Sebastian has never in his thirty-four years had such a strong attraction to a woman. Oh, he’s felt instant lust before, more times that he cares to remember, but there’s something about Carla that’s different and he finds it difficult to get her out of his head, which is where she needs to be considering she’s dating his brother.
Carla has been pretending to date Ramon for a while now to keep a violent ex of hers away and to keep Ramon’s family off his back. They’ve been friends for a couple of years, so it was only natural that they’d help each other out, except she hasn’t bargained on falling for Ramon’s brother, Sebastian.
Also catch up with the McKenzie family as they welcome the twins to the family.
Prologue ~ Michael and Lily’s Wedding
Lily had looked stunning as she walked down the aisle toward my nervous as hell brother Michael.
Along with my brothers, I’d spent most of the day having fun at Michael’s expense, which probably hadn’t helped with Michael’s nerves any.
A grin spreads across my face as I watch the reception crowd. Thinking back to earlier in the day when the four of us were bugging Michael, his lips tight with frustration as we teased him about Lily getting cold feet and running.
Michael had gone white and dropped rather abruptly onto the chair behind him. Lucien had made for the exit before Michael decided to react to our teasing by asking him where he was going. Laughter had filled the room as Lucien replied, ‘to ask Lily to run off with me,’ and Michael’s face had changed from white to red.
Eventually, Mom had appeared and clouted us all across the back of our heads like she used to do when we were kids. Her calming presence had put a stop to the teasing. Yeah, Mom still had it in her to keep us all in order, despite the fact that the five of us towered over her these days.
The fact was you only had to look at Lily with Michael to see how much she loved him. They were ‘it’ for each other, and with Lily being pregnant, well, that was an added bonus. One I was actually looking forward to – being an uncle.
Spotting Lily alone for the first time during the day, I walk over to her. “Hey, beautiful.” She really is beautiful, with her hair swept up, pearls in her ears and around her neck.
“Sebastian, you look handsome,” she replies, her arms wrapping around my waist as she gives me a quick hug.
Stepping back, she continues to look at me – and look at me some more as her forehead creases in concentration. I shift under her gaze and smooth the creases of my shirt. I’d taken my jacket off, which left me in the white, silk shirt Lily had instructed us all to wear. Not that I was complaining, without the jacket the shirt showcased my abs, which I’d gotten through hard labor working the job sites of our company, McKenzie Holdings.
Narrowing my eyes, I allow Lily to stare back at me, hoping to break her concentrated gaze.
“You eyeing me up?” I ask grinning.
“Yep. I’m trying to decide who I need to introduce you to,” she grins as I scan the crowd around us.
“No, you’re not going to introduce me to…” I trail off, my gaze stopping on a woman across the way, “her.”
My breath catches in my chest as she walks out of the marquee, if you could call it walking. She practically floats with grace and elegance. She’s breathtaking! One of the most beautiful women I’ve ever seen with a tall slim build and full breasts that accentuate her hourglass figure. Her long dark hair is a cascade of curls down her back, and over her shoulders.
“Who’s she here with?” I urgently ask. I need to know. “Lily, who is that bodacious babe with?”
I wince at my tone. I’ve never been so desperate to meet someone before, especially a woman who has ‘commitment’ written all over her.
Lily snickers. “You did not just call her a bodacious babe? How old are you? Seventeen!”
“Trust me, no horny seventeen year old boy would be thinking of doing what I’m thinking of doing to her.” What I want to do to her isn’t going to be spoken out loud in front of Lily. Michael would kill me if I say any of that to his wife.
“Bill and Ted’s,” I reply, not really listening.
“Never mind. You haven’t said who she’s with.” As I talk, I fight the urge to walk over and pull her to me. Instead, my gaze follows her as she crosses the lawn in front of us.
“You need to keep your zipper up. She’s here with Ramon.”
Ice splashes through my veins as I look at Lily. Her eyes are sparkling with mirth, but the crook of her lips makes me realize she’s serious.
“How can she be with Ramon?” That wasn’t possible.
Michael has come up behind us. “Well, I guess our brother is finally serious about someone and Lucien needs to get his facts straight in future.” Michael wraps his arms around Lily.
I grind my teeth together as I think about this new problem – one I never expected to have. “She can’t be with him. Are you sure?”
“I’m sorry, but she is,” Lily tells me, sympathy clear in her eyes as she cocks her head to the side.
The girl, Ramon’s girlfriend, is walking toward me, and all I can do is wait, frozen to the spot.
Walking out of the marquee, I glance around the yard looking for Ramon. Where has he disappeared? I sigh to myself and give up the hunt.
My gaze falls on the bride who is standing with her new husband and the same good-looking guy who’d been standing in front with the groom during the ceremony. Michael and Ramon’s brother, I assume, but I’m not sure which one. I know he isn’t Lucien, because I’d met him on arrival so he’s either Ruben or Sebastian. I can’t understand my sudden interest in him. As hard as I try, I can’t keep my eyes off of him.
Before I can head in any other direction my feet start taking me toward him. He hasn’t taken his eyes from me, which makes me nervous and also sends tingles to places I shouldn’t have tingles considering I’m with his brother.
When I’m a few feet away from Lily, Michael and the delicious guy, I force my gaze on Lily. “Hi Lily, do you know where Ramon is?”
“I haven’t seen him for a while.”
Lily looks to her husband then back to me. The entire time, I can feel Michael’s brother staring at me, his gaze burning right through me.
“Let me introduce you to Sebastian, Michael’s brother. Sebastian, this is Carla.”
I turn toward him and freeze. Never in a million years have I ever reacted to anyone the way I’m reacting to him. His dark eyes hold mine in some sort of trance. I’m unable to look away.
He leans forward and takes my hand into his. “Carla, it’s a pleasure to meet you,” he practically purrs and his voice melts my insides. “Are you really with Ramon?”
His question jerks me back to my senses and I take a small step back. What the hell am I doing being drawn in by Ramon’s brother? My life is too damn complicated as it is without Sebastian adding to it. “It’s great to meet you, but I better go and find Ramon,” I murmur before turning quickly on my heels and dashing away.
What are you doing? I chide myself, but I can’t stop the quickness of my steps as I flee from Sebastian and from the feelings he draws from me. I pray he doesn’t follow me because I’m not sure if I have the strength not to throw myself at him. He has me turned inside out.
Back inside the marquee, I grab a glass of champagne and quickly gulp it down before grabbing another one. Toward the back left of the marquee, I spot a vacant table, which I make my way to, and hope to hide for a while. Maybe I’ll even spot Ramon from my perch.
The ceremony had been beautiful, and Lily had looked amazing in her wedding gown. She really was a glowing bride. When Michael had seen Lily walking down the aisle in her wedding dress, I’d noticed his eyes filled with unshed tears.
I wanted that one-day, someone to love me unconditionally. Someone I can love with my entire being. Someone who’ll look at me the way Michael always looks at Lily. Sebastian.
I shake my head of his image. It won’t do me any good to keep thinking about him. Instead, I smile to myself, at the memory of being in the ranch house with Ramon as the wedding cake arrived, much to Michael’s embarrassment. I’d spent about an hour trying to work out why a wedding cake would embarrass the groom. The cake had four layers with scarves made out of confectioners’ sugar around the base of each one. Nothing embarrassing and even Ramon wasn’t sure of the reason for Michael’s discomfort. I finally found out there was something more about the cake…or rather about the scarves. Lily had snickered when she told me, her only words, ‘it was the scarves and you should use your imagination.’
I feel my cheeks heat as I think of all the things I could do with a set of scarves and the heat intensifies as my imagination casts Sebastian as my willing accomplice.
“Carla, I’ve been looking for you. I’m just going to help Ruben finish getting his car sorted, and then we’ll leave. Is that, okay?” Ramon quickly asks making me jump, my fantasy disappearing on wisps of guilt.
“Yes, that’s fine,” I manage to say to his already retreating back.
The band that’s been hired for the day is very good, and has certainly entertained the guests; young and old alike. They have now started to entertain the more amorous guests, by playing the slower, romantic songs.
Michael is leading Lily onto the dance floor, and then he takes her into his arms as the singer announces it’s the last dance of the evening. He starts to sing, ‘I Don’t Want to Miss A Thing,’ the original having been sung by Aerosmith.
I smile, standing up to leave, and practically walk into Sebastian. I lift my eyes to his, not able to look away. I stay frozen to the spot.
“Dance with me, Carla. I know you’re with my brother. I don’t like it, but I’ll respect it. Please, just one dance.”
Without waiting for a response, he steps close and places one hand on my hip before caressing my face with the other.
I inhale, rubbing my cheek against his palm as a shiver wracks my body. I need to leave, and quickly because all I want is to stay here with this man, but I won’t break my promise to Ramon. After everything he’s done for me, I just can’t let him down. He’s counting on me…