My earliest memories are of Dallas. Being with him. Laughing with him.
I don’t remember when I realized that it was wrong, when I truly understood that we had to keep our growing desire secret. I only know that it glowed inside us, a spark just waiting to burn. And that when the worst happened—when we were captive together in the dark—we no longer cared about rules and expectations, taboos or punishments.
All we wanted then was to survive. All we cared about was finding comfort in each other’s arms, the world outside be damned.
In some ways, those long, dark weeks were the best of my life. Terrifying and horrible, yes, but we belonged to each other. Fully. Completely.
After, in the real world, we were torn apart, everything we’d been to each other pushed aside. Buried.
A precious memory. A traumatic interlude.
Because we are brother and sister—bound as tightly by adoption as if we were tied by blood—and yet equally bound by need. By desire. By love.
For seventeen years, we fought a battle against our desire, but that is over now. Neither of us can fight any longer, and we have succumbed to heaven in each other’s arms.
It’s a forbidden love, a hidden passion.
It’s a secret, and it has to stay that way.
But secrets scare me, because things hidden in the dark have power.
Dallas and I know that better than anyone.
So even though I am happier now than I have ever been, I am also more frightened than I can ever remember. Because I fully understand the stakes now.
I know the power of secrets.
And I’m terribly afraid that our secret is going to destroy us.
Pretty Little Liars
The universe is completely unfair.
For four long, luxurious days this Southampton mansion had been my personal paradise. Here, my body had been adored. My skin stroked. My blood had burned with a passion that had been building over seventeen long years. I’d been touched and kissed and worshipped by the man I’ve loved my entire life, and I’d relished the freedom to explore every inch of him in return. My lips on his strong jaw, his tight abs. My tongue tasting the sweetness of his skin and the saltiness of his cock.
We made love tenderly, then violently, then tenderly once more. We curled together in each other’s arms. We watched late night television with our legs twined, until the sensation of skin against skin overwhelmed us and we muted the drone of talk show hosts, and explored each other again in the flickering light of the television.
We swam naked in the pool during the day, then walked along the beach in the moonlight.
Those days had been a gift. A reward.
A decadent, sensual heaven.
But all that changed this morning, and now this mansion that I love has transformed into hell. A luxurious hell with cool ocean breezes, a wet bar, liveried waiters offering sushi and canapés, and the man I love fondling the ass of a pert blonde with tits that are going to pop right out of that barely there dress if she so much as sneezes.
And I’m not the only one mentally plotting Blondie Bitch’s demise. On the contrary, I’m certain that every female in the vicinity would take her down in a heartbeat in order to take the twit’s place at his side. Dallas Sykes. The infamous billionaire bad boy. The man known publicly as one of the two heirs to the Sykes family fortune, and who women all over the country reverently refer to as the King of Fuck.
The man I love.
The man I can have in private, but never in public.
The man who is my brother.
The bitch leans closer to him, and as her teeth tug at his earlobe, I turn away—there’s only so much torment I can take—and make a beeline for the bar.
“Woodford Reserve,” I say to the bartender. “Two ice cubes.” I recall the way his hand cupped her rear. “Actually, let’s make that a double.”
“Sure thing, miss.”
Beside me, a runway-thin model-type with at least four inches on me takes a sip of red wine. “The hard stuff, huh? Guess you’re singing the same song I am.”
I glance at her, confused. “I’m sorry?”
Her mouth curves up in a way that makes her cheekbones even more prominent. She looks like a fairy with her pale skin and short dark hair. A devious fairy, I amend, seeing the glint in her pale blue eyes. “The Ode to Dallas,” she clarifies. “The siren’s song to make him ditch the bimbo and come straight to you. Or, in my case, me.”
“Oh. Oh, no.” My cheeks burn, and right then I’d totally welcome a natural disaster. A sinkhole, perhaps. Or a tsunami blowing in off Shinnecock Bay. “Me? With Dallas? That’s not even—”
I clamp my mouth shut before I get in a serious the lady doth protest too much situation. How the hell could I have been so obvious? Could she really see the lust in my eyes? Surely not? Surely I was more careful. Because I have to be careful. I’ve been careful my whole damn life.
Yes, but before you two weren’t together. Now you are. At least when you’re alone. But not here. Not in the world. Not where it matters.
Her smile is knowing. “Oh, come on. Don’t tell me that you don’t—wait.” She tilts her head, studying me, and as I watch, her eyes go wide, and she presses four long fingers over her blood-red lips. “Oh, shit. I’m sorry. I didn’t—”
“Didn’t recognize you. You’re Jane, right? You’re his sister. God, that was totally lame of me.” She drags her perfectly manicured fingers through her pixie-style hair. “I just saw you looking at him, and I assumed that you—anyway, never mind.” She draws a deep breath and extends her hand. “I’m Fiona. Did I mention I’m an idiot?”
I can’t help but laugh. “Honest mistake. Really. I was looking at him. But that was irritation you were seeing. Not lust.” That, at least, is half true, and I allow myself one deep breath in relief. Crisis averted. Bullet dodged.
But I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that some tiny, screwed up part of me wishes that she’d called my bluff. That she’d felt the heat that burns in my veins for him—and that she’d figured it out.
Because as much as I love Dallas, I hate that we have to hide. And some rebellious, hidden, bold, stupid part of me wishes that we could be open and out there and real.
We can’t, though. I know we can’t. The law and our parents and the threat of public humiliation keep us trapped firmly in the shadows. And, honestly, I’ve never been too fond of the spotlight, so the idea of having tabloid attention focused on me because I’m sleeping with my brother really doesn’t sit well.