The Perfect Spiral - Book cover

The Perfect Spiral

Ashley Constantine

Age Rating


Alex Thompson is working on her third master's degree, she has three *very* protective older brothers, and she's never thought of herself as the "hot friend." Oh yeah, and her brother's best friend is Knox Carter, an NFL quarterback and the Sexiest Man Alive. She and Knox have always hated each other, but has that conflict been hiding deeper feelings?

Age Rating: 18+

View more

Chapter 1

“Are your legs supposed to feel like jelly after a workout? Because, Jesus! I can’t even navigate the stairs properly.”

Andy’s complaint echoed through the stairwell as she clung to the railing, her descent from the college gym more of a controlled fall than a walk. Despite living in LA, where fitness was practically a religion, she’d never been one for the gym.

“Are you the same woman who can go for hours in the bedroom, yet you’re struggling with basic squats, sit-ups, and a smidgen of running?” I teased, raising an eyebrow at her.

Andy was one of my closest friends in college. Despite being two years my senior, we got along famously. She was like a sister to me. She was studying nursing, while I was pursuing mechanical engineering.

I know, engineering is an unusual choice for a woman, but it was my calling. Growing up with three older brothers—Kyle, Cole, and Max—I was always more interested in their games than in playing with my older sister, Sam. I was a tomboy then and still am. My brothers gave me hell growing up, but they also made me tough. No one ever messed with me twice.

Andy and I shared an off-campus apartment, a far cry from the dorms we’d lived in during our first year at UCLA. I was a long way from my hometown of Brooklyn, New York City. My parents’ divorce had uprooted us, and my mom’s remarriage to Eric Reed, a man I considered more of a father than my biological one, had brought us to Manhattan’s Upper West Side.

In my new school, I only trusted one girl—my best friend, Hannah Williams. She was the only one who wasn’t after my brother or his friends.

Oh, by the way, I’m Alex. Alex Thompson. The youngest and, if I do say so myself, the smartest of my siblings. I have a photographic memory, which means I remember practically everything I read. It’s a gift and a curse, especially in school, where it led to me skipping two grades. My mom would have let me skip more, but she wanted me to have a “normal enough childhood.”

“Hello? Earth to Alex! Did you hear anything I just said?” Andy’s voice pulled me from my thoughts.

I’d been staying up late to finish assignments and reports, and the lack of sleep was starting to show. My skin was rough, dark circles shadowed my eyes, my left eye twitched sporadically, and my hair had been a wild mess until I’d tamed it with a shower earlier.

“Sorry! What did you say? I’m just so tired. I’ve been up all night trying to finish my assignments because, you know, I love to leave everything until the last minute...” I yawned.

Andy and I communicated best through sarcasm. It was one of the things I loved most about her. She was quick-witted and never hesitated to put you in your place.

“Maybe you should just go home and see Andrew in the morning? It’s not like he’s going anywhere...” she teased.

Andrew was my boyfriend. He was studying medicine at the same college and lived with his two best friends. We’d been dating for about two years, and I was head over heels for him. He was my dream guy—tall, dark, handsome, and ripped. He was from San Francisco, and I still couldn’t believe he’d chosen me.

He could have had any girl he wanted. Even when I was with him, girls would throw themselves at him. You know the type—the ones in barely-there dresses, their cleavage practically begging for attention, their makeup caked on, batting their eyelashes, and grinding on anything male.

“Nah! I’ll be fine. I want to surprise him. I haven’t seen him all week because of my workload. Sometimes I wonder why I’m studying engineering,” I laughed.

I planned to cook him dinner, eat with him, and then head home to bed. My bed had been calling my name since the middle of the week when I’d been pulling all-nighters to finish my work.

“You sure, doll? I’ll be up watching the new season of Scandal when you get in. I’ve been dying to watch it all week! I should’ve studied law... I would’ve been a badass lawyer! God, I love Olivia Pope. She’s such a queen!” Andy declared, her addiction to the show evident.

“Haha! Yeah.... suuuurrrre... Anyway, I’ll talk to you later! I’ll text you when I’m leaving his place and when I’m coming back to the apartment so I won’t scare you like last time!”

I smirked, trying to hold back my laughter. Two weeks ago, my phone had died, and when I’d come home, Andy had attacked me with a cucumber. I’d had a bump on my head for days.

“Yeah, Yeah, Yeah, whatever,” she replied, flipping me off.

“That’s not very ladylike, now is it?”

“Who said I was a lady, Al? See ya later!” she winked, heading in the opposite direction.

Shaking my head and laughing at her comment, I made my way to Andrew’s apartment. As I walked down the dimly lit pathway, I noticed a few people still milling around campus.

The campus was alive with students, some laughing and lounging on benches, while others were locked in passionate embraces. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for a good make-out session, but there’s a limit. Some of these people were practically devouring each other’s faces. I rolled my eyes and continued my trek towards the apartment, idly kicking a pebble along the way to distract myself.

“Alex!” a voice called out. I looked up to see Wes, his dark brown eyes focused on me.

“Wes? Hey, what’s up?” I greeted him with a smile.

Wes was one of my brother’s best friends from high school. He’d always looked out for me, ensuring no one gave me a hard time, and he continued to do so in college, under strict orders from my brother. They were all overly protective, treating me like a delicate china doll. It used to annoy me, and it still does.

“Hey, Alex! Not much. What are you doing wandering around campus this late?” he asked, panting slightly as he stopped running.

Wes was tall and athletic, a soccer player for the college team. His current injury meant he was off the field, but in his words, “I can party every night now.” He was popular with the girls on campus, and it wasn’t hard to see why. He had a great smile, and his casual attire of black basketball shorts and a sleeveless top only accentuated his athletic build.

“I’m heading over to Andrew’s apartment. I haven’t seen him all week, and now that I’ve finished all my assignments for the next few weeks, I thought I’d drop by. What about you? Why are you out so late?” I asked, noticing his slight tension at the mention of Andrew’s name. My brothers, and by extension their friends, didn’t like Andrew. But then again, I doubted they’d like anyone I dated.

In high school, I never dated because A) no boy was brave enough to approach me due to my brothers, and B) I wasn’t your typical high school girl. I was the one who blended into the background, reading books under a tree.

Wes sighed, wiping the sweat off his forehead. “You’re still with him? Alex, you can do so much better. He doesn’t treat you right—”

“I know you guys don’t like Andrew, but I do. That’s all that matters to me,” I interrupted, my tone nonchalant. He sighed again, nodding.

“Anyway, I’m going to head out. I’m starving after my gym session. I’ll catch you later?” I asked, stepping around him to continue on my way. But he caught my arm, making me look up at him again.

“You know I’m only looking out for you, right?” he said. I nodded, looking ahead as I continued walking.

“Hey, Alex! There’s a party tomorrow night. You and Andrew should come. I’ll text you the details. And wear a short dress. You know I love your legs in a dress,” he added, winking at me.

I rolled my eyes, feeling a blush creeping up my neck. “Only if you wear one too, Wes. You know how I love your long, tanned legs in a dress. And don’t forget the heels. They’ll make your butt look extra perky,” I retorted, winking back at him. He laughed, shaking his head as I continued on my way.

If my brothers heard our banter, we’d both be in trouble. But Wes had a knack for making people feel better, and he’d certainly lightened my mood. I’d had a crush on him once, due to his protective nature. We’d always had a flirty rapport, but nothing ever came of it. He was the only one of my brother Kyle’s friends that I liked.

I entered the apartment building, greeting the polite doorman, and headed straight for the elevator. Normally, I’d take the stairs for a bit of exercise, but after my gym session, I just couldn’t muster the energy. I pressed the button for the sixth floor and waited, the elevator music filling the silence.

I checked my reflection in the elevator doors, fluffing up my naturally wavy hair and adjusting my jeans to better accentuate my figure. I fished around in my bag for the keys Andrew had given me, and once the elevator doors opened, I made my way down the hall to his apartment.

I unlocked the door and stepped inside, calling out, “Drew?” There was no response. “Dreeewww?” I sang, heading towards his room. That’s when I heard it. “Oh yes! yes! yes! Don’t stop!”

I couldn’t help but laugh. The last time I’d caught him watching porn, we’d ended up having some pretty amazing sex. Like, really amazing.

“Damn it!” His groan echoed through the room, and I couldn’t help but laugh. Then I heard it. The realization hit me like a punch to the gut—he wasn’t watching porn.

“Shit, Andrew! Right... there!... Mmmmm, right there, baby!” My heart pounded in my chest as I stood frozen, trembling, questioning if I’d heard correctly.

My hand rested on the handle of the door, the only barrier between me and him. Them.

No! No! No! This can’t be happening! Without thinking, I swung the door open and was met with the sight I’d been dreading.

A girl was straddling him, completely naked, her breasts bouncing as she moved. “What the fuck?!” The words slipped out before I could stop them.

They both turned to look at me, and the panic on Andrew’s face confirmed my worst fears—he was cheating on me.

He pushed her off him, but it was too late. I’d seen everything. And I mean everything.

“Shit! Baby, it’s not what it looks like! Let me explain!” His words fell on deaf ears as the shock began to wear off, replaced by a boiling rage.

He struggled to get off the bed, wrapping himself in the sheets as he tried to approach me. I watched the girl who’d been on top of my boyfriend scramble to cover herself.

Andrew fumbled for his boxers, discarded somewhere in the heat of the moment, and had the audacity to try to take my hand.

“Babe, I’m—” His words were cut off by the sound of my hand slapping his cheek. His head snapped to the side, and I could feel the heat rising in my hand from the impact.

“Baby, just let me exp—” His words were cut off again, this time by my fist connecting with his nose. My hand throbbed with the impact, but the pain was nothing compared to the satisfaction of seeing him reel back, his hand flying to his bleeding nose.

Shit, that hurts! I shook my hand, trying to ease the throbbing. I’d always said, “Violence is not the answer…” and yet here I was, the biggest hypocrite of all.

“Don’t touch me, you cheating piece of shit!” His wince at my words was almost as satisfying as the punch. I wasn’t thinking before speaking, the words just spilling out.

I turned to leave, catching sight of him trailing behind me, his hand still cupping his nose, looking like a scolded puppy.

“Don’t EVER talk to me again! I thought I loved you! All men are the same! Cheating pieces of shit!”

Bitter laughter bubbled up as tears threatened to spill. I grabbed my bag from the floor, ready to run.

“Alex, please, let’s talk about it. I love you so much! More than anything!” His words were muffled by his hand.

“If you loved me that much, you wouldn’t have some blonde bimbo bouncing on you, Drew! There’s nothing more to talk about! You’re just sorry because you got caught!


My rage was a ticking time bomb, and I knew I needed to leave before I did something I’d regret.

“Alex, please, I’m sorry. It won’t happen again, I promise.” His words were desperate, his eyes pleading.

“No, Andrew! Once a cheater, always a cheater, isn’t that the saying? We’re done! I gave you everything, and this is how you repay me.

ENJOY MY SLOPPY SECONDS, SLUT!” I shouted at the girl still cowering in his room. I took one last look at him, fighting back the tears.

I slammed the door behind me and rushed to the elevator. As soon as the doors closed, the tears started to fall, my sobs echoing in the small space.

I pulled out my phone and dialed Andy, my vision blurred by tears. She didn’t answer, so I called my other lifeline.

“Hey, Alex, what’s up?”

“Wes?” I sniffled into the phone, and hearing his voice was the final straw.

Next chapter
Rated 4.4 of 5 on the App Store
82.5K Ratings
Galatea logo

Unlimited books, immersive experiences.

Galatea FacebookGalatea InstagramGalatea TikTok