Cannon, p.6
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       Cannon, p.6

         Part #3 of A Step Brother Romance series by Sabrina Paige
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  And that's one of the things making me lose my mind here.   Not only am I surrounded by Addy during the day, I'm surrounded by her at night, too.   Even here in this room I can't get away from her.   I swear, the damn sheets on the bed smell like her perfume.

  It's making me edgy and irritable and. . . fucking hard as hell.

  I strip down to my boxers and drop my sweaty clothes into the hamper, gulping down more coffee and grimacing as the hot liquid hits the back my throat.   I need a shower after another eight-miler.

  What I really need is to get laid.

  What I really, really need is someone to get my mind off my stepsister.

  When I open the door, she's coming down the hallway from her room, dressed in a t-shirt.

  And nothing else.   Addison is wearing a grey t-shirt that barely comes down over her hips and makes me wonder if she has on panties at all.   She stops short, a foot away from me, and her face turns practically scarlet.   When she tucks a lock of hair behind her ear, the t-shirt fabric gets pulled higher, until I can see the edge of her panties between her legs.   Pink.   She's wearing pink fucking panties and a t-shirt.

  If I thought my cock was going to explode before. . .

  I swear to God all the blood drains from my head and I just stand there, staring at her with my mouth hanging open like an idiot.

  "Oh," she says.   Her gaze travels down the length of my body, and I am suddenly really fucking aware of the fact that I'm standing here in boxer briefs and nothing else.   With a raging hard-on.   I'm face to face with the girl I've just sworn I needed to get out of my head, and my boner is broadcasting loud and clear just how absolutely not out of my head this girl is.   "I heard the door close and I thought you were out running. "

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  "I was," I say.   "Out running.   I'm done now. "

  "I was just -- coffee," she says.   "I mean.   Um.   I didn't expect you to be here, or. . . yeah.   No pants. "

  "Pants. "  I swallow hard, trying with every fiber of my being not to look down at her bare legs.   And definitely not to look down at the place where the t-shirt hangs, at the crease of her thigh.   And for shit's sake, not to glance down between her legs again to see if the pink fabric peeks out.

  "I mean, it's my house, so I don't usually have to. . . you know. . . " Her voice trails off.

  "Wear clothes. "  Once I speak the words, the image of Addison walking around her house naked flashes in my head, and my cock throbs.

  She has to think I'm a fucking pervert.   I am a fucking pervert.   The things I want to do to her. . .   I have to clench my fists at my side to keep myself from taking her by the wrists, pushing her against the nearest wall, pinning her arms above her head, and sliding my cock inside her.

  "Clothes," she says.   "You're not. . . and, I mean, there's that. . . " Her eyes drift down my body, and I know she's looking at my erection, and heaven help me, I should walk away from her now, but I can't.   I don't want to.

  "That," I repeat, even though I know exactly what she's talking about, what she's looking at.   "Say the word, sweet cheeks. "  I don't just mean that I want her to say the word cock, although hearing that word come out of Addison's mouth would be a high point in my fucking life.

  I want her to say the other word.   I want her to say yes.

  Heaven help me, I want her to say yes, even though she shouldn't.

  Addison pulls the corner of her lower lip between her teeth, and it makes me want to take her face in my hand, crush her mouth under my lips, and pull that lower lip between my teeth.   She looks at me, her eyes wide, pupils big, and I can hear her intake of breath, sharp.

  Without thinking, I reach up, meaning to tuck a stray piece of hair back behind her ear, the way she seems to be constantly doing, but I pause, unable to pull my hand back from her once I touch her.   Instead, I lace my fingers through her hair, grabbing a handful tightly at the nape of her neck, and pull her against me.   Addison lets out a small moan, barely audible, her face upturned toward me, full lips parted.   "No," she breathes, the word catching in her throat.

  "No?" I repeat the word, making sure I hear her correctly, but I don't let go of her hair.

  Addy lets out a whimper, and I note the expression on her face as she struggles internally with what she wants.   "Hendrix, I. . . "

  "I think the answer is yes, Addy," I whisper.   "I think every part of you desperately wants me to show you what you keep trying to steal glances at. "

  "I don't," she says, her protest barely audible.

  "I think you do," I say.   "I think you want to wrap those sweet lips of yours around it.   I think you want to know how it feels to come on me.   Say the word, Addy, and I'll show you. "

  She swallows hard, looks at me, deliberating.   Then she opens her mouth, and I swear that if she says yes, I'll rip her panties off and fuck her against this wall right now without a second thought, without giving two shits about what the hell the consequences are.   When she finally speaks, her voice is hoarse.   "No," she says, shaking her head.

  I hear the word but for a second it doesn't register, and then it does.   Shit.   Numbly, I let go of her hair, and she stumbles backward a step, shaking her head.

  SIX YEARS AGO

  "It's okay," I say.   Hendrix looks pissed off.   I'm standing in the driveway, my purse slung over my shoulder, holding my study guide for the driving test and my cell phone.   I've been waiting here for him, flipping my phone open over and over, opening it in sets of threes, nervous that I'm going to miss the test.   "I can just schedule it for another time.   I didn't mean to make you leave school early. "

  "What the hell are you apologizing for?"  Hendrix asks, his tone gruff.   "Get in my fucking car.   Now. "

  On the way to the department of motor vehicles, Hendrix grills me.   "Your mother was going to take you, wasn't she?  Didn't she make this some big parenting thing?  She wanted to be there for you or some bullshit?"

  "Yeah," I say.   "I'm sorry I had to ask you, Hendrix. "

  "I told you to stop with the damn apologies," he says.

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  "I tried Grace, but she didn't answer.   I think she's with her boyfriend. "

  "It's no big deal," he says.   "I was just going to fuck around after school with my friends anyway.   What the hell do I care?"

  I look at him and he shrugs and runs his fingers through his hair.   It's half-shaved, and he pierced his lip last week.   "Are you wearing eye liner?"

  "Shut the fuck up," he says.   "It's fashion. "

  I snort.   "Yeah, sure.   You want to borrow my mascara, too?"

  "Okay, smartass.   What do you know about fashion?"

  "Uh, I'm practically a movie star. "

  "You're a country singer," he says.   "You're not anywhere near movie star status.   And no, your music videos don't count.   At all. "

  "Whatever, dude," I say.

  "Dude?" he asks, slowing down at a stoplight.   "What are you, a surfer chick or something?"  He looks at me.   Yep, he's wearing eyeliner.   I knew it.   Whatever crowd of friends he's hanging around with think they're too cool for everyone and everything.   He brought them over before, and I didn't like them.   But really, eyeliner?

  "Shut up. "

  "Awesome comeback, dude," he says, squeezing my leg.   When he touches me, I feel a jolt of electricity run through my body, just like it does every time he accidentally brushes me, or puts his arm around my shoulder the way a brother would.   But Hendrix is my brother, and nothing more, I remind myself.

  I look away, out the window, distracting myself by tapping on the side of the passenger door with the tip of my finger while I count the telephone poles on the side of the road as we drive past them.

  Hendrix is silent for a few minutes.   "Are you worried about the tes
t?"

  I shrug.   "Not really," I lie.   I'm totally nervous.   "I mean, I'm scared of the parallel parking part of it, I guess.   What if I hit another car?"

  "I think they use cones, not cars.   Otherwise everyone would be denting vehicles," he says.   "Are you pissed about your mom missing the test?  I would be. "

  "I should have just asked you to plan to take me in the first place," I say.   "I should have known she wouldn't follow through. "

  "Did they say where they were going?" Hendrix asks.

  "Your dad had some gig in Alberta, I think. "

  "Canada?"

  "I don't know," I say, shrugging.   "I guess.   They just took off.   They left a note.   I was with the tutor. "  At least Hendrix gets to go attend regular public school, even if he'd had to go to military boarding school for a while.   After he got kicked of the academy, his dad said he wasn't paying for anything else and Hendrix could "learn the hard way. "  I don't know what is so hard about public school, though; Hendrix seems to be having lots of fun.   Lots of fun with lots of girls.   At least, that's what I've heard.

  Okay, that's what I've seen, too.   Sometimes he brings girls home, when our parents are gone, which is a lot.   But I mean, why shouldn't he? It's not like Hendrix and I have something going.

  Anyway, I didn't get the option of continuing with public school, not since I started performing.   I'd be too disruptive to a regular school.   Plus, the tours and photo shoots and appearances meant that I'd have to take too many days off.   So I've had tutors.   And watched from the sidelines as Grace and Hendrix get to have normal lives with normal friends.

  "Screw 'em," Hendrix says, in his understated Hendrix way.

  "Yeah. "

  "They're selfish bastards, you know," he says.   "Try not to take it personally, even though I know you can't help it. "

  I shrug.   "It's no big deal," I tell him.   "But I'm glad you came with me. "

  Hendrix pulls into the parking lot and squeezes my leg again, sending heat rushing through me.   "This is the part where I'm supposed to say 'knock 'em dead,'" he says, pausing for a beat.   "But you probably shouldn't try to knock anyone dead. "

  I slap his hand.   "Don't even suggest I'm going to hit someone in the car during my freaking drivers license test, Hendrix," I say.

  "I'm not going to jinx you," he says, at the same time as I tell him, "You'll jinx me. "

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  "Buy me a cola," we both say at the same time.

  He laughs.   "Stop being stupid.   Let's go get your dumb license. "

  "Can I drive your car home?" I ask, as we get out.

  "Fuck, no," he says.   "You think I'm going to let you out in public behind the wheel?"

  "Hendrix, come on.   I've driven it before," I say.   But he's grinning and I know he's joking.   He's totally going to let me drive his car.   It's a beater, this old Mustang he bought with his earnings from working last summer.   He didn't want to buy it with anyone else's money, his father's or mine.   It smells vaguely like gym socks, but it's still awesome.

  He pushes the door open to the department of motor vehicles, turning toward me while leaning on it.   "You know what we should do, though. "

  "What?"

  "Road trip. "

  "Yeah, right. "

  Hendrix shrugs.   "You don't want to hang out with me, just be honest, sweet cheeks.   I was even going to let you drive part of the way. "

  "We can't just drop everything and take a road trip somewhere. "

  "Who's watching you?  Our parents left for the weekend," Hendrix says.   He leans close to my ear, his voice a whisper.   "Unless you're chicken, Addy-girl.   Are you afraid I'm going to corrupt you?"

  I'm afraid you already have.   A shiver runs up my spine.   I know he's not talking about sex, but for some reason, it feels that way and my heart pounds so loudly in my chest it feels like it's going to explode.   "Okay," I say.   "But only if I pass the test. "

  Hendrix slides into one of the cheap plastic seats in the waiting room.   "Go pass your fucking test already, Addy-girl," he says.   "You and I have a date with the open road. "

  PRESENT DAY

  Shit.   The blood pumps loudly in my ears, and my heart races.   I close my bedroom door, leaning up against it like I'm barricading it with my body.   As if Hendrix is going to follow me into my bedroom or something.   I'm sure he hates me now.   He was furious when he walked down the hallway.   When he walked away from whatever just happened between us.

  Oh God.   What the hell just happened between us?

  My brain refuses to process this information.   Whatever happened out there in the hallway was just some weird too-early-in-the-morning-to-count parallel universe kind of thing.   That was not Hendrix and I.

  What was I thinking, wandering out there in a t-shirt and panties?

  I was thinking that Hendrix had left to go running and that I had the house to myself.

  I don't even know why I'm up this early, anyway.   I should be getting better sleep with Hendrix here.   He's been really helpful in some ways, scheduling and taking care of things, before I even know to ask.   He's been cooking, too.   It's kind of like having a personal assistant and bodyguard and chef rolled up into one.

  Except that I haven't been getting more sleep.   My sleep has been restless, fragmented by dreams, torn apart by half-lucid memories of the past, of Hendrix before he left for boot camp.   And by how I felt about him back then.

  Seeing him standing in my hallway, inches away from me, wearing boxer briefs that hug his perfectly formed ass and his holy-shit-huge cock. . . well, that isn't going do anything to help me get him out of my head, either.   I think that image is going to be permanently burned onto my brain.   And what he did a minute later, the way he grabbed a handful of my hair and pulled me toward him…even now, it's like every part of my body is turned on, wired somehow, on a cellular level.

  I lean against the door, my breath still caught in my throat, my chest rising and falling.   My nipples are hard, so sensitive, that the normally soft cotton fabric of the t-shirt I'm wearing feels more like sandpaper.   I close my eyes, picturing Hendrix's hand in my hair, feeling the rough way he grabbed me, the twinge of pain that rocketed through me as he yanked the hair by the roots.   When I slide my hand over my breast now, heat rushes between my legs, and I can't imagine anyone's hand there except Hendrix's.

  Hendrix should be the last person on earth I fantasize about.   I should be picturing anyone else -- one of the movie stars I know, any one of the myriad gorgeous male country singers I'm friends with, or hell, someone I've dated.   Even that jerk-ass ex-boyfriend of mine.

  Anyone but Hendrix.

  But Hendrix is the only one I can picture, the only one I want to imagine.

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  I run my hand up the inside of my leg and between my thighs, finding my clit.   My fingers roll easily over it, aided by my wetness, and I exhale heavily as arousal courses through my body.   I imagine Hendrix's hands on me, roaming my body, Hendrix's hands in my hair.

  Hendrix's lips on mine, his tongue finding my tongue.

  His face buried between my legs.

  When I slide my finger lower, finding my entrance, I'm already close to the brink.   And when I press my palm firmly against my clit, my fingers lodged deeply inside me, I crash over the edge almost immediately.

  It's Hendrix's face I see.

  And Hendrix's name that escapes my lips, less of a word and more of a moan, when I come.

  A minute later, the throbbing between my legs still hasn't subsided, and I open my eyes.   The realization of what just happened overwhelms me.

  I just came thinking about Hendrix.

  It's not like that's the first time it happened.   But it's the first time it's happene
d in years.   It's definitely the first time it's happened with him right in the other room.

  "Addy. "  Hendrix speaks my name, his voice low and gravelly, from the other side of the door.

  Shit.

  He wasn't even in the other room.   He was on the other side of the door.   Embarrassment washes over me like a tidal wave, and I swallow hard.   Surely he didn't hear what I just did.   Surely he didn't hear me moan his name.

  "Open the fucking door," he demands.

  I don't move.   "No," I say, my voice softer than I intend.

  "I know, Addy," he says.   He doesn't push open the door, the way he so easily could.   Do I want him to?  A few weeks ago, I would have vehemently answered no to that question.   After what he did to me, what he said. . . he could rot in hell as far as I was concerned.   When he left, I never wanted to see him again.   Except that I never could get him out of my mind.

  "There's nothing to know," I say.

  "I'm not deaf, Addy-girl. "  His voice is lower now, more gruff.   Insistent.

  Heat rushes to my face.   He didn't just hear me.   He couldn't.   "I don't know what you're talking about. "

  "My name -- Hendrix," he says, his voice softer.   "You said my name. "

  "I -- " I start.   Crap.   He was listening.   Why would he stand at my door and listen to me?

  "Open the door," he says.

  I want to let him in.

  I can't.

  "No," I say.

  "Goddamn it, Addy," he says.   He pauses and for a minute, I think he's gone.   I want him to be gone.   I don't want him to be gone.   Shit, I don't know what the hell I want.

  "Hendrix?" I ask.

  "Addy-girl. "  The way he speaks the word, formerly a platonic term of endearment, sounds a lot less fucking platonic now.

  "You didn't hear what you thought you heard," I lie.   How am I going to face him now?

  "What did I think I heard?"

  "Me. . . "

  "You what, Addy?"

  I'm silent.   I can't say it.

  His palm hits the door, and it makes me jump.   "You coming, Addy.   Say it. "

  "No. "

  "You were thinking about me. "

  I don't answer. If I answer, this goes somewhere else, somewhere I didn't see things going between us.   Somewhere that would be dangerous for me and for my career.

 
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