Double Trouble (Troublemaker Series #2) by Cassie Mae

Dedicated to all the girls.

Be you a tomboy, a princess, a nerd, a cheerleader… you are AMAZING.





“It’s bigger than I thought it’d be.”

My little sister, Demi, has always said exactly what’s on her mind, and this time is no different. She plucks the box from our brother’s hand, tilting her head and narrowing her eyes at the sparkly diamond that rests inside.

Pete chuckles, jamming his hands into the back pockets of his jeans. “Gee, thanks, Dem.”

“It’s not like you make a lot of money,” she argues. Pete rolls his eyes toward me, but I’m still battling the sick taste of shock from the back of my throat.

Married. He wants to get married.

My twenty-three-year-old brother, my roommate, wants to marry his girlfriend of a year. I swallow hard, pushing against the acid rising through my chest, and force a smile at him. His brows pull together at whatever the hell expression I’m donning, then he turns his attention back to Demi.

“Think Candace will like it?”

“Hmm.” Demi puts a freshly painted nail to her chin and squints at the diamond. It’s not ostentatious from that quick glance I got of it. Pete may have been promoted recently, but he makes thirty grand a year, if that. Candace comes from money. And when I say that, I’m talking Scrooge McDuck and his mounds of gold would be jealous of her family. She’s not a snob or anything. I really like her, and she’s good for my brother, but… well, a Troublemakers’ salary won’t be enough to build a life on, and she could be in for a rude awakening if she says yes.

Demi slips the ring out of the box and slides it onto her finger. It’s way too big for her, but that doesn’t stop her from putting her hand out and pretending she’s just been proposed to.

“Well?” Pete prods, an amused grin tilting his lips. My heart thumps hard enough to push against my eardrums.

Where are they gonna live? Will they have a long engagement? Will I have time to find another roommate? Wait… I can’t just find a roommate. I have Demi here. My eleven-year-old sister can’t just live with some stranger.

Panic boils in my stomach, and I put my feet up on the edge of the couch, wrapping my arms around my knees to contain it all before I pop like a bottle of champagne. I’m Miss Chill, and if I freak out, it’ll give everyone else permission to do so as well, and I don’t want my opinion to taint Demi’s.

Demi takes the ring off and sticks her arm straight out, handing it off to Pete. “You’re lucky Candace loves you.”

Pete’s bark of a laugh escapes him as he sticks the ring in its box. He swings the box in front of my face. “Second opinion, please.”

I force my eyes to look through the fog of panic and examine the engagement ring. I’m not much for jewelry, but I know a good ring when I see one. My brother did well, picking a sweet princess cut style that’s simple and beautiful. In a way, it’s been like their relationship.

“It’s nice,” I say, then I make the mistake of meeting his damn hopeful eyes. He’s always been my kid brother, but we’ve been partners for forever, and even though I have half a million questions, I won’t squash his excitement. “She’s going to love it.”

“See, Dem,” he says, his smile as bright as the sun, and I’m equally happy and frustrated that I play the part of chill sister. “That’s how you give a compliment.”

“I’d rather be honest.” She takes a bounding leap off the couch, her feet thudding against the floor, and I internally wince. It’s been a while since we’ve lived in a top level apartment, so I forget sometimes that Dem doesn’t have to be as quiet in our two-level ground apartment. “So, when can I talk to Candace?”

“After I pop the question.” Pete boops her nose. “You’ll blab.”

“But she’s taking me to the mall this weekend.” Demi crosses her arms and pouts. My focus turns to the couch cushion where a clump of pink frosting sticks to the fabric. I’d like to blame Demi for that, but I know it was me. I spoiled myself last night after a good run on the half-pipe and got a pink frosted sugar cookie from Cookie Moons on my way home. I reach forward and pick it off, my mind swirling around which stress box to open and deal with right now.

It was something a teacher taught me forever ago, back when I was in high school and juggling schoolwork, extra-curriculars, and working the job to pay the bills for Dad who had horrendous budgeting skills and an addiction to boot. Ms. Miller. She pulled me to the side after I completely shut down during class. I mean, I was a statue of nothingness, my mind too chaotic that I just turned it off. She told me to put all my stresses in separate boxes, then pull them out one at a time to shuffle through them. When I was done, I put that box away and then take another one out the next time.