He told me to settle. He asked what was wrong with me. He called me an easy target. That was within minutes when I first met Caden Banks. I labeled him an *sshole, but he was more than that. Arrogant. Smug. Alpha.
He was also to-die-for gorgeous, and my stepbrother’s fraternity brother.
Okay, yes I was a little naive, a tad bit socially awkward, and the smallest amount of stalker-ish, but if Caden Banks thought he could tell me what to do, he had another thing coming.
I came to college with daydreams about being with my stepbrother, but what if I fell for the anti-stepbrother instead?
*** Stand-alone novel ***
As I swapped my clothes, Caden texted that he was downstairs in the lobby waiting for me. I found him leaning against the front desk, talking to a girl and a guy. His back was to me when I came around the door, so his friends saw me first. The guy looked me up and down, and the girl gave me a side-eye. I didn’t care. I took that as a compliment. Maybe I was only going to be riding around in Caden’s Land Rover, maybe I was only helping him run an errand to help his brother out, and maybe I was just wearing black so what did it matter how I dressed? All those thoughts swirled in my head while I was changing, making me feel a little foolish. But Avery’s voice had been even louder, and the result was an outfit that got me some attention. Score. Their eyes really opened wide when I stepped forward, and Caden turned to me. I wasn’t wearing anything sexy or skimpy, but the combination looked killer. Even I had to admit it myself. Skin-tight black jeans, a black tank top, and a black leather jacket—Caden had never said what kind of black clothing was needed, so I improvised. His eyes darkened, and his hand jerked. Then he lingered on the leather jacket. “Really?” “Why not? You think you’re the only cool one around these parts?” I pulled it tight, knowing it’d emphasize my boobs a little more. “I’ve recently been told I’ve got hot tits.” Caden laughed, his hand coming to the small of my back. The girl noticed that too. Her mouth turned down in a pout. “Come on. Marcus just called. He’s getting worked up that we’re not there already.” Caden nodded to the other two. “I’ll see you guys later.” The guy fist bumped him saying, “What are you doing later tonight?” He indicated the girl with him. “Felicia and I were thinking of checking out a Mexican place in town. It’s not new, but it’s new to us.” “Yeah.” The girl moved in. “My sister told me about it. It’s one of those hidden gems. She goes there all the time now. Diego’s—that’s what it’s called.” She touched Caden’s arm. “You should come.” You. Not you guys. I had visions of yanking her hand off of him and stuffing it down her throat, but Caden stiffened and pulled away, saving me the trouble. His tone was noticeably chilly. “No, thank you.” His hand pulled me tighter against him. “We’ve got plans anyway.” I waited until we got in the Land Rover. “That’s your spot.” “I know.” His jaw clenched. “I get territorial over things I love.” A tingle went down my back. I reacted to the possessiveness in his voice, the knowledge that he’d protect a place or person no matter what. He was a damned live fairy tale, someone who’d love and care for you, who was capable of protecting you—that’s why my stomach was doing flips again. Not for any other reason. That’s what I told myself. I sighed, pressing my hands together. I sucked at lying, even to me. He glanced over with a smile. “You do have hot tits, by the way.” I preened. “Damn straight.”