Wicked Beginnings

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I shot Dad a discreet look but he didn’t seem to share my concern, smiling reassuringly just as Uncle Gentry said, “And this giant here, is Maverick.”

My head lifted watching as another person entered the room. I did a double take, my eyes widening with surprise, and then something much, much worse. My stomach sank and then plummeted into the tips of my toes.

It couldn’t be.

There was absolutely no way this could be happening.

My fingers curled around the edge of the stool as I tried to stay upright all while I was unable to tear my gaze away from a face I thought I’d never see again.

A face I didn’t want to see again.

Dark hair curled at the ends giving way to an angular jaw and a perfect nose set between two of the most intense and unfathomable eyes I’d ever seen. Eyes I’d almost lost myself in once before.


No one seemed to notice my shock as Gentry clapped a hand around his stepson’s shoulder, jolting me back into the room. The eldest Stone-Prince flinched, and I saw the tension between them. Felt it descend over the room. We all did. It radiated from Maverick like a wall of blistering heat. Then his eyes narrowed on me, and I saw the realisation flash across his face. His glare turned icy cold … unresponsive, and I balked. I wanted the floor to open and swallow me whole and if that failed, I’d settle for spontaneous combustion. Anything to escape this nightmare.

How could this be happening?


“Hi.” His voice turned my blood cold. He shirked out of his stepfather’s hold and folded his arms over his chest, standing to his full height. Uncle Gentry wasn’t wrong, he was a giant. Easily six two—and about three inches taller than last summer—there was nothing boy about him. My eyes scanned the length of his body, lean muscle stacked on more lean muscle. When I reached his face, his lips twitched as if he knew I’d been checking him out.


What the hell was I doing?

Maverick Prince might not have been my blood cousin, but he was family. He was also the boy I almost gave myself to on a warm summer’s eve at a beach party last summer.

Double fuck.

I risked peeking up at him through my lashes. His hardened gaze was still trained on me, but his smirk slid away replaced with a look of disgust. My stomach clenched violently as my grip on the stool tightened until the blood drained from my knuckles.

How on earth had this happened? How had I spent hours talking to a boy on a beach and not known who he was?

How had I not realised? And how had he not put two and two together?

He remembered, and from the looks of it, he wasn’t too happy about it either.

This wasn’t good—not good at all.

The chink of metal against glass broke our stand-off, and I focused on Uncle Gentry as he cleared his throat. “Now everyone’s present, I’d just like to say how happy we are to have you both here.” He smiled warmly at me and moved to Dad, squeezing his shoulder. “Our home is yours for as long as you need it. Robert, Eloise, welcome to the family.”

My eyes shuttered, and I inhaled a sharp breath. When I plucked up the courage to open them again, Maverick was gone.

I’d thought moving to Wicked Bay was the worst thing that could happen to me, but I was about to find out, it was only the beginning.