Into the Woods
Lear Brothers Book 1
by ML Uberti
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Organized Crime
“Great-Grandma Lynnie called,” my mom began as we all settled down for dinner -- me, my dad, my twin thirteen-year-old brothers who were both texting on their phones, my cousin Halsey who showed up here for dinner most nights, and our giant schnauzer Eli, whose head was set right beside my dad’s plate, his back end wagging in anticipation.
I grabbed a bowl of meatballs and then stopped, realizing my mom’s eyes were on mine -- and so were everyone else’s.
“Okaaay.” I let the word drag out, blinking at my parents.
Mom glancing at my dad and then back at me. “She’s home from the surgery but having some trouble getting around.”
My stomach dropped. I knew in an instant what was next.
“It would only be a couple weeks, Jules,” my dad assured me, but the rock had already settled hard in my gut.
My brother Aiden looked up at me and snickered, then went back to his phone. Halsey patted my hand sympathetically. Owen pumped his fist in the air as he won the next level on his iPhone game. “I think a change of scenery is just what you need right now,” my mom said with a firm nod of her head.
She probably wasn’t wrong, but that determined look on her face meant I had no chance in hell of talking her out of this. Grandma Lynnie was the stereotypical old lady they portray in horror movies complete with a cane, a lace shawl, and as mean as she was scary. Nothing was ever clean enough, or worked well, or brought her any joy at all. Everything was too loud, or brash, or busy. I don’t think the woman had ever seen a computer. She didn’t have a microwave. She hung all her clothes out on a line. She hadn’t driven since the ‘90’s.
Our visits to the small mountain town of Kentucky where she lived consisted of staying at my mom’s sister’s house, going over for two hour bursts of time to my mom’s Grandma Lynnie and getting lectured about all the ills of the world while my dad was forced to fix something and my brothers and I had to sit quietly or wash the floors. It was exhausting.
And now, now I’d be staying there? No, my mom couldn’t be that cruel.
“Isn’t grandma helping her?” Halsey waded in, tilting her eyes to me hopefully.
“Grandma’s got a trip planned to Scottsdale with her Zumba class and Aunt Jen’s dealing with Meghan’s twins,” my mom answered, and the dread sank deep into my bones. I was going to stay with Great-Grandma Lynnie. There was no way around it.
“Jules --” my dad called for my attention and I looked over at him. “I think this is good for you right now.”
He meant right now because my boyfriend Mike had just gotten busted for growing and selling weed out of his dad’s basement and my parents had flipped their fucking lids. Weed was legal medicinally. That’s not how Mike had been selling it, of course, and my parents seemed to think that his crimes were akin to murder.
They’d made me break up with him -- even though I was nineteen and had kind of wanted to do it anyway. Then forbade me from talking to him while he was incarcerated at the county jail. And now -- now, Grandma Lynnie.
It’s not like Mike had been the love of my life or anything -- he was really just fun and handsome. And when you’re fifteen, that’s all that matters. We’d been going out, off and on, for four years and now he was in the clink and I was on my way to hell.
Dramatic? Maybe. But Grandma Lynnie and her six cats was not the summer I’d been expecting -- and it seemed I had no choice.
Starbucks aficionado, lover of throw blankets and betrayer of all things kale, ML Uberti is a Wayne State University graduate and Metro Detroit author with a predilection for oddities and happy endings. She is mom to three autistic kids, 2 ridiculously stupid dogs and wife of a teacher and musician who has endless patience for her impeccably bad taste in Netflix shows and murder documentaries. She is thrilled to dip her toe into scifi romance from contemporary and hopes you enjoy her big, brooding alien alphas and resilient fairy tale queens.
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