Seven years ago
THE HEAT OF THE SUMMER sun was soaking into every pore, turning my muscles into jelly and filling my brain with a sleepy fog that I wasn’t ready to be pulled from. It was the first day of summer vacation at my father’s house, and all I wanted to do was lie out by the pool all summer long.
My first year of college had been brutal. I had been away from everyone I knew and loved for the first time in my life, yet I hadn’t spent my new freedom partying it up like I knew Kim had been doing at her own college of choice this year. I had worked hard, rarely even left my dorm room unless it was to go to class or to eat, and studied until I had been sure I would start reciting Econ material in my sleep.
I wanted my father to know I was taking college serious, that I was someone who would work hard and do an excellent job, someone he could be proud to bring into his company and teach the ropes to. I didn’t want to treat it like one big party, unlike Kim, who was just happy to be away from her mother. I understood why my stepsister was so happy to be away from Nancy, but the girl had gone a little wild. Too wild maybe, which had me worried.
Pushing all thoughts of my stepsister from my sleepy mind, I turned over on the lounge chair I had pulled over to the edge of the pool. Making sure that my top was in place, I untied the strings around my neck and behind my back so I wouldn’t have tan lines. Within minutes, I was drifting off again as a light breeze brushed over my sweating body.
The feel of large, warm hands rubbing something onto my bare back startled me awake, but I didn’t scream. Just one touch from this man and my body was turning into an inferno with a need that scared the hell out of me at times.
Dom massaged sunscreen into my shoulders, releasing the last of the tension that had filled my muscles with end of term finals the week before. “You’re just begging for a bad burn, aren’t you?” my stepbrother grumbled, though I could hear something else in his tone. Amusement, mixed with the need that we had both been walking around for a while now.
“I thought you liked it when I begged?” I murmured with a sassy flip of my hair as I started to sit up. Almost too late, I remembered that my bikini top was undone and quickly covered my chest with my hands until I got everything in place again. Thankfully, he was still behind me, and I didn’t have to worry about flashing him with my oversized breasts.
Dom dipped his hand lower, rubbing more sunscreen over the small of my back, and then down to the top of my bikini bottoms. I felt one of his fingers lift the material, his thumb brushing over the top of my rear. “This ass is going to get me in trouble,” he muttered so low that I barely heard him.
Liquid heat pooled between my legs at his continued touch and nearness. I felt his breath on the back of my neck seconds before he touched my hair.
“Pink? Really, Triss?”
I glanced at him from over my shoulder, giving him a sassy smirk. “Hey, it’s my one act of defiance all year long. I couldn’t let your mother think she was winning.”
His mouth turned firm at the mention of Nancy, but then he grinned. “I like the pink, baby.”
Pleasure exploded in my chest as I turned to face him. It had been three months since I had last seen my sexy stepbrother, but in that time, we had texted every day and called each other almost as often. There wasn’t a day that went by that we didn’t speak. That was how it had always been with us, though. From the very first day I met my new stepbrother, we had connected. That had been four years ago, when I was just fifteen. As I had grown up, our friendship had strengthened and grown into something more. At least, for me it had. For him, I knew it was turning into something more, but I just didn’t know what “more” it was yet.
“How were finals?” he asked, moving so he was lying down on my lounger on his side with his head propped up on his hand.
“Aces all around,” I assured him, although a week ago I hadn’t been so sure of myself. I had called him practically in tears, stressed to the max over my Econ final I had been positive I was going to fail.
A proud smile lifted his lips. “That’s my girl.”
I stretched out beside him, turning to face him. There was only an inch or so distance between us. I could feel the heat radiating off his body, burning me hotter than the sun’s rays could ever attempt to do.
“How is the residency going?” He was a first-year resident working at one of NYC’s busiest hospitals.
“I’m on call tonight,” he told me with a grimace. “Otherwise, I would take you out to celebrate.”
“I would rather celebrate at home, anyway,” I assured him. “You know I don’t like the whole club scene.”
Something darkened in his eyes. “I wasn’t planning on taking you to a club, Triss.”
“Oh,” I murmured stupidly, unsure of what else to say. He had the power to turn off my brain, to make my mouth clam up and my body open like a flower blooming just for him.
“Maybe this weekend, though.” He lifted a hand, tracing long, thick fingers over my jaw deceptively soft before pushing a few strands of my pink and blonde hair behind my ear. “The parents are going to Vermont for the weekend. We could have the house to ourselves for once.”
My body began to hum at just the possibility of the promise I heard in his voice. The look in his eyes burned through me until my entire body felt like it was singing.
Shyly, I reached out and brushed a speck of lint off the dark blue shirt that stretched over every well-cut muscle of his torso. “Maybe.”
“You’re a minx, you know that?” He sat up, slapped me playfully on the rear, then stood. “I have to go before you tempt me into doing something I can’t finish. Find a dress for this weekend.” He called over his shoulder. “Something nice.”
I rolled my eyes and turned back onto my front, once again letting the sun’s heat wash over me. It didn’t come close to the blaze that was already burning between my thighs.