I curse a poor education and unwealthy parents when the droning buzz of an ancient doorbell shrills through my tiny apartment. I guess I can’t really blame my parents for my unstable amble into adulthood. If I had paid more attention at school, I could have been awarded a scholarship like my best friend, Roxanne.
Alas, I thought I’d flirt my way into a trust fund baby’s heart, and he’d be so smitten, he would demand his parents rip up the prenup they had drafted before he was born before we sailed off into our twenties in wedded bliss.
What? My dreams aren’t a stretch from reality. Almost every book I read has a similar plot. And what kind of life would a romance novel lover have if she didn’t occasionally dream that she was a fictional character being swept off her feet by a tormented soul hiding under a black cape. I’m not ashamed to admit I found the beast more attractive when he was precisely that—a beast.
“I’m coming,” I shout at my caller, annoyed by their second buzz.
Can they not hear how monotonous the ringing is? It’s enough to drag a girl out of ecstasy mid-climax. I don’t know about you, but that would be the equivalent of waking up a dragon with a sore head. It would end disastrously.
My thought process quickens my steps. Brayden said he’d pop by sometime today. Although his contact has been rather sporadic the past couple of weeks, I’m willing to forgive just about anything for the right amount of groveling.
Brayden is my on-and-off-again boyfriend. We’re on anytime he’s away from the prying eyes of his parents. Off pretty much anytime we’re public. His family knows of me, I was formally introduced the weekend before Roxanne secured a job paying thirty-five big ones an hour, but they don’t believe their son should ‘settle’ until he’s at least thirty. Since that’s over six years away, it leaves me a little perplexed on how to title our relationship.
The stigma their values cloud our relationship with is almost enough for me to call it quits, but what can I say, not only does he treat me like a princess when we’re alone, he’s also exceptionally skilled in the bedroom.
So much so, my voice tremors as much as my thighs when I swing open the door and purr out, “I told you there’s no giving up daytime sex.”
With things tight, and money needed elsewhere up until Roxanne landed the ideal job, I only allowed Brayden to visit during the day. It was the only way I could hide the fact that they had cut the electricity due to an overdue bill—many of them. We only changed things up a couple of weeks back when the water, electricity, and cable switched back on like Roxanne’s new position is more about polishing Mr. Petretti’s knob instead of wiping his wrinkly backside.
“Daytime sex is almost as good as public escapades.”
My unsubtle smirk sags a little when my eyes lock with what I believed would be Brayden’s face. Instead of piercing blue eyes, dirty blond locks, and the cutest dimple-blemished cheeks, I’m confronted with a broad chest, massive tattooed biceps, and a sneer that has me convinced I’ll once again be cheering for the villain in the next book I read.
Fuck dark and dangerous, this man is devastatingly savage.
Plump lips, perfectly trimmed black hair, and a cut jawline my tongue is begging to trace. His face is exquisite even with his aura screaming anguish and suffering. I can’t recall a single time I’ve met a man I want to climb like a jungle gym and nurture at the same time. Not even Brayden has evoked those responses out of me, and his childhood, although wealthy, was as awry as mine.
“Hi,” I squeak out, both shocked about how far I have to extend my neck to lock eyes with the stranger and the depth and darkness of his narrowed gaze. Usually, you see pupils when you stare into someone’s eyes. All I’m seeing are deep pits of blackness. They’re so mesmerizing, not even the four-leaf clover tattooed below his right eye can detract from their allure. “Do you have the right apartment?”
I swear I’ve seen him before, but for the life of me, I can’t place exactly where. It isn’t like he has a face that’s easily forgettable. I’m basing my theory more on his aura than us having a face-to-face meeting. He seems like the type of guy who’d watch from afar.
When I attempt to scoot past him, jealous as hell one of my neighbors have lost their tall, dark, and tempting bedmate, the stranger folds his arms in front of his chest, blocking my path. The girth of his shoulders alone hogs the doorway, much less the thrusting of his chest when he drinks in my body as hungrily as I did his. I’m wearing booty shorts that leave nothing to the imagination and a ribbed tank top without a bra.
Don’t judge. Youth is in my favor, so I work it for all it’s worth.
I’m also in the comfort of my home. If I can’t be myself here, where can I be?