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Authors: Cara Dee

On the Offensive

BOOK: On the Offensive
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On the Offensive

Copyright © 2013 by Cara Dee

Edited by Lisa A. Hollett

Cover Art by Mayhem Cover Creations

Disclaimer: This e-book is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This e-book may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with others, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.

This book is fictitious. All references to ancient, historical events, persons living or dead, locations and places are used in a fictitious manner. Any other names, characters, incidents and places are derived from the author’s own imagination. Similarities to persons living or dead, places, or events are entirely coincidental.

 

The author acknowledges the trademark status and trademark owners of any wordmarks mentioned in this work of fiction.

 

Warning:
This story contains scenes of an explicit, erotic nature and is intended for adults, 18+. Characters portrayed are 18 or older.

*

Special thanks to Lisa. Some days, your support makes all the difference.

 

Chapter 1

Peyton O'Keefe

"That’s it," he moans, pounding into me from behind. "Fuck, you feel so good wrapped around me, Peyton."

"More, Zack!" I'm begging shamelessly, wantonly. I stare at him in the mirror; I see
his muscles flexing, the strain in his neck, the lust in his eyes. I feel his thick cock moving in and out of me, his fingers digging into the soft flesh of my hips.

I always beg for more.

I always wake up before I can come.

I always hate myself for dreaming about him.

I always take that hatred out on him.

*

"Peyton!"
Mom hollers outside my room.
"Your brother is here!"

I grimace in response as I look into the mirror
which I'm standing in front of, very alone.

Zack is definitely
not
my brother. While our parents have been married since I was nine years old, Zack and I have never been on the same wavelength. The only time we've agreed with each other was when Mom and Garrett decided to adopt a child together. Zack and I were so against it—not that it changed our parents' opinion, and eventually Zack and I were on board, too. That was in high school. Well, I was actually about to begin high school, and Zack was about to graduate. He was the jock, the star quarterback; the girls wanted him, and the guys wanted to be him.

Since four years separate us, we don’t see each other often—thank God. He's too obnoxious and full of himself. Admittedly, he is
insanely hot, and I dream about him far too often.

He's t
all. Almost as bulky as a linebacker. His dark brown hair is cropped very short; at least it was when I last saw him a year and a half ago. Blue eyes with flecks of silver. A natural tan. A killer smile, white teeth, full lips, though not too pouty. His muscular arms are covered with sexy tattoos, and he always wears well-worn jeans, Chucks, Henleys, and a black leather jacket.

He knows how hot he is, which is why I'm thankful I live across the country in
Florida, where I attend FSU. The only one I miss, living so far away, is my baby brother. Colin is an eight-year-old little weirdo, but he's so funny and cute. Still, Florida is my home now, and I love it there.

Sadly, I'm not there now, because our parents had the stupid idea for us to spend a week together in
Aspen this winter. We were all too busy to meet up for Christmas, but we're here now to ring in the new year as a family. My mother's words, not mine.

With a heavy sigh, I pull my hai
r up in a high ponytail. One of the few things about myself that I actually love—my hair. It's black, long, shiny, full, and pretty curly. It goes well with my dark blue eyes.

If only I liked the rest of me, eh? Making another face, I give my body a quick once-over in the mirror, losing count
of the flaws I find. Too-wide hips, stomach too soft, breasts too big for my small frame; I'm only 5'2", so a single pound really fucking shows.

My mom says I have the perfect hourglass figure, but I disagree. I don’t look like Marilyn Monroe or anything. Now,
she
was a gorgeous woman. 

Perhaps curves aren't wrong—I know they're not—but I used to be an athlete growing up
, so it's a lot to get used to. A whole new me, really. In high school, I was on the swim team
and
on the triathlon team. I ran five miles every morning, and I was so meticulous about my health—what I ate and what I drank. But now…after two years in college, my body has definitely changed. I live on fast food; I don’t exercise—unless you count being late for a class and I'm running for it—and I've picked up the bad habit of driving everywhere. Even if it's just to pick up Chinese food a block away.

"Peyton!"

"I'm coming!" I shout. Jesus Christ, Mom's acting like I'm meeting the Pope.

Calm your tits, woman
.

Maybe I'd be rushing if I was meeting a friend and not Zack.

Shrugging at the hoodie and pajama shorts I'm wearing, I leave my temporary room, feet bare, and walk toward the noise in the great room.

The cabin looks like the cabins on postcards for ski resorts. It's all logs and wood and more wood
and a snow-covered roof. A big stone fireplace has replaced a TV, because this is a place to forget about technology, apparently. Which doesn’t work very well for a twenty-year-old, in my humble opinion. I'm always too busy with school to watch TV, so I wouldn’t complain if I had a flat screen right here right now.

Alas…

"There you are, honey." Garrett smiles at me, looking like an older version of Zack.

I definitely see what my mom goes nuts over, but whatever.
In all honesty, it's been a struggle with Garrett for me. He's Dad; I call him that, but when I was fourteen years old and had my first not-so-sisterly dream about Zack, I started to distance myself from Garrett. In my head, I call him by name. If I did it out loud, I know he'd be hurt.

T
hen there's Zack himself; he's seated on one of the three couches that surround the big fireplace, and my mom is sitting next to him, fussing over him like he's a little kid.

Not much has changed with him, I note. His head is still shaved, save for half an inch, and he's wearing his trademark jeans and
Henley. As per usual when he sees me, there's a scowl on his face. However, this time his eyes first widen before an even deeper scowl appears on his face. How lovely.

"Hey," I drawl and sit down next to Garrett.

Zack just jerks his chin at me before Mom grabs his attention again, asking him a bunch of questions about his life in LA. I know his football career has gone down the drain, because he busted his knee last year, but instead of becoming depressed or angry at the world, Zack just changed his direction slightly. Now he's looking to be a coach. I guess that’s admirable—his determination—but he's still a prick in my book.

"I see you two are still friendly," Garrett comments with a wry smile.

I chuckle quietly and pull up my knees to rest my chin on them. "Did you really think anything would've changed?" Looking around us, I wonder where my little brother is. "Where's Colin?"

There are only three bedrooms in the cabin, so he shares with Mom and Garrett. At first, Mom wondered if Zack and I could share, but we shut that shit down fast.

"Watching a movie on my laptop," Garrett answers. "He's upstairs in our room."

I nod, a bit gleeful I got the only bedroom dow
n here. Zack's room is upstairs.

"Did you hear that, Peyton?" Mom is beaming when I look up at her.
I've heard a million times we look alike, but I can't really see it. She's both thinner and taller. "Zack is leaving LA."

"No," I sigh, bored. "
I didn’t hear that." Perhaps he's moving back home to San Diego.

He's st
ill a football hero at home despite the fact that he can't play anymore. There's no limp or anything when he walks, but it's taken months of rehabilitation, and he can't put pressure on his left knee for long without it acting up. He cramps easily…or whatever Mom told me. Regardless, a career as a football player is out of the question.

"Well." Mom clears her throat and offers a small smile. "I suppose I
should get lunch started."

Now I
feel horrible. She wants this so badly—for Zack and me to get along—but I just can't. I don’t know why Zack hates me or why he can't be civil to me; I only know my own reasons, and getting too close to him…no, thanks.

As Mom heads to the kitchen, I peep Colin running down the stairs with a huge grin on his face. Unfortunately, it's all for Zack, that grin.

"Zack!" he cheers, jumping into his brother's arms. "I missed you!"

Zack chuckles and ruffles Colin's
blond hair. "Missed you, too, buddy." One of the reasons I put so much space between us is Zack's voice. It's warm, rough, and rich. It's a voice that brings shivers to the one who listens. I hate myself for being affected, and I hate him for affecting me. "Did you get the movies I sent you?"

To my chagrin, I'm not as close to Colin as Zack is. They're at least on the same coast—even in the same state—so Zack sees our family a lot more than I do.

"I got 'em." Colin nods furiously, still seated on Zack's lap. "Can we watch one later? Dad says we can use his computer."

"We're not here to watch a bunch of movies, though,"
Garrett points out. "It's early—we should hit the slopes after lunch."

I'm out. Skiing is not my thing. I'd rather curl up by the fire with a magazine or a book. When it comes to sport
s, I love swimming, but otherwise I'm only interested in watching. I love watching football and baseball, for instance, but don’t ask me to participate.

"Are you gonna ski, too?" Colin plays with the hem of Zack's
black shirt.

"Not today, bud. I just got here, but I'll definitely join tomorrow."

Colin sulks for a moment before Garrett reminds him we have a whole week of fun to look forward to.

Yay…

Chapter 2

Dinner
goes like it always does when we're all gathered: all conversation is centered around Colin. I gush over his success in Little League, to which he both blushes and puffs out his chest. Zack does his own bit when they talk more about stats, rules, stuff that bores me, and our parents simply keep the peace, smile, nod, and drop a few comments of their own here and there. But underneath it all, you can feel the tension. Mom and Garrett are always waiting for Zack and me to start arguing.

"All done!" Colin declares a while later and
then hurries to put his plate in the sink. "Can we go ski now, Mom?" He looks so hopeful, light blue eyes twinkling, and hands clasped as if he's praying.

While our parents agree and start bundling up, Zack says he's going to unpack and take a shower, and I announce that I have an exam to study to.

I don’t, really, but I need an escape and I'm not in the mood to go outside. So, I disappear into my room instead.

*

An hour or so later, there's an obnoxiously loud knock on my door, so I remove my earbuds and tell him to shove it. I'm on my bed reading an interesting article in
Cosmo
, so I don’t have time for Zack's bullshit.

He opens the door anyway, though. Ugh, that smirk. Judging by the towel slung over his shoulders, I'd say he's just out of the shower.

"I forgot the charger to my phone." He holds his up, and I curse the fact that our parents gave us the same kind of phone last Christmas. "Let me borrow yours." He leans against the doorframe, causing his gray sweats to hug his muscular thighs a little tighter.

I roll my eyes, pretending to be unaffected, and look down at my magazine again. "Funny—I didn’t hear you say please."

"Funny," he mocks, "'cause I didn’t."

I flip a page, refusing to look up.
"Get out, Zack."

"Jesus Christ, it's just a fucking charger." In my periphery, I see him folding his arms across his broad chest.
His white T-shirt is like a second skin on him. "Are you on the rag or something?"

I chuckle darkly and shake my head. "You're such a sweetheart."

"Fuck you," he deadpans. "Just give me the damn charger and I'll be out of here."

I don’t reply.

To that, he mutters something too quiet for me to hear, and then he barges in and starts rummaging through my stuff on the dresser near the door.

"Hey!" I jump off the bed. "What the hell do you think you're doing?" Closing the distance, I grab his arm and pull, but he doesn’t so much as budge. "Get out of my room,
you jerk!"

He snickers, undeterred. "You just got here this morning; how can
you already have made a mess? So much crap, Peyton."

"Go to hell!" I grunt as I continue pulling. It doesn’t work, and when I use my nails, digging them into his skin, it's like he doesn’t even notice.

"I'm already there," he mutters—just as he finds my charger. "Found it. See ya later."

I scream in frustration and throw something—a half-empty water bottle—at his back.

He comes to an abrupt halt and turns to me, a menacing look in his eyes. They narrow, dark silver clouding the blue, and his mouth is pressed in a thin line. Jaw clenched, hands balled into fists at his sides.

I jut
out my chin and stare at him, challenging.

Give me your worst, buddy
.

But then he just shakes his head and leaves.

I slump down on my bed, angry and flustered.

*

The next day, we all head out pretty early. I go on a hike with Mom and Colin, where we picnic in the middle of the forest and goof around in the snow, while Garrett and Zack go snowboarding. Then when Colin claims it's been "forever" since he skied, we return to the cabin for a light lunch before more skiing follows. With Zack's knee, he can’t tag along on the run they're doing, and I don’t want to be stuck with him in the cabin, so I suck it up and rent skis of my own.

It doesn’t go well.

My kid brother laughs when I fall, and then he collapses next to me, still in the throes of his giggle fit, so I go out for revenge by smashing a snowball in his face.

"Not funny!" Those are his words, but he can't stop laughing. "Now I gotta throw a snowball at
your
face, Peyton!"

"Forget it!" I laugh, scrambling to my feet. Attaching the ski that I lost in my fall, I blow Colin a kiss before I take off down the mountain.

At the bottom, I find a grinning Garrett, and he's holding a camera.

"
Dad, there's no way you caught that," I say in disbelief. While he may be a professional photographer and pay the big bucks for his cameras, Colin and I were way up the mountain. Too far away. I think.

"No," he admits, chuckling. "But I did get a few good shots of you coming down."

I shoot him a playful glare and stick out my tongue at him, knowing just how those photos must look. Give me a pool and I'm as graceful as a friggin' dolphin, but on skis? Not so much!

"Ugh, I'm done for today." I wipe off some snow from my jacket and pick up my death
traps. "Are you going to be long?"

"Another hour or so."

I nod and blow out a breath. "I can get started on dinner."

*

However, when I enter the cabin, my suggestion of starting dinner flies out the window. Zack has already started, and it smells like he's making meatloaf. Which happens to be a dish I don’t really like, and he knows it.

Once I've
hung up my snow-covered clothes in the laundry room to dry, I'm down to my thermals. So not the sexiest outfit there is, but it's not like I have anyone to be pretty for.

A glance in the mirror shows my reddened cheeks and messy hair.

Awesome.

With a shake of my head, I leave the hallway and walk through the living room before I reach the kitchen, and Zack is there, his back to me.

He's on the phone, I notice.

"I don’t fucking think so, dude," he's saying to whoever on the phone. "I don’t need another airhead. Why do you think I
dumped Melissa?" He's chuckling as he begins to slice a cucumber, and I'd be a liar if I said I wasn’t interested in his conversation. I remember this Melissa. I never met her in person, but I know Zack was dating her last year around the same time he busted his knee. "Tom, you talk like I've become a fucking monk. I broke up with Melissa before the summer, not several years ago. But you're acting like it. I've just been…I don’t know, taking a break. Play wingman to Rick instead—he actually needs it." Even with his back to me, I know he's smirking. "I'm moving in two weeks anyway."

After that, they start talking football, so I figure I'm done eavesdropping.

"Zack," I say, announcing my presence.

He jumps slightly before facing me with that scowl of his. "What the fuck do you want, Peyton?" Then he addresses his friend on the phone. "Nah, it's just my stepsi
st—uh, Peyton." He jerks his chin at me and scowls. "What do you want?"

I glare at him. "You know I don’t like meatloaf." To be correct, it's the onions he packs the meatloaf with that I don’t like. I always end up picking them out for half an hour before I can actually eat.

Zack smirks. "I know. But it's Colin's
favorite
."

"You're such an asshole,"
I mutter before leaving. It's time for a shower and more comfortable clothes.

*

It goes on like this for the next couple of days. We're all outside, skiing and whatever until lunch, and then Zack stays indoors because of his knee. I call it quits after lunch, too, and that’s when I'm holed up in my room until Zack and I find a reason to walk into each other and start a fight. Then our parents and Colin return a second time for dinner before we move to the living room for a night of board games and hot chocolate.

Strategic games are out of the question, because Zack and I are too hotheaded and competitive, and we refuse to be on the same team, so we're left with Go Fish, much to Colin's joy, and Battleship.

Lastly, at night, I abuse my vibrator and try not to think of Zack.

Try and fail.

That man…I hate him.

Tonight didn’t look like it'd be different, but Mom and Garrett came to us earlier and said that they've met a "nice co
uple with a daughter Colin's age," and they're going out to dinner in a few minutes, which means Zack and I have to fend for ourselves all night. We were invited to tag along, but we had to promise to behave. I had promised to do my best, but Zack flat-out refused.

"Okay, we're going," Mom announces and puts on her coat. "There's plenty of food in the fridge, and your father has left money over there." She points to the coffee table in the living room. "Try not to kill each other?"

Zack rolls his eyes and dips down to kiss Mom's cheek. "I'll try, Ma."

"Natalie's got cooties." Colin scrunches his nose, referring to the girl of the couple our parents have befriended.
"Gross."

"You won't say that in a few yea
rs, son," Garrett says with a wink.

I chuckle and plop down on a couch i
n the living room; from my spot I have a clear view of the hallway.

"You're going to be a heartbreaker, Colin." I grin and pick up my pho
ne. Once they're gone, I'm going to call my roommate back in Florida, because I'm eager to find out how her weekend away with her boyfriend went. Sarah told me before they left that she had a feeling he'd propose.

"Nah, you should wait a long time with chicks," I hear Zack say. "They're only trouble. Boys are cooler."

I giggle. "I think Zack just outed himself, guys." My smile is saccharine sweet.

Mom gives me a look while Garrett snickers.

Zack flips me off and slumps down on the couch next to the one I'm on.

"Okay, let's go," Mom sighs.

And a minute later, they're out the door.

"Can't you go to your room instead?" Zack asks.

I cock a brow and hold up my phone. "No. I'm going to call a friend."

"Which you can do in your room." He looks frustrated. "I just want a quiet evening, all right? None of your petty bullshit."

I smile. "You're unbelievable, you know that? I don’t see why I have to hide out in my room. You have a room, too."

"But I want to sit on a fucking couch when I watch a movie," he grits out, and I notice his laptop sitting next to him. A pair of headphones, too. "And guess what—I don’t have a couch in my room."

I shrug. "Tough luck." That said, I call Sarah and place the phone by my ear. I ignore Zack's muttered curses and sprawl out on the couch as I wait for my roommate to pick up the phone.

"Could you at least put some clothes on?" he asks, aggravated. "You're practically naked, and I don’t want to see that shit."

I give him a middle finger in response and make sure my face doesn’t show that I actually care. I'm definitely not naked if I'm wearing pajama shorts and a tank top, but I know I don’t have the body to show skin anymore. My thighs are too thick, my tits almost spill over in this top, and my ass is probably too big for these shorts.
Fuck
. Zack is used to women who look like models; I bet I look like a freak in comparison.

My heart sinks a little.

"Hello?"
Sarah's voice brings me out of my funk for now, though.

"Hey." I smile into the phone. "So, tell me how it went."

She giggles.
"Well, I was wrong. He didn’t propose, but he did give me a promise ring. He was so sweet, Peyton."

"He's a sweet guy," I agree
, ignoring that Zack's glaring at my legs. "I'm happy for you." And a bit jealous. Sarah's boyfriend plays football for FSU, but he's not a typical jock. On the contrary, Luke is kind of quiet and soft-spoken. "So, I guess he has your parents' approval?" I know that after their romantic getaway, the plan was for Sarah to introduce Luke to her parents.

"Definitely! They really like him, and my dad was in heaven. He finally has a guy to talk sports with!"
She laughs, which I do too. Sarah comes from a family of all women, pretty much.
"I lost count of the hours they spent talking about FSU and the damn BCS. Oh, and the new assistant offensive coordinator—some young hotshot from the West Coast."
She scoffs.
"Like I give a crap!"
I chuckle to myself and fidget with the drawstrings on my shorts.
"I'm telling you, Peyton. They even watched old games and acted like commentators."

I can't help but giggle, though it cuts off abruptly when Zack shoves his laptop aside and storms out of the room, up the stairs, and then I hear a door slam shut.

"What was that?"

I roll my eyes. "Just Zack. Maybe it's his time of the month."

"Or maybe he needs to get laid,"
she laughs.
"You should take one for the team and make your brother happy."
She thinks that’s so funny, but I nearly gag. Making him happy is one thing, but don’t call him my brother. Stupidly of me, I've bitched and whined plenty about Zack to Sarah, so she knows. It's made me the butt of several jokes over the past couple years.

BOOK: On the Offensive
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