Publication Date: November 10, 2015
BUY: Amazon • Amazon UK • Amazon CA • Amazon Paperback
Synopsis: Levi Black is an s.o.b.
Born with a silver spoon in his mouth, he’s a pretentious, obnoxious, womanizing jacka** who thinks the world revolves around him.
He wouldn’t be wrong.
A famous soccer player, his skills on and off the field have won him medals, trophies, women, and the cover of every heartthrob magazine in the country. He’s broken nearly every bone in his body and a few hearts along the way, including mine—his stepsister—and lived to tell about it.
One night changed everything, and I’ve avoided him like the plague ever since. Just long enough to finish college, to bury the hurt, and to outrun the memories. But now that’s all changed. I’m back, and there’s no more running.
My hands are supposed to be my livelihood, but now they’re my curse. Levi’s reckless ways have landed him in a sticky situation, and his father has given me an offer I can’t refuse. One month, and all I have to do is put my hands on his body. Easier said than done. The problem is, even though I know it’s bound to bite me in the a**, I can’t bring myself to say no to the s.o.b.
ABOUT J.C. VALENTINE
J.C. Valentine is the USA Today and International bestselling author of the Night Calls and Wayward Fighters Series and the Forbidden Trilogy. Her vivid imagination and love of words and romance had her penning her own romance stories from an early age, which, despite being poorly edited and written longhand, she forced friends and family members to read. No, she isn’t sorry.
J.C. earned her own happily ever after when she married her high school sweetheart. Living in the Northwest, they have three amazing children and far too many pets and spend much of their free time together enjoying movies or the outdoors. Among the many hats she wears, J.C. is an entrepreneur. Having graduated with honors, she holds a Bachelor’s in English and when she isn’t writing, you can find her editing for fellow authors.
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EXCERPTS: S.O.B., A Stepbrother Romance by J.C. Valentine
Holy shit. I don’t know if I can do this. Vista is a problem. My problem. Having her here, in my home, is going to change everything.
Who am I kidding? It already has. But it doesn’t have to, a voice in my head whispers.
That’s all I have to get through, and then my life can return to normal. I can go back to pretending she doesn’t exist, doesn’t matter.
One month. I repeat the words in my head until they’re keeping time with the beat of my heart. They’re my new mantra.
Piece of cake.
Now all I have to do is believe the lie.
“Unless you’ve developed an unhealthy attraction to stairs I don’t know about, quit staring into space and get over here, jackass,” Vincent calls out. “I’m not a one man circus. Help me keep these bitches entertained.”
The women gasp as if offended by Vincent’s crassness, but they’re not. They are bitches, and they know it. Hell, they’ve made it an art. It’s what makes them attractive to men—being unattainable.
Except to me.
Being who I am, women like them are a dime a dozen, which grew boring ten minutes ago.
I stare up at the empty staircase for a moment longer before kicking a crutch out behind me and twisting around to join the party with the realization that choking down the lie is going to be damn near impossible.
I can’t ignore the hollow ache in my stomach that’s formed from just seeing her any more than I can ignore the throbbing pulse that’s demanding attention in my jeans.
Vista Marquis thinks a few stairs can keep me from getting to her? Then she doesn’t really know me.
I can obtain anything I want.
I’m Levi-fucking-Black, and just like my father, I make shit happen.
“What the hell are you doing in here? Get out!”
Levi is leaning in my open doorway—a door I know I closed when I went to bed last night. Or tried to. It took hours, listening to him and his “friends” laughing and making all kinds of racket, before I finally managed to fall asleep.
Now, he’s standing in my bedroom, half naked, and looking at me like I’m something he wants to kill. Or eat.
My thighs clench at the thought of Levi putting his mouth on me. The last time—no. I shut the thought down before it has a chance to go too far. It’s inappropriate. This whole situation right now is inappropriate.
“Get out!” I shout again, because he just continues to stand there, completely stoic. Unreadable. “Are you high?” Along with the rest of the world, I’ve witnessed the kind of life he leads: late nights, partying, an endless supply of women. The possibility that he’s actually high right now isn’t that far-fetched.
Why does he have to look so damn good, though?
Levi’s shirtless chest moves in a silent huff and a humorless smirk makes his lips twitch. And that damn beard. It’s distracting. I’ve only ever seen him clean shaven, but this look is even better. He looks rough. Dirty. Mountable.
Lifting his arm to his head, he rakes his fingers through his hair, making it messier than it already was. The action makes his bicep flex, showing off a massive bump, and creates a long visual line that draws my gaze down over his sculpted chest and abs to the pair of sweat pants that hang so low, I can see damn near everything.
As my eyes land between his legs, it begins to grow. My throat turns into a desert and I swallow, tearing my eyes away as I cast the inappropriate thoughts the vision inspires away. Or at least I try to. They keep sling shooting back, taunting me. Just look at it. One little peek. No!
It should be illegal to walk around like that. In fact, he should be thrown in jail for assault. I’ll never get the vision of him like this out of my head.
I hear Levi’s soft chuckle and jerk to attention.
“You should see your face right now,” he says, his voice mocking. “You behave like you’ve never seen my dick before, which we both know isn’t true. Or,” he says, his voice pitching low as he pushes off the jamb and stands tall, putting that hard bulge on full display, “maybe you just want another taste.”
Yes, please. The heat in my face deepens. I do want it. I won’t deny that, but I refuse to let him drag me any deeper into the rabbit hole or humiliate me over something we both know we want but can’t have.
“I had this plan. After the doctor appointment, I figured we’d come work out together, I’d show you my prowess, and then you’d strip off all your clothes and beg me to fuck you.”
My lip curls in disgust. “And why would you think I would do that? No, scratch that. Why would you want me to do that?”
“To prove to you that you still want me, because ever since the moment you saw me again you’ve been fighting your attraction to me.”
I snort. “You must have hit your head a few too many times on the field.”
“Probably,” he concedes, “but that doesn’t mean I’m wrong. Am I?”
My mouth opens to tell him just how wrong he is, but the words freeze in my throat. As I stand here, staring into those tropical blue eyes, I can’t make myself tell the lie. Disturbed by
this, I gather up the mat from the floor and toss it back into the pile with the others. “That’s enough for today. We’re done here.”
Scrambling to catch up, Levi follows me back out to the car, reaching past me to open the passenger door. I climb in, buckling my belt and staring out the windshield while he pauses there, holding the door open as he stares down at me. I refuse to look at him. I don’t want this, any of it. I just want to get through this month and get out of here.
But Levi is determined to make it a nightmare. Just before he closes the door, I hear him say, “You’re wrong, princess. We’re not even close to being done. We’re just getting started.”
When I open my eyes, I meet hers. They’re wide and full of confusion, maybe a touch of horror, too.
“How—Why—Did we…?” She shakes her head then throws her leg over mine, scrambling off me.
I watch her as she runs her hands over her clothes and through her hair, and her expression makes me laugh. “Did you know you snore when you sleep?”
“I do not!” Snatching a pillow from the floor where I tossed it last night, she lobs it at my face, but I catch it one-handed before it can reach its target.
“You’re right. You were too exhausted to do much more than drool.”
Her eyes flare and I can tell she’s about to scream, so I decide to take mercy on her and put her mind at ease to save myself the ruptured eardrum.
“Don’t worry, princess. Your virtue, or what’s left of it, is still intact.”
She scowls down at me, but when she speaks her voice is soft and filled with doubt. “We didn’t sleep together?”
“Oh, we slept together,” I say as I push myself up and place my bare feet on the floor. “Just not in the way you’re hoping.”
“Oh, get over yourself. Believe it or not, not every woman in the world wants to sleep with you.”
With sharp movements, she strides toward the stairs. I watch her go for a moment before remembering that I can match her pace now, and then I get up and go after her.
“You’re right. Not every woman in the world wants a piece of me. Although, they’d be crazy not to.” She glowers at me as we reach the top of the stairs, but her eyes betray her as they fall to my bare chest. She wants me just as much as I want her, and when she lifts her gaze back to mine, I wink at her.
Huffing, she picks up her pace.
“But you know what I’ve come to realize?” I ask. Taking two large steps, I reach her bedroom before she does and plant myself in the opening, blocking her entry.
Her expression twists and I can see the rage burning in her eyes. “What?” she snaps. “What is this big revelation?” Again, her gaze drops to my chest, then falls to my abs, then comes back up, sweeping over my arms, which I cross over my chest because it makes the muscles look bigger.
I love her attitude. It’s the right mix of pissed off and intrigued. She can’t resist me and she knows it, and that’s what’s got her all riled up. I can read the truth all over her. I decide to enlighten her.
“What I’ve come to realize is that it doesn’t matter how many women want me, just which woman wants me. And there’s only one woman whose opinion of me matters right now.”
I hold her narrowed gaze until dawning lights in them. For a split second, the little lines around her eyes vanish and I almost think she might smile, but she recovers herself quickly.
“Keywords: right now. I wasn’t born yesterday, Levi, so don’t presume me to be one of your nitwit groupies who can’t tell the difference between the truth and a crappy pickup line.”
With more strength than I would have guessed her to have, Vista places her hands on my chest and shoves. Knocking me off balance, I fall back a couple steps, just enough to give her room to pass.
“So you’re saying I need to work on my technique?”
Gripping the door, she’s practically seething as she stares up at me. “I’m saying you need to find yourself a different practice dummy.” Then she slams the door in my face.
A smile tugs at my lips. Vista has more guts than I realized. No woman has ever turned me down. Up until last night, I thought that was pretty damn awesome. I never understood why some men got off on chasing women around, dating, and buying them things to earn their attention. Now, I’m beginning to appreciate the thrill of the chase. Is that what Vista’s looking for, a guy who will chase her?
Leaning in, I push my face close to the door so I know she’ll hear me. “You know what I think, Vista?” Her silence only spurs me on. “I don’t think you want me to go away. I think you want me to chase you. Well, princess, you’ve got your wish, because you’re the only dummy I want to chase.”
Something slams against the door and bounces twice on the floor. A shoe? Throwing my head back I belt out a laugh. Damn, she’s a spitfire.
“You ready to go?”
She draws in a deep breath, and nods. “As I’ll ever be. Where are we going again?” She asks, eying my leather jacket and boots.
Scooping up my keys, I push her out the door and into the waiting elevator. “You know I’m not going to tell you.”
“Oh, I’m sure I can draw it out of you somehow,” she says, her eyes traveling down my body. I know that look, but I doubt she even realizes what she’s doing.
“You think you’re the only woman to try to seduce me, princess?” The elevator lets us out on the ground floor, and I lead her toward a back exit that lets out onto the building’s parking lot. The instant she sees what we’re heading for, Vista’s eyes practically shoot out of her skull.
“You own a motorcycle? We’re going to ride on that?”
I grin as I remove two helmets from the saddlebags. “That’s right, princess. Just something to add to the list of things you didn’t know about me. And here’s something else,” I say, passing one of the helmets off to her. “When it comes to keeping secrets, I’m a steel vault.”
She rolls her eyes as she turns the shining black helmet in her hands. I can’t even begin to restrain my smile. I had it specially made for her last week, and when she sees—
“You’re such a bastard,” she laughs, shaking her head.
“You like it?”
With a manufactured look of annoyance, she turns the helmet toward me so I can see the laser work I had done on it. In bright yellow script is the word Dummy.
“I think this one is yours.”
Taking it from her hands, I shake my head as I place it on top of hers. “Nope, mine is the one that says Pussy Magnet.”
Finished clipping her helmet on and making sure it’s snug, I wink at her and then turn away, tossing my leg over the seat. “Climb on, princess.”
Coming up behind me, I hear her whispered “Oh, my God,” when she catches sight of the back of my helmet. What can I say? She was warned.
Grabbing onto my shoulders, she climbs up and adjusts herself so that there’s a little gap between us.
Nope. That’s not going to happen. “You’re gonna have to get a lot closer than that if you don’t want to fall off, princess.”
A moment passes, and then Vista leans forward, wrapping her arms around my middle. Still not close enough for my taste, though. Reaching back with both hands, I grasp the back of her knees and drag her ass forward so she fits right up against me nice and snug.
“Much better, don’t you think?” Like this, I can feel the heat between her legs against my lower back. My jeans are instantly too tight, and I have to reach down to shift myself.
Damn, but this is going to be one hell of a ride.
Releasing the dock, he moves toward me through the water, his big body crowding mine. Focusing on the gray, splintered wood beneath my fingers, a ripple of awareness moves through me as Levi positions himself behind me. His heat warms the water at my back as he closes the distance and places his hands on either side of mine, framing my body with his.
“I’ve spent the past four years trying not to think about you,” he says, his voice low and husky in my ear. Closing my eyes, I listen to his soft voice, powerless to argue when he’s this close, his body touching mine. “You’re a siren, calling to me in my dreams. No matter what I do, I can’t escape you.”
It’s not the chill in the water that makes me shiver this time. “It’s the same for me,” I confess. I don’t want it to be true, but I’ve been trying to outrun this for what feels like forever.
“Then stop running,” he rasps, almost as if he’s read my mind. His lips skim the shell of my ear and he takes the lobe between his teeth, giving it a playful tug. “Turn around, princess, and we’ll both stop denying what we’ve wanted for too long. Let me kiss you.”
“Tell me you don’t want me,” he commands, a muscle in his jaw clenching.
“Just tell me!”
“Why?” I shout back. What’s the point, when we both know it would be a lie?
“Because I want to hear it from your mouth. If you can tell me you don’t want me like I want you, then I’ll leave you alone. Tell. Me.”
The wind kicks up, skating across the water and creating ripples over its calm surface. Pollen and leaves spiral in the air overhead, tumbling to the ground and into the water, mimicking how out of control I feel inside. Levi has to know that nothing between us would ever work. Even if our parents weren’t married, we’re too different. Our worlds are miles apart. But I can see how determined he is. He won’t let this go until he gets the answer he wants.
“Fine,” I relent. Looking him dead in the eyes, I say, “I don’t want you.”
The muscle in his jaw pulses as he regards me with a perfect quiet that is unnerving. I’m thinking I should swim back to shore, dry off. There’s no saving this day. I’m about to do just that, when Levi’s gruff voice stops me cold.
My brows pull down in confusion. “Excuse me?”
Moving his arms, Levi cuts through the water effortlessly, bringing himself to a stop only when our fronts touch and our legs bump into each other as we work to stay afloat.
“I said you’re a liar, Vista.”
I don’t know what to say, because he’s right, and I’ve never been any good at lying. “What does it even matter? We’re not getting together!”
“Inappropriate?” he finishes for me.
“Yes,” I bite out as he presses even closer, annoyed with myself and how my body betrays me. Every time Levi gets too close, it’s as if every nerve ending in my body comes to life.
Yes. The answer is automatic, but this time, I don’t say it out loud. I keep the humiliating truth to myself. He’s baiting me again. The problem is that it’s working. Except, I’m not angry. I’m…turned on.
My gaze drops to his mouth. I love his lips. They’re equally thick, firm, and kissable. I know because I’ve had them on me, and I yearn to feel their power again. The way Levi says my
name, the way he invades my space and calls me his princess, makes me feel weak. I don’t want to be that girl. The one who falls for a guy’s quick lines and filthy mouth, but I am that girl because Levi is that guy… and I’m falling for him. All. Over. Again.
“This is where we’re going to do it?” Vista’s eyes are wide, darting everywhere as she tries to soak it all in at once.
“As many times as you want,” I tell her, smirking when she levels me with one of her disapproving frowns that make her forehead wrinkle adorably.
“I’m not even going to dignify that with a response.”
With her chin held high, she takes the lead. There are chairs set up around the entire perimeter of the pool for the residents, and Vista chooses one, dropping her towel at the foot and, no lie, when she strips off the sundress, I think I have a stroke.
She has the most beautiful body I have ever seen on a woman. Fit, firm, curvy in all the right places. I love her ass most of all. At the pond, I had my fingers buried in those cheeks so hard she probably had bruises for days after, and I’ve been anticipating when I can do it again. Despite her determination to keep me at arm’s length, I can’t get her off my mind.
Approaching the edge of the pool, she dips her toes into it to test the temperature. “I’m assuming you know how to swim?” she asks sarcastically over her shoulder.
“Like a fish.” Dropping my towel at the foot of the chair next to hers, I stand facing her with my arms folded over my chest.
“I think we’ll start with a couple laps to get your blood pumping.”
“I can think of a few other things that will get my blood pumping.” She casts me another look over her shoulder and I wink at her, which only irritates her more. Or so she pretends. Personally, I think she likes it when I play with her. I know I do.
“So laps. I think one or two should do it. Just remember to take it easy. The water provides a natural resistance. You won’t realize how tired your muscles are until you get out of the pool.”
“I know how it works, princess. Are you planning to join me?” Taking the hem of my shirt between my fingers, I pull the material over my head and toss it aside with my towel. When I look up, I find Vista’s eyes on my chest, openly staring.
A small smile forms as I walk toward her. “If you want it, don’t be ashamed to ask for it.”
Blinking up at me, that deer in the headlight look she has from being caught quickly morphs into a death glare. “I’m not asking.”
“Maybe your mouth isn’t,” I say, leaning down and placing mine next to her ear, “but your body definitely is.” Turning my face toward hers, I let my beard scrape gently across her flushed cheek before placing a light kiss beside her mouth. Her lips part slightly, and I hear the sharp intake of breath at the contact. She wants me. I don’t know why she resists so hard.
“We already did it once. What’s one more time?” I hold her gaze in mine for a few beats before backing off. “When you’re ready to live again, let me know.” Then I dive into the pool and let the water envelope me.