Wrong Kind of Love
A story of forbidden love with a side of revenge…
When my husband of nearly twenty years abruptly left me for another woman, I thought my life was over.
But I was wrong…
Wrong for thinking I was weak, wrong for assuming I couldn’t go on, wrong for believing I wouldn’t love again.
No matter what anyone else thinks,
Wrong never felt so right.
After about a fifteen-minute trip, I pull into the parking lot across the street from NONA, short for New Orleans ‘N Athens, a popular upscale Cajun restaurant, which is well-known for its Oysters Rockefeller and Shrimp and Grits. Shifting the transmission into park, I take several deep breaths to help calm the nerves using my stomach as a dance floor, and before I can lose my resolve and drive myself back home, I hop out of the SUV and scurry through the oppressive Georgia summer heat toward the entrance.
As soon as I walk through the glass door, I see Stella perched on one of the stools up at the old-style wood bar, chatting it up with some of the other patrons and openly flirting with the young bartender. Thankfully, the stool to her right is open, and as I slide onto the green padded seat, she begins to squeal and bounce up and down in her chair.
“Oh my God! You really came! You really came!!” she yells loud enough for the entire first floor of the restaurant to hear. Lunging her upper body in my direction, she wraps her arms tightly around my neck and kisses my cheek.
Releasing the embrace, I smile timidly at her. “Yep, I really came, and I’m sure all of Broad St. is now aware of it too.”
She ignores my snide remark and continues on with her overly-animated greeting. “And look at your hair, woman! It’s abso gorgey. How long have I been telling you to add some color into your life?”
Stella Laughlin is the only person on the face of the earth that can say the words abso gorgey, and not make me want to slap her across the face. Not only has she been my best friend since I can remember, the one person who has never turned her back on me, no matter how many times I cancelled on her for our nights out or didn’t return her phone calls for days upon end, but she’s also my only sibling, younger by three years.
Hands down the most eccentric and unconventional person I know, Stella not only marches to the beat of a different drum, she’s often on a completely different radio wavelength. Wearing wild clothes and having hair that would make Rainbow Brite jealous is only the tip of the iceberg with my dear sister. She smokes pot daily, keeps a sugar glider—Hazel—and a miniature pig—Zsa Zsa Gapork—as pets, owns a tattoo parlor, and doesn’t believe humans are meant to be monogamous. A girlie-girl at heart, she’s got a streak of bad ass in her that brings grown men to their knees…often.
It’s safe to say she was never a fan of my extremely conservative, extremely unadventurous ex-husband, and the feeling was most definitely mutual. On multiple occasions over the years, she and Mark would get into arguments over a variety of topics, primarily how he never supported my painting. Always my biggest advocate, she told me time and time again I was wasting a talent that should be shared with the world. Now, I only hope she is right.
“Your idea of color and mine are a little different, Stel,” I tease as I ruffle her canary yellow bob. “What’re you drinking tonight?”
She looks down at her nearly empty glass and then up at the bartender she was talking to, her smile growing wide when she makes eye contact with him. “Drake, baby, can you bring her a Grey Goose and tonic and another Long Island for me, please?”
“Sure thing, Miss Stella,” he winks at us before moving down the bar to grab the necessary liquors for our drinks.
“You’re on a first name basis with the bartender?” I ask, cocking my eyebrow at her, not that I’m really surprised. From what I can tell, Drake is exactly Stella’s type—tall, thin, bald, and has full, colorful sleeves of tattoos sticking out from under the NONA staff t-shirt he’s wearing.
“Oh, I know a lot more than his first name, sis.” She giggles, tucking a loose strand of hair behind her ear. “He’s got a hot roommate too, who I also know more about than his first name.”
My mouth falls open as I stare at her in disbelief, then glance over at him, and finally return my eyes to her. “Are you serious?” I whisper dubiously.
“Drake and Cole both get their ink done at the shop, and they’re good friends with one of the artists, Jimbo, so we party together sometimes. A lot of us come here to eat and drink on our days off, because they hook us up with free drinks,” she explains casually.
“So you haven’t slept with both of them?”
Drake picks exactly that moment to walk up and set our drinks down in front of us. Obviously hearing my question, he chuckles, and with his gaze held on Stella, shakes his head. Not backing away from his stare, she lifts the glass and takes a long, seductive drink from the straw.
“Not at the same time,” she coos at him, batting her thick eyelashes, and then twists to look at me. “But not from a lack of trying.”
He throws his head back with a deep laugh. “You’ve got that right, Miss Stella. I told you I don’t do two dicks. Now if you want to bring your beautiful friend here to join us,” he flashes a wicked grin in my direction, “I’ll be more than happy to oblige you.”
“She’s my sister!” I blurt out, appalled at the mere thought of his suggestion.
“Even better, baby.” He waggles his eyebrows at us before leaving to help another customer.
Glaring at my sister as she fails miserably to contain her laughter, I shove her shoulder rather hard, almost causing her to lose her balance on the stool. “Stella! That is disgusting! Why are you laughing?” I exclaim angrily. “And you wonder why I never go out with you or hang out with your friends?”
“Oh my God, Mia,” she explodes with laughter, righting herself and slapping the bar with amusement, “he’s totally pulling your leg. I’ve never slept with Drake or Cole. They’re more than a decade younger than me. Are you kidding? I’m like the mom of the bunch, except not really motherly.”
I scowl hard at her, not finding her sense of humor very funny. “I don’t know whether or not to believe you…about any of it.”
She wipes the escaped tears from her cheek then pats my arm soothingly. “I promise you, I may be the free spirit of the family, but I’m not a whore, nor am I robbing any cradles. I like my men to be old enough to remember the joy of getting a new Trapper Keeper before each school year, someone who knows what a card catalog is, and most importantly, a guy who thought Punky Brewster was the fucking shit.”
“Hey, I’ve jacked off to Soleil Moon Frye on more than one occasion,” Drake adds as he saunters up, rejoining our conversation.
“You jacked off to her big ass tits, perv,” she snickers with a roll of her eyes, “and I wasn’t referring to her in a sexual way.”
Paying no attention to her, he turns to me with a big, friendly smile and extends his hand. “Sorry about earlier; you can’t ever take anything I say seriously. I’m Drake, by the way, Stella’s smartest, funniest, and most handsome friend.”
I shake his hand and relax a bit in my seat. “Nice to meet you, Drake. I’m Mia, Stella’s uptight older sister.”
“Pleasure’s all mine, sweetheart. I’ll leave you two alone to chat; just flag me down if either of y’all need anything.” He grins at me and winks at Stella again before taking off down to the other side of the bar.
And then Stella and I do exactly what he suggests—we spend the next three hours talking, drinking, and laughing, and for the first time in a long time, I feel happy.
A lover of happily-ever-afters, both historical and current, Erin is an avid reader of all romance novels. Her titles published include the Book Boyfriend Series, the Dusk ‘Til Dawn Series, Translucent, Conspire — co-authored with SE Hall, Surviving Us, MILF: Wrong Kind of Love and Spark.
Her books have been a part of the USA Today Bestselling list and the Amazon and Barnes & Noble overall Top 100.