Hunted:A Stepbrother Romance Novel(3)

By: Olivia Long


But I wouldn’t go over there to check. No way. I took measures to stay out of the pool house while he was here, after ... well ...

Two years ago, he’d returned from deployment for just a few weeks in the summer, and I’d—I don’t know—been having a little fun with him, I guess. I don’t know what had possessed me. He was a total man-whore, and I sometimes got the feeling that he had a particularly hard one for me. I liked to exist on a higher plane and try to be above the fray, which seemed more like a mating skirmish than a mating dance, if you asked me. But everyone has their weaknesses. Maybe I might have wanted some of his attention.

We’d been poolside together; I’d been sunbathing, and he was in the water. I caught him looking at me several times, and not like, you know, glances. No. I’d caught his eyes trailing over my legs, darting away from my cleavage, and all that, and I don’t know! I just wanted ... some attention. He would throw himself with such disgusting vigor at every eligible female within a three yard radius, and I—maybe I was just being nineteen and wanting things I didn’t even need, wanting things that weren’t good for me ... like Chase.

So, I’d decided to have a little fun with him.

I started doing my yoga right there in the sun, all shiny with lotion, wearing nothing more than a tiny yellow bikini. Have you ever heard of a position called “downward facing dog”?

I pretended like I wasn’t paying any attention to him at all. I just went from one position to the next, confident that it was his eyes on me every bend and stretch of the way. When I finished, he was underwater, swimming laps, and I’d grinned privately and headed to the pool house to change. It was his first time staying at the house, that summer, and I’d honestly completely forgotten that the pool house was HIS house at the time. I went in there, and I slid off my bikini, and I wriggled into a white sundress and some cotton panties I’d put aside for going out shopping later—but I couldn’t find my sling-back sandals, or my straw fedora, which was so, so cute, and I can’t stress enough that I did not even remember that this was technically Chase’s room. We had been using it as a POOL HOUSE for the past two years! Chase-free!

I went to the closet, and I found my sandals and hat there. I stooped down and slid my feet into the sandals, tied them, stood up, and there Chase was, in the main room of the pool house with his back turned to me. And he was completely naked.

I guess the “right” thing to do, in this scenario, would’ve been to cover my eyes, apologize profusely, fumble out of his way, and never bring it up again. But instead, I just ... ducked back into the closet and silently closed the door.

But the door—it was one of those doors with little wooden blinds, so even if you were hiding inside, you could still see what was going on in the room beyond.

I don’t want to go on and on about Chase’s body, but—have you seen a man return from the Marines before? He was built like an Adonis before he even left, but when he came back ... Let me explain.

Chase had shaggy, cinnamon-brown hair with natural streaks of blond in it. His skin would soak up the sun like a warm beach towel, except one spatter of tiny freckles on his cheeks. Not that I noticed the size of his freckles or anything. He had bright blue eyes and square, firm features, like he had been chiseled from a marble womb. His birth mother must have been gorgeous, because Harry himself was kind of doughy and bald, and the sun would turn him a hot shade of pink at best.

Chase had swimmer’s shoulders, broad and powerful, and a narrow, sleek midsection, ribbed by his abdomen, which culminated into this perfectly round ass trapped on the pedestal of his sinewy thighs. Like, Jesus. I know, it’s disgusting, he was my mom’s boyfriend’s son, and we should’ve been friends at the absolute best—but we couldn’t manage to be friends. All we could manage was this horrible in-between place, where I hated his guts and simultaneously wanted to dig my hands into his jeans.

And there I was, caught in the closet, no way out, forced to watch him saunter around the pool house stark naked. I guess he hadn’t seen me come in, or, because I’d been stooped down in the closet, he’d assumed that I’d left out the back exit and headed into the main house.

Then I watched as he bent down and collected my discarded yellow bikini bottoms from the tile floor.

I bit my lower lip. Would he know that I was there? Would he catch me?

For a moment, he just stared down at the panties, rubbing his hand over the fabric thoughtfully. And then I’d watched, mortified, as he crushed its crotch against his nose and inhaled deeply. I mean, it was audible, even from behind the closet door.