by Brooke Cumberland
One night was all it took…
One night to ruin everything I thought I knew.
From the outside, I had the perfect lifestyle.
Wealthy fiancé, blossoming career, amazing friends.
I wasn’t looking to get married yet, but when William—“Manhattan’s royalty”—charmed his way into my life, I couldn’t deny the security and comfort that overcame me.
To society, I was the girl only after his money. I was the party-goer who managed to seduce a man twice my age to have the lifestyle some could only dream of. I was every magazine’s cliché of what a gold-digging whore was.
I wanted to prove them wrong—that our love was real and that I wasn’t that girl.
But then everything changed.
One wrong decision. One unfaithful night. One haunting reality.
Perhaps they were right.
The media didn’t see it coming…and neither did I.
“Act like what?” I turned around, narrowing my brows in disapproval.
“That you despise me,” he said bluntly.
I thought about his question for a moment, realizing this was probably just as hard on him as it was on me, but he was the one acting like an arrogant jerk.
“I wouldn’t have to if you’d stop trying to cross boundaries with me when you know it’s inappropriate.”
“Inappropriate?” He laughed, pissing me off more. “Good god, it’s like you’re a Stepford Wife.”
“You know what I mean.”
“You mean…that I’m tempting you? That I’m giving you something more to desire?” He took a step toward me, caging me in with his arms around me. I stepped back as far as I could before hitting the back of the sink. “If you didn’t feel it too, there’d be no issue. But I know for a fact you do.”
I swallowed, hating that he was right, but it didn’t mean anything. It couldn’t.
“Just because your technique—“ I waved a finger between us, “—normally works for other girls, doesn’t mean it’s going to work on me.”
He furrowed his brows and asked, “And what technique would that be?”
“Getting what you want, who you want.” I pushed against his chest, needing the space. “You’re not used to girls saying ‘no’ to you. You use your name, your father’s popularity to gain respect, and truthfully, it’s a little pathetic,” I snapped, the courage I’d felt quickly left as his eyes darkened, getting more intense.
He leaned into me and shot back, “Do you see any other girls here?”
“Give it time.” I held my ground as best I could. His face that close to mine was making it almost impossible to think straight.
He laughed in my face, a deep, throaty laugh that came out as if he was amused by my antics. “If it’s on the Internet, it must be true, right?”
I had looked him up late last night when sleep wouldn’t come to me. Although I tried, wanting—needing—to forget that whole day, it just wasn’t happening. Most of the stories were from his teenage and early college years, there hadn’t been anything recent, but I used it against him anyway.
“Isn’t that the way the game works?”
“I don’t know what game you’re playing, sweetheart, but I know what you felt when you kissed me. You feel what I feel and there’s no denying that.”
His eyes looked into mine, confident and tense as I stared back. “It doesn’t matter, Alex. It’s never going to lead to anything, so you should just stop trying.”
“And what if I don’t?”
“You’re just wasting your time.”
“I’m willing to bet I’m not, but if you want to be delusional, fine with me.” He pressed his chest against me and brought his face closer to mine. “I wasn’t sorry for what we did, Mac. I’ll never be sorry for that. I’m only sorry you felt guilty about it afterward.”
“If you cared about me at all like you claim, you’d back off, Alex.”
He huffed in an amused laughter. “That’s one thing you should learn about me, Mac. I don’t back off on something I want.” He gripped my chin with his thumb. “I was trying to get you out of my mind, and I failed miserably. The only thing I want from you is you. I don’t need to parade you around like a little trophy wife or show you off to my friends. Once you see that, you’ll change your mind.” He dropped his hand and stepped back, walking away with the last word. It didn’t matter anyway, I had nothing left to say.
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