Tina Wainscott

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I knew the moment I walked into the apartment that my brother was gone. And I mean gone, gone, like on another “deep, dark plunge,” his term for it. Maybe it was the twin thing. Maybe I was just bone-wearily experienced at sensing it.

Oscar’s room was as cave-like as ever, with foil sealed tight over the one window. Posters tacked to the walls reflected his bipolar states: Zoolander and Nightmare on Elm Street. I inched toward the closet, my hand frozen in a claw as I gripped the round handle and pulled.

I breathed out in a gust, half laugh, half sigh of relief. No Oscar hanging there.

He didn’t answer my call and text. I ran into the kitchen and checked our DPOC notepad, the “designated place of communication,” as he called it. Only one thing was scrawled on it in Oscar’s jagged handwriting: my ex-boyfriend’s name.

What?

Oscar hated Sam with more passion than I could imagine. Possibly because I loved him with more passion than I could have imagined. Oscar’s outbursts increased during the six months we dated, clearly threatened by my feelings for Sam. It was stupid of me, thinking I could have a life. Love. I could never put my brother in a mental hospital, and I couldn’t expect any man to co-exist with him.

With Sam, I had broken my biggest rule—never fall in love.

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