The Sterling Boys

By: C.M. Owens

RAIN



I'm sure it's every girl's fantasy to have five gorgeous, rich boys walk into her house while wearing their designer tuxes and carrying a bouquet of flowers for her. Especially if those five boys are Sterlings. For me? It's not a fantasy. Not tonight. It's real.

My five best friends have delayed their senior prom to come be with me when I need them the most.

I sniffle as they all flash their dazzling smiles while lining up in front of me. Surely they're not going to stay.

"I'll put in the movie," Corbin says, winking at me as he pats my side.

"Movie?" I ask, my voice rasp from emotion as Dale kisses my cheek and flops down in front of the couch I'm on.

"When's the pizza coming?" Dale asks, ignoring my query.

"Pizza?" I ask as Kode takes his turn to kiss me, barely missing my lips when he kisses too close.

"The pizza will be here in five," Maverick says from somewhere behind Kode.

"I've got the popcorn," Kode says softly, cupping my chin and placing a second kiss on my forehead.

"Popcorn?" I ask, sounding pathetic as my questions continue to go unanswered.

After Maverick kisses me softly on the lips, he quickly dodges the slap on the back of the head by Dane. He knew it would be coming.

Dane Sterling. The epitome of perfection. He has perfectly smooth, dark hair that shags with just the right amount of length; crisp green eyes that leave emeralds envious; and a body that should be illegal for an eighteen-year-old to own. Add in the fact that he's the most loyal, trustworthy, and generous person there ever was, and you have no chance of keeping your knees from wobbling.

I was born into a screwed-up situation. My mother was the other woman; the maid to be exact. I was the love child born from a forbidden relationship. My mother loved a bored man with a wandering eye. And she fell hard, only to realize she was just a victim of the fairytale bullshit she'd believed in.

Rich men with wives don't fall for the maid; they just fuck the maid and get it out of their systems. He sent her money after she quit, and she had me to raise on her own. When she died from breast cancer, I was just thirteen. My grandmother had died ten years before that. Breast cancer and endometrial cancer had worked together to steal her life.

The only family I had was the bastard who didn't want me.

It was his wife, Eleanor, who stepped in to make sure I had a home. She could have turned her back on me, considering I was the proof of her husband's infidelity, though I doubt my mother was the first woman Edward strayed to.

Coming to Sterling Shore—the beach town full of rich assholes—was intimidating, exhausting, and grueling. I was living with the father that didn't want me, the woman my mother had hurt, and the daughter my father actually loved—Tria. Don't even get me started on Ms. Perfect.

After my new sister started a rumor on my first day of school, I was tormented. Though no one knew the details to my sudden appearance—and Tria wouldn't let that scandal come out—everyone knew something wasn't right. Tria told them my mother was a crack-addict, and I was the charity case they took in after I was "found soliciting my body for food."

When I was affronted in the hallways that day, Dane stepped in like the knight he is. He told everyone to fuck off or deal with him. Considering dealing with him also meant dealing with his brother and three cousins, all of which held the prestigious Sterling name and terrifying temper, no one dared to fuck with him. Thank God.

I was adopted into their little gang, and no one ever bothered me at school again—besides Tria. But she didn't have enough clout to make anyone else mess with my five bodyguards.

Dane is a Sterling now, but he wasn't always. His past—his jaded roots—make us kindred. It's one of the reasons I'm closer to him than anyone else here.

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