Dirty Little Secret: New Adult Rock Star Romance (Not Exactly A Stepbrother Romance Book 1)


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Dirty Little Secret, (Not Exactly a Stepbrother Romance, #1) Copyright 2016, Kristen Strassel. Originally released in 2015 as “Work For It” by Allyson Starr.
Photo credit: MaeIDesign and Photography
Cover Design: Sotia Lazu

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Dear Readers,

Dirty Little Secret was originally released in 2015 as Work For It by Allyson Starr. Allyson is my alter ego. I had grand plans for her, all my dirty stuff was going to be written by her, and my only moderately dirty stuff would stay as Kristen. I learned a very important lesson releasing a book under a pen name. I can’t be two people. Didn’t work. Between my freelance day job which is really about a hundred little jobs that last a day or two, and a busy release schedule as Kristen, there was no room to give Allyson the love she deserved. But Allyson still had a lot to say. Most of it is dirty bad wrong. She’s still going to say it, but it will come out as a Kristen book.

If you read Work For It, you’ve already read Dirty Little Secret. Make sure to check out Exposed, because that’s the rest of Gemma and Bret’s story and it’s all new material. And if you’re brand new to the story…buckle up and get ready for the ride!



Dirty Little Secret

Not exactly a stepbrother romance. I’d never fall for the bastard. More like a challenge—and I’m going to win.


My stepdad left me and his son an inheritance. Sort of.

Whoever needs it most gets the money. I trust you’ll do the right thing.

That’s what the will said. Had he ever met his son? Bret’s done nothing but make my life miserable since we were kids.

I have no job, and I’m up to my eyeballs in student loan debt. Bret’s been on tour in Europe with his heavy metal band for the last two years. He still has the nerve to cry poor mouth and says he’s going to make me work for the money.

Oh yeah?

My stepbrother is a sick, twisted, sinfully hot bastard… and I’m going to do whatever it takes to get that money.

Warning: Contains adult everything. Don’t tell my mom. It’s all for a good cause—the almighty dollar.

Chapter One


When your mom calls at one in the morning, you know it’s going to be some serious shit.

I only answered because it was her. I couldn’t waste the last of my minutes—yeah, I had to prepay for my phone, because I’m that poor—on one of my exes who decided he loved me again. You’d think they knew each other, because they’d all established the same pattern. A couple of beers, no possibility to get laid after midnight, and suddenly they missed me. Whatever. I had finals this week and couldn’t get distracted by drunken booty calls. Although sex would calm me the hell down.

No. It would just be more drama. Right now, I needed to see what was up with my mom.

I heard her sobbing before I had a chance to ask what was wrong. “Gemma,” she said between gasps of air, “it’s Daddy.”

My breath caught in my throat. “What about Daddy?” If you Googled
Daddy’s Girl,
my picture would be the top image result. He wasn’t actually my father; my biological father died in a car accident when I was two, and I didn’t remember him. That made my dad more special, because he adopted me and treated me like his own daughter. There was nothing I wouldn’t do for that man.

“He had a heart attack.” Mom couldn’t elaborate, because she’d dissolved into tears again.

“What?” I couldn’t have heard her right. Dad turned fifty last year and took amazing care of himself. He swam all the time and loved getting food from farmers markets. He barely ever had a head cold.

“A heart attack,” she repeated.
. I’d never wanted to be wrong so much in my life.

“He’s going to be okay,” I said. He had to be. “They can do such amazing things now.” I was pre-med, studying to become a veterinarian. I wanted to work with exotic animals in zoos and refuges. I’d studied alongside enough traditional medical students to know they were capable of some epic things. If you had enough money, which Dad certainly did, it might be possible to live forever.

“Sweetie, he didn’t make it.”

I’d always wondered what the end of the world would be like. If it would be a bang or a whimper. Now I knew it was as simple as those five words. My lungs burned, rejecting oxygen, and my body filled with lead as the shock set in. This couldn’t be happening. We had plans. He was coming to my graduation, and I’d spend the summer in Newport with him and Mom. He’d just bought a sailboat. He wanted one for as long as I could remember, and he didn’t even get a chance to use it.

And damn it, I needed my daddy. “No!”

“I know.” Mom’s words were weak through her sniffles. “We won’t have any answers right away. The doctors were shocked too. It happened so fast. He was home.” She had to stop and reset. “We were sitting in the back yard, having wine after dinner. I held his hand until the EMTs took him away from me.”

The image of my mom holding my dad’s hand until the very last second, when they loaded him off the ambulance and rushed him through the tangle of emergency-room hallways, broke me. Curling into a ball on my bed, phone still up to my ear, I cried big, ugly tears until I had no more.

“I’ll get a bus home in the morning,” I said when I could speak again.

“What about your finals?”

Oh yeah. The rest of the world—it was still spinning. “They start Tuesday. I need to come home, even if it’s for a day. I don’t want you to be alone.” The house would be full of people as soon as she made the phone calls in the morning. It was more like
didn’t want to be alone, but Mom would know that.

“Do you need me to put money in your account?” she asked. My parents were rich because they earned it. Dad had built a luxury real estate business in Newport, Rhode Island, from absolutely nothing. Mom worked as a veterinarian at Roger Williams Zoo. Dad believed people who worked for what they had knew what they wanted and appreciated it when they got it. No handouts. We wouldn’t have qualified for financial aid anyway, but my tuition was completely my responsibility. My student loan debt was already well into six figures, and I had no idea how I was going to swing grad school.

“I hate that I have to say yes.” There was no way I was getting home unless she did. I didn’t even have money for food this week. “Thanks.”

“I need you to do me a favor, too.” Mom didn’t often ask for things, which made it even harder for me to accept her money. “I can’t get in touch with Bret. He’s in Europe, and I’m getting a weird message when I call his phone. Are you guys Facebook friends or anything? Could you get in touch with him for me?”

That was my automatic reaction whenever someone mentioned my stepbrother. At least I stopped myself before I said it out loud. We were connected on social media because it made life easier, but it was definitely a hate follow.

“Sure,” I said.

“Thanks, sweetie. Let me know what time to pick you up at the bus station.” How Mom was thinking so clearly was beyond me.

I broke down again when I got off the phone. My roommate was staying with her boyfriend tonight, and I was thankful to be alone. When I said
, I meant it. I subletted half a room in a one-bedroom apartment.

Going home tomorrow and not having Dad there would feel like being riddled with bullets. I hoped this was a nightmare; the timing was perfect for it. I’d wake up in the morning, and everything would be normal. Dad would be working on the house, like he always was, or getting his boat ready to sail.

There was so much I wanted to tell him, and I’d never get the chance. Ever since I was a little girl, he loved my stories about animals, and helped out as much as he could when I brought a sick one home. The last time I talked to him, he’d been so excited about coming to New York City for my graduation. It wasn’t fucking fair that he was going to miss it.

I had to get in touch with Bret. It didn’t matter what I thought of the shitbag; he lost his dad tonight, too. He just didn’t know it yet. Bret played guitar in a metal band, Enemy Impact. I hadn’t seen him in a couple of years. The two of us were like gasoline and fire, and Bret was always too willing to strike the match.
Clicking on his Facebook page automatically made me roll my eyes. I knew exactly what I was going to see. Bret telling the world how he was so
. A bunch of lovesick groupies professing their undying love for him and gushing over how talented he was. The pictures that filled the feed would make any self-respecting feminist burn with the rage of a thousand suns. Mostly naked drunk girls with stars and hearts over their naughty bits, draped all over the band.


I kept my message short.
Call me ASAP. It’s Dad.
I’d never tell him what happened in a Facebook message. I didn’t hate him that much.

I didn’t expect him to call me right away. Wherever he was in Europe was at least six hours ahead of us, and he was probably passed out after a hard night of snorting lines off some groupie’s ass.

Sleep was a fantasy not happening in my world tonight, so I got out of bed and scrolled through Bret’s newsfeed. I curled my lip in a sneer at a picture of two girls making out in Bret’s lap. The picture was captioned,
Check out my Tumblr for all the shit these Facebook fuckers make us censor.

Dear God, I clicked the link.

I’ll forever think of it as a moment of weakness on one of the worst nights of my life. The first video was no surprise—two girls oil wrestling completely naked, in the middle of a crowded room. Probably backstage, someplace. I scrolled down and stopped at a grainy cell-phone video of Bret fucking two groupies in the back of a tour bus.

I should’ve clicked out of it. Really, I should have. But every part of me froze. My open mouth. My finger hovering over the keyboard. Bret’s bare body came into view, his broad shoulders and back completely covered in colorful tattoos. The ladies were making out, lying so one vagina was on top of the other, like a Jenga stack of pussy. Bret’s ass was round, firm, and inked, and…

Holy fucking shit, I just checked out my stepbrother’s ass.
I was watching him fuck.

This was wrong, but the way he moved was so hot, I couldn’t look away. Believe me, I tried.

What the hell was wrong with me?

He pulled out of the top groupie, and my pussy started throbbing as he angled his thick shaft to slide into the bottom chick. Whoever was filming zoomed in on Bret’s dick. Wrapped in the condom, it looked like it might be pierced. Or maybe I just wanted it to be.
Why the hell did I care?
I’d gone to his page to tell him his dad died, not to watch his amateur porn videos.

He slid into the girl slowly, then rolled that glorious ass back and slammed into her over and over again. His balls slapped against her in a frantic rhythm. He pushed three fingers into the top girl and pounded into both of them like a double-bass drum.

Bret wasn’t just fucking the two women in that video. Another one had joined in. Me. I slid my hand down my pajama bottoms, disgusted with myself when my body confirmed how much this turned me on. I rubbed my clit in time to his thrusts, trying to convince myself this wasn’t happening. I wasn’t aroused by
, of all people on earth. But I had to do something to make the sensation go away. Clicking out of the video wasn’t an option. Basically because I didn’t want to.

We both came at the same time.

I didn’t think it was possible to hate him more.


lost it when I saw Mom waiting for me at the bus station.

“How was your trip?” she asked.

“After I went nose-blind to the stench of Satan’s locker room during a playoff game, it wasn’t too bad. I didn’t have to sit next to a screaming baby or anything.” I got my sense of humor from my dad.

Mom laughed. Her eyes lit up. She probably thought she never would again. “Who won?” she asked.

“The other guys. It was pretty tragic.”

Mom didn’t have a chance to get much done yet today. Family filtered into town, but everything moved in slow motion. The world was a different place without my dad in it.

“Everyone’s asking what I’m going to do, but I can’t even think straight.” She turned to me when she pulled into the driveway. “Have you talked to Bret? I don’t want to make any plans until we talk to him.”

“No. The rock star hasn’t checked in on social media yet today.”

“Gemma, come on. We need each other right now. Put whatever is between the two of you aside. You guys aren’t kids anymore. You’ve changed. I’m sure he has, too.”

I laughed. “No, he hasn’t. I sent that message twelve hours ago. He hasn’t called.” My prepaid phone was too dumb for internet, so I had no way of checking if he’d even seen it.

“Maybe he’s busy.”

Everyone always made excuses for Bret, and I looked like a jerk
when I didn’t. “Busy doing what? All he has to do is play guitar for an hour each night. He parties like that’s his job the rest of the time.” I squirmed uncomfortably, the video replaying in my brain. I’d have to drink bleach to make the images go away.

“It is his job. He may be traveling or doing press.” Mom would forever be a card-carrying member of the Bret Fan Club. She and Dad never had kids together, and even though Bret hadn’t stayed with us much, she loved the d-bag like her own son.

A crazy number showed on the display when my phone rang, just after my aunt and cousins arrived. “Bret?” I asked when I answered it. It was either him, or I’d won the Nigerian Lottery.

“Yeah. I’m calling from the hotel. My phone isn’t working over here. It’s supposed to, but I don’t know what’s wrong with it. What’s up?”

I held the phone against my chest. “Ma, it’s Bret.” She followed me into Dad’s office. I thought I was going to pass out, being in here. Stacks of papers on his desk waited to be filed. A whiteboard full of appointments he wasn’t going to make. I put the call on speaker. “This has to be quick. An international call is going to eat my minutes like

Bret snickered from somewhere in Europe.

“You can call back on the house phone, honey, if you need to,” Mom said before she told him what happened.

Bret didn’t answer right away. He sniffled. He had to be crying. I certainly was. I tried to keep quiet so we could hear him.

“Shit,” he said softly.

“When can you be home?” Mom asked. “I don’t want to plan anything without you.”

“We have three more shows.” Bret sighed. “Then I’ll be there as soon as I can. If you have to do stuff without me, I understand.”

“Get out of them!” My tears were replaced by white hot fury. “Don’t you think your dad’s funeral is a little more important than rocking Sweden, or wherever the hell you are?” The
bastard was blowing off his dead father for his band and a bunch of drunk sluts. Unbelievable.

” Mom glared at me.

“Gem, I can’t do that. It’s not up to me what we do. If we don’t play these shows, there will be a whole bunch of lawyers lining up to hand our asses to us. We’re under contract.”

“I can’t believe we have to plan Dad’s funeral around Enemy Impact gigs.” I crossed my arms, totally pissed.

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