Stepbrother Soldier's Baby: The Hero (The Complete Series)

BOOK: Stepbrother Soldier's Baby: The Hero (The Complete Series)
7.22Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

Stepbrother Soldier’s Baby: The Complete Series

Lila Moore


Copyright ©2015 Lila Moore

First published by Lila Moore 2015

Distributed by Amazon

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All characters depicted in this story are over the age of eighteen.






Mia arrived wearing a flowing top with a wide silhouette. She was normally a skinny girl, but today she was trying to hide her figure.

I examined her closely. Her legs were toned and tanned; her arms strong, but thin. The only thing different about my stepbrother’s wife was her growing midsection.

I raised an eyebrow as she held her arms out to me for a hug. My mother shot me a critical look when I didn’t run to embrace her. I rolled my eyes and forced a smile onto my face.

“Mia! So good to see you.”

My voice was strained. I’m sure it was obvious to her that I was feigning excitement, but she didn’t seem to care.

When we hugged, I definitely felt a sizeable baby bump. Under normal circumstances, a baby would be cause for celebration. There was just one problem: her husband, my stepbrother, had been deployed for the past ten months. There was no way he was the father.

My stepbrother was due to return home today. He’d enlisted when he turned eighteen, five years ago. We hadn’t seen much of him since. Then one day he informed us he’d married his high school sweetheart, Mia, while on leave.

We were all pretty shocked. Mia never sat right with me. Everything about her was too perfect; her hair, her makeup, her smile. Her compliments were always so over the top; she came across as fake in the extreme.

“Olivia!” Mia said in a high-pitched baby voice that sounded like nails on a chalkboard. “You look so amazing. Did you lose weight? You’ve been working out, haven’t you? You always did resemble a young Elizabeth Taylor.”

I saw my mother choke down a laugh. I have long blonde hair, blue eyes and tan skin; in no way, shape or form do I resemble Elizabeth Taylor. It was just more of Mia’s ridiculous nonsense.

Still, I was too distracted by the impending disaster to worry about what Mia thought of me. My stepbrother, Nathan, had no idea his wife was pregnant.

No one had confronted Mia about it, but there were strong rumors going around about her. She’d been seen making out in public with Nathan’s childhood best friend, Jackson. Everyone believed he was the father of the baby. When Nathan found out, he would be devastated.

“Liv,” my mother said, “why don’t you get the food out of the fridge and start setting up. Nathan should be here any minute.”

Grateful to get away from Mia, I went into the kitchen and started placing the food on the table. I straightened the plates nervously and rearranged each piece of silverware again and again. I didn’t like this. My mother was planning a welcome home party. This was not the time or place for my stepbrother to discover his wife was carrying another man’s baby.

I checked the clock. It was ten after five. He was running late. Guests were here. People were drinking and laughing. Half the town had turned out to welcome him home.

Mia had to be stopped. My stepbrother would be humiliated in front of everyone. I couldn’t let that happen.

I stood up straight. Anxiety twisted my stomach into knots. I hate to admit it, but Mia intimidated me. She was a popular cheerleader in high school; I was the bookish, shy girl. She liked to bully other girls, but she never picked on me; though that’s only because my stepbrother would not tolerate it.

Nathan had always been overprotective of me. Sometimes it annoyed me, other times it was a lifesaver. Like the time when my high school boyfriend wouldn’t take no for answer. We’d been making out at a party. I was still a virgin and not ready for sex. He tried to get me drunk and take me into one of the back bedrooms.

I told him no repeatedly, but he became aggressive. Nathan saw what was happening and beat my ex within an inch of his life. I can’t say I felt sorry for him.

The truth is I’d grown used to having Nathan around to look after me. When he left home, I felt as if I’d lost a vital part of myself. I was alone and vulnerable. I had to grow up and start taking care of myself. I wasn’t sure how well I’d succeeded.

I took a deep breath and rehearsed what I would say to Mia. I would pull her aside, somewhere quiet. I’d speak firmly, confidently: ‘Mia, you can’t let Nathan find out like this. It’s wrong. Don’t deny it. We know you’re pregnant. You’ll break his heart.’

I ran over the words again and again in my head.

I took a breath and headed into the living room. That’s when I heard the scream. I ran towards the sound.

Mia was bouncing up and down and shrieking like a little girl. Her arms were wrapped around the neck of a tall man with broad muscular shoulders. He had long brown hair with streaks of blonde in it as if it was sun-bleached. He wore it pulled back in a knot. A dark beard that could have used a trim covered his face. His eyes were intense.

I stared at the man trying to place him. Then it hit me: Nathan. When he left home, he was a tall, lean teenage boy. The Nathan before me was a man.

I watched dumbly as Mia gushed over him, kissing his face and neck. He didn’t hug or kiss her back.

The partygoers surrounded him like an angry mob. They patted him on the back welcoming him home and asked him rapid fire questions. My mother had tears in her eyes; my stepfather patiently waited to hug his son.

Nathan looked annoyed. Had he noticed Mia’s pregnancy? He nodded to several people acknowledging their greetings. He looked around as if he was searching for an exit. I had a feeling the crowd of people was making him uncomfortable.

I took a step back into the kitchen. I was feeling a bit flustered too. Nathan looked like a stranger. His biceps were as big as my head; his face leaner and more masculine. The last time we’d seen him was over a year ago. At the time he’d had a buzz cut and worn baggy fatigues. He’d looked different, but not like this. I barely recognized him now.

A deep, throaty voice rose above the crowd. “I appreciate it. Thanks. Do you mind if I just-”

Was it Nathan speaking? It had to be. I peeked out into the living room. We locked eyes. He looked bewildered, almost frightened. The party had been a mistake. I could see it all at once like a slow motion car crash. It was meant to be a surprise, but he wasn’t ready for it.

Mia was trailing behind him cooing about how strong and handsome he was. She was preening like a peacock for the guests. Nathan didn’t seem to hear her or care. People were crowding him and asking questions quickly. I heard a man ask, “Did you ever kill anyone?”

Nathan’s head jerked around as if he’d been slapped. The sudden mad urge to rescue him overwhelmed me. Impulsively, I threw myself into the room.

“Nate!” I said a bit shrilly.

Several people turned to look my way. My mind went blank.

Nathan’s face lit up. He pushed through the crowd and gathered me up in his arms, sweeping me off my feet. I buried my face in his neck and inhaled his scent. He smelled musky and fresh as if he’d been working outdoors in the woods.

He squeezed me tight. Warm tingling grew deep inside me. I laughed with a strange mixture of nervousness and excitement.

“I missed you,” he whispered in my ear.

“I missed you too.”

I heard someone in the crowd loudly say: “Awww.”

I looked up and saw that all eyes were on us. Mia stood off to the side. Her arms were folded in front of her chest and she had an annoyed look on her face.

Every face in the crowd looked touched by the scene. This was supposed to be Mia’s moment, but my stepbrother had chosen to share it with me instead.

Nathan was still holding me tight. I took a small step back. Our bodies were pressed together intimately. I touched his chest. It felt hard and tense. My face burned red with a confusion of emotions that I didn’t quite understand.

I cleared my throat and tried to put distance between us, but Nathan kept an arm securely around my waist. He turned so that we stood side by side.

“I want to thank you all for coming,” he said addressing the party. “Your support means a lot to me. I hope you understand when I ask that we cut the party short. I’d like to have some alone time with my family. I’m very tired and we have a lot of catching up to do.”

Mia pouted. She lived for the attention that came along with being the wife of a deployed soldier. People were constantly giving her their sympathy and offering her free stuff.

I’ve spent time doing volunteer work with some of the families of veterans and active soldiers. They’re all amazingly generous people, but Mia only cared about Mia. She must have been furious to see all the attention was focused on me and Nathan. 

The partygoers started to say their farewells and quietly disperse. Several of them looked disappointed, even affronted, but they eventually all left.

The five of us looked at each other expectantly. It was like we were in a standoff. Who was going to be the first one to break the ice? Mia opened her mouth to speak, but Nathan cut her off.

“I said: I want time with my family. I want you to leave.”

Mia looked confused. “Babe, you want
to go? What about Olivia? She’s not even a blood relative. Besides,” she said, changing the tone of her voice to a low, seductive purr, “
got a lot of catching up to do.”

“Get out,” he said. His voice was pointed and low; it left no room for arguments.

Mia’s mouth fell open, a tiny squeak of protest emerged. A part of me wanted to laugh. I’d never seen Mia so thrown. I bit my lip and swallowed the urge to laugh. I didn’t want to make things worse by provoking her.

“I’ll be waiting for you at home,” she said sweetly as if she hadn’t just been dismissed.

She pulled Nathan away from me and kissed him hard. I looked away with distaste. Nathan stood stiffly as she kissed him. I couldn’t tell if he kissed her back or not. I found myself hoping that he wasn’t.

“Don’t stay too late,” she whispered to him. “I have something special waiting for you at home.”

She looked at me pointedly as she spoke to Nathan. It was clear she was trying to stake her territory. It struck me as beyond ridiculous. Nathan was my stepbrother. There had never been a sexual attraction between us. Had there?

My stomach sank. I searched my memory. Nathan was my hero, my defender, the only one who believed in me. I shook the thought away. I’d never been physically attracted to him until now.

Could Mia sense my attraction, or was she merely jealous about being left out? I hoped it was the latter. I’d hate to think I was that obvious.

“I have a big surprise for you,” she said, touching her baby bump.

With that said, Mia turned and practically skipped out of the house. She looked so pleased with herself. Was she delusional? Was she planning on passing off the baby as Nathan’s? Ridiculous.

I frowned and looked to Nathan. I was surprised to see he was watching me. A look I couldn’t quite read crossed his face.

My mother cleared her throat. “Let’s get something to eat,” she said.

We followed her into the kitchen and spent the evening laughing and gorging on all the dips and barbeque that had been prepared for the party.

“We’ll never get this house cleaned,” my mother declared.

It was late and the place was a wreck.

“Worry about it in the morning,” my stepdad said.

“This food has to be put away or it will go bad,” my mother replied.

“I’ll take care of it,” I said. “You guys go to bed.”

“I’ll help,” Nathan added.

“You’re both saints,” my mother said.

She kissed us each on the forehead before leading my stepdad off to bed. I checked my watch. It was close to midnight. I imagined Mia at home stewing with rage.

“It’s late,” I said. “You should spend the night here.”

Nathan perked up. I looked away nervously. Had there been an edge to my voice? Did he think I was trying to imply something? I was starting to feel paranoid. I tried to tell myself I was being ridiculous. Nathan couldn’t possibly be attracted to me so there was no reason to believe he was suspicious. He was probably still edgy after returning home from war so suddenly. It would take time for him to decompress and settle into civilian life.

“My mother has converted your room into an office, but you can sleep in my room. I’ll sleep on the couch,” I said.

“Nonsense. Marines are used to sleeping wherever they can find a spot. Sleeping on the couch or the floor won’t bother me at all. In truth, I might prefer it.”

I wondered why he would prefer the ground to a bed, but didn’t ask. He had a far off look in his eye like he was remembering something painful. I didn’t want to prod. If he wanted to tell me, I would happily listen, but I didn’t want him to feel pressured to discuss a painful memory.

“I guess I got so used to sleeping on the hard ground that beds make me uncomfortable,” he concluded. He smiled and shrugged it off.

“Well, you’ll feel right at home on my bed then. The mattress is as hard as a rock. I can’t stand it.”

I tossed a plate of strange looking fruit salad into the garbage.

“And I bet Mia will be thrilled to know you slept in my bed,” I added sarcastically.

I don’t know why I said it except that I was upset at myself for not confronting Mia while I had the chance. She was manipulating Nathan and I wanted to stop her before she could do any real damage. And if I’m being totally honest, there was also a part of me that was jealous. Why should a woman like Mia get to have an amazing, hot guy like my stepbrother? He deserved better.

BOOK: Stepbrother Soldier's Baby: The Hero (The Complete Series)
7.22Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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