His leg slides between mine, his hands drift down to my lower back, and my whole body aches for him. My belly tightens, and I arch my hips into his. The hard press of his cock against my inner thigh makes my pussy clench, and I can already feel myself getting wet before he even so much as touches me.

I let my hands follow his, run my nails down his back, and enjoy the way he groans against my mouth, turning his head to kiss his way along my jawline, his stubble rough against my smooth cheek. I trail my fingers all the way down to the edge of his T-shirt. Toy with the hem, even as he slides his hands under mine and digs his hot fingers into my hips, pulling me to him even tighter.

I gasp faintly, lift one leg to arch against him harder, and he returns the motion, his hips grinding slowly against mine, that hard length of his cock against my thigh driving me wild. I want to tear his shirt off, push him down against the steps and take him right here.

He bites the sensitive spot just below my ear, hard enough that I gasp again, and I know he’s thinking the same thing. About the heat between us, the irresistible fire.

Then I hear laughter, loud and nearby.

We spring apart as though burned. Maybe we were. I certainly feel like a child again, a kid who got caught too close to a hot stove, as we turn and spot our parents walking up the path from the lake. They’re holding hands, my dad smiling brightly as Susan laughs, a full-throated laugh, her head thrown back with amusement.

They look so normal together. So well-suited. My chest aches with pain. How did I not see this coming? How did I never notice the way they fit together, that summer we spent here, those family parties we shared?

Probably because I was too busy focusing on another member of the family and my own growing attraction.

I clench my fists and lean away from Josh. He reaches for my hand, but I twist out of his grasp. Dart away to approach our parents instead because it’s the only way I can think of to be sure he won’t do something crazy, like try to kiss me again right here, right in front of them.

I can’t do this to my dad. He’s spent so long alone, all because of me. He couldn’t date while he had a young daughter to worry about, he always said. Now he’s finally found someone, he’s finally happy, and I want to throw it back in his face by starting the most inappropriate relationship possible?

No way.

I owe him more than that.

“Hey guys,” I call, forcing pep into my voice.

“Pau.” Susan stops laughing, though she keeps the bright smile as she waves. “How did the wood hunt go?”

“Got plenty for a fire tonight,” Josh says, stepping up beside me. He stands close, far too close. I can feel the heat radiating from him. It’s almost a dare, I think. He’s daring me to move away again, show our parents that I’m uncomfortable.

Two can play at that game.

I rest a hand on his shoulder, friendly, and smile at our parents. “We were just talking about what we should make for our first family dinner.” I lay into the word family a little hard. Just enough emphasis that Josh knows what I mean. We’re family now. Lay off. “What do you guys think, hot dogs?”

“You read my mind,” Dad replies, and squeezes Susan’s hand for emphasis. “Family dinner it is.”

Right then, watching the two of them brush past us, hands clasped, my heart finally snaps in two. Because I know, for certain, that I cannot do anything to damage my dad’s happiness. Not when he’s finally found it at last. Nothing can happen with Josh, ever again.

I break away from him and follow our parents into the cabin for the start of our new life. One big happy family, right?


“Remember the time you filled that whole jar with fireflies?” Dad is asking, laughing as Susan prepares another round of s’mores for us.

I accept mine with a grin of thanks and roll my eyes at Dad. “I let them go right after.”

“Yes, but you insisted on catching at least fifty of the buggers first. Took half the night. It was worth it for the look on your face though, when you finally caught them all.”

“That was the night we had the Fourth of July bonfire, wasn’t it?” Josh butts in. “I remember that. When you let the jar go you released all the bugs in my face.” He nudges me with a knee.

We’re side-by-side on one of the few logs around our backyard firepit, marshmallow toasting sticks in hand. I tried to sit on the other side of the fire from him, but he followed me around and plopped down right next to me. It would’ve looked weird to move away again, so we’ve been stuck here ever since, me trying to avoid his more obvious touches.

I bite into my s’more now to avoid responding.

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