Mafia Stepbrother Boxed Set

Mafia Stepbrother Boxed Set

 

Jessi Talbot

 

Copyright

This is a work of fiction. Any names, characters, places, and incidents are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, organizations, or persons – living or dead – is entirely coincidental.

 

This work is intended only for adults over the age of 18. All sexual relationships depicted are between adults who are not related by blood.

 

Mafia Stepbrother Boxed Set
©
June 2015, Jessi Talbot

 

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission except in the case of brief quotations used in articles or reviews.

 

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PART ONE

Chapter 1

I sat at a table in the back of the fast-food place, facing the door, trying to keep my hand from shaking as I left a voicemail for my stepbrother. “Cole, it’s Danielle. I hate to bug you but Mom gave me your number and said you had recently moved here… and I don’t have anyone else to turn to.” My voice caught in my throat as I watched a big man with broad shoulders and long brown hair walk through the door, and then a sigh of relief. It wasn’t him. “Billy… my ex-boyfriend, he showed up at my place. I had to leave… fast, and I don’t have any money. I was lucky to grab my phone and keys.” I reached up and wiped a tear running down my cheek. “Please call me back,” I sobbed, hanging up before I lost it completely.

My ex had gotten it in his head that I had cheated on him. He wasn’t happy about it at all, and it apparently didn’t matter that we had broken up three months ago. I should’ve known better than to try to reason with him when he showed up at my place drunk. Talking turned to yelling… and then it almost turned into something else, but I got out as fast as I could after he put his fist through a sheetrock wall.

Now, I was hiding out at one of the only places open around here at two in the morning because Mom lived three hours away and I didn’t want to involve my friends in any of this drama.

Meanwhile Billy was… what? Sleeping it off in a drunken coma? Scouring the neighborhood looking for me? I didn’t know, but I really hoped it was the first one. I jumped when my phone rang, and breathed a sigh of relief when I saw who it was. “Cole, thanks for calling me back.”

“Why wouldn’t I call you back, Rugrat?”

That old, irritating nickname from the past was at odds with the deep, masculine voice coming through the phone. He had always had a smooth-as-silk voice, but now it was deeper, sexier. I shook my head, smiling as the old memories came flooding back.

Cole was the arrogant kid I got stuck with when my mom married his dad. I was only a year younger than him but he had called me Rugrat one day and I flew off the handle. That was all it took. From that day on, I was Rugrat to him. I never liked it, but I learned to live with it, mainly because he always had a smile on his face when he said it, a smile that made teenage me weak in the knees. Add in killer looks, sexy eyes that sparkled like shards of emerald, and a confidence that most adults lacked, and my poor heart didn’t stand a chance. While other girls were crushing on studly football players or handsome teachers, my first crush was my handsome, completely off-limits stepbrother. Talk about rotten luck.

And apparently adult me hadn’t learned much over the years because that voice still made my knees weak, made an army of butterflies take flight in my stomach. Cole sounded like sex on a spoon, covered with chocolate syrup. It was a voice every guy wanted to have; deep, sexy, with a hint of roughness.

“Dani?”

My brain snapped back to the matter at hand. “Yeah, sorry. It’s late and I’m tired.”

“No problem. Where are you? I can come get you.”

I gave him the address and almost started crying when he said he was on his way. I hung up and just stared at the phone, thankful I had someone to turn to. Our parents had never divorced but when I was fourteen, Cole’s dad simply packed-up one day and moved to Florida, and Cole moved with him. I hadn’t seen him since they drove off that day, but I had always thought of him as family. We stayed in touch for a couple of years and then slowly drifted apart. Last I’d heard, he was thinking about joining the military. I didn’t know how Mom had his number, but I was glad she did. And I was glad he wasn’t busy. It was Friday night and he sounded hot as hell. He could’ve easily been on a date.

A few minutes after ending the call, a girl wearing a polo shirt with the restaurant’s logo on it approached and said I’d have to leave if I wasn’t going to order anything. I nodded and walked out the door. Hopefully, Cole would show up soon. Unfortunately, someone else showed up first.

I started for the door as soon as the familiar black pick-up pulled up, but then stopped. The people inside were just trying to earn a paycheck or grab a late-night snack. They didn’t need to get involved in whatever was about to happen. I was the idiot who hooked-up with the loser. This was my mess to clean up.

The truck door flew open and Billy staggered out. I could smell the beer from where I stood. Instead of passing out like I had hoped, he had apparently nursed his anger along with a few more drinks. He glared at me with glazed eyes.

“Is this where you meet him?” he yelled. “Is this where you do it?”

I rolled my eyes. “Yeah, Billy, me and my new stud get freaky in the bathroom under the golden arches.”

“You slut,” he roared, charging at me. I screamed and stepped back, pressing my back to the brick wall. Fortunately, he was too drunk to navigate the step up from the parking lot and fell on his face. Unfortunately, he wasn’t happy about it. He climbed to his feet, blood dripping from a cut on his face. “I’m gonna kill you.” The look in his eyes told me he was telling the truth.

I ran for the door. To Hell with everyone inside who shouldn’t be involved. I needed help. I grabbed the handle as Billy grabbed a handful of hair, yanking me back. I fell on the ground at his feet, held up by the hair wrapped around his hand. A distant rumble like thunder suddenly got louder and a bright beam of light stabbed us in its glare.

Both of us looked towards the source of light but it was too bright to see anything behind it. “Let her go,” a voice behind the light said.

The voice. It was him. Through the glare of the single headlight, I saw a shadow stand as Cole climbed off the motorcycle. He stepped forward into the light and my jaw almost hit the ground.

The boy I remembered was gone. This guy was tall, and broad, with sandy brown hair that touched his shoulders and a jaw that looked like it was carved out of granite. Tight blue jeans hugged his thighs and the sleeves of his leather jacket hugged his biceps. He stepped smoothly onto the step that had given Billy so much trouble and stared hard at him, a muscle in his right cheek twitching. “Let her go. If I have to tell you again, things might get unfriendly.”

Billy’s hand tightened its grip. “Who the fuck are you? You the one screwing my girl?” He shoved me towards Cole. “You can have her. Dirty slut.”

Within the space of seconds, Cole had side-stepped around me, getting between me and Billy. “Apologize,” Cole said, that rough edge in his voice sounding sharper.

“Screw you.”

With no warning at all, Cole slammed a fist into Billy’s stomach, doubling him over. He grabbed Billy’s shoulder, pulled him up, and slammed him against the wall. He stepped closer, until his face was inches from Billy’s. He whispered something and Billy’s eyes grew wide. He looked at me, pure fear visible on his face. “I’m sorry,” he said, barely above a whisper.

Cole stepped back from him. “Leave.”

Billy nodded and ran to his truck, almost falling again but managing to stay on his feet this time. He took one last look at Cole, and then at me, a momentary flicker of anger flashing across his face. As he cranked the truck and backed out of the parking space, Cole reached down, offering his hand to me.

I looked up at the tower of masculinity before me. “Cole?” I still couldn’t believe it.

A lopsided grin – the one I remembered from before – slowly spread across his face. “Hi, Rugrat.”

I reached up and took his hand, looking into his emerald eyes as he helped me to my feet. Those eyes, like that trouble-making grin, had only become sexier. I looked up into those eyes, trying to merge the man who stood before me now with memories of the boy from my past. In our teens, he had been about an inch taller than me. Now, he towered over me by at least a foot. “You’ve grown.”

He laughed, his eyes momentarily sliding up and down my body. “You have, too.”

We gazed at each other for what seemed like an eternity, a strange tension slowly building in the air between us. It was an electricity I recognized from before I stupidly got together with Billy, a tightly-wound sense of anticipation. It crossed my mind that if I had met this sexy guy in a club, I would’ve been putting out all the signals to let him know he had a green light to go further. But this wasn’t just some random sexy guy. I cleared my throat, dropping my eyes to his motorcycle. “Nice ride.”

He laughed again. Did I detect a little nervousness in it? “Thanks. After being cooped up in tanks and choppers, I wanted something that would let me feel the wind in my hair.”

I looked up at him again, stood on my tiptoes to kiss his cheek, but missed and kissed his neck instead. “Thank you.”

His green eyes showed an emotion I couldn’t place. He licked his lips, and for just a second, I thought he was going to kiss me. Instead, he stepped back away from me, running a hand through his shaggy hair. “It’s late, and I’m sure you don’t want to hang out in the parking lot all night long.” He turned and walked towards his bike. “Let’s get out of here.”

“What about my car?”

“Leave it. I’ll bring you to get it tomorrow.”

After admiring the way Cole’s tight jeans hugged his ass, I reminded myself who I was drooling over and followed him. I knew nothing about motorcycles but this one was a thing of beauty, all black and chrome and testosterone. I also knew Harleys weren’t cheap, and this one didn’t look very old. Cole was apparently doing okay in the money-making department. He reached into the little compartment on the side and pulled out a helmet, holding it towards me. I took it and put it on. It was only a little half-helmet thing, covering just the top of my head, but it was better than nothing. “Where’s yours?”

He slung his leg over the seat and sat down. “I’ve got a hard head.”

I rolled my eyes. Macho BS. I climbed on the motorized beast and stared at the broad, leather-clad back in front of me. Well, this was slightly awkward.

The bike suddenly roared to life, making me jump. “Hang on,” Cole said over the bone-shaking rumble. I tentatively reached around, suddenly nervous. He was so broad, I couldn’t clasp my hands together so I just put my palms against his stomach. Holy hell. The man’s abs were hard as rock. He let the bike roll back a little bit, and then we were off, flying out of the parking lot and down the road like a bullet fired from a gun. I tightened my grip, digging my fingers into his shirt, hugging Cole’s back.

The darkness and the streetlights passed by in a blur, the silence of the night wiped out by the roar of the engine. I hugged Cole tight, watching the world streak by. The rumble of the powerful bike between my legs made me tingle. My nipples hardened into tiny pebbles and I desperately hoped Cole couldn’t feel anything through his jacket.

 

Chapter 2

If the Harley hadn’t been a clue, Cole’s home would’ve given away the fact that money wasn’t a problem. It was one of the nicest townhomes in one of Houston’s ritziest neighborhoods. I looked around as he disappeared down the hall. “Back in a second. Make yourself at home.”

Home? His living room was almost as big as my whole apartment. A huge flatscreen TV took up half a wall, and an expansive bar along another wall indicated that Cole had stepped up a notch or two from the days of chocolate shakes being the preferred drink of choice.

“How did you end up with an asshole like that, anyway?” Cole glanced at me as he walked back into the living room, heading for the bar. He had shed the leather jacket and t-shirt and I couldn’t help but admire his sculpted chest. His abs looked just as solid as they had felt while I had been holding on for dear life while he demonstrated how fast his motorcycle could go. Yeah, chocolate shakes had definitely stopped being a major part of his diet.

“I don’t know. Stupidity?”

He flashed that lopsided grin. “You never struck me as being stupid. Sexy and smart, but stupid never came to mind.” The grin fell from his face and he quickly started looking over the bottles in front of him. “What do you like to drink?”

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