“I’m here, mom,” I speak softly into the phone. I am at the grocery store, trying to get two birds with one stone. One bird is doing my shopping for the week, the other is getting my weekly call with my mother out of the way.

 

“So, who are you bringing then?” The excitement is clear in her voice, and now I have to shake my head and clear the confusion my brain is shrouded in. I guess I wasn’t listening to whatever she was saying.

 

“Bringing where, mom?”

 

I want to laugh when she sighs. She is annoyed with me now, but I know she also loves me, so it’s all good.

 

“To the party, Evelyn,” she snaps at me. “Everyone else is bringing a date. You’ll be the odd one out if you don’t.”

 

I snort in amusement. “Who is everyone?” 

 

“Well, all the immediate family at least. Even Cal said he was bringing someone.”

 

The amusement dies when I hear my stepbrother’s name coming out of her mouth. Our parents married when I was sixteen. Cal was twenty at the time and away at college. He was smart and rich, and so full of himself, I couldn’t stand the sight of him.

 

Unfortunately for me, I didn’t realize what an asshole he was until after I developed a healthy crush on him. However, he put me in my place right away. He also made it very clear that he thought both me and my mom had bamboozled his father into some crazy scheme where we planned on taking all his money, and, by association, leave Cal out on the streets because his inheritance would be in our bank accounts.

 

“Ugh,” I let out in disgust. “Just you saying his name is giving me the hives, mom. And just because of that, I don’t even want to come.”

 

“Evelyn Elizabeth Moore,” mom gasps in shock. “You do not mean any of that. I know you kids didn’t get along when me and William first got together, but it’s been eight years, honey.”

 

“And he’s never been nice to me in the last eight years, mom.” I realize how loud I am when my voice seems to travel up the aisle I am in. I look both ways to make sure there is no one there, then snatch two packs of cookies off a shelf. That way it won’t feel like I was in this area for nothing.

 

“Evelyn, that is not true at all,” mom tries again. She’s always on a mission to make us get along. “He didn’t know us properly when I married William.” The tone of her voice sounds way too sympathetic for my liking.

 

“Yeah, yeah,” I mumble into the phone and continue pushing the shopping cart through the store.

 

“Anyway,” she cuts me off. “He met this lovely girl that he wants to bring over for all of us to meet. So you have to come.”

I roll my eyes toward the ceiling. “I’ll be there.”

 

“Great!” She about starts clapping. “Don’t forget to send me a picture of the young man you’re bringing. Bye now!”

 

I stop walking, my eyes just blinking in distress. I can’t believe I agreed to this mess. To top it all off, I don’t have a boyfriend to bring to the shindig. 

 

All sorts of crazy thoughts are swirling through my head. I wonder if my best friend, Carrie, would be okay with me borrowing her boyfriend for the day. They have a new baby. I could offer her a full weekend’s worth of babysitting services in exchange for her very handsome boyfriend to attend this party as my own boyfriend.

 

As I continue pushing the shopping cart up and down the aisles, throwing random things in as I go, I bring my phone up to call my bestie.

 

“I have a nine-one-one type of situation,” I tell her as soon as she picks up. I hear the baby crying in the background, and I feel bad for two point seven seconds. “It’s a real life emergency, Carrie,” I cry to her.

 

“What’s going on, goofball?” I let out a sigh of relief when she laughs.

“I need to borrow James for a weekend.”

“What?” The snort she lets out when she laughs at my cockamamie idea would normally amuse me, but I am desperate.

 

“I’m serious,” I assure her. “My parents are having this party on the fourth, and I need to be there with a date. I don’t have a date, and…”

 

“Wait, wait, wait,” she stops me, no longer sounding amused. “You want to borrow my boyfriend and take him away on a holiday weekend? While I do what? Stay home with the baby? Alone?”

 

“Well…” 

 

When she puts it like that, it sounds terrible. I cringe at the sad picture she’s painting for me. I’d be out in the Hamptons, partying it up with her boyfriend for a three day weekend while she stayed home with a screaming baby.

 

“I’ll watch the baby so you two can go away on vacation somewhere,” I blurt out. I am offering a little more than I’d originally planned. A vacation could be a full week.

 

“That’s very sweet of you, Evie,” she smiles into the phone. “I’ll take you up on that!”

 

“Aww, you are the bestest friend anyone could ask for!” 

I about start jumping up and down in the middle of the cereal aisle at my local grocery store. This was a lot easier than I thought it’d be.

 

“But I’m not letting you use my boyfriend for that weekend,” she continues, taking the wind out of my sails. “This is our first holiday as a family of three. I can’t imagine James not being here with us.”

I stomp my foot in frustration, ready to whine and beg, but then I realize that I wouldn’t agree to this stupid plan either, especially if I had a boyfriend as nice as James is.

 

“What am I going to do, Carrie? I can’t go alone. Help me,” I beg.

 

“This girl James works with signed up for a date through an app,” she casually informs me.

 

“An app?” I can’t even process what she’s saying.

 

“Yes!” She sounds excited now. “She needed a date for a Christmas dinner or something. Not sure, but it was holiday related. And there’s this app called Holidates. It specializes in finding people a date for a holiday.”

I let out a nervous giggle. “It specializes in it?”

 

“Yeah, so for example, you need a date for the Fourth of July party, right?”

 

“Right,” I confirm when she pauses for me to do so.

 

“You go on this app, and you enter whatever you’re looking for. Then you get matched with someone. You take them to your event, then you part ways. Easy peasy.”

 

She makes it sound like it’s no big deal.

 

“Care, you’re crazy,” I finally say. “I can’t bring home a guy I got off an app. Like I bought him or something. What would I tell my mother when she asks about him after? That I had to return him?”

 

The idea sounds stupid as hell. I’m not feeling it at all.

 

“Who cares if you bring a boyfriend or not, Evie?” She sounds amused by my predicament. 

 

“I do!” 

 

Once again, I am way too loud considering the location. This time, there’s an older gentleman a few feet away who gives me a curious look.

 

“My mom said that Cal is bringing a date, Care,” I try explaining. “A nice girl,” I add with contempt and roll my eyes toward the ceiling. “I can’t go alone.”

 

“Oooohhhh, the hot stepbrother.” Carrie sounds a lot more invested into the story now. “He is still hot, I presume.”

 

My reply is way too quick. “No idea.”

 

“Uh-huh,” she chuckles in my ear. “So he is then.”

I hate that she is right. Cal is still as good looking as he was when we first met. In fact, he is even better looking now that he’s older. He’s added a few tattoos to his body… He is just so… yummy and perfect and…

 

“You’re daydreaming about him now, aren’t you?” My best friend calls me out on it because she knows me well enough.

 

“I don’t want to go alone,” I pout and stomp my foot on the ground even though she can’t see me.

 

“Evie,” she sighs in understanding. “I know it’s hard to get over your first crush, honey, but it’s been a while. And chances are, he rejected you at the time because you were still a child…”

 

“I was seventeen.” I almost yell at her when I cut her off. “That’s not a child.” We’d known each other for a year at that point.

 

“Yeah, but he was twenty-one, right? He didn’t really know you because it’d been only a year since your mom married his dad, not to mention…” She now stops for dramatic effect. “You were underage.”

 

She is right, I know she is. The fact that I’ve been pining over someone who never wanted to give me the time of the day is just ridiculous now.

 

“You’re right,” I agree with her. “I need to find a hot guy who thinks the world of me, relieves me of my virginity, then wants to marry me. And I don’t have a lot of time to get it done.”

 

“Evie…” Carrie is now laughing in earnest. “You’re crazy, girl.”

There’s some shuffling on her end of the line, and then I hear James’ deep voice talking about me.

 

“How in the hell is she still a virgin?”

 

“Oh my god, Carrie,” I hyperventilate into the phone, “do you have me on speaker?”

 

I am about to drop to the ground, hopefully pass out, then someone better take me home, because I don’t want to make eye contact with anyone ever again. I just want to wake up at my house. And then, I will never meet with my best friend and her boyfriend again. I can’t see them. Especially him.

 

“Aww, Evie,” James calls out to me. “It’s okay, girl. It’s a very admirable quality to have, and you’ll learn…”

 

“For your information,” I snap at him, “I can give a blowjob with the best of them.”

 

I gasp in shock when I realize what I just said. A few other people are pushing their carts around, staring at me like I landed from another planet. 

 

“Send me the Holidates thing,” I order Carrie through clenched teeth right before I hang up on her.

 

With my head held high, I stick the cell phone into the back pocket of my jeans, then place both hands on the handle of the shopping cart and push. I walk slowly, like I have no care in the world, until I reach the end of the aisle. I turn the cart to go around the corner when I run dead smack into another cart.

 

“I’m so sorry,” I mumble without actually lifting my eyes to the person I ran into.

 

“Well, well, well,” a deep rumble that I know so well comes out of a mouth I wish I knew better. “If it isn’t little Evie Moore in the flesh. The queen of blowjobs.”

 

Cal Prentice is standing right in front of me, grinning from ear to ear.

 

This would be a very good time for me to drop dead.

 

 

Chapter 2

Cal

The first time I met Evelyn Moore, I was twenty years old to her sixteen. Her crush on me was obvious, and I did take a bit of an advantage of it in the beginning. She was like a little mouse, always jumping to do my bidding, regardless of what the task was.

 

It was all fun and games until my father informed me that he was going to ask Evelyn’s mother’s hand in marriage. I blew up at him and them. Evie probably suffered the most of my wrath at the time.

 

In hindsight, I realize how out of control my reaction had been. Liz Moore has proven to be the perfect companion for my father. He is the happiest I have ever seen him, and it is obvious that it is because of his wife.

 

By the time I realized my mistake, instead of repenting for my rush in judgement, I just let it go and pretended like I never had an issue with anything. Coincidentally, my new stepmother agreed with me, and now we get along just fine. Things with her daughter didn’t go as smoothly. The girl is still holding a grudge against me after all these years.

 

“Ugh, look what dragged to this part of town,” she now rolls her eyes toward the ceiling. I take my time scanning her body from head to toe and loving what I’m seeing.

 

I give her an exaggerated wink and don’t move out of the way when she attempts to push her shopping cart around me. “So good to see you, Evie.”

 

“I wish I could say the same, Cal,” she spits at me, looking as cute as a newborn kitten. 

 

The girl does not have a vicious bone in her body, and I regret being such an ass to her eight years ago.

 

“What caused you having to come hang out with us commoners on this fine Friday morning?”

 

I smile at her jab. This is payback. Eight years ago, I accused her and her mother of trying to climb up in the society ranks by using my father and his wealth.

 

“Well, Evie.” I lean forward and rest my elbows on the shopping cart. The move puts me more at eye level with her. “Sometimes, us royalty do need to come down and hang out with the common folk.”

 

“Figures.” She rolls her eyes again.

 

I don’t say anything, just smile and stare at her. I can tell she is uncomfortable with all the attention I’m giving her, which seems to be a weird turn on for me.

 

“So,” I finally say when it is obvious she’s not up for small chat.

 

“Yeah, I was just leaving,” she says at the same time.

 

I completely ignore her statement. “Are you going to be at the house for the Fourth?” 

 

My question seems to put her on the defensive.

 

“Why wouldn’t I be?”

 

“It just seems like you’re never there when I’m there,” I shrug. “Do you even go there? Ever?”

 

I know she visits her mother a couple of times a month. They usually have lunch at one of the posh restaurants out there. Sometimes, Liz comes into the city though. That always seems to happen when I have plans to be at their house at the same time as Evie. I am suspecting that she is doing it on purpose.

 

“How is that any of your business?” She raises a perfectly shaped eyebrow at me. “I don’t care what you do in your spare time. Spending money I presume.”

If I was a lesser man, I’d be offended by the obvious insult. She has the wrong idea about me, and I know I am directly responsible for it.

 

“I spend it as fast as I make it,” I shrug and push the sleeves of my knitted shirt up to my elbows. 

 

Evelyn’s eyes drop to my forearms, almost as if in wonder. I have a few more tattoos than she remembers. And the only reason she’s not aware of them is because she’s been avoiding me like the plague.

I have a smartass remark on the tip of my tongue, but I contain myself. I love having her eyes on me like this. It is obvious that she likes what she sees.

 

“So, Evie,” I grab her attention while pretending I don’t notice that she is checking me out. “Who are you bringing to the party? One of your blowjob recipients, I trust.”

 

Trying not to laugh at the way her jaw about hits the floor is literally painful. She looks so damn adorable, I want to grab her and kiss her. But it would be wrong. For one, it’s clear that she hates herself for being attracted to me, and I am not that big of an asshole to take advantage of it. And for two, she is my stepsister after all. The forbidden fruit. Me owning a successful chain of tattoo shops is enough to get the Hampton high society talking. Adding a hookup with my stepsister to my resume would only add more fuel to the fire. It would also guarantee her hating me for the rest of our lives.

 

“That’s none of your business, Cal. I can bring whoever I want to the party. And jealousy doesn’t suit you.”

 

She sounds so snotty now, like the princess our parents think of her as. Because that is all I hear when I visit. Evie is perfect in all the ways. It doesn’t bother me listening to any of it. In fact, I love hearing about her.

 

“Aww, Evie,” I press a hand to my chest in fake distress. “That hurt. But you’re right.”

 

“About what?” I almost bust out laughing at the suspicion evident in the tone of her voice.

 

“About me being jealous,” I shrug in self deprecation. “I’d love one of those blowjobs you’re advertising.”

 

“You… you… you…” Her chest rises and falls with her distress, face all red and full of anger. “You’re a prick,” she finally spits out right before forcing herself to go around me. 

 

The front wheel of the shopping cart gets stuck somehow underneath my cart. She pulls and pushes, trying to dislodge it, but no luck.

 

“You need help?” I finally ask, amusement clear in my voice.

 

“You know what?” She gives it another hard yank. “I don’t need it.”

She lifts her hands off the handle and puts them up defensively. She turns on her heels, but changes her mind at the last minute and almost face plants inside the cart. 

 

“Gosh damnit,” she mumbles under her breath. 

 

She snatches a package of sugar cookies from inside and straightens herself in a very dignified standing position. 

“I deserve these,” she points at me, daring me to laugh.

 

“All yours, babe,” I grin at her.

 

Looking a lot more confident than I think she feels, she attempts once again to leave. I remain in the middle of the entrance to the aisle we managed to block with both of our carts, still leaning forward on the handle of mine, and refusing to look away.

 

Damn, the girl grew into a beautiful woman. And what’s worse, I don’t even think she realizes it.

 

I’m not sure how long I stay staring like this. At some point, Evelyn makes a right and she is out of my sight.

 

“Young man,” a frail voice interrupts all thoughts of my hot stepsister. “Can you move your carts so I can continue my shopping?”

 

“Of course,” I reply to the little old lady who can’t be taller than a gnome. “Sorry about that.” I give her my best smile when both carts I am now responsible for are out of the way. 

 

She stops right next to me, craning her neck to look at my face. “I don’t understand young people nowadays.”

 

“We’re complicated like that,” I wink at her.

 

“Maybe you need to keep it simpler, young man,” she chastises me. “You’ll get the girl faster.” She is pointing in the direction of where Evelyn just disappeared through.

 

“Who says I want the girl?” I snort in amusement.

 

“You don’t?” The old lady clearly doesn’t believe me.

 

“Maybe a little,” I admit, the grin never living my face.

 

She purses her lips, all proud of herself because she called it. 

 

“Then you need to change the way you flirt,” she shakes her finger at me.

 

“Because what I just witnessed just won’t do. In fact,” she pauses for dramatic effect, taking her time as she looks me up and down. “It was quite embarrassing. Work on that.”

 

And now I’m really laughing. “Yes, ma’am,” I nod at her. “Appreciate the advice.”

 

She rolls her eyes, much in the same way that Evelyn did only a minute ago, then pushes her cart past me and off she goes.

 

I manage to untangle my shopping cart from Evelyn’s, wondering how she even managed to get them this bad. When I start walking toward the frozen section, I realize that I don’t even remember what the hell I came to the store for. That’s the effect that girl has on me. She could make me lose my mind in no time.

 

I grab a few steaks, then focus and grab everything else that I think I need for the barbeque I’m throwing tomorrow. I should’ve invited Evelyn to come, I realize with a start. Although, chances of her saying yes are definitely slim to none.

 

As I get closer to being done shopping, the conversation I heard her having on the phone plays on a loop in my head. I can’t help the huge grin on my face at the way she declared herself very good at giving blowjobs. She always looks so prim and proper, I doubt she’s had much practice when it comes to sex.

 

Something else nudges at the back of my mind. Right at the end of the call, she said something about some holiday app. What the hell was it?

Since the line to pay is fairly long, I get myself comfortable as I lean against a rack of magazines, and pull my cell phone out to do some Google searching.

First, I try, holiday app for smartphones. It brings me a full display of Christmas related stuff. They have something for everything, legit. I had no idea people were this intense.

 

I try again and just type in date for a holiday. All I get is pointers on how to make your significant other feel special when you take them out on a holiday. The biggest one is Valentine's Day. Meh, I’ve never been into it.

 

I clear the search field and try to think. What else could it be?

My thumbs take charge and type holiday date app. First result is for something called Holidates.

 

“What the fuck is this?” I mumble under my breath, then look around to make sure no children are around to hear my foul language.

I bring my eyes back to the screen of my phone, almost snorting with laughter when I see what this Holidates thing is.

Need a date for a holiday event? 

Fuck yes, I do, I think to myself. I told Liz I was bringing someone, and she assumed that it was a girlfriend. I was just planning on bringing this girl that I’ve been seeing for about a month now. We may not even make it to the event. She’s kinda clingy, and I don’t like it.

 

A family dinner with nosy relatives pestering you about settling down?

 

Also, yes. My dad has been more understanding, but Liz got it into her head that I needed to get married, have babies, all sorts of crazy things. She is more invested in my personal life than my mother ever will be. That’s because she is still bitter after their divorce that happened when I was five. She hates dad and she hates that he is happy. She also hates the fact that I am getting along with his wife, which automatically put me on her shit list.

 

The Holidates app is the perfect answer to your busy lifestyle needs. With this dating app, find the perfect rental date; both parties set the terms and conditions, absolutely no string attached.

 

Well, damn, this thing sounds like a dream come true. Why did I not know such a thing existed?

 

“Sir, you can start putting your groceries on the band,” the store cashier interrupts my inner musings. 

 

I stick my phone back in the pocket and jump to unload my cart. With my brain split in half with equal parts focused on my encounter with Evelyn and also on this weird dating app, I almost drop the case of beer I want to buy.

 

Time to snap out of it.

Tattoo My Heart is on Amazon only. You can find it here.

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