Prince albert, p.45
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       Prince Albert, p.45

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

  leads to a dead end before I reach him.

  Gaige is standing there holding a drink, and wearing a tuxedo. The party is black tie, which is ridiculous given the weather and the fact that it's a July Fourth party in Texas, but Anja insists we're not a bunch of hicks. It's still warm and humid, even though it's almost eleven at night.

  The only other time I've seen Gaige in a suit is at the July Fourth party the summer of my eighteenth birthday. I have a hard time deciding if he looks better in this or in the racing gear that fits him like a glove.

  Gaige doesn't move. He just stands there, watching me.

  "What Chelsea said --" I start, but he interrupts me quickly.

  "Chelsea is a bitch," he says.

  "Gaige, the two of you never..." My voice trails off. I can't say what I want to ask, because I'm not sure I really want to know the answer to the question.

  Gaige steps close to me, his voice low in my ear. "What do you want to know, Delaney?"

  "Nothing," I say. "The way she talks to you..."

  "You think I fucked her?" he asks. His fingers trail along my arm, and I shiver at his touch. "Is that what you want to know? You should say what you mean, Delaney."

  "Fine," I say. "I'm asking if you fucked her."

  "Does it matter?" His face is close to my neck, and when I feel him inhale deeply, I close my eyes, wanting his lips on me.

  "Yes, it matters," I say. I put my hand on his chest to stop him from continuing to do what he's doing to me. I feel like he's unraveling me.

  "Why does it matter?" he asks. "You wanted us to be a one-night stand, didn't you?"

  "I -" I shake my head. "I -- you're right. I don't know. It's none of my business. And, yeah, one night." I'm too confused right now to be angry. Earlier, he acted like he couldn't keep his hands off me, as if one night wasn't enough. And now, he acts like we're just hooking up. "You know what? I should go."

  I turn to leave, and he catches my wrist. My drink splashes in the glass, and champagne drips onto my hand.

  "No," he says. "You're not leaving."

  "It was a mistake coming here." But the way he looks at me, like he did in my room earlier, makes me melt.

  Gaige's eyes never leave mine, as he leans over, tilting his head down and slowly licking the droplets off my skin, his tongue lingering, moving so slowly I think I might die. He takes the drink from my hand and sets both of our glasses on the ground a few feet away before turning to face me again. "You sure about that?"

  I swear my body is so responsive to him, that he can make me wet with merely a glance. Why is that? I like him, and then I see him with Chelsea, and I'm sure I despise him. "It was a mistake," I repeat.

  He reaches for my wrist again and brings it to his mouth, touching his lips to the sensitive skin on the inside. My body – my stupid traitorous body – responds with raised goosebumps along my arms and hardened nipples against my bra. Gaige looks up at me. "Chelsea and I did not fuck," he says.

  "Okay," I say. But I'm not entirely sure.

  "You didn't come down here to talk about Chelsea," he says. "But, just so you know, I've never touched her."

  "She wants you to," I say.

  "The way that the Japanese businessman wants you?" he asks. Touché. Gaige slides his finger under the strap of my dress, and then looks at me. "You're wearing a bra," he says. "That's disappointing."

  My heart races when I look at him. "It went with the dress."

  Gaige raises his eyebrows. "Panties?" he asks, and a knowing smile creeps over his face when I nod. He takes my earlobe in his mouth, his tongue flicking over it slowly, sensually. "I suppose you made yourself come earlier, too, didn't you?"

  I swallow hard. "Yes."

  "Did you think of me?" he asks, his hand gripping my waist, sliding down the side of my hip tightly. He makes a sound under his breath, low and primal.

  "Yes," I whisper.

  "You've been a very bad girl, Delaney Marlowe," he says, his breath warm on my ear. "I left you with very specific, very particular instructions. I told you not to wear a bra or panties, and definitely not to touch yourself, and you did both. I wonder whatever should I do with you?" I want to reach up and unbutton his shirt, slide my hands across his bare chest. I want him right now, out in the open, so close to everything, the din of music and people up near the house. Anyone could wander in at any moment, and yet I still want him.

  Gaige steps back, away from me. Shit, I think, he's leaving. And I'm practically soaked. But he just looks at me for a long time, his expression unreadable. Then he speaks. "Panties. Ankles. Now."

  "Excuse me?"

  "You heard me," he says, his gaze intense. "Reach up underneath your skirt and take off your panties and hand them to me."

  No one has ever talked to me the way Gaige does. A bossy, demanding, misogynistic dickhead – who is also my stepbrother – should not order me around and make me wet with anticipation. I should tell him to fuck off. Then I should turn around and walk away.

  But I don't.

  Instead, I do what he tells me to do. And it makes me wet. My eyes never leave his as I reach underneath my skirt and slide them over my hips, letting them fall to the ground. Bending over, I pick them up and walk to Gaige, panties dangling from the tip of my finger. "Is this what you wanted?" I ask.

  "This is nowhere near what I want," he says. He takes my thong from my hand and puts it in the pocket of his jacket. "Turn around."


  "Has anyone ever told you that you're mouthy as all fucking get out?" he asks.


  "Liar," he says. "Turn around and close your mouth before I put something in it."

  "Promise?" I whisper.

  The corners of his mouth curl up. "Is that what you want?"

  I don't answer him. I turn around instead. "Yes?" I ask, but I'm really answering his question. What I want is Gaige's cock in my mouth again. What I want is to taste him when he comes.

  "Pull your skirt up over your ass."

  "Not out here, Gaige," I protest, but the protest is weak.


  I hold my breath, flipping my skirt up to my waist, the air cool against my skin. And I wait. Gaige moves his hand slowly over the curves of my ass, then brings his palm down hard on my flesh. "That's for wearing panties."

  I let out a little moan as the vibration from his touch moves through me, a jolt of pleasure and pain between my legs. The initial sharp sting becomes a dull throb, but only for a moment until he brings his hand down again. "And that's for wearing a bra."

  He pauses, letting his fingers brush my pussy lips, already wet with my arousal. His touch sends pleasure ricocheting through my body that far eclipses the pain. Then he draws his hand back and spanks me again. "And that's for flirting with Japanese businessmen."

  I face him, my ass cheek throbbing and tears stinging my eyes. "Now you're the jealous one," I say.

  Gaige's hands grip my flesh, and he pulls me hard against him, my skirt still bunched up around my waist. "You're goddamned right I'm jealous," he says, his voice hoarse. "I don't like thinking about you with someone else."

  "Why?" I ask, my face upturned. "You're the one who…dates around, Gaige O'Neal. Everyone knows that."

  "Not since you," he says.

  "So you haven't slept with anyone else in a couple weeks?" I say. "Congratulations."

  "I haven't looked at anyone since you came back here," he says, his voice angry. "And, just so you understand -- as long as I'm fucking you, you belong to me."

  "Who the hell says shit like that, Gaige?" I ask. Part of me bristles at his possessiveness, but another part of me is so turned on I can't think clearly. I don't know whether to smack his hands off my ass and tell him to go screw himself and his caveman antics, or whether to drop to my knees and take him in my mouth. He's that infuriating. And confusing. "You can't just…tell me you own me. That's not something normal people say."

  "Fuck normal," Gaige says, taking my face in his hands. He st
rokes my lower lip with his thumb and I can imagine him doing the same thing between my legs. And then, as if he can read my mind, he reaches between my legs with his other hand, spreading them apart and thrusting two fingers inside me without warning. "You're making me crazy. That's not fucking normal either."

  "You…oh my God…" I gasp the words, my hand on his firm chest for balance. "You cannot just put your fingers…inside me out here."

  He doesn't stop, though. He continues to stroke me, his other hand over my breast. "I'm not just going to put my fingers inside you," he says. "I'm going to make you come outside, right here in the garden."

  I'm so wet, so on the verge already from the anticipation of him, that I'm lost in his touch. So lost, that it takes me a minute to register the voices of a couple somewhere nearby. When I do hear them, I stiffen, giving Gaige a panicked look. "Shit," I whisper. "Someone's coming."

  "Then you'd better come," he says, glancing over my shoulder toward the entrance of this part of the maze. "Because I'm not moving my fingers until you do."

  "No," I protest, but he presses his palm firmly against my clit, his fingers continuing to work their magic. "Shit, Gaige."

  "Come for me, Delaney," he whispers, and his words bring me higher. "Come for me right here, right now, or you're about to be discovered in the garden at your father's house, with your sophisticated little black dress around your waist, your stepbrother's handprints on your ass, and his fingers in your pussy."

  That's it. The filthiness of his words push me over the edge and send me hurtling toward a climax. I'm clutching at his arms and at the shirt that covers his chest as I come hard on his fingers. Gaige covers my mouth with his to mute my moan.

  Then he pulls away from me and grins. "I knew you were fucking dirty," he says. He doesn't even let me recover, just slides his fingers from between my legs and puts them in his mouth, making a show of licking them. "You'd better pull that skirt down fast."

  "Shit." My pussy is throbbing and my heart is about to beat out of my chest as the voices, a man's voice and a woman's drunken giggle, get closer. "Shit, Gaige."

  "Come on," he says, far more casual than I feel, as he bends down to grab our cocktail glasses, and nods in the opposite direction. "We'll go out this way."



  "Oh my God." Delaney stops, just outside of the maze, her hand over her chest and her breath short. "We could have gotten caught in there."

  I hold my glass up in the air, in a mock "cheers" gesture. "But we didn't."

  "We should get back," she says, her expression panicked.

  "Oh, I don't think so. I'm not done with you yet." I take her hand and place it on the front of my pants, and she laughs.

  "How are you hard after we just ran out of there because people were coming?" she asks, her eyes wide. Then she pauses. "Oh. You're hard because we might have gotten caught."

  I shrug. "Maybe," I say. "Or maybe it's just you that got me hot."

  "There's nowhere to go," she says. "If we go inside the guest house or the main house, someone will notice."

  "Good thing we're not going either of those places," I say. "Come on."

  Delaney follows me across the path to the golf cart, parked on the side of the outbuilding where the gardeners keep their supplies. "I don't get it. Here?"

  "No, not here," I say, gesturing. "Get in."

  "Where are you taking me?" she asks. But she slides into the seat in the golf cart.

  "Don't trust me, darlin'? That's awful hateful of you, given where my fingers just were."

  Delaney raises her eyebrows, grinning as she holds onto the side of the golf cart. "I definitely know not to trust you," she says.

  "Shameful." I shake my head, steering us along the path that winds down the back of the property.

  "So what's it going to look like to anyone who sees the golf cart just roaming around back here?" she asks.

  "Like one of the groundskeepers is doing work."

  "At night."

  I shrug. "No one will give it a second thought," I say.

  Delaney glances over at me. "My father was right," she says. "You're trouble. You definitely need a babysitter."

  "I do. Will you wear a plaid skirt?"

  Delaney laughs. "That's schoolgirl, not babysitter."

  "Ooh. Schoolgirl then, even better. What do babysitters wear?" I ask, pulling the golf cart up to where I want to take her. We're parked on a hill on the far end of the developed part of the property next to a pond that's stocked for fishing – man-made, I think -- and overlooking the garden, which just tonight became my new favorite place. Well, it's a close second to the sunroom.

  "Mine wore jeans and a t-shirt. Nothing sexy," she says. "Sorry to disappoint. Didn't you ever have a babysitter?"

  "I had a nanny," I say. "German. Not very pleasant."

  "Was Anja around a lot when you were a kid?" she asks.

  "Nah," I say, shrugging. "Which is probably for the best. She's not really the most motherly person there ever was."

  Delaney is silent for a minute. "It looks so pretty from afar," she says, looking at the party from our vantage point in the distance, where the white lights glitter against the backdrop of the tents.

  "Yeah, it's when you have to actually go down there and interact with everyone that it's not as pretty," I say. That came out a lot more bitter-sounding than I intended.

  Delaney tucks her hair behind her ear and looks at me. "Are you happy?" she asks. "I don't mean, like are you happy with you and I or whatever. I mean it more generally."

  "What the hell, Delaney? That's an uncomfortable fucking question."

  "You think?" she asks. "It shouldn't be, right? It should be easy."

  "I don't know," I say. It's not easy. It's the least easy question ever. "Are you happy?"

  She studies me for a second, and I swear to God my heart stops. Like, full on stops. I don't know why I care so much what her answer to that question is, but it suddenly seems like the most meaningful second of waiting in the world.

  Then she breaks into the biggest damn smile I've ever seen, and she's absolutely fucking radiant. "Yeah," she says. "Right now I am."

  I stare at her stupidly, and before I can say anything, she presses her soft lips to mine. The kiss is tentative and hesitant, just like the way she first kissed me four years ago. And I'm instantly transported to feeling eighteen and head over heels for Delaney.

  She kisses me the way no one ever had before and no one has since, and the chemistry is so intense it's a fucking explosion, fireworks on the Fourth of July.

  And I mean that literally.

  Both of us jump at the explosion, and Delaney giggles. "Oh my God, that scared me," she says.

  Then she puts her hand in mine, and for a minute, we just sit there watching the fireworks together, and I think that my fucking heart is going to explode.

  The fireworks are still going when she climbs on top of me and kisses me, her hair falling down around my face. I slip the straps of her dress from her shoulders, followed by her bra, and look at her, silhouetted against the background of the party and the fireworks.

  I'm suddenly struck by how much everything with Delaney feels right. She feels like coming home.

  She pauses, looking at me. "What?" she whispers. "You look weird."

  "Fuck you, too," I say, my thumb sliding over her hard nipple.

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