Completed: a Devoured novella
There’s a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach as Preston and I stare back at each other. He was my first love—hell, my first lover—and up until thirty seconds ago, I never thought I’d see him again. Sure, he was from Nashville too. But it’s a big city. None of our friends are the same.
And yet, my mother had managed to conveniently run into him at the store.
As if on cue, a smile splits his face, and he takes a step closer toward the kitchen. “Sienna. You look just like—”
I shove past my brother, holding up my hand. “What are you doing here?” I cast an anxious glance at the family room entry, and I’m thankful the volume of the football game is turned on high. “We agreed never to see each other again.”
He runs his hand sheepishly over his short black hair and shrugs, his expression giving me a clear view of his dimples. When I was in high school, that look had been my downfall, and I had been eager to please him. Now, I don’t feel a thing other than irritation as I stand beneath the bright lights of the foyer, jabbing my tongue in my cheek. “Preston?”
“I’ve been talking to your mom lately and she brought up Thanksgiving. When she asked me what I was doing, I thought about all the good times we used to have together. Remember that Thanksgiving in New York?” When I nod lamely, he continues, “It made me think. What if I hadn’t been such a dick in the end, if maybe—”
“You know I’m engaged, right?” When he nods slowly, I carve my fingers through my red hair then wring my hands together. “You didn’t think my fiancé might be around?”
“Your mom said he was in Atlanta.”
Of course she did.
“My mom lied,” I snap. Then a thought hits me, and I cross my arms over my chest and release an outraged breath. “And even if he hadn’t been here, that wouldn’t make me—”
“Lucas Wolfe is here now?” Preston looks impressed, and I roll my eyes. “Damn, Sienna. You were always good, but for you to—”
“You might want to cut yourself off right there before I have to break your fucking teeth.”
Preston and I whip around at the same time to see Lucas leaning against the doorframe with his hands jammed in the pockets of his jeans. I’m not fooled by the sardonic smile twisting his lips. This situation is not amusing to him whatsoever. His eyes are hard, and as he moves his gaze from Preston to me, I clear my throat.
“Lucas Wolfe, this is Preston Lewis.”
“Preston,” Lucas repeats, each syllable drawn out.
“My mom invited him to join us for Thanksgiving dinner,” I add through clenched teeth. I shoot a glare at the kitchen. God knows what Mom is in the kitchen telling Shannon Wolfe at this very moment. “Preston and I … we dated briefly.”
“If briefly means all through high school and college,” Preston says, leaning forward to shake Lucas’ hand. Lucas stares at it for a moment before pushing away from the doorway to come stand behind me. His hand on my hip is comforting, but I’m still shaking. How could my mom do this to me? I was seconds from thinking she’d let this day happen without any bull and then she had to go shit all over it before we could even get started.
The only thing that could make this worse is if one of Lucas’ one-night stands—or worse, Cilla Craig—showed up.
Shuddering, I tune back into the conversation just in time to hear Lucas telling Preston. “Whether you stay or not, Sienna’s mine. That shit ain’t changing. “
“Maybe, but just remember—”
“Preston Lewis! What a surprise to see you here,” Gram speaks up.
This time, I’m thankful for my grandmother’s intrusion, because I can already guess the next words to come from Preston’s mouth.
Just remember I banged her first.
And that is the last thing Lucas needs to hear with his parents in my house.
I shoot Gram an appreciative smile, noticing as her own blue eyes narrow at my ex-boyfriend. When she flicks a questioning stare at me, I mouth, “Rebecca.”
Gram’s lips thin into a disapproving line. And then, because she doesn’t have it in her to be rude to anyone, she smiles at Preston. “Come on, we better go to the dining room.” Turning to look over her shoulder, she teases Lucas’ dad, “Danny, might as well have some food to get ready for that loss.”
My grandmother and ex disappear into the dining room with Mr. Wolfe following a few seconds behind them. He’s grinning broadly and shaking his head. “Your grandma is—” He freezes and looks between Lucas and me, his brows tugging together. “Is everything alright?”
“It’s fine,” Lucas promises, but his smile is tight. “Give us a few?”
Mr. Wolfe nods, and once he’s out of sight, out of earshot, I let my shoulders sag and slowly turn toward him. I stare down at the floor, squeezing my eyes together to stop the tears burning the corners. “Whenever I think she’s not going to do something else crazy, she pulls something like this. Why in the world would she ask him here? And why would he even come?”
“Oh, Red.” Lucas releases a breath, and I feel his strong hands on my shoulders. “Look at me.” When I don’t, he kisses me hard, not pulling away until I’m breathless. “If you could only see yourself the way I do you’d know why she likes to fuck with you, why he was dumb enough to bring his ass here, knowing that you’re with me.”
“What reason would that be?” I murmur.
Lucas strokes his fingers over my shoulder before cupping the back of my neck. With his other hand, he feathers his thumb across my cheek. “You shine, Red. People do crazy things simply to be around you. I know—I’m one of them. Your grandmother loves you and that threatens Rebecca. You’re with me, and that dumb shit Parker—”
“Preston,” I correct, laughing and he kisses me again.
“Preston … he’s threatened by the thought of you being with someone else. And you’re with me, Sienna. There’s no fucking way I’m letting you go ‘cause of a little prick like that.” Drawing away from me, Lucas skims his fingers down my arm and takes my hand. He starts to tug me toward the dining room, but I shake my head.
“You’re wrong, you know?”
“Preston. It’s been years since we were together.”
Now it’s his turn to laugh—a sound that breaks through the panic still settled in my chest. “Damn, Red. Haven’t you figured out by now that you’re worth fighting for?”