The Heart of Smoke – Shameful Secrets Read Online K. Webster

Categories Genre: Contemporary, Dark, Forbidden, M-M Romance Tags Authors:

Total pages in book: 79
Estimated words: 77775 (not accurate)
Estimated Reading Time in minutes: 389(@200wpm)___ 311(@250wpm)___ 259(@300wpm)

He’s a mysterious recluse with an unhealthy obsession with his therapist.He doesn’t want help... He just wants him.

Love is for those who deserve it. I certainly don’t. The person I loved most in this world died in my arms decades ago and I am to blame. I’ll forever be tormented by what-ifs where I was Mom’s hero instead of this repulsive, mask-wearing beast I’ve ultimately become. All that’s left of my heart is black smoke—suffocating and toxic. I’m nothing but a shadow of a man, locked in my dark fortress of a home, away from people and hidden in my carefully walled-up world. My family is all I have to live for. Somehow, they look past the fact I survived when Mom didn’t. Like it’s not my fault. It’s also why I’ll protect them with every single fiber of my being. Even from him. Tate Prince has been paid by my father to infiltrate our family. Invited not just into our homes, but into our past, our heartaches, and even our minds. Dad thinks this young man—a therapist with a captivating grin—is the key to repairing all the damage we’ve sustained over the years. But I know better. I can see through Tate’s friendly disposition and easygoing nature. In his eyes are dark secrets that haunt him like ghosts from another life. He’s not as perfect as he seems. Underneath his mask of smiles are ugly truths I’m desperate to uncover. And I will uncover them. If that means keeping him under lock and key where I can watch his every move, I will. It’s not captivity if he’s being paid, right? However, when I start unraveling his life, I learn there’s a lot more to Tate than meets the eye. The more I discover, the more obsessed I become. My heart, the dusty, charred, still-smoking useless organ sparks to life making me come to a startling realization. I want him. I’m not the only one who feels this way, though. Tate’s biggest secret is he already has a monster in his life. A terrible, spiteful monster—one who’ll stop at nothing to get what he wants. But I’m uglier, nastier, and a hell of a lot more vicious. I may have failed to save my mother, but I will not fail this time. Tate is mine.

*** This is a complete mm standalone novel with a happily ever after. ***

*************FULL BOOK START HERE*************


Sixteen Years Old

Coach is going to kill me when he finds out I skipped out the rest of the school day just so I could avoid practice. Will that get me benched for Friday night’s game? Nope. Coach wants me to go pro after high school—to skip right over college. With all the scouts that have been sniffing around to watch me play, he’s confident I’ll get drafted into the NFL just as soon as they can snag me. Benching me would impact his dreams.

What about my dreams?

He never asked me if I wanted to play for the NFL. Maybe I do want to go to college, fuck my way through all the sororities, drink like a fish with my buddy Baker, get a degree in computer science, and enjoy the whole experience rather than being thrust into a position that requires so much attention and is weighed down by outlandish expectations.

I should just quit football.

He’d have a coronary.

As much as I used to love the game, I find it harder and harder to focus on that now that Mom and Dad are separated. All she does is sit in the house, pissed at Dad. Literally, she never stops complaining about him. While Dad continues to go to the games each week, Mom holes up in our house all alone. It feels like a betrayal to her. Like we’ve all moved on with our lives and left her behind.

I can’t do that to her.

I refuse to.

If I go to PMU here in town instead of following Coach’s dreams, though, I could continue to live at home and look after her. I may be the baby of our family, until Jamie gives birth, but with Dad out of the house, Hugo already gone off to college, and Callum severely fucked in the head over losing his girlfriend to our father, it’s my responsibility to protect Mom and ensure her happiness.

Dad’s a major dick for what he did. I don’t know how it happened, but one day Jamie was Callum’s long-time girlfriend whom he planned to marry after high school and then the next day our family blew up over the news of Dad leaving Mom because he’d professed his love for Jamie. They’d been sleeping together behind Mom’s and Callum’s backs. Shit really hit the fan not long after when Jamie learned she was pregnant, too.

Definitely a dick move. Mom and Callum will never forgive Dad. It fucking sucks because Mom was still raw over losing their “oops” baby not even a year ago. The baby might’ve fixed their marriage had she carried it to term.

She unfortunately didn’t, though, and their fighting not only continued but got worse with each passing day.

“Dude, are you gonna hit it or not?”

I blink away my daze to glance over at my friend Chip. He’s dressed in his Park Mountain Lodge uniform, gesturing for me to pass him the blunt. Chip—your typical stoner—is the total opposite of my best friends Baker and Dennison and Langley, who are also football players.

Nodding, I bring it to my lips and pull in a drag. The pungent air fills my lungs, causing me to cough. Chip sniggers as I hand the blunt back to him. With my eyes now watering and the weed hitting my system, I relax against the rooftop door.

At one time, I’d have been worried about not just getting benched, but kicked off the school team for failing a drug test. Now, I actually hope it happens.

“Sandy said your dad’s not getting in trouble for what he did,” Chip says casually as he studies the blunt.

His words cause me to stiffen. “So?”

“Jamie’s not eighteen yet,” he says slowly as though I’m dense as fuck. “Jailbait.”

Irritation chases away my high and I step away from the door, crossing my muscular arms over my chest. “Who’s going to turn him in? You?”

Chip scoffs. “Your mom?”

Before I can stop myself, I swing a fist, clobbering Chip in the jaw and sending him sprawling to the rooftop gravel. “Don’t talk about my family,” I spit out. “Stay out of our business.”

He scrambles to his knees and scowls at me. “Fuck off, bro. You don’t have to be a dick. It was just a question.”

“Tell Sandy to stop gossiping,” I snap. “We have enough problems without getting the police involved too. My dad’s not going to jail over this.”

As he stands, he holds his hands up. “Whatever, man. I was just making fucking conversation. Next time you want to get fucked up, don’t call me.”

I wait for the guilt to swarm over me, but it remains at bay. My family isn’t perfect, but they’re mine. We Parks sort our shit out together. As a family. The last thing we need are strangers poking their noses in our business. Even Mom, as hurt as she is, wouldn’t do that to our family.