Cannon, p.17
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       Cannon, p.17

         Part #3 of A Step Brother Romance series by Sabrina Paige
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  "Shit, Addy," he says, his voice breaking.   I love that.   I love that I make his voice break like that.   I love that I bring him to his knees.

  When I lower myself onto him, it's not gently or gingerly.   I slide onto him easily, aided by my slickness, and Hendrix lets out a moan, uttering my name followed by several expletives.

  This time, I'm the one who threads my fingers through his, pinning his hands above his head so I can ride him.   Close to him at first, rocking against him and savoring the feeling of him inside me, of being in control of the man who's usually in control, then sitting up as waves of pleasure wash over me again and again.

  Hendrix grips my hips, plunging me down tightly on his cock until I'm filled to the hilt.   "You feel so fucking good like this, Addy," he says, his voice low.

  I love the feeling of him bare, the tip of his cock stroking me inside, pressing against the most sensitive place in me.   I reach down, rubbing my clit as I ride him, letting the sensation wash over me as he brings me higher and higher until I'm almost on the edge.   "Oh, God, Hendrix, I'm so close," I moan.

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  "I want to feel you come on me," Hendrix says.   "Nothing between us. "

  The thought of coming on Hendrix's bare cock pushes me over the edge, and I let go, crying out loudly, moaning Hendrix's name.   His hands are tight on my ass cheeks and he groans as he presses his cock into me and fills me up with his warm seed.

  Later that night, I lie in bed with Hendrix back at the hotel room, my eyes closed but not sleeping.

  "Are you awake?" Hendrix whispers.

  "Yep. "

  "The song tonight," he says.   "It was good.   Really good. "

  "Indie-folk is not a seller, my record label says.   Not for me," I whisper.

  "Fuck 'em," Hendrix says.   "You were alive up there, you know.   More than when I've seen you perform, or in the studio.   That was different. "

  Because it was about you, I want to say.   It's different because it was for you.

  Then he asks the question, the one I've been wanting him to ask.   "Who was the song about?"

  I pause, opening and closing my mouth several times before I answer.   "It was just a song, Hendrix," I lie.   My words catch in my throat, and I'm glad he can't see me in the darkness.   Why didn't I say what I wanted to say?  It's so easy, putting the words down on paper, singing them in front of a room full of strangers.   But now when it's the two of us here, alone in bed, it's suddenly impossible to speak the words out loud.

  I love you.   I've loved you forever.

  I'm scared to love you the way I do.

  I'm terrified of losing you.



  I haven't written you a letter in a long time.   I used to write them every week.   Hell, sometimes in Afghanistan it was every fucking day.   I think I needed to hang on to something, when I was out there.

  Out in the field, I'd think about swimming lessons in the pool, replay those nights over and over in my head until I swear I could almost smell the chlorine instead of the stench of dirt in my nostrils.   And I would tell myself that if I could make it through, I'd go to you.   I'd show up on your front door, and I'd make a grand declaration of love, tell you all the things I didn't say before because I was young and stupid and thought that I had so many years ahead of me it didn't matter.

  And then after that, I couldn't write anymore.

  I can't write you anymore.

  I'm coming back to Nashville.   You don't know it, but I am.   I'm not a Marine anymore.   I'll wear a collared shirt, and sit at a desk, and waste away.

  I'll rot away in the same city where you live, but I can't bring myself to see you.

  So I won't write you anymore.   I have to let you go.

  I'm going to try to let you go this time.   I think I can.


  "Are you nervous?" I whisper, once we're backstage.   I'm trying not to stare at her, except it's really hard not to when she's looking like nineteen fifties glam, like she just stepped off the set of an old movie.   It was on purpose, her mother's idea to channel a time characterized by wholesome American values, a reaction to the fact that we went running off together on a road trip.   A few people uploaded videos of Addy singing at the bar, and they went viral.

  Our parents went ballistic -- not because of me and Addy, though.   I don't think she suspects us of anything like. . . well, having sex on the beach.   The Wicked Bitch and the Colonel were angry, accused us of being rebellious teenagers "playing hooky. "  Hooky from what, I'm not sure.   But there was no hint that anything else was happening other than Addy dragging her bodyguard to the beach for a little friendly fun.

  "No," Addy says, as I escort her to her dressing room.   I'm careful not to touch her on the small of the back, the way that I want to in the middle of all of these people.   The backstage area is crowded with performers, workers for the show who bustle about, weaving and winding through the stars, taking purposeful steps.   People say hello to Addy, squealing and air-kissing her.   She doesn't seem nervous at all.   She seems calm, and that makes me happy.   I know crowds make her anxious, but she's not even doing her regular counting thing.

  Inside the dressing room, she kisses me as soon as I close the door, her arms around my neck.   "Careful, Addy-girl," I warn.   "Unless you want me to fuck you right here in your dressing room before your performance.   Is that what you want?"

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  "Mhmm," she murmurs.   "That's what you should do.   It's good luck, you know. "

  "Oh, is it, now?"  I back her up against the wall.   "I wouldn't want to ruin this dress. "

  "No," she says, her voice soft as she looks up at me.   "It's from the designer.   I'm pretty sure it costs as much as a car. "

  "So I should be gentle, then," I say.   But the last thing I'm about to do is be gentle with her.

  "I hope not," she says.   "I'd be disappointed if you were. "  Then she reaches for my pants.   "I really like you in a tux, you know. "

  "I'd rather be out of it," I say.   "But not yet. "

  "Are you going to make me beg for it?" Addy asks, feigning disappointment and giving me an exaggerated sigh.

  "Isn't it better when you tell me exactly how much you want it?"  I ask, sliding down to my knees in front of her, pulling up the edges of the gown and placing my hands on her ankles.   I want to rip this dress off her and take her right now, but that's what she wants me to do too, so I'll make her wait.   At least for that much.

  "Hendrix," she says softly.   "I want you inside me. "

  "I'm going to be inside you," I say.   "After I lick that sweet pussy of yours until I'm satisfied.   Tell me that's what you want me to do.   Tell me you want my tongue on you, licking and sucking, your clit in my mouth, until you come on my face. "  I slide my hands up the inside of her legs, pushing the fabric of her dress up until it's over my head and it falls over the top of me.   "Tell me. "

  Underneath her dress, her scent is intoxicating.   I don't know what it is about her, but I could keep my face buried between her legs all the time and be a happy man.   I can't get enough of her.

  "I want you to touch me," she says, and as I reach between her legs, lightly grazing her pussy lips with the tips of my fingers, she moans.   My cock is rigid against the fabric of my tuxedo pants at the mere act of touching her, and I want nothing more than to plunge myself deeply inside of her tight pussy.   But I wait.

  "What else?" I ask.   I want her to tell me what she wants.   I like to hear her speak the words.

  "I want you to lick me," she says, so I touch my tongue gently to her, licking the length of her, pressing my tongue against her clit, sucking it into my mouth as she makes little moaning sounds.   Being between her legs like this is
my idea of heaven, I think, as I slip my fingers inside her and she moans louder.   I'm stroking her, bringing her higher and higher until she's urging me on, commanding me.

  "Fuck me," she begs.   "I'm so ready. "

  "Come on my face, first," I order.

  "Shit, Hendrix, I'm going to – oh, holy shit!"  I fuck her harder with my fingers, feeling her pussy muscles squeeze around me as she begins to orgasm.   Then she smacks the back of my head.

  "Oh, yeah, you like that," I say.

  "Hendrix!"  She's coming on my fingers, smacking my head underneath her dress and I'm groaning, telling her how much I want to put my cock in her.   "Get up!"


  I stop cold, my blood practically turning to ice in my veins, fingers paused inside her, unmoving, feeling Addy throb around me.

  That was definitely not Addy's voice.

  I'm going to actually pass out.   Or have a heart attack.   Or a stroke.   People have strokes or heart attacks or faint in situations like this.   It's the kind of thing you read about in the tabloids, the stories of weird one-in-a-million deaths.   Leave it to me to be the one in a million.

  I might even die of humiliation.   That has to be possible. I will die right here, right now, and the news article is going to read, Wholesome Country Music Star Dropped Dead With Her Stepbrother's Face Between Her Legs.

  "Hendrix!" my mother shrieks.   "For Christ's sake, Colonel, lock the fucking door.   Apparently that never occurred to you two geniuses. "

  I smack Hendrix on the back of the head.   Why is he still there, frozen under my fucking dress?  His fingers are still lodged in my pussy, with our parents staring at us.   He finally moves, coming out from under my dress, and it falls back down to the floor.   He stands up and wipes his mouth, really playing it up for the parents, and now I'm really going to die.

  "What the hell is wrong with the two of you?" the Colonel bellows, lunging for Hendrix.   His face is red, contorted with anger, and I see a look come over Hendrix that I've seen before.   Hendrix puts up his arm and catches the Colonel before he can hit him.

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  "You tell me what's wrong with us, sir," Hendrix says through gritted teeth.

  "Hendrix, don't," I say, my heart in my throat.   I'm afraid if he hits his father, he won't stop.

  "This is…disgusting," my mother says, her lip curled up in a snarl.   "What's wrong with you?  He's your brother!"

  "Stepbrother," I correct.   "It's none of your business who I date, mother. "

  Beside me, the Colonel berates Hendrix.   "I gave you a goddamned job, after you couldn't hack it in the real world.   After you couldn't bring your squad back alive. "

  It's like the Colonel's words are suddenly amplified in the room, and whatever my mother is saying seems to fade into the background, as if someone turned down the volume in her voice.   She's talking about my contract or my deal or what people will think or some other bullshit, and all I can hear is what the Colonel says, echoing in my head.   You couldn't bring your squad back alive.

  It's like it's all happening in slow motion.   Hendrix draws his fist back and punches the Colonel across the face.   My mother spins to the side in her evening gown and screams.   And I call after Hendrix, call his name as he out the door.

  My mother turns toward me.   "You see what you've done?"

  "What I've done?" I ask.   I'm barely paying attention to her, more focused on going after Hendrix.   "You're fired, Mother. "

  "You spoiled, ungrateful little bitch," she says.   For a second I think about pulling a Hendrix and socking her across the face too, but I don't.

  Then it's complete chaos.   The door opens and one of the stage managers looks at us, blinking.   "Ms. Stone," he says.   "Is everything okay?  It's almost time for you. "

  "Change in plan," I say, stepping past my mother on the way out the door, my gown trailing on the ground behind me but I don't care.

  My mother has her hand on my stepfather's face.   "Get him some ice," she yells at the stage manager.   "Addison Stone, I'm contacting the attorney. "

  "Ditto," I say, on my way out.

  "Hendrix!" Addy calls.   She's walking toward me, her dress billowing behind her, the stage manager assigned to her taking short brisk steps to keep up while simultaneously talking rapidly into a headset and texting on his phone, his clipboard tucked under his arm.   "Wait, please. "

  When she catches up to me, she takes my arm, and I shake her away, even though part of me wants to take her in my arms and kiss her right there.   I want to press my lips against hers, inhale her scent.   More than that, I want to forget the shit my father just said, the thing that has me practically crawling out of my skin, wanting to get the fuck out of here.   "Addy, go out there," I say.   "I'll see you when you get done. "

  "Wait, Hendrix," she says, her cheeks flushed.   "What your father said about your squad – "

  I swallow hard.   "Leave it alone, Addy-girl," I say.   "Are you okay?"

  Addy smiles, her cheeks flushed.   "Yeah," she says.   "I think I am. "

  "Where are they?" I start.

  "They're leaving," she says.   "They'll be escorted out.   They were my guests, and they're no longer welcome. "

  "Security is probably going to come pick me up too, you know," I say, looking behind her.   I expect men in suits to show up to escort me out at any moment.

  Addy shakes her head.   "I don't think the Colonel will say anything," she says.   "He's too arrogant to let anyone know you hit him and not the other way around. "

  The stage manager interrupts.   "This is really quite unprecedented, Ms. Stone. "

  "What's unprecedented?"

  "We're on the move," the stage manager says, taking Addy's arm.

  "I'll be back in a few," Addy calls.   "Wait here for me?  And watch the show!"

  She disappears, and I'm left standing there backstage, surrounded by people I don't know but that I recognize from magazines, in their tuxedos and evening gowns, milling about like it's a cocktail party.   I'm left standing there thinking about what my father said.   You couldn't bring your squad back alive.

  The words play over and over in my head on a loop, and I'm not sure I can stand here watching an awards show when I'm so agitated that I just want to go run until I can't think anymore.   I breathe in, trying to focus on now, instead of the images that begin to flash in my head, the images I can't erase.

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  And then I hear Addy's voice on one of the many televisions scattered about the walls backstage, and I walk closer to it, ignoring the inane chatter and stupid conversations of the people around me, talking about their designer dresses and after parties later.   Everything fades away into the background, the voices blending together and becoming a dull roar as I look at her.

  "I'm going off-script," she says, looking into the camera.   "I was supposed to sing something from my most upcoming album, but I'm not going to do that.   I'm going to sing something I wrote.   It's not flashy, and the band isn't prepared for this, so it's just going to be me and a guitar.   I hope you like it.   And Hendrix, if you're watching, it's all for you.   It always has been. "

  My heart in my throat, I watch while Addy picks up the guitar and puts the strap around her neck.   A few people standing behind me titter, and I turn around and shut them up with a look.   Addy standing there in her shimmery white evening gown with a guitar around her neck is going to be one of those shots plastered all over every magazine and gossip website around.

  I stand there, holding my breath, while she plays the first few chords of a song I've never heard, her eyes closed.   And then she starts to sing, and it's hypnotic, watching her.   She sings about heartbreak and loss.   And love.

  I'd forgotten how to breathe

nbsp; I'd forgotten how to live

  I'd forgotten how to love. . . until you.

  And, just like that, the night makes a hundred eighty degree turn.   Just like that, it's Addy's image in my mind, instead of the horror from the past.   I know it doesn't replace it permanently, but it does now.   And that's enough.

  When Addy comes backstage, she's practically accosted by people – other celebrities, a few reporters – but the bodies part, and she stands there, a few feet away, looking at me.   "And?" she asks.

  "Oh, did you perform already?" I ask.   "I was taking a leak, so I think I missed it. "

  Addy grins, walking up to me and putting her hand on my chest.   I'm aware of eyes on us, the fact that this moment, what's happening between us, is the center of attention in this room, but I don't care.   "Don't be a dick," she says.

  "You sure about this?" I ask, reminding her of all of the potential consequences for her, the possibility of her losing her contract.   Being sued by the label.

  Addy shrugs.   "Fuck it. "

  "You know I love you," I tell her.   I realize I've thought it a thousand times, and it feels so much like I've already said it.   The words leave my mouth, sounding so familiar when I speak them to her, but I haven’t said it.   Not yet.   Not until now.

  "Oh, do I?" she asks.   Her head is tilted up toward me, her lips parted, and I want to kiss her, but I wait, because there are things that need to be said.

  "I love you," I say.   "Absolutely and completely.   I've loved you since day one, Addy-girl.   For seven years I've loved you. "

  "Okay," she says.

  "Okay?" I ask.   "That's it?  I tell you I love you and you say okay?"

  A broad grin spreads across her face.   "I love you, too, but you already heard me say that on stage," she says.   "Now, stop giving me grief and kiss me already.   You know the tabloids are going to need a good image to go with their scandal.   So let's give them one. "

  So I kiss her – one of those slow-motion, hands-in-the-hair, straight-out-of-the-movies kisses where everything in the world stops.

  And then I bend down, and pick her up in my arms, and I carry her the fuck out of there, grinning like the luckiest son of a bitch on the planet, because I am.   Right in front of the reporters and everything.

  My phone buzzes over and over, until I finally shut it off.   That doesn't seem good enough, though, so I take out the SIM card and break it in half before turning to Hendrix, who looks at me with amusement.   "I don't want to talk to anyone right now," I explain.   "And there's going to be too much talking to do. "

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