Craving Caden (Lost Boys #2) by Jessica Lemmon

Chapter One





Tasha


I parked my BMW in the Wilson driveway, cutting the engine and sighing in resignation. The garage door was open, and two tennis shoes poked out from beneath a pale blue vintage car.

The shoes belonged to my “patient,” Caden Wilson. Cade, as he was known to his friends. I called him Cade too, though I’m not exactly sure he considered me his friend. I wasn’t sure what we were.

I stepped out of my own vehicle in sparkly flats and tugged at my short denim skirt. The moment the snow had thawed, I’d been filled with gratitude that winter was over. Much as I loved my boots, I was a spring girl. New beginnings and fresh starts and all that.

I debated for a second before leaning back into the driver’s side and grabbing my backpack from the passenger seat. Cade hated this pack. It represented the uphill climb to regain his speech. I was here to help. I had a job to do. If he didn’t see it that way, it wasn’t my problem.

After his accident, I filled in as his physical therapist when he’d run off every other therapist who came his way. He hadn’t let me do much before and allowed me to do even less now. But his physical injuries were no longer an issue.

Cade’s problem was with his tongue.

I wasn’t a speech therapist, but Cade’s father didn’t care about titles. As long as Cade was willing to work with me, Paul Wilson kept me around. Paul and I spent a lot of hours next to Cade’s hospital bed those first few days. Cade had drifted in and out of consciousness and was as silent as a stone statue.

I had witnessed the accident that night, and every instinct told me Cade needed a friend to wake up to. Most of the crowd on Alley Road had bailed after the crash, since street racing was illegal. An ambulance plus cops being deployed hadn’t inspired a lot of loyalty. His closest friends, whose interests were pre-law like him, popped in but then out again, not having the stomach to sit with him. The bandages and cuts on his face from the windshield didn’t deter me. I watched over him worried, hoping each time his long eyelashes fluttered they wouldn’t reveal the pain swimming in his eyes.

Paul was grateful I’d stayed. He’d been my father’s accountant for years, so I’d seen him around before our rendezvous at the hospital. Mine and Cade’s past wasn’t peachy, but knowing he was hurting, I couldn’t walk away.

So, I didn’t.

Cade was my second job, in a way. I was currently pulling an internship at Ridgeway Rehabilitation Institute. I’d been at RRI for a few months and I enjoyed the work. I was good at it, according to my instructor, and I was working with patients who didn’t hate me, which was a plus. By summer, I hoped to start my career there by obtaining a paid PTA position.

Working with Cade was a blip on an otherwise wide-spanning radar. Or so I told myself. I took a deep breath to announce my arrival, but someone else did it for me.

“Hey, Tasha.” My best friend’s boyfriend, in all his tall, dark, suited beauty, appeared in the garage, bag on his shoulder.

Devlin Calvary was Cade’s half-brother, an unforeseen twist that had surprised them both. Last year, they’d discovered they were half-brothers who shared a mother. I had to sit down and draw a flowchart to understand how that’d happened. A lot of lies, as it turned out.

That partly explained Cade’s bad attitude. He learned his parentage was half fiction, and then he threw in a car accident that had injured him and taken him out of college. And trust me, he hadn’t been the most pleasant person before his injuries. At least he wasn’t slicing me in two with that sharp tongue of his. Some days I was surprised I was trying to help him regain his speech. Maybe this time around he’d use his powers for good rather than evil.

Devlin adjusted the duffel bag on his shoulder. He was dressed for work in a deep charcoal-gray suit, a blue tie arrowing down to a shiny leather belt. He was the owner of a high-end restaurant in town, so he dressed to impress. He was wily, but since he’d fallen for my best friend, he’d become…well, not tamed, but there was a light air around him that hadn’t existed before they met. Rena and Devlin were inseparable, which had changed him for the better. Rena finally found the happiness she deserved. They brought out the best in each other, which was what couples were supposed to do.

“Hey.” Devlin kicked the sole of his brother’s shoe. “Therapist is here.”

Cade didn’t respond. That wasn’t unusual.

“You are a glutton for punishment, Montgomery.” Devlin’s mouth twisted into a smirk—the one my best friend Rena favored. His comment wasn’t venomous. He used to be a jerk. Now he was almost cordial, which was an adjustment for me.