Bad Boy: A Stepbrother Romance

By: Caitlin Daire
Chapter One


“You’ll love him! I promise.”

My best friend Dana’s eyes crinkled around the edges as she grinned and nodded, trying to convince me to go on a date with her boyfriend Rob’s friend, Ben. I turned my head and looked down at the pavement, delicately nibbling at my lower lip as we continued on the hilly four-block walk to our favorite coffee shop.

Dana had been trying to set me up on a date with this Ben guy for five weeks now. I’d kept claiming I was too busy with work for any sort of dating or relationship, but that excuse was beginning to wear a little thin. Besides, I didn’t really have a decent reason to not go on a date with the guy. I’d simply become accustomed to being single to the point where I preferred it now, so it was easier for me to say no.

Not only that, the last time I’d gone on a blind date with someone, the guy had asked me to call him Daddy.

The only thing I’d called him that night was a cab.

“I don’t know,” I said. “Blind dates are the worst.”

She waved her hand impatiently. “I know, I know. But this one will be different! He’s super nice, and totally hot. Maybe a little on the shorter side for a guy, but that doesn’t matter because you’re only five-three.”

I kept chewing my lip, considering her words.

Who knows? Maybe this guy could be the one, and here I was, about to let him slip away out of uncertainty and laziness.

Letting out a sigh, I held my hands up in placation. “Okay, I’ll do it. I’ll go.”

Dana squealed with excitement. “Yes! Oh my god, this is so cool…if it works out, we’ll be able to go on double dates together!”

I smiled. “Yeah. What did you say his name was again?”

“Ben Grigson.”

“Can I at least see a photo?”

She shook her head. “He doesn’t have Facebook or anything like that, and I don’t have any pictures of him. But trust me, you’ll adore him.”

I smiled at her again, inspired by her enthusiasm. “I’m sure I will.”

“I showed him a photo of you, anyway, so he’ll know how to spot you when you meet up. Oh, by the way, how’s your Mom going? Is she still dating that guy?”

I shrugged. I was never entirely sure what my Mom was doing with her love life. Truth be told, I’d always been closer to my grandmother than her. It wasn’t just because Mom had been around so rarely when I was a child due to her work; it was mostly because she’d seemed more interested in going out on dates and other excursions with a veritable carousel of men over the years, rather than spending time doing motherly things with me. I wasn’t bitter towards her, though. She’d been quite young when she’d had me, and my abusive prick of a father had ended up in jail when I was only five. I knew certain facial features of mine reminded her of him, which would never be a positive thing, so I couldn’t blame her for not being the most doting of mothers.

Besides, I had my grandmother for all my doting needs. She’d practically raised me as a child, and she still lived with us. No matter how bad my day was, she’d always be there waiting for me when I got home with a friendly ear, kind words and a mug of my favorite spiced homemade hot chocolate. Nothing could beat that.

“I think so,” I finally replied. “I think she’s still seeing that James guy she met a few months ago. I can’t remember his last name, but he owns that giant hotel on Mason Street.”

“Ooh! You mean the Crown Hotel?” she asked.

I nodded. “Yeah, that’s the one. She mentioned something about going away for a few days recently, and she hasn’t been home for two days, so I guess that’s where she is. With him.”

“God. Your Mom is so lucky, the guy must be loaded!” she said. “I love the Crown. It’s got the best restaurants, and there’s also that new club there. We should go sometime!”

“Yeah, that sounds good,” I replied. I’d never really been the clubbing type, but a girly night out with Dana was fun from time to time.

“Actually, I just remembered. Clancy’s Bar and Grill is at that hotel, too. It’s the outside restaurant just near the entrance, and it’s got the best cocktails in the entire city. Why don’t I organize for you to meet Ben there?”

I nodded. “Sure. Even if the date sucks, at least the drinks will be good.”

She laughed. “Yep. Anyway, I’ll call Rob later and tell him that you’re up for a date with Ben. How’s tomorrow night?”

“Sounds good.”

She clapped her hands together. “You have no idea how excited I am about this!”