As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. That means, when you purchase a book using an Amazon link on this site, I earn an affiliate commission. All commission earnings go back into funding my books; editing, cover design, etc.
Remi Abrahms had been in love with Cole since she was twelve years old. No one else had ever measured up and she worried no one ever would. She knew he could never feel the same way.
Cole Blackburn hadn’t really noticed Remi until her high school graduation party two years ago. Being almost a decade younger than him, she just wasn’t on his radar. He would love to ask her out but knows she’s off-limits.
Why? Remi is his best friend’s baby sister.
Now they’re both home for Christmas and their attraction is off the charts. Is their happily ever after worth destroying the bond between siblings and losing your best friend?
This is a HEA story with no cliffhangers.
Due to explicit language and content, this book is intended for readers 18+.
Lisa was born in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada. She is a retired software tester with two kids, both grown, and a granddaughter that she loves to spend time with.
She writes erotic romance because the perfect man has to exist somewhere! Her alpha males include billionaires, grumpy mountain men, and the boy next door who generally need a little help to get their happily ever after with their heroines. She writes in a variety of different tropes including romantic suspense, second chance love, paranormal romance, and so many more!
You can connect with me via email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Find my links here: https://linktr.ee/lisawooderotica
Sign up for my newsletter here: https://landing.mailerlite.com/webforms/landing/s8f2r9
Purchase a copy of Jingle His Bells here: https://amzn.to/3EX0Q9b
TWO CHAPTER EXCERPT
Cars lined the street and I rolled my eyes, trying to find a spot closer than a mile from the damn house. As per usual, Tristan had gone way overboard. His little sister, Remi, had just graduated and he was throwing her a party. I hadn’t spent a whole lot of time around her in the last couple of years, but when their parents were killed two years ago, Tristan had stepped up as her guardian. He was incredibly protective of her and I didn’t envy any of the guys at the party who tried to approach her.
I didn’t have much interest in being at a party with a bunch of teenagers, but he had asked me to give him a hand and I’d agreed. He was going to be pissed as I was supposed to have been here two hours ago to help set up, but there was no way I was kicking the hot piece of ass I’d taken home last night out of my bed. I finally found an empty spot a couple streets over, parking the truck, and started toward the house. I let myself in the house, already overrun with people.
“Cole! Where the fuck have you been? You should have been here hours ago,” Tristan griped from the back door.
“Sorry, man, I slept in. I’m here now, where do you want me?”
“Bullshit, you slept in. What was her name?”
“Not a clue,” I chuckled.
“You’re such a manwhore. C’mon, you can help me man the barbeques.”
“Cause you’re so much better, right?”
He shook his head and I followed him to the backyard. It was fucking jam packed. I found myself rolling my eyes again as I accepted the flipper.
“So, where’s the guest of honor?”
“God only knows. Last I saw her, she was hanging out by the pool. With the dress she’s wearing, I’m expecting to murder some of these assholes tonight,” he gritted out.
“So, you didn’t invite me for company. You just needed someone to help bury the bodies,” I laughed.
I worked the grill, flipping about two hundred burgers, all the while scanning the crowd. I figured I should at least congratulate Remi. She graduated with full honors, the valedictorian of her class. My eyes settled on a woman on the other side of the pool, facing away from me. She had auburn hair, falling in waves, nearly to her waist, and the nicest ass I’d seen since… well, since this morning. Her skin was bronzed and her legs long and shapely. She stood out, not just because of her body, but also because she was one of only a handful wearing a one-piece instead of a skimpy bikini.
“I see you invited some guests of your own,” I said, not taking my eyes off her.
“A few women from work, yes. They’ve gotten to know Remi over the years and wanted to be here for her.”
My heart stopped as she turned around. My eyes trailed up her long, shapely legs and widened at the bathing suit that was anything but conservative as I’d thought. Cut outs showed off her flat, tanned stomach, and her large breasts were barely contained. My mouth watered just looking at her as my eyes finally reached her face. I froze, not believing what I was seeing.
It was Remi, no longer the gangly, uncoordinated girl I’d last seen a couple years ago. I was in so much fucking trouble.
“Cole? Cole! Dude, the burgers are burning,” Tristan said, punching my arm.
“Shit,” I said, my attention brought back to the grill.
“What the fuck? I spent the last minute calling you!”
“Sorry. I think I was just momentarily stunned that you let Remi out of the house like that.”
“Like what? She’s wearing a dress. It’s a little shorter and tighter than I’d like, but she’s eighteen and I only have so much control.”
“No, she’s not. She’s in a bathing suit. A very revealing bathing suit.”
I pointed toward her and then watched as his jaw tightened and face turned red. His fists clenched at his sides and his spine snapped straight.
“Watch the grill,” he growled, storming toward her.
He got to the other side of the pool, grabbed her arm, and started dragging her toward the house. Anger flashed on her face as she struggled against him. She was yelling at him, but was too far for me to hear what she was saying.
“Oh, shit,” I muttered.
She somehow managed to break free of him and shoved her hands hard against his chest. I started laughing, along with most of the people around us, as he went flying into the pool. He was going to be pissed as hell. Her eyes rounded, realizing what she’d done, and she ran away from the pool, grabbing a coverup on the way. She came to a stop behind me, peeking around my shoulder as Tristan made his way out of the pool, soaked to the skin, and a murderous look on his face.
“Hi Cole,” she squeaked, ducking behind me again. “He’s gonna kill me, isn’t he?”
“I think that’s a very real possibility,” I chuckled, “but I’ll try to hold him off if you want to try to disappear into the crowd.”
She took off with a squeal, just as he reached me, and I stepped out in front of him.
“Get out of the fucking way,” he snapped, “or I’ll be burying your body along with hers.”
“No way. You said yourself, she’s eighteen. There’s not one woman here that isn’t dressed in something revealing. They all look hot as fuck,” I reasoned, backing away slowly when I realized what I’d just said.
His eyes narrowed, filled with anger, and I was stunned at the low, lethal tone that came out of his mouth.
“You keep your dick far away from my little sister, or I’ll rip it off and feed it to you.”
I turned back to the grill, feeling guilty as hell, but couldn’t get her hot little body out of my head. Tristan lost track of Remi, changed into dry clothes, and grudgingly came back to the grill, muttering under his breath. This wasn’t the last she was going to hear about this.
I’d been here a couple of hours now. I was done with the food and was a couple beers in, sitting on a chair on the patio. I’d had to throw a little punk out of it, but whatever. Respect your elders and all that shit. Needing another beer and a bathroom break, I stood up and started toward the house.
“I’ll be back in a few, man. Gotta take a piss.”
“Grab me a beer while you’re in the house, yeah? I’m definitely going to need more alcohol to get through this party.”
I walked into the house, bypassing the downstairs bathroom, and the line that went with it, heading upstairs to use the one in Tristan’s room. I got a glimpse of someone walking in ahead of me and quickened my pace with the intention of throwing her out.
“What the hell are you doing in here?” I barked.
She spun around, eyes narrowed, and snapped, “I don’t know, Cole, what are you doing in here?”
“Oh shit. Sorry, Remi. I didn’t realize it was you. I didn’t get a chance earlier but congratulations.”
“Thank you. I’m sorry you got dragged to a party I’m sure you have no interest in being at.”
“I don’t know,” I said, my eyes taking in her body, “it’s definitely been worth it.”
A blush rose on her cheeks and she rushed into the bathroom, closing the door behind her. I chuckled at how easily she blushed and sat on Tristan’s bed to wait. She came out and I stood, holding out my arms for a hug. She hesitated for just a moment before stepping forward, letting me wrap my arms around her. I ducked my head and kissed the corner of her mouth, my cock hardening as she rocked her hips forward and let out a quiet moan.
“Fuck, Remi. Do you have any idea how beautiful you are?”
Her eyes met mine, full of desire, and she raised up on her toes to brush her lips against mine. I groaned, moving one hand to her ass and the other to the nape of her neck, pulling her flush against me. I took her mouth in a passionate kiss, my tongue thrusting into her mouth. Her tongue tangled with mine and my cock pressed hard against her body, already weeping for her.
“Cole…” she moaned.
I growled, lifting her up, and she wrapped her legs around my waist, her damp center covered with only a thin scrap of material. I pressed her up against the wall and pulled the straps of her bathing suit down, her large breasts bouncing out. A rush of precum leaked from my dick as I took one of her rosy nipples into my mouth. My tongue circled it as it peaked and she cried out as I bit down. She reached for my belt, fumbling to get it undone. I knocked her hand out of the way and swiftly undid my pants, shoving them down to free my cock.
“Are you sure about this, Remi?”
“Just do it,” she murmured against my lips.
I pulled her bathing suit to the side and thrust my cock into her hot, wet, tight-as-fuck pussy. She gasped, her mouth opening to accept my tongue as I slowly moved in and out of her. I pulled back until just my head was in her and then slammed back in, fucking her against the wall. She moaned, her pussy clenching around me and my release was building quickly. I slipped a hand between us and pinched her clit between my fingers, flicking it with my thumb.
“Holy shit, Remi. You feel like fucking heaven, wrapped around my dick. I want you to come all over it.”
She cried out, her juices soaking me as she came on my cock. I roared as cum shot out of me, filling her with my seed. I kissed her softly, my cock slipping out of her as I eased her to her feet. We leaned on each other, our breath slowing as we came down from our releases.
“Yo, Cole! Where the hell did you go?” Tristan called from downstairs.
“I’ll be down in a minute. I had to wait for a bathroom to free up.”
Remi’s eyes widened and she pushed me back. She quickly straightened her bathing suit and ran out of the room. I grabbed hold of my pants and walked into the bathroom, not sure what the hell had just happened. I glanced down, shocked when I saw streaks of blood on my cock.
As if it wasn’t bad enough I’d fucked his sister, but I’d apparently also taken her virginity. I rushed out of the room, doing up my pants in the process, trying to find her. I grabbed two beers and headed back outside, falling back into my chair and passing one over. After a few minutes scanning the backyard, it was clear she was avoiding me.
“What’s up with you?”
“Oh, nothing. I was just trying to find Remi.”
“Why?” he asked, eyes narrowed.
“I haven’t had a chance to congratulate her. I’ll catch her later, I guess.”
Hours later, I still hadn’t found her and the guilt was eating me up. I’d had about enough of the party and gave up on finding her, pulling out my phone to order an Uber.
“I’m going to head out, man. I think you can handle it from here. Shit. I didn’t even think about my truck. It’s probably going to get towed.”
“Where is it parked?”
“On Sycamore St., just off your street.”
“Give me your keys. I’ll get Babs to pull it into my driveway and you can get it in the morning. Don’t worry,” he cut in, sensing my hesitation, “she’s DD for the girls and had nothing but pop all night.”
“Thanks, man. I’ll talk to you later in the week.”
“Thanks for helping out. Let’s get together next week, without a bunch of brats, and have a few drinks.”
“Sounds good, talk to you later.”
I headed out front to wait for the Uber, wondering what the fuck I’d been thinking.
I couldn’t believe it. I’d had a crush on Cole for years, and I’d just let him fuck me up against a wall. I considered telling him I was a virgin, but was afraid he’d stop if I did. I was feeling completely euphoric until Tristan had called him and it was like a bucket of ice water had been dumped over me. I ran out of the room in a panic, his cum leaking from my pussy, soaking my bathing suit.
I spent the rest of the evening avoiding him because I wasn’t sure I could hide what had happened from Tristan if he saw us together. He would kill him if he found out he’d fucked me. I did my best to settle the dirty thoughts running through my mind while I was celebrating with my friends. Once the last person had left, I went over to Tristan and threw my arms around his waist.
“Thank you, big brother, for the awesome party. I’m sorry I pushed you in the pool,” I said, giving him my best puppy dog eyes.
“No, you’re not. Either way, you’re welcome, little sister. You deserved it. Mom and Dad would have been so proud of you.”
“Thank you,” I whispered, my eyes filling with tears.
“Let’s wait until morning to clean up.”
“Okay. Did Cole leave?”
“Yeah, the old man gave up a couple hours ago and ubered home.”
“Do you think I could get his number?”
“Why would you need that?”
“I didn’t get a chance to say goodbye. I just want to thank him for coming tonight,” I said, hoping he would believe me.
I added his name into the contacts on my phone, hugged Tristan once more, and headed upstairs to shower. I was covered in chlorine, sweat, and Cole’s cum. I stayed in the shower, water raining down on me, until the water turned cold. I dried off and fell into bed naked, pulling the covers up over me, and grabbing my phone. I hadn’t reacted well after we’d slept together and I needed to talk to him. I called his number twice, the call going to voicemail both times. I didn’t want to wait until tomorrow, so I decided to text him instead.
Remi: Cole? It’s Remi…
I waited for a couple of minutes and when it didn’t show as read and I hadn’t gotten an answer, I tried again.
Remi: You must be sleeping. I just wanted to thank you for coming tonight. I’m sorry for the way I reacted in the bedroom. I heard Tristan and just panicked. Message me or call me, please.
I woke the next morning, checking my phone right away. My heart fell when he still hadn’t responded. I got up and dressed, ready to clean up after the party, and hoping I’d hear from him later in the day.
I didn’t. I texted every day for a week and still hadn’t heard back from him. He’d had sex with me, that had to have meant something to him, right? He went out for drinks with Tristan on the weekend, so he was obviously alive and well. I cornered my brother the next morning.
“Big brother, is everything okay with Cole?”
“I’ve been texting him to thank him for last weekend, but he hasn’t answered me back.”
“Well, maybe he just doesn’t want to talk to my little sister,” he said, looking at me warily.
I didn’t want to raise his suspicions any further, so I just shrugged my shoulders and left the room. I went up to my room and threw myself on my bed, tears burning my eyes. I’d given him a part of myself I could never get back, believing that it was the start of something, but I guess I’d been naïve. I didn’t see or hear from him the rest of the summer. He didn’t even come to the house to hang out with Tristan.
The last week of August, my car was packed to the brim and I was ready to leave for university. It was stupid, but as hurt as I was, I’d hoped he would come to see me off.
“Little sister, I’m going to miss you. Are you sure you want to go to school so far away?”
“I’m sure,” I smiled, trying not to cry, “but I’m going to miss you, too. It’s going to be weird not seeing you every day.”
“I’m still willing to take you, you know?”
“Tristan, it’s a seven-hour drive. I’m more than capable of going on my own. I’ll call you when I get there.”
I hugged him tight, raising up to my toes to kiss his cheek.
“I love you.”
“I love you, too. Drive safe, Remi.”
I nodded and climbed into my car, heading toward my fresh start.
4 years later
I stepped into my little black dress and zipped it up, slipping my feet into my favorite strappy 4” heels. My boyfriend, Sam, was taking me out to dinner and was going to be home any minute. I’d graduated university and had been working at a tech company since I finished. I was ashamed to admit I hadn’t been home in over a year. I’d spent more time than I’d like to admit, pining over Cole, and it was just too hard for me to go back.
Tristan had threatened to drag me back for Christmas this year, so Sam and I had planned to spend a couple of days there over the holidays. I finished getting ready and ran downstairs, getting to the front door just as he got home.
“Remi, you look beautiful,” Sam said, dropping a kiss on my lips. “Just give me a few minutes to change and we can go.”
“Okay,” I smiled.
I watched as he walked up the stairs. He wouldn’t tell me where he was taking me tonight and, frankly, I was a little bit worried. I loved Sam and we had a great relationship. The problem was, I didn’t feel even a fraction of the passion with him that I had with Cole. I was pretty sure I would never find it with anyone else. True to his word, Sam was back downstairs quickly and I threaded my fingers through his, following him to the car.
I couldn’t help but grin when he pulled up to the Emerald Grill, a new steakhouse in town.
“Sam,” I said, excitedly, “It’s almost impossible to get a reservation here!”
“My boss owed me a favor and was able to get a table. I knew you wanted to come here, so I jumped at the chance.”
“Well, thank you.”
I kissed him on the cheek and got out of the car, waiting for Sam to hand his keys to the valet. He wrapped his arm around my waist and led me into the restaurant where the host led us to our table. We enjoyed our meal, but as he sat across from me, he looked nervous, sweat beading on his brow. I watched as he stood up and pulled something out of his pocket.
He dropped to one knee and opened the small box to reveal a large diamond solitaire.
Tears filled my eyes, emotions overwhelming me. They spilled over my cheeks as he started to speak and my heart broke for what was to come.
“Remi, I love you and want to spend my life with you. Will you marry me?”
I just stared at him, speechless. That was possibly the worst proposal, ever, but my answer would have been the same either way.
“Remi?” he asked, laughing nervously, rubbing the back of his neck.
“I’m sorry,” I cried, knocking my chair over in my haste to stand.
I bolted out of the restaurant, leaving a stunned Sam down on one knee, while people looked on with a mixture of shock and pity. I practically pushed a woman out of the way to hop in a cab that sat out front. Blurting my address to the cabbie, I swiped my cheeks furiously, trying to figure out what I should do next. I ran into the house and up the stairs, stripping out of my dress as I went. I made a decision and got changed, throwing everything I could into two suitcases.
Knowing I couldn’t just leave without a word, I went downstairs into the office and grabbed a pad of paper.
I’m so sorry… for everything. I love you, so much, but I’d be lying if I said a part of my heart wouldn’t always belong to someone else. It wouldn’t be fair of me to accept your proposal, knowing that I can’t love you the way you deserve. It wasn’t fair of me to wait as long as I have to tell you.
I want you to be happy and to find someone worthy of your love and devotion. You’re a good man and I don’t doubt that you will find the perfect woman for you. I have taken what I can now, but will make arrangements to collect the rest of my things as soon as I’m able.
I wish you the best and, again, am so sorry for how I’ve ended this. I know I’m a coward doing it in a letter, but I can’t bear the thought of doing it face to face.
I love you.
I set the note on the kitchen counter, threw my suitcases in my car, and started toward the only person I knew could soothe my broken heart.
I drove straight through and seven hours later, I parked my car behind Tristan’s. I smiled at the god-awful, tacky Christmas decorations that went up every year, as far back as I could remember. I pulled the suitcases out of the trunk, dragging them up to the porch. At 2 a.m., I figured Tristan would be home so I let myself in and quietly pulled the suitcases in after me. I turned, surprised to see a glow from the living room.
“Little sister?” he called, confusion on his face as he met me in the foyer. “What are you doing here?”
“I… I… Tristan, I’m a horrible person,” I wailed, throwing myself at him, emotions clogging my throat.
“What happened? Talk to me, sweetheart.”
“And that’s a bad thing? You’ve been together for two years.”
He led me into the living room and sat us down on the couch, his arm around my shoulders.
“I couldn’t do it, Tristan. I love him, but I don’t think I’m in love with him. I feel like I’d be settling and that just isn’t fair to him.”
“How did he take it?”
“I don’t know,” I said sadly, “he was still on one knee in the restaurant when I left.”
He looked at me in horror, shaking his head.
“I don’t disagree with your reasoning. The last thing you should do is settle, but you didn’t even talk to him about it?”
“No. I panicked. I packed my suitcases and drove home. I left him a note, though.”
“Oh, little sister, you know you’ll need to talk to him about it, right?”
“I know, but not today. I want to have a couple glasses of wine and go to bed.”
“How long are you staying?”
“I’m not sure. I’d like to stay until the new year, if that’s okay?”
“Remi, this will always be your home. You can stay as long as you want. Let me get you a glass of wine. Red or white?”
“White, please,” I said, curling my legs up and pulling the blanket around me.
He came back with a glass of wine for me and a beer for himself and settled beside me with a sigh.
“What are you going to do about work, Remi? You only had two weeks booked off.”
“I actually have another three weeks banked. I’ll give my boss a call in the morning. I think it should be okay. I’ll just tell him I’ve had a family emergency or something.”
“Or, you could just tell him the truth. You’ve always said you two get along well.”
“You’re probably right,” I sighed. “I’m so sorry I just showed up like this in the middle of the night. I probably should have called you first.”
“Remi, relax, you’re fine. I was out with the guys tonight and wasn’t ready to sleep when I got home, so I decided to throw a movie on. I’m not so old I need to be in bed at 11,” he teased, bumping my shoulder.
I smiled, knowing I’d made the right decision to come home. Tristan always managed to cheer me up.
“What are you watching?”
“Die Hard, of course.”
“I still say that having Christmas at the beginning and end of the movie does not make it a Christmas movie,” I laughed.
“Bite your tongue!”
I leaned on his shoulder, sipping my wine. There was only about an hour left in the movie, but I just kind of zoned out for it. I was so spent, I could barely see straight.
“I’m going to head to bed, Tristan. Thank you for tonight.”
I kissed his cheek and dragged myself off the couch, heading toward the stairs.
“Chin up, little sister, things will get better. You made the right choice. Everything else will come in time. I’ll bring your suitcases up for you.”
I nodded and went upstairs, washing up before going into my room. Glancing at the suitcases, I sighed and fell into bed, still dressed.
Why did life have to be so difficult?