Authors: Lara West
Romance: Stepbrother Passion
Romance: Stepbrother Passion
Copyright © 2015
Published by Run Free Publishing
All rights reserved.
No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means without the prior permission in writing of the publisher.
This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to any person, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
Romance: Stepbrother Passion
Shielding my eyes from the warm April sun, I watch my mother slowly walk down the aisle.
She is a blinding white vision with a mermaid tail and sequined bodice, long blonde curls bouncing on every step, and a lace veil trailing the length of her back. The light breeze blowing across the garden lifts the veil up to reveal the gold eye shadow slicked over with eyeliner, long fake lashes, rouge and scarlet red lipstick.
At eighteen years of age, I have grown into a bona fide carbon copy of Marie. All except for my eyes, which have a hint of green inside the cobalt blue, the subtle difference given to me by my deceased father, James Wilde.
As I look at Mom I wonder if she knows what happened to that young and beautiful bohemian dreamer that married my father all those years ago. The dreamer who did not believe in wearing makeup, who protested against animal testing and who still sits on the mantelpiece at home with my father, beaming into the camera, a baby daughter already growing in her belly.
My gorgeous mother is walking down the aisle to marry Tony “Money Bags” McCormack and his chain of Donut franchises. I believe the money that Tony flashes around has seduced her, because I cannot think of any other way he could seduce her.
Tony waits steadily under the arch, eyeing off Mom like he has hit the jackpot. His nickname for her is “Pearl” because he thinks he has caught a rare gem from the ocean. He is right on the money there, I will give him that much.
Tony is punching far above his weight. Theirs is an attraction of pure opposites.
Tony has at least attempted to dress for the occasion: nice tuxedo, crocodile skin shoes, waxed hair, double chin folding into his neck… oh, I could write a paper on all the ways Tony McCormack pretends to play the part of the dashing, successful businessman. He is successful - yes. Handsome… I don’t think so.
“I can’t stand this much longer,” I whisper to Mel sitting quietly beside me.
Every time I look at Mel, I still think back to that freckly, red haired little five-year-old with pigtails and the first day we became friends.
“It’s raspberry flavored,” she had said sweetly, holding out the lollipop. “Want to share it with me?”
“No thanks,” I had told her with the bluntness of a young child. “I’m going to play in the sandpit.”
“Okay, me too!”
And that is all it had taken.
Best friends carved in a single moment. We have been through the rollercoaster of school together and survived as a light in each other’s childhood, both of which have been missing a father.
“What?” Mel whispers back.
“But it’s your Mom’s wedding?”
“Yeah, to Tony. Who, may I remind you, she’s been dating for all of one month!”
“Maybe they’re in love?”
Mel has that dreamy look in her eye. The one that always makes me want to barf.
“Love?” I blurt, trying to be discreet. “Lust is more like it. Jackrabbit style too. I hear them going for it through the walls.”
“Eww gross, Ella. I really didn’t need to know that. Now shush, they’re saying their vows.”
I sigh and listen reluctantly as Mom reels off the bunch of clichéd words, crying when she places the ring on Tony’s finger. The priest says the last few lines and then it is done.
My Mom is married again and I am a stepdaughter. Everyone rises and cheers, whistles ringing out as rice bombards the bride and groom still kissing under the arch. I am grateful at least that Mom never bothered having a bridal party. I would hate to be standing up there right now.
“Well,” says Mel, grabbing my hands excitedly. “At least you have a hot stepbrother now!”
She gestures to the other side of the aisle. Tony’s son, Dylan, is striding over. My heart skips a beat, my cheeks flushing red.
“Hey, it’s Ella right?” he asks, towering over us.
His seductive glare sends shivers dancing through my body. His eyes are dreamy: hazel, bottomless and reflective.
It is like they have a power all of their own, like they know you can barely break away from their allure. Those eyes set a precedent for the rest of his textbook face.
Straight nose. White teeth. Olive skin. Million-dollar smile.
It is hard to believe he is Tony’s son. He must get his looks from his Mom’s side of the family.
“Ah, yeah,” I stammer.
Just keep it together Ella. He’s just a guy.
“I’ve seen you around school. You’re in my History class, right?”
Mom’s relationship with Tony moved so quickly that I haven’t even met his side of the family yet. Not that I don’t know who Dylan McCormack is.
Every girl in school knows who Dylan McCormack is.
“Ah, yes. History. Third period. That’s me.”
The words come out blunt and awkward. Absolute face palm.
“I had no idea you were Marie’s daughter,” Dylan continues. “You’re cute like her though.”
I feel my stomach somersault at the compliment, my face turning redder.
This guy is smooth.
“Um thanks,” I utter awkwardly and turn to Mel to save me. “Oh and this is Melanie. She’s graduating high school too.”
Dylan turns to Mel, who is salivating in her seat. “Hey.”
“Hi,” she says, giving a small wave.
“Well, I guess I should go congratulate the happy couple,” Dylan finishes, eyes returning to mine, a flawless smile etched on his face. “I look forward to seeing you real soon, Ella.”
I try to fight the butterflies flapping in my stomach. I am speechless. Did that just happen?
“Oh. My. Gosh. Dylan is sooo hot,” Mel says, staring after him. “I officially give myself an unlimited pass to your new house. Oh and nice choice of words there. You really know how to flirt.”
“Hush!” I say, jabbing her playfully with my elbow. “Besides, he might be hot but Mom says he’s a total deadbeat. Cops are at their house ALL the time. Apparently he’s real close to ending up in prison.”
“Ooh, a bad boy. I like it,” Mel licks her lips seductively.
“You’re such a tramp!” I laugh and pull her out of the chair. “Now come and ‘congratulate’ Mom and Tony with me. I don’t want to fake it alone.”
“Okay, but I’m helping you move in on Saturday. I want to see Dylan with his shirt off!”
“Don’t remind me. I still can’t believe I have to live with them.”
“Are you kidding? Tony’s place is a mansion. They have a pool for crying out loud. We’ll be able to spend the whole summer watching Dylan play pool boy.”
“You’re so pathetic,” I tease, jabbing her again.
Ahead of us Mom and Tony gesture for me to come over.
“Here we go” I say, taking a deep breath. “Heads up. Chins forward. Smiles on!”
“Ella! The moving van will be here any minute!”
I awake to find Mom perched over my bed.
“Okay okay. I’m getting up,” I sigh, tossing the comforter onto the floor.
“Now, I’ve already taken most of your boxes downstairs. The heavy ones I’ve left for Tony and Dylan.”
“Wait. What? Tony and Dylan are coming over?” I panic at the thought of Dylan seeing me in PJs and no make up.
“Yes they’re both downstairs, waiting for you to get up.”
“Mom! Are you serious? That is not cool. I’m not even dressed.”
“I told you several times to be ready by 10 o’clock, Ella. I’m not going to argue with you on this, you’re an adult now. Be ready and downstairs in five minutes.”
As Mom slams the door it suddenly occurs to me that this is the last time I will ever wake up in my room.
Eighteen years growing up inside its walls, fifteen years of sharing it with dad, and it all ends today.
I shrug the thought off unwillingly and rush to get ready. I still cannot believe that Dylan McCormack is in my life, let alone my house. I pinch myself just to make sure I am not dreaming.
No, definitely not dreaming.
Downstairs in the living room, Tony and Dylan stand by the mantelpiece.
Even from side on, Dylan looks like he has come straight out of a harlequin novel, with his shoulder length thick brown hair tied back in a ponytail, rolled up tight white t-shirt, washed out denim jeans and laidback stance.
This guy wouldn’t know a bad angle even if he were looking for it.
His face is perfectly symmetrical.
How is that even possible?
But as my eyes waver over to Tony, I then notice what he is holding and forget all about Dylan. Tony has the picture of Mom and Dad in his fat, stubby hands, staring at it intently like it holds some kind of secret. He smirks before putting it back, shaking his head at Dylan, completely unaware that I am even there.
“What are you doing?” I ask, walking in.
“Ella! About time you got up!” Tony taunts, ignoring my question. “Thought I was going to have to send Dylan up to get you. It’s almost 11 o’clock. Tick tock. Some of us have other things to do today, you know?”
Why does this guy make it so easy for me to hate him? I mean come on.
“Oh I’m sorry, Tony,” I say, batting my eyelashes. “I didn’t realize leaving my childhood home was such a burden for you. My sincerest apologies.”
“Tony!” Mom calls out from the kitchen. “Cut it out. You’re encouraging her.”
But Tony appears quite committed, looking me straight in the eye. I think he wants to see how far I will go, to test the limits of my “defiance” now that I will be living under his roof.
But unfortunately for him, Mom is not so interested.
“That’s quite enough from the both of you!” she snaps, stepping in between us.
“Oh, we were just mucking around, Marie. Weren’t we, Ella?”
“Right,” I say with a wide smile. “Totally just mucking around. But those boxes upstairs won’t carry themselves, Tony. Tick tock.”
It is now day three of living with Tony and we just had another fight.
The man is UNBELIEVABLE. I’m eighteen now and he’s treating me like a child.
I am sitting on the stairs listening to him and Mom arguing over the dishes of all things. I told him that because I helped cook dinner I should not have to do the washing up.
But Tony grew up in a household where women took care of the house and men…well men pretty much got to do whatever they wanted.
So when he ordered me to clean up I had simply told him to “shove it.” Perhaps not the best choice of words but he is not the one who packed up his life to move into someone else’s. Screw him and his warped ideals.
I wish that Dad were still around, that the stupid drunk idiot in the oncoming lane had veered right instead of left.
“Are you okay?”
I jump as Dylan appears on the landing above me, a silhouette.
How long has he been standing there?
“Crap, don’t do that!” I gasp, putting a hand to my chest. “But yeah I’m okay. It’s just me and your dad… we don’t exactly get along.”
Dylan laughs, unsurprised by the comment.
“Don’t sweat it. I don’t like the guy much either. Why do you think I live in the pool house?”
I smile and dare myself to keep looking at him, the magnetic eyes still lying in shadow as he makes his way down the stairs, stopping to sit on the step below me.
“It must be hard for you,” he says. “It’s hard for me too sometimes. I wish my Mom was still around.”
“What happened to her?” I ask softly, knowing I may not get an answer.
“She bailed when I was ten. Haven’t heard from her since.”
“Yeah, I get real mad about it sometimes. And we found her eventually. She has a whole new family now though.”
“How do you know that?”
“My aunt. She spotted her once a few years back. In Connecticut of all places! Dad was a mess for a while after he found out. I think he still is sometimes. I mean, not that he doesn’t love your Mom, it’s just…”
“It’s okay,” I say swiftly. “I know my Mom will never forget my dad either. It’s cool. That sucks about your Mom having a new family though.”
“Yeah, but it’s not as bad as you. At least my Mom is out there. Not like your dad. I can’t imagine what that must feel like.”
“Thanks,” I say, managing a weak smile.
“No worries. Oh, and at least it’s not all bad around here. Your Mom’s pretty nice. And I have you to look at. That’s definitely a bonus.”
I blush and am suddenly thankful that the stairwell is only half lit so Dylan cannot see.
“Well, I got to run,” he says, getting up before I can answer. “See you around fair stepsister.”
My heart drops as I watch him go.
Is that all he sees me as?
Surely not, or why would he flirt otherwise?
And why be so nice?
I have only ever seen the bad side of Dylan. The one who beats on the guys at school and drags on cigarettes. The one who dodges the cops at underage parties and sneaks a different girl into the pool house every week.
But now I see him just that little bit differently.
He is not all rough and tough.
There is a vulnerable, almost lovable, side there too.