Authors: Sarah Sparrows
Stepbrother MMA Romance
2015 Sarah Sparrows
Sarah Sparrows 2015
Cover design by Ashwood Publishing
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Samuels – the bane of my
No matter how I looked at my relationship to him, three inexcusable
facts absolutely decimated me at every turn: a) Sawyer relished in his
unflappably strong streak of
when it came to me, b) he was the hottest fucking guy I’d ever met in
my life, and c) for a few confusing, angry years, we shared a goddamn house
You see, in their rampant cruelty, the Fates saw fit to make Sawyer
Samuels my fucking
With filthy good looks, a strong and handsome build, and an incredible smirk,
Sawyer was an absolute force to be reckoned with. No matter how hard life hit
him, he always came back swinging – and when he disappeared on me and
descended into the brutal world of cage fighting, that metaphor turned literal
My relationship with him had always been complicated.
complicated. From the day I met
him, he was a complete jackass to me, just shy of belittling me at every last
fucking turn. I never knew what his problem with me was, but he seemed to get
his rocks off on antagonizing me in these small, subtle mind games. I hated it.
Except…neither of those were true.
it. It was like we
were playing this constant game with one another. I was always on the
defensive, and he was always on the attack, but something about the game just
kept me playing.
It was true that he was a complete asshole to me. I couldn’t stand how
fucking cocky he was, with his attractive build that I saw way too often when
he’d wander around the house shirtless. Then there was that stupid little smirk
he had used on me all the time – the
his friends called it. It was his secret weapon – parting the legs of
just about any girl he wanted. After years of endless sexual conquests and a raging
need to constantly piss me off, Sawyer was so confidant, so self-assured…and he
had never turned down an opportunity to pick at me.
I loved it.
It was stupid and I knew it. I don’t know why I let him get away with it
– it’s not like I couldn’t stand my ground against him. But for some
reason… I reveled in his antagonistic attention. I didn’t let him walk all over
me by any means, and I’d challenge him if he got out of line, but something
about the weird, stupid stepsibling tension between us enticed me.
Was that why?
I dwelled on
the thought, thinking back to when I was sixteen years old.
Did I just want his attention?
I was a good girl. Good girls don’t crush on
… Sawyer had been handsome before.
Now, he was
I wasn’t sure how I could much I could bear a summer alone with the
cocky, sculpted jackass now. It had been easy to let the past be the past and
just forget the whole mess, but then he had to come back and make life a living
hell again. Now, I was going to have to figure my feelings out while
with the guy. And there was
I was going to let him have that
kind of power over me, not after he’d betrayed me before.
But that didn’t resolve the looming crisis. With a couple of months
living together alone, in close quarters, there were really only two options
immediately visible; I really had no idea which one would be more appealing.
Either I’d want to kill my stepbrother, or…
I’d want him to
Chapter 1 – Saffron
Pennsylvania, Seven Years Ago
The day that I met the arrogant prick named Sawyer Samuels, I was fresh
from a year of studying abroad in England. Thanks to winning an essay
competition, I’d been selected to spend a year outside the States, studying at
a prestigious English academy – coming back home with a ton of stories to
make high school a little more bearable. After a mad dash to the airport and
most of the day up in the air, my tired body was sluggish with jet lag.
Perhaps that’s why I took the news that I had a new father – and a
new stepbrother – not particularly well.
But I’m getting a little ahead of myself there.
I knew that my mother was dating – that she had met a really great
guy who she was hitting things off with really well. God bless my mom, she was
at keeping up with people. It
was as if she were completely averse to technology. I could understand why she
didn’t want to pay for those pricey international texts, but she would barely
respond to emails, phone calls, practically anything I threw at her. The few
letters I wrote her were never answered, although she’d confirm she loved them
the few times I caught her.
After spending so much time abroad, I was eager to find out about this
new guy she’d alluded to – my mother had mentioned that he was a real
charmer. She even happily confessed that he made her feel young again.
That was enough for me to like the guy.
Ever since my father walked out on us when I was young, it was just the
two of us, and I knew that she needed that back in her life. That stone. That
foundation. My mother was a strong woman, don’t get me wrong, and her endless
cheerfulness could illuminate the darkest room. But too often had I found her
curled up on the couch, asleep, a half-filled glass of wine on the coffee table
and a late movie marathon quietly lighting the room – with the captions
on, so she wouldn’t wake me. I would always find a blanket for her and drape it
across her tired, saddened body, hoping that she got her rest before the next
monotonous shift at the Waffle House.
Mom hadn’t told me much about this strange suitor, but what she
told me had interested me.
A little salt and pepper in
He looks very
distinguished, and he has this incredible smile,
Chet is this big business guy, I
guess. I pretend to listen when he tells me about it sometimes. When he talks,
I just like to hear his thick, rugged voice. I can’t wait for you to hear it.
I’d been worried when I hadn’t heard from her for a month and a half,
prior to my return, but those fears fell to the wayside when she snatched me up
from the airport herself. My mother was positively beaming. I’d never seen her
so happy in my life, and I knew that my return wasn’t the
Things must have been going fantastic with Chet.
But I didn’t get to really ask about that. The entire drive back, she
wanted to know all about Bristol. As soon as I opened my mouth the words just
fell out of me. I delighted her with first-hand accounts of the Bristol
International Balloon Fiesta, and how the sky filled with large, colorful hot
air balloons. I proudly elaborated on the maritime history of the city,
including the important, early New World voyages that had sailed from the
Bristol port. She had no idea that Bristol had been a major trade hub for
nearly a thousand years. My tale continued on with the rich architecture; I
elaborated on the beauty of the traditional European houses and the gorgeous
and imposing government buildings; I even explained the beauty of the Bristol
Cathedral, and its gothic, pale-brick twin towers.
Funnily enough, Bristol hadn’t been my first choice – that had
been my beloved dream destination, Paris. Heartbreakingly,
wasn’t in the cards, so I settled for the historic port
city…although I was determined to make my way there as soon as I could.
In hindsight, I should have suspected why she was keeping me so
talkative. At the time, it didn’t really occur to me – in fact, nothing
seemed really out of place until I pointed out our exit as we shot past it.
“Mom, we passed our turn. Did I excite you so much about Bristol that
you forgot where we live?”
“I have something to show you, dearie,” she told me with a wink.
I bit my lip. She hadn’t called me
in years, and I wondered what had made her so happy that she slipped into
the old habit.
It occurred to me that she wanted me to meet her boyfriend – and I
was far too tired and jet-lagged to put up with that for too long. But I
couldn’t bring myself to cut her off, or to grumble at her, and so I sat with
my temple against the glass.
Half an hour later, we were driving down a district of
houses. The setting sun
had cast a beautiful painterly backdrop behind the exquisite homes, its light
bathing everything within sight under a gorgeous glow. The entire scene was
unreal. Studying the two, sometimes three-story houses against the blend of
oranges overtaking the sky, I noticed small details that made the entire place
reek of money we would never have. Many of the homes featured thick Greco-Roman
pillars, accenting the exquisite painted woodwork of the houses; they also
structurally supported the sprawling, second-floor stretch balconies. Large,
healthy trees with outstretched branches dominated near the street, shading the
asphalt and preventing the borderline blinding light from being too obnoxious.
The most beautiful house on the street was set back from the road, as
several of them were. This house in particular was perched atop a hill,
overlooking the dominion of wealthy homes below.
As my eyes bugged out, it was this house that my mother drove towards,
punching out at the small electronic panel set into a stone wall near the gated
“Mom…is this where your guy lives?”
“Chet? Oh, didn’t I tell you? He’s a little…wealthy.”
wealthy? Look at this place!”
“I know! Isn’t it great?” She pulled through the tall, black iron gate,
and I peered through the rear-view mirror as it closed behind us. “Just wait
until you see the inside. It’s even better.”
“Oh, Heavens no,” Mom chuckled airily. “The sly feller only showed me
this place a few weeks ago. He rented this middle-class place for months. It
nice, much nicer
than what we have, but he kept
a total surprise to me. He wanted to make sure I wasn’t dating him for the
money. I didn’t have a clue that Chet was loaded!”
My jaw remained dropped as we passed between the short, stubby trees
that lined the driveway. Scattered along the hill, they coated the entire area
in a layer of mystery. As we pulled ever forward, I couldn’t feel my fatigue
anymore – it had been cleanly and utterly replaced with
If there was something to make me glad about leaving Bristol and coming
back to Pennsylvania, it was
A tall, lanky teenager was loitering at the front door when we pulled
up. Standing on the landing with his back against a pillar, a cigarette stuffed
between his lips, he wasn’t even gazing at us when we pulled up. I could see
his thick, sandy hair through my window. It stood in a barely-managed puff. He
looked like my type of guy – aloof, a little edgy, just the right balance
I don’t give a fuck
Right as I was thinking this, he turned and gazed right at me. He looked
into my eyes for a moment, taking one last puff of his cigarette before putting
it out in the mounted ashtray nearby. In that instant, he passed out of view as
we parked in the carport, next to a pricey-looking sports car.
“A little young for your tastes, I’d say.”
“Oh hush, you,” Mom cheerily told me. “I’m afraid that I might have
forgotten to mention Sawyer
nice with him, okay? He’s nicer than he looks, I promise…”
She’d been wrong about people before. I hoped that she wasn’t off the
mark with this guy, either.
And that went
We let ourselves out of the car, and Mom clicked down the carport door
as we cleared the roof. While it tucked our underwhelming vehicle out of view,
I glanced up at Sawyer. He was sizing me up, a glum look on his face.
“Thought you told me she was pretty,” he told my mother as we met him at
the top of the steps.
,” she chided him.
“You said you were going to be on your best behavior. Where’s your father?”
“He’s inside. Real keen on meeting
he turned to address me, flashing a coy little smirk.
If not for his previous line, I would have been flattered. Now that we
were right on top of him, I could see that he dressed in baggy clothes that hid
his build. He wasn’t lanky at all – in fact, I could sense that he had
the foundation for an
beneath those clothes. When he wasn’t slumping, his shoulders were broad,
powerful – and when I made the logical mental deductions to his sagging
clothing, I realized that with minimal effort he could probably have an
“I’m sure he is! It’s about time he met my daughter,” she continued as
she started walking to the front door.
I’m sure this is
going to be a blast,” he muttered under his breath, turning away from me.
I almost opened my mouth to demand what he meant by that, but Mom was
already crossing the landing up to the door, and I wanted to keep close to her
for now. Swallowing my words, I scampered off after her – but out of the
corner of my eye, it seemed as if Sawyer were looking at me.
Checking me out?
I didn’t have time to think about this, because the door opened for us.
Inside was a man who looked almost exactly like a much older, more
distinguished Sawyer – but a Sawyer who had taken
care of himself. With a broad, powerful build, Mom’s
boyfriend bore the telltale lines of frequent smiling across his strong,
“Welcome, welcome!” He positively boomed in a
firm baritone. “Come inside, let’s get a look at you…”
He passed aside, holding the door wide open, and we stepped into the
rich, exquisite house.
Mom was right. It seriously was better on the inside. But I didn’t have
a lot of time to dwell on the pristine,
“I’d you to introduce you to Chet…” my mother warmly told me.
I happily reached out to shake his hand, but he pulled me into a strong
hug instead. Surprised, I was taken aback by the strength of his arms as he
embraced me. He was as handsome as she had told me in her few email responses
– although way too old to be anything more than “Mom’s boyfriend”, and he
wore a strong whiff of what smelled like expensive cologne.
But Mom hadn’t finished her sentence, apparently. “…Your new father.”