“Can you pass me a slice of mushroom?” Isla asks from the other side of the counter.
I open the box and place a slice of pizza onto the plate she’s holding out, crinkling my nose at the noxious fungi she insisted on ordering.
I was twenty and away at college when our parents married, and Isla moved into my childhood home. She was seventeen, nerdy, and obsessed with that young adult vampire book series that was popular at the time. It was oddly adorable. I saw her occasionally, during Christmas and spring break, but it was when I moved home for the summer that everything started to change. Isla started to change.
She replaced her glasses with contacts, grew a set of tits, and ditched the braces. Oh, and let’s not forget her newfound fondness for wearing short as fuck shorts. She was a good girl. Smart as hell, a star on the tennis team, head of the student council, and focused on a crazy amount of time on extracurriculars to ensure she got into the best college.
I immediately started limiting my time at home, because Isla was jail bait—more attractive than she should have been, and completely off-limits to me, her brand-spanking-new stepbrother.
But now I have no choice but to be at home. Our parents, both oncologists at the same busy hospital, are finally taking a delayed honeymoon to Hawaii, two and a half years after their wedding. And it’s why I knew I couldn’t put up a fight when they asked me to spend this weekend with Isla during her winter break from her sophomore year of college. I’m supposed to be looking after her.
I keep telling myself it’s fine, that I’ll be fine being around her on our own. I’m twenty-two years old now, not some hormonal teenager who can’t keep his dick in his pants. Plus, she’s still my goddamn step sister.
Isla takes a healthy bite of her pizza, flashing me a look as she chews. “Mushrooms are awesome.”
I shrug. “The psychedelic kind aren’t so bad.”
Her inquisitive blue eyes widen. “You’ve done that? And yet you won’t even let me have a drink?”
“Actually no, I haven’t. It was a joke.” Some friends of mine had, but I’d always been more focused on sports and had little time for things that distracted me from that. “Tell me, why do you want a drink so bad?”
Isla shrugs. “I drink at college sometimes, you know.”
I bring my bottle of beer to my lips and take a long swig. “I’m sure you do.”
She rolls her eyes, finishing the last of her pizza, and then carries her plate over to the sink. I watch her ass as she rinses the plate and places it in the dishwasher.
Forcing myself to turn away, I polish off my beer and head to the fridge for another.
“So, what are we going to do tonight?” she asks as she wipes down the marble countertops and puts the rest of the pizza away. “We could watch a movie.”
I nod. “If you want.” This might be the house I grew up in, but since Isla and her mom moved in, there’s been a lot of upgrades. Including my old bedroom, that’s now a media room, complete with surround sound and a movie screen-style projector. I didn’t really imagine that Isla and I would hang out while I was here. I figured she’d be busy with her friends, or maybe catching up on studying.
She grins and her eyes twinkle. “Cool. I’m just going to go call Tyler, and then I’ll come find you.”
Tyler’s her boyfriend. I haven’t met the guy, but she talks about him enough that I swear I’ve met him a million times before. I know he’s a political science major and two years ahead of her in school. They met her first week on campus and have been dating all year. She’s been talking about him almost nonstop for the past two days. Tyler this. Tyler that. I’m not annoyed by that at all.
With a sigh, I take my bottle of beer and head into the media room, deciding to look through the movie selection while I wait for Isla to finish her phone call.
Almost an hour slides by as I nurse my beer and dick around on my phone. A couple of my teammates are going out to a bar we like back home. I live a couple of hours away and just got drafted to Seattle’s pro hockey team as a backup goalie. It’s an amazing opportunity, and one I take very seriously.
My phone rings and it’s Owen, the team’s star goalie and one of my personal idols.
“Hey dude,” I say when I answer. “What’s up?”
“Come out with us, bro.”
“We need Morgan,” I hear someone say in the background. I think it’s Landon. “The pickup game is strong in that one.”
He isn’t wrong. I’d finally grown into my frame these last couple of years. When I hit six foot four my freshman year of college, my dad wondered if I’d ever stop growing. He’s only average height so my growth spurt was unexpected. I’d been lanky and thin until I finally put on thirty pounds of muscle. That, coupled with the new edition of my half-sleeve of ink, the guys on my team loved to tease me that I was a pussy magnet. I gotta admit, I didn’t hate their new nickname.
“You down or what?” Owen asks.
“Can’t. I’m at my dad’s house this weekend, two hours away.”
“Twat?” he says. “I cunt hear you?” I chuckle, but Owen’s not done. “I think I have an ear in-fuck-tion. Don’t worry, I’ll finger it out.”
I laugh again. As the rookie on the team, it’s practically their job to give me shit. “Have fun tonight guys.”
After promising to go out with them when I return, I end the call.
I check my watch, and decide rather than wait around for Isla, I’m going to hit the hot tub. I grab my navy-blue board shorts from my duffel bag and change quickly. My muscles are sore from last week’s game, and as I ease down into the hot, bubbling water, I let out a low hiss hoping the heat will relieve some of the tightness.
It would have been nice to go out with the guys tonight, rather than being stuck here babysitting, but what can you do? Leaning my head back against the edge of the hot tub, I look up at the cloudless night sky. The stars are brighter here somehow, and I take a moment to appreciate the view.
The silence is interrupted by the sound of the back door opening. I watch Isla pad out across the travertine walkway in bare feet. Her face is red, and her eyelashes are damp with tears.
I straighten up and face her. “What’s wrong?”
She shakes her head, her long dark hair falling over one cheek. “I don’t want to talk about it.” Her voice is a little hoarse.
“Are you okay?” I ask. I grew up as an only child, just me and my dad, and have next to no experience with crying females so I’m fumbling through motions and thinking back to what I’ve seen guys do in movies and television shows when faced with this exact situation.
She shakes her head and I watch a single tear roll down over her cheek.
“Is it something with Tyler?”
She bites her lip, looking down into the bubbling water. “Tyler who?”
Well, I guess that answers that. Against my better judgment, I slide over on the bench, and gesture to her. “Get your suit on. Come get in.”
Thinking it over for a moment with a contemplative look, she nods once, and disappears back into the house.
A minute later, she’s back and dressed in a skimpy white bikini that looks amazing against her honey-colored skin. She’s carrying two bottles of beer. She hands them to me, then slips in beside me.
Isla makes a small noise of pleasure as she sinks into the water.
I open the first beer, and hand it to her. Even if part of me doesn’t like the idea of her drinking, I know one beer won’t hurt anything—and she might need it if she really did just break up with her boyfriend.
“Thanks,” she says, voice soft.
She brings the bottle to her lips, and they press together, the delicate column of her throat working as she swallows.
I clear my throat and avert my eyes as she leans back, exposing the tops of her luscious breasts that spill over the top of the bikini.
Jesus Christ. This was not my best idea.
I open the second bottle and take a long drink, trying to quench the sudden thirst I have.
“Want to talk about it?” I ask, digging myself even deeper.
I kind of hope she doesn’t, but I’m trying to be the grown-up in this situation.
“Tyler broke up with me,” she says before taking another small sip of her beer.
Shit. I’m not equipped to handle teenage drama. Granted, she’s only a few of years younger than me, but still, I’m not equipped, and I really don’t want to handle this.
“I’m sorry,” I say, before taking another large gulp of beer while simultaneously wishing it was something stronger.
Isla waves me off. “He said I wasn’t experienced enough.” She makes air quotes as she says this, scoffing like she’s annoyed.
Okay, not the conversation I wanted to be having with her tonight, let alone ever, and sure as hell not when she’s sitting next to me practically naked, but fuck it. The least I can do is listen. Maybe try to offer a little advice. “So, what happened?” I ask, diving right in.
“I was going to go all the way with him on Valentine’s Day and give him my V-card on V-day. I thought that’d be romantic.”
I almost choke on the beer in my throat. Valentine’s Day is next weekend, and I do not like the idea of her giving it away to some undeserving prick. Recovering, I cough once into my fist and then look over at Isla. “I guess you dodged a bullet then.”
She looks at me like I’ve sprouted a second head. “Not hardly. If I want to be able to keep a boyfriend, I obviously need more experience in the bedroom, not less.”
I turn to face her. “This guy is obviously a tool, Isla. Anyone who tells you that you’re not good enough or experienced enough isn’t someone you want to be with. Any guy would be lucky to have you.”
Her lips twitch with the hint of a smile, and I fear I’ve said too much.
“Can I ask you something?” she says, toying with a lock of dark hair, twisting it around her finger.
“Sure.” I nod.
“It’s about, um, sex stuff.” Her cheeks flush the slightest bit, and I’m pretty sure it’s because of whatever’s running through that inquisitive brain of hers and not an effect of the hot water.
“Uh.” My brain short-circuits momentarily as I struggle to find a reason this conversation shouldn’t be happening right now. I come up blank.
“I know you’ve had sex with at least four girls,” she adds, her tone certain, a little bossy.
I almost chuckle, then catch myself. “Do you now?”
My number is easily north of twenty, but I’m not going to correct her. It’s not necessarily a number I’m proud of—I went a little wild in college—and my stepsister really doesn’t need this information because I know for a fact she’d start asking questions, and that’s really not something I want.
“Yup. That girl Chloe you dated your freshman year, and then Tessa, sophomore year.” She ticks them off on her fingers. “Then Bethany who you brought home for Thanksgiving—you said she was just a friend, but I heard noises coming from your bedroom that night.”
Bethany was just a friend. She also gave great head.
I lean back in the water. “Okay so maybe I haven’t been a saint, but I’m trying to be a good brother here.”
Isla makes a noise of disagreement. “You are not my brother. Gross, Morgan. I’m just asking for some pointers, that’s all.”
I certainly don’t feel very brotherly toward her. “Fine, what do you want to know?”
She takes a long drink of her beer before setting it on the edge of the hot tub. “I think part of the problem is that I… um, never made Tyler come.”
Nope. Hell no. This entire conversation is a hard pass.
“Yeah, I’m not talking about this.” I rise to my feet and swing one leg over the side of the hot tub to climb out. Isla reaches out to stop me, her warm palm connecting with my abs. There are six of them, each clearly defined; I work hard to keep it that way, and they tighten when her fingertips drag across them.
A bolt of electricity zings through me, snapping south.
She swallows, and pulls her hand away, as if realizing she’s touching my bare skin. I’ve always been careful around her, and I can see now that inviting her to join me in the hot tub while drinking was not a good judgment call on my part. My bad.
It’s time to go inside. Possibly take a cold shower. Or perform a lobotomy so I can erase this entire conversation from my brain.
Isla never made Tyler come.
She’s asking me for tips on how to make a guy come.
Fuck. My. Life.
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