Paper Princess Page 57


“It’s all right, baby, I’ve got you. I know what you need.”

My heart stops when he moves between my legs. I can feel his hand trembling as he slides the thin panties down my legs. A sharp intake of breath is all he gives before his mouth lowers onto me.

I cry out from the unfamiliar sensation. It feels good. So good. His tongue finds a sensitive spot, causing my hips to buck up. A loud moan flies out. I dig my teeth into my bottom lip to try to stay quiet, but Reed is driving me crazy. I almost pass out, grabbing the back of his head to pull his hair.

He peers up with smoky eyes. “You want me to stop?”

“No.”

He keeps going. His tongue is magic, flicking against me in a relentless rhythm. He makes a husky noise as if my response is as wonderful as all the things he’s making me feel.

His fingers trace a path up my inner thigh. He lifts his head to ask for silent permission. I give it to him with an anxious nod. I want this so bad.

His eyes close as he slides one finger slowly inside me. He grits his teeth. “You’re so fucking tight.”

“Told you so,” I manage to choke out.

He laughs. “Yeah, you did.” He pulls out and glides a hand over my thigh. “I’m going to make this feel so good for you.”

“I already feel good,” I protest, drawing up my legs.

A cocky, familiar grin shines up at me. “You haven’t seen anything yet.”

He settles back between my legs, and his shoulders push me open so far that I should be blushing, but all I can feel is anticipation. With one arm looped around my thigh, he eases his finger back inside me.

The muscles in my legs tighten. My fingers dig into his skull but he doesn’t stop kissing me even as the pleasure crashes over me in waves that drag me under. Once I go limp, he climbs up and lies beside me, drawing me toward him.

His lips find my neck again and he breathes deeply.

“Why did you have to come here?”

I’m confused by the question. “I…you know why. Your father—”

“I mean why now.” His frustrated words heat my skin. “Maybe another time, away from this place, you and me would have a different story.”

“I don’t understand what you’re saying.”

“I’m saying this can’t happen again.” He lifts his head, and I see his misery. “I need to go away. I need to leave this goddamn place and remake myself into something better. Someone…worthy…” His voice trips on that last word.

“Worthy,” I echo in a whisper. “Why do you think you’re not worthy?”

He’s silent for a moment. His palm absently caresses my shoulder. “It doesn’t matter,” he finally says. “Just forget it.”

“Reed…”

He sits up and shrugs out of the spare T-shirt he’d put on in the car. The other shirt, the one he ripped off his back and put on me when we were leaving the party, sits discarded on the floor, along with the rest of my clothes.

“Close your eyes, Ella,” he says roughly, settling beside me again. He’s shirtless now, but still wearing his jeans. The denim scratches my bare leg when I swing it over him. “Just close your eyes and go to sleep.”

My voice is muffled against his bare chest. “You promise you won’t leave?”

“I promise.”

I snuggle closer, losing myself in the warmth of his body and the steady beating of his heart beneath my ear.

When I wake up the next morning, Reed is gone.

25

“You doing good, little sis?” Easton eyes me from the kitchen table as I stagger into the kitchen feeling like I’d been run over by an eighteen-wheeler.

“No. I feel awful.” I pour myself a glass of water at the sink, chug it, then pour another one.

Easton’s tone is lined with sympathy. “You crashed hard, huh? Happened to me, too, the first time molly walked into my life.”

“Molly?” Callum’s curious voice says from the doorway. “Got a new girlfriend, Easton? What happened to Claire?”

I can see Easton fighting back laughter. “Claire and I are dunzo. But this Molly chick is pretty cool.” He shoots me an impish grin.

My head is pounding too hard for me to even crack a smile. Callum’s gaze shifts to me, and he’s visibly startled. “Ella, you look terrible.” Suspicion darkens his face as he swings back to his son. “What kind of trouble did you get her into last night?”

“Just the usual liquid trouble. Turns out Ella can’t handle her liquor.”

I give him a grateful look behind Callum’s back. I guess the Royal truce also includes covering for each other. Not that I willingly took drugs last night. My hands curl into fists as I remember Daniel’s lust-glazed eyes and the way he’d groped me.

“You got drunk last night?” Callum’s mouth is tight as he turns back to me.

“A little,” I confess.

“Oh, come on, Dad, don’t get all parental on us now,” Easton pipes up. “You gave me my first beer when I was twelve.”

“Eleven for me,” Gideon says, striding into the kitchen. He’s shirtless, and there’s a noticeable scratch mark over his left pec. He glances at me, his sympathy obvious. “How you feeling?”

“Hung over,” Easton answers for me, then glances pointedly at his brother when their dad isn’t looking.

Callum still isn’t happy with me. “I don’t want you drinking excessively.”

“You jealous she might dethrone you as Excessive Drinking Champion of the Royal family?” Easton cracks.

“That’s enough, Easton.”

“Hey, just pointing out the hypocrisy, Dad. And, apparently, the double standard. You don’t give a shit when any of us get wasted, so why can’t Ella?”

Callum looks from his sons to me, then shakes his head. “I guess I should be happy that you all are sticking up for each other now.”

Footsteps echo in the hall, and my breath lodges in my throat when Reed enters the kitchen. Black track pants ride low on his hips, and his muscular chest is bare and slightly damp, as if he’s just come out of the shower.

He doesn’t look at me as he heads for the fridge.

My spirits plummet, though I’m not sure what kind of reaction I expected. Waking up alone was a clear message. And what he’d said yesterday—this can’t happen again—only makes that message clearer.

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