Prince albert, p.44
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       Prince Albert, p.44

         Part #4 of A Step Brother Romance series by Sabrina Paige

  takes another swig from her glass.

  "Step-sister," I correct. "She's my step-sister, not my sister."

  "You're disgusting," she hisses. "It's disgusting."

  "I haven't looked at her any way at all," I say. "Maybe if you weren't half in the bag all the time, you'd have a clearer view of things."

  The door opens, and Delaney walks inside, stopping short when she sees us. "Hi," she says, her voice tentative. "I came home early to get ready for the event."

  "Don't worry," I say. "Anja is already pre-partying herself. She's concerned that we all understand the importance of tonight."

  Delaney nods, silent as she looks back and forth between us. "Um, sure," she says. "It's going to be a great event. Some of the reps from the Japanese manufacturer will be there, Gaige. I don't think you've met them yet, but I'll introduce you."

  "Perfect," I say. I'm so preoccupied with Anja's intimations that I can't really think about anything else. If she were to tell Beau what she suspected about Delaney and I…

  I remind myself that what she's saying is just the ravings of a drunk.

  "I'm certain you'll make sure Gaige has everything he needs tonight," Anja says, looking at Delaney. She takes another sip from her glass, her expression smug, and I've never wanted to hit a woman, but I really want to knock that fucking glass out of my mother's hand.

  Delaney's forehead wrinkles, and she looks from my face to my mother's and back again. "Absolutely," she says. "That's my job. So if you'll excuse me, I need to get ready."

  I wait until Delaney is out of earshot before I speak. "Delaney didn't remember you as being quite so petty and vindictive," I say. "Unlike me. I know you've always been this way."

  Anja smiles, her lips drawn tight. "Remember what I said, Gaige," she says. "Don't ruin anything for Beau. And stop looking at your sister."

  "I'm not even going to dignify that with a response, Anja," I say, before I turn and walk quickly down the hall. I don't want a response from her. I just want to get the hell out of this conversation.

  Delaney's door is open, but I walk past it into my bedroom and set my helmet on the desk. I'm sitting down and taking off my boots when she steps inside. "What did you say to her?" she whispers.

  "Nothing," I say. "Absolutely nothing."

  "She doesn't know what happened?" Delaney looks panicked, and her voice squeaks.

  "She's a drunk," I say. "Do you really think she knows anything?"

  "She seemed like she did."

  "Well, it's a good thing there's nothing to know, then, is there?" I unzip my jacket and lay it across the back of the chair, turning to see Delaney just standing there watching me.

  "There's nothing to know," she echoes, and I'm not sure if she's asking a question or repeating my statement.

  "Nothing happened between us," I elaborate. "So there's really nothing to know. Now, I'm trying to get in the shower. Did you have something else to ask?"

  Delaney shakes her head slowly, still staring at me. "Did you ride?"


  "Your leg is doing better?"


  "Are you just going to answer me in one-word responses?"

  "What do you want me to say, Delaney?" I walk toward her, and she backs up until she's pressed against the wall in my bedroom. Irritation surges through me, although the sight of her against the wall makes my cock stir. "You're the one who wanted us to be professional."

  "I –" she starts, looking up at me with pleading eyes. "I want us to be friends, though."

  "I already told you," I whisper. I watch as her chest rises and falls, her breath short. I want to taste her. "I don't want to be your friend."

  "What do you want, then?" she asks.

  "Don't fucking do that, Delaney." I put my hands on her wrists, pin them at her sides, then change my mind and push them roughly above her head. Her lips part, and she arches her back, her breasts high in the air.

  "Don't do what?"

  "Don't ask questions that sound innocent, and then look at me like you're doing right now, like you want me," I say. "I'm not playing a fucking game here."

  "What do you want?" she whispers.

  Holding her wrists against the wall with one hand, I slide my other palm up her thigh, moving it higher and higher and bunching her pencil skirt up around her ass. "You know what I want," I whisper. "I want to slide my cock inside your wet pussy until you call my name like you did that night. I want to hear the little whimpering sound you make before you come."

  She says nothing, but she makes that sound in the back of her throat, the one I just described. The whimper. My fingers aren't even between her fucking legs, and she's making that sound. Fuck, that sound is going to be my undoing.

  I reach between her legs. Her panties are soaked already, and I think that fact alone might make me come. She looks at me, her expression colored with lust.

  "Tell me what you want, darlin'," I whisper, my fingers moving across the surface of those panties. "Still want to be friends?"

  "It's not – shit, Gaige, it's not a good idea." But her breath is already coming in gasps.

  "I tell you what I want to do to you, and you can't do the same?" I ask. "You kick me out of your room the morning after, then ignore me for the past fourteen fucking days. And now you're in my room panting and you're still not going to say you want me? Just say it, darlin'. I want to hear the words come out of your mouth."

  "I –" she starts. Then she looks at me. "I want you."

  I drop to my knees in front of her and yank her skirt up to her waist while she runs her hands through my hair. "Not good enough," I say, my fingers trailing along the surface of her panties. "I want to hear exactly what you want."

  "I want you," she says. Gripping the side of her thong, I tear the fabric in two. "What are you doing?"

  "I want to rip these the hell off you," I say, doing the same with the other side. "What do you want me to do? For a girl who's so fucking mouthy all the time, you're awful quiet now."

  "I want you to –" She clears her throat. "I want you to lick me."

  I touch my tongue to her pussy, tasting the sweetness of her juices. She's practically dripping, and she moans the second I touch her. "Like this?"

  "I want you to do what you did before," she says. "Make me come on your face." I slide my fingers inside her, cover her clit with my mouth, sucking it in as I listen to her breath become shorter.

  "Keep talking," I say. "Tell me what else."

  "Oh, fuck, Gaige," she says, her breath shorter. "I want you to fuck me. I want to feel your cock inside me when I come."

  Hearing those words come out of oh-so-professional Delaney's mouth nearly does me in. My cock is throbbing against the fabric of my pants. But I stand, my fingers still inside her, and kiss her hard on the mouth. When I pull back, she gasps for breath and I withdraw my fingers, sliding them over her bottom lip, coating it with her wetness. "Tell me you're mine," I demand.

  "I'm yours." She whispers it. She's so far gone now she'll say anything I want her to say.

  "Good. I'm glad to hear it. I'm leaving now," I tell her.

  "What?" Her eyes fly open, and she looks at me in disbelief. "What do you mean, you're leaving?"

  Leaning in close to her, I whisper. "It's your father's party," I say. "We need to get ready. And you need to learn a lesson in making me wait."

  "So that's…it?"

  "Darlin', I'm just getting started," I say. "What you wear tonight, you wear for me. No panties, no bra. And no touching yourself between now and the party. Do you understand?"

  Delaney raises her eyebrows. "So, you're going to just issue orders and expect me to fall in line, then?"

  I lean in close to her. "I'll know if you touch yourself," I say, reaching between her legs to stroke her clit one last time before I leave. She clutches my arms as I roll my finger in circles. "And not only am I going to issue orders and anticipate that you'll follow them, I'm going to expect you to be dripping when you do."



  "Kombanwa," I say, bowing as I speak my greeting, good evening, in Japanese. "Hajimemashite. Watashi no namae wa Delaney Marlowe desu." I introduce myself in Japanese, already rusty after not speaking it since I've been in Texas.

  "It's a pleasure to meet you, Ms. Marlowe." Akira Ito is young, probably late twenties, and looks like a Japanese film star. No one told me that. How do I say I thought you were an old man, in Japanese? He's covering my hand with his and looking me in the eye, apparently not content with just a Japanese greeting. "You speak Japanese with ease. Tell me you didn't just learn an introduction for us."

  My father walks up beside me, claps his hand on my shoulder, and Akira drops my hand. "Delaney was an Asian Studies major in college," he says. "She's been studying Japanese for years."

  "I'm thrilled to be helping with Gaige's tour," I say. "And I'm very much looking forward to visiting Japan." Mentally, I'm only partially here. I haven't seen Gaige all night, not since what happened earlier in my bedroom. As soon as he left, I slid my fingers between my legs and made myself come. It was impossible to wait after what he'd done to me, how close he'd brought me to the edge and then stopped. Touching myself did nothing to satisfy me, though, and the aching between my legs tonight is a constant reminder of where I want Gaige to be.

  My father's voice jerks me out of my daydream. "Isn't that right, Delaney?" he's asking.

  I nod. "Yes, of course." I have no idea what I've just agreed to.

  "Then I will look forward to giving you a personal tour when you're there," Akira says, before he walks away.

  A personal tour? How much of the conversation did I miss?

  My father turns to me. "Nice job," he says. "Akira Ito seems impressed with your Japanese."

  "I'm sure he just didn't expect you to be sending someone who spoke the language," I say.

  My father sips his scotch. "Watch yourself over there," he says, looking at me meaningfully. Then, his expression changes as someone else walks up to us. "Congressman Adams. Where is your lovely wife?"

  I stand beside my father, smiling as he makes introductions and parades me around like the proud father he is. But I'm looking around, searching the faces in the crowd for Gaige. The annual Fourth of July party is a tradition of my father's. He hosts it every year. It's an all-American Texas barbecue on steroids, over-the-top and ridiculous, complete with Texas state representatives and the mayor in attendance, and a fireworks display at the end that rivals the town's own display. It's a huge business party hosted by Marlowe Oil. And my father will spend the evening with my mother at his side, greasing palms and courting new contacts.

  One of the catering staff walks by with a tray of glasses, champagne flutes with raspberries and blueberries in the bottom that ensure even the drinks are part of the patriotic theme. I snag a glass, reveling in the moment of silence with no one bothering me. That sense of peace lasts less than five minutes until Chelsea approaches me. "You've been busy," she says, her expression pinched.

  "I hope that's a compliment," I say. I know it's exactly the opposite, but I'm determined not to let Chelsea ruin my night. Nothing is going to ruin my night, not with Gaige's words running through my head, like some kind of dirty mantra: I'm going to expect you to be dripping.

  The thing is, I am wet. Exactly like he wanted.

  Chelsea sips from a cocktail. "I spoke to Mr. Ito," she says. "He wants to give you a personal tour of Tokyo."

  I nod. "I'm sure the company will show all of us around."

  "And here I thought you were all about Gaige," she says. "But you'll just bat those big eyes of yours and try to wrap everyone around your little finger, won't you?"

  "I don't know what you're talking about." I down the rest of my glass of champagne in one gulp, and grab another from a tray as it comes by. I don't care if Chelsea is my boss or not; I'm about to punch her right in that stupid, pinched little face.

  Before I can say anything else, Gaige is by my side. "Evening, ladies." Chelsea greets him with an air kiss and the sight makes me hate her even more.

  When he steps back from her, his gaze drifts slowly up the length of my body, and I flush warm. "You both look lovely," he says, but his eyes are only on me.

  Gaige has this way of making me feel naked when he looks at me, so self-conscious I'm nearly squirming. Of course, I am practically naked in this dress. It's short, like so fucking short it's practically indecent, especially for a work party. I almost changed at the last minute, but Gaige's words kept echoing in my head. The short and sexy dress was a concession to the fact that I didn't do what he expressly ordered – I just couldn't bring myself to leave my bra and panties at home.

  Chelsea turns to Gaige. "Akira Ito certainly seems to think Delaney looks lovely tonight."

  That's it. I am going to punch her.

  Gaige looks at me, his gaze intense. "Is that so?"

  I smile, forcing a nonchalant tone. "He's the Japanese point of contact for your tour," I say. "He's the Vice President for Public Relations of the bike manufacturing company that's hosting you. He's offered to take us on a tour of Tokyo, personally. It's extremely kind of him."

  "Oh, don't be modest, Delaney," Chelsea says, putting her hand on Gaige's arm. Gaige flinches and steps away a few inches, but it doesn't seem to deter Chelsea. "Akira is quite young, especially for someone so successful. And I'm sure he means to take Delaney on quite the personal tour of Japan."

  I can feel my face redden. "That's not true," I snap.

  Chelsea smiles. "Delaney, you're so modest about your accomplishments. She's so good at establishing personal relationships with clients."

  Does she know about me and Gaige?

  Gaige gives me a look that makes me want to melt, and I know I have to get out of here. "Excuse me," I say, turning to leave.

  "Delaney," Gaige says, but Chelsea's hand is already on his arm.

  "Gaige, I need you to meet Mr. Patterson," she says. "Mr. Patterson, how are you?"

  I head for the bar and order a cocktail, watching Gaige as he shakes hands with the group Chelsea is introducing him to. He glances over at me, and I turn toward the bar. I'm embarrassed by Chelsea's intimations that I'm interested in Akira.

  As if on cue, Akira's voice breaks through my thoughts, and I inwardly groan before plastering a smile on my face. "Akira-san," I say.

  "I hope I'm not being too forward by saying that I'm very much looking forward to your visit to Japan." He holds up his beer. "Kampaii," he says. Cheers.

  I smile politely. "No, of course not. Not at all," I say. "We're all looking forward to a tour."

  He nods. "Yes. All of you. Of course."

  "Excuse me, Ms. Marlowe." One of the catering staff, dressed in black tie, interrupts, handing me a folded slip of paper. "There's a message for you."

  Akira gives me a slight bow. "I'll let you attend to what you need to, Ms. Marlowe," he says. "But I look forward to seeing you soon."

  I open the note, my breath catching in my throat.

  Corner of the maze in the garden. Five minutes. Don't be late.

  I spin around slowly, scanning the crowd for Gaige, but he's gone. Chelsea is laughing, playfully touching the hand of some suit I don't recognize. My father and Anja are talking to a group of middle-aged businessmen or politicians.

  For a second, I think I should probably just go back inside the house. I could slip away from here, away from the glad-handing and grab-assing and all of the off-the-books deals being made, and just go to bed. That would be the smart thing to do.

  The not-so-smart thing to do would be the thing I'm about to do.

  I slip through the crowds unnoticed, my cocktail in hand, walking past the guesthouse and down the lawn toward the garden. The estate is ridiculously huge, set on twenty acres, a lot of it wooded, but the grounds around the house are large. The garden is modeled after English gardens, but with Texas flair, of course. There's a maze in the corner made of greenery and I wande
r through it, almost surprised I remember the way, only making one turn that
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