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Addicted After All

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Description

The TikTok sensation Addicted series continues with Addicted After All, now in a print edition wi... Read More

Product Description

The TikTok sensation Addicted series continues with Addicted After All, now in a print edition with special bonus material!

Prepare for the worst, but hope for the best.

That's what Lily Calloway and Loren Hale try to do when his father schedules an "important" meeting. The problem: after being swept into the public eye and battling their addictions, they're not sure what the worst is anymore.

In a sea of many changes—including Ryke and Daisy living with them—Lily realizes that the best part of her fluctuating hormones might just be the worst. Her sex drive is out of control.

Loren knows that she's insatiable, but he's not giving up on her. She's too much a part of him. And as he carries more and more responsibility, some of the people that he loves doubt his resolve.

Lily and Lo stand side-by-side to fight, one last time, for their happily ever after.​​Krista and Becca Ritchie are New York Times and USA Today bestselling authors and identical twins—one a science nerd, the other a comic book geek—but with their shared passion for writing, they combined their mental powers as kids and have never stopped telling stories. They love superheroes, flawed characters, and soul mate love.One

Loren Hale

In the pitch-black of night, I run as fast as rage will carry me. Gravel from the suburban road digs into my bare feet, February's cold biting my flesh. I had no time to slip on shoes, a shirt, or even grab a coat.

"Motherfuckers," Ryke growls through gritted teeth, using his full power, endurance-everything that made him a collegiate track star-to chase after dark-clothed figures that bolt down the street. I never thought I'd be able to match my brother's speed. No longer weighed down by self-pity and hatred, I can go farther than I dreamed.

And I do.

My legs pump forward in sync with his, our muscles sharpening in the same way. Our veins bursting and heating with blood-red fury. Because we thought these stupid fucking guys shot one of the girls through the window.

A minute ago, Ryke and I were upstairs and heard a few loud bangs, followed by Lily's and Daisy's panicked screams. As we rushed to the main floor, Daisy was ghostly pale. Lily was holding her little sister's hand, and my gaze dropped to Lil's stomach, a noticeable bump at eighteen weeks pregnant.

I fucking ran on instinct. Only this time, I'm not the one being chased.

Ryke was right by my side, no hesitation, no questions asked. He took one look at Daisy's horror-stricken face, and he just lost it. Our fame and notoriety shouldn't put either of the girls in harm's way. It's complete bullshit.

All six of us-Ryke, Daisy, Connor, Rose, Lily, and me-now live in a rich, gated Philadelphia neighborhood. Only these so-called "gates" surround the neighborhood, not our eight-bedroom house. Sometimes, the real shits are the ones right down the street, and for the past two weeks, they've egged our door, toilet papered the yard, and forked the grass.

This is the first time we've heard them scamper away, and so this is the first time we've ever tried to catch them.

We gain on them, and their muffled cursing becomes louder, their panic clearer in their hurried steps, and half of the guys scatter toward a brick mansion with floodlights illuminating a massive door. About three guys continue to sprint ahead.

Then they spin around and point their paintball guns at us. A series of pops split the air before a couple shots connect with my shoulder and ribs like a two-second punch.

Jesus. I want to shout until my throat bleeds and shake them until they get it. Until they realize that we're not board games they can play with-when they're sitting in their rooms with nothing to do.

We are people. Real. Living, breathing things that have breaking points. I want to scream it all, but I can't utter one single goddamn word. Everything is caged in my lungs.

The guys stop shooting at us when they realize we're much closer. "Go, go, go!" they scream at each other. One guy in a hoodie glances over his shoulder, and then he trips over his own feet. Right as he stumbles, about to eat the asphalt, I grip the back of his black sweatshirt. My pulse skyrockets with adrenaline.

Ryke slows to a stop with me.

"Let me fucking go!" the guy shouts, thrashing in my grasp. I feel my heart bang against my chest, and my brows furrow at his scrawny build. He's young.

In a matter of seconds, his friends leave him, racing further into the darkness. He notices his buddies sprinting away, and he redirects his anger. "HEY! YOU PUSSIES! YOU'RE GOING TO LEAVE ME HERE?!"

I rip the paintball gun out of his hand and toss it to Ryke, and then the guy whips around on me, swinging his fist haphazardly at my face. I easily dodge it, but he's squirming so much that it's hard to hold him upright without him slipping in my hands.

"Get a grip," Ryke growls at him.

He tries to elbow my ribs, and I grasp his arm, adding with a sneer, "You're the one who's been fucking with us."

"And you're the cuntbag who's called the cops like a little bitch," the guy snarls back. That's when the hood falls off his head, and I stare directly into his venomous gaze. Tousled brown hair and a young, soft face. He can't be any older than seventeen.

My blood chills. And I crane my neck at Ryke. "Do you see any cops?" I ask him with a mocking tone.

"No," Ryke says, his voice rough.

I turn back to the guy in my clutch. "See, it's just you and us-"

"That's great," he cuts me off with a short laugh, "let's have a fucking tea party and celebrate the new year. And then when I leave, you both can go fuck the same girl and knock her up again."

I shake, my heart slamming into my ribs. A million different insults burn my brain, the malicious ones trying to take hold.

Then Ryke charges forward, fists clenched. "You motherfucking-"

"Stop," I tell Ryke, making sure to wedge my body between him and the teen. He can't hit him. Not even if this guy spouts off a thousand rumors that've been circulating the tabloids. Not if he knows more about us than we'll ever know about him. He's a bored teenager, fighting his own battles that we'll never see.

I get it.

I used to do this shit all the time. I was thrown in jail for vandalism more often than for underage drinking.

"What?" the guy feigns confusion, provoking Ryke. "Are you butthurt that you didn't get extra time with the slut-"

"You want to play this goddamn game with me," I interject, my voice so sharp that it physically pains me. "I can make you cry so hard, you bleed out of your eye sockets, so let's rewind-you fucked with us first, and all we're asking is for you to stop. We're not your prep school friends." I'm trying not to be condescending. I could have easily said, "We're not your little prep school friends, kid." But if someone said that to me at sixteen, seventeen, or eighteen, I'd spit in their face and tell them to eat shit.

He breathes heavily with a curled lip, hatred spreading across his features, like he can't stand to be here for more than a second longer. I stare right at him, not giving him an easy out. And he finally says, "We're just joking around."

Ryke steps forward and raises the paintball gun at the guy's face. "This is not a fucking joke!"

The guy huffs and says to me, "Is your brother a moron? It's only a paintball gun."

Ryke throws the gun across the road, and the casing shatters.

"Hey!" the guy shouts.

"My girlfriend has PTSD, you fucking idiot," Ryke growls. "You point something that resembles a gun at a window, and there are people who'll feel like it's one."

My ribs tighten. Daisy has been through more than Lily and I ever imagined, and it's these facts-the ones that I desperately needed-that make it easier to see his happiness with her. I never thought I'd pray to every fucking god to ensure that their relationship lasts. It's not even a selfish want.

I study the guy's face, and any remorse is drowned by anger, his voice shaking with it. "Which girlfriend is that?" he sneers at Ryke. "The one you raped when she was fifteen or your brother's fiancée?"

"Are you fucking kidding me?!" Ryke yells, his nose flaring. It fucking sucks. People will always know details about our lives before we even know their names. But I can't blame him for it. It's just the way it is.

I watch this teen glower at the ground like let me go, let me fucking go.

Not yet.

I grip his jaw and force his face to mine. "Great," I say, "you can believe those goddamn lies, you can spread them, whatever-but we see you around our house, scaring our girls, we'll do worse than call the cops." I release him with this threat, letting his own imagination frighten him. "I've met shittier fucks than you, so don't think you're something special."

His chest collapses as he breathes heavily, shooting me a glare that can no way match mine. And then he spins his back on us and sprints down the road, stumbling for a second before he regains his speed.

He shouts back, "Go suck cock, you pussies!" And he waves his middle fingers at us.

Ryke lets out a frustrated groan. "I fucking hate these guys."

"They're just bored." The neighborhood heard that "famous people" moved in down the block, and so these teenagers have been attracted to our house ever since. "We can't call the cops," I snap at him. "I hope you realize that." For one, that guy in the hoodie could've been me at seventeen. And every time I was thrown in jail, it did nothing but piss me off even more. For another, it only gives them reason to retaliate against us. To return with more eggs, more paintballs, and maybe something worse down the road.

I'm smart enough now to recognize the pointlessness of this kind of feud and revenge.

Connor Cobalt taught me that.

My lips slowly rise.

Ryke groans again, puncturing my thoughts. "I wish there was an easy fucking solution to this."

"Yeah." I nod. "Me too." We start walking back down the dark street to our house. I try to loosen my tense shoulders by rotating them. "Maybe the girls shouldn't come to the meeting tomorrow." Remembering my father's phone call this evening binds my muscles again. I rub the back of my neck, this familiar agitation festering. After tonight, I'd like to fucking cancel on our dad. "I just don't want him to drop more shit on top of us, not while we're dealing with this."

"I don't want Daisy there anyway." He extends his arms, and I can see splatters of blue paint on his shoulder and chest with reddish welts. "Why the fuck is he dragging the girls into his issues to begin with? It should be just you and me." He gestures from his lean body to mine.

"We don't know what it's about," I remind Ryke. "All he said was that he wanted to talk to the four of us." I lick my lips, my breath smoking the air. I try not to shiver in the cold, especially at the thought of how he left out Connor and Rose. Whatever our dad is up to-it only involves Ryke, Daisy, Lily, and me. I'm hoping it's not about the rumors in Celebrity Crush-that Lily might be pregnant with Ryke's kid, not mine. I hate even entertaining those lies.

I try to let out another long breath, but I feel my face contort in an irritated scowl.

"With Jonathan, that could mean fucking anything," Ryke retorts.

"Yeah, and take it from someone who's been to these 'impromptu meetings'-you have to be prepared for anything." I remember the one where he basically forced my proposal with Lily, right in his office.

I refuse to believe this is worse than that. So maybe that's why I'm not as freaked by it as Ryke. My brother revived his relationship with our dad-and this is what comes with it. I step into the lion's den every single time I enter Jonathan Hale's mansion, and I just fucking pray that I leave without a deep wound. I pray that I'm strong enough to withstand everything he throws at me. And for the first time, I believe that someone out there, some godforsaken thing or spirit or madman, is listening to a fuck-up like me.

I slow my pace as soon as headlights point in our direction. I raise my hand to shield the fluorescence. Ryke grabs my bicep and guides me toward the curb so we're not hit in the dark. I'm not surprised when the Escalade brakes beside us. The tinted window rolls down, revealing the driver.

Connor Cobalt, twenty-six, has one hand on the wheel, dressed in a white button-down. His wavy brown hair is perfectly styled like he just returned from a business meeting.

He didn't, by the way. I know for a fact that he was in a third-floor study with Rose, reading or thumbing through a dictionary-whatever they do in their spare time.

He can't hide his blinding grin, the humor palpable in his gaze as he scrutinizes our lack of wardrobe in the cold winter. Then his deep blue eyes meet my amber ones.

"Soliciting again?" he banters with an arched brow. "How much for a blow job, darling?"

"As much as you're worth," I reply, opening the passenger door.

"How about you, Ryke?" Connor asks as my brother climbs into the backseat.

"I'm not for fucking sale," Ryke says roughly, slamming his door shut.

I give Connor a look. "It's been a long night. What were you-reading?"

"Coming, actually," Connor says, putting the car into gear and driving back toward our house.

"Fucking fantastic," Ryke groans. "While we were freezing our asses off, chasing these idiots, you were getting off."

Connor doesn't even try to restrain his grin. "I'm the all-around winner here. It shouldn't be surprising to anyone by now." Neither is his arrogance. I actually smile and point the blowers at my body, the heat expelling.

Connor's eyes flit to the orange and blue splatters on my ribs and shoulder. Like Ryke, red welts lie beneath the paint. His grin fades. "I don't see how chasing them while they still had paintball guns was effective."

"It's called intimidation," I tell him.

"You mean stupidity."

"Yeah? What's the better option? Calling the police? We're not doing that, Connor," I remind him.

"I never said we should. The press would pick up the story, and it'd put more attention on everyone." He pauses. "You both realize that they could've accidentally shot you in the eye?"

"Fucking worth it," Ryke says, crossing his arms over his chest.

I add, "If you saw the girls, you would've wanted us to run after them, paintball guns or not."

Connor trains his gaze back on the road. "I did see the girls."

I frown as I scan his features. He's closed up again, which makes me nervous. "Is Lily okay?" I clench my teeth in fear of the possibility that she may not be. My back stiffens and my muscles tense. "Connor-"

"She's fine." He suddenly locks the car doors, and his eyes flicker to the rearview mirror at my older brother in the backseat, who grows more distressed. If Lily's okay, then that means-"Please don't jump out of the car," Connor tells him. "I've never injured anyone while driving, and I'd like to keep my record clean."

Product Details

Title: Addicted After All
Author: Krista RitchieBecca Ritchie
SKU: BK0482513
EAN: 9780593639610
Language: eng

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