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Rebel(3)

By:Kim Linwood



“I guess it’s your lucky night. Just like, tone down the macho a little, alright? My bullshit meter doesn’t go to eleven,” I say it with a confidence I don’t feel, and I’m sure he can tell. But what should he care so long as he gets laid, right? It doesn’t matter if I like him, so long as I don’t let down Paul when we finally do it. Do it. Hello again, middle school.

He laughs softly and studies my face. “You know what? Never mind. You’re not ready. Go swim in the kiddie pool a little longer. I’ve got better things to do than babysit.” Turning away, he puts his hand up in a dismissive wave as he walks off.

What? I finally worked up my nerve, and he turns me down? No freaking way! That’s unacceptable. Forgetting that five minutes ago I didn’t know him, and two minutes ago I wanted to run away, I charge after him, grab his arm and pull. It’s like wrapping my fingers around warm steel.

When he looks at me, his eyes are shrewd and narrow, and that infuriating smirk is still plastered on his face, like he was expecting my reaction. Is he playing me? I don’t even know why I want him anymore, other than that he’s thrown down the gauntlet and it’s now or never. There’s no way I’ll work up the courage to go through this again.

I glare at Gavin, daring him to contradict me. “I am so ready.”

He arches a single, skeptical eyebrow, but he nods. “Alright. If you say so. I’ve got a place around the corner. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.” His smug words taunt me, like he still doesn’t believe I’m up for the challenge.

I’m sure he’s playing me, but I’ll play him right back.





Chapter 2: Angie


The elevator takes forever, and it’s really awkward. At least for me. I don’t know him, but I’m going to have sex with him, and he’s standing there like he doesn’t have a care in the world, leaning against the wall with his big, tattooed arms crossed over his chest. Meanwhile, I have to force myself to stand still, my legs wanting to pace the little space we have.

I focus on the yellow lights that slowly tick away our progress towards the thirty-third floor. It’s the penthouse, and I’m pretty sure this is the tallest building I’ve ever been in. Even under the circumstances, I’m amazed at how long the freaking elevators take. I’m probably just a little antsy. Okay, a lot antsy.

Finally, the bell dings and the doors open into a well-lit hallway. It’s short, with only three doors, one to either side of us and one straight ahead. Gavin heads for the one on the left, taking the lead. We still haven’t said a word since we got in the elevator, but I guess neither of us are here for conversation. It’s not like this is a date.

He unlocks it, his heavy key chain rattling. Standing behind him, I admire his broad back, rippling under his tight shirt even at those small movements. I feel small and vulnerable next to him. God, he could break me. Angie, you’ve better not have screwed up.

He gives the door a push and gestures for me to enter with a suave but over the top flourish. Praying that I haven’t just done the stupidest thing in my short life, I step forward, drawing a sharp breath as soon as I see the large floor to ceiling windows. Across the room, the whole city sprawls out below us like a quilt made out of neon.

Without thinking about it, I run right up so I can see better. My knees shake with a touch of vertigo, but it’s too beautiful to look away. Red and yellow lights glide along the streets far below, like glowing ants scurrying around a giant anthill. Looming over the streets, the buildings are shadowy forms spattered with glowing yellow rectangles showing where someone’s home, or working late. I can see the harbor off in the distance, and a large ship’s setting out, a floating tower of tiny bright squares. It’s amazing. I’ve never seen a view like this.

Catching my breath, I turn and look around the room with wide eyes while Gavin waits patiently behind me, an expression of amusement on his face. I bet I’m not the first one to come in here and need a moment. Whatever bachelor hovel I’d expected him to have, this isn’t it. All of the floors are solid hardwood. Everything is chrome, glass or polished wood, except the large leather couch that faces the biggest TV I’ve seen in my life. While the windows dominate the whole wall behind me, the others are covered in paintings and artsy photos in fancy frames. Almost every single one features nudes. That I might have expected.

Behind the couch, a black marble island separates the living room from a state of the art kitchen that looks like it’s hardly been used. No clutter in sight, and there’s not a stain or scratch anywhere. I bet if I open the fridge, there won’t be anything inside.

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