“If he hurts you, I’ll fucking kill him.”
“What? Asher, it’s not like that.” And why do you care? I want to ask, but don’t.
“Then what is it like?”
“Why do you care?” Whoops, guess it slipped out.
His heated eyes roam my face. His perfect pink lips part as though he’s about to speak but doesn’t. He’s so close now, I can feel every hot breath wash over my face and the warmth from his body soaking into mine. I inwardly groan. While my boyfriend is outside smoking God knows what, I’m getting impossibly turned on by another man. I haven’t been this wet for Finn in months, despite his best efforts.
Asher slowly runs the back of his index finger down my bare arm, gently circling my bruises. Chills and fire break out in its wake. My mind swirls with confusion at both this conversation and my body’s involuntary reaction to this man after all these years. I can see the mature Alyse is just as affected by him as the immature one. “Because I hate to see a beautiful woman get abused,” he finally replies in a low, raspy voice.
Scarlet curtains descend. Maybe his concern should make me feel good or cared for, but all it does is send hot rage firing through my veins. It’s clear to me that Asher thinks I’m letting myself be used as a punching bag by some asshole and that’s the furthest thing from the truth. I am nobody’s bitch.
“Fuck you. You don’t own me,” I spit.
A slow, sexy smirk spreads his lips as he leans close. His lips brush against the shell of my ear when he speaks. I’m unable to hide the shiver that his scorching words produce. “Not yet I don’t, sweet Alyse.”
Pulling back, he pins me with a smoldering, hungry stare that feels like a sweet breath against my wet sex. I have to bite my lip hard to keep from moaning. Leaning in again, I think he may kiss me and I haven’t made up my mind if I will give him my mouth or a swift knee to the jewels, but just as he’s a hairsbreadth away, he reaches behind me, grabs his beer off the counter, and turns, walking away. I stare after him, practically panting like a crazy bitch in heat.
“Egotistical asshole,” I mutter under my breath. Apparently not quiet enough, though, because I hear him laugh as he enters the living room.
I broke up with Finn later that night. Something that was long overdue, despite what I’d led everyone else to believe. It was a bad decision to let him move in with me in the first place, but he’d just lost his job and couldn’t afford his rent, so I caved. Chalk that relationship up to another grand failure, but it had absolutely nothing to do with Asher Colloway and his whispered promise that went to that dark place between my thighs.
Nope. Nothing at all.
Hearing my cell buzz, I look down to see it’s my sister, Livia, and hesitate. Despite the fact that we’re slowly mending our relationship, I can admit I still have a fair amount of resentment toward her. She up and abandoned everyone she loved when she disappeared without being seen or barely heard from for over three years. Livia was my rock. I still feel enormously betrayed that she left me, just as everyone else has in my life, especially when I needed her most.
“Hi Libs. How are you?” I say, right before the call rolls to voice mail. It’s rhetorical, because I know exactly how my sister is. Giddy, madly in love, and still battling morning sickness.
“Hey, Lysee. Better, actually. You?”
“Great,” I inject with as much enthusiasm as possible. Juuuust great.
Livia’s expecting twins in a little over six months and is engaged to the love of her life, Gray Colloway, who also happens to be Asher’s older brother. I’m happy for her, but I’m also admittedly a teensy bit jealous. At one time long ago, I thought I had what Livia now has with Gray. Oh, how very wrong I was.
“How are my nephews?” I ask, trying to get out of my own head.
“And why do you think I’m having boys?” she laughs.
My laughter joins hers. “Look at our families, Libs. Twin boys are practically a pandemic.” Livia’s husband-to-be is a twin, along with his younger brothers, Asher and Connelly, plus Livia said that Frank Colloway was an identical twin. And though I didn’t know her well, our grandmother was a twin. Basically anytime Livia gets pregnant, she’d better watch out.
“Well, I’m still a few weeks away from being able to tell yet.”
“So you’re going to find out?”
“Yes. Both Gray and I want to know. Planners that we are and all.”
Wanting to get off the subject of babies and the twins she’s having, I ask, “So how are the wedding plans coming?”
“Funny you should ask,” she hedges.