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Stepbrother Master(14)

By:Ava Jackson

Emma rearranged her mother’s bouquet on the head table; our eyes locked. I drank.

Emma chatted with an elderly guest and helped her to our table. Her eyes landed on where I was leaning against the bar. I drank.

Emma grabbed a glass of champagne off a waiter’s tray and stared directly at me as I sat at the head table. I drank.

Emma finished a second glass of champagne and allowed herself to be pulled onto the dance floor by our neighbor’s boy, who was about five years old. She glanced at me, smiling, before quickly dropping her attention back to the pint-sized cowboy. I drank.

I continued this game through another beer before I switched to scotch and finally gave up because I’d end up hammered.

And now I wanted to drag her off the dance floor and back to my room, rip that sexy blue dress off, and pin her to my bed before I made her come so hard she forgot her own fucking name. And the touch of every other man.

Every look from her had ratcheted up the possessiveness growing inside me. My grip tested the strength of my glass, and I forced myself to relax as I lifted it to my lips and swigged the contents. I couldn’t care less that this single malt cost more than most people made in a month. I was more concerned about taking my mind off the woman who taunted me from twenty feet away.

I swore to God she was doing it intentionally. Still avoiding me—staying at least twenty feet away at all times—and yet her bright blue eyes kept landing on me. Her last glass of champagne had made her bolder. I wasn’t a green boy. I knew when a woman was interested. And this woman? She was primed and ready. But that didn’t mean I could just rush in and indulge my primal instincts. No, this situation required careful planning and tact.

When she danced with Griff, I was somewhat surprised. It was cute to watch her pull the crotchety old man from his seat and coax him into a two-step. Where Emma had learned to two-step, I couldn’t even begin to guess.

My amusement died a quick death as soon as Mac stepped in and twirled her away from Griff, pulling her close to his body as the song changed to a slower number. I had to turn my back and head to the bar for a refill and content myself with the fact that he’d have plenty of time to reflect on his dumb ass move from the back of his saddle while he rode fences in the scorching sun.

I returned to my position at the edge of the tent, watching and waiting. The song finally ended and Mac tipped his hat and walked off the dance floor. The little fuck had better have gone to look for a woman in his own damn league.

The band segued into another fucking slow song and another cowboy who didn’t quite understand the meaning of ‘hands off’ stepped up to Emma.

TJ. Apparently he wasn’t going to heed my warning either. The cocksuckers.

Mac was the kind of guy who thought more with his dick than his brain when it came to women, and was just looking to get his dick wet. I couldn’t say the same about TJ. He was a smart guy. Thoughtful. Looking for a woman to settle down with on the ranch and start making babies.

And I fucking hated how he looked at Emma. Like she could be that woman. Her eyes darted to me again, and I met them, hoping she could read the irritation and possession burning through me. She flushed pink and dropped her eyes from mine and looked back up into TJ’s face, locking her hands behind his neck.

Oh, sweetheart, your luscious little ass is going to pay for that move.

My palm tingled with the need to have her under my hand. That need intensified several degrees when the light, clear sound of her laughter floated from the dance floor and her smile stretched across her face. TJ lifted a hand to brush a curl from her face … and I nearly lost my grip on my better judgment.

The one thing that saved me? Ironically, my father. Nothing like the reminder that the woman you wanted under you was your stepsister.

Dad, already several scotches of his own under his belt, stopped beside me and clinked our glasses together. He followed my gaze to the dance floor.

“You’re going to be nice to Emma while Cyn and I are away, or you’re going to answer to me when we get back.”

The words sounded like they should’ve been spoken to a thirteen year old and not a twenty-five year old.

“I imagine we’ll both keep to ourselves and be just fine, Dad.” I didn’t add, because if I don’t keep to myself, there’s a good chance things might spiral out of control really fucking quick.

Dad sipped his scotch and studied me. “She doesn’t know anyone here, and we’re going to be gone for a week. I don’t want her left to her own devices that whole time. I expect you to make her feel welcome and make sure she’s not bored.”

“So you expect me to drop everything and become her entertainment director?”