Feeling Hot (Out of Uniform Book 3)(10)

By: Elle Kennedy

Her rant died off, leaving her feeling not only exhausted but humiliated. She was so tired of being the family fuck-up. The one member of the Scott clan who couldn’t hold it together.

Swallowing a lump of bitterness, she flopped down next to her brother and fought the sting of tears.

After a second, Carson’s arm wrapped around her shoulders. “I don’t think any of this is your fault,” he said softly. “All I was going to say, before you rudely told me to shut up, was are you okay?”

She blinked. “Really?”

“Really. Look, I know I rag on you a lot, but that’s because I’m your big brother. That’s the kind of shit we do.” He firmly grasped her chin with one callused hand and forced eye contact. “I don’t think you’re an idiot for getting involved with Brendan. Hell, I hung out with the guy for an entire afternoon when he came over to Mom and Dad’s for brunch, and I didn’t get a psycho vibe from him either. Does that make me an idiot?”

“Yes,” she said glumly. “You’re a SEAL. Your instincts are supposed to be spot-on.”

“You’ve got great instincts too, sis. Brendan was just a good actor. He had us all fooled.” Carson shrugged. “As for the job thing, you wouldn’t have to worry about getting fired all the time if you took Mom up on her offer. She’ll pay your way through nursing school. All you’ve gotta do is say yes.”

Jen’s jaw tensed. “I don’t want to be a nurse.”

“Why not? It’s a great gig. Solid pay, benefits, job security.”

“Bedpans, blood, ornery patients…”

She trailed off, knowing that no matter what she said, Carson wouldn’t get it. No one in her family understood why she hadn’t gone into nursing like her mother, or enlisted in the navy like her dad and brother. Well, blood made her squeamish and violence made her nervous. End of story.

Unfortunately, her parents were incapable of accepting that she might not be good at—or passionate about—the same things they were.

Unlike Carson, who was good at frickin’ everything. A decorated soldier, a husband, her parents’ Golden Boy. Even his man-slut past didn’t reduce him in their parents’ eyes. Their dad laughed it off as “boys will be boys”, while their mom simply chuckled in that “oh, you” manner whenever anyone—well, Jen—reminded her that Carson’s life used to be a revolving door of women.

Now that Carson was married to Holly, his star shone even brighter. Jen loved her sister-in-law to death, but come on, would it kill Holly to be a little less perfect? The chick wasn’t only a talented chef, but she was smart as hell, cute as a button, and probably the funniest person on the planet.

And then there was Jen. Little Jenny, who had no ambition, no serious boyfriend, and no self-control when it came to shoe stores. She was twenty-six years old, yet everyone in her family treated her like an inept five-year-old who couldn’t make smart decisions.

That’s why she’d been so thrilled when she’d met Brendan. He had a successful career, money in the bank, a practical head on his shoulders. She knew he’d impressed the hell out of her parents when she’d introduced him, and for the four months they’d been together, Jen had been pretty damn happy.

Until she discovered Brendan had a case of the crazies.

“My unemployment status isn’t my main concern right now,” she said tersely. “How am I going to tell Mom and Dad about Brendan?”

“I can tell them if you want,” Carson offered. “But that’s not important right now either. We need to take measures to make sure this asshole doesn’t come after you again.”

“I just filed a restraining order,” she reminded him, gesturing to the manila envelope she’d tossed on the glass coffee table. “He won’t risk violating it.”

“This guy is nuts. Of course he’d risk it.” Carson paused. “When is his work transfer thing happening?”

“Three weeks.”

And thank God for that. Brendan’s transfer to his firm’s Oakland office had been the reason she’d broken up with him. On the surface, anyway. His clingy behavior was what really triggered her inner alarm system, but when he’d told her about his impending move, he’d provided her with the perfect exit strategy. Brendan, however, had wanted them to keep seeing each other long-distance. When she’d refused, he’d gone batshit crazy on her, proceeding to give all those movie stalker creepshows a run for their money.

“Are we sure he wasn’t lying?” Carson asked sharply.