Authors: Belle Aurora
Tags: #Romance, #Friendship, #adult, #Humor, #funny, #Humour, #Contemporary Romance, #love thy neighbor, #love thy neighbour
Love Thy Neighbor
Published by Belle Auro
Copyright © 2013 Belle Aurora
First published 2013
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced,
distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including
photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods,
without the prior written permission of the author, except in the
case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain
other non-commercial uses permitted by copyright law. For
permission requests, write to the author, addressed “Request:
Copyright Approval” at [email protected]
Smashwords Edition, License Notes
This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook
may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like
to share this book with another person, please purchase an
additional copy for each person. If you’re reading this book and
did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only,
then please return to Smashwords and purchase your own copy. Thank
you for respecting the hard work of this author.
Belle Aurora is in no way affiliated with any brands, songs or
musicians or artists mentioned in this book.
Table of Contents
The White Rabbit is packed with wedding
guests. I look to the bride and groom.
I smile and watch my very pregnant best
friend, Valentina, dance with her brand spanking new husband,
Nikolai. The song Tina chose for their first dance as man and wife
is ‘Amazing’ by Cassie Davis.
Nik holds Tina close, rubs his nose gently
up the length of hers and whispers something against her lips. Tina
smiles and responds with closed eyes. I roll my eyes.
Love sure does funny things to people.
Tina met Nik just over a year ago and spent
the beginning of their friendship denying her feelings for him.
They remained friends for a while, but anyone with a brain could
see the sexual tension between them was so thick you could slice it
with a knife.
To cut a long story short, my sweet best
friend watched Nik for two weeks through the windows of her store,
Safira. Nik would come outside of the club he owns, The White
Rabbit, for a cigarette break. Tina would watch his scowling face
and become sad.
Tina doesn’t like to be sad.
So she decided to anonymously send Nik some
candy with a note attached. Talking about this now makes Tina
laugh. Truth is, she was mortified when Nik sent his brother, Max,
over to the store to fetch whoever wrote the note. You see, Tina
wrote the note unknowingly on Safira stationary. And the rest is
Together, they make a whole.
You would never guess from looking at Tina
the sorrow and tragedy she has gone through in her short life.
Losing her mom and daughter in the same accident left her hollow
for a long time.
It left me hollow too.
See, we lived in Cali. We grew up together.
Our parents are Croatian and friends which somehow meant we were
automatically friends, too. So, I spent most of my childhood
looking out for sweet little Tina who doesn’t have a nasty bone in
her body. I love her more than anything. She believes I saved her
life when I moved in with her after her daughter and mom passed
away, but the truth is, she saved mine.
There is nothing more heart-wrenching than
watching your dearest friend deteriorate before your eyes. Tina
became a hollow shell, and living in Cali was only making her
worse, so she moved to New York. I lasted two years before I packed
my shit and followed her down. Living without Tina close by is
something I never want to experience again. My heart was shrinking
by the day.
I’m not what you would call a ‘nice person’.
I tolerate people on the best of days.
Don’t get me wrong, once you pass the
friendship barrier I’ve got up around me, you’re in.
But Tina is a part of my heart. She helps me
be a good person. She makes me want to be a better person. Going
through what she has, she should be a shrew. But she’s my everyday
reminder that life goes on and you have to go with the flow or risk
being sucked into a vicious current.
I glance over at the bar. Lola and Trick are
wrapped up in each other. Not unusual.
Lola loves Trick with all her heart, but
Trick is having a hard time committing to her. I’m unsure why.
She’s smart, loyal and loving. Trick is funny and a total
knucklehead, but he’s lovable too. You can’t help but laugh at his
awful jokes. There’s more to Trick than he’s letting on, but until
he lets it loose, we won’t know.
My eyes continue to scan the room. Max and
Mimi sit with Ceecee, Max’s daughter. Max and Ceecee are laughing
at something, and Mimi is scowling. She’s obviously being made fun
of. A smile spreads across my face. Max and Ceecee live with Tina
and Nik, so I see them a lot.
I love them both.
Max is a good friend and really great at
talking people off their metaphorical ledges. And Ceecee is so
adorable, you just want to eat her up. She was left a paraplegic
after an accident when she was just a baby. So they’re another good
example of how life goes on and can be good again.
Mimi, or Meems, has completely transformed
since I got to New York. She was as surly as they come. Not at all
a touchy-feely person. Ever since we’ve been hanging with the guys,
she’s smiling and laughing more.
The guys are what we call…well, the guys.
The group consists of Nik, his brother Max, their cousin Trick an
old childhood friend, Ghost.
Damn the man.
Yeah, damn him.
Ghost is somewhat like me. He’s not a people
person either. In saying that, we aren’t friends.
The man is a royal pain in my ass. He chooses the perfect moment of
every occasion to whisper something in my ear that’s always enough
to make me lose my shit.
It doesn’t take a lot to make me lose my
Ghost, whose real name is Asher, and I had a
‘moment’ last year. If a ‘moment’ includes being dragged down the
hall of a club, having your panties ripped off, then being fucked
on a conference table while you beg and scream for more, then, yes,
we shared a moment. It was a one-time thing, though. We’ve never
spoken about it, but it was the best sex I’ve ever had in my entire
life. And I’m no stranger to sex. I love sex, and I’m not afraid to
have it as long as protection is used.
I wouldn’t say I’m a slut. I’m just in touch
with my inner slut. And, let me tell you, she rocks.
You’re such a dumbass.
I hate myself for looking out for Ghost.
Even if it is on the sly.
The man is insufferable. A total dickhead.
No manners what-so-ever. None.
So why can’t you stop thinking about his
God. I suck.
An arm comes around my shoulder and
squeezes. I look around to see my father and mother flanking
“Such nice wedding, no? I so happy for
Valentina.” My dad’s English is not good.
He’s lived in America for thirty years and
still has a heavy accent. He isn’t the only one. Tina’s father,
Marko, is very much the same. Working with Croats and having the
majority of your friends being Croats, they forgot to be American.
Even a little.
My mom nudges my dad and says, “Boris, don’t
talk wedding things in front of Natalia. You know how she is.”
Mom’s English is pretty darn good. She’s a little dramatic. Not
that I blame her. Raising three hot-headed girls will do that to
you. My dad has been trying to marry me off to a nice Croatian boy
since I was eighteen, and whenever he works marriage into a
conversation, I normally just walk away with him still flapping his
Dad glares at mom. “Ana…”
Mom cuts him off with a firm, “Boris.” Dad
pouts and looks away.
Mom 1 – Dad 0.
“I can see Nina over by the bar. I think
I’ll join her for a drink.” I remove myself from my father’s
clutches and walk away.
I walk two steps and hear my dad yell out,
“Pamet u glavu! Nemoj mi sramotit!” I smirk. I’ve been hearing this
since I was a child. It basically means
Use your brain
Don’t embarrass me
. Every Croatian child hears this growing
up, and most likely, still does. I’m almost twenty-nine and am
still hearing it!
My sisters are at the bar chatting, and very
obviously flirting with the handsome blonde barman.
Not hot exactly. He looks classy.
I’ve seen him several times, but don’t know
his name. We all meet up at The White Rabbit every Saturday night
to drink and unwind. Nik made us girls permanent VIPs. We have our
own booth and everything!
I smirk internally and decide to be a real
bitch. I’m going to spoil their fun.
I put on my best sultry smile, walk
in-between my sisters and lean over the bar towards the
“Hi.” I tilt my head and search his face as if I’m really just
seeing him for the first time. “I’m sure you’re new. I would’ve
remembered you if I’d seen you here before.” I lightly chew on the
nail of my pinky finger, accentuating my naturally pouty lips.
The barman stares at my lips, swallows and
replies a choked, “Hi.” He clears his throat and tries again. “Hi.
Actually, I know you, Nat. I see you every Saturday night with the
I put on my best humiliated face and lean
even closer, so he can see my cleavage. “I’m sorry. Maybe I can
make it up to you…”
“Stefan. But everyone calls me Sheriff.” He
takes my hand and kisses it.
I take his hand, kiss the tip of his middle
finger very lightly and run it along my bottom lip. Stefan’s mouth
parts slightly and his body tightens. He looks to be in pain. I
whisper, “Let me make it up to you sometime…Sheriff.” Then I wink
and walk away, leaving my sisters fuming.
Ha-ha…Take that, ya whores!
My sisters and I have a love-hate
relationship. We love to hate each other. We all look alike, have
the same attitude and are extremely short-fused. But we love each
other to death, and if someone hurt one of my sisters, they’d have
to answer to me. Or my fist. Repeatedly.
I make my way to the restroom. As soon as I
walk in, I hear retching.
“Everything okay in there?” I yell out.
“Fine! Bean doesn’t like mama dancing around
too much.” Poor Tina.
I chuckle. “Either that, or it’s an
Tina chuckles and retorts, “Just like Aunt
I pull out the fakest laugh I can, which
sounds a bit like an old man’s guffaw. Tina bursts out laughing in
the stall, but she quickly starts retching again. The poor thing
gets morning sickness all day long. I remember her being just the
same when she was pregnant with Mia, Tina’s daughter who died a few
“Do you want me to get you some lemonade?” I
She groans and replies hoarsely, “Yes,
Before I leave, I check my reflection in the
mirror. I love my hair. It’s long and slightly wavy. It used to be
a deep magenta/violet, but I recently dyed it a vivid red. With my
red pouting lips, green eyes and curvy body, I could easily be
mistaken for Jessica Rabbit. And I love playing the role of
I exit the restroom and head back to the bar
to my unhappy sisters. Once there, they both glare at me. “What the
feck was that about, slut?” My older sister, Nina, spits.