McKenzie Cousins, Book 4

Alexander McKenzie is one of the quieter cousins, which is why he suffers in silence over his secret love for his beautiful cousin, Rachel. He needs her but knows he can’t have her. So out of his love for his family, he pushes her away, breaking both of their hearts in the process.

Rachel McKenzie wasn’t born into the McKenzie family; she was adopted into it. She’s strong willed and doesn’t see why she can’t spend the rest of her life with Alexander. Except the constant distance that Alexander has been creating is starting to get to her, so she runs back to college nursing a broken heart.

Nothing feels right with the distance between them, and eventually, they’re forced back together for Charlotte & Tanner’s wedding, where their love turns into something that neither can stop…they’re on borrowed time, the clock is ticking down the seconds until their families find out they’re Kissing Cousins.

Cover by Robin Harper, Wicked by Design

Alexander McKenzie ~ Chapter One

There’s hollowness in my heart.

The people—my family—celebrating around me, have no idea just how much pain I’m in. I think they suspect but they choose to ignore it. If my deep love for Rachel is ever acknowledged, the dynamics of my family wouldn’t be the same again. Forever changed. So it’s never mentioned.

My sister and cousins are having fun, even my date, Gretchen, is out dancing with my family while I’m sulking in the dark corner. What a sad sight, a grown man surrounded by those meant to support him unconditionally, and yet I’m the loneliest I’ve ever been.

Gretchen isn’t really a date. She’s the sister of a friend from college, whom I promised to help show around. It had felt awkward to begin with, until I’d explained to Gretchen that it wasn’t a ‘real’ date. I hadn’t known whether to laugh or be insulted when she’d heaved a sigh of relief. I decided in the end that it was a good thing and I actually liked her. She’d laugh and teased just like my sister or my cousins would. I felt relaxed around her.

I have hurt Rachel though by bringing Gretchen with me tonight, but she hurt me too by also bringing someone with her. I know we have to try and stay apart, but it hurt—a lot. Deep inside of me I know we have to carry on and live our own lives, it never stops me from wanting so much more with Rachel. A lifetime with my beautiful cousin wouldn’t be enough.

Every time I close my eyes, I remember the feel of her body against mine in the stables. I remember the touch of her lips against mine. I remember the taste of her tears as they ran down her face after I’d put a stop to our passion.

As I rub the ache in my chest, I spot Rachel across the room and holding her gaze, I watch as tears fill her beautiful blue eyes. My heart says ‘fuck it’ and urges me to stride across the room and to claim my girl in front of my whole family. Unfortunately my head tells me no. I can’t.

Midnight is only minutes away, and from the corner of my eye I catch Gretchen moving softly toward me, and so does Rachel. My fists clench at my side as I deeply inhale before I quickly turn and slip into my uncle Michael’s dark study. I have no wish to be caught with anyone at midnight.

Unless it was Rachel.

I reach up and wipe a hand over my tired face wishing for things that I have no right to be wishing for.

“Alexander,” Rachel whispers my name gently, sending ripples of awareness down my spine as she slowly closes the door.

My gaze finds hers through the darkness and the love she has for me is clear as day, making my senses swim. The heat of her gaze wraps around me like a warm blanket, leaving my mouth dry.

My eyes won’t leave her beautiful face and I can’t help stare at the way she’s curled her hair this evening. She’s smaller than me and for years, I told myself that I was only looking out for her because I was like a brother, but that had been a lie. Even back then, when we’d hang out as teenagers, I think I knew that she was more special to me than anyone else.

Her gaze rakes over me, causing a delicious shudder to heat my body. Groaning, and in one fluid motion, Rachel is against my chest, and I’m lifting her into the cradle of my arms.

Her breath is warm and moist against my face, and her heart races against mine as I search her gaze, which is full of the love she feels for me. I return the look tenfold and a shiver of awareness shoots down my spine and straight into my cock that is currently nestled between us, throbbing with a life of its own.

Rachel groans and that’s all it takes. My lips find hers and the kiss sends spirals of ecstasy through me. Burying her hands in my thick hair, she returns my kiss hungrily…and then we hear a throat being cleared…

She pulls away, fighting back tears as we watch each other before we turn to see who is in the room with us.

Lucien—my father.

Rachel whimpers and tries to move away, but I hold tight. She buries her face against my throat, while I whisper into her hair, “I know we can never be together, but never forget, I love you.”

Without looking away, she backs out of my grasp, my hands trying to hold on to her for as long as possible.

She wipes at a stray tear and moves slowly toward my father. “I love him, Uncle Lucien.”

Dad nods and focuses on me. “Let me talk to my son, Rachel.” He smiles, and after hugging her close, he walks her to the door.

He leans against the closed door, fixing his stare on me.

I turn away and glare into the fire, trying to get my emotions under control. I always lose them around Rachel, and after having my hands and mouth on her, I need to be alone while the sadness and heartache runs its course.

My father moves to stand beside me, and asks quietly, “How long has this been going on?”

I’m not even going to lie to him. “I love her, and I know it’s impossible for us…I’ve loved her for years.” I shrug and drop my head, my shoulders drooping. “I brought Gretchen tonight as a favor to her sister, thinking that she would keep me away from Rachel. That didn’t work out too well.”

“I’m honestly lost for words, although not surprised.”

I snap my head up to look at him and watch the flames from the fire flickering in his eyes.

“I don’t know what to say, or what advice to give you because what’s going on between you isn’t exactly straightforward.”

“There’s nothing going on Dad. We stay away from each other when we can, we just always seem to end up together.”

“Hmm.” He sighs. “I’m going to find your mother before she worries.”

“You won’t say anything?”

He pauses and shakes his head. “I won’t, but she knows there is something going on with you. I think everyone does.”

Dropping my full weight heavily into a nearby armchair, I sit forward with my elbows on my knees, and my face buried in my hands, wishing with every breath that things could be  different.

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