The Billionaire Stepbrother (2015)

CHAPTER ONE

 

 

              I sighed as his lips slid down the column of my throat. A moan escaped my open mouth. I shuddered. His hands slid down over the curves of my body; touching me everywhere, sliding further and further down until they reached their mark. I spread my legs for him as he whispered my name.

              “Linda,” he said right before his fingers stroke my most sensitive part; leisurely taking his time. Tormenting me. It was as though he was there, but not there at the same time.

I tightened my inner muscles, searching, begging him to enter me. I moaned again. Oh, Chris. “Chris.”

“Linda?” His voice seemed distant now.

My eyes fluttered open. In seconds they were focused. Chris was standing at the foot of my bed. His expression was one of pure puzzlement. Dang it. I had been dreaming. I hadn’t expected Chris to be there. What was he doing there? My heart dropped down to my stomach as I watched Chris’ eyes narrow at me; examining me. I raised my hand to my chest as though I could block him from seeing my most sacred of secrets. My voice was hoarse from sleep when I finally asked, “What are you doing here?”

Chris’ pale blue eyes flew wide. He looked around before coming back to me. “I live here.”

My heart leaped again. Of course, I’d forgotten this was his apartment. I’d moved myself in two months ago when my landlord, George, had finally decided to kick me out. I couldn’t afford the rent and there were only so many weeks that batting my long lashes will work before they demand more. George’s price was not something I was willing to pay. I’m not a prostitute. I’m a model. Actually, I’m barely even that. I hardly get any jobs, because I’m not willing to do what most other models are. The entertainment industry was not a friendly place. If you wanted to get somewhere, you had to basically sell your soul. I wasn’t willing to do that… not yet.

Chris’ next words recaptured my attention. “What are you doing here?” He lifted a dark brow as he waited for my reply. His strong and handsome jaw set into place. His hands were in the pockets of his light gray designer business pants. He wore a pure white dress shirt with the first two buttons undone, showing off just enough flesh to put knots in my stomach. Chris Ray was the most attractive man I knew. He was also my step-brother. His hair was black and kept professionally short. His skin held a warm medium tan, even in the dead of winter. But his most striking feature was his almond-shaped, pale blue eyes. So pale, they were almost gray. But put a sky blue shirt on him and the color would turn vivid.

Chris’ broad shoulders slumped as he crossed his arms and leaned back against the cherry wood dresser behind him. I realized that I had yet to answer his question. And honestly, I didn’t know how to respond. I could tell Chris that I got kicked out of my old place, but I hated disappointing him. So, I said the only thing I could think of at the moment. “Since when does a little sister have to ask to crash at her big brother’s house?” I tilted my head for added effect and felt my large brunette curls move across my back. My hands went to my hair. I was sure I looked a mess.

A phone rang. Its sound muffled. It was my phone somewhere in the sheets. Saved. I turned away from Chris and started to rummage through the 15,000-count Egyptian cotton sheets. The sheets alone were reason to break in. I finally found my phone and answered right before Chris could verbally stop me. “Hello?” I smiled up at him, giving him my most innocent face. The one that said, ‘oh, I’m sorry, did you have more to say?’

“Linda? Is that you?” It was Julie. My stepmother.

“Yes, Julie.” I emphasized her name for Chris’ ears. My smile brightened as I stared up at him. Immediately he began to shake his head and wave his arms. I got the message. He wasn’t available.

“Oh, good, you’re up! You’re usually never up. It’s Sunday. Are you coming for breakfast?”

Julie had married my father ten years ago. Before meeting my father, Henry Shaw, Julie Ray had been married to a very wealthy man, Chris’ father, Christopher Ray, Sr. The match hadn’t been a for love. It had been for money. Julie had given Chris a son, as was expected of the marriage, but once Christopher, Sr. had died, she’d only mourned his death for a short period of time before falling in love with my father.

My stepmommy’s words made me look over at the clock on the nightstand. Seven-thirty. She was right. I’m usually never up this early. But I was up now. Might as well do something. “Sounds great, I’ll be there.”

Julie’s smile came through the phone. “Excellent! Mother is here early for the renewals, so she’ll be at breakfast as well.” By mother, Julie meant, Anna. Anna was Julie’s mother and Chris’ grandmother. I called the old woman Granny Annie, because I thought it sounded funny and seemed to irritate the woman, but not enough for her to stop me from calling her that. Anna was as rigid as a rod. She was strict and always gave her opinion. I still didn’t understand how the woman allowed me the honor of continuing to call her something that she obvious detested, but I saw the win for what it was.

My eyes flew wide as I looked back over at Chris. “Ooh, Granny Annie will be there?”

Chris immediately looked pale. It took everything I had to not burst with laughter at that moment. He didn’t like get-togethers with the family. For some reason, Chris was always quiet and withdrawn when family was around, but put Chris in a room of friends or other professionals and he was right in his element. The man could work a room.

Julia sighed. “It’s a shame that your brother is out of town. I know he said he’d be back in time for the wedding renewal, but…” Julie’s sadness struck a chord within me. Julie and my dad were having a ten-year wedding renewal and it seemed everyone who was someone in New York was invited. With the way Julie talked about the event, you would think that she were getting married for the first time. She was excited, but one thing always dampened her mood. Chris.

Chris had been twenty-five when his mother had married my dad. I’d been fourteen. I hadn’t been too thrilled with the idea, but Chris hadn’t been happy about any of it. Chris had assumed my father was simply after his mother’s money, but only a fool would believe that. I took one look at the couple and wanted to gag. They were in love, but Chris didn’t see it, not for a long time. Even now, everyone suspected that Chris didn’t really like my father, and probably saw Henry as a man who would ruin things for Julie, but the only person I knew was ruining things was Chris.

My eyes met Chris’. He must have seen something on my face, because he walked over, took a seat by my side on the bed, and gave me a very stern look, warning me to not cross him. I shook my head. It was too late. My decision was already made. I was going to give him over to the family wolves. “Julie, Chris is right here.”

There was a pause on the other end. “What do you mean?”

“Chris is back from France.”

I had to push the phone away from my ear as I heard a loud shriek peel from Julie’s lips. While she continued to talk on and on about how happy she was, I simply looked at Chris. I put the phone on mute while Julie continued to talk so she wouldn’t hear me talk to him. “We’ve been invited to breakfast.” Julie’s happiness made great background for the not-so-happy conversation that we were about to have.

Chris’ eyes narrowed. For a thirty-five-year-old, he could be so adorable at times. “I can’t believe you’ve dragged me into this.”

I narrowed my own eyes. “If by this, you mean your family, then I think you were born in this.”

Chris released a breath. His anger calmed. He held his hand out for the phone. I gave it to him. He stood up and headed towards the window, opening the curtains as he spoke.

I shielded my eyes at the sudden brightness of the room. I was dizzy for a moment. I’d been unprepared for the light. I felt like a vampire, ready to attack the person that had offended me. That person being Chris. I liked it really dark when I slept. That was partly because I barely slept at all. I was always out at night, hanging out with my more successful modeling friends, hoping their success would rub off on me. So far, no amount of rubbing had worked.

I rolled my eyes and began to climb out of the bed. When I finally stood, I realized that I barely had any clothes on. I was wearing a black silk lacy tank top and a pair of black lacy panties. I turned quickly, facing Chris. He was silently staring at me. There was no expression on his face.

I quickly covered the juncture of my thighs, but neither of us made a move otherwise. I didn’t know how to get out of the room without flashing Chris, and he didn’t seem capable of turning around. Neither of us spoke, but Julie’s voice could be heard through the speaker of my tiny phone.

She must have said something to wake Chris’ mind back up, because he blinked a few times before turning towards the window. I let out a breath once his back was to me and ran towards the master suite. All of my clothes were in the gigantic walk-in closet. I’d moved in two months ago, and when I say moved in, I really mean ‘moved in’. I’d taken the master bedroom, because I knew I could. Chris had gone to France to work on a movie advertisement. He owned an ad company. Let me stop. Chris owned ‘the’ ad company. Just a few months ago, his picture had been on the front of TIME. They were saying that he’d changed the advertising world, for whatever that meant. I hadn't read the article. All of my friends and family had. Everyone loved Chris and fawned over his success. Not me. I always wanted to feel above him. Reading the article would mean that I’d submitted to whatever power he had on the rest of humanity.

I leaned back on the walk-in middle island. The island held cufflinks, shades, and other male accessories. I picked up the remote and pushed a button that would cause the wall of clothing I was facing to rotate for me. I smiled. This never got old. The closet was bigger than my old apartment and I loved it. It was the first closet that had fit all of my clothes. Yes, I had a lot of clothes. Yes, I was broke. Sue me, it’s New York.

“You have thirty minutes before we leave.”

I swung around and looked into Chris’ eyes. He was standing at the entrance of the closet. The only thing between us was the island. I couldn’t see my panties anymore, but I still was not wearing a bra under the silk top, and I had more cleavage than any good woman should. I believed it was another reason I didn’t get many modeling jobs. My body didn’t fit into the normal catalog. I was curvy, but my breasts were bigger than what would be considered acceptable in the modeling world.

To stop my nerves, I resorted to hostility. “Could I get a little privacy, please?” The on-suite had no doors. The only door was the one that led to the bedroom itself. Since Chris had already been in the room, I hadn’t had the chance to lock him out.

He crossed his arms and laughed; his blue eyes twinkling at me. “This is my house, Linda.”

I crossed my own arms, but had to do it under my breasts. My breasts always stopped me from really doing it over my chest. “I know it’s your house, Chris, but I’m kind of naked.”

Chris smirked and scoffed. “Linda, I see naked women everyday.”

My hands went to my hips. “Your little stick figure friends have nothing on this.”

Chris’ face slid right before he said, “What are you doing in my house, Linda?”

I turned back towards the wall of dresses I’d been looking at. There were a few of his suits mixed in with my clothes, but I’d taken up most of the space, just as any woman should. If someone else were in the room, I was sure they’d assumed that the clothes were owned by a married couple.

I started to spin the clothes, deciding to ignore Chris. He didn’t seem to like that response, because he came to stand beside me. I could feel his eyes on me and immediately wished I’d put clothes on once Chris’ back had been turned in the other room.

I turned towards him and stopped breathing. He was so close. He only stood a few inches taller than my 5’8 height. I guessed him to be around 6’3. His breath was warm on my face. He smelt expensive and powerful. His eyes reminded me of winter icicles against the morning sky, capturing the faintest color blue. I felt my nipples harden right before his eyes drifted towards my top. But they didn’t settle there, only glanced.

Before I could say anything, Chris turned and headed out of the closet. “Fifteen minutes.”

I opened and closed my mouth in rapid succession before I could speak. “No one can get ready that fast,” I finally yelled in the general direction that he’d gone; it was the only thing I was willing to say. There were other things I wanted to say though, or ask rather. Like, what the heck just happened?

 

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