Years ago I read a romance novel which, based on the title—and yes, I do sometimes judge books by their covers—made me expect a stepbrother/ stepsister romance. The stepsibling romance is a genre subcategory I enjoy reading. I think the book did revolve around a similar type of relationship but transgressing those longstanding boundaries seemed to be treated as humdrum, or certainly not as the illicit-temptation-being-vainly-resisted that usually drives my pleasure in those romances. Because of that (perceived) missing ingredient, I did not like the book. Since then I’ve toyed with the idea of writing a version of that story that pushed the taboo relationship theme to its boundaries. That’s why I wrote my latest erotic romance with Totally Bound, called BROTHER’S KEEPER.
Feel free to judge BROTHER’S KEEPER on its title. I stand by it.
But Alexa and Nik, the main characters in the story, are not stepsiblings. Uh oh. I mean, they are stepsiblings in reality but they were raised…or at least Alexa was raised thinking Nik was her half-brother. She also thinks he’s pretty terrible because he tried to make a move on her a couple years ago. Disgusting, right? Except Nik has always known what Alexa doesn’t, which is that they were not the least bit related by blood. They’re only stepsiblings. If you’re following me, you can see where this is heading.
Imagine your so-called family hiding that kind of secret from you and coming on the heels of that is the realization that your incredibly attractive younger “brother” is really no relation at all. And he wants to make the most of it. And you’re willing to let him comfort you in the middle of your turmoil.
Suddenly you’re in Alexa’s very dark, very disturbing—and so very pleasurable—shoes.
It’s not the actual relationship—which could easily be icky—but the secrets and betrayal that keep Alexa from embracing Nik wholeheartedly. Their history is only the reason for her present hurt and her resistance to Nik comes out of that pain. Dark, I know, but remember that that’s part of the taboo. (Taboo was actually the original working title for BROTHER’S KEEPER.)
It’s hard to explain why I like this romance subcategory so much (I also like the guardian/ ward historical romances). Maybe it’s because to get to the happy ever after, the heroine and hero have to risk blowing up their entire lives. It’s never just the two main characters involved. There are the family members and friends who have also gotten used to thinking of the two of them as stepsiblings. There is the judgmental world at large. And there’s the weight of habit. Sexual attraction is one thing but a romance is about more than that—it’s about building a relationship, and doing that is so much harder when you have to start by destroying a previous relationship edifice first.
The stakes are high in a stepbrother/ stepsister romance. But that makes the ending so much more satisfying.
Alexa spent years believing Nik was her half-brother, even after he tried making a move on her. When she visits for Russian Orthodox Christmas and finds out the truth, their relationship becomes wild and hot. Soon Alexa’s on the verge of committing the ultimate sin—falling in love with her stepbrother.
Nik’s devil-may-care attitude drives Alexa crazy but because he’s her younger half-brother, she has to see him every Russian Orthodox Christmas—even after he kissed her two years ago. This year, the holiday starts with Alexa finding out Nik’s not related to her at all, a fact her family has kept from her for decades.
The revelation sends Alexa into a tailspin and the person who offers her comfort is the last one she expects: Nik. After waking up to find Nik in her bed the next day, that comfort turns into unexpectedly hot sex, which only complicates the burgeoning feelings she has for him.
The last thing Alexa wants is to disrupt her life with a man she can’t trust—a man she already knows she cares far too deeply for. But easygoing Nik proves to be far more determined than she’d ever imagined when their fragile new love is on the line.
Romance Erotica Sensual [Totally Bound Publishing, On Sale: September 6, 2016, e-Book, ISBN: 9781786510594 / eISBN: 9781786510594]
Nan Comargue writes romance and erotic romance. She has numerous short works of erotic fiction published by Totally Bound and Ellora’s Cave and a contemporary romance with Crimson Romance. She writes all the time, probably when she should be doing something else, and blogs occasionally