Fighting Redemption
Author:Kate McCarthy

Ian pulled back at her pause, and Jake and Ryan chose that moment to return home early. Fin’s lips were swollen and her hair mussed. As she quickly adjusted her shirt, it was obvious what they’d been up to.

 

“Ian,” Jake said coldly. “Think it’s about time you left, mate.”

 

Ian ignored Jake and looked at her. “Do you want me to leave?”

 

Her eyes slid to where Ryan leaned against the doorframe. His stance was casual, yet his knuckles were white. His dark eyes focused on Ian’s hand where it was tucked intimately on her hip.

 

Anger welled in her chest at feeling guilty. How dare Ryan feel that way? He had no right.

 

“No, I don’t want you to leave,” she said irritably, her eyes returning to Ian, “but it is getting late.” Fin stood up and held out her hand. He took it in his and gave it a squeeze as he followed behind her. Fin threw Jake a dirty look as she led Ian out the front door, shutting it sharply behind the both of them.

 

“Sorry,” she told him, rolling her eyes as they stood on the front porch. “Brothers.”

 

“Don’t apologise.” He pulled her close, running his tongue over his lips. “Just kiss me again.”

 

Fin leaned in, touching her mouth to his, enjoying the way he hugged her close like she was something precious. When he left she stood on the porch as he walked down the drive and got in his car. She waved as he drove off and slipped inside, moving hastily towards the stairs.

 

“Fin!” Jake called out from the couch.

 

She paused, one foot on the step, and tilted her head to meet her brother’s eyes.

 

“I don’t want him here with you when no one’s home.”

 

Fin flushed, embarrassed at being caught fooling around. “You’re not Dad, Jake, so knock it off.”

 

Ryan walked out of the kitchen holding two beers in his hand. She met his eyes for a brief moment before he looked away and continued into the living room.

 

“No, I’m not, but have some goddamn self-respect, okay?”

 

Fin gasped, hurt.

 

“Christ, Jake.” Frowning, Ryan put the beers down on the coffee table and gave Jake a smack on the back of his head.

 

“Shit,” Jake muttered. “Fin, I—”

 

But Fin was already running up towards her room, utterly mortified. Stripping off to a tank top and panties, she crawled into bed and buried her face in the pillow. She could still smell Ian on her skin, and it was oddly comforting.

 

“Fin?” Jake whispered, opening her door slightly and peeking in.

 

Fin wasn’t in any mood to talk. She pretended to be sleeping when he crept into the room, fighting to keep her breathing even when he sat down on the edge of her bed.

 

“I’m sorry.” Jake brushed the hair off her face. “I didn’t mean that how it sounded,” he said softly. “You’re just so smart and beautiful. You’re better than him. You’re better than anyone I’ve ever known. I’m so proud of you.”

 

Two months later, Fin and Ian were becoming almost inseparable. She’d met his parents, had even stayed over a few times in their guest room. Ian would sneak in during the night. Climbing in next to her, he would pull her close, running his hands over her body and underneath her shirt, cupping her breasts in his palms as they kissed. Eventually they roamed down her back, slipping beneath the elastic of her panties, Ian groaning as he gripped her ass.

 

Two weeks later on a Saturday night, it was Ian’s parents that were out. He led her to his room at the back of his house. It was neat and clean. Never having seen it that way before except the first time she’d visited, she knew, and her heart thumped with nerves.

 

Ian grinned, taking her hands and pulling her towards him. His eyes fell on her mouth. “I want you, Fin.”

 

She bit her lip, pausing for a moment, and said, “I want you too, Ian.”

 

Fin heard his breath catch. “Are you sure?”

 

She nodded.

 

Gripping the neckline of his shirt, Ian tugged it off and her eyes fell on the tanned, muscled chest bared before her.

 

With a shaky hand, she reached up and placed her palms on his chest. Ian groaned when she skimmed them slowly downwards, shuddering when she reached the waistband of his jeans and tugged gently. Feeling more confident at his response, she smiled up at him from beneath her lashes.

 

Grabbing her hips, he pulled her towards him and kissed her. His hands lifted the hem of her shirt, and breaking the kiss, he peeled it off. Her long, messy waves tumbled over her naked shoulders and down her back. Trailing his fingers up her ribs, he cupped her breasts in his palms, his thumbs brushing along the lacy edges of her bra.

 

Ian tugged softly at the strap. “Can I take this off?”

 

Fin inhaled deeply and nodded.

 

He reached around, and fumbling, managed to undo the clasp and slide it down her arms. Her bra dropped to the floor, and she flushed, averting her eyes from his gaze.

 

“You’re blushing, Fin.” He tucked his thumb and forefinger under her chin and tilted her head so she was looking at him. “Don’t be shy. You’re so beautiful.”

 

“So are you,” she whispered softly.

 

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