In The Aftermath (Rebels #0) Read Online Meadow Jones

Categories Genre: M-M Romance, Romance Tags Authors: Series: Rebels Series by Meadow Jones
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Total pages in book: 77
Estimated words: 72628 (not accurate)
Estimated Reading Time in minutes: 363(@200wpm)___ 291(@250wpm)___ 242(@300wpm)
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Tristan
On the surface, it seems like I have it all—a successful career as a professional baseball player, a loyal sister, great friends, and an oasis to call home. But beneath the façade, is a deep, intense pain brought on by tragedy and trauma from my past. One ill-fated day, years ago, changed the entire landscape of my life. An act of extreme violence took our parents from us, leaving my sister and I orphaned. From that day forward, I vowed never to allow myself to become close to another. After all, love can only end in pain, right?

Cade
If life has taught me anything, it has been: don’t ever fall in love with your best friend. I learned that lesson the hard way and was left lost and brokenhearted. Now, just a few months later, after picking up the pieces and moving on with my life, I find myself, once again, falling for a man who calls himself my friend. Life has been cruel to Tristan, and I want to take away all his burdens. He’s imprinted himself onto my heart and I just can’t seem to let him go. Can I get him to open up to me so we can find happiness together, or will I end up brokenhearted once more?

FULL BOOK START HERE:

Playlist

Chris Stapleton, “Broken Halos”

Ed Sheeran, “All of the Stars”

Green Day, “Boulevard of Broken Dreams”

Katy Perry, “Wide Awake”

James Arthur, “Falling like the Stars”

Lady Gaga, “Til It Happens to You”

Luke Combs, “Doin’ This”

Queen, “Bohemian Rhapsody”

Shinedown, “A Symptom of Being Human”

Uncle Lucius, “Keep the Wolves Away”

Zac Efron & Zendaya, “Rewrite the Stars”

prologue

Tristan

Sixteen years ago

The floors always give me away when I sneak from my bedroom, as our stepfather loses control. When my mom cries and screams, it’s her way of protecting us by drawing his attention away from my younger sister and me. My fast approach isn’t quiet in the way I almost run to my sister’s room.

“Cassie, it’s Tris. It’s okay to come out.”

The dust ruffle covering the bottom of her bed flips up, and her tear-stained face is recognizable by the moonlight reflecting from her mirror.

“You were loud, Cade. He has to know you’re in here.”

Her eight-year-old mind understands the danger of ignoring or defying him.

“If I’m here, he won’t hurt you.” This is my explanation.

Mama has told us repeatedly that if we were to leave him be, she’d take a million beatings if it meant we were safe. But it’s just a matter of time before he gets bored and moves on to us. I say us, but I know the truth. At twelve, I’m already bigger and just as strong as he is. I may be unable to help my mom, but I won’t let him get past me to hurt my sister.

“Maybe I should stay down here, Tris.” Her little whines aren’t quiet either, but at our ages, maybe we just can’t be everything he asks of us.

“No, Cassie, I got you. I’ll never let anyone hurt you.”

She army crawls out from under the bed, sure to cause rug burns on her little arms and knees.

“If it helps, you can hide under the covers,” I offer and pull the sheets back for my little sister, and she hurries under them.

“Mama sounds worse tonight, Tris, like he’s hurting her more than he usually does.”

His anger has escalated, and I have a choice to make. “I’m calling Dad, Cass. He’ll come and make it better.”

“No, Tris, you promised me.” Cassie pauses, and I know our dad would save us, but it means breaking the promise I made to my sister. “If he knows,” she continues through muffled cries, he’ll take us away from her, and Mama will have no one to take care of her after he beats her.”

Dad always liked Ted, and he’s always been a good judge of character, too. Ted fooled us all at first; he must be one damn good actor.

Her sad face plays off the reflection as before, and I can’t disappoint my sister, but one day he may kill our mom, and then what? Cassie’s too young to understand, but I’m not.

“Charlotte, you have a choice. You pack a bag and come with us, and I’ll help you get back on your feet. Or I take the kids, calling the cops on the way out of town.”

My father’s voice rises up the stairs and into Cassie’s room. I’m packing a bag of essentials while my sister cries on the bed. “You lied to me, Tris. Mommy will be all alone, now.”

Not if she knows what’s good for her and leaves with Dad and us. I keep these thoughts to myself.

“And your wife will love me living with you?” Mom’s reply is forced, and it’s not like our mom to snap at Dad. I barely remember them married, and Cassie was only two when they split, but they were always better friends than partners—or at least that’s what they claimed.


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