Cannon, p.14
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       Cannon, p.14

         Part #3 of A Step Brother Romance series by Sabrina Paige
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  "Yes," I say, flustered by the fact that his eyes bore into me, but I don't want him to stop looking at me the way he does.   I brush my hair away from my face.   "I didn't need you to go all fucking Marine on them.   I don't need you to rescue me. "

  "Could have fooled me," he says.   "Looked like you needed rescuing the minute you walked out of your door wearing that tonight. "

  "What's wrong with this?"  I ask.   "I'll wear whatever I damn well want to. "

  "You might as well be naked," he says, just like he did before.   He leans forward, his hands on the roof of the car above me, and I inhale sharply at how close he is to me.   And at the way he says naked, like that's exactly what he wants. I can't take my eyes off his lips.   I want to feel them against me.   "I'd rather you were naked. "

  I raise my eyebrows, my throat pounding loudly in my chest.   "I thought you didn't approve of this dress. "

  Hendrix leans forward, his mouth close to my ear.   He runs his hand slowly up my thigh.   "I said, I would rather you were naked.   But I approve of the dress," he says.   "Only because I know you wore it to get a rise out of me. "

  "I wore it for myself," I lie.   "You're delusional. "

  He doesn't take his eyes off me as he reaches between my legs.   And I don't stop him.   "You're wearing panties, which is unfortunate," he notes.   But you're wet.   Just admit that tonight was all about getting a reaction from me, Addison. "

  I shrug, trying to be nonchalant when my heart is about to beat out of my freaking chest.

  "Okay, have it your way.   Get in the car," he orders, his voice gruff.   I stand there stupidly for a moment, a hot mess of desire and need that overtakes my ability to even form a rational thought, and then Hendrix pulls away from me and opens the car door, ushering me inside.

  Page 55

  On the short drive home, he's silent, and I wonder for a moment if what happened between us again really happened, or if it's just a figment of my imagination, some kind of late night delusion.   But as soon as we step inside the apartment, Hendrix has me by my arms and presses me up against the wall, his hand running up my thigh.   "Admit it," Hendrix says softly.

  "It's all about you, Hendrix," I say sarcastically.   But that's actually the truth.   It is all about him, isn't it?

  "It is all about me, Addy-girl," he says.   "It's all about you and me.   Always has been. "

  THREE YEARS AGO

  If I thought I could walk away from Addy, that seven thousand miles of ocean would be enough to put emotional distance between us, I was more than fucking wrong.

  "You're such a jackass, Hendrix Cole. "  The blonde screams at me, her voice shrill, as she puts one leg and then another back into her pants.

  "You knew that when you met me. "  I open my mouth to say her name and realize I don't remember it.   I'm disgusted with her; in the early morning light she no longer looks like the person I thought she bore a more-than-striking resemblance to last night in the bar, with her long blonde hair and blue eyes.

  "Oh, and thanks for nothing!" she yells.   "The legendary Cannon Cole couldn't even fucking get it up!"

  When she leaves, the front door slamming loudly behind her, I roll back over in bed, thinking about Addy.   Always Addy.   I'm on the other side of the world, and all I can think about is Addy.   Her face is burned on my brain.   That's why I couldn't get it up for the bottle-blonde bimbo that just fled my house.   The blonde wasn't Addy.

  When I can't go back to sleep, I sit up in bed with a notepad, writing the letter to Addy I'll never send, the one that tells her how I can't get her out of my head, that tells her how I can't keep going without her.

  I write it and I think about mailing it.   But I'm too much of a goddamned coward.   I'm a United States Marine.   I completed The Crucible, fifty-four hours of some of the most difficult training on earth.   And Addy fucking Stone is the thing that brings me to my knees.

  PRESENT DAY

  I walk away from her because I can't think straight when I'm this close to her.   I just came dangerously close to telling her that her angry rebellious act is just that -- an act.   I came close to telling her that I know she feels the same way I do about her.

  And how I feel about her.

  I'm annoyed with her immature games.   Who plays stupid games like that, anyway?

  From the other room, Addy shrieks loudly.

  Maybe I'm not that mature anyway.

  She bursts into my room.   "Someone broke into the apartment and took all of my clothes!"

  I stand there, waiting for her to put two and two together when she sees my not-so-shocked face.

  "You?!" she shrieks.   "Hendrix, that is not funny.   Go and get them now.   Put them back. "

  "Are you ordering me around, as your employee?" I ask.   I'm a petty asshole. I never pretended to be mature and self-aware.

  Her nostrils flare.   Holy hell, I've never seen her nostrils flare like this before.   She's adorable when she's angry, standing there in that little dress that barely covers her ass.   Too bad she has nothing else to wear.   "Hendrix fucking Cole," she says.   "I have nothing but bras and panties in there.   Where are my clothes?"

  I shrug.   "You said you were perfectly comfortable wearing bras and thongs. "

  Her eyes narrow.   "You know what I meant," she says.   "I was making a point. "

  Crossing my arms over my chest, I can't help but smile.   "So was I. "

  "Your point is made," she says.   "You're an immature, arrogant ass and I know that now.   Case closed.   Point taken.   Now give me back my clothes. "

  "Nah," I say, shaking my head.   "I don't think you got the point at all.   So I don't think I will give them back. "

  "You want me to just wear bras and panties?  You got it. "  She reaches for the hem of her dress and yanks it over her head, tossing it on the floor.

  "Well, shit, Addy-girl," I say, admiring the way her breasts nearly spill out of her bra.   "If I'd have known it was that easy to get you out of your clothes, I'd have taken them away earlier. "

  "You're a total jackass," she says, her hand on her hip.   It's honestly hard to listen to what she's saying when she's wearing a bra and thong.   And heels.

  Page 56

  "You're no peach, either, sweet cheeks. "  My cock presses against my jeans, and I wonder if she's still wet, the way she was when I reached between her legs earlier.

  "So you want me to parade around here like this all the time?" she asks.    Her breath comes short, her chest rising.

  I walk toward her, standing close, and tilt her chin up toward me.   "I'd fucking love for you to parade around here all the time dressed like this. "

  "Of course you would," she says.   "You're a total caveman. "

  "If I were a total caveman," I say, sliding my hand down the side of her waist until I reach the top of her thong, "I'd rip these panties right off you. "

  Addy raises her eyebrows, her head tilted up toward me.   "I guess you're not, after all. "

  I hear it as a challenge.   So I tear the fucking panties off her, and she looks at me with a mixture of amusement and irritation that makes me harder.   "It would be a mistake to assume I'm anything but. "

  "So you get off on, what, telling women what to do?  Bossing them around?  Ripping their panties?"  She acts like she's pissed off about it, but the way her lower lip falls open and she inhales sharply tells me it turns her on.

  Sliding my hand around the small of her back, I draw her against me, my hardness pressing into her, and cup her ass cheek with my hand.   I speak low against her ear.   "I get off on bossing you around, Addy," I say.   "You specifically.   No one else. "

  "You don't get to tell me what to do," she says.   Her voice breaks, and she lets out a small moan that betrays her words. <
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  I bring my hand down hard on her ass cheek, and she jumps, her eyes wide with surprise.   "Say you want me. "

  "No," she lies, her voice breathy.   "I'm not saying anything of the sort.   You were the one who said we should forget what happened. "

  I smack her hard on the ass again, the vibration reverberating against my cock, pressed up against her, and this time she flinches, but trails her tongue over her lower lip.   I want to bite that lower lip of hers.   "Have you forgotten it, Addy?"

  She sets her jaw.   "It's like it never happened. "

  I slap her ass again.   "Liar. "

  "Your words, not mine, Hendrix. "

  "I didn't mean it that way," I say, squeezing the flesh of her ass.

  "You're saying you've been thinking about it?"

  "Tell me you want me," I say.   "Say the words.   I want to hear it. "

  "You first," she says.   I think she's being obstinate, but she blinks and I realize she's terrified of the risk.   She doesn't want to say what I know she feels.

  I reach up and undo her bra and let it fall to the floor.   "Addy Stone," I say, trailing my fingers slowly across the tops of her breasts, my eyes never leaving hers even though I desperately want to watch her nipples rise to attention the way I know they are, "I've wanted you since I was sixteen fucking years old. "

  She doesn't say anything, and I trail my fingers down her taut abdomen, then down lower between her legs, and she lets out a soft moan.   "Hendrix. "

  "I'm not finished," I say, my fingers stroking her slowly, methodically.   "There's not a day that's gone by since I was sixteen years old that I didn't think about you, that I didn't want you more than I could breathe.   Now you are going to swallow your damn pride and tell me how much you've fantasized all week about feeling my cock inside you. "

  Her breathing is faster now as I stroke her and I watch her toy with the idea of not telling me.   She's still angry about her clothes.   "I want you," she says, her voice breathy.

  She licks her lips, and I do what I've been dying to all night – I bring my mouth down over hers, kissing her with such a ferocity that I think I might hurt her.   But she moans loudly into my mouth, encouraging me.

  When I take a breath, she pulls wildly at my shirt, yanking it over my head.    I slip my fingers into her slick wet pussy in one swift movement, stroking her as I talk to her. "Tell me, Addison," I order.

  "Tell you what?"

  "Tell me how much you've been dying to feel my cock inside you, that this week has been killing you just as much as it's been killing me to not touch you. "

  "I've touched myself thinking about you," she breathes, then she cries out in protest when I slip my fingers from her.

  Page 57

  I step back from her, unbuttoning my jeans as I watch her.   "Show me. "

  "Show you what?"

  "How you touched yourself all week when you thought about me. "

  Addy slides her fingers between her legs and shows me, her fingers moving around her clit in circles.   I watch the expression on her face change, watch her lips fall open, as I stroke myself.   When Addy reaches for my cock, I move her hand away.   "Not yet," I tell her.

  "Please, Hendrix," she begs, and the whimper she lets out makes her impossible to resist.   "I need…"

  I kiss her hungrily, my appetite for her overwhelming everything else.   I don't give a shit anymore what anyone might think.   I don't give a shit about the insane, possibly disastrous consequences for her if anyone finds out.   I don't give a shit about anything outside of us.   I just want her.

  Nothing about this is slow and sensual.   When we touch each other, it's fevered, frenzied, Addy's hands running over my chest, down my abdomen, then clawing at my back and scratching me.   It's me grabbing her hair and yanking her head up toward me, biting her lip.   We don't make it to the bed, even though it's mere feet away.

  I spin her around so that her back is toward me, her gorgeous ass facing me, on full display, and I run my hands down her body, over her curves.   "Put your hands on the bed. "

  Rolling a condom onto my length, I admire the view as Addy giggles.   "Sir, yes, sir," she says, so I slap her hard on the ass, and she yelps.

  "Watch your mouth, sweet cheeks," I say, wrapping her length of hair around my hand and giving it a tug.   She moans, and the fact that she moans in response to that makes me crazy.   Sweet little Addy doesn't want missionary-style, slow and gentle sex.   Sweet little Addy likes it dirty.

  She bends forward, letting out a long groan as I pull her hair again, pressing my cock against her entrance.   "You want this, Addy?"

  "I want it," she moans.

  I push, just a little bit, against her, sliding inside her and then stopping.   "Then say it, Addy. "

  "Fuck me, Hendrix," she begs.   "I want it. "

  I yank her hair again, and she groans, deep in her throat.   "Say yes. "

  "Yes, yes, yes," she says, her voice breathy.   Gripping her hips, I slide easily into her slick wet pussy.   She's bent over the bed, her palms flat, ass arched up, and I fuck her with deep thrusts.

  This isn't the slow, romantic sex you read about in romance novels or see in the movies.   It's all heat, Addy and I.   I thrust inside her with the pent-up frustration of a man who's lusted after her for years.   What happened between us a week ago has done nothing to quench my thirst.

  She makes these sounds that end up somewhere between a grunt and a moan, faster and faster as she gets closer so quickly.

  "Harder, Hendrix, harder," she begs, and I lose track of everything else, including any sense of time.

  When she comes, it's without any warning, and the sound that rips through her body is so primal, so incredibly unlike Addy, that as soon as I hear it, I have to let go.   The intensity of my orgasm is practically blinding.

  Afterward, she turns to face me and takes my face in her hands.   I hold my breath, thinking she's about to launch into some meaningful, emotional conversation, but instead, she asks, "Now, where are my fucking clothes?"

  I laugh, deep and long, so hard that I almost double over, before I pick her up again and carry her to the bed.   "I plan on keeping you out of clothes as much as possible, Addy.   You're not going to need them. "

  THREE YEARS AGO

  I stare at the computer screen, the cursor blinking in the middle of the body of the email, the message empty except for the address my mother gave me.   She said that Hendrix is in Okinawa, on the other side of the world.

  Hendrix is safely on the other side of the world, where nothing can happen between us.   That was my first thought when I heard where he was.   It's fucked up that I thought that way.   It's fucked up that my first thought was about us, and not the fact that he's a Marine who could wind up in Iraq or Afghanistan.   I was relieved that he was stationed someplace so far away that no one could possibly expect me to visit him.   That makes me a terrible person, I think.

  But my momentary sense of relief was immediately followed by an overwhelming sense of dread, panic at the thought of losing him in the War.   I had to count by fours, then by eights, then by twelves, until I was finally calm enough to breathe again.

  Page 58

  Why is it that I'm sitting here, filled with the same sense of impending dread now, staring at a blank email to Hendrix?  It's only an email – it shouldn't strike fear into my heart.

  I begin to type out what I want to say, one word at a time, stilted and disjointed.   Then I erase the words and begin again.   It's funny how the words flow so easily when I write them in my journal, lyrics to songs I'll never get the chance to sing.   But they don't come now that I'm looking at an email to the one person I want to write.

  Instead, fear clutches at my chest and I can't breathe.

  I wonder when I'll be able to breathe again.

/>   PRESENT DAY

  Hendrix is as good as his word, and I spend the next few days with him holed up in the apartment where I don't wear a stich of clothing except for his t-shirt when we come up for air.   Otherwise, we screw and lie around naked and talk about stupid stuff, laughing the way we use to when we were teenagers.   Hendrix's face takes on a lightness, a happiness that I haven't seen from him.

  When I get a voicemail from my mother, lecturing me on how all charity donations, especially for things like my clothes, should go through her since she's my manager, I pick up a pillow from the living room sofa and toss it at Hendrix's head.   "You donated my freaking clothes?"

  Hendrix grins, looking completely and utterly fucking pleased with himself.   "You're going to tell me you don't support veterans organizations?"

  I slap him hard on the arm.   "You think veterans want my closet full of clothes?"

  Hendrix laughs.   "Vets don't want your designer labels, sweet cheeks," he says.   "They're going to be auctioned off and the proceeds donated to a veterans organization.   But, I mean, if you want them back…"

  "I can't believe you stole my clothes," I say, shaking my head.   I can't believe I'm not angry.   There's something about Hendrix that makes his completely over-the-top behavior, his over-protectiveness, suddenly endearing. Sex has to be making me stupid.

  "I wanted you naked all the time," he says.   "It's a small price to pay. "

  "For you maybe," I say.   "I'm the one who lost her closet.   You go and do something so terrible and then it's for a good cause so it's impossible to hate you. "

  "We both know it's impossible for you to hate me anyhow.   Relax, sweet cheeks," he says.   "I kept the stuff I knew you loved.   It's in my closet. "

  Then he picks me up, his hands under my thighs, and carries me to the kitchen counter.   My ass is cool against the marble, and he grins up at me from between my thighs.   "I'll make it up to you," he says, touching his mouth to me.

  "I don't know," I say, leaning back and closing my eyes, reveling the sensation of his tongue on me, exploring me.   "It was a lot of clothes. "

  "You're a spoiled brat," he whispers, and I pull his head closer to my pussy.

  "I'm getting more spoiled by the minute," I say, as arousal washes over me like a tidal wave.

 
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