Authors: I. Scarlet
That hot, sweet, mind-blowing kiss…
And that’s exactly what it had done. It blew my fucking mind.
My body went hot and hard, from zero to 60 in three seconds flat.
But that was all it had been.
Our little second-hand family fell apart after I kissed my stepbrother. It wasn’t what sent our parents’ marriage up in flames, but it sure as hell felt like it was.
Like fate was punishing us for that one kiss.
Our first kiss.
The kiss that ruined everything.
The kiss I could never forget.
And now, two years later, our second hand family was getting a second chance.
But try though I might to get over it, just seeing Joshua again rekindled the desire that first kiss ignited.
How could I live without him?
How could I live with myself if I was with him?
STEPBROTHER LOVE 1
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Our first kiss ruined everything.
My stepbrother—Joshua, the tool—in an uncharacteristically cool moment, had deigned to help me with my three point shot. And since he was all state in high school, and now had a full ride to go to Duke in the fall, I put aside my disdain for him so I could soak up some of his tutelage.
I rolled my eyes when he made me jog three miles with him as a warm up. I practically bit my tongue off when he made me do sit-ups, jumping jacks, and pushups. Then he made me play him for over an hour in our driveway, a little hidden cul-de-sac wedged between the side of our house and the seven foot wooden privacy fence that separated us from our nosey neighbors.
The hoop was affixed to the garage at NCAA standards. Joshua’s dad, Paul, had even painted a three point arc, complete with the classic free throw line and everything.
We take basketball seriously in this family, if you hadn’t noticed.
The freaking sun was getting ready to set by the time we finally started working on my three point shot. I really wanted to slam the ball into my stepbrother’s pretty face, but my three point shot really did suck, and that alone was holding me back from being a starter for my team. As a sophomore, at the same school as my illustrious stepbrother—shivering in the shadow of his greatness—I was desperate to prove myself.
Joshua had me attempt a few throws before he began to impart wisdom and critique.
Only one throw even touched the rim.
He’d stripped off his t-shirt, flexing his powerful upper body: those pecs, those arms and shoulders…
I’d thought Joshua was a hottie when our parents tied the knot two years ago. But then he’d opened his mouth and ruined that. He was arrogant, opinionated, sexist, and a freaking jerk. Asshole was a good word for him too, but I didn’t like to curse… and my mom would have smacked me in the back of the head if I’d ever used that kind of language around her, “child abuse” or not.
I involuntarily rolled my eyes at his display of chiseled manliness.
And then I saw it, right where his sweats slid down that perfect V shape some guys get around their hips. The six-pack V.
My mouth dropped open and I just pointed.
“Do mom and dad know about that?”
Joshua got this wicked grin on his face, and then made a show of pulling the waistband of his sweats down to show me the leering Blue Devil inked into the flesh right above his hipbone.
I had to smile.
“What if you flame out and get kicked off the team? That little guy will be kind of embarrassing, won’t it?”
Joshua looked into my eyes and for a moment I felt this pull… and I kinda forgot where I was.
“I’m not gonna get kicked off the team.” He snatched the basketball out of my hand effortlessly. “And even if I do, I can always get it removed or covered up with another tat.”
“You never answered my question, Joshy,” I knew he hated when I called him that. He endured my mom nicknaming him, but I was not so privileged. “Do mom and dad know about your little tattoo?”
“Dad took me himself,” Joshua said, beaming. Then he slid his hand down his washboard stomach and said, “The girl that did it said it was sexy.” There was that arrogant, self-satisfied look again.
I HAD to wipe it off his face.
“You were paying her,” I said. “She was just telling you what she thought you wanted to hear.”
The look on his face was still smug, but I’d seen the slight bulge of his eyes. I’d pressed the right button.
But not hard enough…
Even though I wanted—needed—to perfect my three point shot, that didn’t mean I wasn’t going to try and shoot my full-of-himself stepbrother down.
I took hold of the bottom of my t-shirt and hoisted it up, pulling it over my head and then tossing it to the side.
Joshua’s eyes bugged out and his mouth fell open.
I was wearing a sports bra—a pink one with a touch of lace framing my décolletage—but I was showing a hell of a lot more skin than my
Train Like a Girl
t-shirt had afforded.
Joshua’s eyes darkened, and even though I’d wanted to wipe the smug off his face, having him look at me like that was…
I felt my face flush.
I looked away. I was tempted to put my t-shirt back on.
But I’d be damned if he was going to get the best of me.
I stood up straighter.
I looked him straight in the eye… well, the face. His eyes were honed in on my cleavage.
I snapped my fingers and his eyes reluctantly rose to lock on mine.
I moved slowly toward him, a playful—hopefully sexy—smile on my lips. I licked them to make them shiny.
And when I was within arm’s length of him, I reached out and stole the ball back.
I giggled as Joshua blinked the boob-dust from his eyes and realized I had played him.
“Do you want to work on your three point shot or not?” He sounded pissy.
I didn’t want him pissy. I wanted him to help me. So I nodded, reached down and grabbed my t-shirt from the asphalt and pulled it back on. I joined him by the three-point line.
I noticed he’d left his shirt off.
Boys were lucky that way. They could walk around half-naked and though it was sexy as all hell, no one batted an eye. Let me walk around downtown with just my sports bra on and the town would catch on fire. There would be cat calls, damning stares, “slut” and “whore” would be bandied about, and my parents would be called by our minister, my principal, and probably the police chief.
It wasn’t fair.
Joshua stood beside me and nodded sagely.
I have been…
I looked down his smooth, bulging pectorals, how his tanned skin glistened in the waning sunlight.
He practically glowed.
Okay, that wasn’t what I had wanted to be thinking...
I took a step back and watched as Joshua threw a three point shot, and the damned thing swooshed through the net.
He jogged over to retrieve the ball, his well-muscled body jiggling in all the right places.
Joshua talked me through his next throw.
It was my turn to blink the hottie out of my eyes this time.
I watched and listened as he told me what he did before every three point shot. He threw it again, and it just dropped right through the net.
He went after the ball, but this time I ripped my gaze from him and studied the moon flowers growing up the trellis to my parents’ room. Having drool dripping off my chin would seriously cramp my style.
A memory flashed through my mind of what Joshua had looked like jogging after that first ball…
I closed my eyes hard and shook my head
What was I supposed to be looking at?
Oh, yeah—the moon flowers. When the sun finally set, they’d bloom, glowing a brilliant white in the twilight.
“Cali!” Joshua hollered. “Pay attention.”
I gritted my teeth. I wanted to punch him in his too-pretty-to-even-have-a-zit face. I also wanted to run my fingers over his chest, to touch his sun warmed flesh…
“Now,” he continued as I came nearer, “When
shoot the ball I see you locking your knees together,”—
“And then your back starts getting tight.”
Well, yeah. I always feel myself stiffen when I’m attempting a throw.
“And then, just as you throw, you drop your left shoulder. That alone would make your aim off, but combined with your back and knees I’m surprised you don’t need a chiropractor.”
Well, no. He was being serious—and a smartass. But he was right. I did all those things.
I took the ball out of his hands and planted my feet solidly on the three point arc, pushing all lusty thoughts out of my head. I needed to learn this, and if my ass-hat of a brother could tell me all that by just watching me shoot a few times, then he knew his stuff.
That was way more help than my coach had been when I’d asked him for help. He’d just spouted the platitude, “practice makes perfect.”
I gazed up at the hoop.
I can do this.
I took some deep breaths. I let my body relax. Thoughts of floating in a still, clean pool of water permeated my thoughts.
Don’t think about it.
I know what to do now.
I opened my eyes as it hit me… the solution to the problem.
Pretend it was someone else throwing a three point shot.
I threw the ball.
It soared through the air in a graceful arc.
And then it whooshed through the net.
The excitement welled up inside me, bursting from my chest and shooting to my arms and legs like liquid fire. I jumped up in the air, a high pitched scream ripping from my throat, and then I turned and launched myself at Joshua. I wrapped my arms around his neck, laughing and screaming with pure, unrestrained joy.
I had never made that shot before.
I’d dreamed of making that shot.
“Thank you!” I cried out, hugging his neck with all I had.
A moment later I felt him hug me back.
“You know you still have to practice it… like a million more times, right?”
I kissed his cheek and stepped back, looking up into his face.
“I know, I just…” I stopped. I couldn’t say anything more. I couldn’t think or move.
Just one look up into Joshua’s beautiful faded green eyes and I was mesmerized…lost…
A grin played on his lips…
Those thick, biteable looking lips…
I lunged at him, wrapping my arms around his neck again, my lips colliding with his.
He tasted like raspberries and something foreign and strange—
His lips were so soft.
I felt him tense as I kissed him. I was sure he was going to push me away. He had to, right? I was his stupid little stepsister.
It was wrong.
But as his strong, bare arms encircled me, and his lips parted, his tongue licking into my mouth…
It felt so right.
Our bodies melded together, fitting so perfectly it was as if we were made for each other.
I gasped as that thought tore through my mind, and the warmth of his body made my flesh tingle. Something inside of me was pulling me closer and closer to him. I arched my back so that more of me was in contact with more of Joshua.
My breathing quickened and I felt my pulse race at that thought.
More of Joshua…
I felt something hard bulging against my stomach.
Oh god… that hardness was
I pulled away and looked down, seeing the hugeness sticking out from his sweats.
Then I heard a familiar sound: the twin carbs and dual exhausts of Joshua’s dad’s Silverado truck.
The look of blind panic and horror on Joshua’s face must have mirrored my own.
We separated, pushing away from each other.
I heard the slight squeal of the Silverado’s brakes as Joshua dashed over and grabbed the basketball from the ground, turning around with it, strategically obscuring his crotch. A guilt stricken look overwhelmed his face.
The Silverado turned into the driveway, going too fast, and then suddenly stopped with even more squeals from the brakes.
I stood there dumbly, feeling so caught. Mom and dad would know, wouldn’t they?
They would just know, from the looks on our faces.
What if that thing between Joshua’s legs didn’t go down? What if they saw it?
Oh god, oh god, oh god…
Joshua looked at me as if he were having the exact same thought.
The passenger side door swung open and my mom hopped out, her face flushed and her expression angry.
I gulped and hugged myself. My life was over—over before it really got started. Mom was going to kill me!
She turned to the open truck door and glared at my stepfather.
“I told you I never met your friend before! Why do you keep bringing it up?”
My stepfather, Paul, opened his door and climbed out of the cab. He was taller than Joshua, and more filled out in the shoulders.
When he looked down on you, you were intimidated, totally.
“Richie said he’d met you before, Susan,” he said, closing his door with a controlled gentleness. “I would just like to know from where… and how.”