“I knew being your girlfriend wouldn’t have many perks. I still owe you things.”
“You have plenty of perks,” I tell her. “You just choose not to delight in them.” I edge close to her, setting a hand on the counter, my mouth near her neck as I lean in low. She tenses as my hand dips to her thigh. “What favor do you need?” I ask, slipping my palm beneath her robe.
“I’m going to burn you,” she says, not as a threat. Fear spikes in her voice. She unplugs the curling iron quickly and sets it aside.
I bite her ear and whisper, “Breathe.”
She barely exhales. “I need you to give Lo the talk.”
I hunch over, resting my chin on her shoulder for a second. My expression stays complacent, composed—the face I carry with me throughout the day, the one Rose calls “fake.”
“I think we’re past that talk, Rose.”
She glowers, her entire body responding to the emotion. Her eyes narrow, her stance closes, her shoulders pull back, forcing me to straighten up.
I almost get hard.
“Don’t patronize me,” she says. “Lo’s going to get my sister pregnant on accident. He’s impulsive and careless. So you need to do what you do best and instill some common sense into him.”
“I imagine that conversation blowing over as well as a hurricane.” I twirl her by the waist so she leans against the counter, facing me. “So it’s going to cost you.”
She peruses my body with a sharp gaze. “I’m prepared to pay.”
My lips slowly rise. “Are you?”
“Yes.” But her eyes speak differently, and my smile fades. She’s really, truly scared.
“You’re safe with me, you know that, Rose?” I ask her. “I won’t ever hurt you.” I’ve always treated her like she’s an extension of myself.
The more hostile, torrid side—that is.
It’s a reason I’ve become so possessive of her throughout the years, even when we weren’t together.
“I know,” she says, relaxing her shoulders.
“Then I’ll talk with Lo.”
“What do I need to do for you?” she asks, too stubborn to back down, even if the unknown frightens her.
“Stop thinking for a minute.”
I kiss her, my large hand cupping her delicate face, my lips against her soft. Her breath rises to her throat, and her body curves to meet mine. She rouses, clutching my muscular arms with her free hands. The uncertainty still lingers on her lips, hesitating.
I break apart. “Get out of your head,” I tell her, my hand lowering to her ass. I push her against me, her pelvis tucked neatly to mine. Her robe slips between her legs, revealing the bareness of her thighs.
A moan pushes through her lips. I pin her against the counter, only the towel separating my c*ck from her body, and she struggles to gain control with me. Her head dips back in arousal, and she desperately grips my arms, her fingers digging into my biceps. But she looks lost on what to do with her legs, one wanting to wrap around my waist, the other half off the ground with the force of my body.
I hold her left leg up to my side, stretching her, and she lets out a staggered breath. “Wait, wait…” she starts, her hands on my chest. She’s flushed and warm to the touch, but she plummets right back in her f**king head.
“Rose,” I chastise and drop her leg to the ground.
She rests her elbows on the counter, confusion lacing her eyes.
You liked that. It’s okay to like that, Rose. My hand returns to her jaw, caressing her cheek as she processes what happened—my dominant movements that trounced her into a puddle. My puddle.
I run my thumb on her bottom lip.
“Je suis passionné de toi,” I say. I am passionate about you.
Her chest falls, understanding me well.
I slip my thumb into her mouth, and a sharp noise catches in her throat. She blushes at hearing herself. I leave my thumb there and press a soft kiss to her neck, and then I suck sensitive spots, trailing up her collar to her cheek.
She can throw me off at any second.
But surprisingly, she closes her lips over my thumb. She doesn’t suck it, doesn’t run her tongue against it. I don’t think she really knows what to do, but I adore her more for trying. I let her off the hook and quickly replace my hand with my lips, my tongue, trying to lose her with the moment.
Her movements are more assured now, her hands drifting to my hair, tugging, clenching, kneading. Her spine curves again, her body meeting mine once more. That’s it, Rose. I have you.
You’re safe with me.
A full minute passes before that all disappears, before she retreats into her head again, before her kisses shorten, before her lips close and she pulls back altogether.
It was a brief, fleeting moment where I almost had her vulnerable and bare. But if I can put my thumb into her mouth without her biting it off, it’s only a matter of time until I’m inside her completely.
[ 4 ]
Well, I learned what increasing the production value entails.
Here’s a new one for me.
Scott Van Wright somehow manipulated my girlfriend into moving out of her sanctuary, leaving our Princeton house. I really wish I had been there for the conversation and not been stuck in a college lecture hall. I would have rebutted every argument he had that began with “The Real World” and ended with “you’re all living together.”
We all lived together in Princeton, New Jersey.
The difference now: Loren Hale’s half-brother, Ryke Meadows, is moving in for six months. So is Rose’s little sister, Daisy. That’s six people in one house.
I’m trying to be the encouraging boyfriend, but I can’t be at fault for however I act around Scott. I don’t like that he convinced Rose to do something that I would have trouble talking her into. It makes me nervous.
Rose stares up at the open ceiling, microphones and wires dangling from the rafters of our new home. Her forehead scrunches at having to live in a Philadelphia townhouse designed especially for production. Three levels. Five bedrooms. One communal bathroom. No yard. A nice hot tub and patio area. And an even larger dining room and kitchen.
“He promised we wouldn’t be filmed in the bathroom or the bedrooms,” she says with tight lips.
“Promises from anyone other than me mean nothing,” I say. “Has he hit you over the head?”
She glares. “It’s in the contract.”
“Then Lo and I will make sure there aren’t any cameras in the rooms.”
“And the bathroom,” she says quickly.
She nods to herself and raises her chin to appear more confident about the matter, but privacy means a great deal to Rose. And this is a lot more intrusive than she anticipated.
“You can always tell him to f**k off,” I remind her. “You’ve said it to men many times before.”
“And yet, you’re still here.”
I smile. True.
She lets out a breath. “No. It has to be done this way.”
“And why is that?”
“He said that there’ll be more viewers if we all live together. Rich families being filmed in their natural environment has been done before. This hasn’t.” She pauses. “Except for The Real World but—”
“All I hear is Scott Van Wright in your mouth, and that’s really the last place I want another man to be.”
She gives me a cold look and says, “I happen to agree with him. I did the research.”
“Fine.” But what Scott really wants is the most drama possible, the most chaos, and this is the type of setting that’ll grant him what he desires. And if Rose is a part of that package, he’s going to f**king lose this battle. I just don’t want it to be at the cost of Rose’s fashion line. If I ruin Calloway Couture, I’ll lose her too. Her company is why we’re swimming in a fish bowl after all. I’d do almost anything to help her achieve her dreams.
“Plus,” she adds, only to provoke me, “our house had poor sound quality. We would’ve had to move anyway.”
“Right, because they couldn’t spend a couple thousand dollars to rig better equipment at Princeton. This alternative, moving out, is a hell of a lot more expensive.”
“You’re turning green. And for your information, you look ugly in that color.”
“I’m not jealous,” I say. “I hate him for the same reason you do—because he pisses where he eats.”
“You haven’t even met him yet.”
“I already know.”
She flattens her black maxi dress with her hands, walking back and forth in the living room space. “You’re incorrigible.”
“You’re pacing. What other things should we point out?”
She hits me with her handbag, and I try hard not to grin.
When she settles down, she says, “After six months, we can go back to Princeton.”
She can keep listing off the reasons why the move to Philadelphia is better—that her parents live close by, that Daisy can still attend prep school, that Lo’s comic book business is already downtown, that my commute to Penn has been shortened by an hour—but in the end, she wasn’t given a choice. Scott told her to move. And she did.
Not even that, he chose this townhouse. He didn’t let Rose look for a new place that would fit production’s ridiculous requirements.
I glance at the purple fringe cloth that covers the coffee table, large white candles lined in a row. Production actually hired people to decorate for the psychic’s arrival. As though she’s living here too.
“Just don’t ask me to be nice to the psychic,” I tell her, just now noticing Ben, the skinny cameraman, walk down the stairs. He directs the lens at us.
“I don’t care what you do,” she says, “as long as you’re here.”
I try not to look shocked by her declaration. Our tight postures relax, and I draw her to my chest and rub the back of her neck. She melts into me, her normally stiff body finding a moment to slacken. I stare at her fiery eyes that never seem to soften, even if her body does.
“But I thought you could do everything by yourself, darling.”
“I can,” she says, raising her chin again. “But I like your help…sometimes.” Her gaze falls to my lips, unsure of herself again. She’s waiting for me to make a move.
My lips brush her cheek. “I’m going to spread you so wide, Rose. Your whole body will ache for my hard cock.” She tightens against me. “You’ll come before I fill every inch of you.”
A noise catches in her throat, and her hands drop to my waist, hurriedly feeling around for my battery pack to the microphones we wear beneath our clothes.
“Forget about the cameras,” I tell her. Ben takes this moment to skirt around us, the camera whipping towards Rose’s face. He’s another obstacle, a puppet of Scott’s. Just f**king wonderful. I could shove the camera at the wall, but I resist the violent urge.
I bring my hand to the back of her head, my lips right beside her ear. “You saw how big I am. Imagine that inside of you, all of it, pounding hard until you can’t breathe.”
“Connor,” she warns, her voice weaker than normal.
I grip her hair between my fingers and tug, her chin jutting up.
Her mouth opens, and she stifles a sound that wants to come out.
With one hand to the small of her back, I push her body harder against mine, and her cheeks flush.
“Don’t be afraid of me,” I whisper lowly in her ear. “I may not always be on your side, but I have your best interest at heart.”
When I release her, she withdraws, taking two steps back and clearing her throat. She readjusts her handbag on her arm and then says, “I don’t think I can forgive him for that bathroom.”
She completely drops what just happened. And Scott is the last person I want her to divert to after I just talked about f**king her hard.
“To be fair to Scott,” I say with a dry smile, “the bathroom has four sinks and two showers. It’s not as if it’s small. Each shower is even large enough to fit five co-eds.”
“It’s communal. I don’t know how they did it at Penn, but I had my own bathroom, shared with one other girl.”
“Yes, we’re all savages at Penn. You should see the football team. They live in caves and eat with their hands.”
Her shoulders fall. “I know I’m spoiled and a bitch, but I’m uncomfortable at the idea of someone walking in on me.”
“The showers have misted glass. You can’t see through them.” That’s not entirely true. I’d be able to see her body fairly well. “And you walked in on me three days ago.” The mention of our moment in the bathroom—where she found me masturbating, where I hiked her leg around my waist—has her whole body tensing in arousal. She crosses her arms to cover the flush that rises on her neck. Only the mention of her sex life (or lack thereof) can make her so flustered.