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A Stepbrother Novel
Releasing Sept 15th, 2015
Seven years in the army will change a guy. But after a shoulder wound ends his career as a sniper, Jackson Worthington finds himself back home, fighting a battle that’s all too familiar: keeping his hands off Lily Hastings. She’s still her rich daddy’s little angel, innocent, impossibly lovely, as squeaky-clean as Jackson is dirty. And she’s still his stepsister—forbidden but not forgotten, not after the soul-melting kiss that got him kicked out of the house at eighteen. He couldn’t resist her then. How the hell can he resist her now?
Lily is about to marry a man she doesn’t love, and commit to a high-stress job she hates, all to please the father who controls every waking moment of her life. On top of everything, her teenage crush is back, with a sleek, chiseled body and a trace of the rebellious boy whose lips sealed her fate. Jackson’s timing couldn’t be worse . . . or better. Because Lily’s all grown up, too. She’s aching for another taste. And for the first time, she’s ready to be a bad girl.
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“Walter, you know he ran as soon as he found out I was pregnant. I had to raise Jackson by myself, and you know how hard that was on me,” Mother said, her voice low. She shouldn’t have bothered. I heard her, anyway. “But if you would consider letting him . . .”
I walked away, knowing how this conversation would end. Walt refused to accept that I had all but joined the army—all it needed was a few signatures, and it would be done. I passed all the tests, filled out the papers. It was a done deal, and I would be leaving soon. But once I was gone? Yeah, he’d get the picture pretty damn fast.
“Psst,” Lilly called out, holding two bottles of Coke. I would rather have a beer, but she wasn’t into rebelling. Not that badly, anyway. “Come here.”
I walked over, my heart thumping against my chest the closer I got to her. I might be three years older than her, but we connected on a level that couldn’t be ignored or explained. She just got me. And I got her. “What’s up, little girl?”
She flushed. “I hate it when you call me that.”
“I know.” I tapped her on her nose. “It’s why I do it.”
She stole another quick glance at me from under her ridiculously long eyelashes and bit down on her lower lip. My heart rate increased in response, but I ignored it. It was no secret that she had a huge crush on me. I liked her from day one, and I’d tried to keep that concealed as it wasn’t so much a sexual thing for me. Well, okay, she was a babe, so obviously I appreciated that like men did . . . but my feelings toward her were really more of a protective “I’ll take care of you” thing, if that made any sense at all.
At least we weren’t blood.
And thank God for that. I’d kill myself if I were a Hastings like that asshole in the other room. We were a family unit by marriage and legality only. And Lilly was pretty much my only friend, which made her my best friend, and a guy didn’t mess around with his best friend.
She was too young. Too pretty. Too clean.
Too good for a guy like me.
I graduated high school a month ago, five months after our parents married, and she was about to enter eleventh grade. I might only be eighteen, but I’d seen and done shit she had no clue about. And I intended to keep it that way.
“Don’t listen to him,” Lilly whispered. “He doesn’t know what he’s talking about. He never does.”
I smiled, because she was trying to make me feel better, and I wanted her to think it was working. She always tried to cheer me up after Walt went on one of his asshole binges with me. “I know. What’s up?”
“Come here. I want to show you something.” She held her hand out to mine, watching me with those bright green eyes of hers. “Alone.”
Just the way I liked it.
Walt laughed from the dining room, and his deep voice boomed as he said to his wife, “The boy is doomed to fail.”
I knew he talked about me. Just like I knew he hated me. Just like I knew the one way that I would be guaranteed freedom from his overbearing grasp. And it was through his Lilly. . . . Ah. He loved his sweet, innocent Lilly. Everyone did. If I took her, and dirtied her by making her mine, he would flip his shit. Never forgive me. And I would finally be free of his annoying interference in my life.
Too bad I couldn’t do that to her.
She meant too much to me.
It wasn’t as if she didn’t want it, or me. She did. If I kissed her, she’d probably have an orgasm right there. But I refused to hurt her. To use her. And that was that.
“All right. Let’s go,” I said.
“Hurry, before they see us.” She grabbed my hand and dragged me along behind her, her tiny hand feeling dainty and frail in mine. For some reason, her touch felt different tonight. Like she wasn’t my stepsister, or even my best friend. I didn’t know where these feelings were coming from, but they needed to quit. “Look. They opened the pool. No one’s been in yet, so they won’t think to look for us here.”
I scanned the area. We were indeed alone. My heart thumped so loudly I couldn’t even hear my thoughts, but that was a good thing. They were confusing the hell out of me. “It looks great,” I said, my voice strained. “I’ve never been in here before.”
“It’s my favorite part of the house.” She kicked her pink flip-flops off and sank her toes into the clear, blue water. “Come on. Sit next to me and enjoy it.”
Sighing, I removed my black Chucks and sat directly beside her. She smiled over at me, and I shook my head because she looked so utterly beautiful, staring up at me with adoration in her eyes. Guys like me? Yeah, we didn’t usually get looked at like that.
Especially not by pretty girls like Lilly.
Though she lives in the mountains, she really wishes she was surrounded by a hot, sunny beach with crystal-clear water. She lives in Northeast Pennsylvania with her four kids, a husband, a schnauzer mutt, and three cats. Her goal is to write so many well-crafted romance books that even a non-romance reader will know her name.