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Stranded with My Stepbrother

Stranded with My Stepbrother

img Romance
img 69 Chapters
img 45.4K View
img M. Francis Hastings
5.0
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About

I'm almost eighteen and I'm in love with my 22-year-old stepbrother, Caleb. I confessed my love to him soon after our parents got married, but he rejected me and disappeared. Now the way he looks at me makes me burn. Now, I wonder - does Caleb want me?

Chapter 1 The Big Trip

-Jacey-

Caleb's shoulder bumped against mine, sending a zing of attraction shooting straight to my core. The Suburban had hit another deep pothole on the disused logging road we were taking to my father's favorite fishing lake in the wilds of Canada.

I loved it there. I did not love the fact that my stepbrother was coming with us this year.

The twenty-two-year-old in question flicked a glare my way before returning to whatever he was doing on his cell phone. He'd ignored me the entire twelve-hour drive.

If he wasn't so stupidly handsome, I would have written him off as an asshole a long time ago. Right about the time of my fifteenth birthday, in fact, when I told him I had a crush on him, and he crushed me in front of everyone at my party.

I'd been celebrating my birthdays fishing and enjoying the untouched wilds of Canada every year since then. Caleb had been mercifully absent.

Until now.

“You only turn eighteen once!" my stepmother, Jeanie, said cheerfully from the front seat. It must've been the thousandth time she said it. I wasn't sure if she was trying to perk up my mood or Caleb's.

Caleb looked up and smiled softly at his mother. “You're right, Mom. Happy birthday, Jocelyn.”

My eye ticked at the use of my full name. He knew I hated it, so Caleb took great delight in using it whenever he could.

“Happy birthday in two days, you mean,” my father chuckled.

Caleb grunted. “Yeah, that's what I mean.”

Caleb's birthday was July 9th. I knew this. I’d memorized the fact the moment his mother had told me.

My birthday was September 15th. Caleb forgot it. Every year. I’m not even sure he knew what month my birthday was in.

Jeanie frowned at her son, and I was thankful for the solidarity. My dad had more of a boys-will-be-boys attitude about it all.

Caleb shrugged and turned his attention back to his cell phone. I hated that we were seated hip-to-hip. I hated that every pothole threatened to knock me into Caleb again.

I hated the way my stomach twisted with desire every time I so much as brushed against him.

My stepbrother was an A1 hottie. He had sandy hair that was shaved up the back but left short and loose at the top. Deep sapphire eyes. A knee-melting smile.

And a body to die for.

Not only that, he was smart. Kind.

Was.

Once upon, he'd even been nice to me.

As soon as he’d realized all his good qualities had attracted the attention of a chubby fifteen-year-old with untamable black hair, he'd gone cold. Luckily, he'd also gone back to college after my birthday. I hadn't had to face him often since then.

The Suburban hit something that was more of a ravine than a pothole, and I would have landed in Caleb's lap had I not been wearing my seatbelt. As it was, I sprawled sideways across his chest.

“Oops, sorry about that, folks. No getting around that one,” my father called from the front seat.

Caleb's harsh expression had me glancing down where he was looking.

My hand was on his thigh.

Worse, my hand was nearly on the front of his pants.

“Try to be more careful, honey,” Jeanie sighed, rubbing my father's arm. “You almost launched Jacey out the window.”

“Out MY window,” Caleb added with a grimace. He gave me a very pointed look.

“What?” I asked.

“Are you planning on removing your hand someday?” Caleb replied in a low hiss.

I looked down again. Sure enough, I was still hanging onto his thigh, still half an inch from the promised land.

“Uh... uh...” I stuttered, snatching my hand back. “Sorry. Car. Pothole. Oops.”

Caleb took a deep breath and raised his phone again, shaking his head at me.

“Caleb, do put that down. It's been twelve hours. There isn't even a signal out here,” Jeanie admonished her son. “What could you possibly be doing?”

“Sudoku,” Caleb grunted.

Jeanie turned her attention to me. “Jacey, is he really playing sudoku?”

Oh hell. Why was Jeanie putting ME in the middle of this?

“I... uh...” Curiosity got the better of me, and I glanced over at Caleb's phone.

He was not playing sudoku. In fact, he wasn't doing anything at all. Much to my surprise, except for little app icons, Caleb's phone was completely blank.

Caleb raised an eyebrow at me, challenging me to tattle on him.

Well, I wasn't going to.

“Yep. Sudoku. He's losing,” I smirked.

“I suppose you could do better,” Caleb said, casually handing over his phone.

This time, he'd even locked the screen so all I saw was black.

“’Anything you can do, I can do better...’” my father sang with a laugh.

Jeanie giggled and joined in. “’Sooner or later, I'm better than you.’”

My father and Jeanie were so sweet—

“—I think I'm getting a toothache,” Caleb said, finishing my unspoken thought.

Masking a snicker with a cough, I swiped my thumb over Caleb’s screen as though I was actually playing on his phone.

“Ugh, I would not have made that move.”

When I looked up, Caleb’s face was crowding mine, his breath fanning my cheek.

And there went the zing again.

“Say, do you remember that birthday where you told Caleb you were in love with him?” my father asked, glancing in the rearview mirror.

I tossed Caleb’s phone at him like it was a hot potato and leaned against my own door, putting as much space between me and my stepbrother as the Suburban would allow.

“Hank,” Jeanie gasped, making desperate gestures in the air.

But my father, God bless him, had about as much sensitivity as a fencepost. “That would have been so crazy. Me marrying Jeanie. You marrying Caleb.”

I prayed for the next pothole to be big enough to swallow up the Suburban whole.

Jeanie dropped her head into her hands and just shook it back and forth. “It was just a silly childhood crush. They would never do anything that... distasteful. They’re brother and sister now.”

Right. Now I was a gross leper. And probably red as an apple, if the heat in my face was anything to go by.

I snuck a glance at Caleb, certain he must be laughing at me.

Instead, I was surprised to see his hands balled into fists as he looked out his window.

“Yeah, brother and sister. Ewww, right Jacey?” my father teased.

“Er... right,” I said softly.

“Oh Hank! Look, a moose!” Jeanie cried, a bit louder than was necessary. But I think all of us, except my father, were grateful for the distraction.

“Would you look at that?” My father sighed, stopping the Suburban and leaning on the steering wheel as the large moose weaved its way through the trees. When it moved, we could see a baby moose behind it, a light brown color with little knobs on its head.

Jeanie undid her seatbelt.

My father’s head snapped to her. “What are you doing?”

“Getting out to take a picture, silly!” Jeanie laughed.

Before Jeanie had the door open even an inch, my father quickly grabbed the handle and pulled it closed again. “The hell you are. That thing’s a killer. Oh, it might look cute, but they’re ornery fuckers, and you will either get gored or trampled to death if you bother it.”

Jeanie paled, then frowned. “Hank, do you really think that’s appropriate language to use in front of Jacey?”

“She’ll be eighteen in two days!” my father protested.

I smiled and patted Jeanie’s shoulder. “Don’t worry. He said a lot worse when a fish broke the landing net last year.”

“Hank!” Jeanie said, scandalized.

My father shrugged. “It was a brand-new net, and the fish was a monster. Choice words had to be said.”

Jeanie rolled her eyes and looked back at us. She put a hand on Caleb’s knee as the Suburban started back down the logging road. “Is everything all right, son?” she asked.

“It’s great,” Caleb grumbled. “It’s going to be the greatest trip ever.”

“Caleb,” Jeanie hissed, “be more grateful. Your stepfather paid for this trip, including most of our equipment and your fishing license. The least you can do is pretend to have fun. It’s Jacey’s birthday.”

I could hear Caleb’s teeth grind against each other.

“It’s going to be the greatest trip ever!” Caleb said in a more perky voice.

My father didn’t catch the sarcasm. “It is, isn’t it? I’m so glad you could come this year, Caleb, Jeanie. Jacey and I would get lonely all by ourselves.” He made puppy eyes at Jeanie.

Jeanie giggled again and swatted his arm. “Behave! The children are with us.”

Caleb snorted and looked back out his window.

While my father and stepmother were distracted, I took the opportunity to ogle Caleb’s profile. Sure, I would never touch him. He’d certainly made that much clear on my fifteenth birthday. But God, he was nice to look at.

“Do I have something on my face, Jacey?” Caleb finally asked in a low tone.

I gulped. I was caught. “Uh... er...”

“Why don’t you look out the window and take in the sights? It’s really pretty up here,” Caleb suggested.

“Right. Yes.” I quickly made a point of staring out my window until I felt like my eyeballs would bleed from not blinking.

My father and Jeanie were making kissy-kissy noises at each other, and I sighed to myself. I was never going to find love like that.

I imagined I was too much like my mother. She’d split when I was five, citing a need to “find herself.” Of course, I’d always suspected she left because she had a chubber of a baby who grew into a chubber of a kid, who couldn’t hold her own at the various beauty pageants my mother shoved me into.

After the pageant and modeling circuit debacle, I was still trying to find myself. My mother had been whip thin and beautiful. Me? I wasn’t as chubby as I had been, but I still had a fuller figure than most girls. My boobs were too big, and so were my ass and thighs. I was also liable to trip over my own feet. That was as much grace as God had given me.

I rubbed my hands over my thighs. I always wished it would wipe away some of the fat there. No matter what I did, though, they wouldn’t thin down.

My father caught my eyes in the rearview mirror, and it seemed as though he was having one of his rare moments of empathy. “I love you, cupcake,” he said with a smile. “Just the way you are.”

“Thanks, Dad,” I murmured. I looked at the candy wrapper in the seat pocket in front of me, regretting the Snickers I’d eaten an hour ago. That certainly wasn’t going to help the situation.

Jeanie gave a little pout and reached back to stop my hands from chaffing my jeans. “You’re perfect. You’re my perfect little girl.”

Caleb looked from me, to Jeanie, to my father, and back again, curiosity clouding his features. “Am I missing something?”

“Oh,” my father said. “Just a little eating disorder. Every girl gets one at her age.”

“Hank!” Jeanie cried, scandalized on my behalf.

My cheeks colored, and I didn’t look at Caleb.

Yeah, this was definitely going to be a GREAT vacation.

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