Paper Princess Page 43


“Keep the twins away, too,” Reed says.

His brother disappears without another word. Rather than stay in Easton’s cabin, Reed walks next door and gestures for me to follow him inside.

I stay put, crossing my arms. “What do you want?”

“To talk.”

“Then talk here.”

“Get in here, Ella.”

“No.”

“Yes.”

I drop my arms and walk into the cabin. Something about this guy…he issues a command and I obey. I fight it at first, sure. I always fight, but he always wins.

Reed closes the door behind me and runs a hand through his windblown hair. “I’ve been thinking about what we talked about before.”

“We didn’t talk before. You talked.” And my pulse speeds up because now I’m remembering what he’d said.

If I have to fuck you so you don’t ruin my family, I’ll do it.

“I want you to stay away from my brother.”

“Aw, are you jealous?” As Callum would say, I’m poking the tiger, but I don’t really care. I’m tired of this guy telling me what to do.

“I get it, you’re used to a certain lifestyle,” Reed says, ignoring my taunt. “I bet guys were lining up to drill you at your old school.”

My heart stops when he grabs the bottom of his shirt.

“You have needs.” He shrugs. “Can’t fault you for that, and yeah, I haven’t made it easy for you to make friends at Astor Park. Not a lot of guys have the balls to go against me and ask you out. They think you’re hot, though. They all do.”

Where on earth is he going with this? And why—oh my God, why is he taking off his shirt?

I gape at his bare chest. He has a six-pack that makes me drool, and his oblique muscles are tight and delicious. Heat spreads through my body. I clench my thighs together to try to stop the throbbing between them, but it just makes it worse.

He grins at me. Oh yeah, he’s fully aware of the effect he has on me.

“My brother’s a good lay.” His eyes gleam. “But he’s not as good as me.”

Reed undoes the button of his cargo shorts and tugs on the zipper. I can’t breathe. I’m frozen in place as he yanks the shorts off and kicks them away.

My legs start to shake. Everywhere I look I see smooth golden skin and tight muscle.

“Here’s the deal,” he says. “My brother and father are off-limits to you. If you have an itch that needs scratching, you come to me. I’ll take care of it.”

He rests his large palm between his pecs, then drags it lower.

All the oxygen is trapped in my lungs. I can’t do anything but follow the trajectory of his hand. It slides over his abs and stomach, stops just above his groin, then shifts lower to delve past the elastic of his boxer briefs.

Reed’s fingers close around his very obvious hard-on and someone moans. I think it’s me. It must be me, because he smiles.

“You want this?” He pumps himself slowly. “You can have it. Lick it, suck it, fuck it, anything you want, baby. As long it’s just with me.”

My heart beats even faster.

Reed tips his head. “Do we have a deal?”

It’s the calculated note in his voice that snaps me out of my trance. Horror and indignation rush to the surface, and I stumble backward, bumping my shins on the bed.

“Screw you,” I choke out.

He looks unimpressed with my outburst.

I lick my lips. My mouth is dryer than the Sahara and yet I’ve never felt more alive. All my stripping, all my dodging of Mom’s handsy boyfriends, hasn’t prepared me for this. Maybe there were guys lined up to sleep with me, but I was focused on working, caring for my mom, and then just surviving. I can’t even remember the face of a single guy I went to school with last year.

The image of Reed standing here—buff, golden, and naked with his dick in his hand—will be burned into my memory forever.

He has everything a girl could want: the hard body, the handsome face that will still look good years from now, the money, and that extra something. Charisma, I guess. The ability to slay you with a single look.

The apple is dangling in front of me, juicy red and delicious, but, like the fairy tale, Reed Royal is the villain disguised as a pretty prince. Taking a bite out of him would be a huge mistake.

And I might be attracted to him, but I refuse to let my first time to be with someone who despises me. Someone who’s trying to protect his perfectly capable brother from my innocent destruction.

But I don’t want to leave without a taste either, because I’m not that strong…or stupid.

He may hate me, but he wants me. His grip on his dick doesn’t ease up. If anything, his muscles bunch harder as if he’s anticipating my touch.

This is what Valerie was talking about the other night when we were dancing. I didn’t respond to the crowd, but Reed’s hot eyes tracking my every move made me feel real. I know that if I was in Reed’s head right now all I’d see would be me.

I saunter to the chair in the corner where a folded robe is wrapped in its sash. I pull the sash off and then run the strip of terry cloth through my fingers.

“Anything I want?” I ask him.

His eyes close momentarily and then snap open with so much need my knees nearly buckle.

“Yes. Anything.” His response sounds as if it’s wrenched out of him. “But just me.”

“Why are you so desperate?” I taunt. “You had sex with someone just last night.”

He makes a disgusted sound in the back of his throat. “I didn’t have jack last night. You’re the one who made out with East.”

“And you weren’t rocking the Range Rover so hard the tires were coming off?” I say sarcastically.

“That was Wade.” My confusion must show because he clarifies. “The quarterback of Astor Park, friend of mine. The bathroom was full. He couldn’t wait.”

Something like relief floods me. Maybe this is the only way his pride lets us be together. Maybe I could have him. Maybe this is my good thing. My reward. I decide to test it.

“I want to tie you up.”

His jaw hardens. He probably thinks that this is my kink—something I’ve tried out a dozen times before.

“Sure, babe, anything you want.”

He’s not giving in; he’s baiting me. I kick myself for believing for a single moment that I’m anything more to Reed than a convenient warm body.

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