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SINGLE

DAD BILLIONAIRE
B. B. HAMEL
Copyright 2017 by B. B. Hamel
All rights reserved.

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permission from the author, except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.
CONTENTS

Mailing List
Prologue: Everly
1. Logan
2. Everly
3. Logan
4. Everly
5. Logan
6. Everly
7. Logan
8. Everly
9. Logan
10. Everly
11. Logan
12. Everly
13. Logan
14. Everly
15. Logan
16. Everly
17. Logan
18. Everly
19. Logan
20. Everly
21. Logan
22. Everly
23. Logan
24. Everly
25. Logan
26. Everly
27. Logan
28. Everly
Virgins Daddy: A Dark Romance
Prologue: Sadie
1. Gavin
2. Sadie
3. Gavin
4. Sadie
5. Gavin
6. Sadie
7. Gavin
8. Sadie
9. Gavin
10. Sadie
11. Gavin
12. Sadie
13. Gavin
14. Sadie
15. Gavin
16. Sadie
17. Gavin
18. Sadie
19. Gavin
20. Sadie
21. Gavin
22. Gavin
23. Sadie
24. Sadie
Intense: A Dark Billionaire Romance
Prologue: Aria
1. Ethan
2. Aria
3. Ethan
4. Aria
5. Ethan
6. Aria
7. Ethan
8. Aria
9. Ethan
10. Aria
11. Ethan
12. Aria
13. Ethan
14. Aria
15. Ethan
16. Aria
17. Ethan
18. Aria
19. Ethan
20. Aria
21. Ethan
22. Aria
23. Ethan
24. Aria
25. Ethan
26. Aria
27. Ethan
28. Aria
Thank You
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PROLOGUE: EVERLY

I hate lying for this man.


I hate lying period. But theres something extra
horrible about it. I can stomach telling lies for noble reasons,
and maybe all those little white lies you need to get through the
day. But a lie of this magnitude, and for this man, it drives me
crazy.
Well, its not totally for him. Its for the project hes been
dreaming of, the project that can really help this city. He needs
me to lie for him, and I need him to follow through and finally
build the homeless shelter weve been preparing for together for
months. The city needs it, and itll help so many people.
All I have to do is keep pretending. I have to keep smiling, keep
helping, keep lying for him.
The arrogant bastard. I dont know if he deserves it. But the city
deserves it, and I cant let the people down. Even if nobody
knows Im making this sacrifice for them, at least itll be worth
it in the end.
I never imagined Id find myself here, standing in his apartment
overlooking the city. Its at the top of one of his hotels and I can
see the whole city spread out in front of me. I push the curtain
open further, letting the light fall through the immaculate glass
and I put my hands on the windowsill and lean forward.
Careful, wife, he says gently, coming up behind me.
I feel a chill run down my spine but I dont look at him. I cant
turn around and stare.
Logan Ray is too god damn handsome, and I wont let myself fall
for it.
If you go any further, you just might fall.
I bite my lower lip. Maybe I already am falling. But I cant let
myself.
I feel his hands on my hips. A shiver runs down my spine. I could
tell him to stop, move away from him, do anything but stand
there and let him touch me. Nobody is watching right now. I
dont have to lie.
Its not a lie though. I hate admitting that. When he presses up
against me, sending a thrill through me, Im not pretending.
You like being my little kept woman, dont you? he whispers
in my ear, driving me insane. Hes so damn arrogant and cocky.
You think youre so strong and independent, but really you just
want a strong man to fuck your nice little pussy until you
scream.
I turn to face him but he pins me up against the window. Logans
eyes are bright green and the cocky grin on his face makes me
realize that Im playing right into his hands.
He presses closer against me, pinning my wrists against the
window. Go ahead, wife, he whispers. Fight back if
you want.
I let out a low, soft moan, and I hate myself for it.
Thats right. He releases one of my wrists as his lips graze my
neck. Go ahead and let go, Everly. Let me take what I know
youre so desperate to give.
His hand roams down my body and I can feel his cock stiffening
against me. Ive been dreaming about the way hed touch me,
the way hed make my body feel, but I havent dared let him get
this close.
Not yet, at least. I know Im not going to be able to stop him
forever.
Sooner or later, Logan Ray always gets what he wants. Hes rich,
handsome, and famous in this city. Every woman wants him.
Every woman except me. Im not going to be his little housewife,
ready to fuck him at a moments notice.
But as soon as his fingers deftly open the front of my jeans and
slide down between my legs, I know Im going to give in.
Im going to let Logan take me, even if I hate myself for it.
Because this isnt a lie, and I cant pretend like I dont want him
more than anything Ive ever felt.
1

LOGAN

I have more money than I know what to do with.


Maybe thats fucking arrogant, but I dont care. Its the
truth. At twenty years old, I invested every single penny I owned
in a little startup company called Facebook. By the time I cashed
out a few years later, I had made my first million.
From there, I became the citys most famous hotelier. I built
some of the best hotels in the whole damn city, and my hotels
are still in high demand. By the time I was twenty-eight, I was
worth over $600 million and climbing.
Now, Im worth $10 billion, and I routinely make the richest
men in the world lists. Im not in the top ten, but I have enough
money to afford pretty much anything in the entire world.
Sometimes, being able to have anything means you dont know
what you really want.
Its getting pretty late.
I frown at the girl sitting across from me. Were in the
conference room attached to my home office going over some
marketing materials for a project Im personally invested in
these days. Her name is Everly, and shes the PR girl assigned to
the project.
From what I can tell, nobody else wanted this job, and I dont
blame them. Im not an easy boss. Its after ten at night, and
weve been at it for a few hours. She worked a full day, and now
Im keeping her up all night going over every single detail.
I cant help myself. This is how I got to be so successful. I hold
myself to the same standards that I hold her, although I know
some people cant handle it. So far, Everly is doing a good job,
but well see.
I dont mind spending all night in a conference room with her.
Shes an attractive girl, gorgeous in a way that Im not used to.
Its a little understated and mature, although I think shes only
twenty-two, making her ten years younger than me. Her long
dark hair is piled up on top of her head and her searching blue
eyes watching mine as I lean back in my chair.
Do you want to call it a night? I ask her, a little smile on
my face.
Only if you want to. I can tell she doesnt want to quit before I
do. Nobody ever wants to say no to me these days, which is nice,
although sometimes its annoying. I dont like walking all over
people, but they tend to let me. Plus, Im her boss, and she
doesnt want to disappoint me.
I like that about her, actually.
If youre not that interested in this project, we can find
someone else to take over, Everly, I say with a little smile.
That frustrates her. You know Im into this, Logan, she says.
I think the city needs a homeless shelter and a community
center, and putting them together is a great idea. But its late,
Im exhausted, and I havent eaten since lunch.
I frown at that, and realize that shes right. I havent eaten yet
either.
But there are so many people on the streets that havent eaten.
Thats the whole point of this project. I have more money than I
know what to do with, and so I want to start giving some of it
back to the city that I love. I want to build a modern homeless
shelter and community center, and completely fund it myself.
Itll be free to anyone that needs it, and Ill make sure that its
always in perfect running shape.
But I cant do it alone, of course. I need people like Everly to help
me get it started. There are plenty of obstacles in my way, but
Im determined to surpass them all.
Okay then, I say finally. I close my notebook and put my hands
behind my head. Well call it here and start again tomorrow
morning.
She sighs and nods, cleaning her things up. I watch her with a
little grin on my face. I know she probably hates me, but that
doesnt matter. I need to push her if shes going to give me the
best work she possibly can. Thats part of why Im so successful.
I push the people that work for me, and they give me the best
they can.
I like watching Everly. Ive always been attracted to her, though I
tend not to date people that work for me. I can get any woman in
this city that I want, so I try to avoid any complications at work.
But Everly is tempting, very fucking tempting. I almost want to
reach across this table, pull her up onto the flat glass top, and
fuck her right here in the conference room.
Instead, I walk with her to the front door. I have one single
entrance for my living area, but its split in half. Everly has never
been to the right half, which is my private apartment. The left
half is the work area, and my employees routinely work from
that office. Its actually staffed during the day, though our main
offices are several floors down.
Everly pauses at the front door. I think your idea about
mingling the homeless with people that have more is a good
idea. Itll make everyone want to help each other.
Thanks, I grunt as I open the door for her. Im hoping that
having the community center so close to the shelter will make
the city more aware of its homeless population. People can
change things, but they have to do it together.
She nods and smiles at me before turning to leave.
And we both stop dead in our tracks.
Down on the ground, staring up at us with an incredibly placid
look on its face, is an infant. The baby cant be more than a
couple of weeks old. I have no clue if its a boy or a girl. Its
sitting in a little car seat, but it doesnt seem upset.
We both stare at the baby before looking around in the hallway.
Nobody is anywhere nearby. We stand together in front of the
baby, at a total loss for words.
Finally, Everly speaks up.
Thats a baby, she says.
Shit, I say. I hoped I was hallucinating it. The baby looks up
at us with a blank look and I dont know what its doing here.
And theres a note. She reaches down and picks up a piece of
paper that was folded and tucked next to the baby. She unfolds it
and reads.
The look on her face tells me everything. A sinking, horrified
feeling comes over me as she hands me the piece of paper.
I dont want to read it, but I know I have to. Even if I know what
its going to say.
2

EVERLY

I hate working for Logan Ray.


Hes arrogant. Hes demanding. Hes impossible to
please. He may be a genius and one of the hardest working
people Ive ever come across, but hes still a total jerk, and I
dont want to work with him at all.
I love working for Logans company, which is maybe a little
ironic. The company culture is great and relaxed, people work
hard but they dont go crazy, and everyone tends to really care
about each other. Its a fantastic place to work, plus the pay is
pretty good, and I could use the money.
Im not high up on the marketing department ladder, which
means I get most of the assignments that other people dont
want. I work on the small projects, and more often than not Im
overlooked for promotions and raises. Its not because my work
isnt good, its just because I work on projects that nobody really
notices.
So youd think that when Logan Ray has some important pet
charity project, I wouldnt be anywhere near it. A project that he
cares deeply about should go to one of the top marketing
managers. But thats not the case at all.
Nobody wanted to touch this thing. Yeah, its going to be a
fantastic building and its going to do a lot of good for the city.
Everyone wants it to get built and to be successful, but nobody
wants to be the person that has to personally work with Logan.
Hes strict and he expects late nights. Hes going to be very
much a part of every aspect of this building, which means Ill
have to get his approval on every little detail, and thats going to
be a nightmare. Sure, hes handsome and can even be charming
sometimes, but its still horrible to be held up to such impossible
standards.
But Im sick of being overlooked for everything. I want to move
up in the world, not stay at the same junior position that I
started out at two years ago. When this building project came up,
and everyone treated it like its toxic sludge, I decided to
volunteer to lead the marketing side.
After some discussion, I got the project, probably because I was
the only person willing to do it. And its nights like this one that
I totally regret it.
Logan is impossible to please. He holds himself to the same
standards that he holds everyone else, but that doesnt really
make it any easier. He shoots down every one of my ideas, and
essentially makes me redo absolutely everything. Thats why
were working late into the night in his own personal office,
which happens to be attached to his personal apartment. I dont
know many men that live in the same place that they work, but
thats Logan Ray. Hes one of the richest men in the world for a
reason.
Of course, theres tension between us when Im working late
into the night with him. I want to smash his nose in sometimes,
or yell at him, or just scream in general out of frustration. But I
cant help but notice how handsome he is, how muscular he is
under his expensive suits, and how sometimes his eyes roam
over my body as I pass him a folder or bend over to pick
something up. The thing that drives me crazy is, he doesnt even
try to hide it.
Of course, Im keeping this professional. I can barely stand
working for the man, I dont know what it would be like if I did
something so stupid like getting personal with him.
Which is why its a total nightmare when we step out into the
hallway and theres a baby on the ground, staring up at us with a
cute, bored expression. I dont know why, but I grab the note,
not really thinking too much about it. In retrospect, I should
have known better. I should have run away from him right
thereon the spot, or refused to look at the note, or anything
other than what I ended up doing.
Instead, I read the note, and handed it over to him.
Logan, Im sorry I have to do this. Her name is Alexa and I cant
handle her anymore. Shes your daughter. Please take care of
her, I know you will. Jessica.
He doesnt react right away. He reads it once, twice, and finally
folds the note up and shoves it in his pocket. Im horrified and
terrified and I have no clue whats going to happen. This is pretty
serious. Some woman he got pregnant just dropped a baby off on
his front doorstep. Who knows how long the baby has been
out here.
I bend down and unstrap her from the car seat and lift her up
into my arms. Shes a healthy looking child with a cute little
smile and light blue eyes.
And she definitely needs to be changed.
I start looking around and notice a smaller bag tucked in behind
the car seat. I put Alexa back in the seat before opening the bag
up. Inside are a few changes of clothing and some fresh diapers,
which is a relief. I dont know where wed find diapers this late.
Whats that? Logan asks, staring at me.
Looks like a diaper bag, I say. She needs to be changed.
Changed? He looks like I just told him that Alexa is part lizard
person.
Changed, like, her diaper, I say to him, standing. Do you
know how to change a baby?
He shakes his head. Ive never even held a baby before.
Shit. I shake my head, frowning. I know I have to make a choice
right here and now. I look down at Alexa, and shes just so cute. I
look back at Logan, and hes clearly in over his head. I know this
man can be a tough boss sometimes, even impossible to work
with, but he obviously needs help.
Come on, I say. Ill show you. Grab that car seat and
follow me.
He does as I ask without a single comment. Normally he has lots
to say, but apparently hes too much in shock to question
anything right now.
I carry the bag and he carries the car seat. We head back into the
conference room and I direct him to place the seat down on top
of the table. I spread out a little blanket thats inside of the bag
and lift Alexa out of her seat.
Watch carefully, I say to him. I take Alexa out of her little baby
pajamas before rolling her up and removing the diaper. Logan
stares the whole time, a little wide-eyed, as I clean Alexa off and
get her in a new diaper. When Im finished, I put her pajamas
back on.
Simple, I say to him, lifting Alexa up into my arms. Right,
little girl?
She smiles and burbles a little bit, but obviously shes exhausted.
How do you know how to do that? he asks me suddenly.
Hes looking at me a little strange, and it sends an odd thrill
down my spine. Its like hes really looking at me, really seeing
me for the first time. I dont really understand it, but it makes
me feel good, really good.
My little sister is twelve years younger than me, I say. She
was a little surprise. I helped change her and watch her when I
was a kid.
That must have been hard, he says.
Not really. I didnt mind. Shes family, after all. I cock my
head at him and hes still staring at me. Alexa is practically
sleeping in my arms. Uh, stupid question, but you dont have a
crib, do you?
He shakes his head, coming back to reality. No crib, he
confirms.
You need to put her to bed, I say. And tomorrow, theres a lot
of stuff to get.
He stares at me blankly for a second. Like what? he asks
finally.
Diapers, formula, a crib, probably a changing station, maybe a
diaper genie, you know, baby stuff.
Baby stuff, he repeats, and I can tell hes not taking any of this
stuff in.
I dont know what to do. Logan is clearly not equipped to deal
with this. He obviously doesnt know the first thing about taking
care of a baby. I cant exactly leave Alexa with him, because he
wouldnt know what to do.
Then again, this isnt my problem. I just work with him. Logan
has enough money that he can buy whatever he needs for Alexa
and then some. He could hire ten nannies if thats what he
wanted.
But right now, he cant do any of that. Its too late for him to find
someone to help, and stores arent open for him to buy what he
needs. I dont want to get involved in this, because I can already
tell that its a bad idea, but he needs help. And this baby needs
someone to watch her.
He watches me for a second before taking a deep breath. Everly,
Im going to ask something of you.
I bite my lip, already knowing what hes about to say. Ill help,
I say quickly.
The relief is evident. I need to make some calls. I dont I dont
know what Im going to do.
I understand. Ill help, but just for tonight. I hesitate for a
second. Do you have a cardboard box?
He cocks his head. Why do you need a box?
For the baby to sleep in. Well put some blankets in there and
keep her next to the bed.
You cant put a baby in a box, he says, a little surprised.
Sure, you can. Do you have any better ideas?
He hesitates. I have some in storage we can use.
The cleaner, the better.
Follow me.
We head down the hall and around the corner. He leads me into
his personal apartment, and I can feel my heart hammering in
my chest as I cradle Alexa in my arms.
His apartment is beautiful, which is what I expected. Its
immaculately clean, modern, and expensively furnished.
Everything looks like it belongs in a museum or in a magazine.
Wait here, he says. The main area is an open floor plan thats
part modern kitchen and part beautiful living room. Theres an
incredible view of the city out his windows, with no other
buildings in sight, which means nobody can look in even if they
wanted to. I stand at those windows and stare out at the
gorgeous view as Logan disappears into the back.
Alexa fusses a bit and I know she just wants to sleep. Its okay,
sweetie, I whisper to her, rocking her softly. Well get you
down soon. I know its late.
I shouldnt stay over here. I dont even know what Im doing in
Logans apartment, holding his baby. He seems to be getting his
faculties back together after the shock of finding out about
Alexa, but he still doesnt know a thing about babies. I can help
him overnight tonight, just this once, and tomorrow he can hire
people to him figure this all out.
I can just keep telling myself that Im doing it for the baby, not
for Logan. Somehow, that makes it a little bit easier.
Logan comes back a few minutes later with a pretty big
cardboard box. Perfect, I say. Now we need blankets.
He disappears again and returns with some very soft blankets.
We carry the box into the living room and line it with the
blankets before I slowly place Alexa down on her back in the
little soft nest.
She wriggles a little bit, but shes obviously going to fall asleep.
We watch her together for a second. I glance at Logan and he has
a strange look on his face.
He looks back at me and nods. Thank you, Everly, he says.
Im going to make some phone calls. Do you mind?
No, thats okay, I say, feeling awkward. I, uh, Ill just keep an
eye on her.
Make yourself at home. Whatever you want. Feel free to make
yourself something to eat or to get changed into something from
my closet if you want. He turns to leave but pauses and looks
back at me. I really appreciate this, Everly. And please I think
it goes without saying, but this is a very personal matter.
Of course, I say quickly. I wouldnt dream of telling anyone.
He nods, satisfied. I appreciate it. He turns and leaves
the room.
I watch him go for a second, at a total loss.
Im standing in Logan Rays personal apartment, watching the
baby that he just found out about, and apparently Im allowed to
wear his clothes. I dont know what to think. This is the craziest
situation Ive ever been in.
And yet I want to be here. I want to help Logan. He may be a
hard boss, but hes clearly at a loss, and he needs someone to
help him. I can be that person, at least for now. Besides, if Im
lucky, Alexa will sleep most of the night anyway.
I head into the kitchen to make myself something to eat, all the
while keeping an eye on little sleeping Alexa.
3

LOGAN

W ait, slow down.


living room?
Theres a what in your

A baby, I repeat, a little slower this time. Shes asleep in


a box.
In a box, Richard repeats. Why is she in a box?
I dont know, I say, exasperated. Everly said that would
be fine.
Whos Everly?
Shes the marketing person working on my shelter, I say.
Richard, who cares about any of that? Did you hear me? Theres
a baby in my apartment.
Okay, he says slowly. Tell me what happened.
I repeat the story, starting with staying up late to work with
Everly, and ending with our leaving Alexa in the
blanket-lined box.
Richard doesnt say a word, but I know hes already calculating
what to do next. Hes my oldest friend and my personal lawyer,
although right now I just need someone to tell me what the fuck
to do.
I know who Jessica is. I slept with her about a year ago, which
means Alexa is something like three or four months old,
assuming shes actually mine. I cant imagine Jessica would just
drop another mans baby on my doorstep, although I didnt
think shed drop a baby there randomly anyway. What if I hadnt
left the apartment? Maybe she rang the home bell and we didnt
hear it in the conference room.
My head is practically spinning. Im not the kind of man to get
frazzled like this. Im calm, cool, and collected. I dont stress
under pressure, and in fact, I typically thrive. This isnt a normal
situation, though. I dont know a damn thing about babies and
Im far from being prepared to take care of an infant.
How sure are you that this is your baby? Richard asks me when
I finish my story.
I slept with a woman named Jessica about a year ago, I say.
But I cant be sure.
Paternity test first, then, Richard says. We need to confirm
its your baby. Next, we hunt down Jessica and we take her ass to
court.
Fine, I say to him. Good. But what about in the meantime?
Ill make some calls, he says. Find you a nanny to help take
care of her. Youll have to get all that baby stuff, though.
Got it, I say. Rich, how the fuck could Jessica do this?
I dont know, he says softly. Do you remember her?
Vaguely, I admit. You know me. I dont always
remember them.
You sure its the right girl?
Pretty sure, I say. I dont think Ive been with any other
Jessica.
Do you remember anything else about her?
Shes a lawyer, I say. I have all her info.
Good, he says. Thats good. Well be able to find her pretty
easily.
A fucking baby, I say, shaking my head. I stare at the wall of
my office. If this is really my daughter
Well figure it out, Logan, he says. Can that Everly person
help you for tonight?
Yes, I say. She already said she would.
Good. He pauses for a second. Dont get her pregnant too.
I groan. Too soon, asshole, I say.
I can practically see his shit-eating grin. Never too soon for a
good joke.
Just make those calls for me. Ill get in touch early tomorrow
morning.
Fine. Well figure this out.
Thanks, Rich.
Talk to you soon.
I hang up the phone and clench my fists.
What kind of fucked up person would leave a baby alone like
that? I cant imagine what was going through Jessicas head. Just
because Im rich, doesnt mean she can just dump a baby on my
front step. This isnt the fucking 20s or some shit like that. You
dont just abandon a baby. Whether Alexa is my daughter or not,
the poor fucking baby was just abandoned by her mother. Shes
going to have to deal with that her whole life.
I cant imagine what Jessica was going through to do something
like this. She didnt even tell me that she was pregnant. If she
had, I might have been able to help her before she got to this
point. I suspect we arent going tobe able to find her very easily.
You dont dump a baby on someones front step and then go
back to work the next day like nothing happened. I suspect
Jessica is going to be long gone by the time we start looking.
I head back out into the living room to find Everly sitting on the
couch, eating a salad she whipped up from whatever I had in my
refrigerator. She doesnt say anything as I walk over to the box
that Alexa is sleeping in. I crouch down and look at the sleeping
infant, and I feel something stirring in my chest.
I dont know what it is. Ive never felt this before. Just looking at
this baby makes me feeling something strange, though, like a
sense of overwhelming responsibility. I dont even know if shes
really my daughter or not, but then again, I dont think Id have
this feeling if she werent mine.
I want to reach down and pick her up, but I know thats stupid. I
have to let the sleeping baby sleep.
I stand up and look at Everly. I motion for her to follow me. We
head over into the kitchen area together. I pull out a bottle of
whisky and pour myself a glass, but she declines.
Well? I ask her softly.
She cocks her head. Well, what?
What do you think?
She bites her lip. Everly is a beautiful woman, and Im so damn
thankful for her right now.
Ive been hard on her. This community homeless shelter is
something of a personal dream of mine. I want to build a shelter
for all the homeless of this city, plus I want to combine it with a
community center to get everyone to mix. People can help the
homeless get back on their feet while taking classes and playing
recreational sports. Itll be so good for this community. The city
desperately needs it.
And I need it. Ive made enough money in my life, more than
enough. This is my dream and Ive gone through a lot to get it
started.
She lets out a breath. I think Chester Winterfield is going to
hate this.
I suck in a sharp breath and knock back my whisky. I hadnt even
thought about Chester. Hes the man that Im trying to buy an
entire city block from, but it hasnt been easy. The location is
perfect and the buildings currently on the land are entirely
vacant, making it the ideal place to develop. Its also in the
neighborhood that I want, making it practically perfect.
But Chester isnt an easy man to do business with. Hes a very
conservative person and will only do business with people that
have sterling reputations. Chester likes me, and thinks Im a
good upstanding man, but a baby out of wedlock is going to be a
fucking problem. I cant afford to have this deal fall through. Ive
already hired architects, started filing paperwork with the city,
and were moving forward on all fronts with the assumption that
were getting this land. Ill lose a lot if this deal fails, and I dont
know if Ill ever be able to start back up again.
What can I do about him? I ask her. You know how important
his land is.
I know, she says softly, biting her lip. Its an endearing little
habit that Ive noticed her do when shes thinking. Hes
eccentric, thats for sure. He doesnt care about the buildings or
the location or the money, he just wants to make sure hes
selling to someone he deems decent.
And in this case, having a random baby isnt going to be
decent, I say.
Right. She nods her head once. I watch as she stretches and
yawns, clearly exhausted from working so late, and yet still
willing to help me in this totally insane situation.
And suddenly it hits me. I dont know why I even have this
thought, but staring at Everly makes me realize that the solution
may be sitting right in front of me.
Everly is good with babies. She knows what shes doing. Shes
smart, gorgeous, and very capable. Ive been pushing her hard at
work lately, but shes been consistently surprising me with how
adaptable and intelligent she really is. Everly is capable and if
anyone can pull this off, she can.
I think you should marry me, I say suddenly.
She blinks, clearly surprised. Excuse me?
Lets get married, I say again.
Im not following.
I grin at her and fill up my drinkagain. Think about it. Chester
wants me to be a fine, upstanding gentleman, right? Well,
imagine that this baby werent mine, and instead of the mother
dumping her in my lap, I decided to marry a single mother to
make her an honorable person.
Comprehension slowly dawns on Everly. No way, she says.
You can be that single mother. Well get married, because I
cant bear to see you raise you child without a husband. Of
course, it helps that were in love. Chester will eat this shit up.
You want to lie to him, she points out. Ive never been
pregnant. Hell see through it.
No, he wont, I say. We can fake whatever we need to fake.
Logan, thats insane.
Is it? If I dont do something, this deal will fall through. This
city needs this shelter, Everly, you know that better than
anyone.
I can see her thinking about it, which surprises me a little bit. I
totally expected her to turn me down outright.
No, she says finally. I just cant.
One million, I say.
She hesitates. Dollars?
I grin at her. Yes, dollars. One million dollars plus a promotion
in my company to do this.
She takes a deep breath. To marry you and pretend that this is
my baby, she says softly.
Thats right. To help make sure this homeless shelter is built.
You play your role until Chester signs the papers and then youre
off the hook.
Are you serious about this? she asks me.
I look at her for a second and feel excitement pulse down my
spine. Im not sure about anything right now, but I do know that
Im attracted to Everly more with every second we spend
together. Im starting to realize that I want her, want her badly,
and maybe thats a bad reason to get involved with her.
I cant help it though. I want to make her my fake little wife. She
can make sure that my dream of establishing a homeless shelter
slash community center comes to fruition, and I can give her a
lot of money to make it worth her time.
It wont be easy, I say. But youll walk away from this with a
lot of money.
What if he still doesnt sign? she asks.
Ill still promote you, I say. And Ill give you half the money.
She sighs. I dont know, Logan.
Do this for me, I say. Make a lot of money. Help a good thing
happen. I lean toward her, staring into her gorgeous eyes. Do
this with me, Everly.
She looks back at me and for a second, I think shes going to turn
me down. But instead, she takes a deep breath, lets it out, and
nods her head.
Fine, she says.
Good. I grin at her. Well make up a contract. No bullshit
here. Well do this right.
And then well get married, she says softly.
Exactly. We can do this.
She looks at me but I dont think shes convinced. Thats okay. I
dont need her to be convinced. I just need her to help me with
Alexa and to be the smart, capable person that I know she is.
Well fool Chester together. And once he signs on the dotted
line, Ill give her what she wants, and then Ill build the charity
project that Ive always dreamed of.
This baby is inconvenient, but its not going to stop me from
doing what has to get done.
4

EVERLY

I ve never slept on such an expensive couch before, let


alone next to an infant sleeping in a cardboard box.
Alexa only wakes up once during the night, which is lucky. I feed
her some of the formula from the diaper bag, give her a quick
change, and get her back to sleep. Logan pokes his head into the
room, clearly not sleeping, but I send him away. Its weird
enough that Im going to marry him, I dont need to spend all
night with him, either.
The next morning, he wakes up early and gets us breakfast.
Take this, he says, handing me a credit card.
What for?
Buy whatever Alexa needs. I have a nanny coming over to watch
her while you go out.
I guess Im not going to work, I say.
He shrugs. You can take a day off.
I sigh. I didnt picture myself buying baby stuff today.
I didnt picture myself marrying you and becoming a father, but
things change. He hesitates and sighs. Thanks for doing this.
Youre welcome.
Fortunately, he doesnt linger too long. I dont know why, but
being around him gives me a strange feeling. Its not a bad
feeling, far from it, in fact. I feel good when Im around him.
Although hes pushed me hard in the past, the way hes
handling this makes me think that he really is a good person
deep down at heart.
Plus, hes handsome as hell, and now I cant stop thinking about
becoming his wife. What does that even mean, anyway? It wont
be real, of course. Itll just be for show. But well have to live
together and Iwill help him take care of Alexa. Were going to be
living in very, very close quarters for a while.
I dont know what it means that the very thought of sleeping in
the same bed as him makes me excited.
The nanny shows up about a half hour after Logan leaves, and so
I head out to buy everything we need. I spend a stupid amount of
money getting a crib and all the furniture and toys well need. I
hire some guys to go into his apartment and to set everything
up, and it all costs double since were doing it in such a rush. But
Logan told me to do whatever needs to be done, and so Im
taking him at his word.
It takes me all day and a bunch of trips, but finally I get most of
what we need, or at least all the big stuff. Im sure more things
will crop up as we go along, but at least I can safely feed her,
change her, and we have a place for her to sleep. She doesnt
seem to mind the formula, which is really good. I know some
babies can be fussy about that, so Im thankful Alexa isnt one
of them.
I relieve the nanny from duty around six that night and Logan
still isnt home yet. I carry Alexa into her bedroom and feed her a
bottle while sitting in the rocking chair I had set up next to the
crib for late night feedings. She seems so peaceful, and I have a
sudden stab of surreal emotion as I watch her drink her pre-bed
bottle.
I dont know what Im doing here. Logan is basically a stranger
to me, but suddenly Im in his life in a serious way. Im going to
marry this man and for what, for money? I dont care about
money that much, although $1 million seems pretty good. The
promotion will be nice, but the promotion isnt it, either.
I think its him. I think I want to help him more than anything
else. Hes such an arrogant bastard at work, but seeing him
totally out of his depth made me realize that hes just a man like
everyone else. Hes an impressive man, handsome and rich and
intelligent, but still just a man. He seems so much more
accessible now.
I want to know him. I know theresmore to Logan than meets the
eye, but I only got a single glimpse of that person last night.
Marrying him and lying for him is probably just about the most
insane and absurd way of getting to know him, but I know itll
work at least. And he really does need someone to help him take
care of this baby, even if itll only be temporary.
I get Alexa down around six-thirty and head back into the
kitchen to make myself something to eat. The door to the
apartment opens not long later and Logan comes in.
Hey, he says, dropping his bag on the table.
How was work? I ask him.
He cant help but grin a little bit. Good, he says.
What? I ask, smiling back at him.
That just felt normal.
I laugh a little. Yeah, youre right.
And theres nothing normal about this arrangement.
No, there really isnt.
He eyes me for a second and I feel exposed, though I dont know
why. I have to look away from his intense gaze.
How is everything? he asks.
Its all set up, I say. Crib, changing station, toys,
everything.
How is she?
Asleep, I say. You can go see her if you want.
He hesitates. Shes still a stranger to me.
I know, I say softly. Give it time.
He nods. Thanks, Everly. He cocks his head at me. Do you
want to, uh, go home?
I bite my lip. I probably should, at least to get some stuff.
He smirks at me. Since youll be staying here.
I mean, we are going tobe married.
All part of the illusion, right?
If youre implying that I want to move in with you, think
again.
He laughs softly. Oh, please. Its not so bad here.
I glance at the view. I guess not.
Go ahead, go home and get what you need. You can have
whichever room you want.
Thanks. I motion at the baby monitor. You can see and hear
her, in case she wakes up.
He looks afraid for half a second. Will she wake up?
I dont know, I admit. But youll be okay. Just check her
diaper and see if shes hungry. Ill be back soon.
Right. Diaper and bottle.
You going to be okay?
He shrugs and grins at me. Its just a baby. I think I can handle
a baby.
Of course you can. I watch him for a second before gathering
up my stuff.
He turns on the baby monitor and watches her sleeping as I get
myself together. I feel something strange, watching him like
that. He seems totally engrossed with it, like he enjoys looking
at her.
Ill be back soon, I say to him.
He glances at me. Okay.
I give him one more look before leaving the apartment.
I know I dont need to be worried. Hes going to take to
fatherhood. He just needs a little time to get adjusted. But I know
hes going tobe okay. You dont look at a baby the way he was if
youre going to be a bad father. He just needs to learn.
Ill teach him how to take care of her. And hopefully Ill get
through this in one piece.
5

LOGAN

I
a crib.
never thought Id turn one of my fucking guest rooms
into a goddamn nursery, but here I am, staring at

Everly did an amazing job. I didnt really expect her to get this
room entirely set up in only two days, but she managed to pull it
off. Now my daughter, assuming shes my daughter at least,
doesnt have to sleep in a cardboard box. It was a nice box, but I
think the crib will be better.
I lean up against the wall and just look at the room. It stands for
something I didnt know I wanted, and am definitely not ready
for, but I have no other choice. Im not the kind of man to turn
my back on my responsibilities. If Alexa is my daughter, Im
going to raise her the best I possibly can. If shes not, well, Ill
find someone that wants to adopt her and take care of her. Either
way, this baby is going to be loved and taken care of.
Though thats the long-term. In the short-term, I have Chester
Winterfield and this land deal to agonize about. I cant risk
letting this fall through and potentially lose the entire project.
And so Im doing something insane, something fucking stupid
and crazy. Im going to marry a girl I barely know, and Im going
to pay her a lot of money to pretend that Alexa is actually her
baby. I dont know what made me even think of this little plot,
but Im not going to turn away from it now.
What are you thinking about?
I half turn and catch Everly standing in the hallway, holding
Alexa.
Just how fast things can change.
She smiles alittle. No kidding.
In an hour, were going to be married. Are you scared?
Not really, she says, shrugging. I guess Im resigned to it.
I laugh and turn toward her. Resigned isnt the word I always
dreamed my wife would use.
You dream about getting married? She gives me a clever little
smile.
Maybe I do, I say, stepping toward her. In my dreams, my
wife always had long, dark hair and these lips that are always
pouting. Shes stubborn and tough, but shes clever and
beautiful.
She blinks at me, a little taken off guard. Yeah, and my dream
husband is rich, handsome, and doesnt have a kid.
I have to laugh at that. Let me take her. I reach out and she
hands me Alexa. The little baby squirms in my arms a little as I
hold her. So far, Alexa is actually a really good baby.
We should get going, I say to Everly. I have a driver
downstairs waiting for us.
Okay, she says, taking a deep breath.
If you want to back out, nows your chance, I say. No hard
feelings.
She hesitates but shakes her head. No, Im doing this.
Good. I grin at her before heading into the other room.
We gather our things and meet the driver downstairs, Alexa in
tow. I took off work today so that we could meet with Richard in
his office. Its our wedding day, and I figured I can miss a single
work day for my own wedding.
Everly is quiet on the drive over. I figure shes probably
wondering how the hell she ended up following through with a
crazy idea like this, and I cant blame her. Theres nothing
normal about what were about to do, but for some reason, it
doesnt seem so bad.
I study Everlys face as she looks out the window. She has
beautiful lips and wide eyes with dark eyelashes. Shes pretty in
a gentle and unassuming way. My eyes travel down her body, and
I cant help but picture what it would be like to feel her skin
underneath mine, to taste her lips as my hands roam down
between her legs. I want to hear her breathing get heavy and
deep as moans struggle to escape her lips. I want to feel her body
shiver and push against mine as I make her feel something shes
never imagined before.
Im supposed to keep this professional, or at least as
professional as I can. This isnt a real marriage. But just thinking
about Everlys body underneath mine as I take her tight little
pussy makes me fucking hard as hell.
We pull up outside of Richards office and climb out. I carry
Alexas car seat with me, her diaper bag slung over my shoulder,
as Everly leads the way. I direct her toward the elevators after we
check in with security at the front. We ride them up to Richards
floor, and he meets us as we step out.
Logan, he says, grinning at me. Hes my age, broad shoulders,
dark eyes, and a full head of dirty blond hair. What the hell
is that?
Its a baby, asshole.
He laughs, shaking his head. I mean that bag.
Diaper bag, I grumble.
You really are a dad now, arent you?
I sigh and shake my head. Well see, wont we?
I guess so. He turns toward Everly. And I assume youre his
bride-to-be?
She blushes a little. Everly. Nice to meet you.
Likewise. They quickly shake heads. Come this way, guys.
We head down the hall, passing other offices on the way, before
making it to Richards corner office.
Hes a senior partner in one of the biggest and most powerful
law firms in the city, and possibly the country. Hes young and
successful and a damn good litigator. Normally he does high-
profile courtroom stuff, so hes slumming it a bit here in helping
me with this issue, but he knows Id do the same for him.
I get Alexa set up and comfortable before we sit down. She fusses
a little bit but calms down as soon as I pick her up from the seat.
Okay, guy, Richard says. Lets dive right into this, because I
have a meeting in twenty minutes. He pulls out a sheaf of
papers and pushes them across his desk toward us. I take one
copy and Everly gets the other one.
This is a pretty standard contract. Essentially, it says that
Everly will marry Logan and claim Alexa is her baby up until the
land deal with Chester Winterfield is finished. At which point,
Logan will give Everly $1 million and a promotion at work. Its all
there, but in legal jargon so that it would hold up in court if it
comes to that, which Im sure it wont. He proceeds to walk us
through the contract, which is three pages long and pretty
standard.
One important feature to note, Richard says, finishing up.
Theres a nondisclosure agreement, binding for both of you.
Neither of you can speak of this arrangement in public or in
private, ever. Logan, this means you, too. Im sure Everly here
doesnt want the world to know about this, so you wont be able
to write it in your memoirs or some shit like that.
I laugh and bounce Alexa in my arms. Why would I write my
memoirs?
I dont know, Richard says. Just seems like an old rich guy
thing to do.
Dont worry. I dont have any interest in writing my life down.
Dont be so sure, Everly says, grinning. I could see it
happening.
Am I really that self-centered? I ask, shaking my head.
Probably, Richard answers, winking at Everly.
We finish going through the rest of the contract. When were
done, Richard turns his copy toward us.
Okay, time to sign, he says. Last chance to back out.
I look at Everly but she doesnt hesitate. Lets do it, she says.
Okay then. Richard hands her a pen and she signs her name,
dates it, and initials each page. When shes done, I do the same
thing.
Good, Richard says. That was easy. Now, I have a nurse here
thats going to take some blood from Logan and Alexa, just to
establish paternity. Is that okay with you, Logan?
I nod my head. Thanks for setting this up.
No problem. He hits a buzzer on his phone. Lucy, send
her in.
A minute later, a young woman in scrubs enters the room. She
walks over and efficiently sets up her tools. It takes her less than
five minutes to get a vial of blood from me, and another minute
to get some from Alexa. Surprisingly, Alexa doesnt cry, even
though were ready for her to melt down.
When the nurse is done, we thank her and she leaves. Richard
leans back in his chair and checks his watch.
Shit, okay, were really moving here.
Everly glances at me. You okay? she asks.
Fine, I say. Just thinking about the results.
She reaches out and squeezes my hand. Itll be fine, she says.
Dont worry.
I nod at her, a little surprised at her reassuring smile.
Last step here, folks, Richard says. He hits the buzzer on his
phone again. Lucy, send him in.
An older man comes into the room, dressed in a suit, but I know
what this is almost immediately. He places his briefcase down on
Richards desk, pops it open, and takes out some papers.
Im Judge Franklin, he says. Im here to marry you two kids,
is that right?
I nod my head. You sure are. Jesus, Richard, youre efficient as
hell, arent you?
Richard laughs. Figured wed get this all done at once.
I look over at Everly, and finally she looks a little nervous. I think
Id be worried if she didnt even break a sweat through this
whole process.
Thisll be easy. Do you two want to get married of your own free
will, free of threats or coercion?
Yes, I say.
I do, Everly says.
I grin at her and take her hand again, this time offering the
support.
Well then, sign these papers, and its done, the judge
grumbles.
I take the paper and sign it before passing it to Everly. She
hesitates but signs her name. The judge makes us sign a few
more things, he stamps them, and finally collects everything up.
Thanks so much, Judge, Richard says.
Anything for you, Richard, just dont be a stranger now. The
judge packs up his things.
Golf next Tuesday? Richard asks as he walks the judge to
the door.
I dont hear the judge respond as he and Richard reach the door.
I slip out a small box from my jacket pocket and turn toward
Everly, Alexa still pressed against my chest.
One more thing, I say to her softly.
Logan. She stares at the box. Is that what I think it is?
Yes. I flip open the box with my thumb and show her the ring.
The diamonds are large but tasteful. I spent a ton of money on it,
since I want this to look real, and I had to do it all last minute.
She gasps a little. Thats too much.
If I were marrying you for real, Id give you something better.
But this is good enough.
She bites her lip and slowly takes the ring. I watch as she slides it
onto her finger, and I feel a strange sense of satisfaction.
Is this crazy? she asks me softly.
Absolutely. I lean toward her. But I wouldnt want to do it
with anyone else. Youre my wife now, Everly.
She looks at me with surprise on her face. For a second, were
inches apart, and the only thing I want in the world is to kiss
those beautiful lips. I want to make this real, make her my actual
wife, keep her in my apartment and fuck her when I please. I
want to make her mine completely.
But Richard returns, making some joke about the judge, and the
moment is gone. I pull back to my chair and Everly gathers
herself, clearly a little flustered.
The rest of the meeting winds down from there. Well get the
paternity results back as soon as possible, and theres nothing
else to do but figure out a way to announce this last-minute
marriage to the world. Thatll be Everlys job, of course, since
shes the marketing person.
But now its real. Were really going to go through with this.
Were going to try and make it work. Everly is my wife, even if
its fake by contract, though genuinely legal. Together, were
going to try and pull off this crazy plan while taking care of an
infant.
I dont know why, but Im excited as hell about it.
6

EVERLY

T he easy part is over.


It feels like getting married to your rich billionaire
boss should be the hard part, especially when hes practically a
stranger and is one of the most difficult people youve ever met.
Except filling out paperwork is definitely theeasier part, and I
even ended up with some fantastically expensive ring.
I didnt ask him how much the ring cost, but I can only imagine. I
dont want to know, honestly. Id be too afraid to wear it if I
suddenly learned that it costs more money than I make in ten
years.
Getting married and signing that contract was the easy part. Now
we have to actually go forward with this plan. I dont want to
spend too much time holding back and beating around the bush,
though. I want to dive right in.
Which is why I had Logan schedule a dinner with the
Winterfields as soon as possible.
Im nervous as I get dressed. I have my own room in Logans
impressively large apartment, right next to Alexas room. Im
mainly on baby duty these days, and Ive been given a leave of
absence from work. I never wanted to become a nanny, but Im
finding its actually pretty rewarding. For his part, Logan is good
with Alexa. We arent sure if hes her father yet or not, but the
results should be back soon. Hes treating Alexa like shes his
real daughter either way, and Im honestly surprised.
I never expected a rich bachelor like Logan would take to
fatherhood, but hes trying. He works late every night, but not
unreasonably late. Hes home by six every night, and spends at
least a half hour with Alexa. He gives her a bottle and puts her to
bed around six-thirty or seven, and then he usually headsback
into his other office to work a few more hours. In the morning,
he wakes up extra early to take care of her before leaving, and he
even gets up in the middle of the night sometimes to take care of
her when shes crying.
Only a few days passed since we signed the marriage paperwork.
Were learning to live together, which is a really strange
situation to be in. At the moment, hes keeping himself busy,
either with Alexa or with work, so I dont see him that often. I
think I like it that way, because when I do see him, things can get
a little tense.
There was a moment, back in Richards office, just as the judge
was leaving. Logan leaned toward me and said something, I cant
remember what, because I was too busy staring at his perfect
lips. I just kept picturing what it would be like if he kissed me,
but instead he gave me the ring. I wanted him to kiss me so
badly, wanted him to take me right there in that office. I didnt
know I even felt that way. It almost overwhelmed me with the
intensity of the desire.
But of course, he didnt. Richard interrupted us and the moment
passed. Now I cant look at my ring without thinking of that
intense desire to be kissed, and Im not sure I mind it.
I look at myself in the mirror and sigh. Im wearing a fairly
conservative dark blue dress, not exactly a gown, but something
expensive that Logan bought me. Ive been getting ready for an
hour, and theres a sitter staying over at the apartment to watch
over Alexa.
You ready?
I glance over. Logan is standing in my bedroom doorway, dressed
in an expensive suit, and smiling at me.
I guess so.
Youre going to do great. He steps into the room and puts his
hands in his pockets. You look great.
Thanks. I turn toward him. Howd you know what size?
He shrugs. I have people for that.
Of course you do. I chew my lower lip a little. Are you sure
this is going to work?
No, he says, pulling his hands from his pockets and leaning
against the bureau. I have no clue. But we can do it.
What if Chester doesnt like that you married me?
Then were screwed. Youll get what you want and Ill have to
figure something else out.
Its a big gamble.
I know. But its worth it. He stares at me for a second with a
powerful gaze. I have to look away from him.
Lets go, I say quickly, wanting to get out of the moment. Im
starting to feel that desire for him again, but I cant afford it
right now. I have to concentrate.
We head downstairs and his driver takes us over to the
Winterfield House. Its a three-story brick townhouse in the
center of the nicest part of the city. It obviously cost a fortune,
which makes sense, since Winterfield is worth a fortune, nearly
as much as Logan.
We ring the bell on the front door and a minute later, a man
dressed as a butler answers. He shows us inside, and we find
Chester Winterfield and his wife Muffie having a drink in their
parlor.
The house is beautiful. Theres no other way to put it. The place
looks like its straight out of British royalty, with all of the
expensive trappings that go along with it. Antiques line the walls
and I think I even spot a real Picasso, but Im not sure, as we step
into the room.
Logan, my boy, good to see you. Chester gets up and walks
over, a snifter of brandy in his hand. Im glad you set this up. I
was just thinking about you.
Good things, Im sure, Logan says, smiling and charming. The
men shake hands and Chester laughs.
Only good things, my boy. Chester huffs and his mustache
blows in the wind slowly. Hes a shorter man, portly in the
middle and gray all over with sallow skin and deep brown eyes.
His wife is reed thin and severe, with short hair dyed blonde and
deep blue eyes. She doesnt move at all as the men exchange
pleasantries.
Well, Chester, I want you to meet Everly, Logan says.
Everly, dear, nice to meet you. Chester shakes my hand. I feel
like I know the man, although he doesnt know me at all.
Shes the reason were here tonight, actually, Chester.
Chester raises an eyebrow. Is she, now? He chuckles. Not a
bad reason, not a bad reason at all.
Muffie clears her throat and Chester gathers himself. Ah, yes,
Everly, dear, this is my wife, Muffie.
I walk over to her and we shake hands. Her grip is loose and
fish-like.
Charmed, she says.
Lovely to meet you. I do my best upper-class impression, not
really knowing what else to do. Muffie is stiff and formal and
doesnt smile at all.
Well, come on, everyone. Lets all sit and eat, and then you can
tell us the big news. Chester motions and we follow him out of
the parlor and into a formal dining room. We sit down at a large
oak table as staff brings us the first course.
Logan and Chester instantly start talking about business. Muffie
remains silent the whole time, not even bothering to look at me.
I dont speak up or join in on the business talk, since I get the
sense that its supposed to be a manly thing or something like
that. Chester Winterfield is an old school rich man, very
conservative and formal. Im going to do my best to seem
demure and kind, and I dont want to risk standing out to him.
Although I hate to do that, I know its what needs to be done.
The first course is a delicious soup, which Muffie hardly touches,
while Chester practically drinks it straight from the bowl. Logan
winks at me, smiling, as Chester makes some awful joke about
marketing consultants.
As the first course plates are cleared, Chester grunts and
motions for another drink. Okay now, Logan. Weve talked
business and bored the women to death. How about you tell me
why the two of you are here?
Id be happy to, Logan says, reaching over for my hand. Its
about Everly, as I mentioned before. Well, Chester, Everly and
I got
Sorry Im late. A young man steps in from the back door. Hes
around my age and looks exactly like Chester, except with deep
blue eyes and hes much thinner. Instantly I realize that this is
Chesters only son, Spencer Winterfield.
Spencer! Chester says, standing. Good of you to join.
Good to see you, Logan, Spencer says. The two men shake
hands. Whos this?
Spencer looks at me, and my skin crawls. I dont know what it is
about him, but he givesme the creeps. Ive met men like him in
the past. Theyre usually frat bros, the sort of guys that think
chugging beer and having sex with passed out women is fun.
This is Everly, Logan says. Shes my wife.
The table suddenly goes still. I swear, Muffie actually drops her
napkin, like shes totally shocked.
Wife? Chester finally asks.
Thats right, Logan says.
Well, congratulations! Spencer cuts in. That seems to break
the ice, and everyone sits back down. I fold my hands in my lap
and squirm a little bit as I catch Spencer grinning at me again.
When did this happen? Chester asks.
Recently, Logan says. It was a last minute thing. You see,
Everly and I have been seeing each other, and Ive been helping
her with a, uh, a little problem.
I wince at that. Hes been very kind, I say softly.
What sort of problem? Chester asks, not being very subtle.
Well, she had a child, Logan says. And because I love her, I
wanted to make sure that her child has a father. And so we were
married just a few days ago.
The table is utterly silent. This is the moment that Ive been
dreading. Logan faced it bravely, diving directly into the issue,
but I wish we had more time. Really, I wish that creepy son
Spencer werent sitting there, staring at me like Im some piece
of meat.
Logan, my boy, thats incredibly Chester trails off.
Admirable, Muffie finishes for him. Its the first time she
speaks.
Chester beams, like he was just told how to think. Admirable,
yes, dear, of course. How gallant! This poor girl, saddled with a
fatherless child. You stepped in to save her.
Thats right, Logan says. I love Everly and her child. I
couldnt let them live without a father to take care of them.
What a stand-up guy, Spencer drawls, smirking.
He saved me, I say. Its a little much, but it seems to work.
To your marriage! Chester cries out, holding up his drink.
To children always having a father, Muffie says, a little less
enthusiastic. In fact, the look she gives me says that she thinks
Im a dirty whore, but at least she respects Logan. Its amazing
how much information can be conveyed through a single look.
We cheers to that and get to talking about how Logan and I met.
We rehearsed the story over and over again, but I still feel
terrified finally saying it. He does most of the talking, since hes
so charming and easy to get along with. From what I can tell, the
Winterfields are buying it.
Spencer doesnt stay long, fortunately. As hes leaving, though,
he winks at me. I can tell what hes thinking, but I just look away
from him, not engaging. The dinner conversation turns away
from our marriage and back toward business, which is fine
by me.
Directly after the main course, Muffie stands and announces that
shes tired. She leaves without another word, which is actually a
little rude, but Chester just grins and acts like its normal. Soon
after that, he escorts us to the front door, saying over and over
how he wishes we could stay, but its late, and oh the time, and
soon enough were outside, climbing back into the car.
I finally feel like I can breathe. Logan leans over toward me,
grinning hugely. That went well, he says.
I think so, too.
He laughs, shaking his head. Can you believe that? For a
second, I thought Chester was going to have a heart attack.
Muffie saved the day.
He grins at me. What kind of name is that, anyway?
Sounds like something a dog should have.
He laughs out loud and takes my hand. A thrill runs down my
spine as he leans toward me. You were incredible in there.
Seriously, incredible. I believed every second of it.
Oh yeah? You believed that I love you?
Absolutely, he says, grinning. Its easy to believe, since Im
so lovely.
I sigh and shake my head, smiling at him. The only bad part of
the night was their son.
Spencer? Whats wrong with him?
I cock my head. You didnt notice? He was eyeing me up the
whole night.
Can you blame him? Logan smirks at me. Youre gorgeous,
you know.
I blush and pull my hand away from him. My heart beats quickly
in my chest. He winked at me on the way out, I say.
Logan frowns a little. Ill keep an eye on him.
Thanks, I say, leaning back in my seat.
We fall back into conversation, going over the details of the
night, but I keep coming back to Spencer and that wink. He made
me so uncomfortable. If it werent for him, the night would have
been a complete success. As it stands, I feel like I barely
survived it.
Still, the Winterfields seemed to have bought the story, at least
for now. Alexa is safe with us and the project feels like itll still
happen. We need to close the deal, but were on the right path.
I believe in Logan. If anyone can do this, he can.
7

LOGAN

E verly was perfect. I knew she would be, but its like a
weight being lifted from my chest.
She was quiet and reserved. She had perfect manners, which is
why I think Muffie ended up buying into her little fake sob story.
That whole thing could easily have backfired, but I think it
worked because Everly sold it so well.
Ive never been so attracted to a woman in my entire life. All
night after we get home, I keep thinking about her. I have a
dream where I fuck her in the nursery. I strip her from her dress
and slide my thick cock between her legs, making her moan and
beg for more. I wake up with a fucking hard-on unlike anything
Ive ever had before.
I dont know what Im going to do about Alexa. I want her badly,
but I know I shouldnt have her. Shes my wife, but its just a
business arrangement. If I take what I want so badly, it could
complicate things.
And then theres that moment back in Richards office. I almost
kissed her, right then and there, and Im positive she would have
let me. I know she wouldnt have stopped it. Just the way she
was looking at me. She was practically begging for me to grab her
by the hair and to pull her close against my body.
I get up early the next morning. Its Saturday and I have nothing
to do, but Im going to work anyway. There are a few projects
that need to get done.
I dress and head out into the kitchen. Alexa isnt awake yet, and
so Im going to let Everly sleep as long as she can. I know Alexa
woke her up once or twice last night.
I make some coffee and head into my office. Im deep into my
work by six in the morning when Alexa and Everly usually get up.
I work straight through it, worried that I might try to do
something stupid if I see Everly right now. I keep getting flashes
of her in that dress, looking so innocent and fucking sexy as hell.
As Im finishing up a project around nine in the morning, I
remember a comment Everly made about Spencer Winterfield. I
didnt notice anything off, but I have to admit that I wasnt
paying attention to him. I dont know much about Chesters son,
other than the fact that he works for his father. Spencer is some
typical rich boy as far as I know, which is the opposite of how I
grew up.
I do a little searching, but theres not much online about
Spencer. Theres a profile about him on Harvards alumni web
page, which is where he got a graduate degree. That doesnt
mean much, since Chester was a Harvard grad, and donates a big
sum every year. As far as I can tell, Spencer is just your average
rich asshole.
I close my laptop lid, getting ready to head back into my home
apartment, when my cell starts to ring. I dont recognize the
number. Frowning, I decide to answer.
Hello?
Yes, hello, is this Mr. Ray?
I hesitate. Yes, this is Logan Ray.
Mr. Ray, this is Janine with Biomarker Labs. I have your
paternity test results back.
My heart skips a beat as adrenaline shoots through me. I thought
wed have more time, but I did pay them to call as soon as they
knew the results.
Okay, give them to me, I say.
In the case of Alexa, you are the father, she says.
My heart hammers hard in my chest, but Im not afraid. It takes
me a second to identify the emotion.
Its pure joy.
Thank you, I say, and mean it.
Well send you the complete results in the mail, but Alexa is
your daughter, Mr. Ray. Congratulations.
Thank you, I say again, and hang up the phone.
Im practically reeling. Alexa is truly my daughter, theres no
doubt in my mind now. I knew she was, deep down inside of me,
which is why Im going to such lengths to take care of her. But
now I know for sure, and holy fucking shit does it feel good.
I stand up with a huge grin on my face. I want to yell and shout
from pure joy, which is surprising, but I cant help it. I head right
back into the main apartment.
Everly! I call out.
Shes standing in the kitchen, holding Alexa in her arms. I grin
huge once I spot them.
What are you smiling about? Everly asks me. Her hair is piled
up on top of her head and shes wearinga tight tank top with
tight gray shorts. She looks fucking perfect, even though she just
got out of bed.
I walk over to the two of them and pull them both against me.
This is a good day, I say.
Everly laughs. What are you doing?
I just got a call. About Alexa.
Holy crap. Everly pulls back and looks at me. Is she your
daughter?
I beam and take Alexa from her. Yes, she is, I say, laughing.
My little girl.
Everly laughs loudly and hugs me. Im so happy youre happy,
she says.
I dont know why, but I think this is the happiest Ive ever
been. I kiss Alexa on the head and hold her tight. This is my
little girl. My little Alexa.
For a second, I forget about Everly, just enjoying this moment
with my daughter. My baby daughter, my real daughter. The girl
Ill protect and raise forever.
After a minute or two, I realize that Everly is just watching us
with a big smile on her face. I feel a little silly, and so I put Alexa
down into her little swinging rocking chair.
Im glad youre happy, Dad, she repeats.
I make a face at her. Dont call me Dad. I hesitate before
grinning at her. But you can call me Daddy if you want.
She rolls her eyes. I knew youd say that.
And yet you still make the comment. I grin and step closer to
me. Sounds like you wanted me to say it.
Relax there, she says, smiling at me. She doesnt deny it.
I want to grab her right here and now and kiss her deeply.
Goddamn, do I want her so badly. But before I can do anything,
Alexa starts to cry. Everlys smile doesnt fade. I got it, she
says, walking over and taking Alexa.
No, Im the dad now, apparently. Let me do it.
Everly raises an eyebrow while sniffing Alexas diaper. You sure
you want to change her, Daddy?
I grin, a thrill running through me. I might need a hand, but I
want to learn.
Okay then. Follow me. She leads me back through the
apartment and into Alexas nursery.
Everly lays Alexa down on the changing pad and steps aside.
Okay, this isthe easy part. Get the Onesie mostly off, unfasten
the diaper, and lift her partway up by her ankles.
I frown a little bit but I do as Im told. Alexa is crying the whole
time and not really interested in cooperating, but I manage to get
her undressed and the diaper removed.
Okay, this guy goes in there. Everly grabs the dirty diaper and
tosses it into the little waste remover. And now we clean
her off.
I help Everly clean Alexa off. When were done, Everly grabs a
new diaper and shows me how to put it back on Alexa. Then I
dress her and were finished.
See? Everly asks me, grinning. Easy peasy.
Easy and gross, I say, laughing. I pick up Alexa and she seems
like shes already in a better mood.
Youll get used to it. Babies are pretty gross but they cant
help it.
They make up for it by being really cute. I nuzzle against Alexa
as a strong paternal feeling overwhelms me.
Everly watches with a smile on her face as I play with Alexa in
my arms. I swoop her in the air and she giggles as I carry her
back into the living room. Everly follows, but for the moment,
Im totally focused on my daughter.
Ive never changed a diaper before in my life. Hell, I dont think
Ive ever touched a diaper before. And Alexa is definitely the
youngest baby Ive ever held, which isnt saying much, since I
dont think Ive actually held a baby at all. I dont know what Id
do without Everlys help, but Im beginning to realize that I want
to learn.
This is my flesh and blood. I didnt ask for any of this, but I cant
ever turn my back on my daughter. I dont know where her
mother is or whats going to happen with that, but for right now,
I dont care. I have a little baby girl, and shes really mine.
I manage to calm Alexa down until shes finally content. I put
her back in her little swing as Everly stands near the kitchen, a
little smile on her face.
Youre going to get the hang of it pretty fast, she says.
I dont know, I say. Im not sure Im cut out to be a dad.
Nobody is at first. But youre already learning.
I shrug a little bit and walk over to her. What about you?
She raises an eyebrow. What about me?
Youre going to have to be a mother. At least youre going to
have to pretend for a little while.
She laughs softly. I dont mind taking care of her, she says. I
mean, Im not really her mom. Im more like a babysitter.
A very expensive babysitter. I grin at her.
She shrugs. What can I say? Im worth it.
You really are. Although maybe a million is slightly
overpaying.
Dont forget the promotion, she adds, smirking at me. I feel
like youre getting a deal.
Maybe I am, I say softly, eyeing her intently. She smiles back
at me but I think she knows what Im thinking about. Theres a
moment of tension between us as I stand close to her, my heart
beating fast in my chest, but she turns away.
Have you heard from Chester yet? she asks, walking into the
kitchen.
I follow and sit on a stool. I can hear the little electric swing
slowly rocking Alexa just a few feet away. Not yet, I say. Its
not uncommon, though. I might not hear from him for weeks,
and then hell message me nonstop for days.
She sighs a little bit and fills a mug with coffee. I dont
understand why he doesnt just sign.
Chester is a little strange, I say slowly. Hes notorious
about this sort of stuff. And he really doesnt want to part with
that land.
Which is what I dont get. Isnt it all vacant and rotting
anyway?
I nod. He has some kind of emotional attachment to it, I think.
Used to be a housing complex, back in the day. I think he knew
people that lived there.
So why sell it at all, then?
I think he knows its time, and our project is worthy.
She chews her lower lip a little bit, considering. Im just
worried hes jerking us around.
Believe me, Ive had that same thought.
But youre still going for it.
Its perfect, I say to her, slowly getting up. You know all the
reasons. Are you having second thoughts?
No, she says firmly. Not at all. I just I just want this
to work.
I do too, I say. Believe me.
She looks at me for a second and I wish I could read her mind.
Why is this so important to you? she asks finally. I mean, I
know its a really good project, but still.
Thats not easy to explain, I say, laughing a little bit. Besides,
isnt charity worthwhile for its own sake?
Yes, she says. Of course. I just dont know why youre killing
yourself to make this happen when you could easily donate
money to something else.
I lean against the counter for a second, trying to decide how to
answer. Finally, I speak slowly. I have more money than I know
what to do with, I explain. I could just give it to some charity
and be done with it, but I wont know how exactly my money is
being used. I want something that I can control. I want to make
sure everything I spend goes directly to the people that matter.
Im tired of rich people not doing enough to help everyone else
around them, so Im trying to change that.
She watches and listens intently, and I cant tell how shes
reacting to what Im saying. I know its a little silly and
idealistic, but its the truth. I believe in this project, and Im
hoping that other rich billionaires will see what Im doing and
follow suit. It isnt going to be profitable, but its going to be
good, and its going to help a lot of people.
Maybe Im just tired of making money, and I want to start
making real positive change in the world. This is my chance to
do that.
I get that, she says finally. Youre just making it so hard on
yourself.
Nothing good should be easy, I say, grinning at her. Im
going to get back to work.
Okay, she says, walking over to Alexa. Ill keep an eye on
the baby.
Oh, and speaking of work. Im going to hire a nanny, so you
wont have to stay home all day with Alexa.
Are you sure? she asks me, a little surprised. I assumed that
was part of the deal.
Im sure, I say. Youre my wife. If you want to stay here, you
can. But if you want to work, the option is there.
She hesitates before smiling. Thanks, Logan.
Anything for my wife. I grin before heading out of the room.
As I go back toward my office, I feel like things have changed in a
way that Ill never quite grasp. Before I got the call about Alexa, I
was still the man Id always been, although things were a bit
more complicated. But now that I know shes my daughter
well, I know Ill always be different.
Its not just me anymore. And I think Im happy about that.
8

EVERLY

M aybe it was a mistake to come back to work.


I didnt sign up for the life of a stay-at-home mom,
and although I could easily take care of Alexa, I do want to
continue with my career for now. Except as soon as I step foot
back in the office, I realize that might be a mistake.
Its the whispering that I notice at first. As soon as I walk into a
room, the whispers suddenly stop, and everybody is smiling at
me. I dont really get it, because for the majority of my career
Ive just been an invisible marketing person. Nobody knew me
outside of my immediate coworkers and department heads.
Now, suddenly, it feels like Logans entire company knows my
name, and I dont understand why.
At least, I dont understand until I sit down at my computer and
go online.
The article is dated from this morning. Its on some business
blog, and features a picture of me next to a picture of Logan with
the headline, Billionaire Marries Baby Mama Marketing Girl. I
can feel the blood drain from my face as I read through whats
basically an entire fictional account of my relationship with
Logan.
In the article, it suggests that Logan and I have been together for
some time, although my baby isnt his. We got married over the
weekend because he wants to take care of me and my child,
which is basically the story we told the Winterfields. In fact,
most of the details in the article are directly from the fake story
we came up with about our relationship.
I close out of the article and stare at the blank screen. It takes me
a second to identify my main emotion.
Its embarrassment. I didnt know the whole office was going to
find out about this, and now I get why theyre all whispering
behind my back. They all think Im some pathetic and sad single
mother that the boss married out of pity or something. That
story works great with Chester and Muffie, but it makes me look
like a crazy person.
I take a deep breath and let it out. Im here to work, not to get
involved in a bunch of office gossip. I cant let myself get too
upset about this, or else itll just look worse. I want to hunt
Logan down and yell at him, since I suspect this is his doing, but
I cant. I wont make a scene in the office. Thatll just add fuel to
the fire, and I dont want to make things worse for myself.
Still, Im angry, and for the rest of the day I have to deal with the
whispers and the comments behind my back. I know people are
staring at me, and their smiles are all fake. People go out of their
way to be nicer to me, which annoys the hell out of me, since
before I married the boss they never paid any attention to me at
all. Now suddenly Im worth saying hello to in the hallways.
I hate it. I genuinely hate it. Every second drives me actually
insane, and as the day slowly passes, I find that I cant get
anything done. Im too busy obsessing over whats happening in
the office around me, too distracted to get any real work
finished.
Eventually, toward the end of the day, I find myself in the
bathroom just trying to get away from everyone for a few
minutes. I sit down in a stall and look at my phone, even though
I dont even need to go or anything. I just want a moment of
privacy.
When I get out, a woman I know from accounting is standing at
the sink. She flashes me a nice big smile as I approach.
Hey, Everly, she says.
Hi, Marsha. I turn on the sink and wash my hands.
I can tell that shes still looking at me, but I try to ignore her.
Hey, uh, so congrats on your marriage.
I give her a quick smile. Thanks.
Must be hard, right?
What do you mean?
Oh, I mean, raising a child all by yourself. She hesitates then
leans toward me. Listen, Everly, dont let the office get to you. I
think youre so brave. And isnt Logan incredible for helping
you? We all just love him so much, and Im really rooting
for you.
I stare at her open-mouthed. What do you mean, ignore the
office?
You know how they can be. Catty and bitchy. Theyre just
jealous of you.
What are people saying? I stop closer to her.
She looks nervous all of a sudden. Uh, nothing, nothing. Just,
Im rooting for you. She steps around me and heads toward
the door.
For a second, I want to stop her and force her to tell me what
shes talking about. But she escapes before I can do something
stupid, which Im thankful about.
As I head back to my desk, her words are ringing in my ears. I
suspected that people were saying awful things about me, but
getting confirmation is an entirely different thing. Suddenly Im
a laughingstock in the office, and people hate me for absolutely
no reason.
I didnt anticipate this at all. Maybe Im an idiot, but I thought
this would remain private. People wouldnt even find out about
it. Only Chester and his family had to know about this fake
relationship.
But things dont work like that, not when youre married to one
of the richest men in the world. Hes not a celebrity, exactly, but
business blogs write about him regularly, and sometimes those
blogs can be pretty gossipy. Clearly, this relationship is
extremely gossip-worthy, and everyone wants to read about it.
I feel like an idiot. I am an idiot. I should have expected this.
What do I think is going to happen once this is all over? Logan
and I will get a divorce, and suddenly Ill get promoted. People
are going to talk about that and Ill never be taken seriously.
Hell, Ill never be taken seriously again, even if he doesnt
promote me.
Im ruined. I realize it with a start. Im absolutely ruined. I cant
help myself. I storm out of the office and get into the elevators. I
ride them up to the top floor, where I supposedly live and work
with Logan, and head toward the office side of the floor. I dont
bother knocking as I walk right inside and go immediately into
his office.
Hes on the phone, you cant go in there, his secretary says,
but I ignore her. I storm in through the door and glare hard
at him.
Logan turns and looks at me, pretty surprised. Ill, uh, Ill call
you back, he says into the phone.
His secretary comes up behind me. Im sorry, Logan,
she just
Its okay, Logan says. Thanks.
His secretary gives me a dirty look before retreating out of his
office, shutting the door behind her.
You told the press, I say.
He crosses his arms. Not exactly the press, but a blogger, yes.
How? Why? I step toward him, so angry I can barely breathe.
It was Richards idea, if that helps at all, he says. But Im the
one that sent the email.
I dont care whose idea it was. Why would you do this to me?
He raises an eyebrow. I didnt do anything to you, Everly. This
is just part of the deal.
This deal is ruining me, I say, getting right up in front of his
desk. Im a laughingstock in the office. Everyone is whispering
and talking behind my back. How am I ever going to be taken
seriously now?
Everly, he says, standing. Hold on a second. Please,
calm down.
No, I wont calm down, I snap at him. You leaked this
without asking me first, and now I have to deal with it. People
think Im some kind of charity case for you, Logan. They think
Im some dumb whore that youre taking care of, and its so
mortifying I can barely breathe.
Everly. He comes around the desk and steps toward me. I want
to hit him, yell at him, scream at him, but I cant. His face is full
of genuine concern as he comes toward me, his hands up in a
soft gesture. None of that was my intention.
I dont know what you intended, Logan, but this is bad.
I hear you, he says softly. Well fix it.
How? I ask him. The damage is done already.
I dont know, he admits. He stops right in front of me and
puts his hands down. But the last thing I want is for this
arrangement to negatively impact you. I know its going to be
hard, but I dont want that hardship to last after were finished.
I take a deep breath and slowly let it out. You should have
asked me.
Youre right. he admits. I should have. Youre as much a part
of this as I am now.
You cant do something like that without my consent, I say to
him. Any big public moves have to be run by me, or Im out.
Okay, he agrees. I promise, from now on, youre a part of
every conversation.
I stare at him, and as much as I want to hate him, I just dont. I
keep seeing the man from a few days ago who was so excited to
find out that Alexa is really his daughter. I keep seeing the
handsome, muscular and intense man that nearly kissed me in
Richards office. I want to hate him, but I dont.
That doesnt mean Im not angry with him. He should have
consulted me first, but at least hes willing to admit that he was
wrong about that.
What am I going to do now? I ask him finally.
Keep working, he says. This thing, its new. But soon, people
will move on.
How can you be so sure?
Have you ever seen gossip last in the office for more than a few
weeks? He shakes his head and takes my hands in his. I
promise, Everly, this will pass. The best thing you can do is to
just head back downstairs and do your job. Keep your head down
and dont react to anything.
Just sit and wait, I say. I dont know why but I dont pull my
hands away from his. Although Im so angry with him, hes still
calming me down.
I know, it sounds stupid and simplistic, but its the truth. Just
go back to work and let it all blow over.
I sigh and shake my head. This really sucks, you know that.
I know. Im a huge asshole.
Yeah. You are.
He grins at me. Want to punch me or something?
Yes, I say. But I think that would just look worse. Can you
imagine the blog post?
Marketing Girl Punches Billionaire Daddy, he says with a huge
smirk.
Oh gross, I say, pulling my hands away. Im going back to
work, but Im still pissed with you.
Good. Youll get through this. I promise.
Yeah, sure. I turn away from him and leave his office.
I dont bother looking at his secretary as I go back to the
elevator. I stand there for a second, debating what I should do. I
can head back downstairs, finish the day, and keep pushing
forward like he says. Or I can just go back into his apartment and
forget about working entirely. I know hed support me, at least
in the meantime. And when this is over, I can just skip the
promotion and use the money to support myself until I find a
new job. One million dollars is a lot of money and Id be pretty
comfortable.
But no, thats not what I want. Ive always wanted a career. I
want to earn what I have, even if this deal is something of a
shortcut. I hit the elevator down button and I decide to go back to
my desk.
Hes an asshole and an arrogant jerk, but he was able to calm me
down surprisingly well. Ill hand him that. But Im not going to
just forgive him. Logan Ray better earn back my trust, or this is
all going to fall apart.
9

LOGAN

I think we fucked up. I stare at Richard across the


table and he just sighs.
How so? he asks.
The marriage announcement. It took Everly by surprise.
You knew that, he points out.
But I didnt anticipate the way the office would ostracize her.
He nods slowly, his face impassive. And what can we do
about that?
Nothing now, I say, getting slightly annoyed. I came all the
way out to see Richard just to get his advice, not to hear him
patronize me.
Richard is silent for a second. You like this girl, dont you?
I narrow my eyes at him. What are you implying?
He grins and puts his hands up. Im implying that you like her.
No need to get defensive.
I grunt and look away. I respect her, I say carefully.
Sure, you respect her. Maybe you need to show her that.
How? I ask, turning back to him.
Look man, youve been with plenty of women. Why are you
asking me for advice?
I raise an eyebrow at that. He has a pretty good point. Ive never
had issues with women in the past, but this thing with Everly is
driving me insane. There are so many layers to whatevers
happening between us that I just cant keep them all afloat.
But hes right. If this were a normal situation, I know exactly
what Id do.
I grin at him and stand. Thanks for the advice, I say.
He sighs. The look on your face doesnt reassure me.
No worries, I say. I have a plan.
Logan, dont do something stupid, he says as I head to
the door.
I never do, I reply.
Seriously, dont. Just, whatever youre about to do, dont do
anything dumb.
I grin at him one last time before leaving his office.

I SQUEEZE her hand as we get out of the car. Shes completely


blindfolded and clearly very nervous about it. Alexa is at home
with the nanny, an older Finnish woman named Helga who came
highly recommended.
Okay, seriously, Logan, she says. I dont like this. Where are
we going?
Just a little bit further, I say to her, leading her along slowly.
Okay, two steps up. Ready?
We make it up the stairs and keep moving.
Were still outside, she says. Are we close?
Very close, I say.
I dont know how I let you talk me into this, she grumbles,
which only makes me laugh.
Its two days after Everly got angry at me. Shes been a little
distant since then, but she took my advice and is still going to
work. I think things are getting better, but I havent really tried
to find out. I dont want to make things worse by prying.
But this is my way of trying to make it up to her. It took a lot of
work and money, but I know shes going to love it. Maybe its
stupid, like Richard warned me against, but I couldnt help
myself. When the idea hit me, I just ran with it. Im not the type
to second-guess my gut feelings.
Okay, reach out, I say.
She does, and slowly she grasps the hard plastic wall. What
is this?
Other hand, I say, and she reaches the other one out too.
Okay. Are you ready?
So ready, you have no idea, she says.
Okay. I reach up, take the blindfold, which wasnt easy to
convince her to wear, by the way, and I pull it off.
She gasps when she sees the ice skating rink in front of her.
What is this? she asks.
Were ice skating, I say to her, grinning.
Holy crap. She looks up at me with a huge smile on her face.
How? Its the middle of summer.
At enormous expense. We have about an hour before it starts to
melt. Want to get started?
She shakes her head and laughs, absolutely floored. I knew shed
like it, but her reaction is surpassing my expectations. I cant
help but grin along as I lead her over to a bench. We take our
shoes off and put the skates on.
The rink is located in the middle of a park. Normally, its open to
the public, but I rented out the entire section and hired security
to keep people away. On top of that, I hired a specialty company
that promised to get the rink frozen and ready for me in two
days, which they actually did. I think I paid them a small fortune,
but the ice is here, and it looks steady.
I cant believe this, Everly says. Seriously, its like sixty
degrees out right now. And were not even inside.
Youd be amazed what you can accomplish with a little
hard work.
She laughs and finishes tying her skates. We stand up together
and wobble over to the rink entrance. Ready? I ask her.
Ready. I push open the door and we step out onto the ice.
I havent been skating in a long time, but its like riding a bike. It
comes back pretty fast. We glide ahead and Im surprised at how
good of a skater she is.
Whered you learn? I ask her.
Figure skating when I was a kid, she says. My parents didnt
have much, but my mom knew the woman that gave lessons,
and she agreed to do them free for us. I didnt know I was a
charity case until later.
Your mom must love you, I say to her.
Whys that?
Well, you hate charity, right? Im sure she does, too. I bet it
wasnt easy asking that woman for a favor like that and
admitting she couldnt pay.
Everly frowns for a second as we make the turn, gliding down the
ice. Thats a good point.
She must have done a lot for you, your mother.
Yeah, Everly says. I never thought about it that way.
Good. I grin at her. Now, lets see how fast you can go.
I speed ahead, skating as fast as I can, but Everly easily catches
up to me. She makes a face as she skids to a stop and starts
heading back the other way.
Shes clearly the better skater of the two of us, but I can hold my
own. I catch up with her at the other end, running into her and
grabbing her, turning around and laughing as we bump into the
far wall. She laughs and pushes me away.
This isnt hockey, you animal, she says.
I smirk at her. Guess I like to be physical.
Figure skating is physical, its just beautiful, too. She skates
away and does a little spin. Its grace and power.
Very graceful, I say, making her laugh. She does another spin.
Howd you know I liked to skate, anyway? she asks.
You mentioned it once, while we were working a few
weeks ago.
She frowns at me. I dont remember that.
We were talking about winter campaigns and you mentioned
kids skating on a lake. And then I asked if you knew how to
skate, and you told me you love it.
She blinks. Wow. Okay. I cant believe you remember that.
I have a good memory, I say, though the truth is I only have a
very good memory for people that I genuinely like.
Clearly. That was a really offhand comment.
What can I say? Steel trap. I tap my forehead.
She laughs and skates past me again. I chase after her, which
only makes her laugh. Eventually I catch her again, pulling her
against the wall. I know she let me catch her, but I like that even
better. She wants me to grab her and touch her, spin her around,
manhandle her. I know she likes it.
She laughs and skates backwards away from me. I skate next to
her and we fall into a nice, slow, lazy loop around the rink.
You didnt have to do this, you know, she says eventually.
Whys that?
I wouldnt have been mad at you forever.
I know, I say slowly. But I wanted to end that sooner rather
than later.
Why? she asks, head cocked at me.
You know why. I look back at her seriously, not trying to mask
my expression.
She looks away, blushing. Well, this is nice. I didnt think Id
get on skates until winter, at least.
With me around, you can do whatever you want, I say.
Even things that defy the seasons.
Especially things that defy the seasons. Nothing better than
incredibly inconvenient activities.
She laughs and spins around, skating a little bit faster. I let her
go, content with watching her move. Shes shockingly graceful,
although I shouldnt be surprised. Shes graceful normally, just
in the way she moves around the apartment, picks up Alexa, or
even just makes coffee. I love the way her long dark hair blows
behind her as she moves, and her long legs are muscular and
gorgeous as she turns and crosses over, moving faster and faster,
a blissful smile on her face.
I lean up against the wall as she starts doing some figure skating
jumps. Just little jumps, just testing herself at first. Shes
surprisingly good at it. I can tell that although she hasnt done it
seriously since she was a girl, she probably practices every
winter, just for the fun of it. After maybe twenty minutes, shes
breathing heavier and a little tired. She looks sexy as fuck with a
slight sheen of sweat on her skin. She skates over to me and
comes to a stop, breathing a little heavily.
Sorry about that, she says.
Dont be. I liked watching.
I just I like doing that sometimes. Blows off steam. In the
winter, I usually try and get on skates like twice a month.
Really? I ask her.
She nods, grinning. I really like it.
Good. Im glad this is what I chose, then.
Come on. She tugs my hand and we start skating again.
Its been about forty-five minutes, and our time is running out. I
can see some small puddles starting to form in the ice, and I
cant help but wonder if that hour estimate was a little generous.
Everly doesnt seem to mind though, and I dont either. As long
as shes happy and having a good time, Im happy.
This was what I wanted. I needed a big gesture just to show her
that I care about her feelings. Maybe I can be blinded by my own
desire and beliefs, but at least I can admit when Im wrong and I
try to make up for it.
She slips her hand into mine as we skate along. I smile to myself
but I dont say anything about it, not wanting to scare her off.
As we come around the bend, her skate suddenly catches in one
of the puddles. The ice underneath is softer, and it pulls her
foot back.
Shit, she says.
I grab onto her as she nearly falls. But as I catch her, I slip and
tumble backwards, slamming down onto the ice.
Fuck, I say as I come to a halt.
Everly was pulled on top of me, but she looks unhurt. My ass is
probably going to be bruised, and maybe my ego as well, but Im
fine otherwise.
She looks down at me, her hair spilling all around, a healthy
blush on her cheeks. You okay? she asks softly.
Im good, I say. Shes inches away from me, her body pressed
against mine. I reach up and put my hand on the small of her
back, and I swear I feel her shiver, a slight expression of pleasure
crossing her face.
But the moment quickly ends. We should get off the ice, she
says, pulling herself to her feet.
Youre probably right. I think the guy said that there are sharks
under here.
She grins at me. Ice sharks?
The worst kind. I climb to my feet, wishing she hadnt pulled
away. Theyre aggressive and mean.
Cold-blooded bastards.
I laugh and we head over to the gate. We step off the ice, sit back
down on the bench, and start to take off our skates.
Sorry this didnt last longer, I say to her.
Im just happy I got to do it, she says, and pauses to look at
me. Seriously, Logan, thank you. That was really nice.
Im just glad you liked it.
We look at each other for a moment before she looks away again.
I smirk to myself and finish taking off my skates.
She wants to kiss me. I can see it in her eyes. But shes afraid,
and every time I get close, she pulls away. I dont know what she
thinks is going to happen if she finally gives in to what she
wants, but I can promise that shell like it. It doesnt matter
now, though. Were heading back home, and the moment
is gone.
But there will be other moments. And soon Im going to have
what I want, and shes going to wonder why she ever second-
guessed giving in to me.
10
EVERLY

I cant stop thinking about that skating rink all the next
day at work. Its the only thing I can concentrate on,
which is good, because the whispering hasnt gone away yet.
But for some reason, it doesnt bother me as much at all. I keep
thinking about what Logan said to me, and I think hes right.
People are going to move on from this sooner or later. And
besides, I have to be strong. I know this little task I have before
me is pretty difficult, and I cant let these things get in the way.
Im doing this for a reason, and I need to keep that reason in
sight.
Although maybe Im not so sure what that reason really is
anymore. Not since Logan somehow took me on the perfect date.
I was under the impression that whatever I said to him while we
were working went in one ear and out the other, since hes
always been so arrogant and cocky. But apparently he listened
and remembered one tiny thing I said to him one time, and
somehow he spun that into the most amazing date Ive ever
been on.
And it was a date, I cant fool myself. He took me there because I
was angry with him, but I saw the way he was looking at me. And
there was that moment when we fell together. I know he was
about to kiss me, and I really wanted him to, but I freaked. I
panicked and pulled away because Im an idiot.
Why shouldnt I kiss him? So far, Ive been thinking about him
as the arrogant asshole boss that I remember from before the
night that changed everything. But hes changing, or at least he
is toward me. Hes kinder, more thoughtful, and hes learning to
be such a good dad that Im actually really impressed. He was so
happy when he found out about Alexa, and hes going the extra
mile to try and win me over.
So why keep resisting him? Maybe I just want to make sure that I
dont let myself forget what were really doing. This is a job,
after all, and I should try and keep it professional if I can. Logan
of all people should understand that, and yet I dont see
anything professional about the way he looks at me.
I cant decide what I really want as the workday ends. I head back
to my own apartment to pick up a few things that I forgot, more
importantly my personal laptop. I usually Skype with my mom,
but I havent had my laptop with me, so I havent been in touch
with her really.
Which is pretty bad, considering whats going on. It takes me
about twenty minutes to get across town to my apartment. Its a
little tiny studio on the fourth floor of an old building on the
west side of the city. I head up the stairs and unlock my door,
pushing my way inside.
It looks just like I left it. For some reason though, I dont really
miss it.
I guess thats not surprising. Logans apartment is much, much
nicer. I dont have to worry about it getting too hot at night
because my building doesnt have air conditioning. I dont have
to listen to my neighbors having sex late into the night, or to the
sound of police cars whizzing by outside at all hours. I havent
seen a single cockroach since I started staying at Logans.
I drop my keys on the counter and grab a bag from my closet. It
takes me just a few minutes to grab a few things, hair products,
makeup, that sort of stuff. I pack it all into a backpack before
finally grabbing my laptop and flipping open the lid.
I log in and check out my Skype app. I sigh and shake my head at
the five missed calls from my mother.
Im such an asshole. On a whim, I decide to give her a call, just in
case she happens to be around.
Her image pops up after the second ring, almost like she was
waiting for me to call. Shes wearing her glasses with her short
brown hair tucked back behind her ears. She smiles when she
sees me and I cant help but smile back.
Hey, Mom, I say to her.
Hey, yourself. Where have you been? I thought you were dead.
Not dead yet, I say. Just been really busy with, uh, work.
I realize that my mom knows nothing about my arrangement. I
got married recently and she has no clue. My own mother
doesnt know that Im married to one of the richest men in the
world. I consciously keep my left hand out of the frame. I dont
want her to see the ring.
Too busy to call your mother, huh, she says. Look at you. Big
city girl.
Mom, you know its not like that.
I know, sweetie. I just worry.
You dont have to. I sigh and frown at her. Im totally safe.
Nobodys safe living in that city. She makes a face.
I cant help but smile. She has no clue where Im living now.
Naturally, she hates my tiny little apartment in a bad
neighborhood, even though its perfectly safe and Ive been fine
here. I cant really blame her. Shes from a small town and raised
me in a small town, and doesnt understand why I wouldnt want
to live there my whole life.
I feel so guilty about not telling her sooner. I dont even know if I
want to tell her now, but I know Ill only feel worse if I keep it
from her. I cant tell her the whole story, and I know shes going
to be so disappointed in me, but I have to deal with that. I dont
want to be a sneaky person who hides this stuff from my mom.
Listen, I need to tell you something, I say.
Sounds ominous.
Its not. I mean, it is, a little bit. I take a deep breath. Mom, I
got married.
She stares at me blankly. What?
I got married. To a man.
She laughs, clearly not believing me. No, you didnt.
Yes, I did. It was a small ceremony in front of a judge.
I can see the realization slowly dawn on her face. Im not joking,
not at all. When? she asks.
Not long ago, I say. Im sorry I didnt tell you sooner.
Is this what you were busy with? she asks.
I guess so, yeah, I say.
Who is it? Who did you marry? Oh, Everly.
Mom, hes a good guy. Youd like him.
Well, can I meet him? she asks.
I shake my head. Not yet. Soon though.
Everly. You got married to someone and I dont even know what
his name is.
His name is Logan, I say. Look, Im sorry, it all happened so
fast. I have to go.
Everly, she says. Are you in trouble?
No, Mom, I say, sighing. Im perfectly okay.
You just got married without telling me, to a man I dont know.
Im worried. And a little disappointed. Why wouldnt you
tell me?
Mom. I say softly. Please, I promise its okay. Ill tell you
more soon, okay?
Please, I really hope youre being safe.
I am. Ill talk to you soon.
I close the lid and end the call before she can reply. I know shell
keep me on Skype for hours if I let her.
I feel so freaking guilty. I hate myself just a little bit. The look on
her face was pure hurt and disappointment, and I hate that Im
letting her down. My parents have such a small-town mentality
and theyre very conservative, I know theyll never understand
this. They probably wont forgive me for it. I just hope my
relationship with my mother doesnt suffer too much.
I lean back on my crappy old couch when my phone vibrates. I
check it, afraid that its my mother, but its a text from Logan.
Cars waiting for you outside.
I frown at it. What? I send back.
Were going to dinner. I sent a car to pick you up.
Im at my apartment, I type.
I know. Its waiting. Take your time.
I get up and walk over to the window. Sure enough, theres a
black town car waiting out front. I think I can recognize the
driver.
You didnthave to do that, I send him.
Sure I did. Now get in that car and come meet me.
I cant help but smile a little bit. He didnt know that I was going
to tell my mom about him and that it was going to be really hard.
And yet hes doing this nice thing for me anyway.
I gather my stuff and carry it to the door. I hesitate for a second,
looking at the small apartment in this dirty, broken-down
building, and I know I dont miss it.
I hurry downstairs, excited to see my rich and famous husband,
even if hes not my real husband. Sometimes, faking it is better
than the real thing.
11
LOGAN

I lean back in my seat at the bar, sipping my whisky on


the rocks. The nanny is back at the apartment,
watching Alexa, and I cant wait to see Everly.
I know maybe I shouldnt be so excited, but I cant help myself. I
could see the desire in her at the ice skating rink, and Im
starting to get impatient. I want to take this to the next level,
and I want to do it sooner rather than later.
Everly shows up not long after I messaged her. She smiles when
she spots me and I motion for her to sit in the empty stool to
my left.
Whats the occasion? she asks as she leans up against the bar.
Nothing, I say. Just wanted to do something, and I wanted
you to come with me.
She smiles slightly. Were you feeling lonely?
I grin. Never.
Well, one of us is busy, you know.
Dont forget that Im your boss, I say to her. I know exactly
what you do all day.
Are you spying on me?
I lean toward her and wink. Im spying on everyone.
Creepy.
I laugh and lean back. Want to get a table?
She frowns and looks around. Its packed. And this place is
really nice.
Youre with me. Come on. I stand up, grab my drink, and head
over to the hostesss table. She spots me coming, smiles, and
instantly picks up two menus.
Right this way, Mr. Ray, she says.
I grin at Everly and she rolls her eyes. Apparently blatant
displays of wealth and power arent going to impress her, but I
dont care. The hostess takes us into the back of the restaurant
and seats us at a little table tucked into a corner. Its perfectly
private.
We sit down and Everly shakes her head. How do you do it?
Friends with the chef, I say. They know me here.
Of course they do.
Whats that supposed to mean?
She grins at me and shrugs. Youre just from a different world
than me, is all.
Not true, I say. I wasnt always this rich and powerful.
She rolls her eyes at that. Oh, come on, Logan. You exist in a
whole different stratosphere.
I sigh. I cant deny that. But its not like I havent earned it.
I know. Thats true. Im just not used to this kind of
treatment.
Well, youre with me, Everly. So get used to it.
She cant help but smile as I sip my drink and look at the menu. I
already know what I want, but Im giving Everly a chance to take
a look and decide.
The waitress comes by and takes our orders not long later. I
always get the pasta with mussels here, and Everly orders the
chicken breast. It sounds boring, but nothing here is boring.
I sip my drink and watch her as she looks around. I dont think
Ive ever eaten in a place like this, she says.
A place like what? I ask.
You know what I mean. Expensive.
Is it expensive? I ask, pretending. I guess I hadnt noticed.
She rolls her eyes again. Youre infuriating.
Sometimes, you have to pay for quality. I lean toward her.
Like with you.
She narrows her eyes. Whats that mean?
Youre an expensive investment, but youre worth it.
Please dont talk about me like Im some car.
Not just any car. An expensive, beautiful car.
Do you want me to leave?
No, no, stay. I laugh and lean back. Ill behave.
She sighs. Its fine. I just had a stressful day. Well, really just a
stressful Skype call.
I raise an eyebrow. What happened?
I told my mother.
It takes me a second to understand what shes talking about.
Oh shit. How did she take it?
Not well, but not too bad, either, Everly says. I think I cut the
call off before she could really freak out too much.
Im sorry. That must be hard.
No, its okay. I could have avoided it entirely, since this isnt
going to last forever. But I just felt bad not telling her.
For some reason, it bothers me when she says that this wont
last forever. I know that we have a literal contract stating that
this relationship is going to end after Chester signs the land sale
paperwork, but even still. I dont know whats fucking
happening with me, but I like having Everly around, and I dont
want her to have to go back to her shitty little apartment over on
the west side.
Our food comes not long later and the conversation naturally
drifts toward Alexa and the shelter project. Everly is still the
main person in charge of marketing for the whole endeavor, so
we still have a lot of work to do together. The strain seems to
have gone out of it, though, and the planning feels like its easier
now that we have this arrangement.
Dinner goes smoothly, and although were talking business most
of the night, I still have a good time. I dont know what it is
about her, but I like just having a conversation with her, even if
its about business. She has this laugh thats infectious, and
little habits that drive me wild, like the way she bites her lower
lip when shes thinking.
Eventually I pay the check and we head out. Lets walk a bit, I
say to her. Its nice out.
Okay. She seems like shes in a good mood as we head out
onto the sidewalk.
The apartment isnt far from here, but Im in the mood to go the
long way. I cut down a side street and we head through the park,
winding our way down the tree-lined paths.
I was told never to go in here after dark, she says to me.
I laugh. Dont worry. Youre with me.
Do you have some magical mugger repellent?
Of course I do, he says. All the rich people have it.
She laughs and moves closer to me as we round a bend. I take the
opportunity to grab her hand and pull her closer to me. She
doesnt seem to mind it as we continue walking.
You know, I used to be afraid of this city, she says.
Really? I grin at her a little bit. Why?
Im from a small town, and everyone back home thinks that the
city is full of drugs and thieves and disease. Everyone thinks its
like the worst place in the world to live.
Whyd you come here, then?
She bites her lower lip, sending a shiver of desire down my
spine.
I guess for all the reasons anyone moves away from home.
I nod my head slowly. You wanted to get away. Start your
own life.
And back home, I would never have had my own life, she says.
It would always have been the life my parents wanted for me.
So you came to the big scary city.
Thats right. Packed up my bags and ran away. She laughs
softly. I had big dreams, you know.
Look at you now. Married to a billionaire. Lucky girl.
She gives me a look. Youre the lucky one.
Please. You know how many women tried to lock me down over
the years?
Gold diggers, every one of them.
I laugh and smirk at her. And youre not?
That makes her pause. I mean, we dont have a real
relationship, she says finally. Its a business transaction. So
its okay if Im only in it for the money.
I guess thats true, I say, but I stop walking.
She turns and faces me. What?
You keep saying that youre only in this for the money. I cock
my head.
She bites her lip again. I know.
Its not just that, though, is it?
She hesitates. I dont know what you mean.
I reach forward and pull her toward me. She doesnt resist at all
as I grab her and pull her body against mine. She puts her hands
on my chest and looks up into my eyes as I smirk down at her.
Pretend like its just a business thing all you want, little wife,
but its more than that for you. I can see it every time you look
at me.
She glances away from my gaze, but I reach up and take her chin,
pulling her back toward me.
You dont know anything, she says.
I know everything. And I always get what I want.
Youre arrogant.
You make me want to strip your clothes off right here
and now.
Logan, she says softly, eyes wide.
You make me so fucking hard, Everly. Since the moment I met
you, Ive been wondering what it would be like to wind my
fingers through that thick dark hair of yours while I fuck your
tight little cunt from behind. I want to hear your moans as I slide
my thick cock between your legs. Fuck, Everly. I know you want
it, too.
Her lips are hanging open, but she doesnt say a word. I reach up
and take her hair, grabbing it in my fist, and I kiss her hard
and deep.
She kisses me back, melting against my embrace. Instantly Im
hard and I sink into the kiss like an iceberg. I need this so badly,
and I cant get enough of her incredible taste. I want to taste
every single inch of her, I need every single inch of her, and she
has no clue how badly.
Her tongue rolls against mine, and this is far from professional,
but I dont care. I need this girl. I want to fuck her right here,
take her up against a tree, fuck her rough and right. Make her
feel the way I need her to feel.
But just as the kiss begins, it comes to an end. Nearby, theres a
noise in the forest, a cracking of sticks. Everly pulls away,
eyes wide.
Did you hear that? she asks.
I look around. Not really, I say, not wanting that kiss to end.
Logan. She hits my chest. Someones coming.
Theres another cracking twig, closer now, just off the path.
Everly steps around behind me, gripping my arm, clearly afraid.
But as she steps behind me, a raccoon emerges from the trees. It
looks up at us, moonlight reflecting off its eyes, and then
scuttles away back into the underbrush.
Told you I had mugger repellent, I say.
Asshole, Everly says, laughing, clearly relieved. I thought
someone was coming.
Just a raccoon. I take her hand. Come on, lets get back. Alexa
is waiting.
Yeah, okay.
We walk quickly back down the path, the moment over for now.
I cant stop thinking about that kiss as we go back to the
apartment. Even when we relieve the nanny and I check on little
Alexa sleeping in her crib, I still keep thinking about that kiss.
I dont know what Everly wants from this. But its becoming
clear to me what I want: Everlys body, pressed against mine, as
she moans into my ear. And I wont stop until I get what I want.
I head back into my bedroom to take off my work clothes and to
change into something a little more comfortable. Once Im
finished, I go pour myself another drink in the kitchen. Everly is
in her room, though I dont know what shes doing. Part of me
wants to burst in there and take her right now, but I know better
than that.
Just as Im settling into the couch with my drink, I hear
something. Its a thud. And then she screams.
I jump to my feet. She screams again. I drop my drink on the
floor as I run to her, all thoughts of anything but Everly banished
from my mind.
12
EVERLY

T hat kiss was better than I expected, and that actually


scares me a little bit. I expected to like it, of course,
but not as much as I did.
By the time he let me go, I was dripping wet and ready to do
whatever he wanted. If that raccoon hadnt come along and
scared the heck out of me, I would have given in to him. I know I
would have let him do whatever he wanted right then and there,
right in the park where anybody could have caught us. I wanted
him that badly, and all just from a single kiss.
Thats what scares me. Normally, Im more reserved than that. I
can control myself. But with Logan, Im not sure I really can
control myself at all.
When we get back to the apartment, I head back into my room to
unpack the stuff I brought. I get changed, used the bathroom,
and then climb onto my bed with my laptop in my lap. I pop
open the lid and just intend to mess around online before
heading to bed. I still have to work in the morning, and its
getting a little late. I dont want the boss to think Im shirking
my duties by staying up until all hours of the night.
As I check my email, something catches my eye. I havent been
looking at my personal email for a few days, just because Ive
been distracted. But this is from someone I dont recognize, and
the subject line is pretty creepy.
Pictures prove youre a liar, Everly.
I stare at the email before clicking on it. Theres a little text at
the top, which I read first.
I know youre not telling the truth about you and Logan, but I
dont know why. Ill figure it out soon, though. And when I do,
youll be mine.
A shiver runs down my spine and I can feel fear growing in my
gut. I dont know who sent this, but someone suspects that my
relationship with Logan isnt real. Im already on edge from that
creepy walk home, and now this is just shoving me over
the edge.
I scroll down and there are pictures of me, each one dated. And
each one shows that Im not pregnant.
But what I find at the bottom of the email makes me scream.
Its a picture I took a couple of years ago, a sexy picture. Im not
usually the dirty selfies kind, but I was flirting with a guy back
then, and it was fun. The picture isnt naked, Im covering the
important bits with my hands, but its still very revealing.
And I never showed it to anyone before. Not even to the guy. I
took the picture and kept it on my phone but I never sent it.
I dont know why I scream. But I shove my computer away,
horrified. I dont even realize that I screamed until Logan pushes
open my door, concern on his face.
Everly, he says. Whats wrong?
He rushes over to my bedside.
The email, I say, pointing at my computer. Shit, nobody
should have that. Logan, how does he have that?
Im babbling and not making any sense, I know, but I cant think
straight. Im so creeped out and feel so incredibly violated.
Logan picks up my laptop and scrolls through the message,
reading it with a concerned look on his face.
When he gets to the bottom picture, something flashes across
his expression, but it quickly disappears. He closes the lid and
looks at me. What shouldnt he have? he asks.
I take a deep breath, getting ahold of myself. That last picture,
I say. I took it for a guy two years ago. But I never sent it. Ive
just had it on my phone.
Damn, he says softly. Do you know what this means?
I shake my head, but I think I already know.
Someone hacked your phone, he says. I dont know who or
how, but they must have.
Why include that picture? I ask him.
Whoever did this must want you to realize that he has access to
your phone. I think someone is messing with you.
I take a deep breath again, trying to calm myself, but my heart is
hammering in my chest. I dont know why Ive been so jumpy
lately, but theres just something about this situation thats
causing me a ton of stress. Its probably because Im lying to the
whole world right now, including my own mother.
Ive never been good at this sort of thing. I usually pride myself
on being a good person. Lying about being married to a man just
to trick someone else into selling a property is so outside of my
normal self that Im amazed Im even doing it.
But theres just something about Logan that I cant deny. He
frowns at me for a second before looking through the email
again. I watch his handsome face, etched with concern, go
through the whole thing again.
It only occurs to me after he reads it a second time that hes
looking at that mostly-naked picture of me. I quickly reach
forward and grab the computer from him. Okay, thats
enough, I say, blushing like crazy.
He looks confused for a second then grins. Come on, Everly.
You dont need to keep looking.
He laughs softly. Not going to pretend that I dont like that
picture. But thats not what Im doing.
Im sure.
You do look good, though. You can barely cover your breasts
with your arm.
I blush even more. Enough.
Im just saying. Theres something incredibly sexy about a
woman that can barely contain herself. And you can barely keep
it under control.
I can control myself just fine, thanks.
Tell that to your lips. He smirks and steps closer to me.
Theyve been hanging open, begging to be kissed.
Logan, I say.
He grins at me but doesnt move. Dont worry. Im going to
take care of this.
I let out a breath. How?
I know some people. Ill make some calls.
What am I supposed to do with this now, though?
Keep it, he says. Im going to need that email.
But it had that picture. I blush again and look away. People
are going to see it.
Maybe, he concedes. But I promise only people that
absolutely need to see it will see it.
I sigh. This is going too far. I didnt sign up for this.
I know you didnt. And I promise, whoever did this is going
to pay.
I look at him and I believe him. I dont know why, but I do. Who
do you think it was?
I dont know, he admits. Could be a few people.
How many enemies do you have? I ask, exasperated.
Im rich, Everly. When youre as wealthy as I am, people come
after you. Its impossible to avoid.
And Im just caught in the crossfire?
Maybe, he says slowly. But I dont know. This looked
targeted. I didnt get anything, but you did.
Maybe they think Im an easier target.
He grins at that. Maybe. But theyre in for a rude surprise. He
steps even closer to me and sits down on the bed, leaning toward
me. Because youre mine now, Everly. And Im going to take
care of you.
I stare into his gorgeous eyes for a second before he reaches out,
takes my hair, and pulls me toward him.
I fall into his kiss again. His mouth opens and his tongue rolls
against mine, sending shivers down my spine. I kiss him full and
deep, wanting it so badly. I want him to make me forget all about
this email. I want him to make me feel good again.
Slowly we kiss like that, but finally we break apart. Youre
safe, he says. But I need something from you.
Anything, I say, a little breathless.
His smirk is maddening. I need your laptop.
I hesitate. Are you sure?
Im sure. I promise I wont snoop. And Ill get you a new one.
I sigh. Okay. I push the laptop toward him.
He takes it. Itll be safe. Ill have someone look into this. He
stands up. Get some sleep.
Yeah, okay, I say.
He walks to the door and hesitates. Look you can back out of
this. Whenever you want.
I blink at him. I didnt say I wanted that.
I know. But I want you to know that the option is there.
Thanks, I say, a little surprised.
But I dont want you to go. I just understand if this is
too much.
Okay. Im not sure what to say. I dont want to leave, but Im
really freaked out by that email.
He smiles at me before leaving and shutting the door behind
him. I collapse back into the bed, conflicting feelings swirling
inside of me.
On the one hand, I kissed Logan twice now, and both times were
incredible. But on the other, that email was one of the most
horrifying things Ive ever gotten, and I dont know how to feel
about it.
I decide to go to bed and put this off until tomorrow. Ill deal
with all of this then and hopefully Logan is able to figure it all
out. I have to trust him. I dont know what else to do.
13
LOGAN

Y ou should have seen the look on her face.


Richard frowns over his desk. In the picture?
No, you ass, I say, but hesitate. I mean, you should have seen
that look too, it was
Logan, Richard cuts in.
Right, I say, gathering myself. She was horrified. I mean,
really, truly horrified. I dont think Ive ever seen someone
feeling so exposed.
Can you blame her? he asks me.
Of course not. Im fucking angry as hell about it.
You should be. Sharing a womans private photographs like
that is the lowest of the low.
I couldnt agree more, I say, leaning back in my chair.
Were sitting in Richards office again. Its the day after we
discovered the threatening emails on Everlys account, and Im
trying to figure out what to do. Richard is the only person I know
that really understands the situation Im in, but more than that,
he has certain connections.
Richard is one of the best litigators in the city, and that means
people are always seeking his services. Most of the time, theyre
normal people and companies looking for someone with
experience help them out. But sometimes, he deals with less
than savory types.
In fact, I know the mafia keeps him on retainer. Ive seen some
of his clients coming and going, and I know those arent normal
guys packing heat under their Armani suits. He doesnt go into
detail about them, since its client privilege after all, but he
hasnt denied working with some of the underground before.
Richard isnt a corrupt guy. Its just that, when youre a lawyer of
his standing, certain people are going to want things from you.
The mafia is a powerful part of this city, and when they come
calling, you cant turn them away. Its dangerous to your health
to turn them down, even if they are violent criminals. They pay
him well and he does his job, but I know it weighs heavily on
him. But he cant say no, or else things could get bad.
You know people, I say to him. People that can help.
He raises an eyebrow. You know the same people that I know,
Logan.
Thats not entirely true. I lean toward him, meeting his gaze.
You know people that can do things.
He sighs. Look, just come out and say it.
I need a computer expert to figure this thing out, I say.
I still dont know why youd come to me for that.
I dont want someone legal, I say slowly.
His eyes narrow. Youre looking for a hacker?
A serious one, I say. This isnt some bullshit game. I know
you have connections, even if you cant talk about it. All Im
asking for is an introduction.
He watches me for a second, and I have no clue what hes
thinking. Ive never pushed against Richard like this before. I
know his mafia connections are strictly off-limits for us, and
thats always been fine, at least until now. Hes doing so much
for me, I feel bad asking for more, but I dont know where to go.
As backwards as it may sound, I dont trust someone on the right
side of the law. Whoever did this to Everly did an awful thing,
and I want to make sure they pay. I dont want someone to tell
me steps to take to ensure that Everly will be safe in the future. I
want someone who will go on the attack for me, hunt this
bastard down, make him pay.
Richard finally sighs. I think I know a guy.
Just a number and I can do the rest.
He shakes his head. Ill contact him for you, and if hes
interested, hell want to do everything through me. Is
that okay?
Fine, I say. Whatever needs to happen.
Just for the record, I think this is a bad idea.
I know you do. But I cant let this stand.
I know you cant. He sighs again and shakes his head. Youre
really digging in deep on this one.
I know. Not exactly like me, is it?
Just be careful, okay? Richard looks genuinely concerned,
though I dont know why. You seem like youre getting too
close.
He may be right about that. Im definitely feeling more involved
than I thought I would. When I came up with this idea, I figured
it was going to be a short-term thing, and Id barely see Everly
anyway. Shed be like an actress that I hired.
Instead, shes living in my apartment and helping me raise my
baby daughter. Shes quickly becoming a part of my life in
exactly the way that shes supposedly pretending to be. Its
bizarre, but it feels comfortable, like she belongs with me. And I
do feel angry about this violation. I cant let it stand.
I protect the people that I care about. Maybe I work people too
hard and push them as far as I can, but I also take care of them. I
pay my employees exceptionally well, and our policies are always
incredibly lenient. I think of my staff and my employees like my
extended family, and I treat them that way.
Which is why Im going to pursue the person that did this to
Everly. Shes my wife right now, even if its just some fake
arrangement. Im going to take care of her like shes my wife for
real, frankly because it makes me feel good.
I stand up and nod at Richard. Thanks again.
Ill contact you soon. Can you leave the laptop here?
Sure, I say. I pull it out of my briefcase and place it on one of
his side tables. Talk to you soon.
He waves as I leave his office, my mind occupied on my next
steps.
I know Im taking a risk by hiring a hacker, but I have to trust
that Richard wouldnt put me in touch with someone truly
malicious. Not all hackers are bad people, after all. True, they
break the law and explore computer systems that theyre not
supposed to have access to, but that doesnt mean theyre
entirely immoral. Im sure that there are hackers out there that
would be more than happy to help me with this issue.
I get back to my office and have to force the whole hacker thing
out of my mind. I have a work day ahead of me, and I cant risk
getting too caught up in distractions. But no matter how hard I
try, distractions always seem to find me these days.
About a half hour after getting back to my office, my secretary
buzzes my phone.
Yes? I say to her, wary already.
You have a call on line one. Its Chester Winterfield.
I sigh to myself. Okay, Ill take it.
I hit the button that answers line one.
Chester, how are you?
Logan, my boy, Im doing great. Chester sounds like hes in
good spirits. That means he likely doesnt know anything about
the email we got the night before. Out of everyone in the world,
Chester is the last person I want to find out, since hes the whole
reason were doing this.
Glad to hear it. We had a lovely time at dinner the other night.
Everly keeps talking about it. A little white lie combined with
flattery never hurt.
Glad to hear that, he says, sounding pleased. Youre always
welcome back, you know. That wife of yours she seems sweet.
She is, I say with sincerity. Shes a great person.
I was thinking about what you said about her. About how she
has a kid.
I take a breath. Were you?
I was. Seems like a big thing for a person to do, you know. Now,
we dont always approve of women having babies out of wedlock,
its just not right.
Of course, I say quickly. I couldnt agree more.
Good. But you marrying her and taking that baby in like its
your own, well, thats inspiring. It really is. I just wanted to call
and tell you that.
I grin to myself. He really bought it, or at least his wife Muffie
did. That could be good. Maybe theyre getting ready to actually
sign the fucking papers.
Thanks, Chester. Its been hard, you know, becoming a father.
But Im learning, and I love them.
Well, listen, the wife and I want the two of you to come to a
charity event were hosting. Since youre all about the charitable
cases, we thought youd like this.
I decide to ignore the bit about being liking charity cases and all
the implications that go with it.
Id be happy to come. Get the details over to my secretary and
Ill make sure were there.
Thanks, Logan, old boy. Youre a good man.
Of course. And thank you for the invitation.
Well see you soon then. He hangs up the phone without
another word.
I look at the receiver and hang it up slowly. I have to admit, Im
starting to get frustrated by Chester. Hes taking forever to sign
these papers, and he keeps asking things of me, trying to get
more and more from me. Hes already getting a good deal on this
land, all he needs to do is sign and get paid. But no, he needs
more from me. He needs me to be some fine, upstanding
gentleman.
Well, Im not a fucking gentleman. Im a goddamn animal, thats
what I am. I want to go home and fuck my fake wife until she
screams, and thats all I can think about. Chester Winterfield is
starting to annoy the hell out of me, but I still need him.
I have to suck it up and push forward for the sake of my
homeless shelter, and for Everly.
14
EVERLY

I thought going to charity galas was a clich people used


in movies and books. I always figured they were just
easy plot devices to get rich and powerful people together in one
room and make them talk to each other.
But apparently, rich people really do throw these charity events.
Im wearing a dress thats more expensive than a years worth of
rent, jewelry that could have paid my college tuition, and shoes
that would be a solid down payment on a small house. I feel
absolutely beautiful and totally out of place all at once as I walk
next to Logan, my hand through his arm.
Rich people mill all around us, everyone dressed in their fanciest
clothing. I can see why they throw these things. It looks more
like an excuse to drink and wear fancy clothing than an actual
charity event. Men and women are standing in groups, chatting
with each other, and I wish I could listen to every one of their
conversations. Im sure theyre hashing out deals worth millions
of dollars and that will affect thousands of people right here and
right now, just because theyre all together in this room.
Its unbelievable. The rich really do get together just to throw
some money at charity to pretend like theyre doing good, while
actually theyre networking for their own causes.
Did you spot them yet? Logan asks me.
Not yet. Im on the lookout, though. I hesitate before
squeezing his arm. Is that the guy that owns Amazon? I ask.
Logan glances in the direction of my stare. Oh, yeah, he says.
That guy gives tons of money away. Big philanthropist,
apparently.
What about you? I ask him.
Me? I donate plenty.
But youre not a big philanthropist.
He grins at me. Not yet, but why do you think were going
through all this trouble?
Good point.
We head through the entranceway and into the main ballroom.
Tables are set up in concentric circles around a central stage.
People are milling all over the place, and Im shocked at how
many rich people there actually are in this room. Wait staff
wades through the mess, giving out drinks, collecting empties,
and handing out little snacks and hors doeuvres.
As we move toward the bar, I suddenly feel a creeping sensation
roll down my spine.
I cant shrug the feeling. Its like a spider is walking across my
skin, or maybe I just stepped through a cobweb. Either way, I get
a strange chill, and I cant help but turn around.
Standing over next to a nearby table, completely alone and
holding a whisky, is Spencer Winterfield. The creepy feeling
intensifies as I realize that hes staring right at me, and hes not
breaking eye contact.
Most people look away when you catch them staring at you. Its
just a common, normal human reaction to feel a little
embarrassed when someone catches you. But Spencer doesnt
turn away. He just keeps on staring, completely unashamed that
hes looking at my body with one of the creepiest and most
intense stares Ive ever seen in my life.
But he doesnt stop there. Once he realizes that Im looking back
at him, a smile slowly spreads across his face. Hes not ashamed
at all that I was staring at him. No, he seems genuinely pleased
to have been caught.
I turn away as fast as I can, my heart hammering in my chest.
Spencer Winterfield is staring at me, I whisper to Logan.
Hes doing what? Logan asks.
Staring right at me. And smiling like a creep. Logan goes to
turn and look, but I stop him by grabbing his arm. Dont look!
Maybe he just wants to talk.
When I caught him, he didnt move to come over here. He
just smiled. It was creepy.
He smiles? Logan asks, grinning at me.
Come on, I know it sounds stupid. But seriously Logan, he gives
me the creeps. Like, majorly.
Logans grin slowly disappears and he nods. Okay. Ill keep an
eye on him.
Thank you.
We get to the bar and order drinks. Once Im given my glass of
wine, I risk a look back over at the table where Spencer was
standing, but Im relieved to find that hes gone.
I let out a breath and turn back to Logan. But as I go to sip my
drink and step away from the bar, I nearly freaking scream.
Spencer is standing right there, grinning enormously and staring
at me again. Hes closer now, and he still doesnt seem ashamed
to be looking right at me and smiling like a maniac.
Before I can say anything, though, Chester and Muffie appear
beside him. I realize that they were with him the whole time,
and I just didnt notice them.
Logan, Everly, so good of you two to make it, Chester says. He
shakes Logans hand and kisses my cheek before Im forced to go
through the greeting ritual with Muffie and Spencer.
When Spencer comes in to kiss my cheek, he lingers for a second
too long, his hand on my lower back. You look lovely tonight,
he whispers.
I pull away from him, a creeping chill running down my spine,
but nobody else noticed. Logan and Chester are too busy talking
about the charity, and Muffie already wandered off to some other
group of people. Im left alone, standing across from Spencer
and his creepy grin.
I know this is part of the job. I have to put up with Spencer for
the sake of the project. I cant be a jerk to him and blow him off,
or else Ill risk alienating Chester, which will ruin everything.
But hes just so damn creepy, and every time he looks at me, I
just get an awful feeling.
I dont really understand it. But just being near Spencer makes
my skin crawl. He looks at me like Im a piece of meat, like he
literally wants to devour me. Its unsettling to say the least, and
everything about him screams bad news.
I stand there awkwardly listening to Logan and Chester make
small talk. Meanwhile, Spencer is just grinning at me like a crazy
person, his eyes wide and manic-looking.
I cant take it anymore. I reach up and squeeze Logans arm.
Excuse me, I say to Chester. Im not feeling well. I think Ill
grab a little fresh air.
Chester cocks his head at me. Of course, dear. Please, by all
means.
Sorry, I say, giving the men a quick smile, before
hurrying away.
I know that probably seemed a little rude and abrupt, but it
wont mess anything up. Besides, I can still feel Spencers eyes
on me as I walk away.
I need to get out of there. I suddenly feel stifled and exposed all
at once, and the memory of that email comes charging back into
my mind. Someone violated my personal life once, who says it
wont happen again?
I hurry back out of the banquet hall and practically stumble onto
a set of stairs. I start climbing them, not really thinking about
anything. I walk as fast as I can until I finally reach the top. I
push through the door and step out onto the roof of the building.
Its a cool night as I walk over toward the ledge. I stop, not
wanting to get too close, taking deep breaths to calm myself. I
know Im overreacting, but Im already on edge as it is. Spencer
being a huge creep just set me off. I know I just need a second to
reset before I go back down there and make nice with Chester.
Ill be extra charming, just to make up for this, and come up with
some stupid excuse for why I had to abruptly walk away.
Preferably an excuse that doesnt include how horribly weird
Chesters son is.
I look out across the city. Its a relatively tall building, so the
view is actually pretty good. I dont want to go back down to the
party, but I know Logan needs me. I can handle one creepy
asshole if I have to. Im just being a little paranoid right now,
is all.
But before I can turn to leave, I hear the door open. My heart
nearly skips a beat as I watch a man step out through the door.
At first, I think its Spencer. Im ready to scream for help when
he steps out closer to me, and I realize that its Logan.
I let out a breath. Logan, I say. You scared me.
Scared you? He walks over to me, concern clear on his face.
Whats wrong?
I shake my head, looking away. I suddenly feel so silly and
foolish. Its nothing, really. I just needed to get some air.
He steps up next to me and sighs. I know this is hard, he says
softly.
Really, Im okay.
He reaches out and takes my hand softly in his. Youre doing
great, you know that? Seriously, Everly. I dont know what Id do
without you.
The way hes looking at me makes me completely forget all
about Spencer Winterfield.
You dont have to say that, I answer, though my heart starts
beating faster. The way he kissed me comes flooding back
through my body, and I realize that were very alone up here, and
its very, very beautiful outside.
What youre doing he turns toward me and reaches up,
tipping my chin up toward him. It takes a lot of strength. Even
if youre doing it for money.
Im just doing what anybody would, I whisper, heart beating
fast. Hes so close and so damn handsome. I dont know what to
do. Ive been trying to keep him at a distance all this time, even
though were getting closer and closer. Its impossible not to feel
like I know him when we live together and Im helping to take
care of his baby daughter.
Nobody wants to live a lie, Everly, and yet youre doing. That
takes strength, and grace, and intelligence. He hesitates for a
second before stepping closer to me. His arms wraps around my
hips and pulls my body against his. I gasp slightly, my hands on
his chest.
Thinking about what Im putting you through it drives me
insane. You think I want some creep grinning at you all night? Or
your personal photographs used against you? He shakes his
head softly.
Its not your fault, I say, looking up into his deep eyes.
Maybe not. But I feel responsible. When this is over, Im going
to make it up to you.
How? I ask him, before biting my lower lip.
Ill give you whatever you want. But for right now I think I
know how to make you feel better.
Logan, I whisper, but I know its useless.
He kisses me deeply, and I know Im lost. I cant fight this even
if I wanted to. Im dripping wet and I need him more than I ever
thought I would. I feel safe in his arms, like all of the problems
that are crashing down around us are suddenly gone. When he
kisses me, the only thing I can think about is how much more
I need.
He says hell give me whatever I want. But right now, I know Ill
give him whatever he wants, and I know exactly what he wants
from me.
15
LOGAN

A s soon as my lips touch hers, I know I cant be patient


any longer.
Ive given her space. I know shes nervous about mixing this
business arrangement with something more, and Ive respected
that. But now, I cant wait any longer. I know she wants this as
much as I do, I can taste it in her kiss, feel it in her body as she
presses against mine. I know shes desperate for my thick cock
and Im not going to be patient and kind any longer.
Shes my fucking wife. Maybe its fake, but were still married.
That part is legal and real. And Im going to fuck my wife the way
a man should.
I kiss her slow and deep, my hands running over her hips. She
slides her hands up my chest and wraps her arms around my
neck as I kiss her deeper, her tongue touching mine, her mouth
open. My cock is hard as fuck and I know she can feel it pressed
against her body, but she doesnt seem to mind. Shes not
pulling away this time, and Im not going to let her.
I take her hair in my right fist and tip her head back. She gasps
as I kiss her neck softly. Do you know how badly Ive been
wanting to taste you, wife? I ask her softly.
I dont know, she says.
You know. You can see it in the way I look at you. Like I want to
fuck you for hours and even that wont be enough. I want to feel
you raw and broken, Everly. I want to hear you scream my name
as you come so hard you can barely fucking breathe.
Yes, she whispers. I reach down with my free hand and slowly
start to pull the hem of her dress up her legs. God, I want that
too. But were so exposed, Logan.
Exposed? I smirk and softly bite her ear as I grip her hair. You
think this is exposed? I havent even started to take off your
clothes yet.
She groans as I pull her dress up further. I steer her away from
the edge of the roof and press her up against the wall of the
building. Were deep in the shadows, away from the edges but
still near the doorway. If someone comes up, theyre going to see
us, but I dont care at all.
She doesnt either. I get her dress up over her ass and pin her
back against the rough wall, keeping it there. Shes wearing
these little black panties that makes me even fucking harder as I
slide my hand down between her legs, feeling her smooth skin.
Fuck, girl, I whisper before kissing her again. Shes dripping
wet. Absolutely fucking soaked. I dont think Ive felt a pussy
this wet in a long time, if fucking ever. Her panties are sopping
and useless, so I slide down around her thighs as my fingers
press up inside of her pussy.
She gasps into my kiss as I slowly slide my fingers back out and
find her clit. I rub her in circles, gently at first, making her gasp
and moan softly as I kiss her deep and full. I move back to kiss
her neck, pulling her hair back again, and pressing my fingers
deep inside of her pussy.
I fuck her pussy with my fingers like that. God damn, youre so
tight, I whisper in her ear. I think youve been saving this
pussy just for me. Youve been dreaming of my thick fucking
cock deep between your legs, stretching you out, ripping you to
pieces. You want me to fuck you rough and deep, dont you?
Yes, Logan, she groans. God, I want to taste you. I want
every inch.
I smirk and slide my hand back up out of her, making her gasp
and look at me. I pin her wrists up over her head and kiss her
full, pouty lips before dropping a bit lower, kissing her exposed
cleavage. I keep her pinned against the wall, her hands above her
head, her panties stretched between her thighs. Shes
completely dominated and controlled, and she knows it. I kiss
her full breasts before releasing her wrists and dropping to my
knees in front of her.
She gasps as I grab her ass and press my mouth against her
soaking clit. I suck and lick her, wanting to get every single
fucking drop. I love the way she tastes, and the way she wraps
her fingers through my hair and moans just drives me fucking
crazy inside. I suck and eat her clit, sliding my tongue along her
slit. I roll it down low and press my tongue inside her pussy
before sliding back up, lapping up her every fucking drop.
Her moans fill my ears and theres nothing else for me but
Everly. I need her body so badly I can barely stand it. I slide two
fingers deep inside of her as I suck her clit. I dont care that her
dress is shoved up against this dirty wall. I want to tear it off her
body, get it filthy, make her fucking filthy. I fuck her pussy with
my fingers as I suck and lick her clit.
She grips my hair harder, and I like it. I love that Im making her
tense and crazy. My cock is throbbing in my pants, and I dont
know how much longer I can take this. Ive held back for so long,
but now I need to plunge myself deep between her legs. I want to
feel her full breasts under my hands as I thrust deep inside
of her.
I work that pussy with my tongue and lips while my fingers do
their job. Shes so lost in the moment that the only sounds shes
making are soft, deep moans. She says my name when I press
my fingers deep inside of her, and I know I could make her come
right now if I wanted to.
But I dont want that, not yet at least. I pull my fingers back out
and stand, crushing her mouth with mine. She doesnt seem to
mind that she can taste herself on my lips, and that just makes
me want her even more. I slide my fingers inside of her again as
she wraps her arms around my neck.
I push her back against the wall and pull one strap of her dress
off her shoulder. Her eyes bore into mine as I expose her breast
and tease it with my tongue. Meanwhile, I unbuckle my belt and
pull it open.
She drops to her knees before I can finish. I stare down at her as
she pulls my pants down around my ankles and slowly slides my
boxer briefs down. I love the look on her face when she sees my
thick cock.
Holy shit, she whispers, taking it in both of her hands. She
slowly strokes my shaft.
I smirk at her. I bet you didnt know what you were getting
yourself into.
I had no clue. She shakes her head, eyes wide. I dont know if
I can handle this, Logan.
I take her hair in my fist again and tip her head back. Lets
find out.
She opens her mouth and I slide my cock between those perfect
lips. I hold her thick dark hair in my fist as she slowly takes my
cock into her mouth as far as she can, which isnt far. Theres
nothing fucking sexier to me than a woman struggling to take
my whole cock into her mouth, and Everly has to struggle a lot.
Shes a petite woman, and Im a big man.
She goes to work sucking my cock. Pleasure flows through me,
and she slowly loosens up and gets the hang of it. I press myself
deeper into her mouth and throat, and she takes me like shes
greedy for every single inch.
Fuck, girl, seeing you down on your knees like that drives me
insane, I say to her. Ive been picturing this every day since we
first met. Thats right, even before all this, when I was just your
boss. I used to picture making you choke on my big fat cock while
you were wearing your sexy little work outfits. I wanted to tear
those blouses open, send buttons flying everywhere, before
spanking your white ass raw and fucking your cunt until you
couldnt stand.
She sucks me faster and faster, and I know she likes what Im
saying. I dont want her to stop her work to respond, because it
feels so fucking good. I press myself deeper, making her gag, and
she pulls back, gasping and looking up at me. She strokes my
cock with a hand full of her saliva, and she has to use both of her
fists to get my whole cock.
You get it now? I ask her. You get how badly I need you,
Everly? Ive been dreaming about your soft skin under my rough
body since we met. Im going to take every inch of you.
Yes Logan, she groans. Oh god, yes, boss.
I smirk and pull her to her feet. I spin her around and tear her
panties off, tossing them aside. Theyre useless at this point,
anyway.
I pin her up against the wall and spread her legs nice and wide. I
make sure her dress is up over her ass and her soaking pussy is
perfectly exposed before I press her wrists behind her back and
slowly tease her pussy with my cock.
God damn, girl, I whisper in her ear. Do you think you can
handle this? Right here, out in the open? I want to feel you,
stretch you out, make you come.
Please dont tease me, she whispers back. I just need it. And
Im tired of waiting.
I smirk and give her what she wants. I press my cock slowly
between her legs and deep inside of her pussy.
She gasps as I fill her to the brim. She groans, wiggling her ass
back against me as I fill her completely. I slide myself deep into
her tight pussy and she groans, deep, low, and needy.
Thats right, girl, I whisper in hear ear. She looks so fucking
sexy with her dress a mess, her body pressed against the wall,
one of her breasts exposed, her wrists behind her back.
I slowly start to stroke myself in and out of her. I take it easy at
first as she gets used to my size. I whisper in her ear, tell her how
fucking sexy she is, how fucking good her cunt feels wrapped
around my thick cock. She responds by wiggling her ass against
me, moaning low and throaty.
Soon, I start to fuck her faster. I release her wrists and she
presses her hands up against the wall. I grab her hips and thrust
myself deep inside of her. She twists around and kisses my lips
as I pump into her tight little pussy, stretching her out, working
her rough.
God damn, she whispers. Oh fuck, Logan. This has to be a
bad idea, because it feels so fucking good.
I smirk and slap her bare white ass, just like Ive always pictured.
You think this is wrong? I think we can make it so much
dirtier. I grab her hair tight and pull her back against me as I
rock into her.
I fuck her rough and hard, making her gasp and moan. Im
totally lost in the moment as I fuck her deep, pressing harder
and harder as I pull her close against me. I reach around her hips
with my free hand and start to work her clit as I fuck her tight
pussy.
Her whole body is wracked with pleasure as she starts to buck
back against me. Her ass slams against my cock as I fuck her
rough and hard. I want to take her like an animal. I release her
hair and feel her breasts, exposing them completely.
I know shes going to be a mess after this, but I dont care. I
dont care about that fucking charity downstairs, or about the
shelter, or about Winterfield. I dont fucking care about any of it
but Everly.
I keep slamming into her fucking her deep and hard. She reaches
back and puts her hand on the back of my head, pulling me down
toward her. Im so fucking close, she groans. Keep fucking
me. Keep working my clit. God damn, Logan, I want to come on
your big dick.
Her dirty talk just drives me absolutely wild. I hammer into her
pussy, destroying her and destroying myself in the process. I
work her clit and kiss her full pouty lips, needing her so
fucking bad.
I can feel her orgasm come over her before she even starts to
moan. Its like her whole body suddenly tenses like its about to
spring. It washes over her, making her muscles contract, and I
dont let up. I dont have any fucking mercy for her, none at all.
Im going to make her take it and come so hard she can barely
breathe.
Logan, she says, again and again, her eyes rolling back. I keep
rocking into her as that tight pussy comes on my big dick.
Shit, I grunt, and I can feel that perfect explosive orgasm
building up inside of me. Fuck, girl. Im going to fill you up, you
know that? Im going to fill your fucking pussy up.
Please, she moans. Come inside of me.
I rock into her harder, harder, and the orgasm spurts out of me
in thick, hard sprays. I come deep inside of her tight little pussy,
my mouth buried against hers. Every inch of her rings with
pleasure, and her smell fills me as I lose myself completely,
coming deep insideof her.
Slowly, my orgasm ends, and we come down together. I slide
myself out of her and she laughs. I collapse against the wall and
she falls against my chest. I wrap my arms around her and pull
her tight against me.
I bet everyone in the city heard that, she says, grinning up at
me. She looks so fucking beautiful with that flush in her cheeks,
her hair messy, her dress only half on.
I slide the straps of her dress back up. Good. I want them to. I
kiss her lips softly.
I dont know. I doubt Chester and Muffie do that.
I grin and shrug. Maybe when they were younger. But I think
Chester would have a heart attack now.
She laughs and presses her cheek against my chest. I hold her
tight against me, smiling for real for the first time in a long time.
Were not going back down to that party, I know that for sure.
Im going to get her dressed, put on my own clothes, and then
well go back to my apartment. Well see my daughter, and well
spend the rest of the night together.
Right now, thats the only thing I need in this world. I can forget
about everything else, at least for a little while.
16
EVERLY

I t felt too real.


What happened on the roof, the way he fucked me, the
way he spoke to me, it felt so real. I know this thing between us
is supposed to be fake, but in that moment, I forgot that he
wasnt really my husband. In that moment, I thought we were
really married, and my husband was ravishing me up above a
party of wealthy rich people.
And it felt good. So fucking good. Thats even an
understatement. Ive never been fucked like that before, and Ive
never come like that before. Im even sore the next day from his
thick cock completely tearing me to pieces.
Afterward, it still felt real, which is whats really driving me
crazy. He brought me home, and we spent the rest of the night
together, drinking wine and watching old movies and talking. I
forgot all about everything else, and it was just like two people
together having a good time.
This morning though, the truth is coming back to me. I know
that this is a business deal, and this marriage isnt real. I have a
job and a duty to pretend to be his wife, and Im going to do it.
But last night complicates things a lot.
Im up early with Alexa, like usual. Logan wakes up not long after
we do, but he doesnt stick around long. He says he has some
meeting to go to, and I dont press him on it. I like having a little
time alone in the apartment with Alexa.
Besides, I feel like I need to think. I dont know if whats
happening between us is more than just physical, or if Im being
a nave idiot. Logan Ray is the kind of man that can have
absolutely any woman at all.
I dont know why hed want me. So it makes no sense that all
that hed want anything more than my body. Im probably just
convenient for him.
And yet, he doesnt treat me that way at all. He treats me like an
equal, like he respects me and actually wants to be around me. I
cant imagine what that actually means.
I go through my normal morning routine with Alexa, getting her
dressed and ready. I decide to take her downstairs and to a
nearby park for a little while this afternoon, just for a little
change of pace at the very least.
I get dressed and get Alexa all set up before heading downstairs
with her bag and her stroller. I put on a hat and sunglasses then
walk the half block over to the little park.
Its a cute little spot with mostly local people. Its practically
right on top of Logans building, and you can see the entrance
from the park. I keep meaning to come check this place out, and
although Alexa is too young to actually go play or anything like
that, its still nice to get outside while Im watching her for a
change.
I take a seat on a bench and watch all of the other moms with
their kids. I never really thought about what it would be like to
be a mom before. Now that Im helping Logan with Alexa,
though, I cant help but imagine what motherhood is like. I know
how hard it can be, just from helping raise my sister and helping
with Alexa, but there has to be more to it. I see the way moms
look at their kids, and I dont think Ive ever felt that way before.
I think I want that. I want to look at someone with such a pure
love. I could see myself feeling that way for Alexa, if I were going
to be taking care of her for the long-term, but this is only
temporary. Im not letting myself get too attached to her,
because before I know it, shell be out of my life completely.
But I do want that one day. I want to be a mother. Ive never
thought about it before, but its a hard topic to avoid right now.
I smile and pretend for a second that Im really Alexas mom,
and Logan is really my husband. What would that life even look
like? I wouldnt need to work anymore, for one, but I would still
want to. I think he wouldnt mind either way, but its hard to
say. Right now Ive only seen one side of him, but he might
change if things got more serious.
I pick up Alexa and hold her in my lap as we sit there and enjoy
the sunshine. I let myself fantasize a little bit about life with
Logan, but I dont go too far. I cant let myself start to have
feelings if this really is just some business deal. It didnt feel like
that last night, but last night was something special. We were on
the rooftop, and things just felt right.
I dont know if that feeling is going to carry over beyond that
night. Im not sure if it even could. Things are so complicated
right now, I dont know if we could have something more, even if
we wanted to. Im sure Chester and Muffie would appreciate it if
we were really married, though.
As soon as I think about the Winterfields, I get that feeling again.
That creepy, crazy feeling. I feel like someones staring at me,
watching me from nearby. I look up and start to scan the park,
and my heart nearly skips a beat.
Standing on the other side of the jungle gym is a man. Hes
wearing simple clothes, a dark t-shirt and light khaki shorts. He
has on sunglasses and a hat pulled low, but hes. smiling.
And I know that smile. Its more like a creepy grin.
I dont panic. I dont let myself freak out. I just calmly place
Alexa back into her stroller, stand up, and quickly head back to
the apartment. As Im crossing the street, I notice out of the
corner of my eye that the man is following me.
By the time I get to the doors, Im practically running. The
doorman lets us in and Im breathless as I hurry over to the
elevators. Im terrified that hell follow us in here.
But he doesnt. The man doesnt follow us.
Im sure it was Spencer. As I get onto the elevator and ride it up,
Im positive that was Spencer Winterfield, standing there and
watching us.
What the hell was he doing here? My mind is racing a million
miles an hour.
My main priority is to get Alexa into the apartment and to make
sure that shes safe. I dont know Spencer at all and maybe he
would never hurt a child, but I cant risk that. I dont know what
hes capable of.
If hes the person that sent the email, hes capable of anything.
Maybe hed even try to steal Alexa and use her to try and pull off
some crazy maternity test or something like that to prove that
Im not her mother. I dont know if thats even possible, but I
cant put it past him.
The elevator doors open and I rush Alexa into the apartment. I
shut and lock the door, making sure the bolt is firmly in place,
before wheeling Alexa into the living room.
She seems totally fine, of course. She has no clue what just
happened. From her perspective, we went on a fun little ride and
now shes back home. I doubt she can sense my anxiety. I lift her
up and hold her, trying to steady myself.
I take a few minutes, pacing around the apartment with Alexa in
my arms, before I decide to call Logan. I know this story is going
to sound crazy, and Im afraid he wont believe me, but I have to
tell him. If theres any chance that Spencer really was waiting
outside and watching us, he has to know about it.
I get Alexa situated in her little swing chair before getting out my
cell and calling Logans number. He answers on the third ring.
Hey, you, he says.
I cant help but smile at his voice. Hey, Logan. Sorry to
bug you.
Its okay. I was just thinking about you.
Listen, I, uh, I have something weird to tell you.
He hesitates. Is everything okay?
Everythings fine, I say quickly. Alexa and I are safe and
sound in the apartment.
Okay, he says slowly. Whats up?
Well, I took Alexa on a little walk to that park across the street,
and I swear I saw Spencer Winterfield.
He doesnt respond right away. I already feel crazy enough as it
is, but saying it out loud just sounds insane. Why would Spencer
be in a park thats geared toward children? We barely know the
guy. Hes barely spoken to me. I got some creepy and weird vibes
from him but thats not proof that hes some crazy stalker trying
to hunt me down.
Sure, I got that email, but that doesnt prove anything, either. I
dont know Spencer sent it. Logan has a lot of enemies, and any
one of them could have sent that email. Heck, even someone in
the company could be trying to blackmail him. We just have no
solid leads right now, at least that I know of.
What was he doing? Logan finally asks.
Just standing there, I say. When I spotted him, he didnt
move. And then when I started to leave with Alexa, I could have
sworn that he was following us.
Are you sure it was him? Logan asks me seriously.
I know this sounds crazy. Just hearing it out loud is nuts. But
seriously, I was really afraid.
Everly, he says firmly. Im not saying that I dont believe
you. Im asking how sure you are.
Ninety percent, I say softly.
He grunts. Okay then, he says. Fuck. Spencer Winterfield.
I know, I say.
Why this guy? I dont understand it. I know he doesnt like me,
but this seems pretty extreme.
He doesnt like you? I ask, a little surprised. I didnt
know that.
Not at all. When I first approached Chester, apparently Spencer
was very, very against it all. I think hes pretty angry that his
father is going to sell to me.
Why would he care? I ask.
I genuinely dont know. But if you think hes watching us, you
might be right. He sighs, and I can hear the stress in his voice.
Stay where you are. Im coming home.
You dont have to do that, I say. Were fine here.
No. Im coming home. See you soon. He hangs up the phone.
I toss my cell onto the couch and shake my head. Alexa is
content in her little swing, and I keep an eye on her as I go grab
myself a seltzer from the fridge.
I didnt know that Spencer and Logan didnt get along. He hasnt
mentioned it until now, probably because it wasnt relevant. But
if Spencer was in that park, he might not have been there for me.
Maybe he was there for Logan. Maybe hes watching Logan and
stalking Logan, trying to ruin this deal. If thats the case, then
maybe he really did send that email.
My mind is twisting in a million different directions as I go back
to watching Alexa. This is all so freaking complicated, and the
fact that this strange relationship is developing between Logan
and I really isnt helping. I dont know where to go from here.
But hes coming home. I actually feel a little relieved. I would
never ask him to come home for something like this, but Im
glad hes going to anyway. I feel silly and dumb but having him
around makes me feel safer.
Im just happy that hes willing to drop everything to come see
me when I need him.
17
LOGAN

W hat the fuck is Spencer Winterfield up to?


Thats the question I keep asking myself over the
next few days. When I get home to Everly, she seems totally fine.
I scouted out the area around my apartment, but I didnt find any
sign of Spencer anywhere. I checked the park, but there were just
the usual moms and nannies and kids running around.
Spencer is a rich kid. Hes used to getting everything he wants,
because his father provides it for him. I dont know why he
wants that city land or what he thinks he can do with it, but hes
clearly pissed off that his father is selling it to me. I suspect hell
do anything he can to get it from me, including some nefarious
shit that should make me concerned.
Of course, now Everly thinks he sent that email, and I can
obviously see why. If hes out to get me, discrediting my
relationship with Everly would be the best way to go about it. I
just find it really hard to imagine that Spencer would go so far as
to blackmail Everly while stalking her.
Still, she says he saw him, and I believe her. I dont think shes a
liar or dramatic at all. From what I can tell, Everly is as solid and
dependable as they come, and its just this guy Spencer that
really rattles her.
Regardless of whether he sent the email or whether he was in
that park or not, I need to be careful of him. Everly doesnt like
him, thinks hes a real creep, and I know he hates me. He wants
to destroy this deal for whatever reason. I may never find out
exactly why. Maybe he just doesnt like me.
It doesnt matter, though. Ive come so far already and Im not
turning back. Im not letting some spoiled rich boy ruin my
plans. He thinks he can have whatever he wants just because his
father is rich, but he has no clue what hard work really means. I
built my company from my own genius and labor, and Im going
to beat him now.
Fortunately, after that one incident, nothing happens for a few
days. I spend as much time with Alexa and Everly as I can before
the next workweek starts, which comes sooner than it should
every single week. Monday rolls around, and Everly and I go back
to the job, while the nanny comes and watches Alexa during
the day.
Around noon on Tuesday, I get a call on my personal cell from a
number that I dont recognize. Its been a normal day, though I
havent seen Everly as much as I maybe want to. Ive just been
insanely busy with work, staying up late and leaving as early as
possible. I barely have time to see Alexa, and shes my first
priority, of course.
But the call comes just as Im thinking about having an early
lunch. I take out my phone and check the screen but I dont
recognize the number. Usually, I wouldnt answer, since its
normally a telemarketer. But this time I decide to pick it up
anyway.
Hello? I answer.
Logan! Instantly, I recognize Chesters voice, though he
sounds like hes far away. Can you hear me, my boy?
I can hear you, Chester. Are you on a landline right now?
How could you tell?
The connection isnt great. Sounds like youre far away.
Well, you guessed right. Im in Dubai!
I smile to myself. What are you doing in Dubai?
Business, of course, he says. Cant say more, since you know
theyre listening in on this right now. Arent you, ya nosy
bastards?
I grin and shake my head. Hes not wrong, though. Most foreign
governments listen in on prominent Americans when they make
calls or use the Internet in their country. Its pretty much
standard practice to assume that youre bugged and being
watched at all points during a trip to any foreign country,
including European allies.
What can I do for you, Chester? I ask. Lets skip to that, since
I dont want you to insult your hosts.
They wouldnt do a thing, he says. Cant admit that theyre
listening, can they?
Good point, I say, smiling to myself.
But okay, the reason Im calling. I have a cabin on the Saint
Lawrence River, actually a whole string of cabins. I practically
own a town there.
Sounds nice, I say to him, not sure why hes telling me.
Im going there with the family this weekend, and I want you to
come. Bring the wife and kid.
I hesitate. Obviously Spencer will be on this little trip, and the
last thing I want to do is to bring Alexa and Everly anywhere near
him. But this is the sort of thing you have to do with Chester.
Hes the sort of man that thinks family is more important than
business, or at least he pretends that it is. I know I have to win
over his family before I can get him to sign on the damn
dotted line.
Okay, Chester, I say. That sounds great.
Great! My secretary will fax over the details. Itll be a
grand time.
I wince a little bit. I dont even know if we have a fax machine,
but that doesnt matter. Sounds great. Thanks for the invite.
Im sure Alexa and Everly will be excited.
Of course they will! The Saint Lawrence is beautiful this time of
year. The fish practically leap out and onto your boat!
Well, Ill make sure to bring a fishing rod, then.
Good! Okay, Im going before these damn spies think theyre
invited on this trip, too. See you soon.
See you.
He hangs up the phone and I sigh. Chester is such an odd man. I
like him, but he makes this deal as difficult and as complicated
as possible.
As soon as were off the phone, I buzz my secretary and tell her
to expect word from Chester. After that, I call up Richard.
You busy? I ask him.
Always, he grunts. Whats up?
Meet me at Good Dog. Twenty minutes.
He hesitates. Yeah, okay. Why not? Nothing makes the work
day go faster than having lunch in a bar.
I grin and hang up the phone. Twenty minutes later, Im
strolling into one of my favorite bars in the city. Richard is
already there and sipping a beer, of course, with one waiting for
me. I sit down in the empty seat next to him.
The bar is called Good Dog because the walls are literally covered
in framed pictures of dogs. They cover the walls entirely. The
food is pretty damn good too, and their drink menu is great, but
theres something funny about being surrounded by so many dog
pictures.
Whats so urgent that you dragged my ass from my office?
Richard asks as I sit down.
I sip the beer and shrug. Wanted to ask about the email.
He shakes his head. I thought that was it.
Anything yet? Im starting to worry about her.
Nothing, he says. I talked to my guy last night. He says
whoever did this knew what they were doing. Hes asking
around, but its not looking good.
Shit, I say. I was afraid of that.
Its not over just yet. Hes still looking.
Thanks. I take a long sip of the beer, watching the
condensation slowly roll down the pint glass. Listen, what do
you know about Spencer Winterfield?
Richard shrugs. Son of Chester. I think hes trying to get into
the real estate business like his father. Thats pretty much it.
Interesting, I say. I didnt know he was in the business.
I did a little research on all of the Winterfields when you started
up this deal, and I found a little land LLC in Spencers name.
Doesnt look like hes done many deals, though. The kid
definitely isnt his father.
I nod my head thoughtfully. That could make sense.
What does?
I hesitate. I normally tell Richard everything. But this thing
about Spencer and Everly, well it sounds bad. Its a serious
accusation. I have to tread lightly.
Spencer hates me, I say. Knew that from the start.
Sure. You mentioned that a while ago. He cocks his head
at me.
Recently though, Everlys been saying some things about him.
I pause for a second. Shes very uncomfortable around him.
Richard raises an eyebrow. Shes getting creeper vibes?
Big time, I say.
Cant say Im surprised. Growing up rich like that, its got to do
something to your brain.
I grin at him. Hows that?
You know plenty of people that grew up rich. How many of
them are normal people?
I think for a second. Two, I say, and laugh. Thats not a good
percentage, is it?
Not at all. Richard shrugs. I dont know if that just means we
know weird people or if rich kids are messed up or what, but its
a correlation Ive seen.
I stroke my chin for a second before sipping my beer. Thanks
for looking into this for me. You know I appreciate it.
Yeah, you better.
One more thing. Chester invited us on a little weekend retreat
with him and his family.
Richard sighs. You get all the exciting invites.
Please. Its going to be a weekend of doing outdoor crap with
the weirdest people I know. Not something Im looking
forward to.
Youre going to go, right?
Of course, I say, sighing. I dont want to. Last thing I want is
to put Everly or Alexa anywhere near Spencer.
I can see what you mean, he says. But thats the game with
guys like Chester.
Oh, I know it. I finish my beer and drop a twenty on the bar.
Thanks for the talk.
Thats it? You drink and run?
You know me, Richard. Got to get back to work.
He sighs, shaking his head, but hes smiling. At least youre
paying for the drinks.
See you later. I pat his shoulder as I walk past him.
I wish he had better news about that hacker, but at least he did
give me one interesting piece of information. If Spencer is trying
to break into the real estate world, that might explain why he
wants that land. Maybe he has some kind of development project
in mind for it or something.
I hate to drag Everly and Alexa on this trip, but I have to. And I
know Everly is going to be fine with it. Shes been as
accommodating as possible during all of this. I feel guilty
dragging her into it, but shes not backing down. Shes strong
and shes fucking gorgeous. I keep thinking about that night on
the roof, and I cant get it out of my head.
The way she feels, the way she moans, everything was fucking
perfect. She drove me wild, and now I just need another taste.
But Ive been so fucking busy lately with work and with Alexa, I
havent had a chance to take what I really need.
Maybe this weekend is exactly what I want. Although well be
stuck with the Winterfields, at least well be stuck together.
18
EVERLY

I was expecting a log cabin. Like in the movies, cabins


next to lakes are always the same simple wooden
structures with like two rooms and a hole in the ground for a
toilet. I dont know why, but thats what I expected.
I should have known better. Chester Winterfield is way too rich
to have some cheap log cabin. The place we step into is as far
from that as possible.
Its luxurious. I dont know how else to describe it. Big, huge
windows overlooking the river. Beautiful sunlight pours into the
enormous great room thats furnished with comfortable chairs
and couches around a big flat-screen TV. Theres a big, modern
kitchen, and at least four bedrooms and three bathrooms.
What do you think? Logan asks me, grinning.
I cant help but laugh as I pick Alexa up from her car seat. Its
too much, I say. Theres enough room here for like three
families.
Its just us here, little wife, he says, grinning huge.
I should have expected this. Chester doesnt seem like the type
of man to do anything halfway.
You got that right. Logan leads me into the master bedroom.
Theres an enormous king-sized bed and our own modern,
totally refinished bathroom. This isnt exactly camping.
Where are Chester and his family staying?
I think in the house next door, Logan says, shrugging. And I
think Spencer has his own house, too.
Wow. Thats just
Absurd? he finishes.
I was going to say crazy, but yeah, same thing.
He grins at me and walks over. He takes Alexa from my arms.
Come on, let me show you to your room, he says to her.
I follow them down the hall and into a nursery. I didnt expect
there to be a nursery, and so we brought our little Pack n Play
for Alexa to sleep in. But theres a crib all set up already.
Did you know theyd have this? I ask him.
Chester mentioned it, he says, grinning. Let me get Alexa
down for her nap. You can go explore.
You sure? I ask him. I can do it.
No, go ahead.
I smile and turn away from him as he sits down in the rocking
chair. I leave him to give her a bottle and put her down. Hes a
good father, and hes always quick to take over the boring tasks
when he has the chance. He works too much, but he makes up
for it by loving that little girl more than I thought he would.
I head downstairs and out the back door. The yard is
immaculately landscaped and complete with a patio furniture set
and a Jacuzzi. I follow a path that leads through the grass and
head down toward the river.
Ive never been to the Saint Lawrence River, but its beautiful. I
stop at the bank and take my shoes and socks off. I step into the
water up to my ankles and curl my toes around the silt-covered
rocks that line the river bottom.
I smile to myself as the water lazily rolls past. I love the
outdoors, although I dont get much of it anymore. I grew up
with the outdoors. I used to run around the creeks and trails that
lined the woods behind my house. We didnt have a lot of
money, but there were always kids to play with and places to
explore. I had a really good childhood, and I think my parents
worked hard to make sure I was happy.
I think Alexa is going to have that in Logan. Hes so attentive and
patient, its really impressive. His greatest fault is that he works
too much, and I hope one day he decides to step back a little bit.
But that drive is also one of his best qualities, and something I
have to admit that Im attracted to.
I smile to myself and take a deep breath of air. Ive been cooped
up inthe city for too long. I wasnt looking forward to this little
trip, since Im afraid of Spencer, but maybe this wont be so bad.
At least Im out in nature for the first time in a while, and that
feels good.
I stand there and enjoy the water for a while. I dont know how
long passes, but the sound of someone approaching from the
house pulls me back to reality. I turn and smile as Logan comes
down the path toward me.
What are you doing? he asks.
Standing in the river, I say.
Want some company?
Sure.
I watch as he takes off his shoes and socks before stepping into
the water next to me. We stand there, side by side, and watch the
river flow.
Nice, isnt it? I ask him.
He nods. Very nice.
How was Alexa?
Easy, he says. She took the whole bottle and went to sleep.
He takes a white plastic rectangle from his back pocket. I
brought the monitor in case she wakes up.
I take another deep breath and smile. So we have a couple hours
without the baby. What do we do?
He cocks his head. I dont know. I was thinking about throwing
you into that river.
What? I ask laughing. You better not.
Why not? He advances on me, grinning. Youre only in some
tiny little shorts and a tank top. You wont mind getting wet.
I laugh and run away. Logan, you better not.
Get over here, girl, he says, chasing after me. I laugh and
splash through the water, and he easily catches me.
He wraps his arms around my waist and lifts me into the air like I
weigh nothing. Dont! I say, laughing.
He places me back down on my feet and spins me around. He
pulls me tight against him. You really think Id throw you into
this water?
Yes, I say, looking up at him, breathing heavily from running
through the water.
He smirks at me. I dont need to dunk you to get you wet.
I roll my eyes. Good one. But my heart is beating fast and I
love how close to me he is. We havent done this since that
night, and I was afraid we never were going to again. That would
probably be okay, but Id be disappointed.
I want more from him. I know Im greedy, but I want it.
And he gives it to me. He leans forward and kisses me hard, his
lips open as his tongue touches mine. Desire floods through my
body and I hate to admit that hes right. Im dripping wet already
at just one taste, because I know what hes capable of.
He kisses me slow and deep before running his hands up my
back and into my hair. He grabs a fistful of it, tipping my head
back, his other hand on my lower back. He kisses me deep before
kissing my neck.
Ive been thinking about this nonstop, he whispers.
Thinking about what? I ask, my heart hammering.
Finally taking your body again. Tasting you again. You think
that was the first and last time?
I wasnt sure, I admit.
Youre not getting out of this so easily, girl, he whispers. Part
of why I wanted to do this was to get you alone.
Were not alone. The Winterfields arent too far away.
He smirks and kisses me softly. You think I care about that?
I dont know, I admit.
He walks over to the bank, still holding onto me. Once were on
dry land again, he presses me up against a thick tree. Were
obscured by the heavy foliage all around us, and I can only see
the river as it continues to flow.
He kisses me, pinning me up against the rough bark of the tree. I
love the way he handles me, so rough but he knows what hes
doing. I let him take my hair in his fist and my ass in his other
hand as I wrap my arms around his neck, desperately pulling
him closer.
Im shocked at how badly I need this. My body reacts the
moment he touches me, like it was a livewire just waiting for a
connection. I can feel the sparks flowing down my skin and I
know I cant stop this even if I wanted to.
He runs his hands over my breasts and pulls at the hem of my
shirt. I let him slide it up and off me, leaving just my bra to cover
my skin. He kisses my neck and teases my breasts again, kissing
my chest and my cleavage. I groan softly as he unbuttons my
jean shorts and tugs them down over my hips.
We never seem to do this in a bed, I whisper to him, smiling.
He grins at me. I dont mind, he says, and his fingers slowly
slide beneath my panties. I gasp and bite my lower lip, smiling
from the pleasure. And I dont think you do, either.
Maybe I like the risk, I say as he presses two fingers inside of
me. I gasp softly and bite my lip again, trying to be quiet.
I think you do, he says. But mostly I just think you want me
to fuck you again. Youve been thinking about my fat cock filling
you up, havent you? I know youve never felt something like
that before.
Hes absolutely right, but Im not going to admit it. I kiss him as
he fucks my pussy with his fingers, and I want him to fucking
badly I can barely breathe.
He works my clit, sliding his fingers inside of me and back out,
rolling them around, making me moan. He pulls my hair softly,
tugging me back against the tree. I feel a little exposed, wearing
just a bra, my shorts mostly off my body, his hands down my
panties, but I think I like it. Imagining getting caught right now,
how badly that would look for his deal, that just makes it so
much more exciting.
I reach forward and fumble with his pants before tugging them
down. Hes hard as hell as I grasp his thick shaft and slowly slide
my hands along his length overtop of his tight boxer briefs.
Shit, girl, he softly whispers in my ear. I want to come inside
that little pussy again. Ive been dreaming about filling you up
every single night.
You have? I ask. Every single night?
He laughs and pulls my hair back. At the same time, he presses
his fingers deep inside of me. Every night, he says.
I gasp and moan as pleasure and pain wrack my body in equal
measure. Its an incredible feeling. I didnt know that I was into
this light pain thing, but apparently I am, and I want more.
He grabs my hips, probably sensing what Im thinking, and turns
me around. Or maybe hes just impatient. But either way, he
pulls down my shorts and my panties, letting them pool around
my ankles. I expect him to press his cock against me, but instead
he slaps my ass, hard.
I gasp and look over my shoulder. Logan!
He smirks and slaps my ass again, but this time, he drops to his
knees and presses his tongue between my legs.
I gasp, trying to be quiet, as he licks my pussy from behind. Its
so dirty and filthy and feels so freaking good I can barely stand it.
He pulls back and slaps my ass again, nice and hard, probably
leaving a red mark, before going back to suck and lick my pussy.
I have to hold on tight to the tree because I can barely control my
legs as his tongue dives into my soaking pussy.
Just as the pleasure starts to build, getting close to that crest, he
stands up and pulls down his briefs. I look over my shoulder at
his big cock, and Im surprised all over again that he ever fit it
inside of me. But I dont have time to marvel at him, because he
teases my pussy with his tip before plunging himself inside
of me.
I gasp and he pulls my hair, arching my back. He slides himself
deep inside of me, slowly at first, filling me up to the brim. Once
hes deep inside of me, he slaps my ass again and pulls back,
thrusting into me.
I gasp as pleasure and pain hit me again, but this time, the
pleasure is winning out. He slides inside of me again, leaning
forward to envelope me with his body.
Youre so fucking tight, it drives me insane, he whispers. I
dont want to tear you apart, but god damn, I want to fuck this
pussy so rough.
You can do whatever you want, I whisper to him, realizing that
I mean it. Whatever you want, I repeat.
He smirks at me, running his thumb along my chin. He presses
his thumb between my lips and I suck it, biting down gently.
You dont want to give me that power, he says softly. If you
do, youll never want to leave.
I bite down harder and he laughs as he thrusts inside of me
again. He pulls his thumb away and wraps his fist in my hair,
fucking me slow and steady.
I grind my ass back against him, working with his rhythm. I like
that he keeps my hair wrapped around his fist, controlling the
way I move. I reach back with one hand and feel his body as he
thrusts into me, his big cock filling me to the brim, stretching
me out, making me feel so incredibly good.
We start to move faster and faster. I forget that were out in
nature after a second. The world falls away as he fucks me,
deeper and faster.
He slaps my ass with his free hand then grabs my hips and slams
into me. I can tell hes getting rougher, and I want it. I buck my
ass back against him, encouraging him to fuck me.
He grunts, almost a growl, and slams into me again and again.
He fucks me hard and I work back against him. Sweat starts to
roll down my skin but I dont care. Im probably being too loud,
but maybe I want to get caught. Maybe I want everyone to know
what this incredible man can do to me.
Come on, girl, he whispers in my ear. You want to come on
this big cock, dont you?
Yes, I moan. God, I need it so badly.
I know you do. His free hand finds my clit as he grinds into
me, washing pleasure all over me. I know what you need more
than you do, girl. You think this is all pretend, but its not.
Youre my wife, and Im going to take your tight little cunt and
make it mine.
He starts to fuck me harder, like an absolute beast, and I take
him because I need it. I press back against his body, wanting him
to fuck me harder, wanting him to make it rough. He responds
by tearing into me, slapping my ass, pulling my hair back,
feeling my breasts with his rough hands.
I can feel the pleasure building inside of me, and I know I cant
hold it back much longer. I move faster and rougher, my moans
turning into grunts of strangled pleasure. The orgasm builds
inside of my chest, inside of my pussy, behind my eyes, and I
know its going to overwhelm me.
When I finally release, its unlike anything Ive felt before. Just
as I start to come, he slaps my ass hard, once on each side. The
pain makes the orgasm so intense that my whole body shakes.
He keeps fucking me though, not stopping or holding back, and I
can hear his grunts.
As my orgasm slowly tapers off, I feel him come inside of me. He
shoots thick spurts of his cum deep inside of my pussy and I
wiggle my ass and hips, wanting every single drop from him.
Slowly we finish together, soaked from sweat. We collapse
against the base of the tree, laughing and smiling, and I press my
head against his chest.
We dont say anything. We dont need to say anything. Theres
just the two of us, enjoying this beautiful weather, out in nature.
The world is so perfect around us, and I feel like nothing bad can
ever happen.
That feeling is cut short by the sound of a crying baby.
It takes me a second. Your pants, I say.
Oh, shit. He grabs his pants and turns on the monitor. Shes
awake already.
Must be the unfamiliar room.
I got it. He grabs his clothes and gets dressed.
I grab mine and put them on, too. Ill come.
No, he says. Stay out here. Enjoy yourself. Explore a little bit.
Come back to the house later and well have dinner together. We
dont have to see the Winterfields until tomorrow.
I hesitate. Are you sure?
Positive. He kisses me gently. Enjoy yourself.
Okay, I say, grinning. You dont have to tell me twice.
He laughs and heads off with a wave. I watch him disappear back
up toward the house.
I sit back down on the ground, back against the tree, body still
ringing with pleasure. I can tell that Ill be sore, but I dont care.
It felt so fucking good letting him slap my ass and fuck me like
that. It was exactly the sort of stress relief that I needed.
I dont know whats coming this weekend, but I know one thing.
I want to keep taking him like that, no matter what.
19
LOGAN

S aturday rolls around, and finally were forced to spend


time with Chester and Muffie.
They show up at the house pretty early. We barely have time to
get up and get Alexa settled before theyre already knocking at
the door. They come barging inside, followed by a woman that
Ive never met.
Turns out, the woman is a professional nanny, and were
supposed to go on a hike with Chester and Muffie. Since we cant
exactly say no, Everly and I get dressed and head out with two of
the richest crazy people Ive ever met, and I leave my baby girl in
the hands of a total stranger.
I keep thinking about that fact as we walk through the woods. I
cant exactly enjoy the scenic views or the really exciting
conversation happening around me, since I just keep thinking
about Alexa back home with that woman. I realize midway
through that Im already starting to act like a real dad, and while
that does put a small smile on my face, I still dont like whats
happening.
But fortunately, Everly is there to cover for me. Although Im
distracted, she seems totally engaged and ready. She takes
charge of the whole thing, steering the conversation and
chatting with Chester and Muffie about absolutely anything.
Shes charming and funny, and I even think I catch Muffie
smiling once or twice, which is a rarity.
Eventually, we get back to base camp and go our separate ways.
Alexa is totally fine and taking her afternoon nap, so Everly and I
get to spend a little personal time together down by the river.
Of course, that doesnt last nearly long enough. I feel like Im
exhausted by the time were dressed and ready to go to dinner
with the Winterfields. The nanny comes over again to watch
Alexa, and although its strange that Chester didnt ask if it was
okay, Im still thankful that he was thoughtful enough to
bring her.
What do you think so far? I ask Everly as we walk slowly down
the path between our house and the Winterfields place.
I guess its going good, she says. I have to admit, she looks so
fucking gorgeous right now. She got a little sun on our hike,
though not too much. Her skin is slightly flushed and her hair is
long, cascading down her back. Shes wearing a simple summer
dress with a yellow flower pattern, and it looks amazing with
her skin.
You were really good on that hike, I say to her. Im sorry I
was distracted.
I understand. You were worried about Alexa.
I smile and take her hand. Howd you know?
I was worried, too. And shes not even my daughter.
I sigh. I guess its silly to worry. Chester wouldnt let anything
happen to my daughter.
No, but youre a dad now. Youre going to worry.
I guess so. I cock my head at her. Seems strange to think that
Im a real father.
Life changes fast sometimes, doesnt it?
I grin at her. It sure does. Youre married now, you know.
Oh, thats true. Though entirely against my will.
I bark out a laugh. Against your will? Please. You were begging
to marry me.
Hardly, she says, grinning. You had to bribe me.
You wouldve done it for less. I was being generous.
Oh, yeah, she says, bumping into me. Youre so generous.
What a great guy. Tricking these poor weirdos into selling you
some land by pretending to be married.
Well, when you put it that way, I almost sound like a villain.
Youre a very bad man, Logan Ray. She smirks at me and I grab
her, pulling her against me. I kiss her nice and deep, letting it
linger for a second. I love the taste of her, and I feel my cock
stirring in my pants, though I know I shouldnt let myself get
excited right now.
The sound of clapping interrupts our moment. I pull away and
look over. Standing on the porch is Spencer Winterfield,
grinning at the two of us. Beautiful, he says.
I feel Everly stiffen. I let her go though I dont drop her hand.
Do you always spy like that? I ask him pointedly.
Only sometimes. He smirks at us. That almost looked real,
you know.
Whats that supposed to mean? I ask him, stepping closer.
But before he can answer, Chester and Muffie come outside, and
were swept into the house. So far, this weekend hasnt been so
bad, because Spencer hasnt been around. Hes been an
unspoken pain between the two of us, and although I know she
probably wants to run away right now, shes going to stay strong.
Thats just the kind of person Everly is.
We fall back into small talk as we head into the house. Just like
the place were staying in, Muffie and Chesters house is
beautiful and modern on the inside. Their place has more
artwork and is a little more stylishly finished than ours is, but
thats not surprising, since its their main house. After some
drinks and some small talk, during which Spencer seems very
normal, if a little quiet, we head into the dining room and are
seated.
So tell me, Logan, Chester says, watching me over his glass of
scotch. Your little project. Its a homeless shelter?
I smile at him, and my heart beats a little faster. Chester doesnt
normally ask about the project at all during these social calls. In
fact, he hasnt seemed very interested in what Ill actually be
building on his land during this whole process, and I think this is
the first time hes actually asked about it.
A homeless shelter and a community center, I say. I want the
community and the homeless to be in one spot, to learn from
each other, maybe help each other.
Its his dream, Everly adds. And he wants to fund it entirely
himself.
Admirable, Muffie says.
Yes, but, why the homeless? Spencer cuts in.
I look at him. We have a homeless epidemic in this city,
although the homeless tend to be invisible to most normal
people. I want to help them, provide meals and places to stay
and job training and possibly even mental health or medical aid.
I want to get them back on their feet.
Spencer nods slowly, a smile plastered on his face. But why the
homeless? he asks again. Isnt it their choice to live on the
street like a dog? I mean, there are such better causes. Like
cancer research, for example. Nobody chooses to get cancer.
I feel Everly stiffen next to me, but I put my hand on top of hers
to help calm her. Homelessness is almost never a choice, I
say. I donate to cancer research as well, but somebody has to
help the homeless. You can do for cancer what Im doing for the
homeless if you want, Spencer.
His grin doesnt go away. What about you, Everly? he asks.
Are you as into the homeless as Logan here?
Yes, she says. Passionately.
Oh, Im sure youre very passionate. Spencers grin is as
perverted as possible, and I feel my whole body tense.
Youre both very passionate people, Chester says. Just
hearing you talk about it makes me excited.
Thank you, Chester, I say.
Everly, Im sure you could make a real difference, Spencer
says. You know, if you took the hands-on approach. He
winks at her.
Yes, we should all get more involved, Chester says, finishing
his scotch.
I stare down Spencer. I know what hes doing. Hes trying to get
a rise out of us, but its not going to work. Im going to keep my
cool through this and not let this stupid bastard get to me.
I change the subject and the rest of dinner goes relatively
smoothly. Everly is quiet, and Spencer tosses out one or two
more jabs, but overall its not bad. Chester seems genuinely
interested in the project, and Muffie doesnt seem to disapprove,
so overall it feels like things couldnt have gone any better.
After dinner, its back into the sitting room. Spencer joins us
again, pouring everyone a glass of champagne and clearing his
throat for a toast.
To the homeless, Spencer says. May Logan rid our fine city of
their blight.
Here, here! Chester cries. We all clink glasses and drink,
though Id rather punch Spencer in the eye.
After a few minutes of small talk, I excuse myself to get some
fresh air. Muffie is busy asking Everly questions about where she
grew up, clearly fascinated by living in a small town and being
relatively poor. I head out onto the porch, needing a second to
gather myself.
I take a deep breath and look out into the trees. Fireflies blink in
between the empty space, filling the world with flashing light. I
dump my champagne down onto the ground and clench the
wood railing, trying to get myself together.
But I dont have peace for long. Running away already, Logan?
I turn around as Spencer steps outside to join me. I know what
youre doing, I say to him. But Im not sure why.
What am I doing, then? He smiles and stands in front of me,
arms crossed.
Youre trying to get a rise out of me. You want me to screw up
this deal with your father. What I dont get is what youll get out
of it.
Ah, he says, smiling at me placidly. So you think you can see
through me, do you?
Yes. I step toward him, seething with rage. Youre a small,
pathetic, spoiled rich boy. You want something you cant have.
And so youre trying to take it.
Yes and no, he says softly, dropping his arms and dropping
the act. You want the truth?
Tell me, I say to him.
I dont care about the land. Well, Id like it, since I could build a
nice hotel there and make some money. But what I really want is
Everly.
I stare at him, surprised as hell. Everly?
Thats right, he says. Since the moment I saw her, Ive
wanted her. Im sure you feel the same way. She has a
magnetism about her. God, I want to bang her so hard that she
cant walk straight for days.
I cant believe what Im hearing. All this time, it hasnt been
about money or the land itself. Its been about Everly.
You cant have her, I say to him simply. Were married. Shes
my wife.
Oh, come on, Logan. You may have my parents fooled, but I
know better. He cocks his head at me.
What are you saying? Horror fills me, replacing my anger
almost completely.
I know, he whispers. Who do you think sent that email? You
two werent even careful.
I stare at him, totally unsure of what to say. I almost cant
believe what Im hearing.
You sent that email? I ask him.
I sent it, he says, grinning. It was easy, you know. Just hire a
guy, tell him what to do. People will do almost anything for
money. Isnt that right?
That fucking bastard. I step closer to him, rage taking over once
again. He violated Everly, fucking stalked her, hit on her in front
of his own parents and me, and now hes threatening me. This
fucking piece of shit thinks he can get away with absolutely
anything.
He wont get away with this. I should have seen this sooner.
Everly did, but I didnt listen to her. I assumed that if Spencer
were involved, hed be interested in beating me, not in Everly.
But I was so fucking wrong.
He wasnt following me at all. He was following her.
I step closer to him and his grin comes back.
Careful, Logan, he says.
Careful? I should rip your fucking liver out right here, you
scumbag piece of shit, I practically growl at him.
Go ahead, he says, beaming. Hit me. Im sure my father
would like that.
You fucking pussy. Hiding behind your daddy.
And youre a fucking liar. He steps up to me, eyes wide. You
think you can fool my father, thats fine, but you cant fool me. I
want Everly, and shes not really yours. Shes not even really the
mother of that baby girl. Whose daughter is that, Logan?
Alexa is mine, I say softly. And if you ever mention her again,
I will kill you.
He stares at me for a second but clearly decides not to test me. I
want something.
What? I ask him, trying my hardest not to crack his
skull open.
Ill tell you soon. But for now, just enjoy the night. And dont
forget that I know. He backs away from me slowly.
Tell me what you want. I go to follow him.
Soon, he says, and disappears back inside.
Im left standing there fuming, not sure what the fuck to do.
So it really is Spencer. And he wants something from me. I can
only imagine what it is, since what he truly seems to want is
Everly. But shes not mine to give, and even if she somehow was,
I never would hand her over to a monster like Spencer.
I dont know what to fucking do. I cant go back in there. I cant
sit around and pretend like that conversation didnt happen. I
want to murder Spencer for what he did to Everly. I want to hurt
him so badly that it almost pains me to think about it.
But I know I cant act right now. If he sent that email, that
means he has the proof to ruin this whole charade for me. If
Spencer shows it to his father then Ill lose everything, and Ill
have put Everly through this for nothing.
I cant risk that. I cant risk wasting Everlys time and effort and
potentially embarrassing her more. I know this will become a
news story, and while I can handle the hit, I dont know whatll
happen to her.
I have to protect Everly now. I want the shelter, but I need to
make sure that this stupid plan doesnt blow back on her. I cant
allow that.
I take deep breaths, getting myself under control. I have to go
back in there and smile and pretend. Not for my sake, since if it
were up to me, Id beat the fuck out of Spencer and forget about
the damn shelter. But I have to do it for Everlys sake. I cant risk
destroying her, all for my own stupid selfish desires.
I head back inside with a dumb smile plastered on my face. Ill
get through tonight. And later, Ill plan.
20
EVERLY

I t was all him.


I stare at Logan, hardly able to believe what hes
saying. He told you that? I ask.
He told me everything. Logan can barely control himself. Im
glad hes not driving. We left the Winterfields right after dinner.
Logan claimed that Alexa wasnt feeling well, although thats
probably not a great lie to tell, since the nanny would know. Still,
we called a car and are hurrying back to civilization.
As soon as we were back in the car and Alexa fell asleep, Logan
told me what happened with Spencer. I cant believe that
Spencer would have the balls to go up to Logan and actually
admit to all of that. And Im amazed that Logan was able to
restrain himself. I know Logan isnt the kind of man to let that
sort of thing just slide, but he had to do it.
He wasnt doing all of that to get at me, Logan says. He says
hes doing to get you.
I stare at him. Youre joking?
I wish I were, he says, his face blank and serious. But he
wont ever get near you, Everly. I promise.
Holy shit, I say softly. That really was him in the park. Hes
been following me.
Maybe, Logan says. He definitely hired someone to hack your
phone, though.
That asshole. I dont know if I should be afraid or angry. I feel
a little bit of both. What the hell do we do?
Right now, nothing. He leans toward me and takes my hand.
Im going to take care of this. I promise.
But he knows, I say, eyes wide. He can ruin this.
I wont let him, he says firmly. I got you into this mess, but I
wont let it destroy you.
Logan, I say, shaking my head.
No, Everly, listen. Im not going to be the kind of man that
uses and abuses people for my own gain. I wont do it. Im going
to do whatever is necessary to keep you out of this.
I sigh and shake my head. I cant help but smile a little bit.
Logans sincerity is a little addictive, and I cant help but feel a
little relieved. I feel like if Logan is on my side, absolutely
anything is possible. He really can keep me safe and make sure
that Spencer doesnt get away with anything.
But still, I dont know what he can do. Spencer said he wants
something, though he didnt specify what, but I think I can
guess. The bastard wants me.
Can I do something like that to help Logan? Can I actually give
myself to Spencer?
The thought makes me feel sick. I know Logan will never, ever
ask me to do that. I know I cant sleep with Spencer, thats for
sure. Logan would never allow it, anyway. But maybe I could do
something else. Something not so bad, like go on a date with
him or something like that.
But I cant imagine a man like Spencer will be satisfied with a
nice, chaste date. Hes going to want more. Hes going to want
absolutely everything.
We get home late that night. Fortunately, Im able to get Alexa
into her crib without waking her, and we both go to bed
exhausted.
I wake up the next morning later than usual, and for a second, I
panic. Im supposed to get Alexa normally. I quickly get up, get
dressed, and go to take care of Alexa. I cant believe I didnt wake
up on time, but it makes sense once Im out of the room.
Logan is up and hes already taken care of the baby. He smiles
once I walk into the kitchen.
Morning, he says.
Morning. Theres coffee and pancakes already stacked and
ready for me. Did you cook?
Sure did. Hes holding Alexa in his arms and rocking her
softly. Thought youd like to sleep in a little. And I havent
made you my famous pancakes yet.
Famous? I ask him, smiling and pouring myself some coffee.
Well, famous in my own mind.
I grab a plate and a short stack before sitting down to eat. The
pancakes are delicious, and the coffee is perfect. Logan walks
over and joins me, holding Alexa in his arms.
Listen, about Spencer, he starts, but I shake my head.
We dont have to talk about it, I say. I trust you.
He sighs. Okay. I just feel like we didnt resolve anything last
night.
We didnt. But theres nothing to resolve.
He watches me, a concerned expression on his face. Are you
okay? You seem fine.
I laugh a little bit. You think Im not okay because I
seem okay?
I know that sounds stupid.
Just a little bit, I say, smiling.
But we found out some heavy shit last night. And you
seem okay.
I guess I mean it when I say that I trust you, I answer slowly.
If you say youre going to take care of this, I believe you. Any
man that can cook pancakes like this can probably do anything.
He grins at me. Told you theyre famous.
Thats not what famous means.
He shrugs and leans forward to kiss me softly on the lips. I just
dont want you to be afraid.
I am, a little bit. Spencer is creepy. But at least we know now.
What do you mean?
Before, it was just a hunch. I lean back for a second, sipping
my coffee and trying to put it into words. I mean, when I saw
him at the park, I really freaked out. And the email was hanging
over my head that whole time, too. But now I dont know. It
doesnt seem so bad.
He smiles softly at me. Why?
I guess it was the not knowing that drove me insane. But now
we know. Theres a name and a face. Theres a person that we
can fight against. Before, it could have been anyone, but now we
know, and that makes it better at least.
Hes quiet for a second before standing up and carrying Alexa
over to her little swing seat. He places her in and turns the lights
on before coming back to me.
Youre an impressive woman, he says.
Of course I am.
He pulls me against his chest and kisses me, long and slow.
I revel in that kiss, letting myself forget my troubles for a
moment. But like everything else lately, that kiss slowly comes
to an end, and Im forced back to reality.
He smiles at me, and in that smile I see something that I didnt
expect to see. It only lasts for a moment, but I swear it makes my
whole spine shiver with delight.
He looks at me like he never wants to look away. Its hard to
explain. Theres this longing and desire evident in his eyes, the
sort of longing that Ive never seen from someone before.
But as quickly as I notice it, he looks away and its gone. His
phone is ringing, and he walks over to the couch to pick it up.
Hello? he says. I watch his face as he cocks his head and
listens. Thats really good news, Chester. I have to say, youre
not going to be disappointed. Yes. Yes, of course. Yes, well do
that soon. Im very excited about this. Thank you, Chester. He
hangs up the phone and looks at me.
What? I ask him.
A huge smile breaks across his face. He signed.
I stare at him, eyes wide. Get the hell out.
Seriously, he signed. I cant believe it.
He actually signed? I thought Spencer was going to stop that.
Apparently not. He laughs and walks over to me. He signed!
I jump out of my chair and run over to him. I dive into his arms,
slamming against his chest, and hug him as hard as I can.
Oh my god, Im so happy! I say, not sure whether I want to
laugh or cry. Relief floods over me. Is this really over?
I guess so, he says, joy still in his voice. My god, I thought
this would never happen.
Im so happy for you, Logan.
Its all thanks to you. He stares into my eyes. Seriously,
Everly, thank you.
I wave my hands, dismissing him. I didnt do a thing. This was
all you.
He laughs and kisses me again before checking his phone. Im
still smiling as his enormous grin turns suddenly into a mask of
confusion.
What? I ask him.
I just got a text, he says softly.
From who?
Its Spencer. He shows me the phone.
Its a picture of Spencer holding up the sexy selfie picture that I
never wanted anyone to see. Hes grinning in the photo.
Dread fills me again and my smile disappears. Whats going on?
I thought Chester signed?
Theres more, Logan mutters. Spencer says that if I really
want this deal to go through, and if we want to keep your private
photos private, we better give him $1 million and He trails
off, a huge frown on his face.
What? I ask him. And what?
That fucking bastard, he whispers.
Say it.
Logans eyes stare into mine. And a date with you.
Those words tear into my chest. I dont know how I can possibly
go from totally ecstatic with joy and happiness to suddenly
horrified.
Its not going to happen, Logan says firmly.
Logan I say slowly. We have to do it.
No. He reaches out and takes my hair, pulling me against him.
Nobody gets to have you but me. Do you get that?
I bite my lower lip. Logan
No, he says more firmly. Fuck Spencer and fuck Chester and
fuck everyone else. Youre not doing it.
I stare into his eyes, and I believe that he wont let me.
But I also know that I have to do this. Somehow, I have to
convince him to let me. Because otherwise, Spencer is going to
fuck things up for everyone. And I dont want the city to pay the
price, let alone Logan and Alexa.
21
LOGAN

I stare at Everly, but I know what shes thinking. She


wants to do this, and shes going to try and sacrifice
herself for me.
But I wont let that happen. I toss my phone aside and pull her
over to the kitchen counter. She gasps as I push her up against it,
kissing her deep and slow.
Im not letting her go anywhere. Nobody gets to date her but me.
Nobody gets to touch her but me. All through my time with her,
Im slowly realizing more and more that Everly is mine, for real,
and Im hers too.
My tongue slides into her mouth as I move her up onto the
countertop. She wraps her legs around my waist and I pull her
closer, feeling the warmth between her legs grind down
against me.
I pull her shirt off, not wasting any time. I tease her neck and her
bare, perfect breasts. Her pink nipples are stiff under my tongue
and teeth. I move back and kiss her mouth, tugging her shorts
down over her hips. She lifts up to help me slide them off her.
She gasps as I bend forward and pull her to the edge. My mouth
finds the inside of her thighs as I slowly kiss up to her panties.
Theyre dripping wet already, and I push them aside to tongue
her clit.
Logan, she gasps. This wont change anything.
Wont it? I ask her, sliding my tongue along her delicious little
pussy. I think it will.
Oh god, she moans. Please. We have to talk about this.
I dont want to talk. I slide my tongue deep inside of her and
back out. I want to feel you.
Oh, shit, she moans again as I suck and lick her clit. Shes not
exactly complaining.
My blood is up and hot, and I cant be patient this time. Im so
fucking angry and I want her so fucking bad. I pull my shorts
down with one hand, practically ripping them off. I stand and
press the tip of my cock against her pussy.
She leans back, propping herself up on the counter with her
palms flat. I press myself deep inside of her in one easy motion,
sliding inside of her soaking wet pussy. She gasps and I stifle her
moans with a deep kiss as I slowly grind myself deeper and
deeper inside of her.
She reaches forward and wraps her arms around my neck as I
start to fuck her. I spread her legs nice and wide before pulling
her hair back. I kiss her neck and lips as I plunge my cock deep
inside of her, over and over, fucking away any bad thoughts, any
bad feelings. All I want is to feel good and to make her feel good.
I need her to know how badly I want her, how badly I need her.
I thrust deep inside of her, fucking her faster. She leans back
again and I feel her breasts, teasing her nipples. Every inch of
your body is mine, I say to her as I thrust deep and hard.
Nobody else is going to touch you. I need you, I need you to be
all mine.
Yes, she whispers. Im all yours. Im whatever you want.
I grab her hair and pull it back as I fuck her harder. With my free
hand, I reach down and work her clit, making her move her hips
as I keep pumping inside of her.
I fuck her fast and rough, needing this moment so badly. I
suddenly grab her hips and lift her off the counter, placing her
down on the floor. I spin her around, spread her legs, and slap
her ass hard.
She looks over her shoulder, her mouth hanging open, and I slap
her ass again, even harder. She gasps, but I dont give her time
to complain. I thrust my cock back inside of her slick pussy,
drilling her deep. She gasps and throws her hair back as I slap
her ass again. She grips the edge of the counter as I wrap my fist
through her hair.
I pull her head back, tipping her chin up, as I fuck her deep and
full. I love the slap of my cock deep inside of her. She starts to
work her ass, sliding along and moving faster.
I can feel it building inside of me, and I cant hold it back. Just as
I feel like Im about to come, I feel Everlys body tense, her
moans getting louder.
I know shes coming as I let loose inside of her. I orgasm deep
inside her pussy, shooting thick spurts of hot cum. Her whole
body convulses and I practically have to hold her up as we come
together, pleasure wracking our bodies and minds.
Slowly we finish. I pull out and spin her around. I pull her
against me, both of us sweating and breathing deeply. Youre
not going to do it, I say to her, holding her tight.
She doesnt say anything back. I press her against my body,
hugging her close. I wont let her make this stupid mistake. I
wont let her hurt herself for me.
Ill protect her. I have to. No matter what.
22
EVERLY

I m almost surprised by how strongly Logan feels


about this.
I knew he wouldnt like it. I knew he wouldnt want me to get
more involved with Spencer than I had to. I can tell that Logan
feels guilty about roping me into this whole thing. Obviously he
thought it was going to be easier than it actually has been. He
thought wed get married, smile for a meeting with Chester, and
basically float through this.
I was meant to be an excuse for the existence of Alexa. But now
its becoming so much more than that.
I dont blame Logan for this. Theres no way he could have
known that Chesters son is a total psycho. Nobody knew much
about Spencer coming into this, since Spencer basically kept to
himself. But its gone so much further than I ever imagined it
would now, and I have to follow it through.
I feel like I should be wearing a trench coat. Its one in the
morning. Alexa is fast asleep, and I made sure that Logan has the
baby monitor before sneaking out. If she wakes up, hell have to
take care of her, even though he normally does anyway.
I dont know why I feel compelled to leave the building for this. I
head across the street and sit down on a bench at the park. I
could easily do this inside, but theres less of a risk of Logan
catching me if I do it from here. I dont want to hear what he has
to say if he happens to overhear what Im doing.
I dial the number and let it ring. I expected to leave a message,
but he picks up before the machine can get it.
Spencer here.
I frown at his greeting. Hi, Spencer, I say.
He hesitates a second. Everly? he asks.
Its me.
I knew youd call, sooner or later. He sounds like hes smiling,
although his words are slightly slurred.
You didnt leave me much of a choice.
Oh, I dont think thats true. Im sure Logan is coming up with
all sorts of schemes to get you out of this.
I realize that hes drunk, and I decide to be careful. I want to do
the easiest thing possible, I say.
Of course you do. He sounds so damn smarmy and excited.
Youre a good person, arent you, Everly? Always willing to
sacrifice for others.
Only people I care about, I say pointedly.
He laughs into the receiver. Of course, of course. Well then,
whats this call for?
You know what.
I want to hear you say it.
I flush with anger. Ill go on a date withyou.
Good, he says. Very good. And what do you want to do on
the date?
I thought you had something in mind, I hedge.
Of course I do, but I dont think youd like what Im picturing.
I make a fist and relax it. If were going to do this, we have to
have one rule.
Okay, what rule is that?
No touching.
He pauses, and for a second I think I lose him. But he speaks up
before I can check my phone. Thats no fun, he says finally.
This is a date. Im not a prostitute. I wouldnt sleep with
someone on the first date.
Everly, Everly, Everly, he says and sighs. Dont you know
what I want?
Just tell me, I say, getting frustrated.
I want to tie you down, blindfold you, and fuck you until you
scream.
I take a sharp breath. If you cant behave, this isnt going to
happen. Ill let Logan do one of his schemes instead.
He sighs again. Okay, fine. You want no touching, you can have
no touching. But were going on the date of my choosing.
Fine, I agree.
And I still want that money. You make sure he sends me that
fucking money.
He sounds angry, which doesnt surprise me. Fine, I say.
Youll get your money and your date. And you better uphold
your end of the bargain.
I give you my word, whatever thats worth, he says. I wont
ruin your plans.
I hesitate for a second, not sure if I really want to go through
with this. Before I can agree, I have one more question. The
other day, I say. Were you outside of our apartment in
the park?
He laughs. Of course I was. Scared the shit out of you, didnt I?
Why? I ask him.
I wanted to see how you live. I needed to prove to myself that
youre not really married to that fucking piece of shit.
Did you get your proof? I whisper.
No, he says, sounding disappointed. But it was fun, anyway.
Hes a sick man, I realize. I really shouldnt do this. But Logan
and I can potentially help thousands of people in this city if we
can get this shelter and community center built.
Okay, I say to him. You have a deal.
Wonderful. Ill call you again with the details soon.
Fine. I want to get off the phone and head back inside. Its
chilly out and Im starting to feel paranoid, like he might be
hiding behind the bushes or something.
And Everly? You tell Logan that youre doing this. You make
sure he knows.
Ill have to, if I want to get him to pay you.
Good. I can hear the sick smile on his face. Good night,
Everly.
I hang the phone up, not wanting to say anything more to him.
This is probably a mistake. I can sense it. I should probably just
give this up and let Logan find some other way of getting us out
of this.
But I know there is no other way. Spencer is a disturbed fuck, and
only playing into his twisted fantasy is going to work. Anything
else, any sign that were not going to comply with that he wants,
and hes going to pull back.
I cant let that happen. I wont let Logan fail. He wants to protect
me, but I want to protect him just as much. Maybe he cant see
that just yet, but he will soon.
23
LOGAN

E verly squeezes my hand and smiles at me as we walk


down the block. The buildings on our left are all vacant
and decaying, though they were once beautiful.
I have a feeling I know why you brought me here, I say to her.
Shush, she says, grinning. Just look around.
I sigh and do as she asks. Were in the middle of the city, in a
relatively bad neighborhood. The dilapidated buildings are all
owned by Chester Winterfield, or at least theyre soon going to
be owned by me. Im going to knock them all down and build my
shelter right here.
Ive been to this spot once before, though briefly. It feels
different today somehow as we circle around the block that Im
going to buy.
Most of these homes were built back in the twenties. Back then,
these were beautiful, and people were proud to own them.
Families grew up in these houses and prospered, at least for a
little while.
Things changed in the sixties and the seventies. People began to
move out of the cities and that only accelerated through the
decades. Drugs and gangs and poverty moved in to replace the
families, and in neighborhoods like this, the once-beautiful
houses were all either foreclosed on or simply abandoned.
Thats how Chester ended up owning this entire city block. I
suspect he had some grand plans for the land, but he just never
got around to it, and since the neighborhood never improved on
its own, he decided that it wasnt worth trying to improve it
himself. He likely bought all of these houses for half of what Im
paying from a bank, and hes definitely making out like a bandit.
Nobody would want to live in these structures, not anymore at
least.
But I can still see the beauty in them. I can practically hear the
kids playing in the streets, people sitting out on their stoops,
neighbors talking, laughing, being together. Thats the whole
point of a city. People that want to be around other people live in
the city, even if its harder and less convenient sometimes. Its
everything I love about life, at least.
Local people eye us as we circle the block a couple times. Everly
doesnt say anything, she just looks at the buildings. I cant see
what shes thinking, but I suspect its similar to what I have on
my mind.
I keep seeing the shelter. I keep seeing the plans in my mind,
and picturing how itll look in real life. Its going to be beautiful,
all gleaming glass and shining steel. Its going to be a beacon of
hope for everyone around here. Maybe people dont even know
they need something like this, but as soon as we build it, theyre
going to come. I know its going to save this city, or at least its
going to be a good first step.
What do you think? Everly asks me after we finish our third
circle.
Its perfect, I say. Exactly why I want to buy it.
But what about all that? she asks, gesturing at everything
around us.
What do you mean?
She take my hand and bites her lip. I love that little habit. Look
at everything around this block. Thats what youre doing this
for, right?
I nod my head slowly. The neighborhood is mostly residential,
though some shops and corner stores still exist. Mostly though,
its a food desert, and the nearest place that sells fresh produce
is at least fifteen minutes by bus, longer if you have to walk.
Thats practically the other side of the world for a lot of these
people.
You want this to happen, she says simply.
Yeah, I say. I really do.
She steers me away from the sidewalk and we sit down on a
stoop leading up to an abandoned house. Everything is boarded
over, and I can smell musty air coming from the inside. Its all
broken and decaying, but Im going to make it new again.
Listen to me, she says softly. Were so close, right?
We are, I say. But
No, she says, listen, we cant give up now. Weve come so
far. Are you really going to let a rat like Spencer stop you?
Of course not, I say softly. But what choice do I have?
Im going on the date, she says.
No, youre not.
I already called him two days ago. Last night, he left a message.
Were meeting tomorrow.
I stare at her, not sure what to say. My first instinct is anger.
I cant believe she went behind my back and set this up. I dont
know what the hell shes thinking. Spencer Winterfield is
fucking dangerous, and she shouldnt ever put herself anywhere
near that bastard. I dont know what hed do to her, and I dont
know if I can protect her if she goes on a date.
But my second reaction is different. I dont know how to describe
it. I think its something like admiration.
She knows what shes getting herself into. Shes afraid of
Spencer, hates him as much as I do. She doesnt want to get
anywhere near him, and yet here she is, willing to risk anything
for me. I feel something deep and intense inside of me, pushing
aside the anger, threatening to overflow.
Why? I ask her finally.
Because of all this, she says, smiling. Its always been about
this, right? Its not about us, Logan. I think thats what youve
shown me.
I shake my head. Its about you to me too, Everly.
I know, she says, smiling. She takes my hand and squeezes it
again. But you have to let me do this.
I cant.
You can and you will. Because Im going to make sure all of this
happens. Im going to make sure your dream of helping people
comes true.
Her smile is so beautiful and I dont know what to say. Nobody
has ever been so willing to do so much for me before, and it
almost threatens to overwhelm me.
I pull her close against me and kiss her. I dont know how to
express how I feel in words, and so I hope shell understand. She
kisses me back, a slow and deep kiss. Its passionate and
emotional, but not the kind of kiss that leads to
something more.
We slowly break apart. She smiles up at me again and I kiss her
softly on the lips one more time. I dont want you to go, I say.
I know. But you can keep me safe.
How?
She grins at me. Follow us. Obviously.
I cant help but laugh. You want me to come on your date?
Of course. I mean, dont let Spencer see you, but definitely
come keep an eye on us.
I laugh again and kiss her. Okay, I say. I can do that.
Good. Shes so fucking beautiful. Well do it together.
Together, I repeat.
We kiss one more time and I know this is the worst idea in the
world. I hate even considering it. But if shes determined, I doubt
I can stop her, so at least I can follow along and make sure
Spencer cant hurt her.
24
EVERLY

I m nervous as hell standing outside of the apartment


building. I dont know what to think or where Im
going, but I know that Im going with Spencer.
Logan is sitting in a car halfway down the block, watching me. I
know hes there although I cant see him. We discussed this plan
in depth, and it all hinged on him being close to me, within
screaming distance, but I shouldnt be able to see him.
If Spencer catches Logan following us, this is all over. I know
hell freak and go full nuclear on me if we get caught. I can
already tell that Spencer is an immature, insecure little man, and
any indication that I lied to or mislead him will cause him to flip
and end this instantly.
He might even release everything he hacked off my phone to the
public. I can only imagine that. All of my personal emails and
texts, plus that sexy photo I took, which I now regret more than
anything. The annoying part of that is, I didnt even send it. I
dont know why I kept it. Probably because I thought I looked
good, and I wanted to hold onto that.
I dont want to risk any of that, but I need to know Logan is
nearby. And so we have a system where if Spencer tries to do
something too far, all I have to do is scream and Logan will come
running. Hell make sure nothing goes too far. Hell keep me as
safe as he possibly can.
I have to keep reminding myself of that over and over while I
wait for Spencer to come pick me up. Logan is going to be
nearby, and all I have to do is scream and hell come running. No
matter where Spencer takes me, Logan will be nearby.
After maybe ten minutes of waiting, a car finally pulls up in front
of me. Its a red sports car with dark tinted windows. Spencer
leans over the seat and pushes open the passenger side door.
Get in, he says.
Reluctantly, I climb into the car. He leans over me again and
pulls the door shut before peeling out into traffic.
Hes wearing a tight black t-shirt and white pants. He doesnt
look at me as he drives way too fast through the crowded city
streets.
Where are we going? I ask him.
Youll see. He doesnt bother glancing in my direction.
I have such a bad feeling about this, but Ive come so far already.
I cant turn back and give up on this now. I have to be brave.
Logan is following us. Hell make sure nothing bad happens.
Spencer whips his car around a turn, speeding through a red
light. I cringe and wonder if hes actually trying to purposefully
lose Logan. Maybe Spencer suspects our little ruse, and hes
trying to head us off already.
But no, I dont think so. Spencer reaches into the glove
compartment, still driving too fast, and pulls out a vial.
Open that for me, he says, tossing it into my lap.
I pick it up. What is this?
My fucking cough medicine. He grins at that. Just open it.
I twist off the top and carefully hand it to him. He taps a little
white powder into his left hand and snorts it quickly.
Oh, fuck! he yells, grabbing the wheel with both hands and
slamming down onto the gas. We scream forward.
Spencer, I say. Slow down.
Fucking hell, I cant slow down, girl, he yells. I feel so
fucking alive. He tears through a stop sign, making a right, our
wheels screaming over the pavement.
I wonder for a second if were going to get pulled over. That
would be ideal. Maybe theyd even arrest him on drug charges
and take him away. Thatd make my life so much easier.
But no, thats just a fantasy. Of course a guy like Spencer can do
coke and drive too fast in a red sports car and not get pulled over.
He flies around another corner and comes to a screeching halt in
front of a club.
He opens his door. Come on, he says.
I follow him. A valet approaches and Spencer tosses the kid his
keys. Careful, Spencer says to him then laughs and pats him
on the back. The valet kid gives me a look before getting into
the car.
Lets go, Spencer says, and we head up to the door.
Theres a line, I point out. At least thirty people are standing
there waiting to get in.
They know me here, Spencer says, grinning.
Sure enough, the doorman recognizes him. Welcome back, Mr.
Winterfield the big guy says. Head on in. He opens the rope
and we step past him. People in line complain, but I cant hear
them for long as a loud screaming bass line overwhelms
everything else.
We step into the dark club. Spencer seems familiar with the
place, because he makes a beeline straight for an empty booth in
the corner. He sits down without asking anyone, and motions for
me to slide in next to him.
Im a regular here, he yells in my ear over the music.
Oh, good, I yell back.
He motions for a waitress, who walks over. He says something to
her and she walks away quickly.
The club is dark, borderline too dark. The music is deep and
booming, a pulsing rhythm that almost makes me want to move.
The dance floor is packed with sweating people writhing against
each other, and maybe under other circumstances, this place
might look fun.
Unfortunately, Im with Spencer. He reaches into his pocket,
takes out that little vial again, and quickly snorts a little pile off
his hand. He looks around, his eyes wide, before slipping it back
into his jacket.
He yells something, but I cant hear him. Maybe thats for the
best. Maybe I wont have to actually talk to him tonight. Hell
just do his drugs and well hang out at this little table until I can
finally go home.
As the waitress returns with a bottle of champagne, a bucket of
ice, and two glasses, I realize something. I cant hear a word that
shes saying, let alone what Spencer is saying back. Which
means that, even if I do scream right now as loud as I can, Logan
wont hear me. Besides, theres a line of thirty people out there.
I dont know if he could even get in.
For a second, I panic. I look around, wondering where the
nearest exit is. I wonder if I can get up and make a break for it.
Maybe I can get away before he even realizes whats happening.
Hes all coked up anyway, maybe hes too high to care.
But that moment comes and passes. I cant run away. Maybe Im
on my own, but Ive come so far. Im seeing this through.
Spencer pours me a glass of champagne, which I accept. I sip it
while he throws two full glasses back, one after the other.
Arent you glad youre not stuck at home with that boring
asshole? he yells in my ear.
Sure, I yell back.
We can do anything we want!
WHAT? I call in his ear.
ANYTHING WE WANT.
I nod and smile, although I dont know what hes talking about.
FREEDOM. ANYTHING. He yells these words in my ear as the
music changes to something faster and louder. People on the
dance floor cheer.
SURE, I yell back, nodding.
He turns away, watching the crowd and drinking his champagne.
I sip mine and glance around nervously, wondering if Logan is
somehow nearby. I pray that he is, but I cant rely on that
anymore. Its up to me to make sure that Im safe, and I cant
assume Logan will swoop in and save me.
DANCE, Spencer yells suddenly and jumps to his feet.
WHAT??
DANCE! He does this dorky little dance, trying to mime it for
me, although I heard him the first time.
I sigh and I know I cant argue. I might as well get it over with. I
stand up and he heads out to the dance floor. I follow him,
hoping that the no-touching rule will still hold out here.
He starts to dance, jumping and shaking to the music. I bob my
head and get into it, trying to find a nice middle ground of
dancing and having fun but not being too sexy or sensual. As he
dances, he keeps getting closer and closer, and I have to push
him away.
The people all around us seem like theyre having a good time,
but Im just going through the motions. I dont want to be here,
but I know I have to dance a little bit to at least make it look like I
gave it a try. Spencer gets closer to me again, this time putting
his hands on my hips.
I smack them away. TOUCHING! I yell in his ear.
He shrugs and goes back to dancing, clearly not caring that he
broke the rule. I reluctantly follow suit, not sure what I can do
about it.
But a few minutes later, he sneaks up behind me and grabs my
hips again. He tries to grind with me, but I pull away and turn to
face him. I push him away, shaking my head angrily.
This time, he looks pissed.
YOU FUCKING PRUDE, he yells in my ear. JUST DANCING.
NO TOUCHING, I yell back.
He shakes his head angrily and steps toward me. I step away
before turning to leave the dance floor.
I expect him to stop me, but he doesnt. I make it back to the
booth and slide into the corner, hoping that hell forget about
me. And for maybe ten minutes, he actually seems to. He stays
out on the dance floor, dancing and jumping and even manages
to grind up on some other girl for a few minutes before getting
bored and walking away.
He spots me again and heads over. He stops next to me and leans
over. Sorry, he says in my ear. Come on. Lets do
something else.
I look up at him and sigh. Fine. I get up and follow him as he
walks across the club.
I dont know where hes leading me. We head down a short
hallway and past a line of people. We go up a short flight of steps
before coming to a landing. He opens the first door on the left
and steps inside. I follow him, and the room is dark for a second
before he turns on the light.
Were in what looks like a dressing room. Whats this? I
ask him.
Green room, he says. Club gets live acts sometimes, they
hang out in here. He walks over to the vanity and pulls out a
chair.
I hang over by the door and watch as he opens up his vial again
and pours four fat lines. He grins at me, taking a twenty from his
pocket and rolling it up.
Lets go, he says. He snorts one of the lines and throws his
head back. Fuck, yes, he yells. Come on over here, Everly.
Live a little bit.
I shake my head. I dont do that stuff, I say.
You sound like a fucking prissy little girl. Get over here and
snort this fucking coke. He stands up and aggressively shoves
the rolled up twenty toward me.
Spencer, no, I say. Stop it.
Take it, bitch, he grunts, grabbing my wrist. Come on. Snort
that fucking coke, you fucking slut. I want to see you get high
and suck my dick.
Stop it, I say, struggling, but he grabs my wrists and shoves
me up against the wall. My heart starts beating fast in my chest
and I dont know what the hell Im going to do.
Fucking bitch, he says. Youre such a tease. You know you
want this, you whore.
I dont think about it. I just bring my knee up hard, slamming it
into his balls.
He grunts and turns away from me. You fucking cunt, he
growls.
I turn and dive for the door. I get my hands on the handle, but he
doesnt relent. He grabs me by the waist, lifting me into the air,
and throwing me away from the door.
Thats when I scream. I let loose as loud as I possibly can,
screaming my head off. He comes toward me with this blank
look on his face and shoves his hand over my mouth. I try to bite
him but he punches me in the gut with his other fist.
Now youll shut the fuck up and let me do what I really want to
do, he says. You think I just wanted a date? Youre not worth a
fucking date. But Im going to fuck your little ass until you bleed,
and maybe thatll be worth it.
I struggle and hit him but he doesnt seem to care. I dont know
what the hell to do. Im so scared I can barely breathe, and I hate
myself for putting myself in this position.
Just as he rears back to hit me again, the door flies open. Spencer
turns around, shocked, releasing me completely. I fall down to
the floor, sobs ripping through my chest as Logan strides into
the room.
What the fuck Spencer manages to say before Logan
punches him. Spencer stumbles back and Logan follows him,
hitting him again and again. Logan slams his fists into Spencer
again and again, turning his face into a bloody pulp.
Logan, I say, getting ahold of myself. Logan, stop.
His eyes are wide and he hesitates, his fist covered in blood. He
looks over at me then back down at Spencer.
Stop, I say to him. You might kill him.
Logan drops Spencer and he just collapses onto the ground. I
want to kill him, Logan says calmly.
Stop. Come on. I grab Logans hand and pull him away.
Stay away from us, Logan says to Spencer. Or next time, she
wont stop me. Nothing will. I pull Logan again and he finally
turns away. We walk out of that room together.
He leads me back downstairs, back through the club, and out the
front door. We hurry out of there before Spencer gets himself
together and follows.
Logan is parked around the corner. He unlocks the car and gets
me inside before walking around and sitting in the drivers seat.
How? I ask him.
He frowns at me. What?
How did you find me?
He smiles a bit. Bribed the doorman. I followed you guys in
there and was watching from the bar. I saw what he was doing on
the dance floor. And when he took you into the back I thought
something was up.
You really followed, I say.
I really followed. And when you screamed, I came.
Logan. The tears come back to me again, and he pulls me
against him.
Its okay, he whispers. I got you.
I sob into his chest. I feel like such an idiot. Im so embarrassed
and hurt. My gut aches from where Spencer hit me, but mostly
its my pride. Im so stupid for getting myself into this position.
Logan warned me not to do it, but I didnt listen to him. I wanted
to help so badly, but instead I fucked everything up.
Spencer is going to destroy us, I say to him through my tears.
Maybe, Logan says. But I dont care. I told you Id always
protect you.
He holds me tighter and I dont know what to say. I feel so dumb.
I ruined all of this for him.
Eventually, my tears stop and he starts the car. He drives us back
to his apartment, holding my hand the whole time. He brings me
upstairs, dismisses the nanny, and checks on Alexa before
bringing me into the bedroom.
He kisses me, but its a different kind of kiss. He helps me
undress. When Im in my underwear, he strips down too, and we
climb into his bed together. He pulls me against him, his arms
wrapped around me, and he holds me.
We dont have sex. I dont think we need to. He just holds me
like that, his body pressed against mine. Its okay, he
whispers. I promise. Its going to be okay. You did the right
thing.
I fucked up, I whisper back.
No. You were perfect. He fucked up.
I shake my head, not sure what to believe.
But it doesnt matter. I let myself get lost in the moment. He
holds me tight against his muscular body and slowly, I drift off to
sleep, Logans arms wrapped around me, his breath in my ear.
25
LOGAN

T he sun is barely starting to press against the sky


when I feel Everly stirring beside me.
I havent let a woman sleep in my bed in a very long time. As I lie
here and stare at the ceiling, I realize that it wasnt strange at all
to bring her into my room and hold her like this. Mercifully,
Alexa slept through the night, and is still asleep.
I slip out of bed, making sure Everly isnt fully awake yet, and
sneak into Alexas room. I stand near the crib for a moment,
watching her little body breathing slowly and steadily, still
clearly asleep. I dont want to wake her, but I had the urge to
come look at her, and I couldnt deny it.
I should feel angry. I know I should want to hunt down Spencer
right now and kill him if I didnt already. I probably broke most
of the bones in his fucking face last night, and he deserved it all.
I should want to end it.
But I dont. Not because that fucking shit doesnt deserve it, but
because I feel strangely at peace. Maybe it was Everlys body
pressed close against mine last night, or maybe its the way I feel
when I look at Alexa, but that intensely burning anger just isnt
there.
I feel content. I dont think Ive ever felt content in my entire
life. Thats why Ive always been striving for more, needing more
success and fame and money. Even this charity shelter thing is
because Im never content with anything. I always want to push
and get to that next level no matter what.
But with Everly things just feel easier. I loved having her close
against me last night. It felt so good, so intimate, in a way that I
havent experienced in a while. Ive been shutting people out of
my life for a lot of reasons. Mostly Im sick of people trying to
use me for my money. But this feels right, and I know I cant
deny the truth that Im starting to feel.
Everly is special. Shes important. The fact that she went out
there last night and put herself in danger for me just speaks
volumes of the kind of person she is. I cant keep going on,
pretending like Im not falling deeply, insanely in love with her.
I dont know how to tell her that, not yet at least. Spencer is still
a problem, though Im not worried about it anymore. I think hes
likely more afraid of us than we are of him, and I suspect hes
going to make this easy on everyone.
But well see. I cant predict the future. I didnt see Spencer
coming from the beginning, so he may have more surprises up
his sleeve.
I step out of Alexas room and pad softly back to my bed. As I
shut my door, Everly sits up and look at me.
Hey, she says softly.
Her long dark hair spills down around her and I feel something
stir inside of me.
Hey, I say back, walking over to the bed. I climb in next to her
and she rolls toward me, looking up at me with those
beautiful eyes.
You let me sleep over, she says.
I did. I smirk at her. You snore.
No, I dont. She blushes though and smiles.
Okay, you dont. But I liked having you in my bed.
You did? She cocks her head a little bit.
Are you surprised?
I guess so, she admits. You havent invited me in here yet,
you know.
I know. I just I thought youd want it that way.
I didnt. She doesnt break eye contact, and I know what shes
trying to say.
I gently take her chin and kiss her slow and deep.
She reacts instantly to my touch. Our kissing gets deeper, fuller,
but were both in a hurry. We both know that Alexa can wake up
any second, and we dont have much time.
I pull her over on top of me. She takes off her bra and I tease her
breasts as she leans over and kisses me. My cock is so fucking
hard, and I can feel her warm pussy slowly grinding against my
length.
I roll over, pressing her back down on the bed. I slide along her
body and grab her panties before taking them off and tossing
them on the floor. I kiss her inner thigh as I move up her leg and
finally find her wet clit.
This is the first time youve touched me indoors, she says.
I smirk up at her. Is it?
She nods and gasps as I gently suck her clit. I like it.
I think I prefer the great outdoors.
She laughs but that quickly turns into a moan as I sink two
fingers deep inside of her. I slowly piston them in and out as I
suck her clit, wanting to get her closer and closer before
fucking her.
I move back and take off my boxer briefs. She spreads her legs
wide as I sink myself slowly inside of her.
Before, we were fucking because we couldnt stop ourselves. It
was like something came over us, and we were animals, fucking
intensely. This is different though. This is slower, more sensual,
more intimate.
But it feels just as fucking good. I fuck her deeper, pulling her
legs wider as my other hand grabs her hair. She grinds her hips
against mine, rolling herself along my hard cock as I spread her
and fuck her deep.
God, Logan, she whispers. I love feeling you. I love having
you inside of me. You dont know how badly I needed this.
I need it every day, I say back to her, looking in her eyes. I
need you.
I start to fuck her harder as pleasure courses through me. Its a
pleasure tinged with deep and serious caring, the sort of thing I
dont think Ive ever really felt if Im honest with myself.
Fucking Everly is different, and I think we both know it.
I can feel my orgasm already building, and I know shes close
too. Her moans get deeper and fuller, a little bit louder. I have to
press my hand over her mouth as I fuck her faster and deeper. I
cant risk her waking up Alexa, not when were so close.
Come for me, I whisper to her. Come on, come for me. You
dirty fucking girl.
She gasps and tenses as I slam into her. The orgasm rips through
her, making her whole body tense and shiver. I come not long
later, my whole body exploding with intense pleasure.
We collapse onto the bed together and I wrap my arms around
her. It feels good to be warm and comfortable with her. I pull her
against my chest and breathe in the smell of her hair.
Shes going to be up soon, Everly says.
I know. I can handle her.
Are you sure?
I nod. Positive. You can sleep in later, if you want.
She doesnt say anything for a second. We still have to deal
with Spencer, she says finally.
I have a plan, I say.
Oh, really?
I smirk at her. Why would that surprise you?
I guess it shouldnt anymore, she says. You always have
a plan.
And my plans are always perfect.
She laughs and playfully nudges me. Just then, the sound of
crying comes over the baby monitor.
Thats my cue, I say, and roll away from Everly.
She pouts. I wish we could stay in bed all morning.
Me too. But the baby calls.
I know. She stretches like a cat, gorgeous and perfect.
Ill be back soon. Let me get her settled.
Kay. She rolls over. Just dont wake me.
I pull on shorts and a t-shirt before leaving the room, a smile on
my face.
Normally, taking care of Alexa in the morning is difficult.
Normally Im exhausted and not quite awake yet. But today its
not to bad. For some reason, today everything seems decent.
26
EVERLY

I ts not easy facing the man that almost raped you, but
we both agreed that its the best thing.
Logan wanted me to stay home. I was the one that insisted,
actually. He knew that I was right, which is why Im in this car
with him, riding uptown to see Spencer. Our little offer is going
to have more impact if Im in the room.
Still, its nerve wracking. I know I dont have to be afraid, since
Logan is going to be with me, but still. Spencer is unpredictable,
and maybe hes going to try something. Maybe he wants revenge
for what Logan did to him, although I doubt it. Spencer has to
know, deep down inside of him, that he deserved every single
punch Logan smashed into his face.
Logan looks at me and frowns. He takes my hand and squeezes.
You sure about this? he asks me.
I nod once. Positive. Lets just get it over with.
He sighs and looks away. I can see the worry and stress etched in
his expression, but that wont stop me. Nothing is going to stop
me. Im going to see this thing through to the very end.
When Logan first called Spencer to set up a meeting, he tried to
get us to come to his apartment. But Logan insisted that we meet
somewhere public. Eventually we all agreed to sit down in a
coffee shop near Spencers house. Its a popular place called Mug
Shots, which I cant help but see the irony in.
The car pulls up outside of Mug Shots and Logan turns to me.
You can stay here if you want, he says. Theres no reason for
you to come in.
Logan, I say. We discussed this. Itll be better if I come. He
should have to face me after what he did.
He sighs. Okay, he says. Lets do this then.
He climbs out first and I follow. The day is pretty hot but Im
wearing jeans anyway. I dont know why, but I dont want to be
around Spencer in anything revealing. Logan takes my hand and
we walk together into Mug Shots.
I look around the shop, my stomach a mess of nerves. Its a
modern design, even a little industrial, with a lot of exposed
wood and metal. Its one of those vegan-friendly places with
fancy coffees, not the sort of place that I typically come, but
Spencer chose it. Everything on the menu is more expensive
than it should be, which I think is typical of places like this.
My heart starts beating fast as Logan leads me toward the back
of the shop. Its fairly crowded, which I guess shouldnt surprise
me. Young people sit in groups of two and three, plus a few
people are sitting in front of their laptops doing work.
I spot Spencer at a back table. It takes me a second to recognize
him because hes wearing sunglasses and has a hat pulled down
low over his face, but its definitely him. Logan is making a
beeline right for the table, and suddenly I want to get the hell out
of there.
But I have to be brave. We approach the table and stand there for
a second as Spencer gazes up at us.
Im surprised to see you, he says finally.
I wouldnt miss this for the world, I answer, not looking away.
I wont let him get the best of me.
He frowns. Sit down. Youre drawing attention.
Feeling nervous, Spence? Logan asks as we sit down across
from him.
He grunts. Not nervous, asshole. Just trying not to be seen.
Why? Logan asks. Try and rape someone else?
No, he snaps. Because of this. He takes off his hat and
sunglasses and I take a sharp breath.
Both of his eyes are ringed with deep purple bruises. His nose is
crooked, clearly broken, and his jaw has a nasty yellowing bruise
along the side. His eyes are both bloodshot. Frankly, he looks
fucking terrible.
Logan grins at him. I do good work, what can I say?
This is the reason I dont want to be seen. Spencer stares at
him for a second before putting his hat and sunglasses back on.
What do you two want?
Were here to offer you a deal, I say.
He leans back in his seat. Why would I want a deal? Look at
what your fucking husband did to my face.
Listen up, cocksucker, Logan cuts in, leaning forward. Heres
the deal. You hand over everything you have on Everly. You
promise not to get in the way of us again. You swear youll never,
ever come near either of us. And in exchange, well pay you $3
million.
Spencer looks surprised. Only $3 million? He laughs. I
thought Everly here was worth more than that.
Logan practically growls but I put a hand on his arm. Three
million, plus I dont press charges for attempted rape.
Spencer is quiet for a second. You wouldnt dare, he says
finally.
Yes, she would, and Ill back her up, Logan says. Even if I go
to jail for assault, though I suspect I can beat that charge.
Youd ruin your deal. Hell, youd torpedo your reputations.
Spencer shakes his head. Youre bluffing.
Spencer, I say, staring at him. Were not bluffing. You think I
wanted to come here today and look at your disgusting face?
Youre the last person I want to see. But Im here so that you
understand one thing. Im not fucking around.
He stares at me for a second and slowly a smile curls his lips. I
believe you, he says.
Good, I answer. Now take the deal and lets be done with
this shit.
I want to know one thing first, he says.
You dont get to set terms, Logan says to him. Rapist piece of
shit. Im of a mind to press charges just to get you off the
street.
He grins at Logan. Just one simple question.
Ask, I say, wanting to get the fuck away from him and leave
this chapter of my life behind.
Is this real? he asks, motioning at us.
I hesitate. I dont now how to answer that. If he had asked me
that question when this all started, and I had to be honest, I
would have said no. I can lie again here and just say no, maybe
that would be easier. But for some reason, I dont want to lie.
Yes, Logan says immediately. Its real.
I stare at him, surprised. He didnt even hesitate.
Spencer nods. Fine. Wire the money. Ill send what I have.
Logan opens my bag and pulls out the papers we stashed there.
Heres a contract, he says. Binding you to this shit.
Spencer frowns and takes it. He starts to read, but I interrupt
him. Dont fucking read it, I say. Just sign.
He sighs, flips to the last page, and signs it. Whatever, he
grumbles.
We stand up. Im having some pretty strong mixed emotions at
the moment. I look at Logan and he nods at me.
Goodbye, Spencer, I say.
Whatever, he mutters again.
We take the papers and quickly walk out of the coffee shop. We
got back into the car, and it starts driving right away.
Logan looks at me with a grin on his face. We did it.
We did, I say, and smile. What you said back there
I meant it. He takes my hand and pulls me closer to him. He
kisses me softly on the lips, and I kiss him back.
He didnt hesitate. I just keep thinking that. He could have
thought of something else to say, lied to Spencer, lied to me, but
he didnt hesitate. When it was time to put all his cards on the
table, to be honest about whats happening between us, he
stepped up. He didnt hesitate.
Thats the sort of man that I want. A man that takes what he
needs and is honest when its the right thing to do. I need a man
like that in my life more than anything else.
I need Logan. And its real. I know its real. We slowly break the
kiss off and I look into his eyes.
Lets go home, I say.
He grins at me. Sounds good.
I press my head against his chest and for the first time in a long
time, I feel good. Really, really good.
27
LOGAN

R ichard sits across from Everly and I, his usual dour


expression replaced with an enormous smile.
Congrats are in order, he says, and suddenly a bottle of
champagne materializes from underneath his desk.
Everly laughs. Isnt it early for that?
I dont think so, Richard says, looking innocent. What do you
think, Logan?
I think that special days should be celebrated. Pop that bad
boy open.
Richard laughs and does as instructed. He pours three glasses
and we hold them up.
To making your dreams come true, Richard says.
Here, here, I say. We clink glasses and drink.
One month passed since we last saw Spencer Winterfield. I wired
Spencer money via Richards office, and in return, he sent over a
hard drive with everything on it. We cant be completely sure
that he deleted everything and didnt save something locally, but
theres no way to double-check that. We just have to assume
that hes going to uphold his end of the bargain. I know that
bothers Everly, but so far, so good. We havent seen or heard
anything from him since.
And things with Chester have gone smoothly. True to his word,
he signed the papers five days ago, and now its my turn. I finish
my glass and grin at Richard.
Lets make this official, I say.
Richard nods. He buzzes his secretary and asks her to come in
with the papers. She brings everything and stands next to
Richard.
Sign here, here, and here, and initial each page. She points at
each spot. Im a certified notary public, so once youre all done,
Ill make it official.
I feel like I should really feel something. I should have some
huge emotion in my body, propelling me forward, making me
want to sign these documents. But truthfully, I dont feel all that
much. Its like signing any other contract, and Ive signed
hundreds in my career.
Once Im finished, Richards secretary signs, stamps, and carries
the papers out of the room.
Thats it? Everly asks.
Thats it, Richard says, laughing. Pretty simple after alls
said and done.
Wow, she says, nudging me. You did it. You own the land. We
can start building.
We can start building, I echo and shake my head. Seems
crazy, doesnt it?
I knew you guys would do it, Richard says. He hesitates for a
second. Theres actually one more thing.
I cock my head as Richard takes a file from his drawer and hands
it over. I take it and open it, scanning the document inside. I
cant help but smile as I hand it over to Everly.
Whats this? he asks, taking the folder. She looks at whats
inside and sighs. So were talking about this already, huh?
We shouldnt wait, I say. A deals a deal. Inside the folder is
a copy of our marriage certificate plus the original signed
agreement that we made. I owe you some money, I think.
Logan, come on, she says. You dont owe me anything.
Richard raises an eyebrow. Actually, he owes you a million
dollars, which I think is a lot of money. Its right there in black
and white.
The mans got a point. I have a grin on my face and I cant
seem to shake it. Everly looks so uncomfortable that its almost
delicious.
And since Im a lawyer, Richard goes on, I can start the
divorce proceedings right now. I have the paperwork drawn up
per the stipulations in the agreement. He takes out another
stack of papers.
Everly looks like she might panic. Uh, divorce?
Of course, I say. In the original agreement, we specified that
wed divorce as soon as the sale papers were signed.
Right, yeah, she says nervously. So I guess we should
divorce.
And youre getting a nice, fat promotion, I say, grinning ear
to ear.
Right, a promotion, she says softly, almost a whisper.
Richard looks between the two of us like were insane. Why
does Everly look like she just stepped in shit? he asks me.
I burst out laughing and Everly turns red. Its nothing, she
snaps.
Its nothing, huh? I ask her, cracking up. Nothing at all?
Asshole, she mumbles.
Uh, whats going on here? Richard asks.
Rich, I know I ask a lot of you. Youve done so much for me, and
I hate to ask for more. But can we have your office for five
minutes?
He signs, shaking his head. If you didnt pay me so fucking
much, I would drop your ass, he says.
Im sure you would.
He stands, shaking his head and muttering under his breath as
he leaves the room.
Everly look at me with a frown on her face. So this is it?
I nod, smiling softly. Looks like it.
Were getting a divorce.
Yep, I say.
And I wont be Alexas whatever anymore?
Nope, I confirm.
And thats what you want?
I hesitate. No, I say softly. Thats not what I want at all.
The blood seems to rush back into her face. Why didnt you say
something?
Because I wanted to be alone for this. I push my chair back and
face her. Everly, listen. I love you, but I think you knew that
already.
I love you too, she says softly.
I dont want a divorce. When I told Spencer that this was real, I
meant it. I want you to be my wife.
Okay, she says, eyes wide.
I get down on one knee and take out the ring I have stashed in
my jacket pocket. Be mine forever, I say to her.
Yes, she whispers, eyes wide.
I slip the ring onto her finger. It fits perfectly, and it better. I
paid enough to make sure this was perfect.
She stares at the ring. Its beautiful.
Good. Im glad you like it.
I pull her toward me and we kiss, long and deep.
Richard comes back into his office while were still kissing.
Were forced to break apart as he clears his throat, standing in
the doorway.
Whats going on? he asks.
We can skip the divorce papers, I say, sitting back in my chair.
Were getting married, Everly says, holding up the ring. Er, I
mean, were staying married.
Richard laughs, shaking his head. Holy shit.
Its a big day, I say, grinning huge.
Well, I cant say Im surprised. Richards returns to his seat
behind his desk and tops off everyones drink. To your happy
marriage, he says.
We clink glasses and drink.
This is the happiest Ive ever been in my life. I have my wife, my
daughter, my friend, and my future project. Im going to do
something good for the city, and it looks like nothing can
stop me.
I dont think Ill ever stop smiling, as long as Im with Everly.
28
EVERLY
TWO YEARS LATER

I can feel the sweat slowly rolling down my back under


my light cotton dress. Its hot as balls out, as Logan
likes to say. I smile to myself a little bit, sometimes very aware
of the habits that Ive picked up from living so intensely with
him. To be fair, hes picked up some of my habits, too. For
example, he dries himself off while still standing in the shower,
instead of stepping out onto the bathroom rug first. Not to
mention he actually cleans his dishes instead of leaving them for
the housekeeper to do.
Its also weird that I have a housekeeper, but I try not to think
about it. My life has changed so much these past two years, and I
have to admit, its gone fast.
Are you ready?
I look over at Logan and grin. I tip my sunglasses down to get a
better look at him. Hes wearing a navy blue suit without a tie,
the first two buttons undone in the heat. Hes so damn
handsome and he makes my heart beat so fast even after all
this time.
Im ready, I say.
Good. He steps forward and accepts the scissors from the
Mayor. He looks out over the crowd and grins at them. Ladies
and gentleman without further ado, I give to you the Ray
Community Center and Homeless Shelter, or the RCCHS, as
everyones been calling it.
He steps forward and cuts the ceremonial red ribbon as the
assembled press snap away with their cameras. The crowd
cheers as it falls away and Logan waves as he hands the scissors
back to the Mayor.
The ribbon ceremony is really just an empty PR event. The
RCCHS has been open for a few weeks now. In a whirlwind of
building, permits, money, contractors, more money, we razed
the entire block and built this modern, beautiful building. It has
beds for two hundred people and enough staff to keep them all
fed. People are already starting to filter in, getting shelter for the
night before heading back out into the world. Nobody is allowed
to stay permanently, but if they do stay, they have to go through
some mandatory counseling. So far, I think weve already
managed to find several people jobs, and to get medical help for
tons more that needed it.
Meanwhile, the community center part is buzzing. Theres
already a basketball league forming, along with classes, more
counseling, and even an indoor pool that was a last minute
addition when we realized that we had the space for it. Swim
lessons are shockingly popular, probably since theyre free.
I spend the rest of the ceremony by Logans side. Its where Ive
been for the last two years, and I wouldnt want to be anywhere
else. He answers questions like a true professional, and any
semblance of the old, media-averse Logan is totally gone. Hes
not surly or short with reporters anymore, but he lets his natural
charming spirit shine through. I like to think I had a hand in
that, but I know the truth.
Its Alexa. That little girl changed him far more than I ever could.
He went from a bachelor with few responsibilities to this man
who cares about his community and wants to raise a daughter.
The hot day slowly wears on, but the ceremony ends and the
crowd disperses. In Gym Three, theres a basketball game going,
and the cafeteria is serving lunch to the homeless, all of it
funded by Logans personal charitable foundation. Hes mostly
financing that, but others have started to give money, and things
look very, very good.
What do you think? he asks me. We finally find ourselves
alone out in front of the center. People walk past and recognize
us, or at least I assume they do based on the way they look, but
nobody bothers us.
I smile up at him and kiss his lips softly. Its your dream, I say
He grins and shakes his head. It stopped being my dream a
while ago, Everly.
What do you mean?
This place is ours. Not just mine. Youve worked on this just as
much as I have.
Good point. I kiss him again. Dont you ever forget it.
Against my wishes, Logan promoted me at work. He assigned me
to head of the board of the Ray Foundation, which means I
basically run the RCCHS. We also have a few other projects
coming up the pipeline. The work is difficult and demanding,
and very different from my old life, but I love it. Its more
satisfying and fulfilling than anything else Ive ever done, and
its all thanks to Logan.
What are you two doing, lurking around over here?
We both turn and spot Richard walking over, a big smile on his
face. Before we can say anything, though, Alexa comes running
forward, tugging herself free of Richards hand.
Daddy! She throws herself at Logan. He laughs and lifts her up
in the air.
There you are, moon pie, he says. Did you have a fun
morning with Uncle Richard?
She sure did, Richard says. Almost got lost at the zoo. Didnt
you, gremlin?
I saw monkeys! she says.
Logan laughs and hands her off to me. I put her down on the
ground and take her hand. Im glad you didnt turn into a
monkey, little gremlin, I say to her.
Monkeys are cute, mommy! she says.
I laugh and kneel down to kiss her.
Howd the ceremony go? Richard asks Logan.
About what youd expect.
So perfect? He grins.
Of course. Everly set it all up.
I shrug and stand up. Its easy when you have the backing of a
billionaire.
Good point, Logan says, nodding sagely. I do make
things easy.
I laugh and kiss him one more time.
Well, Im off babysitting duty now, Richard says. Bye, little
gremlin. Richard waves to Alexa.
Bye, big gremlin.
He laughs and waves as he leaves.
Thanks, Richard, I call after him and he just waves again.
Were you good for Uncle Richard? I ask Alexa.
Yes, she says, although shes already forgotten all about him.
I smile down at her, and feel something Ive felt a hundred times
since making it official with Logan. Its an intense, powerful
sense of pride.
Logan catches the look on my face and steps up close to me.
What are you thinking?
Just how much I like this little kid, I say, grinning down at
Alexa.
Yeah? Shes okay, Logan says. Smells a little. He makes
a face.
Daddy! Alexa throws herself at his leg and he laughs.
I was thinking I say, trailing off. I give him a sly little look.
Okay, he says instantly.
You dont even know what I was going to say.
Logan bends down and looks Alexa in the eye. Alex honey, do
you want a little brother or a little sister?
She hesitates. No, she says.
We both laugh. Why not? Logan asks her.
I want two little brothers, she says.
I laugh again and Logan makes a face. One at a time, honey,
he says.
Okay, Alexa answers. Baby! I want a baby!
Okay then, Logan says, standing. I think thats our answer.
Youre sure? I ask him.
Im sure. Ive been sure for a while. Youre the one that wanted
to wait.
Yeah I say, hesitating. I only wanted to wait until this place
was open. And now it is. So I think its time.
He grins at me. Then lets get to it.
Okay then. I feel a sudden rush of excitement and relief.
I love having Alexa as my stepdaughter, but Im ready to have my
own daughter with Logan. I want to see what a baby we make
together will be like. I want Logan to be the father of my
children, and now its the perfect time.
I feel complete, more complete than Ive ever felt. I have a
perfect husband, an amazing daughter, and soon Ill have more
children. The culmination of years of hard work sits before us,
successful and amazing. I feel so proud, so good, and I know its
all thanks to Logan.
If I hadnt accepted his crazy proposition all that time ago, I
dont know where Id be. But Im so happy I did. All the stress,
all the danger, it was all worth it. Spencer Winterfield hasnt
bothered us since we made that deal with him, and I havent
even thought about him.
Things are perfect. Logan is perfect. Hes an incredible husband
and father, and I feel so blessed to be with him. Together, were
going to make a new baby, and well build an empire of charity
together thatll help this city in ways I never imagined. All
because hes the perfect, incredible person that he is.
I kiss him one last time, squeeze Alexas hand, and we head back
to our apartment together, back to our life, the life I never, ever
want to leave.
VIRGINS DADDY: A DARK
ROMANCE
PROLOGUE: SADIE

M y heart hammers and Im nervous, so freaking


nervous, though I know I dont need to be.
Gavin knows what hes doing. I can see it in the way he moves
and the way he speaks to me. Maybe its my first time, but it
definitely isnt his.
Streetlights send shadows up through the windows in his
penthouse apartment, making the night feel deep. Gavin smirks
as he runs his hands down my hips, along the length of my
dress. They reach the hem and stop, pressing lightly against
my skin.
Is this what you imagined? he whispers in my ear.
I shake my head lightly. Not at all.
He slowly lifts the hem of my dress.
I shouldnt be here. Im not supposed to be around Gavin at all. If
my family found out what I was doing, theyd disown me and
throw me away like trash.
But I dont care. I want this man so badly that I can barely
stand it.
Youre sure you want to give yourself to me? he asks softly, his
lips gently grazing my neck.
Yes, I gasp as his fingers finally find my soaking spot.
Good, he says, taking a handful of my hair. Because I want to
teach you.
Teach me? I gasp.
He grins. Youll see. His fingers slide beneath my panties,
rubbing up against my soaking pussy.
I can barely think. I dont know what Im doing, why Im finally
giving myself to someone. I barely know this man, but Im sure
this is right.
Hes older than me and very rich, but hes trouble. My family
would call him low-class, even if he does have as much money as
they do or more.
Im from an old family, a very rich and wealthy family. Weve
been in this city from its start, and we can count senators,
mayors, and business magnates among our venerable ancestors.
Or at least thats what my parents say.
Recently though, we havent earned a thing. We inherit our
wealth and run the family business because its whats expected.
My brothers will be the businessmen, and Ill marry some other
rich eligible bachelor to ensure that the family line continues.
I didnt ask for this life. I dont even know if I want it.
But Gavin couldnt be more different. Everything he has, he
earned through hard work and intelligence. He came from
nothing but now hes something.
He has experience. He has control. He is a confident and capable
person, and I find that overwhelmingly attractive.
Attractive enough to throw it all away. Just for one night of
pleasure. Which is probably more than I could have ever
expected if I continued along my previous path.
His rough hands trail along my soft skin and his lips are firm
against mine. I feel a thrill run through me as he pulls off my
dress.
I love the way he looks at me. Like hes starving for my body, like
he cant get enough. I want him to keep staring at me, but I know
hell have to take his eyes away if were going to do what I want
to do.
He presses me against the wall-length glass and pins my hands
above my head. Im mostly naked, standing above the city. Im
more exposed than Ive ever been before, the good rich virgin
girl being pressed against this window. That thought only makes
me more excited.
Ill be gentle, he says.
Do you have to be?
His smirk drives me wild. At first. But soon. Very soon. His
thumb trails along my bottom lip.
Soon youll be down on all fours, begging for my thick cock.
As my teeth come down on the skin of his thumb, I know hes
right, and I cant wait.
1

GAVIN

I like charity.
Not a lot of guys in my position do, unless charity is
the name of a stripper. Most guys, when they get as rich as I am,
they just want to hold on to their wealth as much as possible. But
to me, thats so shortsighted and foolish.
Were all in this world together. Might as well help some people.
Besides, I remember what its like to struggle. I remember going
to bed without dinner because my parents could only afford one
meal a day. I remember the struggle, the stress, and the fucking
pain of having nothing at all. I remember all the time and effort I
put into getting something, and I wish someone had helped us
back then. Most guys like me, they didnt come from absolutely
nothing. They dont know what its like to really want for the
basics.
So charity is my thing. I have money, a lot of it, and I can afford
to give some away. Which I do, as liberally as possible,
sometimes too much if you want to listen to my business
manager.
But these rich ass, upper crust charity events, these arent
usually my thing. As I walk into the banquet hall, I keep to the
edges of the room after grabbing a glass of whisky from the
open bar.
Fortunately, Im pretty anonymous in here. Everyone else is a
rich business magnate, just like me, and so I can hang around
and keep a low profile. Im not particularly well-known, mostly
because Ive worked to keep it that way. Everyone knows my
business and my name, but not everyone knows what I look like.
Thats helped me lead a relatively normal life.
And so I blend in wearing my tuxedo and drinking my whisky.
Ive been around this crowd for years now, Im thirty-nine years
old and Ive been rich for ten of them, but this is only my second
charity auction.
I hate these things. Theyre not really about the charity. Theyre
more about the opportunity to network with other rich assholes,
maybe to bribe a few politicians, that sort of thing. Sure, theres
a real charity, and they write a check at the end of the night, but
the shit that goes on during the event is loathsome.
Im only here for two reasons. First, my business manager Rick
keeps begging me to come to these things, says it would be good
for the company. Being here tonight is one way to get him off my
back and maybe a little bit to prove him wrong. Second, and
more important, whats being auctioned fascinated me, and I
couldnt help myself.
Excuse me, ladies and gentleman, please have a seat. An older
woman, maybe ten years older than me, stands at the
microphone on the stage. Theres a general murmur and
commotion as people move toward their seats around the large
banquet tables. The auction will begin momentarily, she says,
before heading off to the side of the stage.
I find my place at a table in the back. I specifically requested this
spot, and Im glad I did. I dont recognize anyone at my table,
although my neighbor to my right is a large drunk man with a
thick beard. He clearly wants to chat, but Im not in the mood.
The crowd waits, a little restless, until music starts. The woman
returns, this time to applause, and beams out at the crowd. I
assume shes the one that organized all this, though I havent
paid much attention.
Thank you all for being here, she says. And the children of
Mercy General thank you as well. More applause before she
holds up her hands. Our first girl hails from Rhode Island. The
daughter of Patricia and Linus Vanderhoot, Layla Vanderhoot
loves horses, skiing, and plaid skirts. Come on out, Layla!
The crowd erupts into wild applause as a small girl with brown
hair and dressed in an elegant gown steps out into the stage.
Shes probably mid-twenties, pretty but not beautiful.
Do I hear one thousand? the woman at the microphone says,
and the bidding begins.
Its a fascinating spectacle. Daughters of the wealthy elite are
paraded out onto the stage, one after another, and equally
wealthy men bid outrageous sums of money to take them out on
dates. The first girl, the Vanderhoot girl, is pretty but fairly
plain, and even she fetches twenty grand, a respectable sum. I
hope she enjoys talking horses and skirts with her suitor, who is
clearly in his eighties and making lewd jokes with his peers.
Winning a date doesnt guarantee anything untoward, of course.
It just means you get to take the woman out on a date, probably
chaperoned, for one night. Thats all it is, and its supposed to be
innocent, but theres a strange and creepy undertone to the
whole thing.
I lean back and watch. I dont plan on bidding on anyone, and in
fact I already wrote a fifty thousand dollar check to Mercy
General earlier that morning, so I did my charitable duty. The
girls themselves arent very interesting, and nobody is really
making me want to speak up.
I drink my whisky and then another, observing. Im here at least,
and Rick cant deny that. I never said Id fucking socialize or
network, although I probably should.
Nine girls come and go, nearly half of the herd. Theres going to
be a break before dinner, and then the final ten are going to be
sold off. I plan on slipping out before the entrees, since Ive
already seen enough.
But something stops me before I can get up.
Ladies and gentlemen, Sadie Tillman!
The crowd claps loudly. I recognize that name. I wasnt listening
when the woman introduced Sadies interests, but I dont care
about that.
All I care about is the woman who walks out on stage.
Shes probably twenty years old, about five foot five to my six
foot four. She has dark hair, midnight black, down to the middle
of her back and thick. I can see her deep green eyes even from
my spot toward the back. Shes wearing a blue dress,
shimmering slightly in the ballroom spotlight, that hugs her
ample curves. She looks a little overwhelmed as she smiles and
waves hesitantly, and instantly I feel something stirring inside
of me, something I didnt expect.
Shes fucking gorgeous. I know the Tillmans, theyre old fucking
money, the kind of people I despise. But Sadie herself doesnt
seem like the other rich girls. Shes not plain, far from it. She
has a fascinating, beautiful look to her. That raven black hair is
so interesting compared with the usual blondes and brunettes
you see. Shes not extremely done-up, and doesnt need to be.
Shes clearly naturally beautiful, if a little shy.
Do I hear two thousand for Sadie? the woman says.
Several paddles raise, and theres laughter across the ballroom.
The bidding continues, and I cant stop staring at Sadie.
Shes alluring. Fucking gorgeous. How is a girl like her standing
up on that stage, among these fucking animals? Shes a goddess
and were the mortals tasked with worshipping her.
I want her. The thought hits me like a sledgehammer. I want her
badly, have to have her. My attention is suddenly pulled back to
the woman on the stage.
Do I hear forty? she asks, and another paddle raises.
Forty-five?
Silence from the crowd. I frown, looking up at Sadie. Shes worth
so much fucking more than forty-five thousand dollars.
I dont know what comes over me, but I raise my paddle high in
the air.
Ah, the gentleman in the back, the woman says. Do I hear
fifty?
My opponent raises his paddle.
Fifty-five?
I raise my paddle.
Sixty?
He raises his.
Sixty-five?
One hundred thousand, I call out, raising my paddle.
Theres a stirring and a general murmur. The man Im bidding
against turns to look back at me, and I finally get a sense of him.
Hes younger than everyone else here, younger than me. I think I
recognize him, but I cant be sure from the distance, and he
quickly turns back.
Two hundred thousand, he says to the woman.
She looks taken aback. Well, now, this is very generous.
Sadie herself looks incredibly nervous, but she keeps smiling. I
know she cant see me, not with the spotlight in her eyes, but I
dont care.
I have to have her.
Half a million, I call out.
Theres an uproar as people cry out about the absurd amount of
money. Sadie looks nervous. The drunk man next to me laughs
and claps me on the back.
I dont care about any of that. I only have eyes for Sadie, and I
want this more than anything. The money doesnt matter to me.
Well, this is unprecedented, the woman says. Do I hear five
hundred and ten? Theres silence, and my opponent doesnt
move. Going once, going twice, sold to the gentleman in the
back. You are incredibly generous and the children of Mercy
General thank you.
I give a little nod to the crowd as they cheer and clap. I hate
being the center of attention like this, but I cant help but think
it was worth it.
Sadie stands on the stage for a moment, frowning out at the
crowd, trying to spot me. But shes quickly ushered off, and
dinner begins.
Mr. Waller. The woman from the stage approaches me. I stand
and shake her hand. My name is Belinda Stitcher.
You know me, I say to her.
Of course. I was the one that invited you. She beams and I
dont like her smug look, but it doesnt matter. She leans toward
me, directing me away from the table and the crowd. Listen,
that was a lot of money you pledged.
I wanted to win, I say.
Good, very good. And we appreciate it. But, ah, its not a
binding thing. See what Im saying?
I shake my head. I follow through on my promises. Where do I
write the check?
She blushes. Of course, of course. No need for that now. Stay,
enjoy yourself.
Im going to head home, I say. Contact my office about the
girl and the check.
She frowns. Surely you want to stay for a free meal at least?
Youre so generous.
Contact my office, I say again, glancing back at the room.
And tell the girl that Gavin Waller won her. Im very much
looking forward to meeting her.
Without another word, I hurry away. Partly because I want to get
away from that crowd, and partly because I dont want to meet
Sadie, not yet at least. I want to meet her on my terms, on a date
of my choosing. Besides, I feel like Ive made a fool of myself,
bidding so much on her. Thats going to give the rich a lot to
gossip about.
I dont care though. All I can think about as I head home is Sadie
Tillman, gorgeous and embarrassed, looking like something Ive
never seen before.
2

SADIE

A re you ready, honey?


My mother fusses over my hair and my outfit. I frown
at the ground, trying not to think too much about what Im going
to do.
Just stand there and smile, I think to myself. I can do that, its
not so hard.
Shes on in a minute, a man holding a clipboard says to my
mother.
You look great, mother says to me, fussing again with renewed
energy. Remember, it doesnt matter how much they pay for
you. I just want you to get out there. Besides, Milo plans on
winning.
I have to force myself not to groan. Milo Fitzwilliam is a favorite
of my mother and father. Hes the son and heir to the
Fitzwilliam fortune, one of the most powerful families in the
whole city. My family is up there, and theyve been trying to
arrange something with the Fitzwilliam family for a long time.
Im supposed to be that something. Im a bargaining chip to my
parents. My mother is fussing and being kind right now, but only
because shes worried that Im going to embarrass her out on
that stage.
It doesnt matter. Im used to that sort of thing. My parents are
constantly acting like Im a failure and an embarrassment all
because I dont love horseback riding and I havent locked down
a rich man yet. Theyre excited that Milo is interested, but
theyre afraid hes our last chance.
They dont ask me what I want, of course. That doesnt matter.
Im a Tillman daughter, and that means Ill do my duty for the
family and marry a good rich boy. Thats just what I was born for
and what Im expected to do.
I didnt get to go to college. I went to an elite prep school, of
course, since my parents wouldnt dream of sending me
anywhere else. But while most of my other classmates got to go
off to universities and colleges, I was forced to stay home with
my family. My place isnt at a university, my mother said, but
marrying an eligible man. He can worry about taking care of me.
Sometimes, I dream about leaving. I dream about running away
from my multi-story apartment and living in some tiny shack
out in the woods. Id learn to cook and clean and grow things.
Its a childish dream, I know, and itll never happen. But it just
speaks toward how much I want to get away from my family and
become my own person.
You can do this, my mother says to me as the man with the
clipboard motions for me to follow him. Dont embarrass me.
Her final words ring in my ears as Im ushered away from her. Of
course thats all she cares about, not how I feel. I was never
asked if I wanted to be auctioned off like some whore or piece of
cattle. I was never asked if I wanted to go on a date with a
random rich man. My parents felt this was a good thing for me to
do, and so Im doing it.
The stage is brightly lit and I can barely see out into the crowd.
The applause is loud and Im nervous as I step onto the little
taped mark where Im supposed to stand. I dont know what to
do with my arms, and so I wave a little bit, smiling nervously.
The bidding begins, and people are actually putting up money. I
didnt expect that. I never fit in with the other ultra wealthy and
privileged girls. I tried to make friends at school, but I couldnt
care less about the trivial things that they were interested in. I
dont like riding horses and I have no interest in endlessly
discussing boys and how much their families are worth. I like to
read and paint, but nobody ever asked me about that. I have
friends, of course, but nobody that close, and anyway theyre all
gone off to college now.
I look out into the crowd, and suddenly I spot Milo. Hes sitting
toward the front, grinning at me, as he raises his paddle to bid. I
keep smiling, feeling mortified and embarrassed out on the
stage. I hate being looked at like Im just a thing to be bought
and sold, but I cant do anything about it. I cant embarrass my
family by backing out now.
Milo bids again and suddenly Im struck by the intense desire to
run. I dont want to go out on a date with him. Hes close to my
father and brothers, and hes always around the house. Hes
short, barely a couple inches taller than me, with thinning hair
and this goofy smile. My mother once said he looks like his
family, inbred and without manners. I hate the tone of that joke,
but theres some truth to it.
Milo bids again, a pretty large amount, and I feel intense dread
deep inside of me. I expect him to win, when suddenly someone
else bids, someone in the back.
I strain to see, but the lights are too bright. I cant spot him. But
I do see Milos face and hes angry.
They get into a bidding war. I cant believe the numbers theyre
throwing out, and Milo is getting more and more angry. It gets
all the way up to one hundred thousand dollars, more than
anyone else has gone for, and I can see that Milos anger is
shifting into shock.
I nearly faint when the man in the back bids half a million
dollars. Milos expression is absolutely priceless, though, and I
already know my parents are furious. The hostess counts down,
and the strange man wins. I try to catch another glimpse of him,
but I cant see, and the room falls into an uproar of excitement.
Im ushered off the stage, and into the warm embrace of my
family.
Except theres nothing warm about my mother.
That bastard, she says, furious. Who does he think he is?
Low class, my brother Michael says. Hes my eldest brother
and were not close.
Poor Milo, my mother says. He really wanted to win. Did you
see him bidding, Sadie? Milo has his eye on you. I think you
should be proud.
Sure, I say to her.
Half a million though, sis. Thats pretty fucking good. Peter
grins at me. Hes only two years older than me.
I laugh and shrug. I guess Im worth it.
Yeah, right. He makes a face. Youre two hundred thousand,
at best.
Cut it out, you two, my mother snaps, and Peter grins at me.
Hes the only person in my family that I actually like. Hes not
quite a black sheep, not like I am at least, but he doesnt buy into
their ultra rich and conservative attitude. He likes to laugh and
have fun and enjoy life much more than my very stuck-up and
conservative father and mother do.
Who was he, anyway? Michael asks.
I couldnt see, I admit.
I didnt catch it, either, my mother says. Hold on, let me find
Belinda. Shell know. Maybe we can somehow fix this. My
mother storms off, leaving me with my brothers. My father is
somewhere in the dining hall, no doubt shaking hands and
making business connections.
Michael frowns at me for a moment. You should stand up
straight, he says, before turning away and looking at his phone.
I sigh and Peter makes a face, mocking our older brother. I cant
help but laugh.
You did good up there, he says.
Really? I ask him. I felt like I was going to puke.
He shakes his head. Seriously. The other girls all looked like
frightened deer. You just looked like a nervous deer.
Perfect. Thats what I was going for.
Come on, Peter says. Lets catch a glimpse of your suitor.
I follow him around the corner, leaving Michael to himself. We
step through a door and head into the main ballroom. Its
crowded as servers carry dinner plates to each guest. Theres
probably half the net worth of America in this room right now,
which strikes me as absurd and silly. Its a bunch of white, old,
privileged men, hoarding their money, and only giving some to
charity in exchange for buying a young womans attention for a
night. Its crass and lewd and I hate it all over again.
Peter grabs a drink off a passing tray and winks at me. We walk
along the edge of the room, looking at the guests.
Theres your boyfriend, Peter says, nodding. I follow his gaze
and spot Milo chatting with a group of men.
Come on, I say, hurrying away.
Peter laughs. Dont want to see him?
Im afraid hell propose.
I wouldnt blame him. Poor guy. Looked like he might puke
when he lost.
I cant help but smile at that. Theres mom, I say, pointing.
Shes walking quickly toward the back of the ballroom, heading
right toward Belinda Stitcher, the woman who headed up this
whole thing.
Belinda is standing with a man that Ive never seen before. Hes
wearing a tuxedo, like everyone else in this place, so he must
belong here. But hes younger than most of the men, maybe in
his late thirties at most.
And hes handsome, incredibly handsome. He has striking blue
eyes and close-cropped brown hair, a bit longer on top, combed
back. His jaw is square and theres a bit of stubble on his chin,
like he couldnt be bothered to shave for this event. He nods at
Belinda and walks away quickly before my mother arrives.
I only get a glimpse of him, but Im fascinated. Ive never seen a
man like him before at an event like this. He looked rugged,
handsome, not at all like the stuck-up and stodgy old men that
typically come to a charity event.
Who was that? I ask Peter.
He shrugs. Who knows? Probably a waiter.
I smile half-heartedly at his joke. Even Peter can be stuck-up
sometimes.
We watch as mother accosts Belinda. They speak for a moment,
and suddenly mother steps back, her eyes wide. And then the
conversation begins again, this time with a renewed frenzy.
Mother looks angry and Belinda a little overwhelmed.
Whats that all about? Peter asks me.
Im assuming she doesnt approve of my future date, I say.
Of course she doesnt. Peter gives me a look. Unless hes old
money and powerful, Regina Tillman does not give a shit
about him.
I laugh softly. Mother breaks away from Belinda, looking angry.
Ive seen that look before, and I dont like it at all.
Peter waves at her, and she spots him, sighing to herself. She
walks over to the pair of us, glancing around like shes afraid
that someone will notice something is wrong.
Well, mother? Peter asks her.
Dont be rude, Peter, Mother says, though her heart isnt into
it. She looks at me, a frown on her face.
What? I ask her.
I found out who your date is, and you simply arent going.
I pause for a second and it hits me.
My date has to be that man.
Who is it? I ask her, my heart beating fast.
It doesnt matter. Youll go with Milo and thats that.
Mother, I say softly. Tell me.
She looks a little surprised. I dont often stand up to her. Which
is probably why she actually listens for once.
His name is Gavin Waller, and hes not appropriate, not
appropriate at all.
I dont recognize the name, but Peter laughs out loud. Waller!
Hes that young guy, made a mint selling guns to the military
before making even more on the stock market.
It wasnt guns, my mother says. He sold flooring laminates.
Boring. I prefer the guns, Peter says.
Was that him? I ask my mother. Talking to Belinda just a
second ago.
She pauses and nods. That was him. And Sadie, he isnt
appropriate for you. No, not at all. Well go with Milo.
He won me, I say loudly with more force than intended.
It surprises me almost as much as it surprises Peter and my
mother. They both stare at me like Ive gone insane.
My mother snaps out of it quicker than Peter. Sadie, what did
you just say?
He won me, I repeat, a little softer. And he bid a lot of
money. The hospital needs that money. Im going on that date.
She stares, shocked. You absolutely are not.
Peter laughs and grins at my mother. She has a point, mom.
That was a lot of money. If she backs out, imagine how
itll look?
Peter nudges me, and I understand where hes going with this.
Well look stingy, I say. Like we dont care about sick
children. Itll be a scandal.
The dreaded s word brings my mother up short. She chews her
lower lip for a moment, thinking. We cant afford to appear like
we hate sick children, she says slowly.
Mother, Sadie simply must go, Peter says.
Hes right. I have to go. Its my duty.
Mother agrees, nodding. We just played on all her weaknesses.
Image, duty, and the fear of scandals are all serious motivating
forces for our mother.
Very well. Well figure it out. She looks away. Come on. Lets
go join your father.
Peter grins at me and I feel a thrill run through me. I dont get
my way very often in this family, and it feels good to finally
stand up for something.
Even if that something is a strange man who Ive never met
before.
I float through the rest of the evening, acting like the upper class
woman that Im supposed to be, but inside Im thinking about
things that would make my parents disown me.
The truth is, I have very little experience with men. All through
school, I had only two serious boyfriends, and we never slept
together. We fooled around, of course, but they were too afraid of
who my parents were to really push further. They were nervous
boys, and my relationships with them never lasted long.
Thats my deepest, most secret, hidden shame: Im a virgin. Im
twenty years old and Ive never had sex. So many of my peers
were having sex all the time, but I just never did. And now Im
stuck at home, barely seeing anyone my own age, and Im
frustrated as all hell.
Now suddenly, this handsome stranger walks into my life. Hes
not a nervous boy, not at all. Hes an actual man, an older man,
and he clearly has experience. Id be lying if I tried to say that
wasnt part of why I want to go out with him.
I want to see what its like to be with a real man. I want to live a
little bit, experience the real world.
And this man might be able to give me that experience. Hes
definitely handsome enough to make my stomach turn. Plus, my
mother doesnt approve, and that only makes it so much better.
I dont know whats going to happen with this date. Itll
probably be chaperoned and boring, but I dont care. Ill be doing
something my mother doesnt want me to do, and Ill be doing it
with a handsome older man. Maybe hell be totally unlike all of
the other rich assholes I meet in my life. Maybe Ill actually
like him.
I cant stop thinking about that glimpse I got of my future date,
and I cant wait to actually go out with him.
3

GAVIN

I ve never felt nervous for a date in my entire fucking


life, but here I am, sitting in the back of my town car
and waiting for Sadie Tillman, feeling like a fucking teenager
again.
I dont know what it is about this girl. Its not her family, thats
for sure. After I won the date and wrote the check, my office was
flooded with calls about the Tillman girl. People wanted to know
what the hell I was thinking, going up against the Tillmans like
that. But I didnt see it that way. I didnt see it as pushing back
against a powerful family.
I saw it as getting a woman I wanted. Plain and simple.
Rick was pissed, of course. He has to deal with the questions and
the pressure now, and he thinks there might be some business
ramifications.
Doesnt matter to me. I have more fucking money than I know
what to do with, and my business is rock solid. Nobody in this
city can fuck that up considering I deal mostly with the Feds and
the military. I have some deep contracts with them, the sorts of
things that dont go away unless I truly fuck up. Buying a woman
at a charity auction against the wishes of her rich family isnt
nearly bad enough.
But none of that makes me nervous. Its Sadie herself. I dont
know why, but I havent been able to stop thinking about her
standing up on that stage. I keep picturing her long dark hair
covering her breasts, wearing only a pair of thin white cotton
panties. Id feel her smooth light skin, her full red lips, and wrap
my fist through her thick hair, pulling her head back.
My heart beats fast as I get lost in my fantasy. I almost dont
notice it when Sadie appears at the door to her building,
frowning out at the car.
I quickly get out and walk toward her. She looks at me, her eyes
widening slightly, but she doesnt look surprised.
Good. I want her to know about me. Im betting her family has
told her some unflattering things.
Sadie stands there and extends her hand, maybe a little stiffly.
Shes wearing a relatively conservative outfit, tight dark jeans
and a dark blue cardigan, but her hair is down and her eyes look
excited. I take her hand, shaking it, and smirk at her.
Im your date, I say.
Sadie, she answers.
I know. And I think you know my name.
She bites her lip. Gavin.
Thats right. I smile larger. I really like the sound of her voice
and the feeling of her palm against mine. I let her hand drop.
Its good to meet you. Ready?
She nods once. Ready.
Wheres the chaperone? I ask her as we head to the car. That
was one stipulation her parents put on this date.
Hell follow in his car, she says.
Im surprised. I expected him to be in my lap the whole night.
My mother would have loved that, she says, smiling a little
mischievously. But I convinced her otherwise.
I smile and open the car door for her, shutting it once she gets
in. Thats very, very interesting. She convinced her mother to let
us have a little alone time, at least during the car rides. I wonder
why she would do that.
I walk quickly and purposefully around the car then get in on the
other side. Once Im in, the driver heads off, the divider up
between him and us.
So Gavin, Sadie says. Where are you taking me tonight?
I smile at her, leaning toward her. Shes so fucking gorgeous,
and even being this close to her makes my heart hammer.
Somewhere special, I say. At least, special to me.
Sounds interesting.
It is, I say. You know, Im not from all of this. I gesture at
the big buildings all around me.
Not from the city? she asks with a little smile.
I grin at her. She clearly understood me, but is giving me a hard
time. Im from the city, but not this part. Were going to a place
that I grew up with.
She perks up a little bit. Really? Id really like that.
Its called Lubertos. Its a little Italian place on the west side of
the city.
Seriously? she asks, laughing. Ive never been to the west
side before.
Its my turn to laugh, surprised. Youve never been to an entire
part of the city?
I know. Its stupid, right?
Not stupid. Just a shame. Youre missing out.
I know, she says, and theres something more behind her
words.
Im glad your first time can be with me.
She blushes suddenly and looks out the window. Right. Of
course.
I cock my head at her, a little confused about her reaction, but I
decide not to press it.
As we drive to Lubertos, I ask her little questions about her life,
where she grew up, the schools she attended. I keep it light and
easy, not wanting to dive into the hard stuff yet. Shes
surprisingly easy to talk to, and tells me all about her life as an
upper crust rich girl.
None of it is surprising. She has the same life as a million other
girls like her. Thats not really what interests me about her, if
Im being honest.
Its the way that she talks about her life that fascinates me. Most
rich girls seem to think that the sun shines out their ass, but not
Sadie. She plays down the schools she went to, the things she
did, like it isnt the most elite of the elite possible. She doesnt
brag about her family, which most rich girls do, and she doesnt
press me about my own.
And she doesnt ask me about my business. I actually like that
about her. Most rich girls immediately want to know how much
money I make, although theyre too polite to actually come out
and say it. Sadie doesnt seem at all interested in that. In fact,
she mostly asks about hobbies and interests, and spends a lot of
time talking about how much she likes to paint, although she
says shes awful at it.
By the end of the ride, Im totally fucking charmed by her. I had a
feeling that she was different, but I couldnt have known how
right I was. Sadie is the first girl from rich parents that I havent
actually despised after ten minutes of talking to her.
Pretty soon we reach Lubertos. The ten-minute car ride passes
in the blink of an eye, which surprises me. We step out and I
open her door.
Its cute, she says, smiling broadly.
Its like home to me, I say. I grew up around here,
you know.
Really? she asks.
Really. The place well go after this, its where I had my
first beer.
She laughs, shaking her head. Impressive.
Not really. Its a dump.
Im going to love it.
I laugh a little and we step into the restaurant.
Lubertos is a little Italian place, maybe seats for forty people or
so, but it has the best food in the whole damn city. I rented out
the private back room, and the hostess ushers us back there. It
has a single table with a white tablecloth, a single white candle,
and a single red rose. I get Sadie seated, sit across from her, and
the waitress takes our drink orders right away. I ask for a whisky,
and Sadie asks for some white wine.
This is nice, she says.
Normally its more crowded, I answer. But for tonight, I
thought Id give us a little privacy.
She laughs lightly and shrugs. I dont mind crowded. Although
Im sure Reginald wont love that.
I cock my head at her. Reginald?
Oh, hes the chaperone for tonight. Im sure hes in the other
room right now, fuming that were in a private space.
What, does he think Im going to corrupt you too easily?
She blushes a little. Probably.
Maybe hes right. I lean toward her with a wicked smile.
She blushes deeper and looks away. She pauses for a second.
Can I ask you something?
Of course.
Were interrupted briefly as the waitress returns with our drinks.
I sip my whisky and Sadie fusses with her wine.
I wanted to know why you spent so much money, she says
finally, blurting it out once the waitress is gone.
I grin huge at her. Maybe I just like kids.
Maybe, she says. But you could just write a check instead of
bidding on me. Or you could have bid on any other girl.
You interested me, I say.
Did you . . . know about my family?
I sigh, leaning toward her. Thats what this is about?
She shrugs. A lot of people do things just because of my
family.
Thats not why I bought you. Actually, thats a reason not to. I
think your family hates me.
She smiles a little. Yeah. They do.
I laugh. I like how honest she is. Do you really want to know?
She nods, getting into the conversation. Yeah, I do. I can see a
little sparkle in her eye.
Its because I want you, I say simply.
She looks surprised. W-what? she stutters.
I smirk at her again and sip my whisky casually. As soon as I
saw you on that stage, I knew you were different. And I wanted
you then, and I still want you now. Do you even know the effect
you have on men?
She gapes at me, clearly shocked and at a loss for words. I cant
help but laugh softly at her reaction. I can tell nobody has ever
talked to her like this before, and she doesnt know what to do.
Conflicting emotions play on her face. Shes torn between
disgust, surprise, anger, and pure desire.
I see, she finally says. Are you always this forward?
No, I admit. Not always. But I wanted to see you blush
again.
That finally gets the reaction I want. She blushes slightly and
looks down at the table. So you bought me just because you
want to sleep with me.
Not entirely, no, I say. Thats part of it. I want to undress you
and make you experience things those rich little prep school
assholes could never do. She stares at me and bites her lip, and
I know Im right about that. I also thought youd be different
from those other stuck-up rich girls up there. I didnt plan on
bidding at all, but as soon as you stepped out, I couldnt help
myself.
She watches me quietly for a second. Her face sets into a mask of
distant anger, but I like that about her. She looks a little defiant,
and it wouldnt be any fun if she didnt put up a little fight.
But I saw it already. I saw that look on her face, while she was
trying to decide how to respond. It was desire, clear and plain as
day. Shes still an upper crust rich girl and she has to put up a
front. She cant just give in to what she wants.
Not at first, at least.
What was it about me that interested you so much? Aside from
your crude thoughts.
I smirk and shrug. You know how it can be. Girls like you have a
certain way.
Girls like me?
I sip my whisky. Rich girls.
I see. It always comes back to that, doesnt it?
How can it not? Its what you are.
So that makes you a poor boy. She arches an eyebrow.
I guess so, I say.
You poor, poor boy.
I laugh softly. Not at all. I love where I come from.
So do I. She crosses her arms a little.
I laugh again and watch her. I can tell that shes annoyed by the
assumptions Ive made about her, and I cant blame her. But the
thing is, I know Im right.
Fortunately, we dont have to get too into it. The waitress comes
and takes our orders, breaking the tension. I feel a little guilty,
but I couldnt help myself. She was practically begging for it, and
the look on her face was priceless.
Ill have to make it up to her, though.
I kissed my first girl in this restaurant, I say to her once the
waitress leaves.
Did you have to pay her half a million dollars?
I grin at her. Fair enough, I deserved that. Do you want to hear
the story?
Fine.
I can tell shes annoyed, but this story always loosens people up.
I was thirteen years old, just a young man. Didnt know a thing
about girls.
You werent always this smooth talker? she asks, smiling
slightly.
Believe it or not. Back then, there was this gorgeous girl, lived
down the street from me, Becky Carmichael. God, I loved Becky
so much I could barely breathe. You know how that can be, when
youre young. Its the most intense feeling in the world.
She smiles slightly and nods. Youre almost stupid for it.
You think its the most important thing in the world.
She laughs a little. I felt that way for Robert Smith.
I pause. The guy from The Cure.
She cocks her head. The what?
Never mind.
He was a boy that went to my school. Couldnt get enough of
him. Long eyelashes.
I grin at her. Sounds like my Becky. Anyway, one night, my best
friend Jimmy tells her that I have a crush on her, and dares her
to kiss me. For whatever reason, she agrees, and we all meet in
the back of this place, over by the bathrooms just out there. I
gesture toward the main room.
Did you kiss her? she asks.
I did, I say. And it was the most incredible thing. Didnt know
what I was doing, but I was doing it. And as the kiss was ending, I
heard a click and a laugh, and when I looked over, it was Jimmy,
holding his fathers camera.
He didnt! Sadie says, laughing.
He did, I confirm. And he got it developed and gave it to me
years later. And I still have that picture.
No way, she says, laughing.
I do, I swear it. Ill show you one day.
Okay then, she says, shaking her head and smiling. Thats a
good story.
Your turn now, I say, leaning back and sipping my drink. Tell
me about your first kiss.
She laughs a little. No way. Its embarrassing.
Cant be more embarrassing than mine. Besides, I bet you were
a little flirt back then.
Hardly. She smiles and fingers her wine glass. I didnt kiss a
boy until I was sixteen.
Really? I raise an eyebrow.
Hard sometimes, being in my family. She gets a little quiet
and doesnt elaborate.
I dont push her. I get a glimpse of those depths again. I know
theres more to her than whats on the surface, and I want to get
to know her, but I know I have to be a little more delicate.
Our meals come soon and we fall into more comfortable small
talk about our lives. She tells me about growing up with her
family and going to school, and I tell her about what this
neighborhood was like when I was young. We laugh a lot and
things are surprisingly comfortable. The tension is still there,
lingering beneath the surface, but she quickly loosens up and I
can tell she forgets all about being annoyed.
Soon, our meals are finished, and were leaning back, stuffed to
the brim.
What did you think? I ask her. Best food ever, right?
She nods. And enough to feed a horse.
Easily. Two horses, I bet.
She grins. I like it here.
Im glad. I love this place.
Im about to ask her something else about her life when
suddenly the door opens. Im expecting the waitress, but instead
its a man I dont recognize, tall and thin, wearing a suit and an
overcoat.
Sadie turns to look at him. Reginald? she asks. What are you
doing here?
Excuse me, Miss Sadie, but its time. He nods at his watch.
She narrows her eyes. We just finished. Were having a
nice time.
I feel a thrill run through me.
Im sorry, Miss Sadie, Reginald says. But your parents expect
you promptly at ten.
She looks surprised. Its that late already?
Reginald nods. I check my watch, and sure enough, two hours
slipped past without us realizing.
Well, then, I say, knowing when its time to let things take
their course. We should say good night.
She nods and stands up. I can tell she wants to say something,
but I dont give her the chance.
I had fun, I say.
Thanks, she says awkwardly. Were both aware of Reginald
watching, his disapproving stare making her squirm a little.
I just ignore him. Call me sometime. I had a good time.
Okay, she says, pausing. Good night.
Good night.
She glances back at me as Reginald sweeps her away, taking her
out of the room. I watch her leave and feel disappointed. It
doesnt occur to me until shes gone that I never gave her my
number.
I dont know what I expected. That date went well, very well. I
couldnt have hoped for more, not on a first date, let alone one
chaperoned by her family driver.
Still, I wanted more. I wanted to bend her over that table and
fuck her goddamn brains out. Shes so uptight but I can see the
freak underneath that fake classy exterior. I know she wants it as
much as I do, but her breeding and the way she was raised is
holding her back.
Ill break that, though. I know shell call. Shes too fascinated by
what I said earlier, even if it did make her a little mad. Shes
never been talked to that way before, but she wants more.
Im willing to give it to her. But I have to be patient. Shell come
to me, sooner or later. And if she doesnt, Ill find a way to get
what I want.
4

SADIE

B reakfast in the Tillman household is practically a


spiritual thing.
I wake up early, my mind still buzzing over my date the night
before. I blink at the weak morning light filtering in through the
gauzy white curtains and sit up. My bed is huge, a four-poster,
probably an antique. Ive been sleeping in it since I was a kid,
and I suspect that my mother gave it to me as some kind of
princess fantasy fulfillment for herself.
I love my little corner of our apartment. I have my big beautiful
bed, my little desk with my laptop, my dresser, and a deep walk-
in closet. I dont have a television, because that stuff can rot my
brain, according to my father, but that doesnt matter. I spend
most of my time in here, because theres one more special thing
that I love even more than everything else.
I get up and stretch, then head into my closet to throw some
clothes on. I turn on the light and grab some sweats and a t-shirt
before turning to the other side of the closet.
The wall is covered with shelves, and the shelves are full of
books. Its basically my own little library. My father converted
my closet into half a bookshelf when I was younger and he
realized that I loved reading. So half of my closet has all my
clothes, and the other half has all my books, and its basically
heaven. Theres a big, thick cushion on the floor in the back left
corner and some candles sitting on the shelves. Sometimes, I
come in here and light the candles and leave only a single weak
lamp on as I curl up in my little nook and read.
I smile to myself as I head down toward the kitchen. Our
apartment takes up two whole floors in a nice building right
downtown, and its been in our family forever. The place looks
like it was decorated in another century, because it really was.
Old oil paintings hang on the walls and they sometimes clash
with the more modern flourishes my father has put in place
since he inherited the family home.
I pause at the top of the steps. I can hear voices downstairs, my
family all sitting down at the table to eat. I think back to my date
with Gavin and I cant help but smile.
I got a glimpse into his life, the kind of glimpse I never expected
to get. I didnt know what to think about him at first. Hes
intimidating and intense, but I was never worried about him, not
like my parents were. They sent Reginald along to make sure
that he didnt get me into any trouble, and obviously Reginald
had some strict orders to make sure that I came home right after
dinner.
But I never felt out of place with Gavin. We were in his old
neighborhood, basically his old home, but I didnt feel like I
didnt belong. He did his best to tell me stories from his past,
and our conversation flowed so easily.
There was only one moment that struck me a little bit. When he
was so forward with me, telling me what he wanted, I felt a thrill
run down my spine. I couldnt let him see that I liked it, that I
wanted him to keep going, to tell me all the dirty things he
wants to do to me. I couldnt let him see that, because I dont
really know. Im nervous to go there.
Im a virgin. Ive never had sex before. I dont have that kind of
experience, not the kind of experience that Gavin clearly has.
But he makes me want to learn, even if thats very wrong.
I head down the steps, trying to forget about Gavin. I dont think
Ill ever see him again. I could probably find him again, see him
at some social function, or maybe track him down another way.
But my parents would never allow it, and theyd do anything
they can to keep me away from him. Truth is, Ive spent so long
under the control of my family that I dont know how to go
against their wishes, even for something that I actually want.
The smell of breakfast wafts into my nose, delicious and bright. I
cant help but smile. Our cook, Betty, is one of the best people in
the whole world, and she always makes me an extra pancake
with M&Ms in it.
The dining room is the third room on the left. Its connected to
the kitchen. Theres a long table against the far wall with a
buffet-style setup, like every morning, and a couple staff
members stand quietly against the back wall. One of them,
Thomas, gives me a little wink, and I smile back at him. Thomas
is one of my favorite staff members.
Its weird to live in a house thats more like a hotel. We have
people that work for us, who cook and clean and take care of
things for us. I didnt realize that was strange when I was a little
girl. I assumed everyone had that in their homes.
But I know better now. My life is far from ordinary, and
sometimes I dont like that. Sometimes I wish I knew how
normal people lived. I want to know what its like to have real
responsibility and not endless privilege.
Good morning. I look over and spot my father, sitting in his
normal position, looking at me. Peter is sitting to my fathers
left, not paying attention to anything around him. Michael is to
his right, reading the paper, and my mother is nowhere to
be seen.
Good morning, I say absently. I grab a plate and get my food
and a cup of coffee.
Morning, Peter says as I sit down next to him. He pauses then
turns to me, eyes wide. How was your date? He seems excited,
a little smile on his face.
I can already sense my fathers disapproving glare. It was fine,
I say, turning to my food, but Peter doesnt take the hint.
Come on, tell me about it. Where did he take you?
I pause, willing myself not to look at father or Michael, though
theyre both watching me now.
A place in his old neighborhood, I say. Lubertos.
Was it nice? Peter asks.
Not really, I say. But it also was. It was a local place, very
family-oriented, and hes clearly been there a lot
My father interrupts you. Im not surprised he took you to a
place like that.
The table falls silent and I look over at my father. It was nice,
I say.
Its probably dangerous. He makes a face. Filthy, trash-
ridden, and unsanitary. You should never have been set up with a
man like that.
It was for charity, I say softly.
Father is right, Michael says, his gaze cold. Gavin Waller has
a bad reputation. Its good Reginald was with you.
I frown a little bit. I dont know much about Gavins reputation,
but I do know that my father dislikes anyone who wasnt born
with a silver spoon in their mouth.
Gavin was a gentleman, I say.
Your brother is right, father says. Gavin is no good for you.
Im glad that debacle is all over with. He turns back to his food
with a satisfied smile on his face.
I glance down at my plate and suddenly feel anger welling up
inside of me. I dont know how many times my brother and
father have told me how I need to live my life, how I need to
behave and not embarrass them. Im sick of them treating me
like Im some little girl still.
Im not hungry, I say, pushing my plate away.
Sadie, Peter says, but I just ignore him.
I turn and leave the dining room. My father and Michael dont
say anything to stop me. They probably just think Im being
hysterical or emotional.
Maybe I am, but Im angry. Im so tired of them treating me like
a little girl.
I hurry back to my room and shut the door softly. I sigh and head
into my closet, curling up in my little nook with my laptop.
I spend the rest of the morning searching for information on
Gavin Waller. Theres not a whole lot out there, but I quickly
come to understand what his reputation is.
Hes a notorious playboy. Hes never been married, but
apparently he has been with every high society woman in the
city, and he never settles for long. Hes filthy rich and
handsome, of course, but he doesnt seem interested in anything
longterm. He doesnt seem interested in a family.
I sigh, leaning against the wall. I dont even know if I want a
family, although of course thats expected of me. Im supposed
to marry a guy like Milo and breed little blue-blood babies with
him until the day that I die. Somehow, that life doesnt sound
very rewarding.
But Gavin seems real somehow, more real than Milo or my
parents. Ive barely had a taste of him, but Im already so
interested. I know it would probably be better if I just forgot
about him, but I cant help but think about him.
As I start to daydream about Gavins hands on my body, theres
suddenly a knock at the bedroom door. I get up quickly and head
over. I open it softly. Thomas stands there, smiling at me.
Package for you, he says.
Thanks, I say, a little confused. I didnt order anything,
though.
He shrugs. Came with the mail. No return address. He hands
me the thin brown box, about the size of a dress box.
I take it from him. Thanks, Thomas.
Have a nice day. He smile again and I shut the door.
Curious, I turn to my bed. I place the package down and pull it
open, frowning as I go. The brown plain box reveals a shiny black
one, though without a logo. I pull it out and place it on my bed
before taking the top off.
The first thing I notice is a card in a plain white envelope. I take
it out and set it aside. Beneath it is some white tissue paper. Too
curious to stop myself, I pull apart the tissue paper and slowly
take out the contents.
I turn bright red as I realize what Im holding. Its a black lacy
lingerie set, clearly expensive, and incredibly revealing. Its in
my size, but I have no clue who sent it. I know I didnt order it,
because I dont really own anything like this. My clothes tend to
be pretty plain, but this its sexy.
I grab the card and tear it open. Inside is a plain white thick
paper stock with a simple note.
Call me. 555-506-5136. Gavin.
I gape at the note for a second before dropping it and stepping
away from the bed, my heart hammering in my chest.
I dont know how, but Gavin managed to buy me lingerie that
will clearly fit me, and even had it sent to my home. Im sure my
parents dont know about this, or else they would have freaked
out. I stare at the card before picking it up and reading it again.
Heart beating fast, I type the number into my phone. For a
second, I want to hit send, but instead I just save it. I pull the
lingerie out of the box and hold it up, my whole body tingling
with excitement.
I cant believe he sent me this. Ive never had a man do
something like this before. I should be insulted that hed be so
forward like this, and maybe a little wary now that I know about
his bad reputation, but I just dont care. In this moment, Im
more than excited imagining Gavin slowly peeling the bra and
matching panties from my body.
Ive never felt so sexy in my whole life. I want to try it on, but I
cant. Im too nervous, afraid that I might get caught. Instead, I
quickly put the lingerie away and hide the box in the back of my
closet. I tear up the card into tiny pieces and put it back into the
cardboard. Ill have Thomas or someone else dispose of it for me,
just to make sure my parents dont see and ask me what I
bought.
Its stupid that I have to sneak around my parents like this, but
Im still stuck under their thumb. I cant help it. I dont have any
skills, and only a high school education. I dont know what Id do
out in the real world without the safety net of my family.
But now more than ever, I want to explore the world outside of
my own little bubble. And Gavin, for all his flaws, may be the
perfect way to do that.
5

GAVIN

I cant get the girl out of my head.


I dont know why. Ive never been so hung up on
someone before. Ive been with plenty of women, some of them
rich, all of them beautiful, but none of them holds a candle to
Sadie.
I just keep seeing her coy little smile at dinner, the way she
laughs, the way our conversation flowed with such ease. I cant
stop imagining what Id do to her body.
Sending her the lingerie wasnt hard. Her familys address is
easy enough to get, and I figured that if I sent it to her but didnt
include a return address, she might just get it.
But I have no clue if she did or not, because she didnt call. I
dont know what I expected, sending her lingerie. I knew it
would rile her up at the very least. I half thought she might call
me angry and demand an explanation.
But I got something worse. I got silence.
I didnt expect silence. Anger I can deal with. Excitement and
desire, obviously I want those. But just nothing, well, that drives
me even crazier. Makes me want her even more.
A couple days after the date and sending her the lingerie, I went
to get a drink with my closest friend, Chuck Peck. Hes a friend
from high school, one of the smartest guys I know. He turned his
high school education into a job on Wall Street trading stocks.
Chuck sips his whisky and cocks his head at me. So what are
you going to do? he asks. I just finished telling him the story of
Sadie Tillman.
I shrug. Not sure what I can do.
Not like you to just give up.
Never said Id given up. I grin at him. Just need a new angle.
The lingerie thing was a bold move.
You know me. Cant do anything halfway.
Maybe you scared the girl, he muses.
I frown a little bit and sip my own whisky. Its smoky and malty,
a really gorgeous blend. Maybe, I admit. I dont think so,
though.
The Tillmans are no joke, Chuck says. What if they found the
box and she never got it?
I suspect Id be meeting with their lawyers then, I say,
grinning.
Chuck sighs. Its not funny, man, he says. The Tillmans are
like buying out Congress rich. You know what I mean?
Not to mention connected as all hell, I say, nodding. I get it.
Why mess with them?
Im not, I say.
You are. There are plenty of women in this city, and almost all
of them wont get you in fucking trouble with the Tillman
family.
Ive had all of those women, I say, grinning. Theres just
something about this one. I dont know, man. I cant explain it.
He looks at me then sighs, shaking his head. Youre going to
keep going after her, arent you? Nothing I can say?
Youve known me long enough to know Im not going to back
off, I say.
He shrugs. Okay then. Whats your next move?
Another package, I say. But I need to think of what to put
inside of it.
Cant help you there, he says, shaking his head. Ill listen
and advise, but Im not crossing that line.
You afraid of the Tillmans?
He stares at me for a second then nods his head. Youre damn
right I am.
We go back to drinking and change the subject, but I cant really
blame him. Chuck is a smart guy, and hes been around long
enough to know that you dont mess with people like the
Tillmans.
Ive learned that same lesson, but apparently it didnt stick.
Because the next day, despite warnings from Chuck, I find
myself putting together another package.
This one is smaller, much smaller. Its a box about eight inches
long, two inches wide, and inside is a gorgeous little black
vibrator.
I cant help but feel excited as hell as I put together this package.
I write a little more on the card this time, heart racing.
You have the outfit and now you have the toy. Call me to discuss
what to do with it. Gavin.
I grin to myself as I put it all together. If her family intercepts
this thing, Ill be totally fucked. Theyll come after me hard, and
I cant really blame them.
But she wont be able to ignore this if she does get it somehow.
The lingerie was pushing it, but this vibrator is stepping over the
line and then running way past it. Its going to piss her off, or
maybe its going to excite her, but its going to get a reaction.
I mail it off and then I wait. I sent the package by courier, so I
know that shell get it by the morning at the latest, I can barely
sleep that night, thinking about how shell react when she wakes
up to this little surprise on her doorstep, or however rich girls
like her get their mail.
I get up early, workout to keep my mind occupied, and then I get
my coffee and head into the office. I try to distract myself with
work, but I cant stop thinking about that package and about
Sadie. Shes so fucking gorgeous and smart and funny, and she
probably doesnt even realize how much she has to offer. I bet
her family keeps her locked up tight, ready to be traded off to
some other rich family in exchange for some business ties or
some shit.
A few hours trickle past. I keep looking at the clock and feeling
more and more anxious. No one comes or goes, and soon Im
forced to have lunch. I eat at my desk, unable or unwilling to
leave my office. I dont know why. I keep looking at my phone,
willing it to ring, but it doesnt.
The day slowly slips past. I know she got it, or at least the
couriers say it was delivered to her address. Maybe the family
intercepted it and Im fucked, or maybe shes just so insulted
that she wont respond to me. I cant imagine thats the case,
though, but the lunch hour comes and goes and I hear nothing.
All day passes. Im practically sweating this goddamn thing, and
I almost start to regret sending it.
But no, no, I dont regret shit. I want this girl, and I need to find
a way to get her. Maybe this package didnt work, but something
else will. Im not giving up so easily.
I head home around seven that night, disappointed but accepting
my situation. If she got the package and didnt call, that means
shes probably beyond my reach. But if she didnt get it, that
meant the family knows what Ive sent her, and Im in deep shit.
I dont care about the family. Im more worried that I cant even
get a rise out of her. Which actually does interest me even more.
If shes so cool and calm and collected that a vibrator and some
lingerie in the mail doesnt provoke a reaction, she must be a
really interesting girl, even more than I realized.
I have a glass of whisky and I read the news, and around eight
oclock, when Ive finally began to think about a new plan for
Sadie, my phone starts to ring.
My stomach lurches with excitement. Its a number I dont
recognize. I let it ring one more time before answering.
Hello, I say.
Theres a pause. Gavin?
Its Sadies voice. My grin threatens to tear my face apart.
Sadie, I say. I was wondering when Id hear from you.
She pauses again. I got your, uh, presents.
Good, I say. I hope you liked them.
They were, uh, inappropriate. Despite her words, she doesnt
sound angry.
Inappropriate can be good sometimes.
She pauses again. I can tell that shes thinking seriously about
what shes going to say next. You cant keep sending me
things, she says.
I can stop, I say. But Im not sure you really want me to.
Youre going to get me in trouble.
I smirk to myself, leaning back in my chair. Maybe I want to get
you in trouble. Maybe you need a little trouble in your life.
You dont know that, she says softly.
Did you like my presents? I ask. Did you try them on?
Anther pause, and my grin gets bigger. That means she did.
Please, dont send anything else. Im afraid my family will
catch it. She changed the subject. She definitely tried that
lingerie on, maybe even used the vibrator. My cock is hard as hell
as I imagine her wearing nothing but the bra and panties, the
panties shoved to one side to show off her perfect little pussy,
the vibrator rolling along her skin, her moans filling the room.
Agree to meet with me and I wont send another thing, I say,
needing that image to become a reality. I want to make her wear
that outfit and to get herself off with that vibrator while she
sucks my cock. I want to get her begging for more before Im
done with her.
Okay, she says, barely a whisper.
Ill make the arrangements. Ill text you when its ready.
I can practically see her, dripping wet, biting her lip. This is a
bad idea, she says. I shouldnt see you. I shouldnt even be
talking to you.
And yet you are talking to me and youre going to see me. Even
after I sent you two very inappropriate gifts. What does that say
about you, Sadie?
I dont know, she admits.
I know. It says that youre a dirty fucking girl, and you want to
see exactly how dirty you can get with me.
I hear a slight intake of air and I know Ive pushed her. I smirk to
myself.
You like playing with me, dont you?
Very much, I say. Ill see you soon.
I hang up the phone before she can say another word. I want to
leave her with the image of me playing with her.
I can think of plenty of games that shell love. I can see tying her
up in my room, binding her hands and feet to my bed, spreading
her wide and licking her until she screams with pleasure. Im so
fucking hard and I want her so badly, but I have to be patient.
I stand up, get myself another whisky, and set about getting this
next date ready.
6

SADIE

G oing to see Gavin again is very, very dangerous. I know I


should ignore him, but I cant help it.
As soon as I got that second box, I knew I was going to
call. Ive never owned a vibrator before, but Ive always wanted
one. As soon as I got it, I took it from the box and hid away in my
little closet nook, making sure the door was shut behind me.
It felt so fucking good. I spread my legs wide and ran the vibrator
up and down my clit. Ive gotten myself off before, but never
with a vibrator, never like that. I kept picturing Gavins rough
hands on my soft skin, pushing me closer and closer until I
finally came, his name on my lips.
Sneaking out to see him is stupid, so damn stupid, but its
possible. The day after our phone call, he sends me a text with
the details. I respond to him, and we work it out together, the
plan forming. Its not exactly complicated, but its not simple,
either.
Im nervous all day long. By the time eight rolls around, and Ive
eaten dinner with my family, Im antsy as hell. I go to my room
and choose an outfit that wont make my parents suspicious, so
it cant be too sexy or nice. But I do wear the lingerie Gavin got
me underneath, just for myself. Or so Im telling myself.
When Im dressed, I find my father in his study. Im going out
for a bit, I say to him.
He looks up from his papers. Where? he asks.
Just a walk, I say. Feeling a little strange after dinner. A walk
might be good.
He nods. Bring someone with you.
Sure, I say and wave. I go for walks around the neighborhood
all the time. Normally, I bring Thomas or Reginald with me, but
today I dont bother. I slip into the elevator and ride it down to
the ground floor.
I feel nervous as hell. Ive gone out alone before, of course, but
never to see a man that I know I shouldnt see. I get to the street
level and head outside. I walk down a few blocks toward a small
park. Its dark out though the sidewalks are mostly empty in this
part of town. I stop outside of the entrance to the park and check
my watch.
Im a few minutes early, so I have to wait. Its just enough time
to wonder if Im making a huge mistake.
Maybe my parents are right. Not about him being low class
and not worth my time, but about his reputation. I dont care
where Gavin was born or how much money he had growing up,
but I am worried about his experience.
I dont have much experience, not compared to him. He knows
things and has done things Ive only ever fantasized about. I
dont know if I can handle the kind of man that would send a
woman lingerie and a vibrator, especially a woman he barely
knows.
But maybe thats also part of the attraction. And there is an
attraction, I cant deny that. I want Gavin probably more than I
even realize, even from the moment I first saw him. I think part
of that stems from his experience. Hes older than me, more
mature, and more experienced. I want him to show me what to
do, to teach me how to have sex, to show me what my body can
do. I think he can do that and a lot more.
Im nervous and practically shaking with excitement when a
black car pulls up in front of me. Gavin steps out and grins at me.
Hes so damn handsome, just like I remember. Hes tall,
muscular, and hes wearing a perfectly tailored suit. But theres
a gruffness to him, a hardness that the men Im used to all lack.
Hes confident and serious.
Im glad you came, he says.
Were you worried I wouldnt?
He shakes his head. Not at all. He leans in and kisses my
cheek softly. I feel a thrill run down my spine. Ready?
Sure, I say. Lets go.
I climb into the car and he shuts the door after me, walking
around to the other side. Once hes in, the driver starts going.
Where are you taking me tonight? I ask him.
Somewhere fun, he says. But its not dinner, so I hope youre
not hungry.
I already ate, I say.
Good, he says. Were going dancing.
I feel a little flutter in my chest. Ive been to clubs before, of
course, but never with someone like Gavin.
We fall into a comfortable conversation until we arrive. Its a
place I recognize, or at least have heard of. Its new, the sort of
place I would have gone with my friends if they hadnt all left for
school. We climb out and Gavin skips the line, nodding at the
bouncer as he lets us inside.
Its obviously new. Everything looks clean and like it was
recently taken out of plastic or something. Its pretty crowded,
which surprises me since its the middle of the week. Gavin
walks confidently through the crowd and leads us to a private
table. He must have set this up already, because theres a bottle
of champagne on ice waiting for us.
To our second date, he says, pouring two glasses. He hands me
mine and we clink. I sip the cold, sweet, bubbling champagne
and look out at the club.
Beautiful people dance to the loud beat. Gavin sits close to me,
his hand on my thigh, and I feel really out of place. Im dressed
for a walk in the street, not for a night out at the club. I have
lingerie on underneath my sweater and jeans, but thats not
enough. I wish I had a cuter dress or something to make me
blend in with the crowd better.
Gavin doesnt seem to mind. He seems to only have eyes for me.
I smile at him as he leans toward me.
Dance? he asks, that one word sending a thrill down my spine.
I look at him for a second then quickly nod. I want nothing more
than to dance with this man. I want to feel him close to me. I
crave it actually. I want to sweat and make him sweat and lose
myself out there.
He grins and finishes his drink. I do the same, feeling good. He
stands, takes me by the hand, and leads me out onto the dance
floor. We join the mass of people all writhing to the beat. He
moves his hips up against mine and I wrap my arms around his
neck as he puts his hands on my hips.
We move together like that to the music, and Im unsure of
myself at first. Ive never really danced with a total stranger like
this before. Ive danced with guys at clubs of course, but my
girlfriends were always with me, and it was always something
like a joke.
But this is totally different. My girlfriends are nowhere to be
seen and Im disobeying my family to be out with this man. Hes
much older than me, and I know exactly what he wants from me.
Gavin hasnt tried at all to hide his intentions.
That sends a serious thrill up my spine. Ive never been with a
man as forward as Gavin before. Hell, Ive never been with a real
man before, period.
Hes a good dancer, and quickly I forget about my reservations.
The crowd is lively and the dance floor is packed, but neither of
us seems to really care. Soon it becomes just about me and him,
like were totally alone in this mass of writhing and dancing
bodies.
I feel so good. I didnt know I could feel this good. One song
blends seamlessly into another, and we keep dancing, our bodies
staying close. Im smiling, and sweating, and so is he, but
neither of us care.
All that matters is the beat, his rough hands on my hips. His lips
get close to my cheek, my neck, and I can feel his hot breath
against my skin. It only makes my body that much more excited
as I slide along his leg, moving my hips to the beat.
I forget everything. I forget about my parents, about Milo, about
my brothers. I forget who I am and pretend to be just another
girl in this crowd, dancing with her man, and I feel better than I
could have imagined.
I dont know how long were out there. An hour at least, maybe
two, maybe the whole damn night. We take one break to get a
drink of water and a little champagne, joking and flirting as we
sit in our private little booth, but he quickly leads me back out
onto the dance floor for more.
The lights stay dark after a while, and soon the music slows
down a little bit. Gavin grins at me, squeezing my hand, pulling
my body tight against his.
I can feel his hard cock through his pants and that only sends a
thrill through me. Im dripping wet and have been for a while
now. Dancing with him is the most sensual and passionate thing
Ive ever experienced before. Were practically fucking on this
dance floor, surrounded by other people, and for some reason
that ignites me, makes me go crazy.
He squeezes my ass and smirks at me. Glad you came? he asks
in my ear as we sway together.
Yes, I admit, blushing a little bit.
I knew you would be.
And then he tips my chin toward him and kisses me.
I kiss him back with an intensity that actually surprises me. I
knew that I wanted him, but I had no clue how badly. Now
though, as we finally kiss, his lips against mine, his taste in my
mouth, I realize that its absolutely overwhelming. Im risking so
damn much to be with this man right now, risking so much for
this kiss, and its undeniably worth it.
He breaks off the kiss after a moment and I see something in his
eyes. Its desire, pure and simple, and I know Im looking at him
the same way.
Come on, he says, grabbing my hand. He pulls me away from
the dance floor and I follow him back toward the bathrooms.
Its a co-ed bathroom, the kind with a shared sink and mirror
but big stalls that anybody can use. He cuts the line, ignoring
peoples complaints, and shoves me into the next empty stall,
slamming the door shut and locking it behind him.
I press myself up against the wall. Classy, I say.
He smirks at me. Youre too nice, he says. A little rich girl.
Never been fucked before in a club bathroom, have you?
I bite my lip. Ive never been fucked before, period. No, I say,
not wanting to tell him the full truth.
Didnt think so. He tips my chin up toward him. I want to
dirty you up, Sadie girl, he whispers. Make you experience
things. Feel things. Youve lived in a bubble for way too long.
I can feel a fire rocking through me as he kisses me again hard. I
wrap my arms around his neck and suddenly I dont care that
were in some bathroom, locked in a stall with other people all
around us. I dont care about any of that.
His hands run up my thighs, sending chills down my spine as he
unbuttons my jeans and tugs them down over my hips. He pulls
back to look at me and groans.
You wore them, he says.
I nod, smiling at him. I thought you sent them to me for a
reason.
He grabs my hair, tipping my head back. Youre such a good
girl, he says, and he slides his hand down the front of my
panties. His fingers find my swollen and wet clit as he presses
against it firmly. God damn, youre soaking wet, too.
Shit, Gavin, I gasp a little bit, surprised by the pleasure. He
pulls my hair tighter, sliding his fingers along my pussy, rubbing
my clit, teasing me, before pressing his fingers inside of me.
It feels so fucking good. He kisses my neck as his fingers do their
magic, working my pussy, and Ive never felt this way before. He
grips my hair hard in his fist and the slight pain only makes the
pleasure so much better.
I cant help but moan, although I try hard to keep them quiet and
stifled. I know people are all around us, but it just doesnt matter
to me in this moment. Gavins hands do things to my body that
Ive never felt before.
You like being with an older man, dont you? he whispers in
my ear.
I moan a little in response. I dont know, I admit.
This is what you really need, he says, looking into my eyes.
An older man to take care of you, to teach you things. Youre a
good little rich girl, but deep down inside of you, I know theres a
dirty slut just begging to be let out.
I gasp as his fingers press inside of me again and I shake my
head. I dont know, I moan, not thinking clearly, not able to. It
feels too good.
I know, he says. You need a Daddy. A man to make you feel
good. To give you what you really want. His lips find mine again
and Im losing it, completely and utterly.
I know where this is leading. Theres some voice in the back of
my mind, screaming at me, telling me that hes going to fuck
me. Hes going to do it right here, right now, and oh god, Ive
never done it before. He doesnt know that Im a virgin. He
clearly can see that Im innocent and inexperienced, but he
doesnt know how far that goes.
I press my hands against his chest suddenly, terrified of what
Im doing. I feel overwhelmed and scared. What if I disappoint
him? I cant have my first time happen in a bathroom stall. I
press him back a little and he looks at me, his head cocked to the
side. His hand slips out from the front of my jeans.
Wait, I say, breathless. Slow down.
Slow down? He smirks. Your body is saying something
different, Sadie girl.
I know, I just, please. Lets slow down.
He nods. Whatever you need.
I lean back against the wall for a second, breathing deep, and he
watches me. He smirks a little bit. Come on, he says. Lets
get a drink. Take things slow.
I nod and smile a little, relieved. I get myself together and then
we leave the stall. I feel a little embarrassed when people stare at
us coming out together, but I dont care what these strangers
think.
I almost fucked him in that bathroom with all these people
around, and Im not even drunk. That thought actually terrifies
me a little bit. I always saw myself as a good person, someone
who had morals and followed the rules, but maybe Im wrong. I
didnt know that sex could make me feel this way.
Its so good and its so wrong, and the wrongness makes it that
much better. I know its messed up but I would have fucked him
back there if I hadnt said anything.
But he didnt push. I could tell that he wanted it badly, could feel
it in his body, but he backed off. Im a little relieved, actually.
Ive heard so many stories of guys being pushy, but maybe men
arent like that, at least real men arent. Gavin doesnt seem like
the type that needs to pressure someone into sex.
Being around him is pressure enough. His confidence is so sexy
that I dont know how long I can resist it.
We head back out into the main part of the club and angle toward
the booth. But before we can get there, Reginald appears through
the crowd.
Im shocked to see him. I stop short and I feel Gavin tense just
behind me.
Miss Sadie, Reginald says. Your father sent me to bring
you home.
I stare at him, totally shocked. Howhow did you find me?
He shakes his head, face stern. Doesnt matter. Please, come
with me.
Sadie, Gavin says, taking my hand. You dont have to go if
you dont want to.
I turn away from Reginald and look up at Gavin. I should go, I
say. I had fun.
He nods, a small smile on his lips. Yeah. Me too.
I kiss him quickly on the cheek, squeeze his hand, and then turn
away. I follow Reginald, glancing back only once to see Gavin
watching me leave.
Im terrified as I get into the car. Reginald heads back toward our
apartment, and I know Im in deep shit.
I shouldnt be surprised that someone was sent for me. My
family is incredibly well connected. At a club like that, there are
probably like fifty people that know me by sight, and I bet
someone called my father to let him know that I was out with
Gavin Waller. My father is going to be livid, but it doesnt
matter.
Im a grown woman, despite what he thinks, although I am still
dependent on them. Still, tonight was one of the best nights of
my life. Sure, I chickened out and backed away from sex with
Gavin, but still. He felt so good and gave me a glimpse of what it
could be like if I finally gave myself to him. I know itll be
incredible. It just wasnt the right time yet.
Im going to get yelled at when we get home, but its fine. Ill
survive it. And then Ill call Gavin and see him again, because I
havent gotten enough yet. In fact, I only just got my first taste.
Soon, Im going to get another.
7

GAVIN

I sip my beer and glance down at my watch, frowning to


myself. Its been almost twenty-four hours since I last
saw Sadie, but I havent heard from her yet. I know shes
probably in deep shit with her family, but Im actually starting to
worry.
Thats a new feeling. I never really worried about a woman
before, not this way at least. I have female friends and Ive
gotten close to lovers, but this is a different feeling entirely.
Im almost protective of her. I want to make sure shes being
treated well and taken care of, even if maybe thats not my role.
Not yet, at least. I want to take that on for her though. I want to
be the man who protects her, cares for her, takes care of her.
And I have no clue how to feel about that.
Youre quiet, Chuck says to me. Were sitting in a little shitty
dive bar in the old neighborhood. Theres a basketball game on
TV and most of the locals are either drunk or well on their way to
being drunk.
The place is dingy and poorly lit, which is part of its charm. The
bar is old and somewhat sticky from years and years of spilled
drinks. All the tables are wood covered with shellac, basically
big, plastic, and indestructible at this point. Its pretty empty,
which surprises me. Usually a working class haunt like this
would be packed late at night, even on a work night, but maybe
the economy is worse than I realized.
Guess I dont have a lot to say, I respond.
Hows the girl doing? He grins at me a little.
I sigh. I was wondering how long before you brought it up.
Hey, man, I gave you a beer. Now its time to talk.
Took her out last night.
He whistles. Damn, man.
It was good. Took her to that new club, Deep Spot or whatever
its called.
Dark Spot, he corrects.
Whatever. We danced, drank, you know.
Fucked? he asks.
I give him a look. Dont be an asshole.
He laughs a little. So you dont kiss and tell now?
No, I say pointedly. And I never did before. Im not the type
to brag about my conquests.
Yeah, fine, fair enough. Chuck sips his beer again. Still, the
Tillman daughter. Its pretty ballsy.
Yeah, well, Im not sure its going to happen again.
Why? She get to know you? He grins at me.
I just ignore his lame joke. Her butler, or maybe her driver, Im
not sure, but anyway, he came and found us.
Chuck raises an eyebrow. You for real?
I nod. He didnt look happy.
Chuck watches me for a second then bursts out laughing. I sigh,
sipping my beer. Holy fuck, Chuck says between breaths. You
got fucking caught! With the Tillman daughter! He cracks up,
shaking his head.
Glad you enjoy it, I mutter.
Chuck laughs a little more and gets himself under control. I flip a
peanut shell into the basket, not bothering to eat the peanut. I
can only imagine how many hands have been in that peanut
bowl before mine, but Im just trying to distract myself and I
know it.
So what happened? he asks me.
Nothing, I say. She went home and I havent heard
from her.
They probably shipped her off to a convent.
This isnt the dark ages.
He grins at me. It basically is with a family like that.
I sigh and look at the bar. Im afraid I fucked up.
How? he asks softly.
I look up at him. What do you mean?
Are you afraid you fucked up because you got her in trouble, or
because you got yourself in trouble?
I blink. Because I got her in trouble, I say. Shit, it didnt even
occur to me that they might be unhappy with me.
Good, he says, smiling a little.
Why?
Means you actually like this girl.
I nod slowly. Guess I do.
Come on, he says, last drink is on me.
I grin and we start talking about business, but I still have Sadie
on my mind as we finish that last drink.
Its around one in the morning when we finally leave. Chuck gets
in his car and heads home, and I have my driver take me back to
my apartment. I could just go into the office and sleep there, but
I want to shower in the morning and were not far from my
place.
The driver drops me off and I tip him before heading upstairs.
My apartment is like my second home. I spend a lot of time in
the office, mostly because I have everything there that I could
need. But its still nice to have a home that isnt in the middle of
my job.
I take the elevator to the top and step off. I pause outside of my
door, cocking my head.
Its slightly ajar. I dont remember leaving it open. I frown a
little bit and push it open. Maybe one of the people that I hire
stopped by, maybe the cook is here or one of the cleaning people.
They know I keep weird hours and maybe they figured theyd get
an early start or something.
But of course thats a stupid thought, and it hits me as soon as
Im in my apartment. All of the lights are on, which I know I
definitely didnt do. Who the hell would go to their job at one in
the morning, unless they were up to no good?
I pause in my hallway. Hello? I call out.
The answer comes back instantly. In the living room.
A chill runs down my spine. I dont recognize that voice. I step
toward the table in my entrance way and reach for the drawer. I
keep a small gun in there, just a little .22 caliber thing, but itll
be enough.
Dont bother with the gun, the voice calls out. I checked
already. Its empty.
I reach into the drawer, heart hammering, and pick it up. I pull
out the magazine and sure enough, its empty. Cursing under my
breath, I put it back into the drawer and walk slowly toward my
living room.
Who are you? I call out. And what do you want?
No need to be nervous, Mr. Waller, the man says. Im not
here to rob you.
I relax slightly at the way he speaks to me. I step into the living
room and spot the man standing near the wall-sized windows,
looking out over the city. He turns toward me, a smile on
his face.
Hes in his late forties, maybe ten years older than me. He wears
a dark suit, a dark tie, and a white shirt. His hair is thinning and
balding in the back, but his eyes are sharp, and he looks like hes
in good shape. He has a square jaw and he clearly works out,
though hes a couple inches shorter than me. If I didnt now any
better, Id think I could take him. But he doesnt look like a
normal person. I can see it in the way he looks at me.
Plus, normal people dont break into apartments in the middle
of the night just for a chat.
Who are you? I ask him again, standing in the entranceway.
He smiles at me and raises his hands, palms out. My name is
Silas, he says. I work for the Tillmans. Im just here to talk.
I frown at him, but relax slightly. If the Tillmans sent him, that
means hes probably not here to rob and kill me.
But he might be here for something much worse.
Do you want something? I ask him.
He smiles slightly. Interesting. I break into your apartment and
you ask if I want something.
I shrug, playing it cool, and walk to the kitchen. Might as well
be polite. Whisky?
He nods. Okay then.
I pour two glasses and hand him one. I sip mine and eye him. We
stand on either side of the kitchen island.
Well, you probably want to know why Im here.
I nod once. Id like that.
Its late, so Ill try and be brief. You seem reasonable, Mr.
Waller.
Call me Gavin.
Okay, Gavin. Silas puts his drink down on the counter and
looks at me, a little smile on his face. Truth is, Mr. Tillman is
very angry about you seeing his daughter behind his back.
I clench my jaw slightly. Is she okay?
Silas smiles a little wider. Shes fine, as far as I know. Curious
that youd ask.
I know your employer can be harsh.
Harsh. Good word. Silas takes another sip of his whisky. Im
here to give you a simple message, Gavin. Its the kind of
message that Im often hired to give, and I really, really hate
giving it more than once. Are you ready?
Get on with it, I say, staring at him, anger rising in my throat
like bile.
Stay away from Sadie Tillman. Its that simple. Stay away from
her, and everything will be just fine.
I stare at his smiling face and I can hear the threat there, implicit
behind his words.
And if I dont, everything wont, I say.
Silas just shrugs and smiles, not responding.
Do you always do Tillmans dirty work? I ask him.
Ive been in his employ for many years, he admits. Though I
have other clients, of course. He puts his drink down and steps
away from the counter. Im going to leave now, Gavin.
Tell your boss that Im not interested in his threats.
Silas nods. I suspected youd say that. Guys like you arent easy
to intimidate. Youre from the west side, right?
I hesitate a second. Right, I say.
I know lots of guys from there. I grew up there myself. I know
youre used to big thugs trying to push everyone around. But
listen, Gavin, and listen closely. I dont like giving this message
more than once. This has been a pleasant interaction. Lets not
have an unpleasant one. He smiles one last time before turning
and walking out.
I watch him go and I dont say a word. Adrenaline courses
through my veins and anger clutches at my throat. I hear Silas
disappear down the hallway, open my door, and shut it again. I
clench my glass and end up tossing back the rest of the whisky in
one smooth motion.
Id be a liar if I tried to pretend like it doesnt freak me the fuck
out that Silas broke into my apartment so easily. He could have
done anything to me. Fortunately, he just wanted to threaten
me, but it could have been much worse. I wasnt prepared for
that, not at all.
But Im going to be prepared. I believe him when he says that our
next meeting will be much less pleasant, and Im going to be
ready for that.
Because Im not backing off Sadie. Those Tillman fucks think
they can control her and push me around, but Im not the kind of
man that can be fucked with. When I want something, I get it,
and I want Sadie.
I want to be her Daddy. I want to dominate her, control her,
make her feel things shes never dreamed of.
Her family isnt going to stand in my way.
8

SADIE

I expected to get screamed at. I expected my father and


my brothers to be there, waiting for me, ready to tell
me how Im disappointing them. Well, maybe not Peter, but
definitely Michael.
Instead, the apartment was quiet. Reginald told me good night
and then left me there. Nobody yelled, nobody scolded, nothing.
So I went to bed, still thinking about Gavin.
The moment in the bathroom kept coming back to me. It was a
potential turning point for me, but I was afraid. I was too scared
to really turn away from my old life and embrace something new.
If I had slept with him in there, I would be a totally new woman.
Still, making out with him in a stall and letting him touch me
like that is something. Ive never done something like that
before, and never imagined I would, not before Gavin. He makes
me want to live, to really live. He makes me want to be
something more than whatever my family wants me to be.
The next morning, Im up early. Im a little tired, but Im going
to be brave. Im going to face my family and the consequences no
matter what.
I put on clothes, brush my teeth, and steady myself before
heading downstairs for breakfast. My brothers are there and so
are both my parents. My father glances up from his paper when I
come into the room.
You slept late, he comments.
I pause. I guess so, I say. I expect him to start yelling any
minute.
But everyone acts normal. Mother doesnt look up at me. Peter is
busy on his phone. Michael is reading the paper. Nobody is
staring at me. Father doesnt even look angry.
He turns back to his paper. I grab a plate and load it up with the
usual before taking my seat. I look around, totally confused, but
everyone seems absolutely normal. It feels like nothing at all
happened, but of course father knows, and of course mother
does, too.
Maybe theyre just letting me get away with it. Or maybe their
punishment is even worse than I could guess.
I dig in, wanting to get the hell out of there as fast as possible. I
finish my meal as fast as possible, wanting to get back into my
room so that I can text Gavin. As soon as I finish, though, my
father puts down his paper and clears his throat.
Peter, Michael, can you excuse us for a second?
Peter looks up, surprised. Huh? Im not finished.
Peter, mother says. Please. We need to talk to your sister.
My face turns red. This is the moment I was dreading. I really
thought I could get away with it, but apparently not.
Michael stands and gives me a little look. I cant understand it. I
dont know if he knows what Im in trouble for, or if hes just
always something of an ass. Peter gives me a little smile and
reluctantly leaves. He definitely doesnt know, at least.
Mother and father stare at me once my brothers are gone. My
father doesnt look angry, but hes not smiling either. Mother
just looks tired.
Youre not a child anymore, father says finally. Youre
becoming an adult, slowly but surely, no matter what we want.
And I understand youre going to want some measure of
freedom.
I narrow my eyes at my father. This isnt about that.
Let your father finish, mother steps in suddenly, sounding
angry.
Father frowns. Listen, Sadie. Im not an unreasonable man. I
understand you want to live your life and enjoy yourself. But
honestly, Gavin Waller is an embarrassment.
He isnt, I say.
Watch it, mother says.
Sadie, father cuts in. Im offering you a chance here. A clean
slate. No punishments for sneaking off with that low-class man
last night, but in exchange, youll do something for me.
I pause, a little surprised. I expected him to lose his temper and
to yell at me, but hes being surprisingly calm about this, almost
reasonable.
What? I ask him, skeptical.
Go out on a date with a proper match, he says. Milos parents
have already agreed. Hell meet with you tomorrow night for
dinner.
My eyes widen slightly. I know my parents want me to marry
Milo and unite our families, but I had no clue theyd take it
this far.
I cant, I say.
You will, mother says, leaning toward me. Im so tired of you
being such a little brat
Regina, my father says, stopping her. Please. He turns to
me again, his face passive. If you refuse to see Milo, thats your
choice, but we will no longer support you.
I gape at him. What does that mean?
Banishment, mother says angrily.
Father sighs. Nothing so dramatic. Well send you to your
cousins in upstate New York where youll meet with tutors for a
few months. Youll be comfortable there.
And far away from that man, mother says.
I stare at the two of them. Im not a child, I say softly.
Youre right, father agrees. Youre not. But you rely on us for
everything you have. And if you want to continue living your
accustomed lifestyle, you will obey.
I frown down at my plate, not able to meet my fathers gaze.
I dont want to go out with Milo. Hes not the worst person in the
world, but Im just not interested in him. Frankly, hes boring,
and I know Ill never marry him. Or at least I dont want to ever
marry him. Milo doesnt make me feel even half as good as
Gavin does.
But I know that my parents can banish me to New York if they
want. They can take everything I have away and make my life
very, very difficult. Nobody will help me, either, because of how
powerful my father is. I know hes going easy on me right now,
but things can be very, very bad.
When I was a little girl, I snuck into my fathers office. It was
off-limits back then, for good reason. I was stupid and silly, and
I ended up breaking an antique model ship, one of my fathers
favorites. He locked me in the basement for a week, feeding me
once a day, before letting me out. Nobody said a word, but
everyone knew what he had done. The staff all knew, my
brothers both knew, and my mother knew. But nobody stopped
him and nobody said a word.
My brothers have gotten it just as bad in the past. My father beat
my brother Peter bloody once. Michael was forced to stand out
on the roof in the rain for three hours in nothing but his
underwear. I can only guess what my mother has been through.
So when my father threatens me, I take him seriously. The
money and the clothes and the comfort, that stuff doesnt really
motivate me. Of course, I like that stuff, and I want to be
comfortable, but I dont need that stuff. I want to get out from
under my fathers control.
But I cant. Although he threatened to take things away from
me, I know hell do worse.
Yes, father, I whisper, and I hate myself for it.
He smiles and my mother nods, looking smug. Very good, he
says. Tomorrow night. Until then, Thomas will be taking your
laptop and your cellphone.
I dont protest, I simply nod my head and accept it.
May I be excused? I ask him.
Yes, he says. Thomas is already in your room, cleaning
it out.
I stand and leave without another word. I hurry back to my room,
heart beating fast in my chest.
Thomas gives me a sad look as I come into my room. He has a
small box, and in it he has piled every device I could possibly use
to contact the outside world. He leaves my room wordlessly, and
doesnt meet my gaze.
I shut my door quietly before retreating into my closet.
My fucking father. I finally let the anger that Ive been
suppressing flow through me as soon as Im in my nook. I want
to kill him, scream at him, hurt him as badly as he hurts me. But
I cant do anything. Im powerless here, and I cant even contact
Gavin to explain. Hes going to wonder where Ive gone and
maybe think that I dont want to see him anymore.
I can handle a dinner with Milo. Thats not a big deal. I can get
through it and pretend like I give a shit about any of it. But what
I cant handle is Gavin thinking I dont want him anymore.
Because I do. All of this is making me want him even more.
Gavin is the first person to let me live the life that I want. He
seems to care more about making me happy and making me feel
good than getting whatever he wants out of me. He makes
everything feel better.
Its just one dinner, I tell myself. Then Ill get my phone back
and Ill tell Gavin the truth about whats happening. Hell
understand.
Its just one dinner.

M ILO SMILES at me as he spreads his napkin in his lap. I smile


back, trying to make the best of this situation, but inwardly
dreading every single moment.
What do you think of the wine? he asks me.
I shrug a little and sip it again. Pretty good.
He grins. Pretty good? Please, this is some of the finest wine
Ive ever tasted. A lovely French vintage, I think, from the
Somme region.
I frown a little bit. Doesnt it say that on the bottle?
He pauses. Well, of course, but I can taste it in the grapes.
Right.
He starts in on a little speech about how each different vintage
comes out slightly different due to water levels and blah, blah,
blah. I tune him out pretty quickly, idly playing with my fork,
smiling and nodding only when required, which isnt often.
The differences between this date and my date with Gavin
couldnt be more obvious. Gavin took me to a personal spot, a
place he clearly loved and cared for, while Milo brought me to
the most expensive restaurant he could. Its a lovely place, and
Im sure the food is great, just like the wine is wonderful, but it
feels cold. I cant really explain it. Lubertos was warm and
inviting and maybe it wasnt fine dining, but it was family style
and it was delicious.
I sigh to myself and glance down at the table. Milo doesnt seem
to notice that Im not really listening, or maybe he just doesnt
care. Maybe he thinks that having money and knowledge about
things like wine, plus a strong family connection, makes him
important and special.
Well, it doesnt. It makes him just like all of the other boys I
know: dull and entitled.
The waiter comes after a few minutes. He asks if were ready,
and Milo doesnt hesitate.
Yes, well start with the anchovy spread and the rustic bread,
please. The lady will have the halibut and I will have the risotto.
I blink, a little surprised. I wasnt in the mood for fish. I was
going to order the biggest, juiciest steak on this damn menu and
at least try to enjoy that. But by the time I come to my senses,
the waiter is already gone.
Milo smiles at me. Have I ever told you about my fathers
yacht?
I shake my head. No, I didnt know he had one. Of course I
knew he has one. Every rich person has one. Its so clich.
Well, we used to go fishing off the coast of Australia. Wed
catch these enormous
I tune him out again, looking down at my napkin. Milo is nice
enough, I guess, but he doesnt seem to care about anything but
talking about himself. In fact, another big difference I noticed
between Milo and Gavin is that Milo doesnt ask me questions
about myself.
Gavin seemed genuinely interested in me. He asked questions
about my life and followed up on the answers. But he didnt ask
much about my family at all, now that I think about it. He was
more interested in me, what I like to do, what my hobbies are.
Milo only seems to care about himself and his family. Hes the
kind of man Ive met a hundred times before, obsessed with
image and influence, the sort of stuff my own family is
interested in. Even Peter buys into that. Peter is the only person
in my family who seems to give a shit about me, but even he is
obsessed with image and status above everything else.
Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to live a normal life. I
wonder if I would be happy without the money and the status.
All this privilege gives me great stuff, and gives me so many
opportunities. I dont have to worry about money. But it also
forces me into other roles, like having to be basically auctioned
off to the highest bidder. Im more of a tool than a person in my
family structure, but with Gavin, I feel like Im actually valued as
a woman.
Eventually our food comes, which is a really nice distraction
from Milos monologue. At some point he switched over from
yachts to inheritance tax structure, which is always a popular
subject with the ultra rich. It doesnt matter to me, since I wont
inherit much of anything. My parents want to marry me off to
someone else that can take care of me.
As I listen to Milo and our dinner finishes up, something
important strikes me. Right now, I dont have anything thats
just mine.
Sure, I have a lot of things. I have clothes and privilege and
money and all that, but none of it is actually mine. I didnt earn
any of it. Ive been given everything, and if my parents have
their way, Ill be given everything for the rest of my life. I see
women like that, running charities and having lots of kids, but
they never seem fulfilled. Right now, nothing I have is my own,
but I want something thats truly just mine.
The dinner ends and Milo pays, of course, making sure I notice
the generous tip he leaves. Its not impressive, since I know
thats all his family money and he didnt really earn any of it. We
head out and Milos driver takes us back to my apartment.
I had a nice time, Milo says to me. He slides across the seat,
sitting close.
Dread suddenly falls down my throat. Sure, me too, I say.
You know, I wasnt sure about this match. Your parents can be
a little intense.
I smile at him. Thats true.
But it is a good match, he continues. Youre from good stock
and so am I.
I cringe at that word, stock, like were freaking animals or
something.
Thats true, I say, wanting this ride to be over so desperately I
can practically taste it.
Youve always been different, Sadie. I dont know what it is, but
I thought maybe you were different in a bad way. But now I see
that youre worth my time.
I cringe again. Thanks, I say, looking away from him.
He doesnt get the hint. He reaches out and takes my chin,
turning my head toward him.
Panic sets in, real and true panic. He leans toward me, clearly
intending to kiss me, and I dont know what to do.
I turn my face away from him. He stops, inches away from me.
Whats wrong? he asks.
I, uh, Im sorry, I say. I dont kiss on the first date.
I dont look at him. This is so awful. I dont want to kiss this man
or have anything to do with him, but Im forced to be here. In a
lot of ways, he is too, but he doesnt realize it.
Yes, of course, he says, moving away. Thats more proper.
He smiles to himself, creating the lie in his mind and
believing it.
Mercifully, the car pulls up in front of my building. He goes to
say something, maybe wanting to set up another date, but I
dont give him the chance. I jump out of the car and hurry back
inside, not able to stand another second with Milo.
Im so disgusted with myself and with my parents. They know
Im not interested in him, and I should give in to that sort of
thing. Im not just livestock that they can marry off like that, a
pawn in their little political game. My heart is hammering as I
ride the elevator up to our apartment.
I storm inside, intending just to hide out in my room until Im
calmer, but a voice stops me short.
Sadie, my father calls out from the dining room. Come in
here, please.
I pause for a second then tentatively head into the room. Hes
sitting at the head of the table, reading a complicated document,
with a glass of brandy at his elbow. He peers at me over his
glasses, a small smile on his face.
How was the date, dear? he asks.
I want to yell at him. I want to really lay into him and tell him
the truth. I want him to know how all of this makes me feel like
less of a person and that hes doing this to me.
But something stops me short. Sitting on the table next to his
brandy is my cellphone.
I could yell at him right now. Im angry enough to do it. But if I
give in to that impulse, Ill never get my phone back.
And my phone represents my freedom. Thats how I can get in
touch with Gavin again. If I really want to see him again, I need
to play the game and be smart about this.
It was nice, I say, although it practically kills me to do it.
Father doesnt notice my anger or my discomfort, of course.
Very good, he says, nodding. I knew youd get along well with
Milo. He comes from good people, very good people, youll be
happy with him.
I want to puke. I agree, I say to him.
That clearly makes him happy. He smiles big. Well. Good. Since
you feel that way, I think maybe you should have your phone
back. So that you can communicate with Milo. He picks up my
phone and holds it out for me.
I take it from him. I feel dirty doing it, but I dont care. Thank
you, I say and I give him a smile.
Good. Now run along. Im proud of you.
I turn and leave the dining room as fast as I can. I hate having to
do that, pretend that Im one thing when Im really something
else, but I know that I have to. If I want to talk to Gavin, I need
my phone.
I hurry to my room, shut the door, and lock it. I head into my
closet, crawl into my nook, and power my phone on.
There are a few messages from Gavin, which isnt surprising. My
heart fluttering, I type out a text.
Meet me tomorrow? I hit send.
The wait feels like years though its probably only a few minutes.
Of course, he says. When and where?
Ten, I type back. Same place as last time.
See you then.
I smile and put my phone down, staring at the wall.
Im going against the direct wishes of my family, but I dont
care. I want this man and I want to have someone in my life who
actually gives a crap about me. I dont want to get shackled to a
man like Milo and end up alone and miserable for my whole life.
Gavin represents freedom for me, but theres always another
basic truth that I cant deny. I want him badly. I want him so
badly that it makes my whole body feel weak. I smile to myself,
picturing the gifts he might send me next, and try to figure out
how Im going to sneak out to see him.
9

GAVIN

I half expect her not to be there. I dont know why, but


part of me thinks that this is some trick that fucker
Silas is trying to play.
I cant resist it, though. I cant miss an opportunity to see her
like this. Maybe its not smart to go on this date with her, maybe
I should just stay home and pretend like none of this happened,
but I cant help myself.
I want Sadie, and Im going to fucking have her. Tillman can
send as many goons as he wants, but Im not backing down.
Im nervous when the car pulls up, but there she is, standing
under a streetlight and smiling. Shes wearing a long tan jacket,
like something out of a spy movie. Her hair is pulled up in a
messy bun and she looks absolutely beautiful.
I open the door and step out. Im glad you came, I say.
Why wouldnt I? she asks.
I shake my head. No reason.
She smiles a little uncertainly. Well, where are we going
tonight?
You seemed to like our first date, so I thought Id bring you back
there. To that neighborhood, at least.
She smiles as she climbs into the car. I close the door, go around
to the other side, and get in. The driver pulls out.
I like seeing where you grew up, she says.
Good, because youre about to get a lot of that.
She grins at me. Oh yeah?
I grin right back. Absolutely.
Are you about to show me some old home movies? she asks,
teasing. Maybe some baby pictures?
Not exactly, I say. But youd love it if I did. I was a really
cute baby.
I bet you were.
I laugh a little and ask about her childhood. I listen, actually
pretty fascinated, as she talks about vacations to the coast and
their country home.
Besides, she says finally. I spent most of my time at boarding
schools.
Really? I always thought that was a rich person clich.
It is, she says. But everyone does it. I think because our
parents remember going, and it was like the best time of their
lives.
Did you love it? I ask her.
Not exactly, she says. There were good parts and bad parts. I
made a lot of friends, but She trails off, shrugging.
But what? I ask gently.
But I never fit in, she says. I dont know. I dont want to
sound like Im bragging.
You were different, I offer.
Exactly, she says. Different enough, at least.
Youre not bragging. I saw it as soon as you stepped out on that
stage.
She looks at me for a second then bites her lip. We shouldnt be
doing this, you know.
I smile gently and lean toward her. Whys that?
My family doesnt want it.
Im not worried about them. Do you want it?
She pauses, maybe a little surprised that Im asking what she
wants. Yes, she says softly.
Thats all I care about.
I want to say more, but the car pulls up outside of The Clinic, and
Im interrupted. I look out the window and grin. Here we are, I
say. Its not much.
She smiles. I dont care. Lets go.
I help her out of the car and we looks up at The Clinics faade for
a second. Its a rundown bar two blocks away from the house
that I grew up in, and I can remember spending a lot of time in
there when I was younger. Chucky and I still come here
sometimes, and I know the owner pretty well, a woman by the
name of Lucy.
We step in through the worn green front door, and instantly Im
hit with nostalgia. The place looks like a million dives before it,
although the bar itself is really gorgeous. Lucy herself is working
tonight and she gives me a little wave as she pours a drink.
Chuck is sitting at the bar, and he pretends not to notice me
coming in with Sadie, although he knew full well this was my
plan tonight. I told the asshole not to show up, but of course
he did.
I steer Sadie over to a booth. Sit tight, I say to her. Theres
someone I need to see real fast.
She nods and sits down as I head over to Chuck.
I told you not to come, I say to him.
He just grins. Couldnt help myself. Had to see her. He looks
over my shoulder. I can understand why youre taking such a
big risk on her.
I sigh, shaking my head.
Hey, Gavin, Lucy says.
Hey, Lucy. Can I get a whisky and a wine?
Sure thing.
I turn back to Chuck with a frown. You might as well come
meet her.
Oh really? Am I so important now? He gives me a fake little
smug look.
Cut that shit out, I say. Be normal, all right?
Always am, Gav, he says.
Lucy returns with my drinks. I give her a nice big tip, since she
wont let me pay for them normally. Weve gone through that
dance one too many times in the past. Years ago, I gave her a
little loan to help her keep the place open during some hard
times, and drinks have been free ever since. She paid me back, of
course, so I dont feel like she owes me. Now I pay her through
tips, which she complains about sometimes, but she always
takes it.
Chuck and I head back over to the booth. Sadie looks up and
smiles as we approach.
Sadie, I say to her. This is Chuck. Hes an old friend.
Charmed, he says, grinning.
Nice to meet you.
They shake hands and then the two of us slip into the booth.
Chuck sits opposite of Sadie and me.
How long have you known Gavin? Sadie asks him.
Oh, god, he says. Years. How longs it been, Gav?
I shrug. High school, I say.
Really? she asks, laughing a little bit. You guys were friends
in high school?
Were both from the neighborhood, Chuck says. Gavin got
out first, but I wasnt too far behind.
Chuck works on Wall Street, I explain.
She nods, understanding. Tell me an embarrassing story about
him from back then, she says to Chuck.
His grin gets bigger and he looks at me. Ill let you choose. Deer
or pie?
I groan a little bit. Deer, I say. Please, never the pie story.
He laughs a little. Ill let him tell that one, he says, looking
back at Sadie.
Now Im interested, she says, nudging me. Tell me the pie
story. Is it, like, an American Pie thing?
Chuck laughs and I shake my head. Not at all, I answer
quickly. Chuck, just tell her the damn story.
Back in the day, we had a senior prank thing. Kids probably still
do it, Chuck starts out. I sip my whisky, smiling a little bit. I
actually like this story. So Gavin here gets it in his head that
hes going to have the best prank of all time.
Oh, no, Sadie says, sensing where this story is going.
Oh, yes, Chuck says. Gavin bought this, what was it,
deer piss?
I nod. Deer urine.
Gotcha. Deer piss. It attracts deer, right? So he takes his uncles
truck with this horse trailer on the back, fills the trailer with
food and deer piss, and he leaves it there.
My uncle was pissed, I say, grinning.
Did that actually work? she asks, astounded.
Well, Chuck says. The next day, its senior prank time. Its
lunch, Ill never forget this. Our cafeteria has these big doors
that go outside. Well, in the middle of the lunch period, those
door suddenly get thrown open and Gavin yells, DEER!.
I wasnt too creative, I say to her, shrugging.
So he throws open the back of the trailer, and this freaking
deer, scared out of its mind and flipping out, runs into the
cafeteria. Kids start to freak, run away, its total chaos as this
deer runs around, kicking and breaking shit. It was total
madness.
I got suspended for a week, Gavin says.
What happened to the deer? Sadie asks, laughing.
Janitors caught it eventually and had animal control take
it away.
Sadie laughs, shaking her head. I grin at her, a little
embarrassed, but it is a good story. Chuck mercifully left out the
part about the deer kicking some poor kid in the arm and nearly
breaking it. That was one of the stupidest things Ive ever done.
That poor deer was probably scarred for life, although I dont
think it was ever actually hurt.
Sadie seems to like it, at least, and the conversation quickly
moves on to other memories. Chuck keeps it light and stays
away from the more embarrassing tidbits. I finish my drink and
Sadie finishes hers, which finally prompts me to drag Chuck
away, back to the bar under the pretext of getting more drinks.
Well? I ask him.
He shrugs a little. I like her.
So you get it then?
His smile slowly fades. Listen Gavin. That girl is trouble.
I pause, a little surprised. Sadie is lovely, smart, and
entertaining. Shes clearly getting along great with Chuck. As far
as I can tell, the night is going perfectly.
Why do you say that? I ask him.
Same reason as before. Shes charming, smart, pretty, all that,
he says quickly, but shes still a Tillman.
And thats trouble, I finish for him.
Thats right. Its trouble. Chuck gives me a serious look, a
rarity for him. Dont get too involved.
Dont worry, I say. I know what Im doing.
Says the guy that once released a freaking deer into a crowded
cafeteria. He sighs, shaking his head. Do what you got to do, I
guess.
Dont I always?
He grins and shrugs a little. You sure do.
I clap him on the back, gather my drinks from Lucy, and head
back over to the booth. Chuck stays behind to close out his tab,
since his part of the evening is finished.
I slide back into the booth across from Sadie. Chuck coming
back? she asks.
No, I say. I think he had enough stories.
She pouts. I wasnt finished. He was just getting to the good
stuff.
There is no good stuff, I promise you that.
I dont think so, she says, smiling a little. You have a bad
reputation.
Thats because you rich folk think us poor people are all bad
apples.
She smirks a little. Youre rich folk too now, remember?
Hm. Guess so. I look at her for a second and an idea hits me.
Lets get out of here.
She nods. Okay. Where to?
Come on. Ill show you.
I stand up and she hesitates before following me. I take her
hand, as natural as can be, and she doesnt seem to mind.
We head out into the night. My driver is parked not too far away,
but we walk right past him. She looks at me a little hesitantly.
Where are we going? she asks.
Nowhere, I say. Were just walking.
Isnt this She trails off, looking down at the ground.
A bad neighborhood? I finish for her. A little bit yes and a
little bit no. Youre not more or less likely to get mugged here
than you are anywhere else.
She nods a little bit. My parents raised me to think that this
place is the worst place in the world.
I laugh a little bit. Im not surprised. But really, most muggers
are in your neighborhood. Thats where the rich people are.
She smiles a little bit. Im sorry if I seem so out of touch.
Its okay, I say. Its pretty adorable, if Im honest.
Id rather not be adorable.
What do you prefer then? I ask her. I pull her hand, tugging
her into an empty storefront doorway. She stumbles up against
me, hands on my chest as I lean up against the glass door.
She bites her lip, looking up into my face. Were totally alone
here on the street.
I dont know, she says.
Ill tell you, I whisper in her ear. You want me to think youre
sexy, dont you?
Maybe, she breathes.
You do, I say. Right now, youre soaking wet, just thinking
about what I could do to you right here and now.
Were in public, she protests, surprised.
Maybe, I say. But isnt that what makes it exciting? I kiss
her neck softly, moving up toward her mouth.
Her breathing gets fast and my heart starts to thump quickly in
my chest as I press my lips against hers, kissing her deep.
She kisses me back, wrapping her arms around my neck. I turn
and press her up against the glass door, making her gasp
slightly. Shes so fucking sexy, so goddamn gorgeous, that I cant
help myself. My hands roam her hips, feel her ass, and I have to
resist the urge to pet that soaking little pussy of hers right here
in the street.
Slowly, I break the kiss off. Is this why you came out with me
again? I ask her.
No, she says, shaking her head.
Liar. I smirk a little bit. Youre here because we have
unfinished business.
You mean from back in the club, she says, and bites her lip.
Thats right. You disappeared on me for a little while
after that.
I couldnt contact you. My father took away my phone, and I
know it sounds so childish, but its the truth.
I understand, I say gently. You need someone to take care
of you.
I dont know, she admits. Ive been taken care of all my life.
Maybe I just want to live.
Maybe, I concede. But I dont see why you cant do both.
I kiss her again, this time more deeply, more passionately. My
hands linger on her body and I can sense the tension between us,
heavy and thick and intense.
She breaks the kiss off after a moment, breathing heavily.
Gavin, she whispers as my hands cup her ass. I have to tell
you something.
What? I ask her.
She hesitates. Youll think less of me after I say it.
Doubtful, I say, fingers running through her hair.
She pulls back and looks in my eyes. Im a virgin.
I stare at her for a second, holding her hair in my fist. Youre a
virgin?
She nods once. Im sorry, she says, talking fast. I should have
told you sooner. I just, I dont know, I just never had sex, it just
never happened, so now
I cut her off with a kiss, deep and serious. I hold her hair tight in
my hand as desire floods my whole body.
A fucking virgin. I had no clue. I assumed she had slept with one
of her rich boyfriends, like all of her friends were no doubt
doing. Instead, shes pristine, untouched, and inexperienced.
She probably thinks thatll turn me off, but it drives me
absolutely crazy instead. I want to be the man to teach her
everything she needs to know. I want to be her Daddy, taking
care of her, giving her everything she needs, while opening her
eyes to the pleasure I can make her feel.
The kiss breaks off after a slow moment. I dont mind one bit,
I say softly.
Really? she asks, eyes wide.
Really, I confirm. In fact, Im having a hard time not taking
you right here.
She laughs softly, relieved. I thought you might be angry.
Angry? Because of who you are? I shake my head. I like who
you are.
She smiles at that. Im sure youve been with more experienced
women.
Maybe, I say. But I can teach you things. God damn, girl, I can
show you what it means to fuck.
She bites her lip and I kiss her again, her hair in my fist. Our kiss
is interrupted by a group of young guys walking down the other
side of the street, acting loud and obnoxious, clearly drunk.
Sadie watches them nervously and I just smile. Come on, I say.
Where to now? she asks.
I should get you home.
She bites her lip. Really?
I nod. Really. I show her my watch. Its already after one.
Her eyes go wide. Are you serious?
Seriously. Those kids are probably heading to their last bar.
Shit, she says. Okay. Lets go.
I take her hand and we walk back to my car together.
Fucking virgin. I cant believe it. Shes so goddamn sexy, with a
body that was built for pleasure, but clearly shes been so
repressed her whole life. She doesnt know what it means to live.
I can teach her. I can show her things she has no clue about. Im
going to take her virginity and dirty up her clean little body, push
her boundaries, make a little whore out of her. Ill turn this
virgin dirty, and shes going to thank me for it.
First, I have to get past her family. As we walk, I replay the
encounter with Silas again, wondering if hes watching us.
Fuck him, I hope hes watching. Let those Tillman bastards
know. I dont want to get Sadie in trouble, of course, but Im not
afraid of them. We need to play this carefully, but I trust Sadie. I
assume shes taking precautions and being careful. Her parents
are going to catch us sooner or later, and that Silas bastard is
going to come back, but I just hope its not for a while.
I need more time with Sadie. I need lots and lots of time to get to
know her nice and properly.
We get back to my car and get in. The driver heads back to her
apartment. We chat some more about the neighborhood, though
she seems distracted the whole time.
The driver stops in the same place we picked her up earlier. She
leans toward me, and I grab her, pulling her over to me. She
smiles and gasps a little as I put her in my lap and kiss her
deeply.
I want to see you again soon, I say. I cant be impatient
again.
Okay, she agrees. We can do that.
Good. I kiss her neck gently. You know that I can take care of
you, right?
I know, she says.
Just say the word. Whatever you need. All you have to do is call
me Daddy.
She bites her lip, looking in my eyes. Im afraid, she says.
You dont need to be. I kiss her one more time. First though,
well need to teach you some things.
Like what? she asks.
Next time, I say, gently moving her from my lap. Get back
home. Dont get caught.
She nods a little, lingering. When can I see you again?
Soon, I say.
Good. She gives me one last kiss before getting out of the car.
I can barely stay calm as the driver takes me home. This night
has been fucking incredibly, absolutely amazing. I had no clue
she was a virgin, but that makes this so much better.
I wanted Sadie before, flaws and all, and I still do. But now I get
to teach her to feel things, to really fuck, to use that body the
way she needs to. Shes going to be mine to train into the perfect
little fuck doll, and I can barely fucking wait.
10
SADIE

L uck was with me that night. When I got home, the staff
was gone and my family was either in bed or not home.
Which means I was able to slip back into my room
without anyone even noticing that I was gone.
Thats the best part of being the youngest daughter in a family
that clearly doesnt value women. They dont notice when Im
there, and apparently they dont notice when Im gone either.
I collapse in my bed, feeling so good and excited. The night had
melted by and it was an incredible success, or at least I thought
so. I was scared as hell to tell Gavin about being a virgin, but he
didnt seem to mind.
That intrigues me even more, if Im honest. I assumed that a
man with his reputation would want a woman with more
experience, not some dopey virgin like me. But apparently that
didnt change his mind one bit, and if anything, he seemed even
more excited after I told him than before.
He seems to actually want me for me, not for my money or my
family. And hes clearly willing to let me come into his world, or
at least as much as I want to. I met his best friend, drank in a bar
he frequents, and heard some pretty funny childhood stories.
Those stories painted a picture of a man much more complex
than he lets on. His reputation suggests that hes a relatively
simple man who lives for pleasures, but thats clearly not true.
Hes smart and has real hobbies, like collecting old cars and
stereo equipment. He has friends that go back years with stories
about him from when he was a kid. Thats such a big deal, since
it means that hes capable of keeping a relationship alive for a
long period of time.
So few friendships survive through life, and the ones that do are
special and important. After all of my friends left for college, and
so many of them just stopped contacting me entirely, I can see
how special it is that hes kept a friend from high school for so
long. People are fickle, but loyalty is attractive and something I
want from a man.
I fall asleep thinking about the way he kissed me on the street.
Nobody has ever kissed me like that before, or even treated me
like that. Ive always been seen as this rich little girl, this special
flower that cant be disturbed too much. Ive always been treated
so gently, and sometimes with a little fear, because people are
worried about my family.
Its different with Gavin. He doesnt care about my family. In
fact, he wants me despite them, and thats so attractive its hard
to explain.
The next morning, things seem fine. I stop in the dining room to
grab a quick breakfast, and nobody looks at me twice. As far as
my family can tell, Ive been a good, obedient daughter. They
probably dont know that I snuck out last night.
That excites me more than I thought it would. I retreat back to
my room, grab a shower, and think about the implications.
Last time, I got caught because I asked permission to go for a
walk. When I didnt come back, my father must have sent
Reginald out to get me. I dont know how he tracked me down,
but he did. This time though, I just left the apartment without
saying a word, keeping my door shut. Everyone probably
assumed I was holed up in my closet, reading a book or
something. Thats not a bad assumption to make, or at least it
wasnt.
But I can use that. I can sneak out of here whenever I want. Im
practically invisible to them, and for the first time in my life,
that seems like a good thing.
I get back to my room after showering and sit down on my bed
pretzel-style. Still wrapped in my towel, I grab my phone and my
laptop.
Im surprised when I see a text on my phone. Its from Gavin.
I keep thinking about last night, he says.
I smile to myself and type back. Me too. I really had a lot
of fun.
He responds immediately. Do you still have that gift I
sent you?
I bite my lip as a thrill runs through me. Yes, I send back.
Good. Go get it.
I stare at the screen for a second, and suddenly Im nervous. But
I do as he asks me. I go into my closet and fish the vibrator out
from where I had stashed it.
Okay, I type back. I have it. Now what?
Last night, you told me something, he writes. You said that
youre a virgin. And I think you were nervous about it.
I was, I send back. I thought you wanted someone with more
experience.
I dont care about that, he replies. But Im going to teach
you, Sadie. You may not have experience now, but you
will soon.
I bite my lip, excitement running through my body, and I glance
down at the vibrator. I feel a little intimidated, but excitement
floods my body at the thought of his hands on my skin. I quickly
get up, still wrapped in only a towel, and I head over to my
bedroom door. I make sure its locked before getting back
into bed.
How are you going to teach me? I ask him.
Skype me. GavinTylerWaller@gmail.com.
I stare at his message, heart hammering in my chest, and I know
what he wants. Im nervous, maybe even a little afraid, but I
cant help myself. I quickly get up, dropping the towel, and grab
a plain white t-shirt, a little see-through, and a pair of cute
panties. When Im slightly dressed, I hesitate before pulling on a
pair of long knee-high socks. I finally fix my hair in the mirror,
pulling it into a braid, despite it being wet.
Finally, I grab my laptop and the vibrator and head into my
closet. I shut the door and turn on the light before settling into
my little nook. I put the laptop down, open the lid, and bring up
Skype.
Im nervous when I type in his email and start the call, but he
answers right away. Gavins handsome face appears on the
screen, smiling at me, a little morning stubble along his chin.
Its good to see you, he says.
I smile. Yeah, you too. Nice apartment.
He grins at me. Nice closet? He cocks his head a little bit.
I laugh and pick up the laptop, showing him the space. Yep, its
a closet. Its a little more comfortable than my room.
Looks cozy.
Where are you? I ask him.
In my living room. He picks up his laptop and shows me his
place. I got a quick view of a large wall thats all windows and
overlooks the city. I see the kitchen, which is all spacious and
modern, before coming back to him. His apartment is nicely
decorated though simple, which doesnt surprise me. I bet he
had someone come in and set it up for him, and hasnt changed a
thing since.
Hes shirtless, and Im surprised to catch some tattoos on his
skin. He watches me with amusement for a second.
Nice, I say.
Youll see it for real soon. If you want.
I nod quickly. Yeah. Id like that.
I feel really nervous, I realize, way more nervous than when we
went out together.
Do you know why were Skyping right now? he asks me softly.
I nod slowly. I think so.
Tell me why.
You want to teach me.
Thats right. He smirks at me. And I want to watch. Make
sure youre doing exactly what I tell you.
Okay, I say, leaning back. What do you want me to do?
First, close your eyes. He waits a second. Go ahead, really
close them.
I smile and close them. Okay, I say.
I want you to picture us together, alone, maybe alone in this
little spot of yours. Youre dressed the way you are right now,
and you look so fucking sexy. I can barely keep my hands
off you.
What are we doing here? I ask him softly, already feeling the
excitement.
Hiding, he says. Were hiding from your family. But not in a
bad way. You took me into your closet because you wanted
privacy. He pauses for a second and I let that sink in,
amplifying my desire.
Imagine the way I kiss you, he continues. Imagine me
pressing you against that wall, taking your wrists and pinning
them up against the wall. Imagine my lips lingering along your
skin as I press you there, holding you tight, kissing you, slowly
moving my palms down the length of your curves. How do
you feel?
Excited, I whisper, seeing it in my mind. Im dripping wet, but
I cant tell him that. I cant actually say those words. Its too
dirty.
Good, he says. I kiss your lips and your neck before my hands
move down to your breasts, teasing them, teasing your nipples.
One hand remains on your breast while the other slowly sinks
down to your panties.
I bite my lip, breathing faster and deeper as he speaks. I can
practically feel the graze of his rough fingers over my soft skin as
he speaks to me in his deep and sexy voice.
Now, Sadie, I want you to take your hand and do what Id do.
I open my eyes, a little surprised. You what?
Close your eyes, he chides. Go ahead. Close them.
I bite my lip and do as he says.
Now, take your right hand and slide it down the front of your
panties. He pauses and for a second, Im not sure if I can do it.
But the image in my mind of his fingers down between my legs
pushes me onwards. I do as he says, slowly sliding my hand
down the front of my panties.
Youre dripping wet, he says. I let out a soft, surprised moan.
I knew it, he continues. I knew youd be soaked. Youre so
desperate for my touch, you absolutely crave it, and youre
finally getting it. Now, slowly and gently, rub that nice little clit
of yours.
I do as he says. Ive gotten myself off before in the past, so I
know what I like, but Ive never, ever, ever touched myself in
front of someone else. Ive never done anything like this. And
its so fucking exciting. Instantly pleasure rolls through me and I
keep my eyes shut tight, afraid that if I open them, Ill get too
nervous.
My fingers down between your legs, he says, almost a whisper,
chills running down my spine. I kiss your neck and bite your
lower lip as I rub your clit in circles. Over and over, softly then
harder, responding to your every moan and move.
I touch myself as he speaks, seeing this in my mind. I can feel
his hard body against mine, his muscles tough and intense as I
touch myself. I can hardly believe that Im doing this, but its
way too exciting to stop.
And it feels good. I cant deny that. It feels so damn good.
I slide my fingers down to your pussy and press them slowly
inside of you. God damn girl, youre so fucking tight, and I love
how warm and slick you are. My cock is so hard as I kiss you, my
tongue in your mouth, my fingers deep inside of your pussy.
I do as he says, pressing my fingers inside of myself. I cant
believe how good it feels. My fingers are smaller than his, so I
can only imagine what that would be like. And his cock is bigger
than either of our fingers. Hell tear me to pieces when I let him
fuck me, and as I sink my fingers deep inside of myself while he
speaks to me, I cant wait for it.
Moans escape my lips as he watches. I fuck myself with my
fingers, slowly at first.
Not too fast, he whispers. I want to make this last. I press
them deep in and out, teasing you, before pulling them back and
working your clit again.
I follow his directions, word for word, feeling myself.
Thats right. I roll back and press them inside, good girl, just
like that.
Oh shit, Gavin, I whisper. Pleasure floods through me. I know
hes watching me, actually watching me touch myself. Its so
dirty that Im doing it for him. I thought I wouldnt be able to do
something like this, like my nerves would stop me.
But as soon as he started talking to me, and I actually touched
my body to his voice, my nerves instantly dissolved. I dont feel
self-conscious anymore as I run my fingers inside of myself,
fucking my own pussy while Gavin watches me.
I cant believe how good it feels. Ive touched myself before, of
course, but never like this, never with a man talking to me and
watching. That just makes it so much hotter. I cant believe Im
actually doing this for him, but pleasure rocks through me and I
know I cant stop.
God damn, girl, Gavin says. Do you know how sexy you are,
moaning like that? You like my fingers deep in that wet little
cunt, dont you?
I gasp a little. Hes so dirty. Gavin, I moan. Dont.
Dont? He smirks at me. You mean, dont say cunt? I think
you like it. You want me to be dirty. Youve been too good for too
long, now its time to be bad for your Daddy.
I groan, fingers rubbing myself faster.
Take off your panties, he says. Now. I want to see that
dripping wet pussy.
I obey him, sliding them off. I spread my legs, even though Im a
little self-conscious.
Fucking hell, he says. Youre goddamn perfect. I want to
tongue that little pussy until you scream. Pick up that vibrator.
I do as he commands, heart hammering. Ive never used one of
these before.
He smirks a little bit. Good. Youre in for a treat. Turn it on.
I hit the button and it starts to vibrate. I giggle a little bit.
Its funny, but youll like it, he says. Close your eyes now.
I do as Im told, leaning back and settling in again.
Now, take the vibrator, and gently roll it along your clit. Gently
at first.
I do it, and gasp as pleasure floods me. Holy shit, I say.
Imagine thats my tongue and lips, sucking your clit while my
fingers fuck you, he says, his voice deep and sure of itself.
I moan, head tossed back as I work myself with the vibrator.
Just as you get close, Ill grab your hips and turn you around,
spread your legs wide. You want to spread wide for me? he
asks me.
Yes, I moan.
Yes, what?
Yes, Daddy, I say, and desire floods through me.
Thats a good girl. Now work that pussy. Im going to spread
those legs wide and slide my thick cock deep inside of you. I
dont think you can handle it at first, but well work you nice and
slow, get you good and wet.
I roll the vibrator along my clit then slide it down to press inside
of myself. It feels so good as I roll it up and down my pussy,
inside and back to my clit. I can hear his voice but its getting
lost in the pleasure as I get nearer and nearer to an orgasm. I can
feel it building inside of me. The vibrator is almost too intense.
When youre ready, Ill fuck you deep and hard. I can fill your
little pussy up to the brim, stretch you out, rip you apart. Ill fuck
you rough and slap your ass, make it hurt a little bit, make you
beg for it.
Im so wet, so dripping wet, and I need him. I need Gavin so
badly I can barely think. The vibrator feels good, but I want his
hands, his mouth, his skin against me. I cant stop though, not
with his voice pushing me further.
Ill pull that hair and fuck your cunt deep and hard. Do you
want to come on Daddys big fat cock? he asks me.
Yes, I moan. God, I want to come.
Go ahead, he says, low and sultry. Go ahead and come for
Daddy.
Oh fuck, I groan, and I know I cant stop myself.
The vibrator pushes me over the edge as I come nice and hard.
Gavin watches, but I dont care about that. In fact, as soon as I
start to come, I open my eyes and look at him. I want to watch
him watching me. I like that Im seen, I like that this is so dirty.
Its filthy and dirty and god it feels good, so fucking good. I
shouldnt be doing this but that only makes me want it more.
I come hard while Gavin watches. He smiles at me as I slowly
finish. I turn off the vibrator, the intensity too much for me, and
set it aside.
Good, he says. Very good.
I need to see you, I say, panting, buzzing with pleasure.
He smiles at me. I know you do.
When?
Tomorrow, he says. Same time, same place?
I nod my head. Yes, please.
Good. Practice with that before you see me tomorrow. I want
you ready.
I will be. I pause, before adding, Daddy.
He grunts his approval. Go get some rest, he says. Im going
to make you feel good tomorrow.
I cant wait, I say softly.
Talk later?
Sure. I blow him a kiss.
He grins and then disconnects. I watch the screen for a second
before collapsing back against the pillow, hugging my knees up
to my chest.
I cant believe that just happened. I just got myself off on camera
in front of Gavin while he talked to me. I guess that was like long
distance sex or something. It was dirty and he has such a filthy
mouth, but I really, really liked it.
I want more, actually. I want a lot more. I want him to do
everything he said hed do and more. I want to feel his big cock
between my legs and let him lick my pussy until I scream.
I need him to teach me. Hes my Daddy and I need him to make
me feel good.
11
GAVIN

I keep thinking about Sadie getting herself off for me.


She seems so innocent and good, but theres a dirty
freak locked deep inside of her, begging to get out.
She just needs a man to teach her. When she calls me Daddy, my
fucking cock gets so hard I can barely breathe, and I need more of
that. I want to feel her pretty lips wrapped around my tip, feel
her saliva sliding down my skin as she sucks me. I want to taste
her and feel that tight virgin pussy wrapped around my cock.
I can barely concentrate when I finally decide to go into the
office. All that day Im distracted. We text back and forth, mostly
just talking about nothing. I ask about her life, getting to know
her, and it feels good. I feel excited, giddy almost. Its absolutely
strange to feel like Im getting this deeply involved with a
woman so much younger than me, especially one that I
shouldnt have anything to do with.
But Sadie is clearly more than just a spoiled little rich girl. Shes
gorgeous, of course, and fascinating. And I cant help but like the
fact that shes a virgin and wants to give herself to me.
Its more than that. I like talking to her, like getting to know her.
I actually enjoy finding out what makes her happy, what makes
her sad, and generally what makes her an interesting person.
And I like telling her about myself.
I never expected to have a secret relationship with a girl her age,
but here I am. I cant exactly stop it. I wouldnt want to, even if I
could. She makes me feel too damn good to stop.
Finally, the next night arrives. Instead of taking the town car like
usual, I decide to drive myself. I take one of my old classic cars, a
black Mustang from the 70s. As I pull up in the usual spot, I
dont feel nervous. I feel only excited.
Shes standing underneath the light again. Shes wearing a short
skirt and a light gray blouse open at the top two buttons,
showing off just enough of her breasts. I roll down the passenger
side window and grin at her.
Need a ride? I ask.
She laughs and leans down. I didnt know you knew how to
drive.
I may be a city boy, but I can do things.
Youre a rich city boy, at that.
Get in here before people think youre a hooker. I grin at her.
She blushes. Gavin!
What? You think there arent hookers in this city?
She grumbles a little and climbs in. Nobodys going to think
Im a hooker.
A very, very high-class hooker, I say to her. Of course.
She nods. Thats better.
I grin and roll up the window before pulling out into traffic. So,
where do you want to go?
She raises an eyebrow. No plan this time?
None, I say. I decided itd be more fun that way.
She smiles and leans back in her seat. Okay then. How about
you give me a little driving tour?
I grin at her. I guess you are new to the city.
She laughs. Lived here most of my life.
What about when you were at boarding school?
Good point. She shrugs a little. I still think of this place
as home.
I get that, I say. Even if youre not at a place all the time, it
can still be home.
Exactly, she says. This city, I dont know. Its in my familys
blood.
I thought you didnt buy into that family stuff.
She gives me a look. I dont, but I cant deny who I am.
Good point.
And there are parts of my family that I like. We have breakfast
together every morning, did I tell you that?
I grin at her. I didnt know that. Very cute.
I guess its cute. It was better when I was a little girl. Its
strained now.
Strained how?
She shakes her head. Father and mother arent exactly in love
anymore. And Peter is the only person that I get along with.
Youve talked about him before, I say. Thats really good. I
wish I had a sibling.
Maybe, she says. Except you could end up with one like
Michael, and hes the worst.
I nod knowingly. Good point. He is the worst.
She laughs and I turn down along a backstreet. I dont know
where Im going, but I dont really care. We keep chatting as I
drive around aimlessly. The streets are mostly empty, but I drive
slow anyway, mostly just to enjoy the city.
We pass a few parks, groups of kids out late drinking too much,
homeless people, even a family of four with an exhausted toddler
hanging off the fathers arm. Sadie talks more about her family,
about growing up in boarding school, about being raised by
nannies. Its such a foreign world to me.
I was raised by my mother and my father, both working class
people. Dad drank too much and Mom constantly gave him shit
for it, but that never changed. They both smoked, which seemed
normal back then, but I realized now that they both smoked way
too much. Dad died of heart disease ten years ago, and Mom died
of cancer five years after that.
Theres one thing Im thankful for. Although my parents
couldnt afford to send me to school, I still made it anyway. I
made something of myself, and they saw that, at least a little bit
toward the end.
I dont know what it would be like to grow up in a family like
Sadies. Id be a different man, Im sure, maybe someone like
Peter or like Michael. Its amazing how much of you is created by
chance, by the people youre born to. Most of what you are is
absolute luck, and not at all earned. I know that and so does
Sadie. I was lucky to be born smart, and she was lucky to be
born rich.
I have an idea, I say to her suddenly. A spot we can go see.
Take me there, she says, grinning.
I pull a U-turn and head out west. Along the edge of the city runs
a river, pretty dirty, but there are still some fish in it. I park my
car in a mostly empty lot and we get out, waking toward the
river.
Ahead, theres the start of a black wrought-iron staircase that
descends down suddenly toward the water, down below the
sidewalk.
Come on, I say to her, stepping onto the stairs. Down here.
She frowns. That cant be safe.
I bounce up and down hard on the stairs. They flex a little bit,
which actually does make me nervous. Its totally fine, I say.
Yeah, okay, she says, taking a deep breath. Lets do it.
Thats my girl. I grin at her and we head down. I glance back
up at her and catch a glimpse of her panties under her short
skirt. She catches me looking but doesnt do anything to
stop me.
We get to the bottom of the stairs and step out onto a small
walkway. There are some trees planted here, a couple benches,
and a beautiful view of the river. I step up to the edge and look
out. She joins me, wrapping her arms through mine.
Wow, she says. I didnt know this was here.
Been here as long as I can remember. I went fishing here with
my dad once or twice when I was a kid.
She squeezes my hand and we stand there for a second in
silence, looking out over the water.
I cant help but wonder how I got to this moment. A gorgeous,
beautiful rich girl on my arm, much younger than me, and a
virgin. She wants me to teach her, to show her how to fuck, to
use that beautiful body of hers. I feel lucky, but also I know shes
just as lucky.
Because she gets me to be her Daddy. There are a lot of shitty
assholes in this city, and a lot of them run in her circle. The rich
may be rich, but theyre also people, and people tend to be
assholes. I like to think Im not an asshole, or at least not a bad
asshole.
I squeeze her hand. Come on, I say to her.
Where to now?
Back to my car. I dont elaborate. I suddenly feel flushed as I
pull her back toward the stairs and we climb back up. The lot is
empty and theres nobody around at all as we get to the car.
I grab her hips and press her up against the passenger side. She
smiles a little. We could have done this down there, she says.
No, I say softly. Not what I want to do right now.
She looks a little surprised and I kiss her deeply. I love her taste,
the way she kisses me back with little moans, her tongue so soft
against mine. It drives me fucking crazy to explore her body.
My hands move along her hips and slide down underneath her
skirt. I run my hand along her inner thigh until I get to her
pussy. I cant help but smirk when I feel it, wet already.
You were thinking the same thing as me, I whisper in her ear.
Whats that? she asks softly.
I slip my hand underneath her panties. I find her wet, swollen
clit, and start to gently rub. You were thinking about the other
day. About what I said I want to do to you.
Tell me again, she whispers.
I rub her clit slowly. I want to slide my thick fingers into this
little pussy. I want to suck your clit and tongue your cunt until
you scream my name and come in my mouth.
Oh shit, she moans softly. I smirk, sliding my fingers down,
and press them deep inside of her.
Ive been thinking about this pussy for a long time, I say.
Ever since I first saw you. I cant get you out of my
fucking head.
I reach behind her and open the car door. Shes surprised when I
pull it open. I push her down onto the passenger seat then drop
down to my knees in front of her. I spread her legs wide and
reach up under her skirt.
Gavin, she says. Somebody might see us.
I grin. Nobody is here. And we both know you dont mind that.
I slide her panties off and toss them aside.
Gavin! she says.
I reach up and take her hair, tipping her head back. No more
complaining, I say. You just let me lick this little pussy until
you cant stop yourself from coming.
She bites her lip and I spread her legs wide, hiking her skirt up. I
kiss up her inner thigh before my tongue finds her clit.
She groans, tossing her head back as I start to suck and lick her
swollen little spot. I love her taste, her delicious little taste, as
my tongue and teeth and lips do their work.
Ive never been so goddamn hard before in my life, but just the
taste of her wet, pink little pussy drives me absolutely crazy
inside. Her moans fill my head and drive me forward as I slide
two fingers deep inside of her.
Youre delicious, I say. Goddamn delicious. Ive been
dreaming of a pussy like this my whole life. I reach up, fingers
buried inside of her. I pull her toward me and kiss her deep on
the mouth. She doesnt shy away from her own taste thats still
on my tongue.
I pull back and drop down between her legs. She braces herself as
I fuck her pussy with my fingers, sucking and licking her clit. I
want to fuck her right now, sink my cock deep inside of her, but
shes not ready for that. I want to get her off first, make her
come, make her know what I can do to her.
I love the way she moans, like with her whole body. She
shudders and writhes as I suck and lick and finger-fuck her cunt.
Im not holding back at all, not easing her into this. I want it to
be hot and dirty and fast, something shes never experienced
before.
Oh god, Gavin, she moans. That feels too good. Oh shit, I
dont know, I dont know if I can take it.
You can take it, I say, fingers sliding in and out of her. Go
ahead, take it, you dirty fucking girl. Call me Daddy while you
come. I go back down, sucking her clit, licking it.
She grabs the back of my head, pressing me down harder as I
continue to do my work. Shes clearly not letting up as I push her
further, licking her harder and faster, getting dirty, her pussy
dripping wet. Her hips move in rhythm with my mouth and I
know shes close.
She cant stay quiet. Shes not holding back. Any thoughts she
had about being in public are obviously gone now. I watch her
face, and I know shes close. I suck and lick her faster, moving
faster, fingers buried inside of her.
Oh shit, she says, and her whole body tenses. I know shes
coming, and I dont stop.
Her orgasm tastes incredible as it rushes through her body. She
comes with every muscle, tensed and relaxed and tensed again,
and I can see the pleasure on her face. She lets out one low
groan, deep and intense. I dont let up and I dont hold back,
making her orgasm as intense as possible.
Slowly, she finishes. I slide my fingers out of her and clean them
off with my mouth, savoring her. She watches me with a mixture
of shock, desire, and pure bliss. I smile at her then help her shift
into the car so that I can shut the door.
I close it when shes ready, then walk around to the drivers side.
She looks at me. That was amazing, she says.
I smirk at her. Good. You have a lot to learn. But I can tell
youre eager.
She blushes. I guess so.
I put my hand on her thigh. Come on. Lets get you home.
She bites her lip. Really?
We dont want you to get in trouble. Besides, thats enough for
tonight.
I start the engine and begin to pull away. Wait, my panties.
I grin at her. Leave them there.
I cant go around in a skirt without panties!
I want you to, I say.
She blushes even deeper. Yes, Daddy.
I groan a little. Youre learning so fast.
We head back to her place. I stop at the usual spot and pull her
against me, kissing her full and deep. It takes all my willpower to
pull away.
Ill see you again soon, I whisper.
Yeah. Soon. She kisses me one last time.
I watch her climb out and walk away. Her taste lingers on my lips
as I drive home, though I follow her at a discreet distance to
make sure she gets inside safely first.
Once Im home, I get into my apartment, and my phone
suddenly buzzes. I pull it out and its a picture from Sadie. I pull
it open and cant help but groan.
Its a picture of her ass with the skirt hiked up in her bathroom
mirror, no panties on.
I cant take it anymore. Im going to fuck this girl and soon.
12
SADIE

A fter Gavin drops me off back home, I still feel like Im


flying high.
That was such a good date. Not just because of what happened at
the end, although that of course is still very much on my mind.
But the whole thing was easy and fun. He showed me a part of
the city that I never saw before, and I feel like Im really getting
to know him.
I never expected Gavin to open up to me the way he has been.
From what I know about him, which I have to admit isnt a whole
lot, he doesnt seem like the type of man to really want to talk
about himself and his past. We come from such different worlds,
and the more I learn about him, the more Im impressed
with him.
And of course, theres that moment back in the car. I never
thought Id let someone go down on me like that, let alone right
out in the open where anyone could see. But it was so freaking
hot, so incredible, that even as I head up to my apartment, Im
still floating from it.
Gavin is everything that hes been promising and probably more.
He already made me feel something I never expected, and thats
only the start. I got a taste of what he can do to my body, and I
already know that I need more, and badly.
I get upstairs, smiling to myself, and slowly open up the front
door. I shut it quietly behind me, trying to stay as silent as
possible. The apartment is really big, and the bedrooms are far
from the front entrance, but its possible that someones still
awake. I dont want to get caught.
I creep down the hall toward the stairs that lead up to the second
floor and all the bedrooms. Im a little nervous, though still
happy. As I get near the staircase, a sound suddenly stops me
short.
I turn and my older brother Michael is standing in the doorway to
the kitchen, frowning at me.
Are you just getting home? he asks me.
I pause, not sure what to do. No, I say, shaking my head. I
just went for a walk around the building.
His frown deepens. I didnt hear you leave and Ive been down
here for an hour.
Shit. What the hell is he doing? Ive never been close with
Michael, not even when we were kids. Maybe its because hes
four years older than I am, or maybe its because Ive always
preferred Peter.
Or maybe its just because Michael is a lot like my father. He
shares all those values and doesnt seem to question anything
about our family. Michael is the ideal son, at least according to
my father, and thats bad news for me. I know he believes that if
my parents think I should be married off to Milo then I should
just do it, because thats whats best for me and for the family.
I guess you werent listening, I say, and turn to head upstairs.
Wait, he says, coming toward me. Hold on.
What? I ask him, heart hammering in my chest.
Are you wearing makeup?
I laugh a little bit, nervous and afraid. I always wear makeup.
No, you dont, he says, watching me quietly. Where are you
coming from, Sadie?
He knows. I can see it in his eyes. He put it together already, but
he wants me to admit to it. He wants me to come out and say it.
I was out, I say softly. And its none of your business.
He shakes his head. Father will be angry if you were with that
Gavin man.
Why do you even care? I ask him.
Because Im worried about you.
That catches me off guard. I expected him to say something
about duty to the family and upholding the family honor, but his
response is totally not what I thought. He looks sincere as well.
Dont be, I say to him.
That man is a lot older than you, he continues. And he has a
bad reputation. Sadie, I know we havent always been close, but I
dont want you to get hurt.
Im okay, I say to him softly. I cant believe Im having this
conversation with Michael, of all people. I always thought he
only cared about me because he had to, but this seems like
genuine concern.
Just be careful, he says. Theres a reason father doesnt want
you with this man.
Dont worry about me, I say to Michael. Im being careful.
Okay. He shakes his head. Mom and Dad are asleep, so just
be quiet.
I nod to him gratefully and hurry upstairs, not wanting to push
my luck.
I partly expected him to start yelling, but that concern was
totally unexpected. I feel incredibly fortunate and grateful as I
get into my bedroom and shut the door, forgetting about Michael
almost as soon as the lock clicks into place.
I should get to bed, but theres one last thing I want to do. I head
into my bathroom and take a picture for Gavin, something sexy,
something Ive never done before. Im smiling to myself as I hit
send, all concern and worry completely gone.

T HE NEXT MORNING , I wake up from a single text from Gavin.


Good morning. Ive been looking at your picture all night. I
need to see you again.
I smile to myself and respond. Soon, I type, and hit send. I
toss my phone aside then get up and get ready for the day.
I leave my phone behind when I head downstairs for breakfast.
Im feeling good, totally sure that I didnt get caught. Mom and
Dad were asleep and so they never heard me come in.
But as soon as I walk into the dining room, I know something is
wrong. Mother and Peter arent there. Michael looks up at me
with a frown then glances at father.
Ill leave you two alone, Michael says.
My father nods. Thank you, son.
Michael gets up and walks toward the door. When hes on his
way out, he pauses and looks at me. This is for your own good,
he says softly, and then leaves.
Terror rings through me. I look at father and I know.
Michael freaking told on me.
I cant believe it. Thats the most childish and awful thing Ive
ever heard in my life. I was starting to think that he was a real
older brother and I totally misunderstood him, but clearly Ive
been right all along. He only cares about the family and about
doing what father tells him to do.
Let me explain, I say, but he stands.
No, let me explain. His eyes are cold and angry. Youre
forbidden from leaving this apartment. Youre forbidden from
seeing that man ever again. You may not communicate with
him. You may not do anything that I dont approve of. Do you
understand?
I stare back at him and I have to hold back my tears. Im so
freaking angry I could scream. I dont want to cry because Im
sad, I want to cry because its taking so much effort not to
scream at him.
Im not a little girl. Im not some child that he can push around.
Im an adult, and I need to start acting like one.
I nod my head once. Whatever you say, father, I respond,
practically spitting the words at him.
Good. He sits back down. Youre dismissed.
I stand there for a second, staring at him. One day, youll
realize that Im not a child anymore, I say softly.
Unfortunately, you are still a child, and you will behave.
Father looks down at his paper. Go back to your room. Im
finished with you.
I stare at him, shaking with rage, but I turn and leave. I dont
want to scream at him, because I know itll only make things
worse.
I dont know what Im going to do. Michael is a traitor, an
asshole, and a bastard. Father is going to crack down on me
harder, probably get some staff members to spy on me or
something. I bet hell turn off my WiFi or change the password
or something like that. And Im sure Thomas is already taking
away my phone.
Im not letting this stop me. Maybe I cant do anything about it
right now, but Ill figure it out. Im smart and a grown ass
woman, and I need to get the hell out of this house. If I want to
see Gavin, Im going to see Gavin.
I wont be used as some political piece by my family, and I wont
be treated like a little child.
I take a deep breath, steady myself, and then begin to plan.
13
GAVIN

I dont hear from Sadie for a week.


At first, I figure its just because shes busy, or maybe
because her family is pressuring her to stop seeing me. But her
phone goes straight to voicemail and my messages are ignored. I
try writing her, and I even send her another present, this time a
box with a new computer inside of it, but everything is ignored.
Theres no reply. She never comes back on Skype, and she never
answers any of my written letters.
I dont know what the fuck to think.
Seems pretty obvious to me, Chuck says. Were out to lunch
exactly one week after I last saw Sadie.
Im sure it does, I grunt at him.
She got sick of looking at your ugly face.
I sigh, shaking my head. Too soon.
Chuck frowns, sipping his whisky. Damn. Ive never seen you
like this before.
Like how? I ask.
Acting like a heartbroken little girl. He grins at me.
I glare at him. Im not fucking heartbroken. I just dont
understand.
I dont know, it seems obvious to me. The girls family hates
you with a passion. And shes clearly being controlled by them.
Yeah, I say, shaking my head. The fucking Tillmans.
Thats right. The fucking Tillmans.
I sip my beer, not in the mood to be out right now, but Chuck
insisted. Ive been moping around too much, or at least
according to him I have been.
Im not fucking moping. I dont mope. I just want to understand
why Sadie disappeared after sending me that text in the
morning, just a single word. The night before was so damn good,
and things felt really perfect, and then she suddenly just
disappears on me like a ghost.
You have to admit, Chuck says. Theres a little irony in this.
Guess I dont see it.
I mean, youve done this to plenty of girls.
I cant help but grin a little bit. No way. Im more tactful.
More tactful? Chuck laughs, shaking his head. Remember
that Slovenian model you were dating for a little while?
Oh yeah, I say, grinning back at him. What was her name?
Who cares? She was hot as fuck. But when she wanted you to
meet her family back in her country, what did you do?
Shit, I say. Its not like that.
You didnt call her again. Cut off all contact. You ghosted her
ass so fast.
She was asking me for money, I say, but Chuck isnt having it.
In my defense, that is true. She was asking for a loan so she
could start her own modeling company. Plus, she was something
of a head case. I definitely ghosted her, but for good reason. I was
afraid shed try and stab me.
Youve done this to countless women, Chuck says. Not just
one crazy model.
They all know the score, I say. They know they get one night
and thats it. I thought it was different with Sadie.
Maybe, he says, a little softer. Maybe it was supposed to be
that way. But look man, shes not answering you anymore. Shes
gone. Let it go.
I glance down at my drink, not sure what to say.
I cant accept that. Im not some heartbroken little puppy dog
blubbering into his beer, but Im not just going to roll over and
die either. Chuck thinks Im moping, but the truth is, Im trying
to figure out my next move.
Clearly, Im not getting anywhere trying to contact her through
traditional methods. Im betting her family has her on
lockdown. My current theory is that she got caught coming home
that night, but didnt know it until the next morning, after she
texted me. Thats when she disappeared. Her family hates me so
much that maybe they sent her away, out to a convent or some
shit like that. The Tillmans have enough money to make their
daughter disappear.
Which is actually terrifying. But fortunately, I have enough
money to make her reappear, I just have to figure out how.
Chuck thinks thats a bad idea. He thinks I should just swallow
my own medicine and move on. But he never really thought this
thing was a good idea to begin with.
Hes afraid of the Tillman family, and for good reason. They
practically own this city, or at least have politicians in their
pocket. If they wanted to go after my business, they absolutely
could. Their businesses are strong and deep, and they have a lot
of ties in the community. They could hurt me if they really
wanted to.
I just cant worry about that stuff. Ive been through so much in
my life that I cant imagine letting some rich assholes push me
around. Besides, I know Sadie wants me, its her piece of shit
family thats holding everything back.
I get where youre coming from, I say to him eventually. I
really do. Maybe from your perspective, shes not worth all
this. I pause and then look up at him. But man, when was the
last time you saw me give a shit?
He looks at me, eyes narrowed. I dont know, he admits
finally.
I havent given a shit about much of anything in a while.
Business is booming and I have pretty much no problems. I
shake my head slowly. And yet, I havent been happy.
Ive noticed that, Chuck admits.
Women, money, it all comes easily to me. But Sadie, shes
different. I dont know what it is, but I feel something
around her.
But shes gone, Chuck says, still frowning.
Maybe, I admit. But if shes worth all this, at least to me,
shouldnt I pursue it?
He sighs and shakes his head. I dont know, man. For me, its
not worth any of this, but what do I know? Im just a single
asshole.
I grin at him. Youre definitely an asshole. Im just saying, I
cant give up so easily.
All right. If thats what you want, obviously I got your back.
I appreciate that.
Now, lets talk about something thats not so fucking boring,
he says, a big grin on his face.
I agree, and we change the subject easily. We have a decent
lunch, Chuck grabs the check, and I decide to head back home.
I keep thinking about Sadie as my driver drops me off at my
apartment. Once inside, I check my messages and my email, but
theres nothing from her of course.
I need to figure out what to do about this. So far, the only thing I
can think of is to hire a private investigator and have him track
her down. Maybe that way, he can get a message to her in a way
that I cant.
But I dont know any PIs, and Im not sure there are many that
will be willing to go up against the Tillman family. Im sure if
theres a PI out there worth his salt, hell know all about the
Tillmans and be smart enough to stay away.
Still, I have to try, and so I end up spending the next couple
hours making phone calls, trying to track down someone whos
willing to help out.
I almost dont hear the knock at my door. Im so consumed with
finding a PI that I nearly totally ignore the knock. Only when it
comes a second time do I finally snap out of my trance and
quickly head to my front door.
I pause for a second before opening it. I dont know who to
expect, but Im tired and impatient. Its probably just the
doorman with my packages or something.
I dont expect to see Sadie standing on my doorstep, looking out
of breath.
Hey, she says.
I stare at her. Sadie.
She smiles. Im sorry I havent called.
Its okay. I step aside. Come inside.
Okay. Just for a minute. She steps into my hallway and I shut
the door behind her. She looks gorgeous, so goddamn attractive,
just like I remembered.
Where have you been? I ask her.
She shakes her head. Im sorry. I didnt mean to disappear. Its
just, I got caught after the last time I saw you.
Of course. I step toward her and take her hips, pulling her
against me. She wraps her arms around my neck and I kiss her
deeply, feeling so fucking relieved.
Some part of me did believe that she simply didnt want
anything to do with me anymore. That was something I didnt
really want or maybe couldnt really handle. But thats not the
case. She didnt ghost because she just didnt want me, she
ghosted because she had no other choice.
The kiss finally breaks off and I can feel my heart hammering.
What happened? I ask her.
My older brother, Michael. He was awake when I got home.
Shit, I say. Your own brother dimed you out?
He didnt mean it, she says, brushing me off. He wanted to
do what he thought was best for me.
I nod slowly. Her family structure is complicated, and I know she
doesnt get along well with her older brother. I decide not to
press it.
Im glad youre here, I say to her.
I cant stay long. Im out on a shopping trip and I ditched my
chaperone to come up here.
I grin at her. Youre going to get in trouble.
Probably. She shakes her head. I dont care. Im sick of being
a prisoner in my own family.
I grin and kiss her gently on the lips. Im glad youre here.
Me too. She kisses me back, long and slow.
Slowly, we break off the kiss. She looks gorgeous with her
flushed cheeks, a little tired, still a little out of breath. I want to
take her back into my bedroom and fuck her deep and slow,
reward her for coming to see her Daddy even when she knows
she shouldnt.
Instead, I content myself with holding her, however briefly.
I dont know how Im going to contact you again, she says. I
just want you to know no, I need you to know, that this wasnt
my choice. I want to see you.
I nod my head slowly. I understand.
They took away my phone, my laptop.
Are you getting mail? I ask, though I know the answer.
No. She pauses. Did you send something?
Letters. And a package. Her face is horrified. But nothing
inappropriate, I say quickly.
Good, she says, a little relieved.
I grip her hand for a second. Wait here. I quickly turn and head
back into my bedroom, smiling to myself. I find an old phone
thats tucked away in a drawer. Theres also an old SIM card in
there, which I grab and slip into the phones slot. When Im
done, I meet her back in the hall.
Here, I say, handing it to her.
She takes it with a little smile. A flip phone?
I grin. Better than nothing.
Why do you even have this?
I dont know, I admit. Just one of those old things I kept
around.
She laughs a little. Does it work?
It will, I say. Just find a charger for it. Any little USB charger
will work fine, I think. Ill have the SIM activated as soon as you
leave.
She bites her lip. Okay, she says. This is perfect.
Keep it safe. Call and text when you want. Ill get you a better
one as soon as we see each other again.
Thank you. She kisses me softly on the lips. I have to
go now.
Okay, I say. I walk her to the door and open it for her. She
lingers in the doorway until I kiss her one last time. She smiles
at me then hurries away.
I watch her get into the elevator. She blows me a kiss and laughs
as the doors shut on her and she disappears.
For a second, I feel like this didnt really happen. But it was real,
all right, and she has my old phone. I hurry back inside and call
my assistant. Hell get the SIM set up somehow, and soon Ill be
able to talk to Sadie again.
So much for needing a private investigator. This isnt a perfect
solution, and things are going to be hard from here on out, but at
least I know what the deal is. Shes still mine, and Im still her
Daddy.
14
SADIE

T homas gives me a look when I come jogging up to


the car.
Where did you go? he asks me.
I smile a little sheepishly. Sorry, I say. I thought I saw
someone I know.
He stares at me for a second. Did you find him? he asks.
I shake my head. I was just confused, I say.
He nods and we get back into the car. Reginald glances back at
me and then pulls back out into traffic, heading home.
Ive been cooped up in the apartment for the last week, and Im
bored out of my mind. I didnt think my father was being literal
when he said I couldnt go anywhere, but he wasnt kidding. I
only managed to get out for an afternoon of shopping by
convincing Thomas to be my chaperone.
And I chose Thomas for a reason. He likes me, and hes easy
enough to trick if it comes to that. I feel bad honestly, using
Thomass own kindness against him, but I had no other choice.
I chose a place near Gavins apartment and the first second I got,
I ditched Thomas and ran up to Gavins place.
Im glad that I did. The cellphones weight in my pocket is
comforting as I sit there, looking out the window, ignoring
Thomass annoyed grumbling. Nothing bad happened and my
father never needs to know that I ran away, so he wont get in
any trouble. And now I have a phone to contact Gavin with, even
though its the oldest thing Ive ever seen.
Its around five by the time we finally get back to the apartment.
I quickly head upstairs and into my room, not bothering to stop
and say hello to my parents. Ive been ignoring them ever since
they decided that Im a captive in my own home. Peter isnt even
around to keep me entertained, since hes away on some trip
with his friends. And Im not interested in talking to Michael.
I bite my lip as I shut my door and get into my little nook. I
quickly text Gavin. Hello? Is this thing on?
He responds a minute later. Safe and sound?
Yep! I type back. The smuggling operation was a success.
Good girl. I knew you could handle it.
Im glad I finally have a way to talk to you. I missed it.
You missed what?
I bite my lip, staring at the screen. Talking to you, I say.
Thats not what you meant, he responds, and I can see the
insinuation in his message.
Maybe, I say, smiling to myself.
This is the happiest Ive been in a while. Ive been cooped up in
the apartment, hidden away from the world, and now finally I
can talk to the only person who I really feel like talking to.
My phone vibrates with a response from him, but I dont get a
chance to see it. Theres suddenly a knock at my door, and I
panic a little bit. I turn off the phone and hide it in with the
vibrator before getting up and answering the door.
Its Michael, frowning in at me. Father sent me to get you, he
says. Were having dinner.
Im not hungry, I say, and go to shut the door.
Michael puts his hand out and stops me. This isnt optional.
Milo is here.
I raise an eyebrow. Milos here right now?
Yes, he says. So please, put on something nice and come
down to dinner. Youre expected shortly.
And if I dont come? I ask him. Are you going to tattle
on me?
He sighs, shaking his head. That was for your own good, Sadie.
You think I wanted to do that?
Yes, I say to him, staring him in the eye.
Fine, go ahead. Hate me. But Im your older brother, and I cant
sit around and let you make a mistake like dating Gavin Waller.
Michael cant even say Gavins name without looking absolutely
disgusted.
Im an adult, Michael, I say to him. My mistakes are my own.
You cant control the world.
Maybe, he says. But you still have to come down to dinner. So
please, just come. He turns and leaves without another word.
I sigh and head back into my room. The last thing I want to do is
have family dinner with Milo. I know my parents are going to try
and set us up again, but I have no choice. I cant just ignore it
like some little girl.
I get changed and head downstairs. I know Im in for something
painful, but I have to do it anyway. Im determined to get my
family to finally recognize that Im a person with my own wants
and needs, not just a pawn in their political game.
The family is seated at the dining room table, everyone except
for Peter. Milo sits in Peters usual spot. I take the seat across
from him, and he smiles as I sit down.
Its nice to see you, Milo says to me.
Good to see you, too, I say. I dont bother looking at my father.
We were just discussing Milos business venture, my father
says. Its quite interesting.
I glance at Milo. What is it? I ask him.
Oh, nothing fancy. Just a little consulting firm. Im helping
tech developers secure funding for their projects.
Hes doing quite well, mother says, clearly more impressed by
his income than by his skills.
I didnt know about that, I say, already bored of this.
Ive been keeping it private, Milo says. But youre like family
now. So I might as well share.
I look up at him quickly. That last comment was strange. What
does he mean, were like family now? That doesnt seem right.
As far as I know, hes still just the son of a family friend at best,
even though my parents do want to marry me off to him. Did
something happen?
Before I can ask, the first course is served. Father, Michael, and
Milo all begin to discuss the latest market trends, and I quickly
tune them out. I wish I had my phone so that I could message
Gavin, but that would be akin to suicide. Instead, I have to settle
for ignoring the man my family wants me to marry in favor of
dreaming about the man I actually want.
Its an awful situation, but theres nothing I can do. I get through
dinner with the minimum amount of pain, only responding
when I absolutely have to. Thats fine with the men, of course,
since theyre more interested in hearing themselves talk than
they are in anything I might have to say.
The main course comes and goes and eventually were all sitting
at the table, drinking decaf coffee. Mother stands and excuses
herself after a few minutes, followed by father. Michael is the
last one to make some excuse, leaving me there with Milo.
I realize too late that its a trap. Im too polite to tell Milo to
leave, and if everyone else has gone, Im forced to sit down there
with him. This is exactly what father and mother want, of
course.
So, Sadie, he says, smiling at me. Im glad were doing this.
Yeah, I say, being polite. Same. Its nice.
We dont see each other nearly enough. He smiles again.
No, I say, not wanting to elaborate.
He stirs his coffee with a spoon. I look down at mine, a little
milky white spreading through the black, and then look back
at Milo.
Im glad you finally changed your mind, Milo says to me.
I cock my head. About what?
About our marriage. He shrugs and smiles, leaning back in his
chair. I know its a little, ah, old fashioned. But wed make a
very good pair. Our families would be stronger together.
I stare at him, a sinking dread spreading through my whole body.
Our marriage? I ask him.
His smile falters just a touch. Yes, of course. Your father spoke
with mine, and they agreed that wed get married in the spring
of next year. He said you agreed to it.
His comment about practically being family becomes suddenly
frighteningly clear. I push back my chair and stand very quickly,
trying to keep myself under control.
Excuse me, Milo, I say. Im not feeling well.
He says something, but I dont hear him. I turn and walk as fast
as I can out of there, my heart hammering in my chest.
My father fucking married me off behind my back without my
consent. Like Im some kind of property, he agreed to a weird
arranged marriage that I have no say in.
And to make matters worse, he didnt tell me about it. He didnt
even bother to inform me about his little deal, although Milo
clearly knows all about it.
Im livid, absolutely livid with anger. I want to scream and yell
and tear down this house. I cant believe theyre trying to force
me to marry Milo like this.
I dont hesitate. I walk right into my bedroom, grab the phone,
turn it on, and message Gavin.
Pick me up tonight at midnight. Im ready. I hit send, not
caring what that means.
He responds almost immediately. See you soon.
I hide the phone away again and curl up on my bed, trying not to
yell and scream. I have to get out of this house and see someone
who actually cares about me, and the only person that fits that
description is Gavin.
Hes the only man that actually cares what I want and makes me
feel happy. Im done playing pretend. Im finished with my
family. Im going to do what I want, for myself, finally.
Im going to let Gavin give me what Ive always dreamed about.
15
GAVIN

S hes quiet on the ride over to my apartment. I try to draw


her out in conversation, but she clearly doesnt want to
talk, and I dont want to press.
Something happened. Thats pretty obvious. Something has
been happening, but this is new. I dont know what it is, but I do
know that I have to wait until shes ready to talk. I dont want to
push and risk upsetting her further.
We get back to my apartment and head right upstairs. Once
inside, I pour her a glass of wine and I get myself a whisky with a
single large piece of ice. I swirl it around as she goes and sits on
my couch.
Youre quiet tonight, I say.
She shrugs a little bit. I guess so.
I walk into the living room and go to the fireplace. It has a little
gas nozzle in the back with a starter and a fake log. I just have to
hit a single button and the fire starts up.
You dont have to talk, I say to her. If you dont want to.
She gives me a little smile. Oh yeah? What should we do
instead?
I shrug. Do you like puzzles?
She gives me a look. Like what kids do?
I grin and nod. Sure. We could do a puzzle. Maybe we could play
Yahtzee.
I cant tell if youre joking.
I laugh and sit down on the couch next to her. Do I really seem
like the type of man to play Yahtzee?
She smiles a little bit. You never know.
Ouch. Thats almost insulting.
Her smile grows. Youre the one trying to make a puzzle.
Im willing to try anything to get you to quit sulking.
She crosses her arms. I am not sulking.
You are. I dont know why, and you dont have to tell me, but
you really are.
She sighs and looks down at the couch. She sips her wine.
Remember the guy you were bidding against? she asks.
Vaguely, I say.
His name is Milo Fitzwilliam.
That sounds familiar. Old family, right? They own that bank?
She nods. Our families are very close, or at least they used
to be.
I can feel a tingling in my toes as I start to understand. And
your family, they like this Milo guy, right?
Right, she says. Its so awful, Gavin.
What did they do? I ask her softly.
Im like a piece of furniture to them. She stands up, looking
angry, and paces across the living room. They want me to marry
Milo, not because I want to, but because it would be good for our
family politically.
I watch her silently, but inwardly I can feel my anger growing.
Her fucking family is unreal. Theyre like some ancient dynasty
from Europe or something, trying to marry off their daughter to
better their familys position. Its so fucking strange and
inhuman.
Shes a goddamn person, with wants and needs and desires and
dreams, but her father seems to think shes just a chess piece to
be used as he sees fit. Its so infuriating.
You dont have to do anything you dont want to do, I say,
standing.
Thats the thing, she says, whirling on me. They dont care
what I want. They already went behind my back and told Milo
and his family that I agreed to the marriage.
That hits me like a blow to the chest. They did what?
They tried to marry me off behind my back, she says softly. I
can see the tears spring to her eyes.
I go over to her quickly and take her in my arms, pulling her
against me. You dont have to do it, I say.
Then what? I ask him. My family will disown me, and
everything I am is tied up in them. I dont even have an
education because they wouldnt let me.
Well figure it out, I say, totally at a loss.
She shakes her head and I hold her tightly, trying not to let the
anger thats rolling through my body show too much.
They really dont care about her at all. But shes right,
everything she has is totally tied up with her family. They were
smart when they wouldnt let her go off to school. She doesnt
have any independence because theyve made her that way. Now
that shes finally seeing what they did to her, its almost
too late.
But not totally. I can help her. I just need her to know that she
has other options.
I tilt her head up toward me. So thats why youre here, I say
softly. Why you said youre ready.
She nods slowly. I am ready.
Desire slowly floods through me. Are you sure? I ask her. I
dont want you to rush into anything youre not prepared for.
Im sure. Her eyes are gorgeous and I cant help myself.
I kiss her full and deep. I let myself get lost in the moment, and
for a second, I forget all about her family. I forget about the fact
that they want me to stay far away from her, and can probably
hurt me pretty badly if they want to. I forget about Silas and
about Chuck warning me to stay away from her. I forget about
it all.
Theres only Sadie in this moment.
I kiss her deep, my tongue in her mouth, her taste in mine. I
slowly pull her shirt over her head and toss it aside. Shes
wearing a gray bra and I feel her breasts as she presses tighter
against me.
I cup her ass and pull her tight, kissing her deeply. She doesnt
resist when I step back slightly and unbutton her jeans. I tug
them down over her hips, getting her partially naked.
She stands there in just her bra and matching panties, and my
cock is hard as fucking hell. I step back and look at her, which
only makes her blush.
Turn for me, I say.
She obeys, turning around. Ive never let someone look at me
like this before, she says, a little shy.
I know that, I answer. I slap her ass and she seems surprised.
Gavin!
No, I say, taking her hair in my fist. I pull her back against me,
her ass against my hard cock. Right now, Im your Daddy.
She gasps as I reach around her hip with my other hand and
slowly slip my fingers down underneath her panties. Shes
dripping wet, just like I knew she would be. I slowly begin to rub
her wet clit in circles, causing her whole body to tense. I grip her
hair with my other hand, and I know that Im going to
dominate her.
I want to destroy her fucking pussy, fuck her hard and deep,
make her scream. But I have to hold myself back, at least at first.
Shes a virgin, and shes not used to a man like me.
But Ill teach her.
16
SADIE

P leasure washes through my body as his fingers begin to


roll around my clit in soft motions. I cant believe that
he has me half-naked already, my hair in his one fist, his other
hand down my panties. I press my back against him and feel his
hard body behind me as he slowly touches my body.
This is what I need. I want to forget about my problems, but
more than that, I want to feel good and give myself to a man like
Gavin. Hes perfect and I know that Im making the right choice.
Tonight, youre going to find out what it means to have a
Daddy, he says softly in my ear.
I moan a little bit at his touch. Yes, Daddy, I say. I want you
to teach me.
Heres your first lesson: get down on your knees.
Excitement floods me as I drop slowly down to my knees. Hes
still behind me, as he reaches down to unhook my bra. He feels
my bare breasts, bending forward to kiss my neck. I reach up to
run my hand through his hair. He steps back after teasing my
hard nipples and takes my wrists.
He puts them down behind me. I hear him pull his belt from his
pants. I gasp as I figure out what hes doing.
Gavin! I groan.
I feel his breath hot in my cheek. Daddy, he gently corrects.
Make that mistake again and Ill punish you.
I bite my lip. Daddy. What are you doing?
Im tying your hands behind your back.
Ive never done this before.
Good. He kisses my cheek gently. Theres a lot youve
never done.
He expertly wraps the belt around my wrists, binding them
together. Its tight but not too tight, and I cant move them. He
walks around me slowly, looking at me as Im kneeling on his
living room floor.
Im suddenly very aware of him, of every move he makes. Im so
excited that I can barely think. He pulls his shirt off and slowly
removes his pants until hes just standing there in his boxer
briefs. His body is immaculate, amazing, ripped and gorgeous.
He has tattoos, which doesnt surprise me.
He steps forward and takes my chin, lifting it up. Little Sadie,
he says. Heres your last chance. If youre afraid and want to
back out, Id do it now. Because after this, he smirks at me,
you wont want to.
Im not going anywhere, I whisper.
Good girl. He steps back from me and pulls down his boxer
briefs, revealing his long, thick cock.
I stare at it, completely shocked. Hes bigger and thicker than
Ive ever seen before. He wasnt kidding when he said he wasnt
sure if I could handle a guy like him.
Gavin I say softly.
He grins at me. I warned you, he says.
I realize my mistake, but too late. He goes behind me and gently
pushes me forward until my face is against his rug, my ass in the
air, my hands tied behind my back.
Daddy! I gasp as he slaps my ass, hard. He spanks me again
and again. It stings, but just before it starts to hurt, he presses
his fingers deep inside of my pussy.
I groan, shocked at how the sudden pleasure counteracts the
pain. In fact, the pain seems to make the pleasure that much
sweeter. He slides his fingers in and out of me for a few
moments, getting me to moan and twist my hips. He pulls them
back out then gets me back up on my knees.
Good girl, he says softly. Thats your punishment. He
stands in front of me, stroking his long, thick cock, and grins.
Now, open up.
I do as Im told, opening my mouth. He slides his thick cock
between my lips and I groan a little bit. Hes so thick and long, I
can barely get him inside my mouth.
He wraps his hands through my hair as I start to suck his cock,
sliding up and down his thick shaft.
Thats right, use those little virgin lips to suck my cock, he
whispers. God damn, you look so sexy down on your knees. Do
you like being tied up for me?
I moan and nod as I keep sucking him. Im totally lost in the
moment, not thinking clearly, not caring about anything at all.
The only thing I care about is Gavin, my Daddy, at this moment.
He presses his cock deeper into my mouth, sliding into my
throat. I gag a little and he pulls back, smirking at me.
You have to learn to take my cock into your throat, he says
gently.
I nod my head, eyes tearing up a bit, but I want it so badly. He
slides his cock forward again, and this time, before I can gag, I
suppress it.
Good, he says. Fuck, thats good. I love feeling your throat
around my fucking cock.
I let him slide himself as deep as he can. I cant take him all, I
just dont think thats physically possible, but I get most of it in
before he slides back out. I gasp and groan a little bit. I manage
to get him back in my mouth and I suck his tip, greedily
wanting him.
Legs spread, he commands me. I obey, sitting up on my knees,
spreading my legs wide. Look at those fucking hips, he says.
And that back. Youre so goddamn gorgeous.
He pulls his cock back and steps away, looking at me while
stroking himself. He tips my chin toward him and kisses my lips
slightly.
Are you ready? he asks me.
I dont know, I admit, my heart suddenly beating fast in my
chest.
Ill be gentle, he says. At least at first. I promise.
I nod my head once, and I realize that Im afraid. I dont know
why Id be afraid. I know hell take care of me. I know its going
to feel good.
But its my first time, and Im still nervous. Plus, his cock is so
big, Im afraid hell rip me in half.
He reaches behind me and pulls off the belt, freeing my hands.
He then grabs me, pulls me to my feet, and lifts me into his
arms. I laugh as he carries me into the bedroom.
Here we go, he says, putting me down on top of his comforter.
This is where your first time should be.
I bite my lip and look at him as he pulls my panties off. Im
completely naked with him, though I dont feel self-conscious
at all.
He spreads my legs wide then teases my pussy with his fingers.
He presses two inside of me, nice and deep, sliding them in and
out. I watch him as little moans escape my lips.
Good, he says. Nice and soaking wet. Youre going to
need it.
I bite my lip again, harder this time, as he presses his cock
against my pussy. He leans down and cups my head in one hand,
kissing me hard on the mouth.
Im nervous, my heart hammering in my chest, but this is it. I
want it so badly. Im so tired of being a virgin girl. I want to grow
up, move on with my life, and become a woman. This is part of
that, and I cant imagine a better man to help me than my
Daddy.
He presses himself inside of me, and I gasp. It hurts, just like I
knew it would. He slides himself inside slowly.
Relax, he whispers, kissing my neck. Just relax. Let me do
the work.
I nod and turn my head to the side. He gives me a bit of the
comforter and I bite down on it as he slides himself inside of me.
I groan, shocked that he can even fit inside of me. After a
moment, hes deep in my pussy, and I look back at him, tears in
my eyes.
He kisses them away. No crying, he says softly. Youre my
girl now.
Im not crying, I say, smiling a little bit. It just hurt,
thats all.
Its okay. He kisses my neck, slowly pulling back. God damn,
you feel so fucking good.
He slides himself back out and slowly presses back in. This time,
it doesnt hurt as badly. In fact, it actually feels a little good.
Im shocked. He slides back out and slowly slides back in, kissing
my lips, my neck, talking gently in my ear. At first, it hurt like
hell, but as he keeps moving, slowly but surely, it starts to
feel good.
After a few more strokes, the pleasure starts to totally outweigh
the pain. Little moans begin to escape my lips as he slowly
moves a little bit faster, a little bit deeper. He spreads my legs
wider and takes my hands, pinning them above my head.
I love being controlled by him. Hes so damn strong and sure of
himself, and he obviously knows what hes doing.
He starts to move faster. I cant help but roll my hips against
him as pleasure starts to build. Im shocked that it feels this
good. I thought it was just going to hurt the whole time, but
thats not true.
There you go, he says, smirking at me. Youre starting to like
this, arent you?
Yes, I admit. God, I didnt think youd fit.
I fit, he says. You can take more than you realize, Sadie girl.
He presses himself deep inside of me and puts two fingers in my
mouth. I suck on them, holding his hand, as he starts to fuck me
a bit faster. The pleasure rolls through me, surprising me, but
Im past the point of trying to hold back. Moans escape my lips,
past his fingers, coming out muffled as he keeps working into
me, fucking me slow and deep.
A little bit harder now, he says. Tell me what you like.
That, I gasp, as he presses deep inside of me. Oh just
like that.
He rocks his hips, filling my pussy up. Im so past caring about
pain or anything but this incredible pleasure rolling through
my skin.
I moan as he takes my hair in his fist, pulling it back, turning my
head to one side. He rocks back onto his knees, my hair in his
hand, his cock between my legs. He works my clit with his other
thumb, fucking me slow and deep, pulling my hair, driving a
little pain through me.
But his thumb on my clit drives me crazy. It feels so damn good.
I start to writhe and roll my hips, working against him, wanting
it badly. He smirks at me as moans escape my lips, faster and
faster.
He releases my hair and starts to fuck me harder. The pain is still
there, but the pleasure is just too much. Its almost
overwhelming. He works my clit, fucking my pussy, his hard
body so gorgeous as he does his magic to me.
I never expected my first time would be like this, but its
happening, and it feels so damn good. I understand why people
love sex so much. This man makes me feel good.
Fuck, Sadie, he says. You like this, dont you? Youre a dirty
little slut for me, arent you?
Yes, Daddy, I moan. Im whatever you want me to be.
Thats right. He leans toward me, pulling my hair again.
Youll do anything for your Daddy. You want to make me happy,
dont you?
Yes, I gasp, losing my mind from pleasure. Ill do anything
for you, Daddy.
Thats my good Sadie girl, he says, driving his cock into me.
I didnt even realize it, but hes fucking me harder, deeper, his
thumb still working my clit. Im writhing my hips and rolling
them against him, trying to get every inch of him, trying to feel
every single sensation.
I can see it in your face, he whispers. Youre close but you
dont even know it. Dont hold yourself back, Sadie. Just relax.
Let it come to you.
Yes, Daddy, I moan, doing as he says. I close my eyes and
relax, getting into the rhythm, losing myself in the moment. His
cock is so big and fills me up so easily, and his body is strong
against mine.
I love everything about this moment. I love the smell, the
feeling, the taste of him. Pleasure builds inside of me, peaking
and rolling and growing, and before Im even aware of it, Im
about to come.
Moans escape my lips, louder and louder. I roll my hips faster
against him as he fucks me deep, talking to me, encouraging me,
pushing me. I grip the sheets tight and suddenly the orgasm
rolls through me.
I come hard, harder than Ive ever been able to make myself
come. I come on his thick cock and I cant believe it, I can hardly
believe that Im having an orgasm. I wasnt supposed to come
this first time, it was supposed to be painful and difficult, but
thats not at all what it is.
Daddy knows what hes doing. Im giving myself to him and hes
giving back by making me feel better than Ive ever felt before. I
come so hard I lose myself completely, and practically black out
from the pleasure.
Fuck, girl, he groans loudly. God damn, youre so fucking
sexy when you come. Hes fucking me faster, deeper, and
suddenly he pulls himself out.
Thick ropes of cum cover my stomach and breasts as he orgasms
all over me. I gasp, surprised and delighted by how thick and far
he shoots. He practically covers me, groaning and stroking
himself.
Slowly he finishes, and we come down together. He grins at me
and kisses me before quickly getting a towel. He helps me clean
off, tenderly kissing me, and when Im cleaned up, he spoons me
on the covers.
We lie like that, breathing deeply, sweating slightly. I feel so
good and all my problems are completely gone as he holds me.
Sadie, he says after a couple of minutes. You didnt ride
horses, did you?
I pause, surprised at the strange question. No, I say. My
parents wouldnt let me. Howd you know?
I can feel his smile against my neck. Dont freak out. Theres
just a little blood.
I sit up suddenly and stare down at the comforter. A big red stain
spreads all around us.
Oh my god! I say.
Hey, he answers. Its okay, seriously. Its a cheap comforter.
Dont worry. I knew this might happen.
Im so, so sorry, I say.
Its okay, he says.
I stand up, intending to try and clean it up, but he gets up and
grabs me. He pulls me against him.
Listen, he says. I knew that might happen. Thats why we did
it there. Dont worry.
I bite my lip, embarrassed. Are you sure?
Im sure, he says. Seriously. Well throw away the comforter
and get another one.
Im so sorry. Im an idiot.
No, youre not. You were a virgin. He kisses my lips gently.
But now youre not.
I blink, a little surprised. Hes right. Im not a virgin anymore.
This should be a bigger moment. I should feel different, like
totally reborn or something. I always imagined my first time
would make me feel like an adult finally.
Instead, I just feel like myself. Except theres an ache between
my legs and I just had a great orgasm, but otherwise still myself.
I dont feel different, I say to him.
He laughs a little. I didnt think you would. He kisses me
softly again. But you will.
How? I ask him.
Were not done tonight, he whispers, and a thrill runs down
my spine.
Were not?
Oh no, he says. I have so much to teach you. Were just
getting started.
I look up at him, a thrill running through my skin. I kiss him
deeply and passionately and I know hes right. We are just
getting started. And I cant wait for him to show me everything
that Ive been missing. I cant wait for him to make me feel like a
real woman.
I know he can do it. Hes already getting a little hard, and I can
already feel my desire starting to build again. Maybe Im a little
embarrassed about the blood, but thats okay, he genuinely
doesnt seem to mind at all. Besides, Ill make it up to him.
Ill be his obedient little girl and hell be my Daddy. Together
hell teach me everything Ive always wanted to learn, and Ill
obey his every word, because I want to be a good girl for him.
17
GAVIN

W e spend the rest of the night alternating between


exploring each others bodies and talking. We dont
go to sleep until four in the morning, and I dont think I can
remember ever feeling so good.
Theres a spirit to Sadie that Ive never experienced before. For
someone that has such an oppressive family, she seems so
absolutely alive. She clearly wants more from life than just to be
married off to whomever her family chooses for her, and shes
doing what makes her happy, despite the danger.
I cant get enough of it. She makes me feel young again,
although I like being her older Daddy. I like taking care of her
and teaching her everything she needs to know.
I wake up slowly in the morning, the sunlight streaming in
through the windows. I glance at the clock and sigh to myself. I
got maybe four hours of sleep at most. Its eight in the morning,
and I know I wont be going back to sleep anytime soon.
I dont care. Sadies beautiful body is snuggled up against mine,
and I run my hand down her beautiful hips. Instantly the night
before comes back to me, every single lurid detail.
Her pussy is like fucking fire. I dont know how else to put it. I
never really cared about deflowering a virgin before, but Im
fucking glad I got to do it with Sadie. I taught her everything she
needed to know about sex, or at least I started to teach her. And
she was so eager to learn.
Not to mention enthusiastic. Her pussy is so fucking tight and
slick, I just never want to leave it. And she throws herself into
sex like theres nothing else in the world. Ive been with plenty
of other women, but thats something Ive never seen before,
and its fucking addictive.
I slip out of bed, letting her sleep. She stirs but doesnt wake up.
I head into the bathroom to do my morning routine before
heading into the kitchen to make some breakfast.
I put on the coffee and start up some eggs, toast, and waffles.
Sometimes I hire someone to come in and cook for me, but today
I feel like its better to go for the personal touch. Maybe another
morning we can sit out on the balcony and leisurely drink our
coffee while we eat an awesome breakfast from my normal
personal chef.
I keep thinking about Sadie in the other room and smiling to
myself. This isnt fucking like me. Normally Im much more
reserved and pessimistic, but she does something to me that I
cant deny.
She makes me happy. Fuck, in a world where I have so much
already, and so little of it actually brings a smile to my face, shes
the most valuable thing that I can imagine. She makes me
fucking happy.
I never thought Id feel this way about a woman. I thought Id
always go from woman to woman, taking what I want and
moving on, but Sadie is different.
She makes me want to stay.
As Im finishing the eggs and putting them in a bowl, I hear a
knock at my door. I dont feel like dealing with whatever it is,
and so I just ignore it, but they start knocking again.
Annoyed, I go to answer the door. I dont want whoever it is to
wake Sadie up. I assume its probably the doorman with
packages or mail or some shit like that.
Okay, enough, I say. Im coming.
I pull open the door. Silas smiles at me, his arms crossed over his
chest.
Hello there, Gavin, he says.
I take a step backwards. I didnt expect this. Silas, I say.
What do you want?
He frowns at me. Are you joking?
I pause and stare at him. Hes here for one reason and one
reason alone: to bring back Sadie. That much is obvious. Her
family must know she left and they figured out where she is
pretty quickly.
She doesnt want to go with you, I say softly, anger rising in
my chest.
Now, now, Gavin, he says. You know it doesnt work like
that. He subtly opens his jacket, showing me his gun, Make
this easy, will you?
I want to fight him, but Im unarmed and wearing only a pair of
jogging pants and a black t-shirt. I wouldnt be able to get my
gun before Silas can pull his weapon out.
Whats with you people? I say to him. The girl wants to live
her life. Arent you a little sick of working for guys like Tillman?
No, Silas says flatly. Please go get her.
I clench my fists. For a second, I think Im going to hit him.
Maybe if I strike first, I can wrestle the gun away from him and
get the upper hand.
But Im stopped by a voice from behind me. Let him in, Gavin,
Sadie says.
I turn and look at her. Shes standing inside, frowning at me.
Shes wearing the same outfit from the night before.
Your father sent me, Silas says to her.
I know who you are, she answers. Ill come with you. Just
give me a few minutes.
He sighs. Im not supposed to do that.
Please. You wont have any trouble. Sadie looks pointedly
at me.
I grunt and nod at Silas. A few minutes, I say.
Fine, he answers. Ill be out here. He leans up against the
wall next to my door. I shut it and lock it, then turn to Sadie.
She looks at me for a second then walks quickly over to me. I
wrap my arms around her and pull her close.
I hug her tight. I hate that she had to see this asshole. Shes not
crying, though, which makes me proud.
Youre in deep shit, I say to her with a smile.
She smiles back. Guess so.
You dont seem to mind.
I guess not. She shrugs. Im figuring things out for myself.
Good for you. I kiss her softly on the lips. You dont have to
go, you know. Ill get rid of him.
I bet you would, she says, grinning at me. But its better if I
just go. Its time for me to make some hard choices.
I dont exactly know what she means by that, but I can guess.
Are you sure?
She nods once, resolute. Im sure.
Okay. I kiss her one more time. Its a shame. I made a damn
good breakfast.
She smiles at me. I bet you did.
Think you have time for a shower?
She shakes her head, still smiling. No, I dont think so. And I
dont think you really want me to clean up.
No, I admit. I didnt plan on letting you get clean.
I kiss her deep and full then, hoping that she understands what I
mean. I hope she understands that shes mine and Im not
letting her go, no matter what her fucking family says.
We break apart slowly. Ill see you soon, she says. And I still
have the phone.
Good. I let her go and she steps toward the door.
She pause before she leaves and looks at me. Ill be thinking
about you, Daddy.
I smirk at her. I know you will be.
She smiles, opens the door, and then leaves. I get a glimpse of
Silas looking back at me as they head down the hall, a
mysterious look on his face.
I shut the door and lock it. I dont know how to feel. On the one
hand, I didnt want her to leave, and I would have fought to keep
her. But on the other, she decided to go back on her own, and I
have to respect that maturity. Shes an impressive girl, and she
just keeps getting more and more impressive.
18
SADIE

G oing home with my fathers goon was one of the hardest


things Ive ever done in my life, but I knew that I couldnt
resist him. Silas is a scary man, although Ive only met
him a few times, but even I know that hes the man my father
sends to do the dirty work. I didnt want Gavin to get hurt just
because I couldnt face the consequences of my actions.
I dont regret anything. The whole ride back to my familys
apartment, Silas is quiet, and he leaves me plenty of space to
think.
And the only thing I can think about is the night before. What
Gavin made me feel, I never thought Id have that. I was
convinced that I was doomed to marry some rich asshole like
Milo and never, ever be happy. I never really believed that Id
have happiness, real happiness, like the kind Gavin made me
feel the night before.
Its not just the sex, which was surprisingly amazing. Its not
just the fact that he took my virginity. Its everything about him,
the way he listens to me, the way he values me. He was cooking
breakfast for me when Silas showed up. He wants to take care of
me, wants me to actually be happy instead of a slave to his own
desires.
Although a slave to his desires doesnt sound too bad.
After all, the sex really was amazing. Like, shockingly amazing. I
thought it was going to hurt a lot more, and although it really did
hurt, it was a good pain. It was a good sharp ache between my
legs, mixed with pure pleasure as he worked me, made me feel
things. Then after that first time, and the embarrassing moment
with my blood, he fucked me again and again, made me feel
better than I ever guessed I could.
Silas escorts me back into our apartment when we arrive. Hes
clearly not taking any chances. He doesnt leave my side until
Im standing in my fathers study, my father giving me a dour
and angry look.
My father doesnt speak for a whole minute. I want to yell at
him, but Im not backing down. I stare right back at him, daring
him to get started.
Was it worth it? he asked me.
Yes, I say.
He frowns. Youre an embarrassment, Sadie. I really expected
more of you, but like every woman, youre fickle and emotional.
I ball my fists. My father is such a sexist piece of shit. But I dont
say anything. I let my gaze remain defiant. Im not giving him
the satisfaction of getting upset.
You will not leave this apartment until I give you permission,
he says. Im going to have someone watching out every single
second of the day until your punishment is through. Do you
understand?
I nod my head once. Do you enjoy controlling me, father? I ask
him. Like Im still some little girl.
He shakes his head. Frankly, Sadie, I dont care what you think
about me. Youre going to do your duty to this family, even if I
have to force you at gunpoint. Now, get out of my sight.
I linger for a moment longer, but I have nothing left to say to
him. As far as Im concerned, hes not my father anymore.
Hes my captor.
A new staff member that I dont recognize, a middle-aged man,
is waiting for me outside of the study. He follows me back to my
room and then stands on the other side of the door when I
shut it.
My father wasnt kidding about watching me. Getting out to see
Gavin is going to be really hard, but fortunately, I still have one
little trick up my sleeve.
I quickly get the phone and pull it out. I send him a text.
In deep shit, but it was worth it. I dont know when I can see
you again.
Soon, he sends back. I hope.
I smile to myself and curl up in bed.
Sure, Im locked up in my own bedroom with someone watching
me all the time, but at least I have this phone. At least I can
contact him and text him when I want to. Ill get out sooner or
later, and when I do, Ill go right to see Gavin.
I feel good. So damn good. I cant stop smiling. I didnt know life
could be this good to me. I dont care that Im in trouble. This
time apart just means I have time to figure out what Im going to
do, to make some plans for my future.
Because Im not staying with my family forever. I just need to
figure out something else to do to support myself.
Its all going to be okay. I curl up in bed, smiling, unable to stop
smiling.
O NE MONTH PASSES and I barely leave my room.
I didnt know I could get so bored.
Its not so bad at first. I call and text Gavin as often as possible.
Quickly we realize that my father is coming after Gavins
businesses, and apparently some of Gavins partners are
dropping out. That only makes me angry, but when I confront
my father about it, he simply dismisses me and says that Gavin
is getting what he deserves.
Even though my family is trying to destroy him, Gavin doesnt
seem upset about it. He never blames me for it or holds it against
me. He only told me because I kept pestering him about why he
seemed so stressed lately.
But soon, the boredom sets in. I reread my favorite books, but
that only eats up a week since Im a fast reader. My father lets
me watch TV and provides me some more books, but he refuses
to let me have the wireless password, and the phone Gavin gave
me is so old that I cant get online with it.
Im completely cut off from the world, which is exactly what my
father wants. One night, about three weeks into my sentence, I
woke up in he middle of the night to try and sneak out, desperate
to do something. But there was a man sitting outside of my door,
and as soon as I opened it, he was alert and watching. I had to
pretend like I was going downstairs for a late night snack, but he
totally saw through that.
My relationship with Gavin began to suffer. At first, we spent a
lot of time having phone sex and trading pictures all day. I sent
him so many dirty selfies that I can barely even count them now,
although the phones camera is pretty awful. He talked dirty to
me every night for the first three weeks.
But with his businesses in trouble, Gavin is busier than ever. So
one month after this all began, were not having as much phone
sex as we were, and hes not able to text me all day long like he
was at first.
Im going stir crazy. Absolutely stir crazy.
Which is why I dont even notice at first when I miss my period.
Im really regular. Like, really regular. Its like clockwork, and
Im never, ever late. I dont know why Im so regular, but I
simply am, and that makes it easy to plan around. But because
Im so bored and distracted by everything thats happening, I
dont even notice that Im late until three days later when Im in
the shower and I suddenly realize what the date is.
I try not to freak out at first. I know its so freaking unlikely that
I got pregnant the very first time I ever had sex. True, we didnt
use protection, which was maybe not the smartest thing in the
world. I just thought that it was safe to go without it, but when I
actually sit down and do the math, I realize how horribly wrong
I was.
But no, I cant be pregnant. I just cant be. He didnt come inside
of me that very first time, but I realize with horror that he did
later on in the night, practically because I begged him to.
I feel so stupid, but there has to be some other reason for why
Im late. I decide not to tell Gavin right away, just to avoid
worrying him and adding unnecessary stress.
But three days turns into four days which turns into five days,
and my period still hasnt come.
I need to take a test. I absolutely have to take a pregnancy test,
but I dont know how to do it. I consider approaching Peter about
it, but ever since I came back from Gavins apartment that night,
Peter hasnt really been interested in talking to me. That hurts a
lot, but it cant be helped, since he is still a slave to my family.
No, I cant trust Peter, and I cant trust Michael. I cant just ask
my mother, because if I am pregnant, shell just force me to have
an abortion or to go away somewhere and have the baby, then
force me to put it up for adoption. I can only imagine the heinous
things shed say to me. I dont even want to picture how my
father would react.
And since Im under constant guard, I cant just go to the store
and get it myself. I cant order it online, since I cant get online,
and I dont know who I could contact to ask for help. I dont trust
any of my friends, even if they were home. The gossip in my
community is so crazy and intense that I know the second I tell
someone Im pregnant, everyone will know, and my parents will
murder me.
I have only one option and its the last thing I want to do.
I stare at my phone, six days after my missed period. Its six
oclock at night. I have dinner with my family and pretend like
everything is fine, even though its definitely not.
My heart is hammering when Im back in my bedroom with the
phone in my hand. I dont know what the hell Im going to do or
what Gavin is going to say. He never signed up for this. He never
wanted to get some virgin like me pregnant. He says he wants to
see me more, even wants to take care of me and be my Daddy,
but he never said anything about being a dad for real.
I cant put it off. I dont have other options. I dial his number
and wait as it rings.
He answers on the third ring. Hey, you, he says. I was hoping
Id hear from you, Sadie girl.
Gavin, I say quickly. We need to talk.
He pauses. This sounds serious. Are you okay?
I think so, I say. I mean, yeah, I am.
Is it your family? he asks. I can come for you right now. Just
say the word.
I blink, a little surprised. No, its not that. I mean, its sort of
that. Just, listen, okay?
Okay, he says, though I can tell he wants to ask more
questions.
I take a deep breath to calm myself. Im practically shaking with
nerves. Gavin, I missed my period.
He doesnt respond right away. I sit there listening to the silence
on his end, not knowing how hes reacting or what hes
thinking. Im so afraid hes going to just hang up and leave me.
It never occurred to me until right this second that Gavin could
walk away and never talk to me again so easily, and leave me all
alone to face the wrath of my family.
Are you sure youre late? he asks.
I did the math, I say quickly. And Im always on time. Im
really regular. Its been six days.
He takes a deep breath. Okay. Ill get pregnancy tests. You need
to get out of there tonight.
I blink, a little surprised. Really? I ask him.
He laughs softly. Really, he says. We talked about this before,
remember? Just start running.
I nod once, remembering that conversation. He told me that if I
really want to get out, I just have to run away. They wont
physically stop me. My father will know Im gone, but my guards
wont touch me, theres just no way my father would hire people
that would actually physically force me to stay put. Theyre there
to scare me. I think Gavins right about that but Ive been too
nervous to test it.
Are you sure you want this? I ask him softly.
Of course, he says instantly. Sadie, I told you Id take care of
you, no matter what. Meet me tonight at midnight at the usual
spot. Ill be waiting.
Thank you, I say, biting back tears.
Dont thank me, he says softly. Im your Daddy, Sadie. Ill
keep you safe. Well figure this out together.
Okay, I say.
Tonight. Can you do it?
I can do it, I say.
Good. See you then.
I hang up the phone and stare at the floor.
Conflicting emotions roil in my body. On the one hand, Im
terrified that Im probably pregnant, and now I have to escape
from the apartment. But more importantly, Gavin isnt going to
leave me. Hes going to take care of me. Hes going to help me.
I can get away. I know it wont be hard. Just before midnight, Ill
run out of my room and out the front door as fast as I can. Itll
take the guard by surprise, and I know I can get down the stairs
pretty fast. They wont be able to catch me.
And then Ill meet Gavin, and well find out together.
19
GAVIN

I never wanted to be a father. Well, honestly, I never


really thought about it before. I always just assumed I
never would have kids. I never met a woman before who I might
even consider doing that with.
Having a child wasnt something I thought about with Sadie, but
now that it might be happening, the idea doesnt scare me nearly
as much as I thought it might. Maybe if she were anyone else, I
might run away, or something equally shitty. But I could never
do that to Sadie.
I care too much about her for that. I havent seen her for a
month, but our relationship is stronger than it ever has been. We
spend so much time talking to each other, that I feel like were
closer than Ive ever been with someone.
The only down side right now is my business war with her father.
Hes been slowly pecking at my businesses, taking away clients,
scaring off partners, and generally fucking shit up. Ive been able
to stop the bleeding for the time being, but hes not backing
down. Hes using every dirty trick in the book to come after me,
and slowly but surely, its working.
So far, I havent lost much, but I will. And Im afraid of what
Sadie will think if I dont have the sort of money that I did when
we first met.
Ill always be able to take care of her. Im too rich to ever go back
to being totally broke. But I dont know if Ill be as wealthy as
shes used to, and that makes me nervous.
One thing at a time, though. I pull up at the usual spot and wait.
Shes not there, but Im not surprised. She has to break out of
her prison first. The thought of what her father has put her
through makes me so angry I can barely breathe.
If shes pregnant with my child, shes not going back to them.
No way in hell will she go back into that apartment without me.
Ill fight them all off for her, and I know Ill win. Because Tillman
wants to use Sadie as a pawn in his game, but I want to genuinely
take care of her and make her happy.
After a few minutes pass, I start to get worried. But before I can
pick up my phone and call her, I notice someone running toward
me. It takes me half a second to realize that its Sadie.
She gets to my car, out of breath from running, and jumps
inside.
Go! she yells.
What? I ask, grinning at her.
Theyre chasing me!
I look into the rearview mirror and sure enough, two guys are
running down the block.
I laugh and peel out, leaving them in my dust.
I cant believe they actually chased you.
I know, right? She laughs, breathless and pink from exertion.
She looks so fucking beautiful, and I suddenly realize with a pang
that I may be looking at the mother of my child. They were
trying to get me to stay, but you were right. They didnt
touch me.
I grin at her. Im impressed.
Me too. I didnt know I could run so fast.
I laugh and drive us back to my apartment where the tests are
waiting. We talk about her escape as we go, though I can tell
were both just trying to avoid the real subject. When Im
parked, we head upstairs. She drops her stuff on the kitchen
island and bites her lip.
I can tell shes afraid. I wrap my arms around her and pull her
tight against me. It feels so fucking good to be touching her after
this long, torturous month. I kiss her hard on the mouth,
enjoying her, tasting her, not thinking about the real reason
shes here.
We enjoy the kiss for as long as it lasts, and finally she
breaks away.
Im nervous, she admits.
Its okay, I say. Im here for you.
Do you? She trails off and looks at me expectantly.
In the bathroom, I say. There are a few tests in there. I did
some research, I think I got you the best tests.
She nods, taking a deep breath. Is it too early? she asks.
No, I say. I think they say a week is the most accurate, but six
days should be fine. I take her hands and squeeze. Do you
want me to come with you?
She nods a little. Yeah. Its embarrassing but I dont want to
be alone.
I smile and kiss her softly. I think I can handle you peeing a
little bit. I grab a small juice glass from the counter. Here.
She looks at it, confused. For what?
Pee in there, I say, laughing. Then you dip the stick.
Oh, she says, nodding. Of course. Makes more sense than
trying to pee on the stick.
I kiss her one more time and then she goes into the bathroom
alone. She pees into the glass, and when shes done, she calls me
inside.
We stare at the little glass of her urine. She opens the first box,
dips in the stick, and then we wait.
Its an agonizing wait. Neither of us speaks. She stares at the
stick and I wish I could read her mind in this moment. I wish she
could read mine as well, because that way shed know that Id
never leave her no matter what.
When the test finishes and it confirms that shes pregnant, I
surprise myself by laughing.
She looks at me, a little wide-eyed. Why are you laughing?
she asks.
I dont know, I admit. I think Im happy.
She looks surprised. Youre happy?
I nod, grinning. Youre pregnant! I never thought Id be a father
but god, Im going to be a dad. And youre going to be
the mom.
She bites her lower lip. Youre not mad? Or afraid?
Of course Im afraid, I say. But mad? Not even a little bit. I
grab her hips and pull her against me. Youre my girl, Sadie. I
told you Id take care of you.
She smiles slightly and looks up at me. Promise?
I promise. I kiss her softly on the lips. Now, lets dip a few
more sticks, just to be sure.
She grins. Okay. Sounds like fun.
We spend the next hour taking the tests, mostly having fun with
it. We kiss and laugh and talk, and each test comes up positive.
Shes definitely pregnant. By the end of it, were sitting out on
the couch together, her legs in my lap, her arms around my neck.
I kiss her softly on the lips.
What do we do now? she asks after a short somber silence.
I shrug. What do you want to do?
She pauses and looks at me. Should I you know, she says.
I sigh. Ill support whatever you want to do, Sadie girl, I say
carefully.
I know. But do you think I should? I mean, have an abortion.
I smile softly. I know what you meant. And I dont know. Do
you want to have an abortion?
No, she says immediately, and then pauses. No, I guess not.
I smile broadly at her. Good. I didnt want you to, either. I just
didnt want to influence you too much. Its your choice.
Why are you being so good about this? she asks, genuinely
surprised.
What do you mean? This is my baby too.
She shrugs a little. Ive heard of guys freaking out because of
accidental pregnancies. I mean, you never signed up for this. Im
just some virgin girl you slept with.
I take her chin, tilting her face toward mine. No, I say to her.
Youre not just that. Youre my Sadie girl. And Im your Daddy.
Still, she says softly. You didnt ask for this.
And neither did you. So I should just walk away and leave you to
take care of it?
You could, she says.
That makes me a little angry. I cant imagine the sort of bastard
who would do that to you.
She smiles a little. I bet its more common than you think.
Im not that guy. I kiss her hard on the mouth. Do you
understand? I say when Im through.
I understand. She says, hardly a whisper.
I stare into her eyes for a second longer then I kiss her more
deeply.
Suddenly, it feels like the whole month of tension between us
bubbles over. One second, were sitting there and discussing
what to do about our future, and the next Im peeling off her
clothes and teasing her breasts with my tongue.
I feel so goddamn impatient. I need her, I realize with a shock as
my hands roam her gorgeous body. She moans as I slide her
jeans over her hips and press my hands down her panties. I work
her wet little clit and we kiss each other, both of us starving for
the other.
Shes dripping wet already, soft moans escaping her lips as I kiss
her, and I know I cant wait. I slide my own pants off as I press
her down on the couch. I get her panties down around her ankles
before spreading her knees wide, showing off that pink little
glistening pussy.
I bite her lower lip and press my cock against her. Youre
mine, I say to her. Do you understand? Every inch of your body
is mine. From now on, youre not going to leave my side, and Im
going to fuck you like youve never been fucked before.
Yes, Daddy, she whispers, and I plunge my cock deep inside
of her.
She cries out with passion. Im so fucking hard, and shes so
fucking wet. I slide right into her easily, since shes been keeping
herself ready for me with her vibrator all month. Still, shes so
goddamn tight, and I have to fuck her slowly at first, just to get
her used to my size again.
But she warms up to me very, very quickly, and soon Im sliding
in and out of her tight little cunt and shes moaning in my ear,
hot and deep. Her moans drive me so fucking crazy.
Im going to make this pussy sing, I say. Fuck your tight
pussy, fuck your tight asshole, make you take my every inch.
Youll choke on my cock and thank me for it. Youre my fucking
girl, and Im your Daddy.
Oh god yes, she moans as I slide in and out of her. I pin her
hands above her head, fucking her harder, ravaging her body.
Its intense and its incredible. Neither of us could wait any
longer, its pretty obvious. Shes writhing and moaning under
my touch and I know shes been ready to blow since the second
she came into my apartment. Shes been dripping wet and
thinking about this moment for a month, and now my cock is
deep inside of her little cunt, and I can tell its better than she
ever imagined.
I fuck her rough and deep, pinning her to my couch. Her wet
little pussy slides against me as I rock myself into her, deep and
hard. I love the way her breasts shake with each deep thrust, and
I take a nipple between my teeth, teasing her.
Keep going, she moans. Gavin, I needed this.
I needed this too, I say. I needed your tight pussy so badly.
Ive been picturing this for the last month, ever since you left.
Me, too, she says. Every second of every day. Ive been
dreaming about your cock fucking me like a bad girl.
You like being a bad girl? I ask her, thrusting harder. She
moans deep and low, her eyes shut. You like getting fucked by
Daddy?
Yes, she admits. God, yes, I love it.
Good, I groan. Fuck, girl, Im going to come in this tight
pussy. I cant wait.
Keep going, she urges, her hips moving. I love the way her
hips roll against me. Keep going, she begs. Im almost
there.
I grip her hands harder, pinning them down, as she comes. I
watch her face and her body tense and contract and contort as
she comes hard and fast, and it tips me over the edge. I keep
fucking her, rough and deep, and I come inside of her, filling her
the way just as I needed.
We come together, and slowly finish together. I kiss her deeply
and hold her, and suddenly I realize that Im not just
holding her.
Im holding Sadie and my baby. The baby were going to have
together.
Joy floods me as I kiss her neck. She smiles and laughs a little
bit, and kisses me back. My cock stirs a bit, and I know shes in
for a long night.
I just hope she can handle it. Because Im going to give her
everything I have, just to teach her what shes in for with me. I
think she can handle it.
20
SADIE

I wake up in Gavins bed, feeling a confused combination


of happy and terrified.
Im afraid for obvious reasons. I ran away from my powerful
family to be with Gavin, going against their wishes. That would
be bad enough, but on top of that, Im also pregnant with
Gavins child.
But for some reason, that doesnt really matter to me. I stretch,
smiling to myself, as Gavin rolls over and wraps his arms around
my hips.
Morning, he says.
Morning. I roll around and face him. He kisses me softly on
the lips. Hes so damn handsome, even first thing after waking
up. I had a dream about you.
Oh yeah? He grins a little. Im sure it was pretty dirty.
Maybe. I blush and smile.
Tell me about it over coffee. He sits up. You want breakfast?
I nod. Im a little hungry, actually. Didnt eat much yesterday.
Good. He gets up and goes into the bathroom. I hear him
getting ready in there as I sit up against the headboard, looking
around his room.
For a second, Im afraid that last night didnt actually happen,
and the whole pregnancy test thing was actually the dream. But
as soon as he comes out and looks at me, I know thats not the
case. I know it was all real, far too real.
He walks over and kisses me softly. You okay? he asks.
Yeah, I say. Of course. Totally fine.
He smiles a little. I know this is weird. And youre scared. But
its going to be okay. Everything I said last night still stands. He
kisses me one last time before disappearing back into the
kitchen.
I cant help but grin like an idiot. This handsome, gorgeous,
amazing man still wants me, even though Im pregnant with his
child. I cant believe how good it makes me feel. He wants me
and the baby, no matter what happens, and Im finally starting
to see that he means it.
The smell of cooking breakfast pulls me from bed. I head into the
bathroom and use his toothbrush. When Im done, I try to fix
myself up as best I can. I pull my hair into a messy bun and wash
my face, and when Im finished, I hear voices in the other room.
My heart suddenly starts beating fast in my chest. I walk out into
the living room, my face only half dry. Gavin is standing in the
hallway, and in front of him, my fathers goon Silas is staring
at him.
I wont ask again, Gavin, he says, his eyes narrowed. Get out
of the way.
Gavin doesnt move. Leave, he says. Go tell your boss that he
cant have Sadie. If she wants to stay with me, shes going
to stay.
Youre making a mistake, Silas says. His gaze flicks over
to mine.
And thats when Gavin moves. He strikes out so fast that I
almost miss it. His fist catches Silass throat, making a
horrifying choking sound. Silas stumbles back, his eyes wide.
Gavin doesnt hesitate. He follows that up with a fist to Silass
face and a knee to his stomach. Silas shoves Gavin off and tries
to fight back, but Gavin attacks harder. He kicks Silas in the knee
and slams his fist down into his face, forcing Silas down onto the
floor.
Fuck you, motherfucker, Gavin says as he kicks Silas in the
stomach. You tell your boss to leave her alone. Gavin grabs
Silas by the jacket and drags him out of the apartment.
Gavin! I yell, terrified. Please, stop!
Gavin doesnt listen. He drags Silas into the hall. Silas tries to
crawl away but Gavin kicks him one last time.
Dont come back, Gavin growls.
Gavin! Im breathing so fast, and Im so afraid, I can barely
think.
He turns back and takes me by the hand, pulling me back into
the apartment. He shuts the door and locks it before shoving my
body against the hallway wall and kissing me hard and deep.
I cant believe how excited I feel. I never thought Id like
watching a man hurt another man, but Gavin did that for me.
Silas was going to bring me back no matter what. I know what
kind of man Silas is. But Gavin was fast and ruthless, catching
Silas off guard. He protected me, and hes keeping me safe.
I kiss him back, needing him so badly. He pulls back and spins
me around, dropping to his knees, and pulling my panties off. I
gasp as his tongue begins to lick my pussy from behind.
Oh fuck, Gavin, I gasp. Whats happening right now?
Im licking your fucking pussy, he says. And then Im going
to fuck you until you scream.
Oh god, I groan as his tongue slides inside of me from behind.
He licks my every inch, and its so goddamn dirty, but it feels so
good. He slaps my ass, nice and hard, and I know its going to
leave a mark, but I like it.
He stands and grabs my hips. I feel him pull his own shorts off,
and his hard cock presses against me. He slides deep inside of
me with one easy thrust, and I gasp as pleasure fills me.
Like last night, it doesnt hurt. Maybe a slight tinge at first, but
nothing like the first time.
This is fast and rough. He rocks into me, thrusting, fucking me
from behind. I buck my hips back against him, full of adrenaline
from the fight. Pleasure fills me, destroying my mind, making
me feel so damn good.
I cant believe it. He pins my hands to the wall and fucks me
deep as he kisses my neck.
God, I love this fucking pussy, he says. Youre mine. Nobody
is going to take you away from me. Ill fucking kill for you, Sadie.
This cunt is mine, youre mine.
Fuck me, Daddy, I moan. Come on. Fuck me.
He groans and pulls my hair as his cock thrusts into me,
ramming and fucking my pussy. I work my hips, sliding back
along his length, taking his big cock. He pulls my hair harder,
tipping my head back, as he hammers into me, fucking my
little body.
Hes so much bigger than me, he could tear me apart if he
wanted. I want him to do it. I want to feel him rip me to pieces.
He slaps my ass hard, his cock slamming into me, and I know I
cant take it much longer.
I come hard on him as hes deep inside of me. As soon as I start
to come, he grunts and roars his pleasure, and I feel him fill me.
He comes in thick spurts into my tight little pussy as he rams
me, fucking me hard.
The adrenaline and excitement makes the orgasm so intense
that for a second, I think I might collapse. But he holds me up
and slowly we come together.
When its over, I turn and kiss him, long and deep. He pulls me
close to his body, breathing fast and deep.
I told you Id keep you safe, he says.
I know. I kiss his lips.
He smirks at me. I cant get enough of that pussy. He kisses
me again. Come on. Lets have some breakfast.
I laugh and shake my head as he leads me into the kitchen. He
goes back to making breakfast, and I sit down to watch him. He
gives me a small cup of coffee, not too much, since Im pregnant.
I sit there and watch him cook as if nothing just happened, as if
he didnt just beat the shit out of one of my fathers men, as if he
didnt just fuck my brains out in one of the most intense
sessions Ive ever had. I sit there and watch him, feeling so
normal, so good, and I hope it never ends.
21
GAVIN

I f things werent real before, they are now.


Im surprised that I got the drop on Silas, but he
probably wasnt expecting me to actually attack him. As soon as I
hit him though, I knew I was going to win the fight. I think that
if I have to go up against him again, it will be much harder, but I
got lucky this time.
Im not sure how long our luck is going to last. I love having
Sadie around my apartment, living with me, but her family is
getting more aggressive. They havent actually come to the
apartment again or gotten in touch with either of us, but her
father has stepped up his attempts at sabotaging my business.
Im practically leaking money and resources. I still have a lot,
and Im not in any serious danger yet, but Im not sure how long
I can last. Maybe six months, maybe a year, something like that.
Despite the problems with my business, Im the happiest Ive
ever been. I spend half my days in the office and half my days at
home with Sadie. Two weeks pass like that, two fucking blissful
weeks. We have sex as much as possible, and Sadie is an eager
learner. She loves when I push her limits, test her, see what she
likes and doesnt like. Shes intense in a way that surprises me,
and she even pushes my boundaries a little bit right back. Its so
impressive. When I first met her, she was a virgin, but after only
weeks of having sex, I feel like shes learned as much as I can
possibly teach her.
I wont say that to her, of course. Because I want to keep trying
to come up with new ways to make her feel good.
After two weeks and one doctors appointment, its pretty clear to
me that we need some sort of plan. Early Saturday morning, I get
up and make her breakfast like I always do, but this time I have
something of an ulterior motive.
She comes out into the kitchen, smiling. You know, Im pretty
spoiled by this.
Didnt you have a chef back home?
She grins and nods. But youre much better.
Oh, Im sure I am. I give her a plate and a cup of coffee before
serving myself and sitting down across from her.
I watch her eat for a second, sipping my coffee. Shes so
goddamn beautiful and she makes me so happy, which is why I
hate that I feel like I have to have this conversation with her. I
wish we could just keep going like this as she gets more and
more pregnant, and then wed raise our child together, and just
live in bliss.
But the real world is still out there, and the real world is very
unhappy.
What? she asks me with a little smile.
I smile back. I want to talk to you about something.
Uh oh, she says. You have your serious face on.
I dont have a serious face. All of my faces are serious.
Well, thats not true, she says, laughing. Your come face isnt
too serious.
I grin at her. Thats the most serious of all faces, Sadie girl.
She sighs and leans back in her chair. Okay, what do you want
to talk about?
First I want to tell you something. I grab her hand and hold it
tightly. Having you here these last two weeks theyve been
the happiest two weeks of my life. Do you understand that?
She nods, smiling, and squeezes my hand back. I feel the
same way.
Good. So now you understand why its so hard for me to say
that I think you need to go home.
She pauses, very surprised, and slowly pulls her hand away.
What? she asks. Why?
Not permanently, I say quickly. Hell, not even for very long.
But Sadie, you need to tell your family that youre pregnant.
She lets out a sharp breath. I thought you were kicking
me out.
Im not, I say. I promise. But you do need to tell your parents,
and I think itll be best if you do it in person.
I dont want to go back there, she says quietly. Do you have
any idea how theyll react?
Theyre probably pretty fucking mad already, I say, grinning.
I did beat the shit out of one of their workers.
She bites her lip and looks down at her place. I know that. My
brothers have been calling me every day since I left.
Peter too? I ask.
Peter too, she confirms. Not answering has been hard. But
its the right thing for me.
You cant hide this forever, I say. We dont need their
support or their blessing. But we do need them to understand.
Why? she asks suddenly, almost pleading. You know theyve
treated me like a dog for years, right? This is the safest Ive ever
felt. This is the most free Ive ever been.
I know, I say softly, and it breaks my heart just a little bit.
And so far, they havent really tried to bring you back. But they
will, sooner or later, and theyll try hard.
You can keep me safe, she says.
Youre right, I can. And legally speaking, youre an adult, so you
can do whatever you want. But we both know your family doesnt
need to follow laws. I sigh, leaning back in my chair to look at
her. If they understand why youre here, why youre with me,
we may be able to stay together.
She looks at me quietly for a second and I can tell that shes been
wrestling with this ever since she came to me. Despite
everything with her family, Sadie does love them, or at least she
loves her brother Peter. Her parents havent treated her well, but
she was raised to take pride in her family and to believe that the
familys best interests were more important than her own.
So it must be incredibly difficult now to go against all of that.
Frankly, maybe its easy to think shes just a silly rich girl with
nothing at all, but I see so much more.
Shes strong. Just getting away from her family takes strength.
She gave up so much by running away. I know Ill never fully
understand. Not only will she likely be removed from the will
and the family, leaving her with nothing financially, she also lost
her identity as a Tillman. Her family is more than just a family, it
was her whole life, the person she was born and bred to be.
And yet she saw how unhappy it all made her, and she ran away.
She figured it out, and now shes here.
Its impressive, no matter what people might think. I
admire her.
Now its time to go back, which is probably the hardest thing
shell ever have to do.
I know youre probably right, she says finally. But Im afraid
to go back. Im afraid theyll force me to stay. Im afraid theyll
make me do something that I dont want to do.
I nod slowly, looking at her seriously. I wont let them keep you
if you dont want to stay, I say softly. And if you decide thats
what you want, then Ill support you. Theyll never lock you up
again, Sadie. I promise you that.
She sighs. We really need to do this, dont we?
We really do, I say.
Okay. She sits up and nods her head, Fine, alright. Well do
it. Well go see my parents. How hard can it be, right?
Its the simplest thing in the world, I say.
Right. Ill just look at them and say, Hey guys, this man you
hate, he got me pregnant. And Im keeping it. And Im staying
with him now. Bye! Itll go over well.
I grin at her. I think your dad might have a heart attack. His
pure, virginal, perfect daughter is sullied by a commoner
like me.
You joke, but he really does think that. She makes a face, Its
like because you were born without money, youre somehow
evil? Or not as good, at least. Like only the chosen people
are rich.
Its a mindset Ill never understand.
Makes it easy for him to hate poor people. And to do things that
dont help them. I dont think he sees poor people as actual
humans.
I sigh and shake my head. Come on, Sadie. Dont dwell too
much. Well go, break the news, and then leave.
Simple, she says, and shes quiet for a second. Then she looks
up at me and grins. Better hope Silas isnt there.
I grin right back. He better hope hes not there. I flex a little
and she laughs.
But beneath that laugh, I can already see a hint of fear, creeping
in beneath her strong exterior.

S HE FIDGETS the whole elevator ride up to her parents apartment.


I hold her hand the whole time, trying to help keep her calm, but
theres only so much we can do.
After our conversation in the morning, she went right into her
room and called her father. She told him that we want to meet,
but wouldnt say more, and he agreed to have us back at the
apartment.
We both agreed that its better not to wait. And so just a few
hours after making the decision, were riding in the elevator up
to her family home, the place she grew up.
Its going to be okay, I say to her. Im here with you.
I know. She takes a deep breath. Itll be fine. My father cant
do anything.
No, he cant. Not with me here.
She nods her head, but looks uncertain. Its okay though. Im
going to be strong for both of us. Maybe shes afraid and
nervous, but I promised her that I wont let them take her or
hurt her anymore, and Im going to keep that promise.
The elevator dings when it reaches their floor. I glance at her.
Ready? I ask.
Nope, she says as the door slide open.
We walk forward down a short hallway to their front door. Sadie
pauses, then knocks softly.
Feels weird to knock, she says.
I dont say anything, I just squeeze her hand. A few seconds
later, a man opens the door. Hes in his late forties, maybe early
fifties, and I dont recognize him.
Hey, Thomas, Sadie says.
The man smiles with genuine pleasure. Miss Sadie, Im glad
youre back. He gestures for us to step inside. I assume Thomas
is a man that works for her family. He gives me a nod, though his
smile isnt as genuine when he turns it on me. That doesnt
matter. These people probably all think Im the devil or
something, here to steal away their pure little girl.
Too bad their little girl isnt pure at all, and probably never was. I
got a taste of whats inside of her, and now I know that shes a
dirty, filthy girl, and she likes it that way.
Your father is waiting in his study, Thomas says to Sadie.
Thank you. She gives him another smile. He doesnt follow as
we head off into the house.
I cant help but grin a little bit. Sadie gives me a weird look.
What? she asks.
Nothing, I say. Just never met a girlfriends dad before.
She pauses a second. Girlfriend?
I shrug. What else would I call you?
Illegitimate baby momma, she says.
I grin. Youre that, too.
She squeezes my hand and suddenly she seems less nervous.
We head down the hall and I cant help but look around. The
apartment looks like it was decorated at the turn of the century.
Old oil paintings cover the walls, and priceless statues sit on
pure marble pedestals. Its a far cry from the place where I grew
up. I cant even imagine living in this apartment. Its more like a
museum than a home.
We pass a few other doors and other staff members before finally
stopping outside a pair of big double doors.
Dads study, she says. You ready?
I nod. Im ready. Are you?
Nope, she says, and she pushes open the doors.
Hans Tillman, Sadies father, is a severe man. I dont know any
other way to describe him. He has thinning blond hair turning
gray, which makes it look almost white. His light blue eyes turn
instantly onto his daughter but no smile or any outward sign of
recognition flashes across his face.
If I didnt know any better, Id think he was looking at a
stranger.
Hello, Sadie, he says. I was hoping youd come alone.
I needed Gavin to be here for this, she says.
Tillman raises an eyebrow. For this? I assumed you were just
coming home to apologize for running off with that man. He
doesnt even bother to look at me.
Father, this is important. Is mother home?
He shrugs. Shes here somewhere.
Can you call her? Its important.
He looks at her for a second before pushing a button. Thomas,
bring Regina down here, please.
We stand there in an awkward silence. Tillman turns back to
whatever he was doing on his computer. I glance at Sadie and
she rolls her eyes. Shes probably used to these stupid little
power games.
Regina Tillman appears moments later. She sweeps into the
room and instantly goes to stand next to her husband. Unlike
Hans, Regina glares at me, openly hostile and not trying to
hide it.
Mother, father, Sadie says. I have something important
to say.
Regina glares at me. Does he need to be here?
Apparently so, Hans says. Regina, please. Let the girl speak.
Sadie clears her throat. I dont know how else to say it, so Ill
just say it. Im pregnant, and Gavin is the father.
A stunned silence falls across the room. Her father doesnt react,
but her mothers face contorts into a mixture of agony and pure
anger.
How could you? she hisses. With this, this, low-class trash?
Her mother looks like she might pass out from rage.
It just happened, Sadie says. And Im keeping the baby. I just
wanted you two to understand why I left.
Im going to support her, I say. And the baby.
Regina Tillmans gaze falls upon me and I can tell she wants my
head to explode. Do not speak, you gutter rat, she says.
I smirk at her. Hans puts a hand on his wifes back. Regina,
please, Hans says. Calm yourself. He turns back to Sadie.
Are you certain this is what you want? he asks.
She nods once. Im sure.
Hans sighs. You stupid little girl, he says.
I clench my fists. I can handle them insulting me, but I cant take
it when they talk to her that way.
Ive given you everything, Hans continues. I expected only a
modicum of loyalty and some poise. Instead, youre unwed and
pregnant by some upstart rat nearly twice your age. Hans
shakes his head. I am disappointed in you, Sadie. I always
thought you were a pathetic little girl, but now I see that youre
stupid as well.
Dont talk to her that way, I say, unable to stop myself. You
pompous ass.
His gaze turns to me and a smile spreads across his face. Hows
business, Gavin?
I keep myself calm as Sadie looks at me, horrified. Business is
fine, Hans.
Good, good, he says. I wouldnt want it to get bad for you.
Threats wont work, I say to him softly. Im respecting Sadie,
something youve never done. This is her choice.
Her choice? Hans barks a single laugh. Shes a child, Gavin.
Shes too stupid to know whats best for her. I want her to marry
someone appropriate who can take care of her and give her what
she needs, someone with good breeding so that her children may
also be quality people. But you? Youre just trash. And your child
will be trash as well.
The look on Sadies face tells me everything. Its pure horror and
loathing.
This was a mistake. I dont know what I expected, maybe
something like this. But her parents are nastier, more horrible
than I ever could have imagined. Her fathers insane eugenics-
like idea of breeding the rich with the rich is just shy of insane,
and most certainly its sick.
I take Sadies hand in mine. Come on, I say softly to her.
Lets go.
Oh no, you dont, Regina says, coming around the desk.
Dear, Hans says sharply. Stop it. Let the girl go.
Sadie lingers for a second. Can I see Peter?
Her father shakes his head. If you want to go, then go. If you
want to stay, you will do as I tell you. This is your choice.
She pauses for a second, and I can see the pain so clear on her
face. I wish I could protect her from this too, but I cant.
Finally, she turns. We walk together back through the doors, her
mother and her father disappearing behind us.
We go straight back out the front door, and she doesnt cry until
we get into the elevator.
22
GAVIN
ONE MONTH LATER

I ts late when I finally get to leave the office. Im


dealing with a tidal wave of shit thats been slowly
threatening to consume everything, mostly because of that
Tillman fuck, but I can handle it.
I have to handle it. For Sadie and the baby.
Ive never had someone live with me before. I always thought it
would be pretty awful. But truth is, I love having Sadie around
the house. The work stuff is bullshit and stressful and hard, but
as soon as I get home every day, Im reminded of why Im doing
this, and its all worthwhile.
Today is no exception. I unlock the door and step inside, and
theres Sadie. She grins at me a little bit as I shut the door
behind me and turn to face her.
Shes wearing only a thin white t-shirt, practically see-through,
and her nipples are hard.
Tough day? she asks. She walks over to me and lifts her arms
up to wrap them around my neck, and I cant help but notice
shes not wearing any panties.
I smile a little. No worse than any other day.
Good. She kisses me softly. You sounded stressed earlier.
You know. Just the usual shit.
My father still giving you a hard time?
Still trying to destroy me, I confirm.
She pouts a little bit. Poor Gavin. What can I do to make it
better?
I smirk at her and put my hands on her hips. I dont know.
She kisses my neck then drops down to her knees. I watch as she
unbuckles my belt and my cock is hard as fuck by the time she
has my boxer briefs down around my ankles.
She strokes my thick cock and looks up at me.
I could get used to this, I say to her.
Im sure you can, she says. Youre stressed. I thought maybe
I could help with that by doing what I do best.
You mean by sucking my cock?
Thats right, Daddy.
I groan as she takes my cock in her mouth. Shes gotten so
fucking good at that as she slowly slides it deep down into her
throat. I lace my fingers through her hair as she begins to suck
my tip, sliding her hand along the shaft.
Shes so fucking sexy. This is my life now. She doesnt always
suck me off after work, but its something new every day.
Whether Im tying her up in the bedroom, or fucking her tight
little asshole, or pressing her breasts against the windows as I
fuck her over the city, shes insatiable.
I wasnt sure if the pregnancy would change anything, but shes
handling it so well. In fact, she once told me that she feels better
than she ever has, like she has a purpose now, and its growing
inside of her every single day.
Fuck, Sadie girl, I groan as she takes me deep into her throat
again. I press her head down, holding her there, fucking
moaning as my cock fills her little throat.
She pulls back, saliva covering my cock, and jerks me fast. I
want to make you feel good, Daddy, she says, pouting up at me.
Does it feel good?
It feels fucking incredible, I say, practically a growl. Suck that
cock, girl. Fucking choke on it.
She moans and takes me back into her mouth again, sliding up
and down, sucking me faster. I press her down then let her back
up, alternating between sucking my tip and deep-throating my
whole cock.
As she sucks me, every single thing goes away. All of my stress
disappears. I feel so fucking good as she works me, sucking her
Daddys cock, my pregnant Sadie girl. She sucks me faster and
faster and I can feel the glow growing.
Swallow my fucking come, I say to her.
Yes, Daddy, she says, sucking me even faster.
I come hard in her mouth, and she doesnt even hesitate to
swallow every drop. She cleans it up with her tongue when Im
finished.
Fucking hell, I say.
She stands up, smiling. All better?
All better, I say, grabbing her and kissing her deeply.
She laughs when Im done and I head inside. I drop the mail on
the counter along with my briefcase, then I head back into the
bedroom.
What do you want for dinner? I call out to her. I was thinking
about ordering some Indian food. I pull on some clean boxers
and jeans. Or we can go out somewhere. Or I can cook.
Whatever you want. Once Im dressed, I head back out into the
kitchen.
Sadie is standing at the counter, staring at a piece of paper. A
torn open envelope is on the counter in front of her.
Sadie? I ask. Whats wrong?
Her face is stuck in a mask of horror, fear, and disbelief. She
looks up at me slowly.
Its a letter, she says.
What does it say? I ask gently.
She hesitates a second. Here, take it. She thrusts the piece of
paper at me.
I take it from her hands, frowning. The letterhead is from a
major law firm in the city, one of the best, if not the best. The
name at the bottom is hand signed, and its one of the names of
the founding partners.
I know what this is without even having to read it. I skim
through the legal jargon and read enough just to get a sense of
what the letter means.
I put it down on the counter with a sigh and pull her against me.
Youre going to be okay, I say to her.
I didnt expect this so soon.
I know. But well get through it.
Why are they like this? she asks me, her voice barely a
whisper.
I dont know.
I mean, I get being angry. And upset. I hoped maybe theyd
come around. But they want to kick me out of the family, Gavin,
and not just informally. They want to make it legal. They want to
bury me.
I nod and hold her tightly. The letter basically said that her
father wishes to set up a meeting to go over her status as a
member of the family. It goes on to say a bunch of other
legalistic jargon, but if you read between the lines, shes pretty
much right. Her family wants to get rid of her, and they want to
do it for real.
That surprises even me. I know her family is a bunch of
bloodsucking assholes that only care about their name and their
fortune. They dont give a shit about Sadie at all. But part of me
thought theyd at least wait until the baby was born to
disown her.
But no, apparently they gave her one month, and now
shes done.
I think I understand why shes upset. Its not about the money,
although of course part of her is angry about that. Her two
brothers will get even more from the estate now because shes
been written out. And even Peter hasnt reached out to her,
which I know is tearing her up inside.
No, its really just about her family. She always thought she was
a member of their tribe, a part of their family, an important
person in their lives. Shes a daughter and a sister to them, and
yet now theyre formally kicking her out. Family is supposed to
be something youre stuck with no matter what, even if you hate
your family, theyre still family. That never changes.
But apparently thats not the case with the Tillmans.
Apparently, if you make a mistake, and then you go against their
wishes, they just kick you out.
What am I going to do? she asks me.
I gently let her go and sit her down at the counter
I dont know what were going to do, I say finally. I have a
lawyer and I can get him involved if you want.
No, she says quickly. God, no. I dont want to get into that.
Sadie, I say softly. They want to take everything from you.
I know, she says, a little angry. And not just the money. They
want to take my identity away. They want to erase me.
I nod and cross my arms. Which is why maybe we should
fight them.
To what end? she asks me, her eyes wide. What can we
possibly achieve by going up against my family?
I dont know, I admit slowly. I really dont know.
And I know theyre bleeding you dry, too, I say. Maybe if I do
this, theyll leave you alone.
We cant be sure of that. And if you do walk away, youll be
giving it all up. Forever. Theres no going back.
I know. She stares at the counter. Peter still hasnt called me,
you know. Of everyone, I thought hed call.
Why not try calling him? I ask a little hesitantly.
And say what? Oh hello Peter, its me, your disgraced sister
Sadie. Hows it going? I dont think so.
That doesnt sound too bad to me. I give her a little grin.
She just shakes her head. I cant do it. Theyve basically thrown
me out already, havent they? Now they just want to make it
official.
Sadie. I walk around the counter and sit down next to her. I
support whatever decision you make. But dont you just dont
you want to make the fuckers bleed, just a little bit?
She shakes her head. No. Theyre still my family.
Fuck, I say, sighing. After all this, you still want to hold back?
Let me hire a lawyer. Let me go after them, drag them through
the fucking mud. Who knows? Maybe theyre afraid of a fight,
and well win.
I dont want to win, she says. I dont want to fight them. I
just want to be done with them. I want to get away from them.
They want to suck me back in, but I cant do it.
I nod slowly. I guess I understand that. If it were me, Id fight
them just out of spite, just to make them squirm. Im not
entirely convinced that Im not going to do just that. I think I
could make Tillmans fucking life miserable in court. I may be
hurting right now, but Im still fucking rich, and I can still wield
considerable funds against him. And I know he wont like
that shit.
But Sadie doesnt want it. I wish it were different, but shes
special. Shes a better person than Ill ever be, thats for sure.
So what now? I ask her.
She shrugs. I dont know. I guess we go to this meeting.
They want to hold it at your fathers apartment, I say,
pointedly not calling it her home.
She shrugs. It doesnt matter where.
Okay then. I pause, then take her hand and look deep into her
eyes. Listen to me, Sadie. I need you to know something.
She looks at me, and I can see the sadness deep inside of her.
Shes losing everything for this, for our baby and for me.
Everything shes known and loved is being torn away by her
spiteful and angry parents. Whats she left with?
Hopefully, freedom. And happiness.
What? she asks softly.
I know you feel like youre losing your family. But Im your
family now. Me, you, and our baby. Well be a family.
She smiles slightly. Really?
Really, I say. Ill take care of both of you. Always. We wont
be Tillmans, but well be our own thing. We can be happy.
Yeah, she says.
You can do whatever you want. Go to school, paint, start a
charity, I dont care. Ill support whatever you want. I kiss her
softly on the lips. You can be free with me.
Yeah, she says again, and this time she seems more sure of
herself. I was never going to be free back home. I was going to
be Milos wife. She laughs a little ruefully.
You dodged a bullet. I cant help but grin.
Come here, she says, pulling me in for another kiss.
I return her kiss, although inwardly I dont know how this is
going to shape out. We have one more meeting with her family.
Last time, it went pretty fucking awful, but this time might be
different.
Or itll be terrible again, but well survive it. Well survive this
and be together, because I wasnt lying when I said that were a
family now. Ill take care of her always, and Ill try to make damn
sure that shes happy, no matter what.
23
SADIE

E ven after a month has passed, I can still remember that


afternoon in my old apartment when we told my parents
that Im pregnant.
I keep reliving that moment. My mothers scorn was palpable,
and I could feel my fathers disappointment in my bones. I wish I
could go back and say something, anything, that would make
them understand that this isnt just some stupid childish fling. I
wish I could make them really see how I feel about Gavin.
But I cant and I wont. Not after what they said to me. And not
after that letter.
I look over at Gavin and force myself to smile. Were on the
elevator up to the apartment again, though this time were only
meeting with my father. I doubt my mother even knows were
coming, Gavin smiles back and squeezes my hand, just like
before.
Hes been so good through all of this. I never imagined Id have
someone who could keep me as centered and as grounded as he
can, but its exactly what I need. He calms me when Im stressed
and makes me feel like everything is going to be okay in the
future. Even when the future seems terrifying, hes there for me.
I dont know a damn thing about having a baby. I dont know
how to raise one. Ive never even held one. But Gavin bought all
the books and even read them, and I know hes going to be a
good father. Hes changed over the last month, in subtle ways,
but theyre noticeable. He doesnt go out with his friends as
often and he doesnt drink as much. He works out even more and
seems very intent on the future. Hes stressed with work, of
course, since my father is trying to destroy him, but hes still
there for me.
And he wants me to fight. I have to admit that its tempting. I
dont want my familys money. I dont want a single freaking
dime from them at all. But I dont want to make this easy on
them either. I want it to be difficult to kick me out of the family,
because it should be. It shouldnt be easy to send me away and to
forget about me.
I was their daughter for so long. And maybe I made some
mistakes, at least in their eyes, but Im still their daughter no
matter what. Of course, they dont see me that way, and they
never did. Its hard to accept that, really and truly accept it, even
though I know its the truth.
Thats what Im here for today, though. Im going to accept my
place in the world. Im going to accept that my family doesnt
want me and that Im making a new family with Gavin, one
where Im going to be much happier.
Ready? Gavin asks when the elevator reaches the top floor.
Ready, I say, feeling anything but.
We step out and head down the hall. Like before, I knock on the
door, feeling awkward. But instead of Thomas opening up, Peter
stands there.
I look back at him, surprised. He looks like the same old Peter,
but instead of his usually sly smile for me, he stares blankly.
Youre right on time, he says.
Hi, Peter, I respond. Its good to see you.
He nods. Fathers in his study.
I glance back at Gavin as we follow Peter into the apartment. Of
everything that has happened, the way Peters acting toward me
right now hurts the most. We follow him down the hall and he
doesnt look at me again, like Im some stranger visiting instead
of the sister hes been so close with for so long.
Hold on, I say to Gavin. Can you wait here?
He pauses. Sure, he says.
I turn to Peter, who looks a little surprised. Can I talk to you? I
ask him.
He hesitates, then nods. Yeah. Sure.
I lead him into the dining room and shut the door behind us. I
turn to him and for a second, I think that I see the brother I once
loved so much.
Ive missed you, I say to him. Im sorry things are so weird
right now.
He glances away. Whyd you do it?
Do what?
Get pregnant. By that person.
I frown and shake my head. I didnt meant to get pregnant. And
I like Gavin I like him a lot. He makes me happy.
Still. Peter looks back at me and I think he might be pleading
with me. The family comes over everything. You know that.
They were going to marry me off to Milo, I say softly. Doesnt
what I want count at all?
No, Peter says firmly. It doesnt count for any of us. You
know that. And youre still turning your back on us.
Im not, I say. Im not turning my back at all. Father is
forcing me to leave.
If you got rid of that thing, you could stay.
I stare at him, shocked. How could Peter, my loving brother, say
something like that to me?
Its my baby, I say flatly.
Its a mistake. He stares at me again with that blank
expression. Come on. Fathers waiting.
Peter opens the doors and steps back out into the hall. I watch
him for a second then follow, biting back my tears.
I wont freaking cry. I wont give them the satisfaction.
But that moment back there, that was the end. He was my last
hope. Part of me hoped that Peter was still somehow on my side,
despite everything, and that hed make it all okay. He used to do
that all the time when I fought with Michael, back when we
were kids.
Were not kids anymore. And Peter isnt my brother.
Go right in, Peter says as we reach my fathers study. I dont
look at him as he walks past me and disappears back into the
apartment.
Gavin takes my hand again. You okay? he whispers. What did
he say?
Nothing, I answer. Lets get this over with.
Gavin frowns but doesnt argue. I open the doors and we step
into my fathers office.
Hans Tillman looks up as we enter. Hes sitting behind his desk
just like last time. We walk straight in and sit down in the chairs
in front of his desk like its some business meeting. He arches
his fingers in front of him and looks at me.
Im glad you came, he says.
I had no other choice.
He smiles a bit. You always have a choice, Sadie.
Well, here I am. Lets talk.
I dont feel like dragging this out anymore, so Im going to get
right to the point. Father looks at Gavin and smiles a bit.
Youre hurting right now. I know that. Youre angry with me
and my family, and your business isnt doing so hot. Am I
right?
Gavin hesitates then nods. Youre right.
You probably want to fight this, father says.
I do, Gavin confirms.
Heres what Ill offer. If Sadie accepts a complete and utter
separation from the Tillman family, including changing her
surname to something else, then I will back off your businesses
and leave the two of you alone. Provided you never enter into our
lives again.
Gavin stares at my father then looks at me. Id turn him down
right now if I were you, he says. But its your choice.
I stare at my father, at the lines on his face, at the wrinkles
forming. He looks older than he did a month ago, somehow
frailer. I dont know why but I suddenly see him as the man hes
always been, a mean and spiteful man, but not as my father.
That faade is gone now, and hes just Hans Tillman.
That makes what I say next easy.
Okay.
Both men look at me. Gavin seems sad, but not surprised, while
my father seems genuinely shocked.
Okay? he asks. You agree to all of my terms?
Yes, I say. I want to leave this family. I dont want your
money. If I fought, it would just be out of spite, but Im done
with that. I dont want to be like you anymore. So Ill sign any
documents you want and Ill change my name, as long as you
leave us alone just as well leave you alone.
Hans Tillman stares at me for a second then nods slowly. He
doesnt smile and he doesnt seem triumphant. In fact, he just
seems tired.
Very well, he says. Itll all be in writing. Ill have my lawyers
send over the paperwork as soon as possible.
Good, I say. Are we done here?
He hesitates before nodding. Were done here.
Have a good life, Hans, I say, standing. He watches me, but
doesnt answer.
Gavin takes my hand and we leave the office without another
word. I manage to make it out into the elevator before I start
crying.
Its okay, Gavin whispers. Its okay. Its over now. He pulls
me in close and holds me as we sink back down toward the
street.
I just want you to know, Im not crying about what happened
back there, I say as we finally reach the lobby. I get myself
together as we walk across the marble floor. Im really not.
Why are you crying, then? he asks me, holding my hand as we
step out into the warm city afternoon.
Im sad for the person that I used to be, I say. Im sad for that
nave girl. But Im really, really happy that this is what
happened. Im happy its with you.
He smiles at me and kisses me softly. Come on, I want to show
you something.
I follow him as we walk down the sidewalk. Where are we
going? I ask.
Dont worry. Were almost there.
We pass by familiar shops, restaurants, and churches. This was
my neighborhood once, although its not anymore. Ill miss
parts of it and wont miss other parts, but itll always be
important to me.
We walk a few blocks and ahead I can see the park rising up in
the middle of all the concrete. He strides up to the streetlight
that I used to stand under when hed come pick me up after I
snuck out. I join him there, smiling a little bit.
This is familiar, I say.
It wasnt so long ago that you stood there, waiting for me, he
says. You risked a lot for that.
I didnt see it that way.
Maybe, he says.
I just wanted to be happy. And I am now.
Well, theres one thing Im happy about. And its that your
father wants you to change your name.
I sigh and shake my head. Its so petty. But I guess I get to make
up my own surname, which is kind of cool, right?
He nods. If thats what you want. But I have a better idea.
My heart starts hammering in my chest and I feel dizzy as Gavin
drops to one knee in front of me.
Sadie, I told you I want to start a family with you. And I want to
do it the right way. I want this to be real.
Gavin, I say, but cant find any other words.
Im glad you have to change your last name, because I want you
to take mine. He reaches into his jacket pocket and takes out a
small black box. He flips it open, revealing a gorgeous diamond
ring. Sadie, will you marry me?
I stare at him in total shock. I didnt know he wanted to get
married. I always assumed he thought marriage was impossible,
or that he just didnt want to do it. But as he kneels down in
front of me, holding out that beautiful ring, I know this is what
Ive been waiting for all my life.
Yes, I whisper.
He takes my hand and slides on the ring. It fits perfectly, which
shouldnt surprise me. Gavin doesnt do anything halfway.
He stands and wraps his arms around me, pulling me close. I
love you, Sadie girl, he says.
I love you too, I answer, then I get up on my tiptoes so that I
can whisper in his ear. Daddy.
He crushes my mouth with a kiss and joy spreads through my
whole body.
In one day, I lost one family, but I gained another. Im going to
be Sadie Waller, forever and ever. Well raise our child together,
and Ill be happy and free. Finally, Ill be happy and free.
I lose myself in the kiss and I find myself with the man that
I love.
24
SADIE
ONE YEAR LATER

H old still!
I giggle as I pull off Joanies diaper. Stinky, I say.
Joanie squirms as I clean her off and put on a fresh diaper. I pick
her up and kiss her. All better, I say.
Hows my little poop machine?
I turn to Gavin and grin at him. Shes healthy, thats for sure.
Give her over. He reaches out and I hand Joanie off. Gavin
laughs and cuddles her close, and Joanie giggles and looks
around.
He carries her out into the living room and I follow. Its so quiet
in our neighborhood. Ever since we moved out of the city and
into the suburbs, into this gorgeous little estate right on the
edge of town, Ive had to get used to how calm things are.
But I love it. I love our new house and our little baby. Gavin has
slowly been hiring some staff to help out, and Ive been making
friends with some young moms in the area. I took up painting
and joined a book club, though Joanie takes up most of my time.
Cant complain, right? Gavin remarks as I join him on the
couch.
Sure cant, I agree. Hes been saying that a lot lately, which
only makes me so happy.
After my father sent over the papers and I signed away my rights
to the Tillman fortune, we got married almost right away. I took
Gavins name, officially making me Sadie Waller, and I never
looked back. We dont speak to my family, as part of the
agreement, and my father stopped attacking Gavins businesses.
Since then, things have been incredible. The pregnancy was hard
but good. I felt productive every single day, growing Joanie inside
of me. And now that were a family, I feel more fulfilled than I
ever have before.
Gavin leans over and kisses me softly. You look gorgeous today,
you know.
I grin at him. Again already?
He shrugs, giving me a look. Marcia is coming soon.
In a half hour.
I can wait. Can you?
I laugh and kiss him a little bit. That part of our relationship
hasnt changed at all. Sex is a constant with us, almost every
single day if we can. That intimacy makes me so happy, in a way
that I can barely describe. Joanie makes things harder, but we
hired Marcia to come every afternoon and help out for a little bit
while we have some much-needed private time.
Our relationship has changed in other ways, though. Were
closer now. We visit his old neighborhood all the time, and we
see Chuck pretty often. He even comes out to visit us in our
suburban wasteland as he likes to call it. But hes a good
godfather and uncle, so I cant complain.
Sometimes, I miss my brothers, even Michael. I wish they could
be in Joanies life. I wish Joanie could have grandparents as well,
but it doesnt matter. Shes going to get so much love from me
and Gavin that shell never know the difference.
Gavin passes me Joanie and stands up. Im going to go shower,
he says. I expect you in there as soon as Marcia shows up.
Understood?
I laugh and nod. Yes, Daddy.
He kisses me softly again, then disappears back upstairs. I hold
Joanie up and look at her.
You can do whatever you want in life, I say softly. Okay,
honey? Youll be happy. I promise.
She just gazes back at me, but doesnt say a word.
I used to be one of the heirs to the Tillman family fortune, but
not anymore. I used to have a social position and I was a member
of a very well-respected family. I had power and wealth and I
dont miss any of it, not even a little bit.
Id give it all up. Id even give up all of Gavins money if I had to.
I dont want a single dime if that means I cant be free to do what
I want. I never want to be part of a family that wont let Joanie do
whatever she wants and be whoever she wants to be.
Gavin takes care of me and Joanie. He provides everything we
could possibly need and more. He makes me happy. Every day
feels like its better than the last, all because I have Gavin in
my life.
Im so lucky. Im so happy I got pregnant with Joanie and Im so
happy that I left my old life behind. Because my new life is so
much better than I ever could have guessed.
I dont need to be stuck doing one thing, forced into a life I dont
want. I can make my own family and my own world.
All I need are Gavin and Joanie, and Im happy, forever, for the
rest of my life. Nothing will change that, and I know that Gavin
will always be there for both of us. Every time I think about him,
I cant help but smile.
I just cant wait for Marcia to get here so that I can go upstairs
and let my Daddy make my body feel good.
INTENSE: A DARK BILLIONAIRE
ROMANCE
PROLOGUE: ARIA

I test my restraints impatiently then lie back on the bed


with a sigh.
Its been almost a week since he bought me. One week ago, I
thought my life was about to change.
And it has. It changed more than I could possibly imagine, but
not in the ways I expected.
Hes mysterious, tall, handsome, dark, and more dominating
than I ever could have guessed. He makes me beg and beg for
more but never gives me what I want.
He makes it feel good in other ways.
The bed is enormous with a high, ornate canopy. The soft white
silky fabric that hangs down on all sides mutes the light and
makes it hard to see the rest of the beautiful room.
My room. He gave me my very own room complete with a
bathroom, tiny little sitting area, personal gym, and twenty-
four-hour room service. Its like living in my own little paradise.
Except paradise should give me what I want, which he refuses to.
He keeps whispering in my ear, soon, soon, just beg a little
longer, but each night he leaves me quivering with desire. I dont
know what to do. I never thought Id actually want this more
than anything, but now that I do, he just wont budge.
I want him. I want his touch. I bite my lip as I realize how
dripping wet I am.
I wish I could reach down and touch myself. These last few
nights, thats the only thing thats keeping me sane. But I cant
move since my wrists are tied to the headboard with soft
black silk.
My heart is hammering in my chest. I want him, but I dont
know when hell come. He tied me up, kissed me softly on the
lips and then told me to be patient. That was almost a half hour
ago. Im trying to be patient, just like he told me to be, but
its hard.
Actually, its impossible. I want him to push apart the canopy
and crawl on top of me. I want him to crush me with his
muscular body, pin me down to the bed, have his way with me. I
want him to ravish me.
After all, thats why he bought me. Im supposed to give into his
every desire, to pleasure him. Instead, hes spent this last week
teasing me, getting to know me, giving me everything I want.
Im pampered but Im so frustrated.
I perk up suddenly when I hear the door open and close. I hear
his footsteps move across the floor, but I dont say a word.
Thats part of the game. Im supposed to be silent and demure.
Im supposed to do exactly what he says, and if he goes too far,
theres a certain word I can use. Its our safe word. If I say it, the
game stops instantly. But I cant imagine using it.
I want the games. They keep me going.
Im his for a month. He owns me and at first, I hated it. I never
wanted to be in this position, but here I am.
Now though, Im not so sure. Im not positive that I hate this. I
dont hate him, that Im sure of. Part of me doesnt like being
bought and sold, but part of me finds it so exciting that he owns
me completely, at least for a month.
I can sense him standing next to the bed. My heart hammers in
my chest. I dont know what hes going to do to me this time, but
I cant wait to find out.
The fabric parts and I stare up into his piercing green eyes, a
slight smile on his lips. He leans over me, sitting on the bed, half
in and half out of the canopy. Hes wearing a clean white shirt
unbuttoned halfway down thats tucked into a beautiful pair of
tailored suit pants.
His smile is so delicious. I stare into his eyes, waiting, begging,
needing.
Youve been good, he says, barely a whisper. He moves closer
to me. Do you know what good girls get?
I shake my head slightly, eyes wide, heart hammering.
They get whatever they want, he says, still smiling. What do
you want, my little toy? He pauses and his smile gets bigger.
You may speak.
You, I say, not breaking eye contact. I want you.
Good. His thumb moves down my lips. I part my mouth and
take his thumb between my teeth. I can feel my pulse between
my legs as his other hand moves slowly down my chest, pausing
over my breasts, moving down toward my pussy.
Youve been so good, little toy, so good, he says, mouth close
to my ear. His hand pauses just above my pussy. Im completely
naked and dripping wet, as vulnerable as I possibly can be, and
yet it only makes me that much more aroused.
Do you think you deserve it? he asks. Tell me if you do.
I deserve it, I say. Ive been so patient.
Yes, you have. He kisses my ear, nibbles it softly, then kisses
my neck. So patient. So good. Ive spoiled you enough,
havent I?
Yes, I moan. Im spoiled.
He pulls back, a wicked smile on his lips. I didnt say you could
respond.
I stare, eyes wide, realizing my mistake. He pulls his thumb from
between my legs and moves up onto the bed.
Now youll need to be punished.
He moves down between my legs, spreading them wide. I
practically moan as he looks at my dripping wet pussy, bare and
clean for him.
Im dripping. Im aching. Please, I whisper. Punish me.
He grins and when he touches my body, my entire world shrinks
down to the pressure of his fingers against my skin, and
everything goes light.
1

ETHAN
ONE WEEK EARLIER

I lean back in my large black leather chair and look out


the wall-sized window, staring out across the city.
Its the middle of the day and already Im exhausted. Ive barely
slept over the last month as my company, World Line Inc., has
gone through some enormous structural changes. We acquired
one of our smaller competitors, and in the process weve had to
change things up to fit their new employees and manufacturing.
Its been exhausting, but the end is almost near. And when were
finished, World Line will be one of the largest manufacturing
tech companies in the world.
I sigh, stretching. I crack my neck and lean back, groaning. I feel
like a man twice my age, although Im only thirty-two. Ive
spent the majority of my life so far, from when I was just a
college dropout at the age of twenty to now, building this
company and growing it aggressively. I started out with a simple
idea, a tweak to the manufacturing process, and grew it into a
world-wide conglomerate.
I sacrificed a lot to get where I am. The magazines all like to call
me the most eligible bachelor under forty, but I rarely ever feel
that way. I fucked my way through the socialite scene, because I
dont have time to spend on getting close to women.
But where has that left me? I cant help but wonder sometimes if
things would be better if I gave a woman more than just one
night. Maybe not a relationship, because Im not interested in
getting fucking tied down, but something. I dont know what. A
friendship, a fuck buddy. Hell, I barely have time for anything
outside of the business these days.
I lean back and put my hands on the back of my head, sighing. It
probably doesnt matter, anyway. I have enough money to retire
and live a rich life at this point, but I know Im never going to.
Thats not the type of man that I am.
Settling down isnt something I want. I work hard and I play hard
when I get the time. I live to win and to dominate everything
around me, thats how Ive gotten to where I am. Thinking too
hard about my life wont do any good, not at this point.
As Im about to turn back to my desk and get back to these
contracts, my cellphone buzzes. I pick it up and unlock the
screen, cocking my head at the message.
Its from a blocked number. Which is unusual, because I have my
phone set up to block all incoming messages from blocked
numbers.
But thats not the weirdest part. As I read the message, I cant
help but think Ive been transported to some new universe.
Dear Mr. Locks, You are cordially invited to bid on the most
beautiful women on the market. This auction is only for men of
means and power. It is a private event. If interested, simply
respond to this message. You were invited by one Mr. Range. See
him for any questions. Respond in twenty-four hours. Cordially,
The Syndicate.
I read the message over twice before I start to understand what
its saying.
Its an invitation to a human auction. Ive heard about these
things, but only as whispers. Its said that there are places where
only the most attractive women are sold for high prices and long
periods of time. Its a way to buy a wife or a mistress even, or
maybe just a girlfriend for a week.
I never went looking for these auctions because I never needed
to. I know that some of my peers engage in them, because its
easier to buy a woman for a week than it is to pick one up, but I
usually like the chase. Its fun to seduce and be seduced. These
escorts, theyre just a way to fuck and be done with it.
I have no clue why Mack invited me to this auction. Mack Range
is one of my closest friends and the owner of a company we often
do business with. Weve been to several parties together and he
knows I have no trouble getting women when I want them.
Annoyed, I quickly call Mack up. He answers on the third ring.
Locks! he says. What do you want? I thought you were too
busy to talk right now.
I just got a really strange message, Mack. From The Syndicate.
Know about it?
Theres a pause, and for a second I think we got disconnected.
When Mack finally speaks, he sounds hurried and distracted.
Lets meet for lunch, he says. Im buying. Well talk about
it then.
Mack, I grumble. You know I cant. Just tell me what the deal
is with this.
We cant talk about it over the phone, he says softly.
Lucianos at two. Okay?
I pause, head cocked. Whats so damn important that we cant
talk about it over the phone?
But then again, the message did say that it was very private. It
wasnt threatening, not exactly, but theres always a veiled
threat when secrecy is involved. Its always keep this secret,
or else.
I have to admit, Im intrigued. Mack has good taste and has
never steered me wrong before. Plus, this secrecy thing has me
interested. I want to know more about it now just because Im
not supposed to talk about it.
Fine, I say. Youre definitely buying.
See you then. He hangs up quickly.
I put my phone down and shake my head, not sure what to make
of this.
Its out of nowhere. I was at a party with Mack maybe two
months ago, before this merger got too insane. We were talking
about women and relationships, and he did say something a
little strange. He mentioned paying top dollar for a girlfriend at
the time, which I assumed meant that he just pays for lunches
and hotel rooms. I laughed and said I was always looking for
a deal.
Maybe this is what he was talking about. Maybe he meant he
literally pays top dollar.
Ive never bought pussy before. I never had to. But then again,
Mack never has either, or at least I didnt think he needed to.
Hes around my age, a little less rich, but still pretty handsome.
Ive never seen him struggle bringing a woman home before.
If hes paying for it from these people, it must be serious. Still,
the idea of paying for it just seems so strange and foreign to me.
The day passes quickly as I dive back into work. Its one forty-
five by the time I look up again and have to practically run
downstairs to get into the company car that takes me over to
Lucianos, a little Italian place on the edge of town.
Im uncertain as I climb out of the car and instruct the driver to
wait for me. I dont think Ill stay the whole lunch, considering
the mountain of paperwork I have back at the office waiting for
me. Besides, this whole thing is about prostitutes, and Im just...
not that interested.
I feel strangely nervous as I step into Lucianos. Im not sure
why, since Mack is one of my closest friends, but theres
something about this whole thing that has me on edge. The
hostess points me to a private booth in the back corner, away
from the normal lunch crowd.
I slide into the booth across from Mack. Didnt think youd
show, he says.
I keep my appointments. He grins and we shake hands.
Mack has that young boyish charm about him. His beard is close
cropped and trimmed, and he always looks very put together. I
remember when he first got started, the guy couldnt wear
anything but sweatshirts and jeans. Now hes in a three-piece
suit with an expensive watch. Its almost like that programmer
punk from back in the day doesnt exist anymore.
Ive changed over the years, too. Im just as driven as I once was,
but all my youthful naivet has been beaten out of me. You dont
get this far in business without learning how the world works
and how to master it. That inevitably changes a man.
So, whats good here? I ask him.
The martinis. He grins.
Cant. I have work to do.
I bet. All the more reason. Mack signals at the waitress and
she brings over two drinks, obviously already prepared.
I sigh and take mine, thanking her, and take a sip. Its a good
martini, and I cant help but wonder why Mack is buttering
me up.
Okay, Ethan, he says. Before you yell at me, just listen.
I raise an eyebrow. I wasnt going to yell.
You have that look.
What look?
You know the one. He smirks at me. Its the Im a
disappointed CEO look. Doesnt work on me, but it can be
fucking intimidating anyway.
Didnt know I had a look, I say, laughing. But go ahead. Give
me your pitch.
He leans toward me, getting serious all of a sudden. The pitch is
simple. You wont be disappointed.
I raise an eyebrow. Thats it?
He nods. Thats it. If you do this thing, you wont be
disappointed.
Im a little disappointed right now. I expected some kind of
hard sell.
I dont need to, he says, shrugging. Truth is, youre lucky to
get invited.
Lucky? I give him a look. I dont need to pay for pussy,
you know.
Oh, I know that. He sips his martini and eyes me. But thats
not what were talking about.
I pause, not sure what he means. The text said an auction,
I say.
Its an auction and its for women, but its not just for pussy.
What else to they do? I ask. Clean your house?
Maybe, he says, a serious look on his face. Truth is, man,
theyll do whatever you want. For as long as youre paying. And
these girls, theyre beautiful. Untouched. Unspoiled. Theyre not
a bunch of old pros. Theyre... special.
I cant help but laugh and shake my head. Hes talking like hes
in love with these girls or something. Theyre still just people,
just women, and I cant imagine that theyre anything amazing.
I have to admit, I was picturing a bunch of old and used-up
hookers, but thats probably not fair. High-end escorts tend to
be young and beautiful. But hes making it sound like these are
real virgins or something like that.
Have you gone? I ask him.
Absolutely.
Why? I ask, mystified. You dont have trouble bringing
women home.
Its hard to explain, he says softly. When you buy these
girls... you own them. Its like every fantasy youve ever had all
rolled into one, and you get them for as long as you want them.
I dont have time to buy anyone, I say, laughing again,
although Mack doesnt find it funny. This just isnt the time.
This is the perfect time. Whoever you bring home will be there,
in your house, waiting for you. If you dont touch her, thats your
choice, and it wont matter. This is no work, no fuss, no bullshit.
Just an attractive companion thats down for anything.
I have to admit, hes making it sound enticing. Maybe its the
martini, but I do like the idea of a beautiful woman waiting for
me to come home, ready to be dominated and willing to do
whatever I ask of her.
I finish my martini in one quick motion. Last question. This
Syndicate. Are they dangerous?
He nods once. They are. But only if you cross them. If you
decide not to attend, just delete the message and never speak of
this again. Including to me.
Youre serious? I ask.
Im very serious.
Okay then, I say. This is the last time well talk about it. I
slide out of the booth and stand up.
Youre making a mistake, Mack says.
Im not so sure that I am.
You are. He stares me in the eye. Go to the auction. Trust me.
You wont regret it.
I watch him for a second. Ill see you later, Mack.
He nods and goes back to his martini as I leave the restaurant
and head back outside. The driver is still waiting for me, and I
climb into the back of the car.
For the rest of the day, I cant stop thinking about what Mack
said. He seemed so earnest, so serious, and its hard to ignore
that sort of thing. Mack isnt the type of man to bullshit or
exaggerate. If he says something is a certain way, you can be
pretty damn sure that its a certain way.
Which makes it so intriguing. Even more than that, the fact that
The Syndicate is dangerous, and how seriously he takes them,
makes me even more fascinated. This is a secret world hiding
underneath our world, and Im being given a glimpse. I can
choose to turn back and ignore it all, or I can dive in and join it.
I dont know why I cant get it out of my head. I have been
stressed lately, very stressed, and maybe a little meaningless sex
will do me good. I could use the release at the very least. Mack
makes it sound like a gift from heaven or something like that,
and maybe hes right.
Its around two in the morning by the time I finish my days
work and break out a bottle of whisky. I pour a drink into a glass
and kick my feet up on my desk. Theres a couch against the far
wall and my own private bathroom with a shower, and I know Ill
be sleeping on that couch and showering in that shower again
tonight. I could go home, but I have to be here at five anyway. No
point in wasting time that I could be using on sleep.
But I dont feel like sleeping. I read the message on my phone
again and go over the conversation with Mack as I sip my drink. I
keep picturing women, beautiful women, but thats not all. I
keep seeing this one perfect girl in my head. Shes petite, quiet,
maybe even a little shy, but sexy as all hell. Shes willing to do
anything for me. Shell let me dominate her, control her, work
her body, and shell give back as much as she possibly can.
And all I have to do is show up and buy her. No work beyond
that. No messy flirting or awkward ending. I buy her, we spend
our time together, and then its over. No attachment and no
issues.
The idea of paying for sex still seems strange to me, but I cant
help myself. Everything is pushing me toward this moment. I get
out my phone and text the number back, agreeing to their terms.
I sit there, staring at my phone, not sure what I just did.
But most of all, Im excited at the prospect of entering into
something new. I dont know what will happen next, but Im
trusting Mack. I hope Im not disappointed.
2

ARIA

I dont know what Im doing here.


I cross my arms nervously, too aware of my own body,
almost mortified of the dress Im wearing. Its black, dark like
my long hair, and makes my blue eyes look even brighter. Its
tight and low cut in the front and back and leaves very, very little
to the imagination.
Thats the point, of course, but still. All of the other girls around
me are wearing similar dresses, except theyre all gorgeous.
Dark-skinned girls, light-skinned girls, red hair and blonde hair
and everything else. The girls are from everywhere imaginable,
and theyre all absolutely beautiful.
Except me, of course. I feel too plain to be standing in this room.
Im just a normal waitress, for fucks sake! Sure, Ive been living
with the girls for a couple weeks, but that doesnt make me
like them.
I dont know how I ended up here, in this place. Its not that bad,
honestly. The Syndicate offered me very, very good terms and
they treat me very well. They havent pushed me into anything
and it was my choice to enter into this auction. I still cant
believe its come to this, but Im desperate, so desperate, and
Im willing to do whatever I have to do to survive.
I need money, and I need it fast. Its as simple as that. I have no
other choice but to enter into a contract with a strange man. Ill
do whatever I have to do to get paid.
The room is actually very nice. Its like a lounge area, with tables,
chairs, and couches all over. Its richly furnished and theres a
bar toward the back offering free drinks. We were told not to get
too drunk, or else wed be tossed out, and so most of the girls are
just nervously sipping their drinks. I can tell most of them are in
the same position as me, very uncomfortable and unsure of
themselves, but some seem like theyre regulars.
I bite my lip and look down at the lovely carpet, not sure what to
do with myself. Were meant to pass time in this room until our
name is called. Once were called, we go out into the auction
room. I was told that Im supposed to just stand there and look
straight ahead. I wont even see the men that are bidding on me
until its all over.
So Ill see the man that buys me for the first time only after Im
sold to him.
I can leave at any time. The Syndicate doesnt keep us here
against our will. They made it clear that they dont want girls
that will make trouble, and everyone has been vetted to the
highest level possible. My demons almost kept me out of this
place, but in the end they decided that they liked me enough to
let it slide.
I dont know why, but Im happy they did. I think.
At the end of this, I might walk away with enough money to pay
off my debts completely. I can leave at any time, so this could
easily be a one-time deal. The girl that recommended me said
that Id end up wanting to do it forever once the money started,
but I dont know about that.
Nervous?
Im pulled out of my thoughts and look to my side. A gorgeous
girl with blonde hair smiles at me. Shes a little taller than me
and wears a tight blue bodycon dress. She looks beautiful and for
a second, she makes me a little self-conscious.
Yeah, I admit. I cant help it.
She smiles. Me too.
What are you nervous about? Youre gorgeous.
She laughs lightly. Thanks. But Ive never done this before.
Really? I ask. I havent, either.
Please. You look way too sexy to be a first timer like me.
I am, I say, suddenly relieved that someone is talking to me.
Over toward the door, another name is called out, and a tall girl
walks out of the room.
Im Lisa, my new friend says.
Aria.
Pretty name. She looks around the room. How do you think...
this works? she asks.
What do you mean?
I mean, what if nobody bids on me?
Oh, I say. I dont know. I guess you just go home.
Can it be that simple?
I shrug. So far, I think so. Theyre nice.
They are very nice, she says. Did you know that only rich
men can bid on us?
I didnt, actually, I say, a little surprised.
Yeah, thats what I heard. This is only for very wealthy men.
Its why were treated so well. They dont want a bunch of abused
girls getting involved with these men. Were supposed to be
professionals.
I dont feel like a professional, I admit. I just feel nervous.
Yeah, she says, laughing lightly. Me too. But well get
through this, right?
I nod. Right. Of course.
Just talking a little bit to Lisa loosens me up a little bit. She
smiles at me. Well talk later. Good luck. Theres a glass of wine
with my name on it.
Thanks. You too.
She walks off toward the bar and I watch her go. My mind drifts
back to the task at hand and the temporary reprieve from the
nervousness is suddenly gone, and it floods back in.
But I dont have long to wallow in it, because a couple minutes
after Lisa walks away, the man at the door calls my name.
Aria!
It pierces through me like an arrow. I freeze, unable to breathe,
as I stare at the man. He looks around the room for a second,
eyebrow cocked, and I cant move. Im petrified.
Aria! he says again. Youre up!
I take a step. And then another. And soon I find myself walking
quickly toward him. Being careful in my high heels. They make
my ass look great but they hurt my feet like crazy. He nods and
takes my elbow.
This is easy, the man says. Hes young, maybe in his thirties,
with a long ponytail and a thin face. Im going to put you in a
room right in the middle. Then a bunch of lights will come on.
You stand there and wait. Men will be looking at you, so dont
pick your nose. Youll be asked to turn, please obey. When its
done, youll be taken into another room where youll meet your
client. Understand?
I understand, I say. But how long will they get me?
Lets see, he says, looking at his clipboard. Youre up for...
one month.
One month? I ask, surprised.
Thats the minimum amount. He shrugs. Youll do fine.
One month, I repeat, shocked. I assumed it was for a few days,
maybe a couple weeks. But a whole month?
I dont have a chance to argue, because we step into another
room and he takes me into the middle. He places me there.
Good luck, he says. Theyre watching now.
He turns and leaves. The room is dark, very dark, except for
some lights in the floor. I think there are mirrors all around me,
but I cant be sure. I see vague outlines of figures, maybe ten of
them. A minute later, a bright light flares on, spotlighting me
and blinding me to everything else.
I can hear some murmuring, like conversations happening far
away, but I cant understand them. I fold my hands in front of
me and wait, trying not to freak out.
What the hell am I doing? I dont know the first thing about
being an escort, let alone being one for an entire month. They
explained it to me at the beginning, that Id be bought by a man
and that Id do whatever he wants for however long he gets me.
Id take home seventy percent of the money, which is generous
considering how much were sold for, although Im not really
sure exactly how much that is. I assume its a lot, but I dont
really know anything.
Then, once Im bought, I service him. Some men want sex, some
want companionship, and very rarely men want something in
between. Im to provide whatever he needs. That will be my job
for the duration of my stay with him. Im his property.
Unless he hits me, hurts me, or threatens me in any way that
makes me uncomfortable. I can text a number thats basically
my SOS with The Syndicate, and theyll come help me if
anything strange happens. Theres another number that I text
just saying that Im okay, and if I dont contact them at least
once a day, theyll send someone to check on me.
In short, Im safe, and Im about to be some mans property. I
can hear more talking, but I dont know what theyre saying. I
wish I could hear them. I wish I could see them.
What if hes unattractive? I can fake it, of course. I can handle
that. But what if he wants something that I cant do? Its
possible that I wont make him happy. I dont want to fail at
this. I have no other options.
Aria, please turn.
The voice is sudden and startles me. After a second, I turn
around.
Spread your legs, please.
I obey, spreading my legs wide.
Thank you. Turn back around and stand naturally, please.
I listen again, turning all the way around and get back into my
normal stance. I feel strange. I thought I might feel like a piece
of meat, but because I cant see the men that are bidding on me,
I dont really feel like theyre even out there.
But I know they are. This dress, these heels, I never wear this
sort of clothing. Im a simple girl, never had much money.
Especially after my demons pushed me into hole after hole and
dug me into this pit of bad debt that I find myself in now.
The lights drop off as suddenly as they had come on and a side
door opens. I blink, trying to get my vision back, and that man
with the ponytail is back.
This way, he says softly, taking my arm.
What happened? I ask, suddenly panicking. Did I make a
mistake?
No, he says, and I can see that hes smiling. Not at all. You
did great.
Really?
Really. I think youll be pleased, actually.
What do you mean?
Youll see.
He leads me down another hallway, past large paintings and
statues, and places me into another room. Its a lounge room,
like the one before, but much smaller and without a bar. Theres
one table and some couches.
Go ahead and have a seat, he says. Your client will be
in soon.
My client? I ask. Someone bought me?
Someone bought you.
How much did he pay?
The man smiles. Be patient. Hell be here soon.
He leaves and Im left alone. I sit down at the table, heart
hammering in my chest.
Someone really bought me. I have to admit, I never thought
someone really would. Not after seeing all those other beautiful
girls in the other room. Theyre the kind of women that I
thought men would want, not a plain girl like me. Im five foot
three and nothing special. My dark hair is thick and long, which I
think is my best feature, although boyfriends have told me that
its my ass. I dont really know about that. I havent had a
boyfriend in a few years now. Im twenty-four, didnt go to
college, and wasted the prime years of my life.
I tap my nails on the tabletop, nervous as hell, not sure what to
expect. Frankly, Im afraid. The man that comes through the
door will be the man that owns me for the next month. What if I
hate him? I dont know what Im going to do. I dont know how I
can do this for a whole month. Im going to be someones toy,
someones property. Im going to submit to him because I need
this money, and this is the best way I could find to get it.
Im freaking out and I know it, but I cant help myself. Its
overwhelming and so new. I want to get up and run away, get the
hell out, but I know whats waiting for me out in the real world is
much worse.
I need this. Its that simple. I cant run away.
As I look up, the door slowly opens. My heart starts to beat
erratically out of nerves and I feel like I might faint.
And then he steps into the room.
Tall and broad. Bright green eyes. Handsome as hell. He looks
muscular under that perfectly tailored suit. Hes young, maybe
in his early thirties, and I cant help but stare at him.
This is the man who owns me. I know it deep down inside of me.
He smiles at me and shuts the door behind him.
This cant be real. Hes too handsome. Hes way too handsome,
and young, and gorgeous, and oh crap, hes looking at me with
this sexy cocky grin thats driving me insane.
Hello, Aria, he says, his voice rich and deep. My name is
Ethan. And I just spent a lot of money to make you mine.
I can only nod, heart hammering in my chest, and I feel like I
might pass out at any second.
3

ETHAN

T
around her.
he first time I saw Aria, she was standing in the
middle of a stage with lights glowing down all

She looked perfect. Thats the only way I can describe it. The way
she folded her hands in front of her and looked nervously at the
ground made me instantly fascinated by her. I didnt expect to
actually bid, and really thought I wasnt going to, not until I
actually hit the button and wrote down a number.
The girls before Aria were all beautiful but none of them
interested me. Id seen women like them before, slept with
women like them before, and I wasnt interested in trying them
again. They were too confident and too conventionally pretty.
Aria was beautiful as well, but in a different way. Her long, thick
hair framed her thin, pale face and made her blue eyes that
much brighter. I couldnt help but stare at her body as they had
her spin around.
It was totally surreal. I was alone in my own little vestibule with
a small computer screen in front of me. I could see the starting
bid and I watched as men began to put money down on her. As
soon as I saw that other men wanted her, I knew that I had to
have her. I couldnt let some other bastard take her home, not
when I couldnt be sure how theyd treat her.
It was a moment of insanity, but I wrote an absurdly high
number and submitted it. There was a pause and then my bid
was accepted. No other bids came through, and a minute later I
won the auction.
After Aria left the stage, I was escorted out of my room by the
same young woman that brought me in there. She took me down
a series of hallways and left me outside of a room, saying that
Aria is in there and that I can go in any time. She handed me a
sheaf of papers with the winning bid amount on it and what
appeared to be a contract.
Then she left, and thats how I find myself standing outside of
this room, my heart pounding.
I cant believe how nervous I am to meet her. Ive met thousands
of beautiful women in my life and slept with a fair number of
them, too. But Ive never felt this nervous before. Its absurd.
I own her. I bought this beautiful girl to keep for a month. I have
responsibilities that were all described to me beforehand, like
making sure shes fed and clothed and made comfortable. She
has to be able to contact her people once a day, or else theyll
come looking for her. And they physically check on her a few
times as well, to make sure shes not being abused. If I break
terms, there will be consequences, though they didnt say what
kind of consequences.
I dont plan on hurting her. I dont know what I really plan on
doing with her, to be totally honest. I dont want to fuck some
girl that I bought and who has to do what I want. Thats not fun,
not at all.
As I stand there, it suddenly occurs to me what I have to do.
If Im going to sleep with her, she has to want it. I cant just take
her because I paid for her. Theres no fun in that, and it makes
me feel incredibly uncomfortable just thinking about it.
I know what I need to do. I have to seduce her. I have to make her
want to do it.
Thats going to be hard. Shes an escort and its not likely that
she genuinely wants to fuck her clients. Shes doing all of this
for money, and I have to convince her to do it for sheer pleasure.
I have a month to pull it off. Maybe Ill even get some
companionship out of this deal if she is never seduced. Itll be
hard to know when she truly wants it, since its her job to make
me feel like she does, but Im a good judge of character.
Its how I got so far in business. I can read people and
understand what they really want from life. I know how to give it
to them and how to take it away. I have to assume that Ill be
able to see through her bullshit and truly understand when she
wants me and when shes just putting on a performance for the
man that bought her.
I can feel my nervousness slowly recede as I begin to plan how
Im going to do this. I feel good having an idea and theres an
excitement coursing through me, beneath all the uncertainty.
I havent felt excited in months, not since work got insanely
busy. But now I feel it, deep down in my core, and I cant wait to
see what I can do with this woman. With my new toy, my Aria.
I take a deep breath then open the door. I shut it softly behind
me before facing her, a grin spreading out across my face.
Shes gorgeous. Way more fucking gorgeous in person. She looks
about as nervous as I felt standing outside, which makes me feel
so much more comfortable. Shes smaller than I expected, too,
which I really like. I like that I am physically dominant and larger
than she is. I love her small, perky breasts and her hips and her
thick ass, her body is perfect.
And I love the look on her face. This is the first time shes
actually seeing me. I bet she expected some old, fat rich guy with
no hair and halitosis. Instead, shes getting me, and I can tell she
already likes it.
Hello, Aria, I say. My name is Ethan. And I just spent a lot of
money to make you mine.
She nods, her eyes wide. She looks like she might pass out, so I
pour her a glass of water from the side table and place it in front
of her. She takes a few sips before putting it back down.
Thank you, she says.
I put out my hand and she places hers in mine. We shake softly.
Good to meet you, I say.
You too, she answers, looking away.
I sit down across from her and place the contract down on the
table between us. There are pens in a small holder at the edge of
the table and I cant help but smile to myself. These people are
professionals.
Are you nervous, Aria? I ask her, knowing the answer.
Yes, she admits. I find that endearing.
Why?
Ive never done this before.
I raise an eyebrow, a little surprised. Never?
Never, she confirms. Ive never been an... escort before.
Interesting. I lean back in my chair and watch her, studying her.
She does look more nervous than I expected and shes having a
hard time making eye contact, probably from her nervousness.
Finally, I get her to look at me, and she smiles.
What? she asks.
Just looking at you. Youre not what I expected.
What did you expect?
I dont know, I admit. This is my first time, too.
Really? She sits up. Youve never bought an, uh, escort
before?
Never, I say. Youre my first.
Well then. Im glad we can do this for the first time
together, then.
Me too, I say. She smiles and I cant help but feel warm
toward her.
Whats this? she asks, taking the contract.
Im not totally sure. I think were supposed to sign it.
She starts reading over it and I study her as she does it. Her eyes
narrow a bit and she subvocalizes ever so slightly. That suggests
to me that she needs glasses normally, and they probably
wouldnt let her wear them. I make a note of that for the future.
She looks up at me and smiles, blushing. Youre watching me,
she says.
Sorry. Does that make you uncomfortable?
No, I mean, this is just weird.
I laugh. Very weird, I agree.
Did you read this yet?
Not yet. I glanced at it in the hallway. Most of it seems like
pretty standard legal stuff, NDA and the like.
NDA?
Non-disclosure agreement. I use them a lot.
What do you do? she asks, cocking her head.
I founded World Line. Have you heard of it?
She perks up again. I know that company. You guys
manufacture a bunch of stuff. Lots of medical equipment.
Thats right. Im surprised you know that.
I wanted to be a doctor for a long time.
What happened? I ask, and regret it immediately.
She looks down at the contract. Life, she says, and I feel like
an asshole. She goes back to reading, the moment lost
between us.
What a stupid question to ask. I know shes clearly not a doctor,
though I cant help but wonder why shes doing this. From what
I can tell, shes normal, though very attractive and intelligent. I
dont know her at all though, and people have their reasons. Its
just another mystery Ill have to unravel. I want to get to know
the real girl sitting across from me, not just the girl shes going
to pretend to be. I dont want her to be some slave that makes
me happy. I want to own her completely, not just because Ive
spent money on her.
Its a dangerous feeling, but I cant help myself. She finally
makes it through the contract and signs her name at the end
before spinning it around toward me.
Thanks, I say.
Youre welcome.
She watches me as I start reading. I glance up twice before
smiling at her. Your turn to watch me? I ask.
Exactly.
I cant help but grin and she smiles back. Ive tasted my own
medicine and it is bitter.
She laughs. A friend of mine used to say that a long time ago.
Its a good one. I flick the pen, twirling it around my fingers,
an absent-minded gesture. Go ahead and watch if you want. We
might as well get comfortable with each other.
Good point, she says, and puts her chin in her hands. Dont
be shy, Ethan. Ill just sit here quietly, judging and such.
I laugh and shake my head. Shes clever and funny once you get
past her nervousness.
I go back to the contract and begin to read.
The Syndicate
Herein, Ethan Locks (The Client) and Aria Taylor (The
Seller) enter into a legally and emotionally binding contract
with The Syndicate. Breaking of any stipulation, in spirit or in
letter, results in a voiding of this contract. Consequences will be
swift and merciless. Nothing protects a bastard, a cheat, or a
thief.
The Client agrees to provide all basic needs to The Seller for the
duration of the contract, here listed as One Month. The Client
agrees not to harm The Seller without her consent. The Client
agrees to allow The Seller to contact The Syndicate at least once a
day, and The Client will submit to all inspections by The
Syndicate.
The Seller agrees to obey The Client unless it risks her safety.
The Seller agrees to do everything in her power to satisfy The
Client. This includes but it not limited to sexual favors,
housework, emotional comforts, public displays, gifts, and so on.
The Seller is owned by The Client and is bound to do her duty.
The contract goes on from there, dropping into ever more
legalistic jargon, but that opening is fascinating. Its unlike any
contract Ive ever seen, and the bit about thieves and retribution
is fascinating. The Syndicate is obviously a serious and
professional group just based on their facilities, but this contract
hints at something much more.
I skim the rest of it. Everything seems standard, laying out NDA
clauses, liability clauses, and finally payment. The amount I bid
on her is listed there at the bottom. I smile and turn the page
toward her.
Did you see this? I ask.
Aria glances down and looks back up at me. I did, she admits.
How does that make you feel?
She pauses for a second, clearly searching for words. Finally, she
says, Im not worth that much money.
I stare, surprised. I didnt expect that response, but it hints at
something much deeper to her.
Youre worth more than two million, I say.
Maybe, she says, looking away.
I watch her for a moment then turn the contract back to me. I
flip to the last page and sign it, not needing to read the rest of it.
That moment sealed it for me. I have to have this girl. I need her.
I want her more than I could ever have imagined. Not just
because Im paying two million dollars for her, but because she
fascinates me. The money is nothing. But her submission, her
obedience, her genuine seduction... thats worth it all.
Once the pages are signed, the door suddenly opens and the
young woman steps inside. Are you all ready, Mr. Locks?
she asks.
I am, I say, standing.
Good. Please, bring that contract and follow me.
I look at Aria and she smiles at me. See you later, I say.
Yeah. See you.
I smirk at her for a second longer then turn and follow the
woman out of the room.
My heart is hammering and I dont know whats going to happen
from here. I just signed that insane contract and now its official.
Im going to pay these people then take Aria home with me.
I own her. Shes mine. I bought her for an absurd sum of money
and I get to do whatever I wish with her for one month.
And I wish to seduce her until shes begging for me, genuinely
begging for me, out of her mind with desire.
4

ARIA

I feel better as soon as I get a chance to change into


normal clothes.
Meeting Ethan for the first time made me feel things I never
expected. He wasnt at all what I assumed hed be. Hes
interesting, attractive, smart, and funny. He made me feel
comfortable, despite that one tiny blip in the conversation. I
actually found myself wanting to be around him, and not just
because Im getting paid.
I still cant believe how much he spent. If I make it through this
and everything goes as it should, Ill walk away with over one
million dollars. I wont ever have to do anything like this again.
Ill pay off my debts, find a new apartment, find a new job, or
maybe even go back to school. Ill have options again. Ill be free.
But only if I get through this.
As soon as Ethan leaves, ponytail comes back and takes me into
the back rooms again. He instructs me to get changed, which I
do, and he brings my bags. Once Im in street clothes, and
feeling much more comfortable, I carry my two bags full of all
my earthly possessions out through a back door and into a big
black sedan.
Ethan is sitting in the other seat, waiting for me. Once ponytail
closes the door, I realize that Im really doing this. Im really
going home with this man.
Welcome, he says. Ready?
I nod. Im ready.
Its not a far drive. I live downtown.
Really?
He nods as the driver pulls out. We head down Broad toward the
center of the city. Its an old house. Well, six old houses. I
bought them up and renovated them a few years ago.
You live in... six houses? I cant help but laugh.
I know, its absurd. Too much space for just me. Truth is, I
spend a lot of time in the office.
Good thing Im coming to stay with you, I say, smiling.
Someone will finally give your house some use.
Thats one benefit, he says, grinning back. Truth is, I have a
full staff back at the house. They keep it all running without me.
Plus, theres Jenkins, and he lives there full time.
Jenkins? I ask.
Ethan looks a little bashful, which is incredibly endearing on
him. Jenkins is my butler.
I laugh out loud, shaking my head. Youre kidding?
Im not kidding, he says, laughing along with me. I really
have a live-in butler named Jenkins.
Thats the most clich rich person thing Ive ever heard.
I know. He grins and leans back in his seat. Its all status
stuff. I dont need Jenkins, but he does make my life easier.
How so?
Simple stuff, he says. Jenkins runs the household. Pays the
bills, manages the staff, makes sure food is ready when Im
there, makes sure nothing is wasted. Youll meet him soon.
I suddenly feel very, very nervous. We drive into a more
residential area of town, one of the richest neighborhoods in the
city. Ive been here before, of course, but only while walking
through. I live in the south part of the city, or at least I used to.
Now Im homeless, but I probably wont tell him that.
Nobody wants some homeless, ex-addict girl living in their
house. I need to keep some things secret from Ethan, because
otherwise Im afraid he wont like the truth.
The car pulls up out front of a large beautiful building. It looks
like an old brick row home, but its much wider, with many
windows. Its immaculately kept, which I assume is the work of
Jenkins.
Home sweet home, Ethan says, getting out of the car. He
comes around and helps me out, even carrying my bags. He
waves off the driver, tips him, and sends him off.
The car speeds away and we walk up the stoop. Ethan hits a
button on the buzzer, pauses a second, and then another buzzer
sounds. He pushes open the door and we step inside.
The entryway is beautiful. The floor is all hardwood, gleaming
and immaculate. Modern art is hanging on the walls. Theres a
stairwell to the right, a door to the left, and a French door to the
right, next to the stairs.
Ethan walks straight ahead and I hurry to follow him. I gape at
everything we come across. The hall opens up into a large open
space thats obviously at least two townhouses wide. Theres an
immaculately furnished living room area with a ceiling that goes
up at least two stories. Back into the other townhouse, to the left
is a large modern kitchen with beautiful appliances. I cant help
but stare all around me.
Ive never seen anything so nice in my whole life. I knew he was
rich, or at least I knew it on some abstract level. But now that
Im seeing his actual objects and the house he lives in, I can
really appreciate it.
The place looks like a museum or a high-end hotel or something.
Its absolutely spotless and nothing is out of place. As we move
into the kitchen and Ethan tosses his wallet and keys onto the
counter, a door off to one side opens and a man steps out.
Jenkins, Ethan says, smiling. We have a guest.
Do we, sir?
Jenkins is an older man, short and thin, maybe in his sixties. His
white hair is slicked back but his crystal clear blue eyes are sharp
and intelligent. He looks at me appraising, but he doesnt smile.
Nice to meet you, I say to him.
Charmed, he responds without looking at me.
This is Aria. Shes going to be staying with us for the next
month.
Jenkins pauses and I catch the slightest surprise on his face. A
month, sir?
Yes, Jenkins, Ethan says. Please prepare the second room
for her.
His surprise is even more evident. The second room, sir?
Am I speaking clearly? Ethan looks at me, smiling.
I just shrug, feeling too awkward to respond.
He sighs and looks back at Jenkins. Dont give me a hard time,
please.
Of course not, sir. He turns to leave.
And be nice to Aria, damnit! he calls out as Jenkins disappears.
He doesnt like me, I say.
Hes just an old curmudgeon. Doesnt like change.
I smile at that. You have a butler.
I have a butler.
A cranky, old butler.
Its a regular British estate. He grins at me. Want a tour?
Of course I do.
Well, right this way, miss. He offers his arm and I take it with
a laugh.
The whole house is actually six townhouses in one, three on the
front block and three on the back. There are ten bedrooms and
fifteen bathrooms plus a gym, an indoor pool, a large
entertainment room, a small theater, and more. Ethan almost
seems embarrassed as he walks me through the place, like the
extravagance is too much.
Truthfully, it almost is too much. Theres more money in this
house than Ill ever see in a lifetime, or at least that was the case
before I landed this job. I know people that live on less per year
than he has invested in end tables.
Its mind-boggling. The comfort, the wealth, the power, I just
can barely understand it all. Im exhausted and its late at night,
probably around two in the morning, and I feel like Im running
on fumes.
We finish back up in the main living room. So, what do you
think? he asks.
Its... big, I say.
He laughs. I know. Its absurd.
Do you use it all?
Hardly, he admits. Im barely even here to be honest. I have
guests staying here all the time and the place is mostly
for them.
So you live in a hotel.
He laughs, pouring himself a drink. Pretty much. He gestures
at the bottle of whisky. Want one?
Sure, I say, although I dont like whisky. He pours and hands
me the glass. I accept it and sip it.
He laughs at the face I make. You dont have to drink that if you
dont want it, he says.
Im sorry. Im not much of a whisky drinker.
Dont worry about it. He takes the glass from me and pours it
into his, making it a double.
I guess Im not sure how to act in this situation.
I know. Strange, right? He shrugs, sipping his whisky. Just be
yourself. What do you like to drink, anyway?
Wine, I say. Anything white.
Perfect. I have two thousand bottles.
Seriously?
He laughs. Seriously. Like I said, its a hotel. He walks to the
refrigerator, opens a small drawer toward the bottom, and pulls
out a white. He opens the bottle, pours me a drink, and hands
me the glass.
Cheers, he says. He clinks and sips. I look around the room,
wondering how the hell I found myself in this situation.
I dont belong here. Jenkins must have seen through me the
second I walked through that door. He knows that Im trash, that
I dont belong in a place like this with a man like Ethan.
Worse, maybe Jenkins knows what I am. That Im a hooker for
Ethan. That he bought and paid for me and now Im
contractually obligated to do whatever Ethan wants.
Not that I really mind, to be truthful. I would have gone home
with Ethan for free if he wanted me. But with the money
involved, things are different. I know I need to please him, but
Im not sure how to go about doing that.
Come on, he says finally. Lets go to your room. Itll be ready
by now.
I reach down and grab my bag but he waves me off. Jenkins will
bring that up. Come on.
I frown, leaving the bag, and follow him. We go back upstairs,
but instead of moving down the guest wing like last time, he
leads me to the right and down a short hallway.
So, this is my private wing, he says. The door at the far end is
my room. And this is yours. He stops in front of a door with the
number two on the front.
The second room, I say, smiling. Very clever.
He shrugs, grinning. Easier this way. He opens the door and
we step into the room.
Its gorgeous. Theres a bathroom on the left as we walk inside.
In the center of the room is a large four-poster bed. Theres a
small fireplace with a fire burning in it, a television with a couch
in front of it, a small table, and another room toward the back.
Bed, bathroom, living room, and theres an exercise room off
the back, he says. Balcony too, if you want to use it.
You really do live in a hotel, I say, laughing. But the nicest
hotel Ive ever seen.
He grins. Glad you like it. Youll be in here for your stay. He
walks over to the dresser and picks up a phone. Use this to call
down to the kitchen. Theres someone on staff twenty-four
seven, so if youre ever hungry, just call and ask. You can also
request laundry service or cleaning if you want. Really, call and
ask for whatever and Jenkins will make it happen.
Are you sure? I ask. I bet hell conveniently forget my
requests.
Probably, Ethan says, grinning.
I walk over to the bed and run my hand down the comforter. Its
beautiful and soft, the sort of bed Ive always dreamed about as a
little girl.
This is too much, I say finally. Really, Ethan. I can stay in
something simpler.
Im contractually obligated to provide you with all of this, he
says, and walks over to me. Besides, I want to spoil you.
I turn toward him, my heart beating fast, and I take a sip of my
wine to cover my embarrassment.
Its why youre here, he says to me, stopping close. I want to
spoil you rotten, Aria. I want to give you things. But most of all, I
want to make you feel things you never expected.
Like what? I ask, a little breathless.
He steps close to me, his body inches from mine. His hand rests
on the small of my back as his lips come closer to mine. I think
hes going to kiss me, but instead he veers to the side, stopping
next to my ear.
If you have to ask, youre not ready to hear the answer, he says
softly, and I feel a chill run down my spine.
He pulls back, giving me this devilish smile, and I want him to
come back. I want him to tell me what hes going to make me
feel. Im flushed and excited, and I can feel my pussy is already
tingling and dripping wet. Its crazy that I feel this way. Its
supposed to be just a job, but Ethan isnt work. Hes charming
and gorgeous.
Good night, he says, turning away.
Wait, I say. Dont you...?
What? he asks, cocking his head.
I looked away, frowning. Nothing.
He walks toward the door and I watch him go, wishing hed stay.
As he opens it, he pauses and turns back to me.
Oh sorry, I do have one rule for you. Stay in this room. If you
want to leave it, you have to get permission from me.
Understood?
Okay, I say, nodding.
I wont keep you prisoner, of course. And if you want books,
magazines, movies, a computer, anything, just ask. But dont
leave without permission.
I nod. Thanks, I say.
Sleep tight, Aria.
He leaves the room before I can respond.
I down my wine, place the glass on a side table, and then collapse
onto the enormous bed. I burrow down into the covers, put my
face in the beautiful and immaculate pillow, and I scream.
I cant believe that Im here. I laugh and scream into the pillow
and laugh some more, completely overwhelmed with my
situation. Once I get that out of my system, I quickly explore the
room. The gym in the back is pretty nice with a treadmill, a little
TV, some weights, and a bench press. The balcony overlooks the
city and I realize that Im on the third floor. The view is
incredible.
I step back inside and notice that my bags were discreetly
delivered while I was outside on the balcony. I walk over to them
and begin to unpack, frowning at my meager possessions.
I dont know what I want or what Im going to do, but I have to
try and enjoy this. Ethan could still be some kind of serial killer
or something like that, but I doubt it. I think the real problem is,
I cant believe that Im in this place and with this man, and I
dont think I deserve any of it.
But if I get through it, Ill make over a million dollars. If I live
frugally and am smart, I can be set for life. I can afford to go to
nursing school, or even go all the way back and start at the
beginning to become a doctor.
Anything is possible after this. I just need to figure out Ethan
and give him what he likes.
Because there was one clause in that contract thats been
bothering me since I signed. One very important clause.
If I dont please him, The Syndicate wont pay me.
Ethan gets a partial refund. But The Syndicate wont give me a
dime. Even if there are still hundreds of thousands, I wont see a
dime if I dont please him.
I climb into bed, trying to figure him out. I need to start being
better at this and fast. So far, Ive been myself, which is dorky
and clumsy and stupid. I need to up my game and work on him.
But for now, Ill just enjoy this the best I can. In the morning, Ill
see what I can do.
5

ETHAN

I finish cooking the eggs and plate them on the large


platter. My cook, Michelle, looks on from the counter,
smiling and sipping her coffee.
This is a first, she says as I finish up. You cooking and me
watching.
Youre enjoying this too much, I say.
She shrugs. Michelle is in her fifties, rotund and possibly my
favorite person in the world. Shes been working for me ever
since I started making serious money, about two years before
Jenkins came. I dont know how I could manage my life without
her. Its very rare that I want to actually cook for myself, but
when I do shes always around for a chat and some tips. I havent
cooked anything in a couple years, though. Ive been too busy.
Today feels different, though. Its around six in the morning and
I know Aria is probably asleep, so I want to surprise her. Im not
sure why. I just want to spoil her.
Its been a while since Ive seen you cook, thats all, she says.
Cooking is good for you. Good for the spirit.
Of course youd say that, I respond, grinning.
Look at you. Youre practically glowing. She leans toward me
over the counter. I assume this is all for her. She gives me a
knowing look.
Gossip moves fast, I see, I say, frowning.
What can I say, Ethan. You brought a woman home.
So? I bring women home all the time.
But they dont stay until the next morning. And they definitely
dont get the second best room in the house.
I sigh, not wanting to engage in this, but I do need to say
something. Aria is going to be in the house for the next month
and the staff is going to be curious.
I trust all of them. Theyve had opportunities to spread gossip in
the past, but they never have. The ones that were more loose-
lipped were fired a long time ago, and things are in a very good
place right now. But still, I need to tell them something.
Her name is Aria, I say. And shes going to be staying here for
a month.
Michelle looks surprised, her eyebrows raised in little arches. A
month?
One month. The staff is to treat her as if she owns the place.
Any request will be granted. Understood?
She nods, a bewildered smile on her face. Yes, sir. Right
away, sir.
I sigh. Just be good to her, okay?
She nods, face softening. Ill make sure she feels welcome.
Thank you. I put a cup of coffee on the tray and heft it up in
my arms. I carry it over to a little cart, put it down, and head over
to the elevator. I hear Michelle getting started on the dishes,
which makes me smile. There are some nice perks to being rich.
I get into the service elevator and ride it up to the third floor. I
feel like a bellhop as I wheel the cart down my own hallway,
stopping outside of Arias door. I knock softly then open the
door. I wheel the cart inside and shut the door behind me.
Aria is sitting up in bed, sheets wrapped around her, and I stop
for a second, taken by her. The night before she was all done up
for the auction and was absolutely gorgeous, but this morning
she looks simply like herself. Her hair is a bit messy and shes
not wearing any makeup.
And shes beautiful. Fucking gorgeous. She smiles slightly which
makes my heart race as I wheel the food into the main room,
stopping next to her bed.
Good morning, she says.
Morning. I gesture at the tray. Breakfast in bed.
Her smile gets bigger. Is this going to be a normal thing?
I shrug and cross my arms. It can be, if you want.
She looks at me strangely. I dont understand this.
Whats confusing about breakfast?
I mean... She trails off. All of this. She gestures at the room.
Why give me this?
I smile at her and sit on the edge of the bed. I reach out and
gently run my fingers through her hair. She watches me with her
gorgeous wide eyes.
I told you, I say softly. I want to spoil you.
I dont mind being spoiled. She smiles.
Im going to keep you in here. In this room. And Im going to
spoil you as much as I can.
If thats what you want, she says softly, watching me.
Youre my pet now, Aria, I say. Im going to keep you in this
little cage and use you however I want.
Okay, she says, practically a whisper. I can feel excitement
coursing through my body and as I look at her, I wonder if she
feels the same thing.
Her face looks excited. I can see a slight flush in her cheeks and
her breath comes quickly. But I dont know if thats because she
wants me as much as I want her, or if its because shes just good
at what she does.
Are you hungry? I ask.
It smells really good, she says.
I made it myself, actually.
Really? She laughs lightly and takes the mug of coffee from
the tray. A rich man that cooks and looks good in the
morning.
I laugh and take the second mug, sipping the coffee. I do what
I can.
I could get used to it.
Good. Thats what I want. I nod at the food. Go ahead
and eat.
She reaches out and takes a piece of toast, biting down into it.
She chews for a second and seems to realize that shes actually
hungry as she reaches out for a fork.
I have to go to work soon, I say. Youll be stuck in this room
all day.
Thats okay, she says. Its a big room. She eats some eggs
and smiles huge. This is really good.
Butter, I say. And a little whole milk.
She laughs. You really are spoiling me.
Only way to make eggs. I grin at her. Like I said last night,
you can have whatever you want. But you still have to get
permission to leave this room from me directly. Understand?
Okay, she says. Thats fine.
Good. I watch her eat for a moment, trying to see past her
exterior. I cant tell if shes enjoying it or if shes eating just to
please me.
Thats going to be the problem. Im going to have to be on my
game when it comes to her if I want to really see past her acting.
Shes meant to do everything she can to please me, which means
shes going to suppress her own desires to do what I want.
To an extent, I expect that. I expect her to obey my rules. But I
dont want her to simply do what she thinks I want her to do.
I need her to want this. That brings me more pleasure than she
could possibly know.
I stand up and she watches me as I move across the room. Have
a good day, my pet, I say to her. I watch her reaction to the little
nickname, and smile with satisfaction.
She clearly doesnt like it.
Have a good day, she says.
I cock my head at her, grinning, but decide not to say anything. I
turn and head back out into the hallway, smiling to myself.
Shes already acting, but I can see through some of it. Im going
to figure her out and soon Ill give her exactly what she wants.
She wont be able to resist showing herself to me.
Only when shes completely stripped bare in front of me will I
finally give her what she really needs. I grin to myself and cant
think about anything else on the entire trip into the office.
6

ARIA

I lean back against the headboard as soon as Ethan


leaves the room, ignoring the food beside me. Its not
that I dont like breakfast, I just dont normally eat much in the
morning. I finish the toast and coffee at least before wheeling
the cart back out into the hallway. Im careful not to actually
leave the room as I push it outside.
Once thats done, I go into the bathroom and start the shower.
Its a gorgeous bathroom with a full vanity, whirlpool tub, and
huge shower. Everything is tiled in beautiful mosaic patterns,
and part of me feels like the toilet itself should be solid gold.
Its not, of course, and I get into the shower to wash myself. I
feel like Im cleaning days worth of grime from my body even
though I showered the night before, just as the auction was
about to begin.
Showers can be hard for me sometimes. It feels good, but its
strange. I can still remember waking up in a shower, half naked,
my body bruised and battered and wondering where the hell I
am. That was one of the lowest points in my life when I realized
what I did just to score some drugs.
It was when I was lying on the floor of that shower, half
conscious of what had happened, that I realized I was at rock
bottom. It was the lowest point of my life. And I cant help but
think about it every time I get in the shower.
Im disgusted by the person I was. Ive been clean for two years
and have no plan to go back, but I still feel that stupid junky deep
inside of me, begging to get out.
I made mistakes. Ive been weak and frail and stupid before. But
I pulled myself up off that shower floor, got the fuck out of that
house, and checked myself into a rehab treatment facility.
Six months in there and I never looked back. I still owe them,
which is actually just one small part of my debt, but its one debt
that I wont mind paying off. They saved me there, saved my life,
showed me that a life without drugs is the life I want to lead.
I shut off the shower and get out, toweling myself off. I stare at
myself in the mirror and wonder how I got from the bottom of
that shower to this place. I run my fingers over the marble
countertop and although I know that Im just this mans
plaything, I cant help but imagine that Im something more.
I cant let myself indulge in that, though. Ethan doesnt care
about me. He just wants to play a game. He wants me to be his
pet and to stay in this room. Sure, hes spoiling me, but its still
his game that I have to play. He doesnt want Aria, he doesnt
want the real me. He would turn and run the second he found out
about me.
But maybe I can pretend, at least for a little while. Ill have to
pretend harder than I have been so far. I need this to go well.
Once Im dry enough, I wrap a towel around me and head back
out into the main room. I look around for my bags, but I dont
find them anywhere.
Instead, the drawers have clothes already in them, but theyre
not my clothes. There are bras, panties, and some tops and
bottoms. In the closet, several dresses hang, and it all looks to be
in my size. For a second I panic, afraid that he took away my
phone and my things. If I dont have my phone, I cant contact
The Syndicate, and that would be bad.
But tucked in the back corner of the closet are my bags. I breathe
a sigh of relief as I fish out my phone and shoot a text to the
number they gave me, just letting them know that Im fine and
taken care of.
When thats done, I go back into the main room and get dressed.
I put on a matching bra and panty set, looking at myself in the
mirror. I want to be pleasing to him, so I pick out a cute,
revealing top and short little jean shorts.
Once dressed, I stand there and look at the room. The clock next
to the bed says that its eight in the morning, and I realize that I
have all day to kill.
I get my laptop from my bag, but theres no open WiFi.
Nervously, I grab the phone and hit zero before listening to
it ring.
Yes? Its Jenkinss voice from the night before.
Uh, hi, its Aria, I say.
Yes? he asks again.
I, uh, was wondering if there was a WiFi password? I ask.
No internet, he says.
I pause. No internet? I repeat.
I was instructed to keep you off the internet.
I frown, disappointed. What the hell am I supposed to do all
day then?
Okay, I say. Thank you. Are there any books you could
bring up?
Of course, he says. Will that be all?
Uh, yes. Thank you.
The phone disconnects and I flop back onto the bed.
No internet, I groan to myself and roll over onto my side.
Jenkins brings up a box full of books not too long later, but he
doesnt stick around. He simply places the box outside of my
door, knocks twice, and then leaves. I pull the box inside and
start fishing through it. Theyre mostly trashy romances, but
thats good enough.
I spend most of the day reading. Its boring and slow, but its all I
have to do. Eventually I figure out how to work the television, so
I switch from reading to watching TV and back again all day long.
Jenkins brings me lunch and dinner, but thats the only human
contact I get all day.
The food is good, so at least theres that. After dinner, around
eight that night, I start getting really antsy.
I havent heard from Ethan all day. I know hes a busy man and
probably works late, but still, I thought maybe Id see him more.
He hasnt even touched me yet, although it hasnt been a full
day. Maybe hes just easing himself into it, working up to it.
Maybe he just likes a little suspense.
I dont feel suspenseful. I just feel bored.
Eventually, midnight rolls around, and Im exhausted. I turn off
the television and toss my book aside before changing into
pajamas and climbing into bed.
I stare up at the ceiling, disappointed. I thought that being an
escort was going to be more exciting than this. So far, its more
like a boring vacation. I want to make Ethan happy, not just sit
around in this room alone and read books.
Then again, this is what he told me to do. He wants me to stay in
this room and only leave with his permission. If that makes him
happy, knowing that Im safe in here, well, then I guess its what
I have to do.
Still, Im disappointed. I want to see him again. Maybe thats
silly, but I want to see his cocky smile and his handsome face. I
want to see the muscles under his perfectly fitting suit. I want
him to take me, let me please him in the way that I know Im
supposed to.
Instead, Im stuck in here. His little pet. I frown at the
nickname.
I dont really like it, but I dont really hate it, either. It just
makes me feel strange. My heart beats fast and part of me likes
the idea of being a pretty thing sitting in a cage for him, though
the other part of me doesnt want to be kept.
As I start to drift off to sleep, the phone starts to ring. Its
sudden and it pulls me from sleep with a start. I crawl over to the
side and pull it off the receiver on the third ring.
Hello? I answer, glancing at the clock. Its around one in the
morning.
Hello, pet, he says.
I smile despite myself. I was wondering if Id hear from you.
Im sorry I havent visited you today.
Thats okay.
How are you liking your stay so far?
Good, I say. The food is amazing.
You can thank Michelle for that, my cook. Youll meet
her soon.
I look forward to it. I hold the receiver between my ear and my
shoulder, twirling the cord between my fingers.
Im stuck at work, but Im thinking about you, he says softly.
What are you wearing right now?
I smile to myself. Black bra and matching panties, I say, which
is true. Though Im also wearing a white t-shirt and soft jogging
pants.
Thats all? he asks. I doubt you sleep in just that.
Who says Im sleeping? I ask, suddenly getting an idea.
Its late, he says.
I was up thinking of you, I answer.
He pauses. What were you thinking? he asks.
I was thinking about your hands on my body, I say. Im your
pet, but you havent even stroked me yet, I say.
Another pause. And you want me to stroke you? he asks.
Yes, I whisper. As soon as youre home. Im so bored
without you.
Im sure you are. He pauses again and I can feel my heart
hammering in my chest. Ill see you soon, pet. Sleep tight.
He hangs up suddenly and Im left staring at the phone, not sure
what just happened.
I tried to be sexy for him and he just hangs up on me. Like he
wasnt interested in it at all. I hang the phone up and collapse
back into bed, sighing.
Maybe I suck at this. If I cant figure out what he wants and soon,
Im going to screw it all up, and I cant afford that.
This is my last attempt. Its all or nothing for me right now, and I
cant give up. One bad phone call wont change anything.
Im going to make this man happy whether he wants me to
or not.
7

ETHAN

I
the day.
have to force myself to go to my last meeting, even
though its one of the most important meetings of

All I want to do is go home to Aria. I havent seen her since


yesterday morning. I slept in my office again last night and
because of some stupid emergency, I couldnt make it home all
day. I called her briefly last night, and again this afternoon, but
that was it.
She sounds bored. I have to admit, I figured it might take a little
longer for her to get sick of her little vacation. Maybe Ill have to
punish her for letting me know that shes bored.
Then again, I want her to be herself, so that cant fly. Ill punish
her still, but itll have to be for some other reason.
I smile to myself, imagining how Ill punish her as I walk into the
restaurant. This last meeting is with Richard Taylor, one of the
most notorious businessmen in the city. Hes a real estate guy,
and I want to buy out one of his buildings to use as my new
corporate headquarters once all this merger stuff goes through.
But hes hard to work with and has an awful reputation for being
involved with some shady ventures.
I spot Richard sitting in a booth table toward the back. I walk
directly toward him. Its interesting how being a good
businessperson very often means youre a bad regular person.
The sort of thing business demands from you usually means
youre a hard person to be around in normal circumstances.
Richard Taylor is no exception to this rule. As I approach, he
frowns and checks his watch, almost as if Im late. Im not, of
course, but hell make me feel like I am just because he showed
up early.
Ethan, he says, standing, and we shake hands.
Richard. Good to see you.
You too. Sit down, have a drink.
Nothing for me tonight, I say, waving off the waitress as she
approaches. I have to get home.
He laughs at me. You go home? I feel like I havent been home
in days.
Which is exactly why Im making it a point to sleep in my own
bed tonight, I say, smiling at him.
He nods and for a second, I wonder if my little theory about
businessmen extends to myself.
Am I just as bad as Richard is? I like to think Im not. My
employees respect me, maybe even like me. Im generous with
benefits and raises and I never yell. I pride myself on being a
good boss, because I absolutely hate bad bosses.
But Im still at the top of my game, and my personal life
definitely suffers for it. I can see myself in men like Richard, or
at least part of myself. Still, Im not like him, and wont let
myself become like him.
I have my pet at home to help keep me sane.
Well then, down to business so you can get home, he says, and
I know its a backhanded insult.
I choose to ignore it. Instead, I take out a contract weve been
discussing and we dive back in, talking about the intricacies of
the deal.
Richard is a hard negotiator, but I know he needs to sell. He took
the recession hard a few years ago, and some of his assets are
currently losing him a lot of money. This building happens to be
one of those assets. I have the capital and the ability to turn it
back into a worthwhile place, but Richard has to meet me in the
middle first.
Hes playing hardball, though. He doesnt want to budge an inch
on any of his demands, especially not on price, and every
concession I get comes at the cost of two more concessions from
my side. Its infuriating and exhausting to keep arguing about
petty details, but thats what Richard seems to want to do.
We go at it for an hour before Im finally finished for the night.
Richard is on his second martini when I lean back, shaking
my head.
Lets stop here for the night, I say to him.
Are you sure? he asks, grinning. I feel like were just making
progress.
Well resume tomorrow, I say, though I want to punch him in
the face.
Sure, fine. Whatever you want, he says. Make a meeting with
my secretary.
I know that means I probably wont see him for another week.
Richard tosses some bills on the table, clearly overpaying for his
drinks but doing it to show off. I dont really understand that,
since we both know Im worth more than he is, but it doesnt
matter. We stand and walk toward the exit together.
You and I, Ethan, were warriors, he says to me as were
walking out.
Hows that? I ask him.
This business is all a fight. And you have to be a warrior to win
it. I think you know that.
Maybe, I say. But its not all cutthroat.
It is, he says seriously. Its a war, a constant battle. You have
to kill your enemies, Ethan.
I dont like doing business that way.
Then youll lose. He grins at me, like hes making a joke, but I
know he isnt.
We stop at the front door. Okay, Richard, I say. Have a good
night. My secretary will be in touch.
Good. Enjoy being home, he says. Im back to the office.
We shake hands and I walk away with a sour taste in my mouth.
On the car ride back home, I just keep thinking about how that
bastard is going to keep pushing me. Hes going to keep making
backhanded insults and comments until this deal is finished,
just because he can. He knows he has something that I want, and
hes going to push me as far as he can.
Thats the kind of man he is. He wants to destroy things. But Im
not like that.
I want to dominate things, but I dont want to destroy them.
Thats how I feel about Aria, my little pet back home.
I want to dominate her. But I dont want to break her. Some
men, like Richard, might use her up and walk the line. But I
dont want that. Id rather spoil her, make her feel good until
shes putty in my hands, willing to do anything for me.
My heart beats fast in my chest as I finally get home and walk
inside. Jenkins takes my jacket and my briefcase. Have Michelle
send up dinner, I say to him. And bring me a whisky, please.
Of course, he says, disappearing into the kitchen.
I pause at the foot of the stairs.
Aria is up there, waiting for me. I feel a thrill run through my
body. Shes up there and shell do anything that I tell her to do.
No matter what it is, if its not hurting her, shell do it. Maybe
shell do it if it does hurt, just a little bit. Maybe she wants it
to hurt.
I can feel my cock already getting hard as I climb the steps. My
pet, my Aria, tied up to the bed. Ill slide my cock down her
throat and as I pull it back out, shell beg for more.
I have to pause outside of her door, heart beating hard in my
chest, calming myself. I cant go in there with my hard cock
trying to break through my pants.
Once Im calm, I knock twice and then open the door. I step
inside and find Aria sitting on one of the large, soft white chairs,
reading a book. She looks up at me and smiles.
Ethan, she says, and sounds genuinely excited.
Hello, my pet, I say, smiling as she tries to hide the fact that
she doesnt like that nickname. Im sorry I havent been able to
see you until now.
Thats okay. Im keeping myself company.
I smile at that. What are you reading?
This? she shrugs. Nothing. Trash.
I walk over to her and sit down in the chair next to hers. She
shows me the cover and I laugh. Its some trashy romance with a
muscular shirtless hunk on the cover by a woman named Willow
Winters.
Whats it about? I ask.
You know, the usual. Boy meets girl. Boy fucks girl until she
cant stand it. Aria shrugs.
I cant help but laugh. Sounds like great literature.
It wont win the Nobel Prize, but its good anyway.
Did Jenkins bring that?
He did, actually.
I didnt know we had that stuff in the house.
Apparently someone here loves their dirty stories.
Do you like dirty stories? I ask her.
She blushes slightly. I guess so.
What do you like about them?
I dont know, she says, looking away. I can tell that shes
embarrassed and I love it.
Tell me, I say. What do you like about them?
She pauses for a second, searching for the words. Theyre
fantasy, she says finally. Bad things happen and people dont
communicate, but the drama makes it really hot, and the
endings are always happy.
I watch her for a second, smiling at that. Its interesting that she
specifically mentioned the happy endings as something she
likes. Maybe shes looking for her own happily ever after, but
doesnt even realize it yet.
Theres a knock at the door suddenly. I stand and walk over.
Jenkins is standing out in the hall with a cart and my whisky.
Thank you, I say to him. He nods and heads back to the stairs.
I take the glass then wheel the cart into the room, shutting the
door behind me. As I take a sip and park the cart near the table,
Aria stands up and steps toward me.
Wait, I say, looking at her. What are you wearing?
This? She looks down at herself. Its just a dress.
I hadnt noticed it before, when she was sitting. Its a black dress
that hugs every inch of her body with a cutout right around her
breasts, showing just the right amount of cleavage. Its a
gorgeous dress and suits her figure perfectly, but its all wrong.
Would you wear that if you were just sitting around at home? I
ask her.
She cocks her head at me, smiling. No, of course not.
So why were you wearing it?
For you, she says.
I sigh, sipping my drink. I want you to be yourself, Aria.
I can do that, if you want.
No, I say softly, stepping toward her. I reach out and softly
take her hair in my fist. Its not about what I want.
Yes, it is, she says in a small voice.
You dont understand, I say. I want to spoil you. I want to
make you feel good, but only if you want me to. Now though...I
can tell that shes upset. I messed up, she says. Im sorry. I
shouldnt have gotten all dressed up.
We can fix it, I say gently.
How? she asks.
I let go of her hair and step back. Take off the dress, I say,
heart hammering in my chest.
She looks at me for a second. Okay, she says.
I watch as she slowly slides it off her body until shes standing in
front of me wearing nothing but a pair of black underwear.
Her body is gorgeous. Her breasts are full and her hips are
perfectly curvy. I want to order her to turn around so that I can
take a look at her beautiful ass, but I hold back.
Because I know what I want. I know how Im going to punish her.
I stare at her body and I can see the blush on her cheeks. Shes a
little embarrassed to be standing in front of me like this, letting
me stare at her, and I like that.
I think I have something else that shell like.
Do you want to get on the bed? I ask her softly. Face down,
I add.
She watches me for a second then nods. Okay, she says.
I watch as she climbs onto the bed and stays there on all fours,
looking back at me over her shoulder.
I give her a look then head into the closet to get her punishment.
8

ARIA

I m practically shaking when he comes back from the


closet holding three long strips of black silk. He smiles
at me and walks slowly toward me, and I can feel my heart
hammering hard in my chest. I dont know what hes going to do
with those long silk ropes, but I want to find out.
Flat on your stomach, he says to me simply. I pause then obey.
He walks down toward my feet, sliding his fingers along my skin.
He touches my lower back, my ass, and slides down my legs until
he stops at my feet.
He lifts my legs up, keeping my ankles crossed, and then
expertly wraps the silk around and between them.
If you want me to stop, say the word building. Do you
understand? he asks.
I nod. I understand.
He pulls the silk tight. Too hard? he asks.
No, I say. I cant move my feet as he takes the other end of the
rope and ties it to the footboard.
I try to move my ankles but Im bound tightly. He smiles and
runs his fingers back up along my body as he moves up toward
my head.
A chill runs down my spine as his fingers touch my back. I gasp
slightly and look away from him, hiding my excitement. Im
dripping wet already, just from his fingertips brushing along my
skin. He runs his fingers down my right arm, stopping at my
wrist.
What are your boundaries? he asks me as he wraps the silk
around my wrist, expertly looping it and tying it there.
Boundaries? I ask him, not sure what he means.
What wont you do? Things you dont like. Pain, for example.
I dont know, I admit. I dont really have boundaries yet.
He smiles. Good. He pulls the silk then ties it to the
headboard. Too tight? he asks.
No, I say, testing it. The bond is firm but not cutting off
circulation. He walks around the bed then runs his fingers along
my skin, from my lower back up along my left arm, ending at my
left wrist, and repeats the procedure.
This is your punishment, he says as he works. Youll be tied
and bound to this bed. Not too tight, not too uncomfortable, but
you wont be able to move. Ill be able to do anything I want
with you.
A thrill runs through my stomach and as he finishes tying my
left wrist to the headboard, I feel a moment of panic. I test my
bonds and sure enough, I cant move at all. Im totally at his
mercy.
But I remember what he said about the safe word. All I need to do
is say building and hell stop. I trust him, for whatever reason,
although the fear of him taking advantage of me makes this
whole experience that much more arousing.
I turn my head and watch him. Im flat on my stomach, ankles
crossed, arms flat on the bed and above me. I can touch the
headboard with my fingers, but Im not being stretched or pulled
out of position. Its actually comfortable if I dont move.
He stands there, admiring me, and then runs his fingers along
my back again. Youre beautiful, you know that? he says.
Thank you, I whisper, excitement coursing through me.
He stops, his fingers lingering over the cleft under my ass. I can
feel his fingers inches from my pussy and I know he can feel the
heat radiating from there. If he moves slightly further, hell feel
how dripping wet I am.
Instead, he pulls back his hand and spanks me.
I let out a soft gasp, surprised. He smiles at me. Sorry, did that
hurt? he asks.
No, I say, you just surprised me.
Good. He spanks me again, this time harder. I gasp, and it
actually does hurt. What about that? he asks.
That hurt a little bit, I say.
Perfect. He spanks me again and again. It stings, but its
dulled by the intensity of the moment. Im completely at this
mans mercy and hes spanking me like a disobedient child.
This is part of your punishment, he says. Im going to spank
you until I can see my palm prints in red on both of your perfect
white ass cheeks.
Ethan, I groan. Please. Go easy on me.
He smiles, and I can tell that he likes that. I am going easy on
you, my pet. Dont worry.
He spanks me again and again, making me groan. I try to squirm
but I cant move, cant get away. It hurts, but not very much. In
fact, its just the right amount of pain, cutting through the
insane sexual chemistry Im feeling. I want him to take me so
badly, but each new spank is intensely erotic in a way Ive never
felt before.
He finishes on the one side then goes around the bed and repeats
the procedure.
I love the feeling of this ass under my palm, he says. I like
that youre willing to lay there, moaning and taking it. Youre my
pet and you know it, dont you?
Yes, I gasp, losing myself in the game. Im your little pet.
And I shouldnt disobey you.
Thats right. This is what happens when you do. Ill tie you up
nice and tight then spank your ass.
Ethan, I gasp when he hits me harder, one last time.
He stops and steps back. He admires my ass, smiling huge.
Perfect, he says.
I squirm against the ropes again, wanting him to put his hands
back on me. He kneels down at the side of the bed and runs his
fingers through my hair.
You want more, dont you? he asks softly.
I nod my head, mouth hanging open, and I realize that its true.
Im not acting anymore. I want him to touch me. I want his
fingers between my legs, his hard cock between my lips.
Not tonight, he says, standing.
What? I ask, surprised.
No, not tonight. You dont deserve it tonight. He turns and
starts walking to the door.
Wait, I say. Ethan. Please.
He pauses. I cant see him, but I know hes nearby. I try to turn
my head, but I cant roll over.
Please, what? he asks.
I pause, biting my lip. What do I want, exactly? Do I really want
him to touch me? Maybe its better if he doesnt. I could just play
along with these games, letting him spoil me. I dont know what
he really wants, and I dont want to push him away. I dont want
to be greedy. Im afraid that if I tell him how badly I want to feel
him press his body against me, sinking his cock deep between
my legs, that Ill ruin the moment. I dont want to risk that.
Dont leave me, I say instead, hedging my bet.
I can hear the grin in his voice. You want me to untie you?
Maybe, I say. What do you want?
He pauses and I wish I could see his face. Then he walks back
over to me and unties my ankles then my wrists, one after the
other.
I sit up on my side, watching him. He puts the silk away in the
dresser by the side of the bed then crosses his arms.
Enough for tonight, he says. Dinner is on the cart. He nods
at the cart parked over by the table.
Okay, I say, suddenly afraid. Did I do something wrong? I dont
want to displease him, and I definitely dont want this to be over.
He walks over to me and takes my chin, tilting my head up
toward him, and he slowly moves down toward me. I feel a thrill,
thinking hes going to kiss me, but instead he presses his lips
against my ear.
You did well, my pet, he whispers. Well finish another
night. He moves away and leaves the room before I can say
anything.
I hear the door shut and I collapse back onto the bed, practically
panting with pent-up desire.
I cant believe how much I want it. Ive never felt this way
before, ever. Oh sure, Ive wanted sex before, but not like this. I
feel like Im hanging from a cliff, barely held up by ropes, and all
I want is for him to let me fall. Its dangerous and thrilling and
exhilarating.
And I didnt expect to feel this way. It doesnt hurt that hes so
damn attractive, but its more than that. Its the way he teases
me, taking me a little further but backing off, never giving me
what I want. I know hes in control, even if I dont want him
to be.
Part of me wanted to tear those ropes off and take him, pull him
into the bed with me, beg him to make me feel good. I knew that
would ruin everything, but still, I wanted it. I wanted it so badly I
can barely think.
I have to lay there for a while, maybe a half hour, trying to get
myself together. Eventually, I calm down enough to change my
clothes and eat the food. Its good, though its cold.
As I go to bed that night, I keep thinking about him, about Ethan
and his control. I want to understand it and get past it. I want
him to make me feel good.
I want to be his spoiled little pet.
9

ETHAN

I couldnt get the image of Aria tied up to the bed out of


my mind all the next day.
I wanted to fuck her. I cant say it any other way. I wanted to
slide my thick cock deep inside of her pussy, keeping her tied up
like that, but I couldnt let myself. Not yet, at least.
She liked it. I could tell she liked it. As soon as I put my hand
near her pussy I could feel her heat and practically taste her
dripping cunt. She was squirming for it the whole time, and not
once did I think I was pushing her too far. It was a simple little
spanking, but I could tell shes never been bound up like that
before.
I dont normally do that with women. Its true, I have a thing for
control, but I dont show that to the average woman that I bring
home. Normally I just get them off and get myself off and thats
enough. But with Aria, I know I need something more. I know
she needs it, too.
I keep picturing her perfect round ass as I spank it over and over.
I keep getting hard at my desk as I imagine my red palm prints
on her perfect, smooth white ass. It drives me fucking crazy, and
I crave release, but I know that wont help anything.
Although theres more work to be done, around eight that night I
have to go home. I cant take it anymore. I cant keep pretending
like the only thing I want to do is be at home with Aria. I call the
car, say goodnight to the few people still working late, and head
back through the city.
As I watch the houses flash by, I cant help but think about how I
dont really know her, not yet at least. I feel like I know her, but I
dont really. I dont know where she came from and even if her
real name is Aria. I suspect it might be, but Im only just
guessing. She doesnt seem like shes very good at acting, as
evidenced by her little slipups toward the end of our session, but
I cant be sure.
I decide that Im going to play a different sort of game tonight.
Maybe not exactly a game, more like something normal. Once
the car pulls up, I head right inside.
Jenkins meets me in the kitchen. Home early tonight, sir,
he says.
Yes, I am. Hows Aria?
Shes well, Jenkins says. Wanted more movies today. And
requested some skin lotion.
I grin at that. Send dinner up to her room. For both of us.
Please.
Of course. Jenkins turns and walks off.
My heart is beating fast and I realize that Im excited like a little
boy as I take the stairs two at a time. I quickly reach her door and
stop just short of barging in, gathering myself. I have to get
myself under control. I need to be calm and collected when I
see her.
Control is what separates us from the animals. We can control
ourselves, force ourselves to be calm and to do things we dont
necessarily want to do. Im obsessed with control because it
proves to me that Im above the animals, that Im greater
than them.
Except sometimes, it feels so fucking good to lose myself. All of
my worries, my troubles, they drop away and I can embrace the
animal inside of me. Thats how I feel when Im fucking, but
when Im playing these games, its a different sort of release.
I calm my heart rate and finally knock once before walking into
her room.
Aria is sitting on the small couch, curled in a little ball, watching
TV. She sits up as soon as I walk into the room and wipes her
eyes. Ethan, she says.
I stop dead and blink, surprised. Are you okay? I ask, instantly
concerned.
Oh, Im fine, she says, laughing lightly.
If theres something wrong, Ill fix it. If you dont like our
game, well change it. I take a step toward her.
She smiles and stands up. Really Ethan, Im fine. I was just
watching... a movie. She grabs the remote and turns off the TV.
What movie? I ask, taking a step toward her. Im curious about
what would make her cry.
I dont want to say.
Come on. You read trashy romances. What else can you have
to hide?
She laughs again. Okay, fine. It was Love Actually.
I grin at her. Seriously?
Its good, okay? Gets me every time.
You wimp.
Im a big sap. She laughs and sits down on the bed. Youre
here early, she says, looking at me.
I sit down on the bed next to her. I couldnt stay at work.
Rough day?
I shake my head. I just kept thinking about you.
She looks at me, and for a second I see genuine excitement in her
eyes. But it quickly passes. Really? she asks.
Really. I reach out and put my hand on her leg. Shes wearing
yoga pants and a white t-shirt, though her hair is done and shes
wearing makeup. I suspect this is her attempt at compromise.
She wants to be herself, but she still needs to play her part. Its
good enough, at least for now.
I was hoping youd have dinner with me, I say.
Of course.
You didnt eat yet?
She shakes her head. Ive always been a late eater.
Me too. Theres a knock at the door and I stand, heading over
to it. Jenkins is outside with a meal cart. I give him a little thanks
nod and take it from him, wheeling it back inside.
Aria goes to set the table up, but I wave her off. This way, I
say. I walk over to the back of the room and pull back the curtain.
I unlatch the window and pull it open, revealing the balcony.
She blinks, clearly surprised. Its gorgeous out here. I had
no clue.
Good. It was meant to be a surprise. I wheel the cart out onto
the balcony and she follows.
Theres a small table, some chairs, and the view is amazing. It
looks out across Old City, at all the historic buildings. The room-
length curtains hid this from her view and apparently she didnt
explore her surroundings too much. That tells me a little
something about her.
Its really beautiful, she says again, smiling and looking out at
the city lights.
I love it out here, I say. This is the only room with a balcony
like this.
Really? Yours doesnt have one?
I know. Horrible.
She laughs. Thats not what I meant. Its just, this house is
amazing.
I tried to keep the outside as original as possible, and this was
the only original balcony. I park the cart and begin putting our
meal onto the table. Theres a cut of steak and a baked potato for
me and what looks like a Caesar salad for her, which Im
guessing is what she asked for at some point. Michelle is very
good at learning her guests preferences.
Sit, I say, pulling her seat out, and she sits. I pour myself a
drink of whisky from the cart and sit down across from her. I sip
my drink as she starts eating.
I take a bite of my steak, but Im not really hungry. Thats not
the purpose of this little meal, anyway.
Whats your real name? I ask her suddenly.
She looks up at me, surprised. Aria, she says.
I cock my head. Really? You used your real name?
She shrugs. I didnt want to have to learn a new one. I figured
its easier this way.
Pretty name, I say, and I know shes not lying.
Thanks. One of the nicest things my mother ever gave me. Her
joke sounds rehearsed, like its one shes made many times
before, and I smile.
Were you and your mother close? I ask.
No, she says, and goes back to eating.
Interesting. Her family life is a touchy subject.
Can I ask you how you got into this business?
She shrugs again. Ill tell you. But I dont think you want
to know.
Why not?
She puts down her fork and cocks her head at me. Itll ruin the
fantasy, wont it?
Not at all, I say. Youre the fantasy, Aria. The real you.
You dont want the real me, she says, looking down at her
plate.
I lean toward her. Try me.
Im not like you, Ethan, she says. I dont have anything.
Having things doesnt make a person, I say.
Ive made mistakes.
We all have. I reach my hand out and put it on hers. You
dont have to tell me anything you dont want to tell me. But I
want you to know that I want to know, and Im not afraid of the
answers.
She looks me in the eye and I can see something there, but Im
not sure what it is. I hope she understands that Im being
sincere. I assume something happened to force her into this job.
Maybe its not a bad thing that forced her to do it, or maybe it is.
I cant really say, but I can accept it either way. We all have a
past, but I dont judge her based on that.
Still, her past can tell me things about her, and I want to know
everything there is to know. It wont change my opinion, but
maybe Ill see a fuller picture of her, get to know her in a way I
couldnt have before.
I had a boyfriend when I was twenty. He was a real asshole.
She crosses her arms over her chest as she speaks, and I can tell
thats a defense mechanism.
What was his name? I ask.
Derek, she says. He seemed so nice at first. Until one night
he convinced me to get high with him. Derek was a heroin
addict, it turned out. He still had a job and stuff, so he was
functional at that point, but it wasnt long before we were both
consumed by addiction.
I nod slowly, listening intently. So its drugs and addiction.
Thats her dark secret. I want to smile and tell her that its okay,
that Ive heard worse, maybe done worse, but I dont. I just listen
and take her seriously.
Things got bad for a while. We were junkies, but we were
junkies together. And then one night, Derek bought this shit
from a guy we didnt know. We were desperate for it. And he
shot up first. I watched him die right there in the street. She
looks down at her lap and is quiet for a little while.
What happened to you after that? I ask gently, prodding her.
The usual stuff. I was still an addict, after all. I met some other
addicts, fell in with another group, but didnt sleep around.
Couldnt bring myself to, not after I watched Derek die. He was
my first. She blushes as she says that, which is so
incredibly cute.
Anyway, eventually I hit rock bottom. From there, I checked
myself into a drug rehab place, a really nice place. Also an
expensive place. But it was too late. I also had a pretty big debt
with a local dealer, the kind of debt you wont ever run out on. So
between the rehab place and the dealer, I needed to make some
money. Being a waitress wasnt doing it. My debt was drowning
me. Ive been clean for years, but the debt hasnt gone away. So I
turned to this.
She finishes her story and picks her fork back up, playing with
her food quietly. I watch her, fascinated.
Its an interesting story, if a common one. Its admirable that
she got herself clean on her own. Very, very few junkies have the
strength to do that, and it speaks volumes about her character.
She got out of the life on her own and she should be very proud
of that.
Money is whats holding her back. I smile at her gently. Thats
not such a horrible story, I say.
So the fantasy isnt destroyed?
Not at all. Clean for how long?
Two years, she says. And Im also, you know, clean in the
other way, too. The Syndicate tests us.
I nod, smiling. I figured that.
Sorry. I just... figured I should say. In case you were curious.
I understand. I reach out and take her hand. Thanks for
telling me that.
She smiles and looks a little uncertain. Im guessing most people
treat her differently after she admits that shes an addict, but it
doesnt bother me. I dont see why it would bother me. She got
herself clean and is trying to improve her life. If anything, that
just shows how strong she is.
I let go of her hand and go back to eating. We eat together in
silence for a few minutes, both absorbing her story.
What about you? she asks finally.
Im clean too, I say, and grin at her.
She smiles. I mean, your life. What brought you here? She
gestures at the house.
Not really an interesting story.
Its interesting to me.
I grin at her. Okay then. When I was fifteen, I really liked
building things and I was good with computers. When I was
twenty, I started a company that specialized in streamlining the
manufacturing process. And that company has been my life ever
since, for over ten years.
Thats not such a boring story, she says.
Sure it is. Its mundane.
She laughs, genuinely happy. None of this is mundane, Ethan.
I have money. And I have nice things. But none of that is any
more interesting than what youve been through.
Youre right. I am the most interesting person I know. She
grins at me.
I laugh and go back to eating. She watches me for a second
before eating as well. She asks me about work and we fall into
normal small talk, which is a welcome relief from the heavy
conversation about her past.
Its comfortable, talking and eating with her, in a way that I
didnt expect. I assumed the games between us would be fun, but
I had no idea that wed have chemistry outside of the bedroom.
Apparently we do, though. Shes whip-smart and clever and
witty, which makes it easy to chat with her, even about nothing
at all.
As we finish up, I realize that this is the first meal Ive shared
with someone and really enjoyed in a long time. Normally Im
stuck with men like Richard Taylor or other boring business
contacts, but Aria is different. Shes light and alive in ways I
never expected.
When were finished, I put the plates back on the cart and sit
back down, enjoying my whisky. She watches me for a second
before speaking up.
What was your childhood like? she asks. You didnt say
anything about it.
I freeze for a second and look at her, trying to decide how to
respond. Id rather not talk about it, I say.
She must not see that Im serious, because she pushes on.
Come on, tell me. It cant be that bad. You seem pretty well-
adjusted.
I stand suddenly. Thanks for eating with me, I say.
What? she asks.
I grab the cart and wheel it back inside.
Wait, Ethan. Im sorry. You dont have to talk about your past if
you dont want. She follows me into the room.
I wheel the cart to the front door, not sure why Im reacting this
way. Maybe its because Ive never told anyone about my
childhood, and I find myself wanting to tell her. But thats
dangerous. Im not ready to open up yet, but with her its
tempting.
Ill see you tomorrow, I say, pushing the cart out into the
hallway.
She stands back in the room, watching me go, and we lock eyes
for a minute. She looks sad, genuinely sad that Im leaving, and I
feel a sharp pang in my chest. But I cant stay, not when Im so
tempted to tell her about my childhood and everything that
happened to me.
Instead, I smile at her and shut the door behind me. I walk back
down the hall, leaving the cart by the elevator for the staff,
before returning to my own room.
That was a good night. I check the clock and am surprised that
we were out there for two hours. The conversation flowed so
easily.
I feel bad about the way that ended, but I couldnt help it. She
opened up to me, but Im not ready to do that yet. I should have
just told her that Im not ready, but I couldnt bring myself to
speak. I was too worried Id start spilling my guts.
I cant have that. Not yet. Maybe Ill tell her, but not tonight.
Ill make things right. Ill make this up to her tomorrow. Shell
be happy that I stormed out tonight by the time Im finished
with her tomorrow.
For now, though, its bed alone and work early, because thats
my life.
10
ARIA

A ll the next day, I keep thinking about the way Ethan


reacted to my question about his past. It was strange and
totally unexpected. He shut down almost instantly.
There must be something in his past that he doesnt like.
Otherwise, he wouldnt have pushed back the way he did. Part of
me is angry that he walked away the way that he did, especially
after I opened up to him. But he listened to me and didnt seem
to judge me at all, which is really good.
That was my biggest fear. I was worried that as soon as he found
out about my past, hed kick me out and want nothing to do with
me. Clearly thats not the case, though, and Im very thankful
for it.
I just wish hed apply his own thinking to his past. He doesnt
judge people on their past, but hes not willing to share his own,
which makes me wonder. I wont push him, because its my job
to make him happy, but I feel like he owes me.
At least a little bit. Maybe he doesnt have to tell me every deep
dark secret, but I opened up to him and he should give me the
same respect in return. I can wait and give him some time to do
it on his own volition, but I do feel a little betrayed.
For better or for worse, I have all day to contemplate that. Im
stuck in my room again with only the company of Jenkins when
he brings my meals plus whatever movies and books I can read. I
make sure to text The Syndicate letting them know that Im
okay, but otherwise, I dont have much to do.
Its not so bad, though. Its boring of course, but its better than
the way my life used to be. Plus, the amount of money I stand to
make for this is astronomical, and all I have to do is keep myself
as busy as possible.
Its like a beautiful and comfortable prison, or like a playpen for
a loved pet. Maybe thats exactly what he wants it to be. I am his
little pet, after all.
There are much worse things to be. There are worse places to be,
too. Ive been in a few of them. I can remember one beat-up,
decrepit house that Derek and I stayed in for a week or two back
in the deepest throes of our addiction together, just before he
died. That place was a mold-infested rats nest and yet we slept
there, ate there, fucked there, and got high there for almost a
week straight. We barely left that place and it felt like paradise.
Mostly because I was high out of my mind. I feel so disgusted and
embarrassed to look back on those days. Ive worked so hard to
better myself, to improve over the junky I used to be. But that
junky is always there, buried in the back of my mind, and every
day I fear shell break free and take over again.
I just have to make sure that doesnt happen. I have so much to
lose now.
Around noon, Jenkins comes with my lunch. He wheels it in on a
cart like usual, and it smells amazing. As he turns to leave, I
stand up from the couch. We dont normally talk, but today I
suddenly feel a little bold.
Excuse me, I say.
He pauses and turns back to me. Yes? he asks, barely
concealing his disdain.
What a jerk. The man acts like giving me food is like feeding a
lizard or something.
I was wondering if I can go for a walk, I say. Im just cooped
up in here all day. I just hoped I could go around the block.
He pauses, his frown deepening. Did Mr. Locks explain the
rules to you? he says.
He did. I just hoped I could get permission from you.
He shakes his head. Permission denied.
I pause, surprised. Its just around the block. You can come with
me if you want.
No, thank you, he says. Im a very busy man. I dont have
time to escort an... escort around the block.
I sigh, understanding. I guess it is pretty obvious what I am. And
clearly Jenkins doesnt approve. I cant say I really blame him or
am surprised. He probably has Ethans best interests at heart,
and is afraid that Im here to rob them all blind.
Im not, of course. Im here to make Ethan happy. Im here to do
my job. But I cant really explain that to this man. Hes clearly
too proud and too stubborn to ever really get it.
Thanks, I say, sitting back down.
Will that be all?
Yes, thank you.
He turns and leaves without another word.
I sigh, stretching my legs. Im so bored and cooped up. I get up
and walk out onto the balcony, enjoying the fresh air. The city
stretches out below me and I pass some time watching the
people walk down the sidewalk, wishing I could be one of them,
but knowing Id never really trade places with any of them for
anything.
Despite all the difficulties, I am where I want to be.
Hours pass, dinner comes and goes, and Im almost ready to give
up on another visit from Ethan when theres a gentle knock at
the door. Im wearing my usual yoga pants and t-shirt, although
I have on makeup and my hair is pulled up into a messy bun. Im
obeying his commands more or less. I wouldnt wear makeup all
day like this if I werent going to see anyone, but I cant let
myself fall apart completely. I have to put in some sort of effort
for him at least, even if he wants me to be myself.
Ethan steps into the room, looking as handsome as always. I put
down my book and smile at him, surprised at the excitement
that I feel in my stomach.
How was work? I ask him.
He grins at me. Work was fine. Couldnt wait to leave.
Whys that?
He walks over to me and sits down on the chair across from me.
I wanted to see you. And to apologize for last night.
Theres nothing to apologize about.
I was an ass. I shouldnt have stormed out like that.
You have things that you dont want to talk about. I get it.
He sighs and leans back in the chair. I can see how tired he is
suddenly, and I realize that he cant sleep more than a few hours
every night. His job is clearly demanding a lot of him, and he
gives it everything he can.
He probably doesnt have time to get close to people. When he
first bought me, I wondered why a man like Ethan could possibly
want someone like me.
I still feel unworthy. I am unworthy, truth be told, but now at
least I understand why hed want to buy me. Ethan doesnt have
time to meet women and to fall in love like normal people. Hes
working and living at an entirely different level, one that most
normal people cant even imagine. He makes a lot of money, but
he sacrifices a lot for it.
I see all of that in a sudden flash of insight as I watch his face. He
looks back at me curiously, head cocked to one side.
What? he asks.
I pause for a second, trying to decide how to answer him. I want
to go for a walk, I say quickly, blurting it out. I regret it
right away.
Do you? He leans forward, smiling. Are you bored in here?
I just feel like I need to exercise.
Theres a treadmill in the other room. And you can go onto the
balcony for fresh air.
Its not the same.
His smile gets bigger. Didnt I punish you for this already?
I nod, feeling a thrill run through me. You did. But I dont care.
I want to go outside.
No, he says, and I can see him warming up to the game. Do I
need to punish you again?
Yes, I say simply. I wont learn otherwise.
His grin gets huge as he stands. Good girl, he says. Youre
learning.
He walks toward me and I watch him, heart hammering in my
chest. He leans down and takes my arm, pulling me to my feet,
then roughly pulls me toward the bed.
Ethan! I say.
Im sorry, am I being too hard with you? he asks, smirking at
me. He pulls me toward him, hands on my hips, and I let out a
soft moan.
Is this more like what you want? he asks, his lips on my neck.
I throw my arms around him.
Yes, I whisper.
But this isnt a punishment. He grabs my hair, tipping my
head back. I gasp as he kisses my throat. You just want
pleasure. But you cant have pleasure without pain.
Who says? I ask.
I do. He smirks at me and pulls back, still holding my hair. He
walks me over to the foot of the bed. Down on your knees, he
commands.
I obey, falling to my knees. He pulls the tie off his neck then
takes my wrists, both of them together, and wraps the silk tie
around them. He takes my hands and puts them above my head
before tying me to the top of the headboard.
When hes done, Im down on my knees in front of him, hands
above my head. I test the bond but its expertly tied, tight but
not so tight that its cutting off circulation. He steps back and
looks at me.
What do I do with you now? he asks, a smile on his face that
says he knows exactly what he wants.
Show me, I whisper, my body a ringing mess of excitement.
Since you ask so nicely, he says, I will.
He takes off his jacket and I feel like I might pass out from the
hard beating of my heart. He carefully lays his jacket over the
back of a chair then rolls his sleeves up slowly, watching me the
whole time. I keep my eyes locked on his, trying to steady my
breathing, but I can barely handle it.
Finally, sleeves rolled up, he walks over to me. He adjusts my
body, sitting me down on my ass, stretching my hands up
further above my head. Then he takes my yoga pants and slowly
slides them off my body.
When hes done, Im sitting on the ground in just a blue thong,
dripping wet and useless at this point, my hands tied above my
head. He carefully folds my pants and places them on the bed
before walking into the closet.
He returns a second later with what I assume is a vibrator. Its
long, thick, and white. He walks over to me and puts me back on
my knees before placing the vibrator between my legs and
switching it on.
Nothing happens. It doesnt move. I stare at him, legs clenched,
waiting for the sensation to tear through me, but nothing
happens.
Now, well play a game, he says. He holds up a little switch in
his hand. This controls the vibrator. Ill ask you a question, and
if you answer it the right way, Ill give you pleasure. Like this.
He turns it on.
I groan softly as the vibrator buzzes between my legs. I cant
help but smile slightly and press against my bonds. He leaves it
on for a few seconds then stops.
Whats your name? he asks.
Aria, I say.
The vibrator turns on, low and slow. I bite my lip.
What are you?
I cock my head at him. An escort.
He turns the vibrator off.
Wrong. Ill ask again. What are you?
I pause, watching him. Your pet, I whisper.
Good girl. He turns the vibrator back on, this time on a higher
setting.
I cant help but let out a little moan. The vibrator is right against
my clit and its moving at a soft and perfect buzz, sending
pleasure up my spine. I cant move or get away from it, and that
just makes it so much more intense.
What do you want from me? he asks.
I dont know, I moan.
He turns the vibrator down. Not off, but down. What do you
want from me? he asks again.
Your cock, I groan suddenly, surprising myself.
He smiles and turns the vibrator up. I moan, tossing my
head back.
Good girl. Now, do you want to leave your room?
No, I moan. No, please. I dont want to leave.
Good. He turns it up again and I gasp as pleasure floods
through me. He stands there watching me for a few seconds and
its almost too intense.
You want to make me happy? he asks.
Yes, I moan. Badly.
He turns the vibrator down. I moan, watching him, not sure what
I did wrong.
If you could leave right now with the money, would you
walk away?
I watch him, trying to think, not sure what to say. I feel like
theres an obvious answer.
But I want to be honest. Would I leave right now if Id get paid?
Im supposed to be here for the money and nothing else. That
sort of cash would change my life and put me on a path to a
better existence. I could be happy and free with that money.
No, I realize. I wouldnt leave. I dont want to go anywhere.
Maybe the cash would change my life but Id rather stay and
learn more about Ethan. Im fascinated by him. Actually, Im
attracted to him in ways that I couldnt imagine.
Its this, his little games. They feel so good and push me so far.
Ive never felt like this before.
No, I say honestly. I wouldnt.
He watches me for a second then smiles and turns up the
vibrator again. Pleasure rips through my core. Good girl, he
whispers, then steps closer to me.
I look up at him, moans escaping my lips, pleasure rocking
through my body. I can barely think and I dont know what Ill
say to him if he asks me any more questions. Theres only one
thing that I want, and its him, his body, his touch. I crave it so
badly, and yet hes holding it back. I know hes doing it on
purpose but I want to scream for it, I want to beg for it. I can feel
the words on my lips, the begging that might get me what
I want.
He crouches down in front of me and puts his hand on the side of
my face. I move over and take his thumb between my lips,
sucking on it, biting it softly. I look him in his eyes and I can see
the desire there, almost as strong as mine.
Do you want to come? he asks me.
Yes, I moan, tossing my head back. Please, I want it so
badly.
You want to get off, my little pet?
Please, Ethan, I moan. Get me off.
He turns the vibrator down. I gasp, shocked. Ethan! I moan,
practically whining.
He stands. I think youve been punished enough.
What? I moan. He turns off the vibrator and takes it away.
Ethan!
He unties my hands. They drop down to my sides and I stare at
him, so frustrated, even a little angry. How could he stop right
there? How could this be over? I was so close, right on the edge,
and hes walking away?
Im actually pissed off. I like his games but not if it means Im
going to be pushed but not given the release that I need.
When I leave the room, he says, looking at me, I want you to
finish yourself off. Do you understand?
I pause then stare at him and slowly nod. I understand.
Good girl. But you cant use this. He holds up the vibrator. I
want you to fuck your little pussy with those fingers and come as
hard as you can.
Yes, Ethan, I say, excitement ringing through me again.
Good girl. Ill be listening right on the other side of that door.
He touches my face again and for a second, I think hes going to
kiss me.
But he doesnt. He turns and leaves the room, shutting the door
behind him. I dont waste a single second. I spread my legs wide,
shove my hand down my panties, and press my fingers deep
inside of my pussy. I lean forward, braced on one hand on the
floor, knees spread wide, as I fuck myself, moaning his name.
11
ETHAN

A s soon as the door clicks shut, I press my back against it


and let out a deep groan.
The hallway is clear as I listen to whats going on back inside that
room. I can hear her moaning, her voice getting loud and deep,
and suddenly I hear her say my name.
I hear her say my name.
It drives me fucking wild. That whole experience was a test in
patience and self-control for me. All I wanted to do was slide my
cock down her pretty throat and fuck her until I came, but I knew
it was too soon. I need to keep pushing the boundaries, keep
building the suspense. I need to control everything about this.
But fuck, I dont want to be in control. I unzip my fly and take
out my cock, unable to stop myself. Im hard as hell, practically
ringing with need. I begin to stroke myself, listening to her fuck
herself with her fingers.
Goddamn, I want to go back in there. I want to go in and watch
her do exactly what I told her to do. I can hear her voice getting
louder, her breathing getting deeper, and I know shes making
herself come. I stroke myself faster, desire and pleasure
exploding through my body.
I dont know how I kept my hands off her back there. I started
out intending just to tease her a bit, but it was just too fucking
hot. I had to stop and get out of there before I lost control and
did something more than just tease.
Everything about Aria makes my blood run hot. She sends fire
through my veins. Shes fascinating, sexy, smart, and clever all
at once, and it pushes me to my limits. I thought this might be a
fun game, seducing some attractive escort, but the game is
getting far more intense than I ever could have guessed.
I want her down on all fours, legs stretched wide as my cock
slides into her tight little cunt. I want to feel that tight, hot, wet
pussy of hers wrapped around my dick as I pump myself deep
inside of her. I want to tear her apart as I fuck her like an animal,
listening to her moans, feeling her skin.
I want to sweat with her. I want to make her come. I want to
taste it.
As her moans get loud and reach their peak, I keep pumping my
cock until I come right there in the hallway. I groan, pushing my
head back against the door and listening for a moment.
She goes quiet on her end, and I know shes finished, too.
Although we didnt actually touch each other, that was one of
the most erotic and intense sexual experiences of my life. I
didnt think it would go this far, and yet here I am, unable to
fucking stop myself from getting off while listening to her
moans.
I stand there in the hallway, breathing deep as the orgasm slowly
wears off. I let out a sigh and slide myself back into my pants
before lingering there for a moment longer, trying to picture
what she looks like on the other side of that door.
I can see her, flush with exertion, fingers slick from her own
juices. Maybe she licks them clean, maybe she simply wipes
them off on her already dripping wet and useless panties.
Her nipples are hard under her thin t-shirt and shes panting,
breathing heavily, and thinking about me. She probably wants to
know what it feels like for me to fuck her, maybe wants to know
as much as I do.
Slowly, the fantasy passes. I get myself together and head down
the hall into my own bedroom. I undress quickly and get into the
shower, cleaning myself off and trying to clear my head.
Its too soon to be feeling this way. The idea of being unable to
control myself around her is a little frightening. It makes me feel
uneasy, to be completely honest with myself. I want to be able to
have strict control at all times, but out there in the hallway, I lost
the ability to hold back.
All because of her. Aria pushes me just as much as I push her,
though she doesnt realize it. I told myself I wasnt going to fuck
her until she genuinely wants it, and I still feel that way. Its why
Im only teasing her so far. But I didnt expect to want to take
her body more than I wanted to hold back and play my game.
As the water runs down my body, I cant help but wonder if shes
thinking the same thing, but the other way around. I know shes
starting to want it, really and truly want it, and I cant help but
wonder if she is surprised by that. Maybe she didnt expect to
actually want me to take her. She could still be trying to see this
as just another game to play.
I dont know what to think. And its not a good feeling. For most
of my life, Ive been in strict control of my situations as best I
possibly can. Now, suddenly, with Aria, I feel like Im losing a bit
of that measured control and I dont like it.
I wash myself under the warm water, thinking of her body in the
other room, and wondering how I even got here to begin with.
12
ARIA

I barely see him for nearly a week.


After that night with the vibrator, he doesnt come for
two days. Im bored out of my mind, but I do my best to pass the
time. I get permission on the second day from him through
Jenkins to go on a short walk every day, but only so long as Im
chaperoned. Jenkins makes one of the housecleaners, a girl
named Camilla that barely speaks any English, go with me. That
suits me just fine, though, since I dont want to talk anyway.
On my walk, I go around the block. I have twenty minutes to
spend, and I use every minute looking around at the city and
stretching my legs. Camilla walks next to me and smiles when
we look at each other, but otherwise were silent with each
other.
Its actually pretty nice, but I wish it were Ethan with me instead
of Camilla. I dont know why he doesnt come to see me. After
the third day, he comes for dinner, but he doesnt stay long, and
we dont play any games. We talk about his work and I tell him
about my walks, and he agrees to let me have a half hour instead
of twenty minutes. Two days after that, he comes for dinner
again, and again the next night.
But we dont play any games, and our conversation is simple,
almost boring. He seems more reserved and I dont understand
why. He also seems even more tired, if thats possible. Hes
apologetic, and tries to make it up to me by sending gifts, but I
dont need gifts.
Although I cant really complain about getting things. He sends
beautiful dresses, jewelry, a new laptop, a new cellphone,
scarves, gloves, a new coat, and a hundred other little things. Its
all perfect and expensive, and frankly more than Ive ever gotten
on my own, but Id give it all up if hed just come to see me more
often.
Which is a strange thought. After seven days of this, with only
seeing him three times in that week, I find myself getting antsy.
I keep having negative thoughts, angry thoughts, and I dont
understand it.
Why do I care if he doesnt come? That just means my life should
be easier. I dont have to worry about pleasing him if he never
comes. But I am worried that Im not good enough, that Im not
living up to his expectations in some way. He doesnt say that, of
course, but I dont think he would. Hes a good man.
But I crave his attention. I feel silly about it, but its the truth. I
crave his attention like a lovesick teenager or something, which
only makes me feel much crazier. Maybe Im sick. Im not
supposed to want the man that bought me at an escort auction.
Im supposed to just make him happy and collect my check when
its all over.
Instead, Im angry that hes not giving me the attention I
deserve. I feel like a spoiled brat, but I dont care about all these
gifts. I dont need any of them.
I felt something during that night with the vibrator. I could see it
in his eyes as he turned it up and down, teasing me, pushing me.
I know he wants me, more than just sex, more than just as a pet
to be used however he wants. I saw something more than that,
much deeper, like he couldnt control it.
When I got myself off, I could have sworn I heard him grunting
on the other side of the bedroom door. Thats probably crazy, but
I can still picture the sounds, and part of me believes he was
getting himself off at the same time I was.
Theres something lingering between us and I need to know what
it is.
I stand up and look at all the things he bought me. I know hes
going to come home from work soon, or at least when he does
come home, he comes home about this time. So I go over to the
balcony and open up the door.
Next, I grab one of the dresses he bought me, and I walk outside.
I take it out of the box, take one last look, and then I throw it into
the street.
I laugh as it hits the ground and I cover my mouth.
I cant believe I did that, I say out loud to myself.
And its true, I cant believe it. This is so freaking crazy. I could
get his attention some other way, something thats not so
public, but I find myself walking back into the bedroom, getting
another dress, and throwing it out into the street. This one lands
in a nearby tree, which only makes me laugh.
I grab another dress and I throw it, along with a box of
chocolates, some flowers, and a scarf. It lands in the street and
on the sidewalk, and someone looks up at me. Someone else
yells, but I dont care.
I throw down more clothes, pillows, blankets, and I cant stop
myself from laughing the whole time. By the time Im finished,
the street looks like someone dumped their girlfriend by
throwing her clothes out the window. People are already starting
to push the stuff off to the side, and one or two things get
grabbed by people that recognize their worth.
Theres probably a few thousand dollars worth of stuff down
there on the ground, and all I can do is laugh about it. I feel so
totally crazy, but I also feel free. I dont feel any inhibitions
at all.
This is what he needs, a little wildness in his life. He needs a
little levity and excitement. Maybe he doesnt realize it yet, but
Im going to give it to him. And this is the first step. This will get
his attention.
If he doesnt come see me soon, I dont know what will work.
13
ETHAN

I ts around midnight when I get a call on my cellphone


from Jenkins.
Sir, its the girl.
I pause. She has a name.
Aria. He says it like hes drinking poison. She threw her
clothes out the window.
What? I say, taken aback.
Sir, she took some of the gifts youve given her and she threw
them out her window. Ive sent Camilla to clean them up, but I
fear shes made a scene.
I cant help but grin. Made a scene?
Yes, sir. The neighbors are talking.
Of course. I wouldnt want to disturb the neighbors.
I thought you should know.
Thank you, Jenkins. Ill take care of it.
Of course.
I hang up the phone and lean back in my chair, smiling but
perplexed.
Why the hell would she throw her things out the window? Im
sure it drove Jenkins absolutely insane to see that, but he
couldnt do anything about it but tattle on her to me. Hes under
orders to indulge her every whim, and apparently her whims
involve throwing her clothes out a window.
Aria doesnt seem like a crazy and irrational person. I know shes
bored being all pent-up in that room, and I havent been very
attentive lately.
I sit, crossing my legs. Im done for the night, and I know I
should go see her.
But Ive been avoiding her. Ever since that night that I got
myself off in the hallway, unable to stop myself, Ive been afraid
to see her. I dont know if I can keep myself under control
around her. When I have gone to her, Ive kept it distant,
although I really just want to throw the table over and fuck her
against the railing over the balcony.
I cant put it off anymore. And I cant let this little tantrum go
unpunished. I call the car and stand, smiling to myself.
This is what she wants. Theres no doubt in my mind that she did
this just to get me to react. She can tell that Im being distant
and she probably doesnt know what else to do. Im betting she
figures if she does something like this then Ill have to
punish her.
And her punishments are so much fun for both of us.
My heart is beating fast on the ride home. I know Im going to
punish her, and it only makes me more excited to realize that
she probably wants it. She wants me to spank her, tie her up,
fuck her however I want. Which means Ill have to think of a
punishment that she wont see coming.
I spend the car ride envisioning what Ill do, and finally come up
with a fantastic idea. Its simple, but she wont expect it at all.
Its not at all what Ive done in the past, and thats what makes it
so attractive.
I can barely wait to see her as the car drops me off out front. I
havent felt like this in a while, and it feels good to let loose a
little bit. I know I should be trying to moderate my emotions, but
I just keep thinking about what Im going to do to her that I cant
help it.
Jenkins meets me in the kitchen. Sir, he says. The girl is
sleeping, I believe.
Thats okay. I grab a bottle of whisky from the cabinet and
pour myself a drink. You can go to bed, Jenkins.
Of course, sir. He pauses, frowning. May I speak frankly?
I pour myself a drink and nod. Go ahead.
I think the girl is a liability. Its obvious what she, ah, is, and
your work duties are particularly sensitive now. Id hate to see
you lose something because of this... girl.
I smile at him and sip my drink. Thanks, Jenkins. Thatll
be all.
Of course. Goodnight.
Goodnight.
He disappears into the back rooms. Hell sleep here tonight, like
he does most nights. He practically lives here, to be honest, and
thats okay with me. For the most part, Jenkins is discreet and
honest and does an incredible job. If he speaks out of turn
sometimes, well, Ill have to accept it as one of his quirks.
I finish my drink, pour another, and then head upstairs, heart
beating hard. Aria might be asleep right now, but she wont be
for long.
I stop out front of her door and softly open it, trying not to make
much noise.
The room is pitch dark as I slowly creep across the floor by
memory. I can hear her breathing softly in bed, deep and steady,
which means shes definitely asleep. I smile to myself as I slowly
pull the curtains open, letting the moonlight drift into the room,
illuminating it in soft silvery gray.
I step back toward the bed and look down at her for a moment.
Shes twisted in the covers, half in and half out, one leg tossed
casually over the bedding. Shes wearing a little black tank top
without a bra and gray panties, cute boy shorts. I stand there,
admiring her body for a second, wondering how the hell I
got here.
This girl is a total stranger to me, and yet she lives in this room. I
keep her like a pet and I absolutely love it, though I never
thought I would in a million years. There she is though, sleeping
soundly in this room, and I know I can have her if I want to. I can
do anything to her right now, and chances are shed let me.
Thats not what Im here for, not exactly anyway. Im here to
punish her. And I know exactly how Im going to do it.
Carefully, I take off my jacket and toss it over the back of a chair.
I roll up my sleeves then slowly climb into bed.
She stirs softly as I roll her onto her back, spreading her legs.
She mumbles something as I kiss her stomach.
Ethan? she says.
I dont respond. I kiss lower until I find her pussy, taking a deep
breath, relishing her scent. I begin to kiss her over her panties. I
kiss her pussy, her inner thigh, her stomach, and I know shes
wide awake now.
I slowly slide the panties down her legs, not saying a word. She
doesnt move, but I catch her watching me, her eyes slightly
wide. Not from fear, but from pure excitement. I toss her panties
onto the floor before moving back down between her legs.
Shes wet already and getting wetter. I begin to lap her up,
sucking her clit, enjoying her taste. I love the soft noises she
starts making, almost as if she cant help herself, like shes
trying to hold them back. Maybe she wants to try and pretend to
still be asleep, as if that were my fetish or something.
I want her to wake the fuck up. I slide two fingers deep into her
pussy and she gasps and lets out a deep moan. I grin at her then
go back to work, fingers deep inside of her, mouth and lips on
her swollen clit.
I keep licking her, nibbling her, sliding my fingers in and out of
her. I listen as her moans get louder and she suddenly wraps her
fingers through my hair as I press my tongue against her clit just
the right way.
Oh shit, she groans. I begin to fuck her faster with my fingers,
pushing them deep and sliding them back out. She squirms
against me, writhing her hips, and I keep licking and sucking her
clit as I fuck her with my fingers.
I get up on my knees, getting more leverage as I keep fucking her
with my fingers. Her groans turn into full-on moans, loud and
full. She says my name, again and again, and my cock is hard as
fuck as I keep sucking her perfect clit.
I cant stop. I intended to get her to the edge then pull back, but I
cant stop myself. Shes getting louder, writhing faster, pressing
my face faster as she moves her hips, and I know shes close. I
can practically taste her dangling on the edge of finally getting
off, and I want it. I want to taste her come in my mouth as my
fingers fuck her tight little pussy.
Im losing my mind as I keep going, keep working her. Im hard
as fuck and barely holding myself back from taking her tight
little cunt as my own. I keep fucking her, sliding my fingers in,
sucking her clit.
Ethan, fuck, Im so close, she moans.
I look up at her, fingers sliding in harder, fucking her deeper.
Come for me, I command her. Right now. I want to taste it.
Ethan! she gasps.
Go ahead. Come in my mouth, you filthy fucking girl. I want it.
Oh god, she moans and I go back to work, sucking her, sliding
my fingers in faster, until her back starts to arch and I know
shes coming.
Her voice gets louder, lower, and her fingers grab my hair
tightly. Her whole body reacts and I dont let up. I keep fucking
her pussy though I pull back and watch her face as she comes.
Shes fucking gorgeous, in absolute ecstasy, and I can barely
fucking handle it myself. She comes hard and says my name,
over and over, like shes begging for more.
When shes finally done, I slide my fingers out from her then
gently lick her up again. I tease her clit and lick her pussy,
sliding my tongue inside, tasting her every drop.
Ethan, she moans. Please.
Please what? I ask.
She sits forward and pulls my face up. Her cheeks are flushed
and shes breathing deep. Fuck me, she whispers. Please.
I look at her for a second then gently pull away from her, smiling
and shaking my head. No, I say, and I get off the bed.
What?
No, I say again. I wont.
But... She trails off, watching me.
Youre not ready, I say.
Im ready. Her eyes are bright and excited. Ethan, please. Im
ready.
I stand next to the bed and take her cheek in my hand, looking
down at her gorgeous face. I pause for a second and in that
moment, I want to fuck her. I think she really means it. I think
she genuinely wants me to take her, not just as my escort and my
pet, but as herself. There are no barriers or guards up right now,
its just her, just Aria watching me with desperate and
desiring eyes.
I cant do it, though. I cant give in to her. This is meant to be her
punishment, even if she does genuinely want it.
Instead, I kiss her. I cant help myself. I kiss her full and deep
and she kisses me back with a hunger that surprises me. She
presses herself closer to me, arms wrapped around my neck, and
we kiss like that for what seems like forever, though its likely
only a few seconds. She tastes like wildflowers and fresh grass,
and Im surprised by how deeply I lose myself in the moment.
But eventually, I get control over myself, and I slowly pull back.
She looks up at me, not sure of whats happening.
This is your punishment, I say softly.
Recognition enters her eyes and she gives me a sly smile. You
heard about that.
Youve been bad. Very bad. I reach forward and take her hair,
kneeling down next to the bed. You could have embarrassed
me, you know.
Im sorry, she says. Ive just been so lonely.
I watch her for a second, but I dont feel anger, which
surprises me.
Its true that she could have embarrassed me. My position isnt
the kind of thing that allows for that kind of public display. Im
not exactly famous, but there are people in this world who would
love to get a scoop on me and possibly destroy me. I do have to
be careful, and Aria risked that by throwing her things into the
street.
But I dont feel anger. I gently release her hair, realizing that I
feel more alive and excited than I have in a long time. Its stupid
and risky, but maybe I need stupid and risky sometimes.
Dont do it again, I say.
I wont. I promise.
Good. I stand up.
But please, she says. Visit me more. Dont leave me alone in
here. The walks are nice but... theyre not enough.
I stare at her for a moment and I get another glimpse of her
genuine self. I can see it written all over her face. Shes
desperate for more attention.
And I want to give it to her. The out-of-control feeling I get
around her maybe isnt as bad as I first thought. Maybe it feels
pretty damn good, actually. I just need to be careful.
But shes mine, my pet, and I have to make sure that shes
happy. I screwed up by leaving her alone, but Ill make up
for that.
I promise, I say. I wont leave you alone for too long again.
She smiles and looks relieved. Thank you.
Go back to sleep. Ill see you soon.
She nods and I turn away, walking over to the chair. I grab my
jacket and toss it over my shoulder before looking back at her.
Shes sitting up in bed, watching me with wide, gorgeous,
innocent eyes. Shes flushed from getting off and shes biting
her lip, clearly confused about what just happened. Her hair is
messy and her shirt is slightly askew. She looks more beautiful
than Ive ever seen her before.
I turn and leave, knowing full well that Ill be back very soon. I
cant stay away from her. I have about three more weeks left
with her, and Ill be damned if I waste anymore of that time.
I head back to my room, unable to get her taste from my mouth,
and happy that it wont leave.
14
ARIA

I wake up early, still buzzing with excitement. Last night


almost feels like a dream, and if it werent for the fact
that the curtains are still drawn open, I might even think it
really was.
But I know it wasnt. Ethan came to me in the middle of the
night, woke me up, and gave me the best orgasm of my life. Im
still floating high from it. That orgasm was better than any shot
of heroin I ever took, because it couldnt kill me and because
there was a promise of more.
I can already see myself getting addicted to him. That was one of
the most intense and erotic moments in my life, if not the most.
I stretch and yawn, still thinking about his touch, and about
his kiss.
I didnt expect his kiss. I was beginning to think he didnt want
to get intimate with me in that way. But when he did kiss me, it
shot a bolt of lightning through my core. I felt like I was floating
on air again, ready to give myself to him even more.
I sigh and roll onto my side. I look up and out the window and
can just see the tops of the buildings across the street. Cars drive
by down below and I think I can hear people talking. Im not sure
what time it is, but Im guessing its still pretty early based on
the way the sun is shining.
I cant help but think about something he said to me. When I
begged him to fuck me, he said that I wasnt ready. I didnt
understand what he meant, and still dont.
I am ready. I dont think he knows how much I actually want
him. I thought Id fuck him and it would just be like doing a job.
Maybe Id enjoy it a little bit, but in the end it would just be work.
This isnt like that, though.
I genuinely want him. If I werent getting paid, Id still want him.
If he were just some poor man with no money and no prospects,
Id still want him. I am ready for it, and frankly, I need it. But
hes still holding back from me, and Im not totally sure why.
Maybe it has something to do with his past. I cant really say
how, but maybe he needs something from me before he thinks
Im ready to actually sleep with him. Things have been intimate
as hell already between us, and I have no clue how I can do
any more.
But I want to do more. I want to show him Im ready. Maybe
throwing that little tantrum was a bad idea. It definitely worked,
but I can see how it was stupid of me.
I keep thinking of him as a normal man, but hes far from
normal. Hes rich and in control of an important company. His
name pops up in the media from time to time, which means
people are watching him and judging his moves.
Throwing a public tantrum like I did could easily have gotten his
name in the papers, and I dont think thats something he
wants. Ethan seems like an incredibly private man, despite
working for a very public company and in a very public position.
Despite living in his house for over a week, I feel like I still barely
know him.
I need to be more discreet from now on. I promised him that I
wont do something like that again, and I definitely wont. I just
hope that it wont have repercussions down the road for him.
I lie back and close my eyes, trying to imagine him again. His
face firm against my thighs and his mouth and fingers know
exactly what theyre doing. I feel a thrill run down my spine as
my pussy gets wet again, surprising me a little bit by my own
blind and intense desire.
Im suddenly pulled out of my fantasy by a knock at the door. Its
just one knock, and I know its him. A second later, Ethan comes
into the room.
Hes not wearing his usual suit. Instead, hes only wearing a pair
of black boxer briefs and a tight white t-shirt, showing off his
body. Hes in impressive condition, with muscles bursting
against the cotton. He smirks at me, and I know what that smile
means.
Good morning, he says. I told you I wouldnt leave you alone
for long.
Good morning. I sit up and look at him.
He pulls his hands from behind his back and is holding another
one of those silk pieces of rope. Were going to play
another game.
My heart quickens in my chest and I cant help but smile. I didnt
expect this so soon, but I want it. Okay, I say.
Good girl. Are you excited?
I nod quickly. Yes.
Good. Get out of bed.
I quickly get up and stand in front of him. Im half naked, still
just wearing a new pair of panties, though already starting to get
wet, and a black tank top.
Stand at the foot of the bed, he says. I obey and look at him,
dripping wet, aching for his next command.
Turn around and get down on your knees.
I turn my back to him then get down on my knees. I look over my
shoulder and watch as he comes up from behind me.
Hands on the footboard, he says.
I reach up and grasp it. He crosses my wrists, his body close to
mine. I can feel his breath on my neck as he expertly ties my
wrists together and then to the bed, cinching them tight, but not
too tight.
He steps back and I turn to watch him.
Spread your legs, he says.
I spread them wide for him, arching my back a little bit, letting
him see my ass. Im dripping wet and I can barely hear over the
pounding of my heart.
Good, he says. Thats how I like you. Wet and willing.
I looked over my shoulder at him, blushing slightly. What else
do you want me to do? I ask him.
He walks over and stops behind me before crouching down. I feel
his hands on my hips and I roll my head back as his lips find my
neck. Is this what you like? he asks me.
That feels good, I say as he kisses my skin.
Good. He moves back suddenly and pushes me forward. I gasp
as he spanks my ass, hard.
Ethan!
Im sorry, did that hurt?
I look over my shoulder at him, ass stinging slightly. No, I lie
to him.
He grins and spanks me again, this time even harder. I groan,
surprised at how the sensation makes me feel. I thought it would
simply hurt and make me not want to play anymore, but it has
the opposite effect. It makes me absolutely dripping wet, and
almost feels strangely good.
I feel his hand rub my ass then slide down between my legs. He
finds my soaking cleft and starts to rub my pussy with one hand.
He takes my hair in the other and pulls my head back.
Do you like pleasure, or do you like pain? he asks.
Pleasure, I say.
He stops rubbing my pussy, but doesnt release my hair. Are
you sure?
I dont know, I groan.
He releases my hair and pushes my head forward slightly before
spanking my other ass cheek. I moan and he does it again,
harder.
You look gorgeous, he says. Dripping wet with two red hand
prints on your ass. His fingers find my pussy again, rubbing me
from behind over my useless and soaked panties.
Why do you tease me? I ask him suddenly, blurting it out.
I can feel his smirk against my neck. Because I like it, he says.
Do you like it?
I dont know, I moan, not sure what to think. I cant think, not
really.
He takes my hair and tips my head back before kissing me. I
moan into his kiss as his fingers do their work, rubbing my
pussy. I want to grab his hair but I cant move my wrists. Im
completely bound to the bed still.
He breaks off the kiss and stops rubbing me. He slaps my ass
again and the pain tingles up my spine. He begins back on my
pussy as the pain and the pleasure mix, hitting each other in my
skull, making it dizzy with an indescribable pleasure.
Thats right, he whispers. Pleasure and pain. Theyre not so
different, you know. A little bit of one makes the other better. A
little salt makes sweet stronger. Do you understand now?
Yes, I moan.
Good. He stops. This is your last punishment.
What?
He stands. I stare at his bulging cock, straining against his boxer
briefs. He slowly slides them off and I gape at his enormous cock
as he slowly strokes it.
Holy shit, I blurt out.
He laughs. Thats what I like to hear.
Sorry, I say quickly, hiding my embarrassment by
looking away.
Dont be sorry, pet, he says. Look at me.
I look back at his thick cock and bite my lip. I cant believe hes
so big. I suddenly dont know how I can even fit that whole thing
inside of me.
Youre going to make me feel good now, he says. Do you
understand?
Yes, I say. Whatever you want.
No, he says, and bends over to take my hair again. Tell me
you want it. And dont lie, or the punishments continue.
I want it, I say, and I know Im not lying. I want this badly. I
want to suck his cock or take him deep inside of me, whatever he
wants. Ive been aching to taste him, to make him feel good. Not
just because I was hired to do that, but because its him and he
deserves it.
Good girl, he says, and lets me go.
I open my mouth and take the tip of his cock between my lips.
He groans and moves forward, sliding it deeper into my mouth.
I can barely take him, but I try anyway. Hes so thick but I want
him, want him inside of my mouth. I pull back and slide forward,
sucking him, rolling my tongue along his skin. His groans of
pleasure send waves of joy along my spine, and I love the way he
tastes. Its such a strange feeling, loving the way he can so easily
control me and take me. I feel both sexy and helpless and totally
turned on.
I know I can end this at any time if I say the word, but I dont
want to. He takes my hair and presses me down, and I let his
cock go into my throat. I suppress a gag, tears springing into my
eyes in reaction, but I just ignore them. I pull back and start to
suck him faster, concentrating on the tip. I want to use my hands
on his enormous cock, but I cant.
Fuck, girl, he grunts. Watching you suck my cock, helpless
like that, makes me fucking insane.
I groan with his cock in my mouth. He presses me back down and
I take him, wanting him so badly. He starts to fuck my mouth,
sliding himself in and out, but not pushing himself too deep. He
seems to sense my limit, and he doesnt cross the line. He tests
it, pressing himself deep enough that I almost want to gag, but
pulls back just before.
Youre a perfect fucking pet, he whispers, cock sliding in and
out of my mouth. Look at you, sexy as fuck with my cock in your
mouth. You like being tied up and sucking cock, dont you?
I moan, nodding my head, eyes up at him. He pulls out of my
mouth then kisses me deeply. Its the most intimate kiss Ive
ever experienced, and I wish it wouldnt end. But he pulls back
and slides his cock back into my mouth.
He fucks my lips, holding onto my hair, and starts to push my
boundary. I want him to, I want to see how far I can take him. He
slides himself deeper into my throat and I suppress another gag,
ignoring the tears that spring to my eyes. Theyre just stupid
responses of my body. I want to control them. I press forward,
leaning into him, until I have his entire cock in my throat.
Oh fuck, he groans, half laughing from the joy and pleasure.
Youre fucking incredible. He pulls back and I gasp, looking up
at him, smiling.
Fuck, he says again, kissing me, and presses his cock back in
my mouth.
I work with him, moving my neck, bobbing my head along his
cock, not afraid to be sloppy. I dont care at this point. I let my
spit cover his cock as he fucks my mouth and I suck him, my
tongue running along his whole length, his groans filling
my ears.
I can tell hes close, and I want him to come. I want to taste him,
swallow him, make him know that I want him to feel good. I
want to lick him clean when hes finished and spoil him as much
as he spoils me.
His hips move faster, fucking my mouth, and I keep pace with
him. I take him, moaning as he fucks my mouth, and his groans
get louder. His fingers curl through my hair, holding it tightly,
and I know hes there.
His cum fills my mouth as he grunts through the orgasm. I keep
moving, sucking him fast, swallowing every single drop as he
explodes into my throat. I use my tongue to gather it all from his
tip and slowly I finish, pulling back and licking him clean.
Fuck, he grunts when hes done. He steps back, flush and
gaping at me. That was fucking incredible.
I smile at him. Good. I wanted it to be.
He pulls his briefs back up and sits down on a chair, watching
me. I watch him back and cock my head. What? I ask.
Youre beautiful, he says. Fucking beautiful. You know that?
I look away, surprised that Im blushing. Thanks, I say.
He stands and walks over to me. He tips my head back and kisses
me again, long and slow.
I lose myself in that kiss, enjoying it and asking for nothing
more. Finally he breaks off and unties my hands.
I have to go to work, he says as I stand up.
Okay, I say, stretching my legs. My knees are a little sore and
my ass still tingles, but thats not bad. Will you be back later?
He nods. I will if I can. Promise. If not tonight, tomorrow
morning.
Good. I walk up to him and put my hands on his chest. Dont
leave me here alone.
I wont.
I kiss him softly, his hands on my hips. We linger there for a
second, and it feels good, so freaking good. Almost as if its
normal, and we do this all the time.
He kisses me one more time then leaves. He shuts the door
softly behind him, and Im left alone again.
Im buzzing as I take a shower. I cant stop thinking about him,
about Ethan, and what Im becoming. Maybe I really am his pet.
When this is all over, and its time to leave, am I going to be able
to walk away?
I cant think about that right now. He probably wont even want
me. He did only buy me for a month. Maybe hell get tired of me
by the end. Thatll hurt, hurt a lot, but itll be okay. Ill survive it,
I hope.
For now though, I have to enjoy it. Really enjoy it. Ive been
given a gift, something I never expected, and now I just have to
accept it and be in it for as long as I can.
15
ETHAN

I cant get Aria out of my head at all that morning. Im


practically buzzing with desire for her even hours after
I last saw her.
Knowing that shes back in my house, sitting in that room and
waiting for me drives me insane. I know shes there for me and
nobody else, and nobody else can touch her. I didnt expect to
feel this possessive of her, but theres something about the fact
that shes entirely mine and mine alone that brings me immense
satisfaction.
It was stupid of me to back away from her for that week. I
freaked out a little bit when I realized that my self-control was
waning around her, but that shouldnt be the worst thing in the
world. Isnt the whole point of having her to let myself have
some fun?
There is danger in this. Arias tantrum was public and
problematic, but I cant really blame her. I would have felt much
the same way if I were cooped up in a room for days with nothing
to do. Even at my home where everything is provided for her, it
would still be so easy to feel incredibly lonely. I neglected her
and I deserved that punishment.
It wont happen again. Not after this morning. Not after last
night. I lean back at my desk and take a deep breath. Its around
noon and I have a lunch appointment with Richard Taylor soon,
but Im not really thinking about that.
My mind is only on her. And what her next punishment will be.
I want to fuck her so badly I can barely stand it. Frankly, its
taking all of my willpower not to leave work in the middle of the
day and go home to have her. I know that would be irresponsible
of me, considering the important business I need to get through
today, but god damn. I know shes so close to genuinely wanting
it, if she doesnt already. Shes on the edge and I want to tip
her over.
I want to taste every inch of her. That skin, smooth and perfect,
and those perfect pink little nipples. And her pussy, delicious
little pussy, I want to feel it wrapped around my cock. I want to
make her scream my name as I fuck her deep and rough. At this
point, I almost dont care if she begs for it first or not.
Im sure Ill make her beg for it once she gets a little taste.
I take a deep breath and glance at the clock. I need to get going.
And I need to stop thinking about this. My plan was to seduce
her, and thats still my plan. Im close to getting it just right, and
so I need to stay patient and in some measure of control. I have
about three more weeks for this, and thats plenty of time.
Besides, I can always buy her again if I want more time.
I call for a car then get up and head out. My secretary tells me
where the meeting is supposed to be, this little Italian bistro a
few blocks away, and then I head downstairs to get into the
waiting car.
We drive the short trip to the restaurant and I have to force
myself not to think about Aria at all during the drive. I need to
concentrate.
This deal with Richard is getting dicey. Hes an intense man with
an intense fortune, and hes always playing to win. Everything
with him is a game. He doesnt care if something is mutually
beneficial or not, he just wants to win, whatever he believes
winning actually means. Thats just the kind of man Richard is.
Nothing else matters to him but the deal, and its getting fucking
exhausting.
This shouldnt be as difficult as it is, but Richard cant make it
easy. We both stand to profit here, but he wants to make sure his
bottom line is the best it can possibly be by pushing back against
me. Maybe he thinks Im weak and ripe for pillaging or some
shit, but hes in for a surprise.
The driver drops me out front and I head inside. Richard is at a
booth toward the center of the restaurant, and I head over to
him. He smiles and stands as I approach.
Ethan, he says. Glad you came. We shake hands and then
sit back down.
Wouldnt miss it for the world, I say.
Did you see the latest contracts? he asks, diving right into
business.
Thats not like him. He seems laser focused today for some
reason. Hes normally much more interested in shooting the shit
and drinking, but today hes having only water and a simple
sandwich for lunch.
I dont let that get to me, though. We dive into the contracts and
start negotiating clauses. Hes quibbling about the silliest, most
worthless shit, and a half hour passes. I almost want to fucking
yell at him to get over himself, but I know thats not productive.
The meeting wears on until finally Richard leans back in his seat
and orders a whisky from the waitress. I can tell that hes done
discussing and so am I. Richard is an arrogant bastard, but I want
this deal to go through. Itd be damn good for both of us.
But I cant keep doing this. What are we doing here, Richard? I
ask him.
What do you mean?
From the start of this, you dont seem like you want this deal to
happen. Do you really give a shit about lighting renovations?
He watches me for a second, a small smile on his face. No, he
admits, although just ten minutes earlier he was trying to get a
clause in the contract that states we cant change lighting
fixtures for two years to preserve his brand, which is
utter shit.
I sigh and lean back in my seat, at least happy to get some truth
from him. Okay then. Tell me what you want.
The waitress comes back with his drink and he grins at me,
taking a swig. He leans forward toward me, that grin still on his
face. Ive been reading about you for years, Ethan, he says.
I raise an eyebrow. So? I ask. Business reporters love to make
shit up.
Sure, sure. They really do. But to be completely honest with
you, Ethan, its been pissing me off. A lot. For a long time.
Youre angry that the media is covering me?
No, he says, laughing. No, Im angry that theyre covering
you and not me. I used to be the young hotshot, you know.
Everything they say about you, they used to say about me.
They still write about you all the time, I say softly, beginning
to get a bad feeling.
Never good. Not anymore. Theyre biased against me.
So, what? You have a grudge against the media and youre
taking it out on me?
He shrugs. More or less. I also dont like you, Ethan. I think
youre an arrogant piece of shit with no talent and no
experience. You come from nothing because you are nothing.
I stare at him for a second then slide out of the booth. Were
done here. You can keep your building. Good luck trying to pay
for it.
Wait, he says. I have something you want to hear.
I think Im done listening to your shit, Richard.
I turn to leave.
That was quite the performance she threw, Richard says, and I
pause. Dresses all over the street? How much money did she
throw out your window?
I slowly turn back toward him, wrestling to keep my face
straight. What are you talking about?
Sit back down, he says softly.
I hesitate. I hate to do what he tells me, but I know this could be
very bad for me. I dont know how much he has or how he even
knows about Arias tantrum. I sit down slowly, prepared to
listen.
If he has pictures, Im fucked. I dont know how I can explain
that one away. It wont ruin me, of course, but I cant afford a
scandal right now. Not when were in the middle of intense
negotiations and a merger. They could still walk away, and all of
this work, plus millions of dollars, would be wasted. My
reputation probably wouldnt recover.
I watch him, keeping a level head, trying to remain cool. I wasnt
about to panic or freak out, not now. I cant show weakness to
this man. Hell pounce the moment I show even the slightest
hesitation.
What do you think you know? I ask him, not breaking eye
contact.
I know that you have a woman living in your house, he says. I
dont know who this woman is, since we unfortunately didnt get
a picture of her, which is curious in itself. But she recently
decided to throw a very public and very loud tantrum. Does that
sound right?
So you dont know anything, I say.
He smiles. I know what youre thinking right now, Ethan.
Youre thinking, maybe I dont have pictures. Maybe youre
safe. He leans toward me, his smile getting bigger. Youre not
safe. Not at all.
I watch him, restraining myself from striking out at him.
Proof, I say.
He holds up his phone. Theres a picture of my house with
clothing lying in the street.
See? he asks.
How do you have this?
I hired someone to watch you, of course, he says. Well, a few
someones. I do this with every person I enter into negotiations
with. Comes in handy.
Youve been following me, I say flatly.
My people have, yes. And they got some good shots.
My heart is hammering in my chest but I do my best not to show
him. What do you want? I ask.
Lighting. Statues. Carpeting. Any little fucking thing I want.
Understand?
He wants my fucking balls in the palm of his hand, thats what
he wants. He doesnt care about anything else but that. Well
talk, I say and stand.
We wont talk. Youll do as I say or Ill leak this. Plus the nice
video.
Set up another meeting with my secretary. I turn and quickly
walk away.
If I sat there any longer, I would have given in to him. I know it. I
would do it just to protect my company, but also to protect Aria.
Her tantrum did cause some issues, and I can only imagine how
this is going to snowball.
Its not entirely her fault. She couldnt have known what her
actions would do. Shes a good person and just wanted a little
attention.
But now shes going to have to deal with the consequences.
16
ARIA

I stretch lazily, watching some daytime television show.


Its not even good, but I cant help myself. The day is
moving so slow after Ethan stopped in this morning and I feel
antsy already.
I cant wait to see him again. I dont know when thatll be, but I
hope its sooner rather than later. I can feel something
beginning between us, and I cant exactly say what it is.
This life has been strange. Everything seems to have led me
here, from living with my abusive piece of shit father to running
away and becoming a junky. Now Im trying to get my life
together and Im given to Ethan, a man that can easily save me.
But I dont know if I want to be saved. I want to put myself back
together, not be fixed by some man. I know he could do it, and
could do it easily, but I dont know if thats what I want.
Maybe its better if I dont let myself get too close. Maybe its
better if I stay here, quietly and obediently, and just do whatever
he asks whenever he asks. I simply dont get too close and when
this is all over, we can go our separate ways.
I know Im fooling myself. That feeling is still inside of me,
growing and getting deeper every time Im around him. I know
that soon itll consume me, and Ill be unable to stop myself. I
know it, deep down inside, but I cant admit it to myself. Not yet,
at least.
My thoughts drift in and out of consciousness as I sit there and
watch television. Its around one in the afternoon, maybe a little
after, but Im not really sure. Lunch came and went already, so I
know its past noon at least.
As Im sitting there, I suddenly hear the elevator doors ding open
down the hall. That usually means that Jenkins is coming to drop
something off, but I didnt call him. I perk up, curious.
Theres a knock at the door and then it opens. My heart nearly
leaps from my chest.
Its him. I know its him. Nobody else barges into my room
like that.
Ethan comes around the corner.
Hey, I say, standing.
His face is intense and I cant read his expression. He looks
angry. His normally pristine clothing looks rumpled, like he
walked quickly to get here or something, and hes breathing fast.
His eyes pierce into mine, and for a second, Im afraid.
He walks right up to me without saying a word, takes my hips,
and kisses me.
I melt into the kiss, surprised as hell. He pulls me tight against
him and I wrap my arms around his muscular neck. He kisses me
hard, his tongue against mine and I lose myself in it, instantly
knowing I needed this.
Its like Im dreaming. All day long Ive been sitting around,
thinking about him, wondering what hes doing and now here he
is, barging into my room and kissing me. Its exactly what I
wanted. I dont know why hes here, since hes normally
working around now, but I cant complain.
He grabs the hem of my top and pulls it up over my head. He
kisses my neck, his hands on my breasts. I wasnt wearing a bra,
and the thin cotton panties Im wearing beneath my shorts are
totally soaked through now.
Youve been a bad fucking girl, he says softly.
I have, I agree.
You dont know the half of it. His right hand drifts down
between my legs and I gasp as he finds my pussy. Hes being fast
and rough, and it seems very unlike him.
But I like it. God, I like it. I needed this from him. The teasing,
the seduction, it was pushing me too far. I needed him to take
me like this. His fingers press up inside of me and I moan as he
kisses me again, stroking my pussy, sliding out then kneading
my clit with his thumb. I groan as he takes my hair and tips my
head back.
Youre a lot of trouble, you know that, girl? he asks. Youre
my pet but youve misbehaved.
I want to be good, I moan. Im sorry, Ethan.
I know youre sorry. But Ill fix it.
I can barely think. I dont know what hes talking about. All I can
focus on are his fingers sliding in and out of my aching pussy,
pushing me to my limits.
What does he mean, hell fix it? I dont understand, but I also
dont think I care that much. He steers me toward the bed, hand
in my hand, other hand between my legs, lips against mine, and
Im barely thinking, Im barely present for anything but the
pleasure rocking its way down my spine.
He suddenly pushes me backwards and I topple down onto the
bed. He grabs my soft cotton shorts and pulls them from my
skin, tossing them aside, before dropping to his knees. He
shoves his head between my legs, spreading my knees wide, and
tongues my useless panties.
Ethan, I gasp.
He takes my panties and pulls them down, letting them slip onto
the ground, forgotten. He returns to my pussy, this time with his
tongue against my clit, sucking and licking like he did before.
But theres an intensity and a passion there that he didnt have
before. I can barely take it as he slides two fingers deep inside
of me.
Ethan, I moan again. Youre going to make me come.
Is that so bad? He smirks at me as he slides his fingers deep. I
grab his hair. Maybe thats all you deserve. A nice fat orgasm.
I dont know what I deserve, I moan.
You deserve worse. Much worse. But today, your punishment
is this.
I toss my head back as he goes back to sucking my clit, fingers
sliding in and out, and I can barely stand it.
As I feel the orgasm slowly building inside of me, my whole body
tense and twitching, itching for him, begging for him, he slowly
pulls his fingers from my pussy and licks them. I look down at
him, surprised, and he stands, smirking at me.
Did you really think you were getting off so easy? He laughs
and unbuttons his shirt. No, you dont get to come so easily
today, Aria. Today, Im going to have my fun.
My heart is hammering as he finishes taking his shirt off. His
body is muscular and toned, lean and perfect as he takes off his
pants and steps out of his slacks. I watch him, pulse pounding in
my cunt, as he lays out his clothing over the back of a chair
before stepping out of his boxer briefs.
I marvel at his thick, long cock as he stands in front of me,
stroking himself. I lean forward to take him in my hand and
mouth, but he pushes me back down, hooking one of my legs
over his shoulder.
I told you, he whispers. Today, Im taking you. Today Im
having my fun.
Oh shit, Ethan, I moan as I feel his cock press against me. He
slowly slides inside of me before thrusting once, pressing his
whole cock deep between my legs.
I toss my head back and moan, gripping the sheets. Exquisite
pain rips through me as his thick cock fills my tight pussy. He
moves my legs from his shoulders then grabs my hair and pulls
me toward him, kissing my lips with a passion that I can barely
understand. He slides me further onto the bed and follows me up
there, spreading my legs wide, kneeling with his cock inside
of me.
I put my hands on his chest as he slowly begins to work himself
in and out. I cant believe I can even take him, and I cant believe
this is happening. Ive been aching for it for so long now, for
what feels like forever, and this happened so suddenly. I cant
stop to think about it, though, because he feels too good, smells
too good, tastes too good. Everything is too much and Im
drowning in pleasure.
He rips into me, grabbing my hip with one hand and my hair
with the other, his body hot against mine. Im sweating but it
doesnt matter. All I care about is this moment as I work my hips
against him. The pain gives way to pleasure, an ecstasy Ive
never imagined to ask for.
Come here, he whispers, pulling me over and sliding out of
me. He lays onto his back, pulling me over on top of him. I
straddle him and stare at his cock, biting my lip.
I dont know how, I say.
Sure you do. Move your fucking hips. He slaps my ass, hard.
No, I mean, how this fits.
He grins at me. Find out.
I take him in my hand then slowly slide down his length. I gasp
and shudder as he fills me. He takes my hips and pulls me down,
sliding me the rest of the way. Im dripping wet and he glides
into me so easily. I start to move my hips, riding him, hands on
his chest, breasts pressed together.
Thats right, he grunts. Ride that fucking cock, Aria. Show
me how badly you want it.
I want it, I pant, working hard. I need it. God, Ethan, I
need it.
I know you do, pet, he says softly. I want to feel you come on
this cock. I want to watch your face while you do it. And then Im
going to fucking fill you. He grabs my hair and pulls me down,
kissing me hard.
I keep riding, not letting up, working his cock. I should be
thinking about pleasing him, about making this a good
experience for him, but I cant. I should be thinking about being
his escort and not his pet, but I am his pet and I know it. All I can
think about is working my hips, getting pleasure, getting more.
He grabs my ass then slaps it hard, pulling me down and
thrusting into me. He rocks hard into me, the sweet slap of his
cock slamming into my pussy filling the room. He grunts and
keeps at it, fucking me rough, like a fucking animal.
God damn, he grunts, and pushes me off him. He gets onto his
knees, grabs my hips, and turns me around. I spread my legs
wide for him, ass in the air, as he thrusts deep into my pussy.
Thats right, he grunts. This is what I wanted. This round ass
sliding down my fucking cock. You know how perfect you are?
He fucks me and I rock my hips back against him, slamming
back into his thrusts. Sweat drips down my skin as he slaps his
hand into my ass cheek, sending tingles of pain and pleasure
rolling down my spine.
Do it again, I moan, surprising myself.
I can hear the grin in his voice. Beg for it.
Please, I say, tossing my hair aside and looking at him over my
shoulder. Slap my ass harder.
He lets out a groan and does it, slapping my ass hard. I toss my
head back in pure pleasure as he slams into me deeper. I work
back harder, fingers curled into the sheets and pressing into the
mattress.
Again, I say. Please. Again.
He slaps my ass again, palm flat into my skin. He does it again,
and again. And I know theres a bright red handprint on my
cheek. He grabs my hair and pulls my head back, slamming into
me mercilessly, and I can feel the orgasm building.
He slaps my other cheek, nice and hard, before reaching around
my hip to find my clit. I writhe back against him, working along
his thick cock, as he works my clit while he fucks me.
Thats it, I moan. Ethan. Im so close. Please, let me come.
You want to come on this cock? he asks. You want to come
for me, you dirty fucking girl? Youre my pet, Aria. Youre my
fucking pet with your tight little pussy and your perfect fucking
hips. Beg for my permission.
Please. Oh god, please. I need it. I need it so badly. Please let
me come.
I can feel it building. Hes not slowing down, just keeps fucking
me, working my clit. I know Im going to come and theres
nothing stopping it.
Oh fuck, I moan nice and deep.
Come for me, he grunts, fucking me, working me.
I come hard, the orgasm exploding through my mind. My body
tenses and releases, pleasure rocking through my skin. I dont
know how I can even stand it, theres just so much pleasure
rolling along my spine, and I think I black out for a second.
Not long after, or maybe its forever, hes still fucking me. He
releases my clit and grabs my hips, slamming deep into me. Hes
relentless, and it feels so fucking good.
God damn, girl, he groans. Im going to fill this cunt up. Is
that what you want?
Yes, I groan, working my hips, getting into it. Come inside
me. Go ahead. I want it. I want to feel it.
Fuck, he grunts, and I can feel him. He comes deep inside my
pussy, and I keep moving, working my hips, sliding along his
length. I want him to come hard, and his hands dig into my
flesh.
Finally, we collapse into the bed together. He wraps his arms
around my body and pulls me tight against him, breathing into
my hair.
Fuck, girl, he says softly. You are my pet.
I am, I say, nuzzling up against his chest. Were naked and
sweating and this is where I want to be, the perfect place to be.
He holds me tight, and our breathing synchronizes.
I lose all sense of time with him there, and its perfect. Were
one together, floating in the post-sex haze of orgasm, and I cant
believe how content I feel.
Ive never felt this way before, not with anybody. I dont know
how Ethan makes me feel this way, but he does, and its
incredible. Its also a little terrifying, but Im not thinking about
it too much. I dont want to think about what happens after this
month, or really about what happens five minutes from now. I
just want to enjoy this moment, perfect and right and good. This
is all I need or want.
17
ETHAN

I breathe in her smell and feel like Im going to pass out.


Im so tired, so exhausted, and I feel so content and
comfortable lying in bed with her, still covered in sweat.
I didnt plan this. Frankly, I didnt know what I was going to do
when I saw her. Part of me wanted to throw her out and never
see her again, but I knew I couldnt do that. Not really, not even
in my deepest anger.
This issue with Richard isnt going to go away, but it doesnt
matter. I cant take it out on Aria. I never told her that we had to
be subtle and quiet. I told her that I was going to spoil her and
that she could do anything she wanted, more or less, and then I
neglected her. I deserve what Im getting, but I wont make that
same mistake twice. I wont take this out on her, because she
doesnt deserve it.
I run my fingers down her back and she shivers. That feels
good, she says softly.
Yeah? I softly rub her back. What else feels good?
Everything, she says, laughing, and looks up at me. Why are
you here?
Decided to take off work today.
Oh, she says. Im glad you did.
Me too. I laugh lightly. I didnt plan that, you know.
Thats okay, she says. I didnt mind.
Im sure you didnt. But Im usually more...
In control? she finishes.
Exactly. But with you, its different.
Why? She sits up and looks at me, hair spilling down
around us.
I dont know, I say honestly.
She smiles and looks away. That makes me happy, either way.
I want to get to know you.
What do you want to know? she asks.
Your childhood.
Not much to say. She shrugs a little bit. I grew up with my
dad. Mom died when I was really young.
Im sorry. That must have been hard.
Maybe. I dont know. I never knew her. But I did know a string
of nannies.
I laugh softly. You were rich?
My father is. When I ran away from home, I left all that.
Why did you leave?
She frowns and lies back down in my arms. I wrap them around
her and pull her tight against me.
Youd understand if you knew my father. Hes a hard man to be
around.
I know something about hard men.
She glances up at me. Was that a penis joke?
Not at all, I say, laughing. I have more tact and better timing
than that.
Sure you do. She looks skeptical and we laugh together. She
lays her head back down on my chest. Dad meant well I think,
but he pushed really hard. Hes a little famous in the city,
actually. Id rather not say who he is, but that fame was part
of it.
Part of what? I ask softly.
The pressure. To be perfect. He wanted me to take over his
business one day, but I had no interest in it. And then when I ran
away and got into drugs, that basically killed him. He disowned
me, not exactly, but more or less. I dont see or speak with him
anymore. And I dont want to.
I grunt, understanding. I can see how having a father like that
would be very, very difficult. I can also see why maybe she turned
to drugs. It was a rebellious thing at first, but also a way to feel
good. When youre rich, its hard to really feel things, because
everything is taken care of for you. Maybe she was trying to find
a little bit of that, but went way too far.
Do you ever want to see him again? I ask.
Not at all. He was... abusive, she says.
Abusive?
She looks at me again. I dont want to be that clich hooker
with daddy issues, okay? Its just, he didnt hit me, but he
tortured me. He was merciless and cutting, and I had to get out
of there. So no, I dont want to see him ever again.
I kiss her softly on the forehead. Thanks for telling me that,
I say.
Its weird. I havent talked about him in a while.
I smile and kiss her again. Im happy you feel comfortable
talking about it with me.
Youre supposed to be a client... She trails off, shaking
her head.
What do you mean?
Im not supposed to tell you this stuff. The Syndicate, they gave
us some, I dont know, training. Im supposed to be mysterious
and alluring for you. She laughs lightly. How am I doing?
Perfect, I say. Youre perfect.
My last name is Taylor, she says. I dont know why I wanted
you to know that. I just did, I guess.
I grin ear to ear, and have no clue why that makes me so happy. I
kiss her again, not sure what else to do, and hold her tight.
I want to know her, and having her open up to me makes me
happier than I would have guessed. Its strange, sharing this sort
of intimacy with someone that I supposedly own, but I dont feel
like I own her. Not right now, at least.
Her guard is down and I believe everything shes saying. I believe
that she feels something, maybe something like what I feel,
although Im not exactly sure what that is yet. I believe shes a
good person and wants to do right.
And I know Ive seduced her. All of that, it was real. She wanted
it as much as I did, if not more. She wanted me to fuck her and to
make her come and she would have done it, money or no money.
I should feel good that I won my game, but I dont.
I just feel like theres another game coming, and this one might
be even better.
18
ARIA

P lay it again.
In my dream, he stands over me like a phantom. His
eyes are a furious red like I always imagined them to be, though I
know theyre really just brown. His brows knit as I raise the
violin to my chin again and prepare to play it all over.
In my dream, I know that Ive been standing there and playing
for hours. My fingers are bloody and torn to shreds, but daddy
doesnt care. Im nine years old and I should be a prodigy by now,
but Im not. According to daddy, if Im not the best at what I do,
Im not worth anything.
And so I play it again. I go through the notes, playing as best as I
possibly can considering blood runs down the strings, but that
doesnt matter to him. He simply sits there, smoking a cigar and
watching me. I dont look at his face, because I know what Ill
see if I do.
When I finish, he stands and walks over to me. He slaps the
violin from my hands and growls.
Pathetic, he says. What the fuck am I paying these teachers
for if you cant play right?
I cower away from him, waiting for him to hit me, but the blow
never comes. It never does. He hit me once, out of anger, but not
since then. Still, he threatens it all the time, and I believe hell
do it if I give him a real reason to.
Im sorry, daddy, I whimper.
Sorry isnt going to make you better, girl, he says. How the
fuck are you going to take over everything Im building if you
cant even master one instrument? Its not even a fucking hard
one, for fucks sake. He stalks away and I collapse onto the
floor, sobbing.
He stands by the bar with a glass in his hand. He always has a
glass in his hand. Hes a drunk, a mean stupid drunk, and I hate
him. In the dream, which is also a memory, I know that hes a
piece of shit but I cant do anything about it.
Im just a little girl and I still love him. I barely see him anymore,
and when I do, its always painful, but hes still a towering figure
in my life. I want to live up to him. I believe everything he tells
me. I believe every bit of pressure he puts on me. I feel it
weighing on me every night, and every night I cry myself to sleep
because Im such a disappointment.
Maybe Ill leave you too, he sneers at me. Just like your
mother left you. She knew you were pathetic garbage. Do you
want me to leave you?
No! I cry out, terrified.
Good, he says. Play it again.
I stand up and retrieve the violin. One of the strings is broken
but I know I cant say anything about it. I retrieve my bow and
stand before him, ready to play. He nods and I raise my
instrument.
He loves it. I can see through him in my dream, into his mind,
and I know he loves this. He loves pushing me, prodding me,
seeing how far he can go. Threatening to leave is his favorite
little game, especially when he gets to tell me how my mother
thought I wasnt worth being around. Its impossible to imagine
what that does to a little girl, the sort of incredible heartbreaking
sadness it instills inside of her. Its the sort of madness that
shell turn to drugs to numb when she turns into a woman.
But for now, all I know how to do is play. I strike the first note as
my father advances on me, grinning his evil grin, stinking of gin
and looking to humiliate me some more.
I wake up sweating and hes there in my bed. I swat at him,
trying to get away, terrified of him. Hes coming and hes going
to keep making me play.
Aria! His hands gently catch my wrists and Im breathing so
fast, but thats not his voice, and Im not a little girl.
Im an adult woman. Im in Ethans home, in his bed, and Im
safe. Im far away from my father.
Its okay, he says. Shh, its okay.
Ethan takes me in his arms and pulls me against him.
Ethan, I say. Im so sorry.
Its okay. Its very okay. He holds me and rocks me until my
trembling slowly subsides.
I heard you screaming, he says once Im calmer. I came in to
check on you.
Im sorry, I say again. Im fine though.
I pull back from him and wipe the hair from my face, trying to
smile. He doesnt need this sort of thing in his life, not with the
kind of stress hes under. He doesnt need some pathetic girl
with horrible scars screaming in the middle of the night and
waking him up.
The dream lingers and part of me thinks Im still that pathetic
little girl destined to fail. But I know that Im not. I ran away and
tried to destroy my demons with heroin, but that only made the
demons so much worse. In the end, Im destroying my demons
through hard work, but theyre not all gone. Not yet at least.
Do you have nightmares often? he asks
I shake my head. Not for years. I... I used to. I laugh softly.
Im sorry. Im really embarrassed.
Its okay, he says. Really. For a second there, I thought you
were being murdered.
Im safe and sound, I say more for myself.
He nods and studies me for a second, putting his hand on my
face. Its warm and feels good. I lean into it, smiling.
Can I ask you what the dream was about? I look at him, a little
surprised. He quickly goes on. Thats helped me, in the past.
Talking about the horrible dreams.
You have nightmares?
I used to. Back when my company started growing faster than I
was ready for. I was under a lot of pressure back then. He
laughs a little bit. I used to dream about drowning every night.
My peers and employees would be standing outside of a giant
fish tank, laughing as I drowned. It was pretty bad.
Sounds awful, I say.
If you want to tell me about it, Ill listen. I understand if you
dont.
I pause, thinking. Ive never told anyone about the dreams
before. Ive woken others up with my screaming, but I always
just make some excuse and pretend like its no big deal. I
thought I was past this, but apparently not.
I shouldnt have asked, he says quickly. Im sorry. You dont
have to tell me.
No, I say. I want to tell you.
Are you sure?
I nod and take a deep breath. I played violin when I was a little
girl. My father, sometimes hed get drunk and watch me
practice. Once he made me practice for hours, the same song
over and over until my fingers bled. He would tell me that Im a
disappointment and thats why my mother died. I dream about
that afternoon sometimes, and in my dream I know that my
father wants to humiliate me and destroy me, but I cant help it.
Im a little girl again.
He shakes his head, frowning. Is that true?
I nod. Its true. It happened. Its... part of why I ran away. Why I
turned to drugs.
Im so sorry, he says softly. Thats horrible.
I think he meant well at first. But as the years passed, he
became bitter, and started taking it out on me. I was just a little
girl so I didnt understand. My father was a towering figure in my
life. He was everything to me. When he said I was a failure, I
believed him. I look away from Ethan, trying not to cry. I
stopped playing violin after that afternoon. I refused. He never
hit me, but he yelled a lot. The yelling was worse.
I can relate to that.
I look at him, surprised. He pulls away and lies down next to me,
hands behind his head, looking up at the top of the canopy.
My father thought computers were for sissies and pussies, he
says. His biggest dream in life was for me to join him working
at the police department. He glances at me and grins. My
father is a cop, by the way.
I had no clue.
I dont talk about it. My dad was a grade-A asshole and still is.
We dont really talk much. My mother is okay, but she didnt
really do much to stop my father from being a dick. He was
constantly talking down to me, constantly telling me that I was a
pussy and a piece of shit for sitting in front of my computer all
the time. He sighs, trailing off.
Thats hard. When your parents dont believe in you.
There was other stuff, too, he says softly. He tried to toughen
me up.
How? I ask, lying next to him. I put my hand on his chest.
Beat the shit out of me, he says. Hed be hitting me, saying
its for my own good, although Im pretty sure he just liked doing
it. But all that abuse just made me more driven to get the fuck
out of there.
I can understand that, I say.
I got lucky. My company worked and shit took off for me. But if
I stayed in that house much longer, my father would have killed
me, or I would have killed him. There was no happy ending for
me there.
But you got out.
He nods and looks at me. You did too.
Yeah, I guess so.
He takes my hand and squeezes. Hey. We both got out.
Youre right. I curl up next to him, my head on his chest.
We did.
I close my eyes as we lapse into silence. I dont want to push him
for more of his story, but I can imagine it. I lived some of it, I bet.
Its amazing that he ended up here and I ended up here too, but
we took such different paths. Similar beginnings, but such
different choices and events.
I can feel sleep tugging me down, and I want to resist it since
hes still here, but I cant. All I hear is his breath and his
heartbeat thumping slowly in my ear. Its comforting, and when
I finally go back under, I dont dream anymore.
Its just peaceful and calm. Theres nothing else.
19
ETHAN

I glance at my agenda and sigh. The day is nearly over


and yet I feel like I havent gotten a damn thing done.
Ive been feeling like this ever since Aria came into my life, but I
know its not her fault. Im just distracted by her.
Last night, I fell asleep in her bed. I told myself I wasnt going to
do that, but it happened. When I heard her screaming, I thought
something horrible was happening.
Instead, I ended up opening up about my life. I never talk about
my father, not with anyone. Its not that Im ashamed, or not
exactly, but I just cant stand people feeling any sort of pity for
me. I survived it and got the fuck out of there, and thats all I
care about.
I still speak with my mother maybe once a month. I paid off their
house, despite my father asking me not to, and bought them a
new car. But thats the extent of it. Id give them more, take care
of them for life only because theyre my parents, but my father
made it clear that he doesnt want my help.
Too proud or too stupid, I dont know, and I dont care. Im
moving on past all of this.
But I understand what Aria is going through. I used to dream of
my father and the beatings hed give me, all for my own good, all
because he wanted me to toughen up. Of course, he was beating
on a fourteen-year-old boy, but that didnt matter to him. I was
a sissy because I was good with computers and I was smart, and
no son of his was going to be a sissy.
As soon as I turned sixteen and hit a growth spurt, the beatings
stopped. Mostly because I got big enough to fight back and
defend myself. He didnt want to risk getting hurt. But the
emotional abuse never stopped, not until the day I left that
house and never looked back.
Im not a weak man. I dont let that shit define me or hold me
back. Im not some fucking victim. But I cant pretend like it
didnt happen. I was just a kid and I didnt know any better. I
shouldnt be ashamed of it.
And Im not, not exactly at least. I mostly just dont want people
defining me by my past. Everything Ive accomplished since
then is so much more important to me, and I dont want to
become the abused kid that made it big.
Maybe it was dangerous to tell Aria that story. She could easily
turn around and sell it to some tabloid. The Syndicate would
probably have something to say about that, but that wouldnt
really stop her, not if she was really determined. She could make
a nice chunk of money and disappear.
But I know she wouldnt do that. What she told me last night was
real, very real. She couldnt fake the screaming or the emotion
that I saw plainly on her face. She understands what I went
through, just like I understand what she went through, and I
know shed never betray my trust. Just like Id never betray hers.
The unspoken bond between us sends strange shivers down my
spine. I never imagined feeling... whatever this is. Its an
attachment, thats for sure, a very powerful bond that I dont
entirely understand yet. Theres so much between us already,
and we have so much in common, that I can barely believe it.
My secretary buzzes my phone suddenly, snapping me out of my
haze. I hit a button. Yes? I ask, getting myself back into the
moment.
Richard Taylor on line two, she says.
I pause. Thanks, I say, before picking up the phone and hitting
a button. Richard, I say. Hello.
How are you doing, Ethan?
I pause, wondering how to proceed. Do I pretend like the
blackmail never happened?
Im fine, I say.
Have you thought about our last conversation?
There it is. I was waiting for that. I wonder how direct hell be
over the phone.
I have, I say.
And?
And it doesnt seem like I have much of a choice in this
situation, does it?
No, he says, and I can hear the joy in his voice. Thats the
point though, of course.
Send over your next round of contracts.
I will. Ill be reasonable, Ethan. Ill go easy on you.
For both our sakes, Richard. Remember, you need this deal as
much as I do.
Thats true, he says, laughing. Thats very true. Well, Im
glad you came to your senses. Were both going to be rich and
happy men soon.
I suspect youll be richer and happier, I say.
Of course. Thats the game, isnt it? He laughs and then hangs
up the phone.
I stare at my receiver before hanging it back up. I feel fucking
sick to my stomach all of a sudden, and although I have more
work to do, I know Im done for the day. Its around five anyway,
and theres no shame in leaving at a normal time for once. Ill go
home, check on Aria, eat something, and then work from my
home office for a few more hours.
With that plan in mind, I stand up and head out, trying to shake
the sinking feeling I have in my stomach. Richard Taylor has me
over a fucking barrel, and hes going to take advantage of this.
People are going to wonder why I took this fucking deal when
inevitably I do, and its going to look very bad. This is a losing
situation for me, and I have to find some way out of it.
The car gets me home quickly and Im optimistic as I climb out
and head up the stoop. Ive been ignoring this Richard thing, or
at least Ive been trying to. Ive been using Aria to help distract
me from the fucked up shit thats happening all around me, and
shes been doing a damn good job.
But as soon as I open the door, I know somethings up. The
house is normally quiet, and usually Jenkins is there
immediately to greet me. Instead, I hear hushed voices coming
from the kitchen, and theres nobody around.
I dont mind if theyre busy. Thats fine. Hell, I dont even care if
theyre just standing around and chatting and didnt know I was
coming in. But that just never happens. Jenkins is always on top
of things, probably because the driver normally calls ahead. This
time though, as I walk down the hall and into the great room, I
know something is amiss.
Jenkins is standing in the kitchen with a tall, thin, striking
woman, maybe in her late forties. She has black hair pulled back
in a tight bun and her red lipstick makes her pale skin that much
more intense. She wears a loose black dress and her eyes flit to
mine as soon as Im in the room.
Jenkins, for his part, looks utterly embarrassed. Sir, he says
quickly, rushing toward me. Im so sorry. I was distracted by
this, this woman.
Its okay, Jenkins, I say. But who is she?
Ethan Locks, the woman says, speaking over Jenkins and
walking toward me with her hand extended. My name is Lucille
and Im with The Syndicate. We need to talk.
I take her hand and shake, but the world feels like it dips and
disappears around me.
I knew The Syndicate would come and check on Aria, but they
assured me it would be discreet. They said they wouldnt even be
seen or noticed by me or anyone in my staff. They assured me
that theyre professionals, and that they do this all the time.
If this woman is from The Syndicate and shes here, in my home,
speaking with my butler, then something is wrong. Something is
very, very wrong. She shouldnt be here.
I feel like the world is spinning around me as fear for Aria spikes
through my body.
20
ARIA

W hen I wake up, hes gone. That doesnt surprise me.


But what surprises me is that he slept in my bed all
night, and only left during the early hours of the morning.
I woke up when he left, but only briefly. He slipped out of the
bed and for a second, I thought it was a dream.
But hours later, when Im fully awake, I know that it wasnt a
dream. He really slept in the bed with me, our bodies intertwined
and cuddling. Thats the most intimate thing weve done
together, and I can hardly describe and explain how happy it
makes me feel to know that he was willing to stay with me.
He opened up to me. I stretch, smiling to myself. He really
opened up. That story about his father is horrible, and reminds
me so much of myself. I didnt know that we had this much in
common, but clearly we grew up in similar circumstances. He
knows pain and suffering in the same way that I do, which
almost scares me.
But it shouldnt scare me, I know that. I should be elated, and I
am. This is what I want, what Ive always wanted from a man.
This level of intimacy was never something I ever pictured could
happen for me. I assumed I was always doomed to push men
away and to live my life alone.
Maybe that doesnt have to be the case. Maybe theres
something more happening here. He finally fucked me, finally
held me, finally made me his. Everything should be perfect.
So why do I still feel like theres something missing?
He still owns me. At the end of the day, thats the truth. He owns
me and theres nothing either of us can do about it. No matter
what happens between us, its only happening because he
bought me. I dont know whats real and what isnt.
Him opening up was real. And the way Im feeling is real. But I
dont know what any of that means, how long any of it will last,
because of our situation. Its inherently messed up.
I wish I could just tell him that I want him to get his money back.
Or that I will donate all my money to a charity or something, if it
just means that we can have something beyond this exchange of
value. I want him for real, not as some man that bought me and
keeps me as his pet. I want something real.
I want whatever happened last night to keep happening. Im
afraid that it was just a moment of weakness for him, and as
soon as we wake up, the spell will be over.
Its impossible to say one way or the other.
The day drags on. Jenkins brings me lunch and I dont hear from
Ethan at all. I keep thinking about him, of course, but I just keep
doing what I always do. Im confused and trying to figure all of
this out, but theres nothing I can do.
Im still stuck in this room, waiting for him to come to me. I
know he will, or at least I feel that he will deep down inside of
me. Hell come and well talk. And well make this real.
Ill give up the money. Forget about the money. Sure, its a life-
changing amount, but Id give it all up for the chance at
something real and lasting and good.
Its a crazy thought, giving up millions, but I cant help but
seriously consider it. Maybe if I told him that, hed break the
contract and we could try this seriously. I dont know if hed
even want that, though. The whole point of buying me is that its
temporary and there arent any feelings involved.
Feelings are involved now, though. I cant say what they are or
what they mean, but theyre there and I cant stop them.
The day wears on and soon its around five. Normally, Jenkins is
very prompt with my dinner, but today something is different.
He brings it at five on the dot, which is way too early for me, but
I havent really complained. Today though, its five thirty and
theres still nothing.
I shrug and figure maybe hes finally figuring out that five is too
early for a healthy young lady like myself.
Around five forty-five, Jenkins appears knocking at the door. He
hustles the dinner cart inside, looking stressed and worried. I
stand up and head toward him.
Evening, he says. Your dinner is served.
Wait, I say as he turns to leave. Is everything okay?
He cocks his head at me. I think you know all about that
already, he says with such vile scorn that it really surprises me.
I have no clue what youre talking about.
Your little Syndicate is downstairs talking with Mr. Locks right
now. And you pretend like you dont know. I know you text them
every day. He makes a face like he smells shit.
But my head is spinning too much to pay attention to that.
Wait, The Syndicate is talking with him? I ask. Why would
that happen?
He narrows his eyes. You dont know?
I have no clue. I step toward him. You have to let me down
there. I have to see Ethan.
He considers for a moment then shakes his head. No, he says.
Absolutely not. Youve been enough trouble already.
Jenkins, please, I plead. I cant stay up here. I didnt know
they were coming and that cant be good. Let me down there.
No, he says, and turns to leave again.
I leap forward and take his hand. He rears back, shocked, his face
a mask of disgust and outrage.
Please, I say again. You have to let me go down.
No, and kindly never touch me again. He turns and storms out
of the room, slamming the door behind him.
I stare at the shut door, shocked and terrified.
The Syndicate said theyd never make contact with Ethan unless
they absolutely had to. That was only meant to be a last and
worst-case scenario. Theyre supposed to discreetly check up on
me and act invisible.
But if theyre here, something is wrong, something is very
wrong. I cant just stay in this room. I have to go down there.
I take a deep breath and then open the door, heading out into the
hall. I march toward the stairs and head down, not slowing, and
not taking no for an answer.
Ill have a say in this, whatever it is. I cant let this real thing slip
through my fingers, not now, not when its so close.
21
ETHAN

L ucille from The Syndicate sits across from me on the sofa,


her back very straight. She sips from the cup of tea that
Jenkins brought us on a tray.
Jenkins disappeared soon after I came back. I had to remind him
to take dinner up to Aria, mostly just to get him out of the room.
I dont want him listening in on this conversation.
Im sorry to come here like this, Mr. Locks, she says.
Please, call me Ethan. I frown at her. I assume theres a
problem.
She nods slowly. There is a problem, Ethan. Im very sorry
about all this.
I dont know what youre apologizing for yet.
She looks a little uncomfortable, but shes hiding it well. Clearly
shes used to dealing with this sort of thing, but whatever she
has to say she doesnt like.
Its an, ah, unusual situation, she says. We dont typically
sell the girls for more than a couple weeks. One month is a
long time.
I shrug. You agreed at the time.
You offered a lot of money.
And you took my money. I lean toward her. Are you
regretting it?
Yes, we are, she says. Truth is, we shouldnt have sold you
Aria for a month. Youre a new client. Theres normally some
kind of short-term trial period.
I cross my arms and watch her for a moment, trying to read her.
She looks back impassively, and I get the sense that shes not
telling me the full truth. They didnt have any issue selling me
Aria at the time when I offered them a lot of money. And there
havent been any problems up to this point.
Have I mistreated her? I ask. Has she complained?
No, Lucille says, shaking her head. Not at all.
Then youll excuse me if Im trying to figure out what the hell
youre doing here.
She looks a little surprised at my forceful tone, which was the
point. I want to throw her off balance, make her actually tell me
whats going on here.
We want her back, Ethan, she says. Were willing to refund
most of your money as compensation.
Fuck the money, I say.
She frowns but continues. Aria will be treated well, of course.
Shell get her payment. Maybe not as much as she would have,
but still a generous amount. And were willing to offer you
another girl to finish out your month-long contract at a very
agreeable discount.
I narrow my eyes at her. So youre willing to give me another
girl, but I cant have Aria?
Thats right, she says. Aria is new as well. She wasnt
prepared for this level of contract.
Aria is fine, I say. Theres no reason for you to take her back.
Well finish the contract as we agreed.
Im sorry, Ethan. But Im not allowed to do that.
Listen, Lucille. I dont know why youre here. Youre giving me
these vague excuses, and none of it adds up. Youre clearly lying,
or at least youre keeping something from me. So until you tell
me why I should give her up, were done here.
I move to stand and she sighs, holding up one hand, her eyes
closed. I can tell shes pained. Shes probably not supposed to
tell me the real reason why The Syndicate wants Aria back.
Its probably something embarrassing. The fact that Lucille is
here at all is a breach of their decorum. Theyre normally
incredibly discreet and professional and apparently pride
themselves on their efficiency. But sending Lucille here to
gather up Aria and to break their contract seems like its very out
of their character.
Please, Ill explain. She looks at me with a frown on her face.
Please, sit.
I slowly sit back down and lean toward her, elbows on my knees.
Go ahead, I say.
Its her father, Lucille admits with a sigh. He found her.
Were not really sure how, but hes a rich and powerful man in
this city. Hes coming after us and we find its best if we simply
return the girl to her home and move on.
Best for whom? I ask, anger welling up inside of me.
Best for everyone.
Not for her. Not for me.
Please, see reason here. The Syndicate cant risk exposure. It
would be... catastrophic. For everyone involved.
Veiled threats and ass covering, thats all shes here to do. The
bastards want to steal Aria away from me and to return her to
her bastard father, the very man that she ran away from in the
first place. I cant imagine that her father actually wants her
back, whoever he is.
Theres something else here, a piece of this puzzle that I cant
see. I dont know whats being held back, but I can sense it, just
there, just out of my grasp.
Whats his name? I ask Lucille.
She pauses. Who?
Her father. Who is he?
I cant tell you.
I feel a stab run down my veins. Its a flash of insight that I only
understand at a gut level. The idea isnt even conscious yet, but I
feel my blood turn to ice in my veins. Cold terror runs
through me.
Hes a powerful man... the kind of man that would come after
her if it suits him, not because he wants to... and her last name. I
think back to that conversation that night.
My face drains of color. Lucille looks concerned. Ethan? Mr.
Locks? Are you okay?
I grab my cup of tea and drink it down. Its not strong enough,
though. I stand and quickly walk into the kitchen where I pour
myself a double whisky and slam it back.
Lucille follows me, concern clear on her face. Its not that bad,
she says. The Syndicate doesnt blame you. And her father says
hell back down if shes returned.
Whats his name? I ask her again.
Taylor. Her last name is Taylor.
I cant say it. Please, dont ask me again.
She was born rich. Her father was an asshole.
Say it, I whisper. Say his name. I feel like Im breaking into
a thousand pieces, some angry, some confused, some willing to
destroy everything to get what I want.
His name is Taylor, she says. Richard Taylor.
I feel it like a knife to my gut.
I cant process this. I can barely think.
A new voice cuts into my mind
Ethan?
I look up slowly. Aria is standing in the living room a few feet
from Lucille.
Whats going on? Aria asks.
Jenkins comes in from the back room suddenly, breathless. Im
sorry, sir. I told her to stay in her room. He walks quickly
toward her.
Stop, I say to Jenkins. Please leave.
He pauses, looks at me, and then nods. He disappears back into
the other room.
Lucille turns toward Aria. Honey. Im with The Syndicate. I was
sent here to take you home.
Why? she asks. Did I do something wrong?
No, she says gently. You did nothing wrong. Something came
up though. And we need to bring you back.
But I dont want to go, she says. I want to finish my
contract. She looks at me, pleading, and I dont understand.
Youll still have to come with me, Lucille says.
NO.
The two women look at me, clearly surprised. I practically
shouted it and I look down at the glass in my hand. My knuckles
are white.
Aria, I say, getting some control. Please go back upstairs.
But She starts, but I cut her off.
Go, I say. Now.
She hesitates then turns and quickly walks away. She disappears
up the staircase and out of sight.
Lucille looks back to me. Mr. Locks, we need her. I cant leave
until shes ready to go.
Get out, I say quietly to her.
Excuse me?
Get out of my house. I feel like Im regaining some control
now, though my edges are all frayed.
I cant do that. I dont think you understand.
I understand, I growl at her. I walk from behind the counter
and move toward her. She backs up, fear on her face at whatever
she sees in my expression.
You want to give her back to that fucking monster. And the
worst part is, he doesnt give a fuck about her. Its just one more
slap in my face.
She tries to protest, but I hold up a hand. She continues to back
down the hallway and toward the door.
No, dont argue with me. Richard Taylor is a piece of shit, and
he wont take this away from me. You can go back and tell your
Syndicate to go fuck themselves. Aria is mine, and theres
nothing you can do about it.
She stops in front of the door and stares at me, regaining some
composure. Youre making a mistake, she says.
Get out, I repeat. You can have her back when our contract is
finished.
Very well. Lucille turns, opens the door, and then leaves.
I walk back into the kitchen, feeling numb. I pour myself another
drink and sip it, standing in front of the sink.
The world feels like its filtering in through a very small keyhole.
Dimly Im aware of things, but they flit and shake through my
consciousness, though nothing sticks.
What is real? How can I ever see the truth now? So much is
tangled up in this. Could this have been Richards plan from the
start?
Who is Aria Taylor?
I dont know whats the truth and whats a lie as I feel myself
perched on the edge of something. The only things keeping me
from tipping over is anger.
Anger threatens to rip everything else apart. I wont let Richard
win, that fucking bastard. He wont get the best of me. I wont
let a man like that win.
I dont know who she is, but Aria doesnt deserve it.
I clench my glass and knock the drink back, mind buzzing.
22
ARIA

H e doesnt come that night or the next day. Im not


really surprised, but I dont understand what
happened back there.
When I walked into the room, he looked at me like I was a total
stranger. Like I was a ghost, bursting out of a closet. He was
spooked at first.
And then he was angry. I dont understand why The Syndicate
wanted to take me back. That woman didnt explain, only said
that something came up, whatever that means. But clearly Ethan
wasnt happy about it, whatever it was.
He refused to let them take me. That makes me happy, a strange
sort of happiness. He defied The Syndicate, a very powerful
group of people, just to keep me. That has to mean something
real is happening between us.
But the way he looked at me... it sends shivers down my spine. I
dont understand it. What did that woman say to him that made
him look at me with suspicion?
When Jenkins brings my breakfast, he doesnt say a word to me.
I try and ask him questions, but he simply acts like I dont exist.
And when he leaves, I hear a click at the door, and it takes me a
few seconds to realize that he locked me in.
I sit out on the balcony, eating breakfast and trying to figure out
what Im going to do. I can escape any time I want, since it
wouldnt be too hard to climb down the balcony and get to the
sidewalk. But I dont want to leave.
I want to know why he looked so disgusted with me. Maybe I can
explain. Obviously it has to do with why that Syndicate woman
was coming to take me back, but beyond that, I can only guess.
And so I spend the day in anxious worry. I guess that Im being
held captive, since the door is locked, but I dont feel trapped. I
know I can get away any time I want. I just dont understand why
Ethan would want to lock me in here when he knows that I wont
leave if he doesnt want me to.
The day drags past. Jenkins brings lunch as usual and again
doesnt say a word to me. He locks the door on his way out,
leaving me there to stew in my uncertainty.
I almost want to cause another scene. Ethan shouldnt leave me
here alone without talking to me, especially after what happened
last night. He has to know that Im worried as hell and afraid
that something horrible just happened.
Instead, I get nothing. The hours wear past until finally, its
dinnertime, but nothing comes. Five in the afternoon turns to
six in the evening, and finally its half past seven before I hear
the lock at the door finally click open.
I stand, dimly planning on yelling at Jenkins, but hes not the
one that walks into my room.
Its Ethan. He pushes a meal cart and stops, wearing his usual
suit. He looks at me for a second with a strange look on his face.
Ethan, I say, stepping toward him.
Lets eat inside tonight, he says, and starts to set the table.
I frown, wanting to throw myself at him, but I can sense his
discomfort. Instead, I help him put the food out. When were
finished setting up, we both sit down. He pours himself a drink
and then hands me a glass of wine.
About last night, I say, but he stops me with a shake of
his head.
Lets eat.
I frown and bite my lip then nod. Im frustrated, but Ill play
along. I dont want to spook him or anger him any more. I eat,
and the food is good, but it doesnt make me feel any better.
I cant keep hanging on the edge of my seat like this. Ethan
doesnt seem particularly interested in broaching the subject. I
watch him, barely picking at my food. He looks exhausted, like
he didnt sleep last night, and he eats like he hasnt touched
food in days. He doesnt even glance at me once.
Finally, we both finish. He leans back in his seat and sips his
whisky, watching me for a second.
Im going to ask you something, he says. If you lie to me,
Ill know.
I wouldnt lie to you, I say. Ethan, whats going on? What
happened?
Did Richard Taylor send you here?
I sit back, stunned. My father? I ask, genuinely surprised.
He nods. Answer the question, Aria.
No, I say softly. I havent spoken with him in years.
He watches me for a second, his face tense, before finally
relaxing a little bit. He sighs and leans back in his chair. Youre
telling the truth, he says.
I swear. He didnt send me here. I shake my head. I dont
want anything to do with him.
He knows youre with me, Ethan says, and I feel a jolt of panic
in my core.
How? I ask softly.
Hes been watching me for a while now.
I narrow my eyes, confusion washing over me. What are you
talking about, Ethan?
Your father is Richard Taylor, real estate magnate. And Ive
been working on a deal with him to buy one of his buildings for
nearly four months now.
I suck in a breath, surprised as hell, but I shouldnt be. This is
just my luck. This is just how things work for me. My luck is
horrible and never lasts no matter how much I think things are
going to turn around.
Its not that impossible. My father is one of the richest and most
powerful men in the city, or at least he used to be. Ive heard that
hes a shadow of his former self, riddled with debt and liens on
his assets, but that wouldnt stop him.
Men like my father and Ethan run in the same circles. They do
deals with each other all the time. I should have guessed that
Ethan at least knew my father personally, or was possibly
working directly with him.
Hes been watching me, Ethan says softly. Apparently he
always does this. And when you threw your tantrum, I think he
got pictures of you. And from there, he figured it all out.
Shit, I say softly. Ethan. Shit.
I know. He sighs, shaking his head. Are you sure youre not
involved with him?
Yes, I say. I swear. I hate that man.
Good. He sighs and closes his eyes before opening them and
smiling slightly. I get a glimpse of the old Ethan in that moment
and my heart swells. I was worried.
Why?
Your father is currently blackmailing me with pictures of you. I
was worried if he could pull off something like that, then maybe
he could pull off something like... He trails off, shrugging.
Like planting me in your house, I finish for him.
Exactly.
Hes not a genius. Hes just a ruthless bastard.
Im beginning to see that. He stands and walks over toward
the bedroom window. Im in a tough spot, Aria. If I dont give in
to what he wants, hell release those photographs.
So what? Let him. You didnt do anything wrong.
I know that. He looks back at me, a rueful smile on his face.
But the public wont care. Im in the middle of a high profile
merger and things are dicey at best right now. Any whiff of
failure and things can go belly up.
I stand and moved toward him. Im so sorry, Ethan. I had
no clue.
People depend on me. A lot of people. Theyre not just my
employees. Im responsible for their jobs, their livelihoods. I
feed their children. I cant just fail them.
But if you give in to my father, what then?
I dont know. But he wants you back. Thats what he told The
Syndicate, at least.
I stop a few feet away from him, and I finally understand what he
did for me last night. He refused to give me back to my father,
saving me from more torture, but in doing so he defied the man
with power to destroy him.
More than that, he feels like he risked his entire company for
me. He thought I might have been a plant by my father, he
didnt trust me at the time, but he did it anyway.
I feel torn in half by conflicting emotions. On the one hand, Im
incredibly happy that he was willing to stand up to my father for
me. It says a lot about the bond thats building between us, and I
know for a fact that its real. He must feel the same way, or else
he wouldnt have stepped up the way that he did.
But it also means that Im a liability. Im the reason hes even in
this mess. Without me, hed be better off, and now he knows it.
He cant think about just me and him, he has to think about all
of the people that depend on him, and its clearly tearing him
apart.
Im a liability. Im his Achilles heel, at least where my fathers
concerned. If he goes down, its going to be because of me.
I hate that thought. It almost makes me want to gag and throw
up. It send chills down my spine and lodges a huge rock in
my gut.
He looks away from me, back out the window. So now you
understand, he says softly. Your father is probably watching
us right now. Or at least someone that works for your father is
waiting for us to slip up so he can get more pictures.
I should go back, I say suddenly, blurting the words out before
I can think about them.
He whirls on me. What?
I should go back, I say. Its the best solution. My father cant
keep me, so even if The Syndicate gives me back to him, Ill just
run away again. And right now, Im a liability for you.
No, he says forcefully. He steps toward me and takes me by
the shoulders. Do you hear me, Aria? Im never going to give
you back to that man.
I bite my lip. You cant keep me from them if they want me, I
say. Theyll come for me.
Let them come, he says fiercely. Youre mine, Aria. Do you
hear me? Youre mine. They can try to take you.
I stare into his gorgeous eyes and want to cry. For the first time
in my life, I feel like someone values me above other people, and
its an intense and strange feeling. I dont know what to say to
him, but that doesnt matter.
Because he pulls me against him and kisses me deeply.
I return the kiss with something like hunger, maybe something
like madness. Its a frenzy and a starving blind and dumb need,
and I cant hold it back. He crushes me in his arms, in his kiss,
and I feel held, protected, valued.
Slowly, he breaks the kiss off and steps away from me. I need
time to think, he says. I dont know how Im going to play this
with your father.
Whatever I can do to help, I say.
Of course. He grins at me. Dont worry. Ive handled bullies
before. I can handle your father.
I nod, convinced thats true.
He turns and walks past me and toward the door. I watch him go
with something like admiration and something like horror. Im
afraid that if he leaves now, hell never come back. But I cant
call out for him. I have to let him go.
He pauses and looks back at me. He smiles and nods, and then
leaves the room. I stand there, breathing in and out, and finally
collapse onto the couch.
So much happened so fast, and Im still processing. I dont know
how we got to this point, and it is a point, but its one that I
dont entirely understand.
Something is happening between us. Its more than just him
buying me and making me his pet. Theres a real connection, one
strong enough that hes willing to risk important things for me.
But I can barely even handle that.
I dont know what to do from here. The only thing I can think to
do is to turn on the television and try not to cry.
And so thats what I do.
23
ETHAN

A nother morning spent distracted, trying to get work


done, but only able to think about Aria.
Fortunately, most of what needs to get finished can be delegated.
I hate to do that, but I cant imagine that Ill be able to buckle
down and get it all finished in time if I try to take it all on myself.
I need to figure out this Richard Taylor issue. Thats the most
important thing right now. If I dont bend and give him what he
wants, then hell destroy me, and all this work will be for
nothing.
But if I do that, itll mean giving up Aria and betraying her. I just
cant do that. I couldnt handle it if she gave me up to my father,
and I cant imagine doing that to her. Even if she says shes
strong enough, and even if she really is, its not right.
I wont do it. I wont give in. I wont fucking lose to this scumbag
piece of shit. Before, I was willing to bend to him and to give in
for the sake of the company, because I didnt really know who he
is. But now I do.
After everything Aria told me about her father, I wont let him
win this, too. Hes a small, power-hungry little piece of garbage,
and I wont roll over for him. Just because hes rich and used to
be famous doesnt mean he can do whatever he wants. Someone
has to stand up to him, and that someone has to be me.
Too bad I dont know how. I have nothing to fight him with. The
only thing I have is Aria, but shes not a tool to be used in this
little war, despite what her father may think. She doesnt
deserve any of this.
I surprised myself by the way I reacted to The Syndicate trying to
take her away. I was in shock after finding out who her father is
and part of me thought she might be a traitor. I thought she
might have been a mole, planted in my house by Richard. I gave
him too much credit, of course. Richard isnt some grandmaster
of chess, hes just a bully with a large bank account.
But even despite my suspicions about Aria, I couldnt let them
have her. I couldnt let them take her away and give her to
Richard Taylor. I couldnt do that to her. She doesnt deserve it,
but more than that, I want her. Shes mine.
I opened up to her in ways I never expected, and I felt that
returned by her. I felt her own pain and humiliations and
failures, just like she felt mine, and we were connected. We still
are connected, and the idea of letting The Syndicate break that
connection drives me fucking insane.
No, it just isnt going to happen. Shes safe back at my house.
Ive already hired a small private security firm, and theyll be
guarding the house twenty-four seven for as long as this
situation continues. The Syndicate wont get anywhere near Aria
unless I let them.
And if I need more muscle, more guns, more men, Ill get them.
Ill expend any amount of money I have to.
But the issue of Richard is still outstanding. I pick up my phone
and dial his private number, not really thinking about it.
He answers on the third ring.
Ethan, he says.
Richard. I try to keep the anger and disgust from my voice.
I was wondering when Id hear from you.
We should meet. And talk.
Youre right. We should. The bastard sounds cocky. I
hate that.
You should know something, I say softly. Youre not going to
get her back. No matter what.
Oh, I doubt thats the case, he says.
I have to restrain myself. I want to go off on him, but I know that
wont do anything.
Meet me at La Azteca tonight at five.
I can do that.
Good. See you then.
And Ethan? he says quickly before I hang up.
I pause. What?
Be nice to her. Shes had a tough life, you know. Shes a junky
bitch, after all.
Rage tears through me. I want to yell and scream and tear him to
pieces, but instead I just calmly hang up the phone.
Hes trying to goad me. He knows what hes doing.
Doesnt make it any less disgusting. And Im no less pissed off.
But thats for tonight. I stand up and grab my jacket, putting it
back on. For now, Im going home to see Aria. I dont know
whats going to happen between me and Richard tonight, and I
want to see her before anything goes down.
I hurry home, a knot of worry in my stomach.
24
ARIA

I m surprised when Ethan brings my lunch instead of


Jenkins, though I probably shouldnt be.
He walks into the room and takes off his jacket.
Youre home early, I say.
Being the boss has some perks.
Im sure it does.
He smiles and sets lunch out on the table. At this point, Ive
given away most of my tasks to subordinates, he says. I have a
capable staff. Im a very good judge of character.
I know you are. I say. I sit down at the table and he sits across
from me.
All of this... He pauses. Its weighing on me. I dont trust
myself right now.
Why not? I ask him.
Its a critical time, and if I take too much on, I could make a
mistake.
That doesnt sound like you.
Its not. None of this is like me. He smirks and shrugs. But
its fun, at least.
I laugh. Its fun?
Sure it is.
Im not sure Id call any of this fun.
He cocks his head at me. Are you sure? You seemed like you
were having fun the other night.
I blush and look away. I guess I wasnt thinking about that.
I was, he says.
Maybe thats why you cant work.
Maybe, he says seriously. I keep thinking about you, my little
pet. I keep seeing you tied up to my bed... do you like your
punishments? he asks.
Yes, I say softly. I can feel a flush in my body, that familiar
hum of desire starting to grow in my core. The tension lately has
been overwhelming, and Im surprised that Im suddenly craving
his touch in a way I never imagined. I thought I was too upset to
feel this way, but clearly I was wrong.
He leans forward over the table. What do you like? he asks.
What do you mean?
When I touch you.
I bite my lip, blushing like crazy. Its silly to blush and feel
embarrassed, but I cant help it. Im not used to a man being this
direct, especially a man like Ethan.
I dont know, I say.
Do you like it when I spank you?
Yes, I admit. I didnt think I would. But its...
Hot, he finishes for me.
Yes, I say. And it feels good. Its strange.
Its not strange. Pleasure and pain. Theyre not so different.
He stands and looks at me. Are you still my pet?
If you want me to be.
I do. He walks around the table and takes my hand, helping
me up. He takes my hips and pulls me against his body. Hes so
large and muscular, he practically swallows me up. I love the
feeling of him against me. I love knowing that he can break me,
destroy me, throw me around easily if he wanted to. I love
knowing he can dominate me.
Tell me what you want, he says.
Punish me, I whisper, surprising myself.
Good girl. He steers me toward the bed then presses me
against one of the posts. Stay, he orders, before leaving for the
closet.
He returns a minute later holding the familiar pieces of black
silk. He walks slowly toward me and I can feel my heart
pounding in my chest, practically trying to leap out of my
ribcage.
This will be very simple, he says, stopping in front of me, his
body against mine. He reaches around me and takes my wrists,
crossing them behind the post. Im going to tie you here. And
then Im going to take what I want from you.
I nod once and feel him begin to bind my wrists together. When
hes finished, he binds my wrists around the pole. Satisfied, he
steps back.
Test that, he orders.
I move my wrists. I have good range of motion, but theyre still
tightly bound. Good, I say.
Good, he echoes, stepping toward me. He takes my hair in his
fist and tips my head back. Very, very good. He kisses my neck
before kissing my mouth, his tongue gently touching mine, his
lips smooth, his taste perfect.
I groan as his hands roam my body, feeling my breasts, lingering
on my hips, brushing the small of my back. I can feel the heat
and desire radiating off him in waves and I know I feel the same
way, have the same feelings of desire coursing through me. I can
already feel my pussy is dripping and my head is spinning, and I
dont want him to stop.
He gently tugs my shorts down over my ass and I feel his palms
press me against him harder. He kneads my ass and kisses my
neck, and for a second Im completely lost in this moment.
I feel his right hand move around toward my pussy and I shiver. I
squirm as he finds my clit, his experienced hands sliding down
the front of my panties. He rubs me in soft circles, his lips still
against my neck. I want to struggle, not because I want it to stop,
but because I like being reminded that I cant get away.
I spread my legs wider and I feel him smile. You want this,
dont you? he whispers.
Badly, I admit.
Why? he purrs. Youre dripping wet, Aria.
You make me feel this way.
Way? he asks again. He presses two fingers deep inside of me
and I moan.
I dont know, I say.
Tell me why you want this so badly.
I cant think with you doing that, I admit.
He smirks and stops. I give a little whine and cock my head at
him. Now, tell me.
Dont stop, I groan.
Answer me.
I look away, blushing. Because Ive never felt this good with
someone before.
Thats right, he says and his fingers resume their work,
making me groan and bite my lip. Only I can make you feel this
good. Thats why youre mine. Thats why you dont want to
leave here.
Its true, I groan. I dont know why Im admitting it. I dont
want to leave you.
I wont give you away, my pet, he says softly. You know that,
dont you?
Yes, I gasp.
He smirks and slowly drops to his knees. He pulls down my
panties and spreads my legs wide, his hands on my ass as he
buries his face in my pussy.
I close my eyes as his tongue and mouth find my clit. He sucks
and licks me, lapping my every inch, sucking on my juices,
swallowing me like hes dying of thirst. He sucks me and my
knees start to shake, but he supports me with his arms, holding
me up. I can barely think as wave after wave of pleasure rocks
through me, and I dont want him to ever stop.
Im shocked as I feel an orgasm building inside of me already. I
want to squirm away, make him slow down, but I cant move.
Hes holding me there tightly, not giving me an inch, and I know
he knows. I know hes aware that Im about to come.
Ethan, I groan. Not yet. Please. Im so close.
His grip on my ass tightens and his tongue and mouth keep
working my clit faster, sucking harder, and I cant stop it. I cant
hold it back. The orgasm passes through me, making every inch
of my body clench and twitch as I explode with pleasure.
He has to support me completely as I come, practically falling
down, but he holds me there and doesnt stop. It slowly crests
and moves past, washing through me like a hurricane, leaving
me clean and barren as he slowly pulls back, a grin on his face.
Good girl, he says.
I gasp in deep breaths. Shit, I say. I wasnt ready.
Thats okay, he says. Youre not done.
I blink at him. What?
You think Id let you off so easily? He laughs and stands. He
reaches around me and does something to the silk ties. Im
released and for a second, I take a step toward him, but he
stops me.
He reaches back and binds my hands again. Im free of the post,
but my wrists are still tied behind my body. He takes me over to
the bed and gently pushes me forward, bending me over, my
hands tied behind my back and my ass in the air.
I look back over my shoulder as he undresses. I watch his
muscular body slip out of his clothing, and finally he stands
there behind me, cock hard as fuck, muscles ripped.
See, now its my turn to have what I want, he says, and then
he spanks me.
I gasp and bite my lip. What are you going to do to me? I
ask him.
Whatever I want. He spanks me again. And youre going to
enjoy it. We both know you will.
Shit, I groan as he spanks me again. The lingering orgasm
mixed with the pain gets my heart racing again, and I can feel
that pulse of desire between my legs, the strobing need that
builds inside of me.
He gently teases my pussy with his fingers, being tender on my
sensitive clit, and then spanks my ass again. I gasp at the sudden
pain mingling with the pleasure in my mind, not sure how to
differentiate between it all. He grins and does it again,
alternating from my ass to my pussy and back again until my
breath is coming in deep gasps and I know that I want it again.
Good girl, he says finally, fingers inside of me, sliding in and
out slowly, fucking me from behind. Youre nice and slick again
for me. Didnt take long.
Youre a bastard, I say to him, smiling, and he grins back.
Good. Im glad you think so.
He slaps my ass again then stands behind me. I feel his thick
cock against my aching pussy and I know whats going to
happen, but I cant prepare myself for it.
He slides himself deep inside of me. I gasp and moan as his thick
cock fills my sensitive tight pussy. Pleasure and pain mingle,
washing over me, but the pain is less this time. He slaps my ass,
his cock buried deep inside of me, and then he grabs the tie
between my wrists and holds it as he slowly thrusts into me.
He pins me there, face down on the bed, hands behind my back. I
cant move an inch. He holds the tie that binds my wrists tightly
in one hand, pulling me back against him as he thrusts into me,
pushing himself deep inside of my pussy.
God, yes, he groans. Your pussy is so fucking tight and warm,
you know that? I want to bury myself deep in this little cunt and
taste your cum again.
Oh god, I moan. Be nice. I dont know if I can handle it.
Theres nothing nice about me. He sounds like an animal,
filled with lust, as he begins to thrust harder. And nothing
gentle, either.
He starts to fuck me, really fuck me, hips working hard, cock
slapping into my pussy, and I can feel myself building into it
again. I moan, head turned to catch glimpses of his rock hard
body as his cock slams into me. He pulls me back harder, cock
slamming into me, and I know hes fucking me like an animal.
Theres no mercy in him anymore, nothing tender or gentle. He
wants to fuck me rough and deep and thats what hell do.
Theres no slowing down and I know it. Im going to be taken and
I fucking love it.
I start to work my hips back against him, getting deeper into the
moment as he rips into me. His grunts are loud and passionate,
and I know hes going to come inside of me, fill me with his heat,
and I want it. I need it so fucking badly I can barely control
myself at all. But I keep bucking back against him, sliding along
his thick cock, marveling that he can even fit inside of me.
And the pleasure is overwhelming. The way Im bound there,
unable to do anything but work that cock, makes me feel so
fucking sexy and needed. I love that Im his little pet, the woman
he wants to fuck and be rough with. I love it, the way he handles
me, gentle at first but pushing me up against my boundaries.
My body is sweating and working in rhythm with his, working
faster and harder, getting closer. Come in my pussy, Ethan, I
moan, not sure where thats coming from. Come inside of me,
you fucking bastard.
Thats right, he says, slapping my ass with his free hand. Go
ahead and call me a bastard again, you fucking dirty slut. Do it.
Fuck you, bastard, I groan.
He rips into me and I can feel another orgasm building inside of
me. I cant believe Im going to come again, but I know theres
no stopping it. I struggle back against him and he pushes me
down, tearing into my pussy, working me hard.
Im going to fill you up, dirty fucking girl, he says. You want
this fucking cum?
Yes, Ethan, I moan.
Thats right. You bad girl. You filthy fucking girl.
He fucks me deeper, rougher, slaps my ass, pulls my hair, and
Im almost there. Im so close. He strokes into me, deep and
rough smacks of his cock, and I know I cant hold back anymore.
He groans loudly, and I know hes coming just as my orgasm
crests and starts to wash over me again. I can feel his hot cum fill
my little pussy, and its ecstasy, something I can barely
comprehend.
We come together, bodies moving as one, sweating and working
and writhing, and its all so much.
Slowly we come down together. The orgasm passes into a dull
buzz of pure bliss. He releases my wrists from their bond and
then we collapse together on the bed, his arms wrapped
around me.
I love this. We say nothing. Theres nothing to say in this
moment. All I need is his arms around me, his body against
mine. We sweat together and are together, and thats all I care
about. Nothing is going to tear me from his arms, not if I can
help it.
25
ETHAN

T he shower water washes over me and I can still feel


her, ringing all through my body. Shes just outside
of the bathroom, still in her bed, waiting for me to come back
out. I have to clean up before I go to this meeting with Richard,
although all I want to do is lay in bed with her and forget about
everything else.
I finish showering and step out, towel around my waist. She
smiles at me, wrapped in the sheets.
Clean? she asks.
Clean, I confirm.
I didnt know you like to shower after sex.
I dont normally, I admit. I like still being able to feel you. Is
that strange?
She shakes her head. No, not at all.
Good. But I have to go to a meeting.
She looks disappointed. I hate disappointing her. Really?
she asks.
Really. I frown and glance down at the ground. Its with your
father.
She goes very, very still suddenly. Oh, she says. I didnt think
you were going to be involved with him.
We still have this business deal. I have to work something out
with him.
Do you have any ideas?
I shake my head. Ill probably offer him good terms. Hopefully
he accepts.
What if he wants me back?
I wont do that.
He might destroy you.
I nod once. Yeah, he might.
We need a plan. In case that happens.
We dont need anything. I walk over and kiss her gently on the
lips. Ill take care of it.
Youre not alone in this, Ethan. Im just as responsible as
you are.
I dont think so, I say and walk over to my clothes. I start to
get dressed as we talk.
But I am. Im the one hes after. If I left and went back to him,
things might be easier.
Maybe, or maybe not. We cant know for sure.
We still need a plan.
I sigh. I know we do. Im working on it.
She pauses for a second and watches as I get dressed.
How do you think he found out about The Syndicate? she asks
me suddenly.
I shrug. Hes probably involved with them.
Okay, she says. But how did he figure out that Im working
for them? They dont give out that kind of information.
He has spies all over the place, I muse. Maybe he has one in
The Syndicate.
Maybe, she says. But what if its simpler than that?
Simple how? Im not sure where shes going with this, but Im
fascinated. Her face gets excited suddenly as I finish putting on
my shirt.
He could be a regular there, she says. Maybe he asked the
other girls about me. Some of them know me.
I thought you were new to this, I ask her skeptically. Cant be
that many girls.
The night of the auction I met maybe twenty different girls.
Some of them know me. And before that, I met a few more, even
made friends with one.
I narrow my eyes, starting to see where shes going with this. I
had to sign something when I bought you, I say.
Regulars do more than sign something, she confirms.
What are you getting at?
I think The Syndicate has information on him. And if we can get
it, we can trade that information for what he has on you.
Interesting, I say and then sit down on the side of the bed.
How do you propose we get this from The Syndicate? Theyre
not exactly just going to hand it over.
No, she says, nodding. They wont. But if you give me back to
them, I can steal it.
Absolutely not, I say, standing up instantly. No way am I
giving you back to them.
Think about it, Ethan. I can do it from the inside. I have at least
one friend. And if you give them money, I bet I can make some
more friends.
I frown at her. I cant risk this. How could you even find it?
I couldnt. But Id get help.
What if they just throw you into a hole and then hand you over
to your father?
They wouldnt do that.
I groan, shaking my head. No way, I say.
Its a good plan, Ethan.
No, I repeat. I cant do it.
She stands and walks over to me. She takes my hands between
hers and looks at me. She seems so small, so insecure, and yet I
sense a fountain of power deep inside of her. Shes radiating
confidence, and its hard not to look at how gorgeous she is.
Let me, she says softly. I can do this. You have to trust me.
You cant just keep me locked up in here forever.
I watch her, not sure what to say. I cant put her in any kind of
danger, but I know her idea isnt bad. There are just too many
unknowns, and I have no control over the outcome, and that
terrifies me.
Ethan, she says softly. Let me do this.
I look away from her. I cant.
You can. And Im going to. Just dont stop me.
I shake my head. Please, Aria. Let me figure this out. Dont go
back to them.
She reaches up and touches my face then kisses me softly,
standing on her toes. I wont leave you, she says. Ill come
back. And when I do, well fix this.
I watch her, and I know it has to happen. Something in her face
tells me that shes determined to see this through whether I
want her to or not. Theres no stopping her.
And so I nod and kiss her hard, pulling her against me. When the
kiss is done, I keep her in my arms.
Be safe, I say.
I will be. Dont worry.
I have to be willing to lose some control. I have to trust her.
Whatevers happening between us is real, very real. And I cant
pretend that I dont know what it is anymore. Its love, real love,
the kind that comes at you from out of nowhere and is so obvious
in its purity that you almost cant see it. Theres too much
brightness there, and I looked away, but not anymore. Im going
to embrace it. Im going to trust it. Im going to trust her to come
back to me, and if she cant, Im going to go get her.
I love you, I say.
I love you too, she whispers.
I hold her tight while letting her go.
26
ARIA

T hey meet me out in front of Ethans house. Jenkins


forces me to stay inside in the foyer with my bags
until the car pulls up and a large man in a black jacket
approaches. Jenkins doesnt say a word when I leave.
Im sure Jenkins is excited that Im leaving, but Im terrified.
After we decided on the plan, I sent The Syndicate a message
through my phone and told them that I was ready to come back.
They responded right away, saying theyd send somebody as
soon as possible. I kissed Ethan goodbye and he left for the
meeting with my father.
Hes not going to do anything at the meeting. Now the plan is to
wait and see if this pans out. Hes going to try and stall, but
thatll be it.
Its up to me now.
I ride in the back of a large town car, my bags in the trunk,
worried as all hell. The woman sitting up front next to the large
man is the same woman that came to see Ethan. She doesnt
introduce herself.
I can tell that theyre not happy to have me back, and thats fine
with me. I watch out the window, butterflies in my stomach, not
sure what Im going to do.
When I joined The Syndicate and gave myself up to the
profession, they took me into the mansion. Thats where the
auction took place. I lived there for a few weeks, learning the
ropes, though there wasnt a whole lot of learning going on.
Mostly, I met a bunch of girls and we gossiped and chatted.
All of The Syndicate girls live in the mansion while theyre on
assignment or waiting to go on assignment. We dont get breaks
or days off until our contract is over, and contracts are typically
six months. Of course, I planned on skipping out on my contract
after I got my big payday. Thats not uncommon.
Now though, I dont know what to think. I dont know how
theyre going to treat me when I get back there. Im hoping that
the girls I know are still there, or if maybe I can meet someone
new that will be willing to help me.
The mansion is a large building in the south part of the city. It
looks like a normal city block, a group of row homes, but thats
just a faade. Inside, the mansion is actually one large building
that encompasses the entire block, north and south. Most of the
doors on the street level lead absolutely nowhere.
The car parks in front of the main entrance, an unassuming
looking brick house in the middle of the block. We get out and
the driver gives me my bags.
You made the right choice, the woman says to me as the driver
gets back in the car and heads off.
I think so, I say.
The Syndicate is pleased, she replies, heading up the steps. I
follow her, lugging my bags.
Really? I ask.
Of course. We respect loyalty.
She doesnt sound pleased, though, and she doesnt look at me
when she speaks. I have a bad feeling, but I block it out.
We head inside. The entrance foyer looks like a normal row
home, but as soon as we go around the corner, it opens up into
the magnificent building that is the mansion.
Its exactly as I remembered it. Plush, beautiful rugs, expensive
art on the walls, high ceilings, impossibly beautiful. Everything
is polished and in its right place.
Come, the woman says, leading me down a few corridors.
Youll stay with the girls until we figure out what to do
with you.
Thanks, I say. I appreciate it.
Mhmmm, she answers ignoring me again.
The girls stay in whats essentially a dormitory in the eastern
part of the building. Im shown to a room where I can unpack
and get changed if I want. Theres a shower down the hall and a
common room on the next floor down with a kitchen and some
couches. Thats where most of the girls spend their time. I thank
the woman and she leaves as fast as she can, almost as if Im
poisonous.
The Syndicate doesnt want me here. I can tell that about them,
Im just another pain in the ass, another problem to solve. The
second they get the opportunity, theyre going to turn me in to
my father.
Which is why I dont plan on being here for very long. I quickly
open my bag and get out the phone Ethan gave me. I send him a
message, saying that Im okay, and then I grab an envelope that I
hid beneath my underwear.
Inside the envelope is ten grand in hundred dollar bills. I slip it
into the waistband of my jeans and cover it over with my shirt. I
take a quick look in the mirror and then I head to the
common room.
I step into the main room and take a look around.
Disappointment sinks into my stomach.
I dont recognize a single girl in there. People sit in small groups
and talk, but I dont know a single face. There are maybe eight
girls in all scattered around. I walk into the kitchen and open the
refrigerator door just to have something to do. I grab a bottled
water and open it, looking around.
I dont know what Im going to do if I dont know anyone. I can
probably just ask a random girl, hope she knows something, but
thats dangerous. If I ask the wrong girl and she turns me in, Ill
be finished. I dont know what Ill do then. This whole thing will
be over, and Ill be given back to my father.
A nervous energy rolls through me as I scan the room one more
time. I sit down at the kitchen table and cross my legs, sipping
the water and looking at my phone, trying to pretend like Im
busy, but inwardly Im terrified.
This could all be for nothing. I know that, deep in my gut, but I
cant let myself fall into that trap. Its still early, I just got here.
Other girls might show up. I have to hope.
I sit there for an hour or so, fiddling with my phone. Nobody
talks to me, which isnt so surprising. Most girls in The
Syndicate are pretty cliquey and tight knit groups tend to form.
People sure do love their high school bullshit hierarchies, even
when theyre not in high school.
Hey, I know you.
I look up suddenly, surprised. A blonde girl looks back at me,
smiling. Im so surprised that someone is actually talking to me,
I forget to respond.
Lisa, she says. Remember? From the auction?
I pause and then my eyes go wide. Lisa, I say, laughing. We
spoke before.
Thats right. She smiles warmly and sits down next to me.
How are you doing?
Im okay. I say. What about you? Who did you end up going
home with?
She laughs. Nobody, actually.
I raise an eyebrow, surprised. Lisa is gorgeous, way prettier than
me. Nobody?
They didnt buy me. She shrugs. No big deal.
Thats crazy.
Oh, its fine. I actually feel relieved, you know? I lucked into my
current job.
Current job?
Sure. She leans back and brushes her hair from her face.
They gave me an admin job. Been doing that ever since.
She goes on about how life is tough living here, but her room and
board is free and its not so bad, but I barely hear her. I suddenly
lost the ability to concentrate when she said the word admin.
Lisa, I say, suddenly interrupting her but not caring. I need
your help.
She looks surprise. Uh, okay, she says.
Sorry, I answer, talking fast. I know Im being rude. But I
really need your help.
Okay, she says softly. What can I do?
I need something, something you might know how to get for
me, but its something that could get us both in trouble.
Her eyes narrow. I dont know where you can get drugs.
I pause. No, no, not that, I say. Nothing like that. Its
information.
She softens a bit, but still looks confused. What information
can I get for you?
I lean toward her, glancing around. Nobody is listening or
watching. I have to make my move. I know The Syndicate keeps
files on everyone that hires them. My father, hes used them
before, and hes a bad man. I need his file.
She blinks. I dont know if I can do that.
Please, I say. I have ten thousand dollars in cash on me. Im
willing to pay you more. A lot more.
How? she says, laughing. Thats insane. This is insane.
Look. I take the envelope and show her quickly. Her eyes
widen in shock. Its real, I say.
Where did you get all that?
The man I was sold to. Hes helping me. Well, were helping
each other. Doesnt matter. But now I need you, and well pay.
She looks at me like Im an insane person. I stare at her,
desperate.
Okay, she says. Okay. Ill help you.
Relief tumbles over me like a wave. Thank you, I say.
Just let me get my phone and get changed. Ive been in this all
day. Ill be back in a few minutes.
Okay, I say. Thank you. Thank you so much.
Of course. She smiles, stands, and quickly walks away.
I watch her go, feeling nervous but relieved for the first time
since this all started. I dont know what Id do if she didnt show
up, but she did, and shes willing to help.
I sit there and two minutes turns into five minutes which turns
into ten. Slowly, I start to look back over that conversation, and I
realize something.
She never asked how much wed pay her. She never asked
anything, in fact. She just said shed help me and then quickly
left the room. It doesnt take you ten minutes to get changed and
to grab your phone.
Fuck, I say softly to myself and stand. I realize my mistake,
but its too late.
Four men and the woman from earlier walk into the room. They
instantly zero in on me, all their eyes on me. They walk in my
direction and everyone is staring.
Im screwed. Lisa betrayed me, stabbed me in the back, but can I
really blame her? I came on too strong, like a total crazy person.
She probably thinks Im some kind of police informant or
something crazy like that. She probably thought she was doing
the right thing.
Maybe she was. Maybe Im stupid for thinking I could pull this
off. Well, clearly I am, because its not going to happen.
Im going to be given back to my father. I can say goodbye to the
life I wanted.
Im going back to hell.
Come with me, Aria, the woman says. She looks even more
annoyed than she did before.
No, I say. I cant go back to him.
She sighs. Please. Just come. I promise you we arent giving you
to your father.
I pause then nod. What else can I do? The big men could just pick
me up and carry me off if I refused.
They lead me down a series of hallways until finally we stop
outside a pair of ornate double doors. The woman steps up and
opens them.
Go ahead, she says, ushering me inside. She stops short of
entering herself and slowly shuts the doors behind me.
I walk into the room, looking around. It looks like a library or a
study in some rich English persons home. Its beautiful, full of
leather-bound books, and theres a fire roaring at the far end in
a large ornate fireplace. In front of the fire are two chairs, and
sitting in one of the two chairs is a very small and very old
woman.
As I walk toward her, she holds up a hand. I pause and wait.
Finally, she drops her hand, and I finish my approach.
Hello, I say. I, uh, was told to come here.
My name is Lorraine, she says. I guess you could say that Im
the Madame around here.
My heart flutters in my chest. Ive heard of this woman. Shes
the head of The Syndicate, an old time mobster, a killer, a
badass. Her white hair is pulled back in a thick braid that hangs
loosely over one shoulder. She wears a thick black cardigan and
khaki pants with stylish shoes and beautiful jewelry. Frankly,
she looks like a nice grandmother, but I know better than that.
Shes a ruthless killer.
Sit down, she says, more of an order than anything else.
I sit in the chair next to her. She looks at me, a slight smile on
her face.
I hear youre looking for information, she says.
I sigh and look at the ground. Im sorry, I say.
How much is Ethan willing to pay?
I pause and then look up at her. She smiles.
Were not stupid, dear, she says. And we dont like your
father.
Hope rekindles in my chest. Hope and something related to
hope, the belief in the possibility of a good future life with
someone special. Its a specific emotion, but its an
important one.
Two million, I say.
Lorraines eyes sparkle.
Lets have a conversation, dear.
I turn toward her and think that maybe, just maybe, I wont have
to feel afraid ever again.
27
ETHAN

T hree days pass after Aria returns to The Syndicate


and I have my meeting with Richard.
That meeting goes nowhere, as I suspected. He wants more
concessions than Im willing to give, but I promised him that Id
meet all of his demands, that I just need time. He bought that for
whatever reason, and gave me three days.
Three days to prepare. Three days without Aria.
Thats how I find myself here, in an abandoned parking lot at
three in the morning. There isnt much to our plan, to be totally
honest, but it has been hard. As part of the deal with The
Syndicate, Aria had to live with them for these past few days to
ensure that we wouldnt back out. Theres no chance of that, of
course, since The Syndicate is our last hope, but they want to be
thorough and I respect that.
I shift nervously, standing under the lone spotlight. I can hear
water dripping nearby and smell the rain from earlier in the
night. Im alone, very alone, although I shouldnt be. The
Syndicate is late.
As I think back over the last few weeks, I cant help but wonder
how I got to this point.
I went from buying a strange girl I barely knew and wanting to
seduce her for a game, to needing to keep her. Im willing to do
anything for her now, and although that terrifies me, we both
know why.
I love her. I cant help myself. We have so much in common, a
shared history, and although our paths forked along the way and
we went in different directions, I know I can help her. I can bring
her back into the light. Maybe I can even save her.
But this has to go well first. I cant do anything if I lose my
company and let Richard Taylor fucking destroy me.
I hear a sound toward the lots entrance and I perk up, looking in
that direction. Theres an old factory behind me, the brick
smelling mildewy and damp, and I cant see far enough to spot
anything moving toward me. There are no lights, which means
there are no cars. Im probably just imagining things.
But as I stand there, I suddenly become aware of something. Its
a strange feeling in the back of my mind. I look up and when I
look back down, I spot two men coming around the corner of the
factory.
I dont recognize them, but theyre carrying large rifles. I step
backwards and turn, but more men are coming from the other
side. I want to run, but I have to control myself. I cant look like a
weak fool in this moment, so I stay where I am and face them.
The man that approaches me is young, maybe in his early
twenties, with a wicked scar down his face. Ethan Locks?
he asks.
I nod. Thats me.
Were with The Syndicate. Lorraine will be here shortly.
Thanks, I say.
The guy nods and then motions at his men. They fan out,
disappearing into the night. The man stays there, standing
near me.
Were securing the area, he says.
I nod at him, understanding. I vaguely know who Lorraine is,
though not exactly. Shes apparently an old woman in charge of
the Syndicate, which seems very odd, but everything lately
seems fucking crazy anyway. I dont know how an old woman
runs the biggest prostitution ring in the city, but Im just
accepting these things as they happen.
Check that, the guy says and nods at me. Theyre coming,
Mr. Locks. Good luck. He melts back toward the factory and
disappears into the shadows before I can respond.
Im left standing there alone again, although I know there are at
least twenty men standing around me, hidden in the shadows.
I take a deep breath, calming my pulse, and concentrate on the
task ahead. I cant let my nerves get the best of me. Down the
road, I spot a set of headlights slowly heading toward me. They
make the turn into the parking lot and the car parks next to my
own. Its an old black town car from the nineties, though it looks
like its in perfect condition.
The back door opens and I expect an old woman, but instead its
Aria. Shes dressed in a black shirt and jeans, and as soon as she
spots me she runs toward me.
Ethan! she says, throwing herself at me.
I laugh, catching her in a hug, pulling her small body against
mine. Im shocked all over again at how good it feels to be near
her and how happy I am to see her. I didnt know what I
expected, but clearly nothing has changed. We went three days
without seeing each other, and it feels like no time at all has
passed.
She pulls back, grinning.
You okay? I ask her.
Im great. They were so nice.
Really? I ask, skeptical.
Honestly. Lorraine is fantastic. Apparently they hate my father
as much as we do.
Guess thats not too surprising, I say, laughing.
Mr. Locks.
I look over suddenly toward the car. Standing next to it is an old
woman with thick, long white hair pulled into a braid. Her face is
lined with wrinkles and shes holding a cane in one hand, but
shes immaculately dressed and her blue eyes are sharp.
Aria pulls away from my embrace, but she doesnt let go of
my hand.
Lorraine, this is Ethan, Aria says.
Good to meet you, I say.
She hobbles over toward us and extends her hand. We shake and
she smiles up at me.
So, are you ready to demolish your father? Lorraine asks Aria.
Yes, maam.
Good. She looks at me. I hear youve been good to my girl.
I have been. Or Ive tried to be.
Keep being good. Did you bring my money?
I nod. Its where you instructed me to put it. As soon as I got
here, I left the money in two briefcases in two different parts of
the factory. It was a pain in the ass, but it was what they
instructed me to do.
Good. So my men have it already.
I assume so.
She checks her watch. And now its time for the last piece of
the puzzle. Is he normally punctual? she asks.
Yes, I say. Normally, hes early.
Lets see, then. Lorraine joins us, and we stand in a line
together, an old woman, Aria, and me. We must look like a
strange little trio.
We dont have long to wait. True to form, Richard arrives on
time, maybe even a little early. Two black SUVs pull into the lot
and Richard climbs out of one followed by three large men,
clearly his muscle. Three more men come from the other car,
making six guys in total.
Richard approaches with a huge grin on his face. The bastard
probably thinks were outnumbered.
He stares at Aria and I feel her stiffen beside me. His eyes drill
into hers but she doesnt look away, and for a second Im proud
of her.
Hello, daughter, he says.
She doesnt respond. Just gazes back at him then spits onto the
ground.
Richard laughs then looks at me.
Well, Ethan, he says, grinning at me. You called this
meeting. I assume you have a huge fucking bribe for me?
Something like that, I say.
Good. Youre in one shit position. He looks at Lorraine and for
a second, his grin falters. And who is this old bat? he asks.
Id be more polite, young man, Lorraine says.
Why? Are you going to hit me with your cane?
Lorraine sighs. You never know whats good for you, Richard.
He frowns at that. Who are you?
Im here to give you something. She steps forward, bringing
out a manila envelope from under her cardigan. She hobbles
slowly toward him, holding the envelope out.
He eyes her strangely. The fuck is this? he asks. Your recipe
for pie?
Something like that, she murmurs. Take it, please. And look
inside.
He takes the envelope from her and she hobbles back toward us,
a smile on her face. She winks at me as Richard takes the
photographs from inside of the envelope.
His face drops instantly and he shoves the pictures back into the
envelope. One of the guys standing right behind him snickers
and laughs a little.
What the fuck is this? Richard shouts, anger bubbling up
in him.
Lorraine slowly turns back toward him. Be polite, young man.
Those are photographs.
I saw that. Where the fuck did you get this? Theyre fake.
Lorraine laughs. Theyre not fake. You know that. We have
more where that came from, too. Video, if you like.
Hes speechless. I can feel Arias tension next to me, and I
squeeze her hand. She looks up at me and forces herself to smile.
Fuck this, Richard says. I want my money, Ethan. Fuck this.
Were even now, I say to him. Do you get it? Youre going to
sign the contract before last, the one that was a fair fucking deal.
And then were done with this. Youll leave Aria alone.
Or what? he says, anger bubbling over.
Calm down, Lorraine says. Or Ill put a bullet in your head.
Fuck you, old bitch! he shouts.
Theres a crack from behind us and a bullet smashes into the
ground right in front of Richard. He shouts and jumps back, eyes
wide. His goons all pull out weapons.
I wouldnt fire those, if I were you, Lorraine calls out. This
place is surrounded. Boys?
Suddenly, lights flash on all around us, probably twenty glowing
beacons all told. The looks on the faces of Richards men are
fucking priceless as they slowly put their guns on the ground.
The flashlights turn off, and the men disappear again. I step
toward Richard.
Like I said, youll sign that contract, and youll leave Aria alone.
Understood?
He gapes at me, shocked. I walk toward him, a wicked grin on my
face. Im relishing this moment, savoring the look on his face.
Hes defeated and he knows it, but I need more. I want him to
grovel.
Ethan, Lorraine warns me.
I stop in front of Richard. His eyes are wide with anger, and I can
tell hes on the verge of doing something stupid.
I get everything, I say. I win and you lose. And I get your
daughter. I grin at him.
He swings, just like I wanted. His fist lashed out, clumsy and
wide. I duck it, elbow him in the gut, and then bring my other
fist up and clock his chin.
He staggers back and his men have to grab him to keep him
standing.
Do as youre told, I say. Or youre finished.
Lorraine sighs. Ethan, enough.
I nod and walk away, back to Aria. I take her hand and squeeze it
and she laughs a little.
Asshole, she whispers.
Richard staggers to his feet, getting his balance again. This
isnt over, he calls out.
Yes, it is, Lorraine says. The Syndicate is done with you. Fuck
up and well destroy you. Do as youre told, Richard. Dont make
me come out in the middle of the night again, please.
Richard is at a loss for words. He stares at the woman, finally
comprehending who she is and what were doing here. He
nods once.
Go to your car, go home, and be good. Lorraine waves to him.
Richard pauses then turns. The whole group of them gets back
into their SUVs and we watch as they drive away.
Lorraine sighs as they disappear around the bend. Did you have
to hit him? she asks.
Yes, I say.
Well, I cant pretend like that wasnt satisfying, but its late and
Im tired. Dear?
Aria steps toward her. Yes?
Do you want to stay with Mr. Locks here?
Yes, she says.
And Mr. Locks. Do you want Aria?
Yes, I say. Absolutely.
Good. Be nice to each other. Your contract with us is done, Aria.
Good luck.
Thank you. She kisses Lorraine gently on the cheek.
I hope I never see you two ever again, she says happily, then
hobbles over to her car. She disappears into the back and then
the car drives off.
We stand there for a moment, Aria and I, alone in the lot.
Lorraines men are gone too, I can sense them no longer staring
at us. I step toward Aria, smiling.
What now? I ask her.
She shrugs. I dont know. Were free.
We are.
No more money. No more Syndicate. Just the two of us. She
smiles at me, a little uncertain. Are you sure about this?
I grab her hips, pull her against me, and kiss her hard.
Ive never been more sure of anything in my life. I melt into the
kiss, hoping she understands that, and knowing she will
eventually. Im going to make a life with this woman. Ill pay off
her debts and make her my fucking wife one day, whether she
knows it yet or not.
Thats all that matters to me. Itll be us two against the world.
But hopefully not. Hopefully itll just be us two and nothing else,
only joy.
28
ARIA
ONE YEAR LATER

I can hear the ocean just outside of the balcony doors. I


stir in bed, taking a deep breath, and I smile.
Ethan is already up and outside. I climb out of bed and push aside
the curtains. The view is astounding and amazes me every
morning just as much as it did the first time. The beachfront
town spreads out around us, with the ocean barely a quarter mile
away. Sea birds cry out and I blink at the sun.
Morning, Ethan says. My beautiful wife.
I laugh and smile at him. Morning yourself. Whyd you let me
sleep so late?
You looked too content. Couldnt wake you.
I smile and walk over to him. Ethan is sitting at a table eating a
modest breakfast and wearing a white shirt open at the chest
with white slacks.
After everything with my father, we got married almost right
away. Ethan said he didnt want to wait, and I wasnt going to
argue. We eloped to France, and when I got pregnant four
months later, we decided to stay. We left Jenkins behind, mostly
because he hates me, and although I thought that might be
tough for Ethan, he doesnt seem to mind one bit. Hes so much
more resourceful than I thought.
Ethan works remotely now, and most of his duties have been
taken over by his subordinates. Hes transitioning away from
being the high-powered full-time CEO to being something else,
something more domestic.
I dont have to worry about debt anymore. Ethan paid it off
practically the night Lorraine destroyed my father. And my
father never once bothered us, and even signed the contracts as
he was told. Whatever was in that envelope scared him straight,
and we never heard from him again.
The Syndicate never bothered us again, either, though I wish I
could see Lorraine. She was good to me when I was staying with
them, and I even began to think of her as a friend.
Now though, we live far away in the south of France, and Im so
pregnant I can barely walk around.
Ethan stands up and kisses my pregnant belly then kisses my
lips. Another perfect day, he observes.
Its always perfect here, isnt it?
He shrugs. I guess so. If you get tired of it being too perfect, we
can leave at any time.
I laugh, shaking my head. Im still not used to having unlimited
money and time and freedom. Its hard to really understand just
how easily we can move around and do whatever we want.
I feel so content, so surpassingly content. Ive never been this
happy in my entire life. I still feel like that awful junky girl that I
used to be, but Im slowly getting away from it.
All because of him. Were a family now, and he treats me like a
queen. He spoils me, and Im still his pet. Weve been exploring
all the different ways he can tie me up, or at least we were until I
got too pregnant.
Once I have this baby, well go back to it. And I cant
freaking wait.
What do you want to do today? he asks me.
I dont know. Isnt that awful? We can do anything, and I never
know what to do.
Horrible problem to have. He laughs and kisses me again.
This is how life turned out for me. I dont know how. Sometimes,
it shocks me. But Im Mrs. Locks, wife of the rich and handsome
Ethan Locks, and still his little pet.
And soon, well be a bigger family. Ill have my baby and maybe
another, and maybe another. Well live wherever we want, do
whatever we want, and I know itll be perfect. There are bad days
ahead, of course. Nothing is ever perfect for long. But the good
days will always outnumber the bad ones, because Ill have Ethan
with me.
Hell protect me. Hell bring me through anything.
Im still that junky girl. But maybe soon, I wont be anymore. All
because of him.
Were a family. And I couldnt be happier. Ill keep following him
forever, as long as hell have me, until I cant follow him
any more.
THANK YOU!

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Hes going to take her virginity, and shes going to love it.

I couldnt help myself. I married the babysitter.


And it turns out shes a virgin.
I thought Erin would be the perfect nanny for my daughter.
Now shes my perfect bride.
Im the first man to get this deep, but Im not turning back.

When work gets crazy, I need to a nanny to help take care of my


baby daughter. Erin is smart and gorgeous, and as soon as I see
her perfect curves and innocent lips, I know Im going to do
more than just hire her.
Maybe its selfish. But shes gorgeous, and I cant resist tasting
those lips every time I get home from work.

I know it turns her on. She loves teasing me. Its the perfect
situation, and I cant get enough of Erins toe-curling moans.

Except she has a huge secret, and it ends with us getting


married.

Now shes my little virgin wife, and I can do whatever I want


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But I may not keep her unless she exposes every inch of
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Need even more dark daddy? Let this dominant Man of the
House take you . . .

My house, my rules, and she better f**king like it.

I have a playboy reputation and I earned it. I cant help it if I


leave a trail of soaking wet and satisfied women in my wake.

Until my latest scandal lands me in hot water. Either I fix my


image or the board of directors will force me to step down from
the company that I founded. Its bullsh*t, but I have no choice.

Thats why I marry my secretary and closest confidant. Were not


really into each other, but she says shell help when I offer her
an outrageous sum of money.

It sounds like an easy plan right up until I meet her daughter,


Emily. Im supposed to be good, but her gorgeous curves and
innocent baby blues make me want to be very, very bad.

If I get caught with Emily, its game f**king over. Ill lose
absolutely everything, and itll destroy her in the process.

But I cant keep my hands off her. Shes so deliciously tempting


that I can barely control myself when she walks into the room. I
know Ill ruin her, but shes begging for me to make it dirtier and
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She may be incredibly off limits, but Ill break every rule to get
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