Beneath These Scars (Page 34)

“Yve, wait.”

I didn’t know where my sandals were, probably somewhere at the bottom of the pool. Fuck it. I’d walked barefoot before. I dashed to the door and pulled it open.

I needed to get the hell away from Titan. He was dangerous.

WELL, THAT ESCALATED QUICKLY.

Fuck. I dove under, grabbed Yve’s sandals off the bottom of the pool, and climbed out. If she was going to run from me, I’d at least make sure she wasn’t doing it barefoot.

I wasn’t done with her yet. She could deny it all she wanted, but she craved this as much as I did.

I grabbed another towel off the stack on the table and dried off as I hustled out of the pool room. In the hallway, I could hear Jerome—God bless the man—talking to Yve.

“I’m fine,” she was telling him. “I just need to go.”

“But you’re soaking wet, my dear.”

“Well, that’s what happens when an asshole pulls you into the pool.”

“I think you’re missing an important detail,” I drawled, interrupting them. “Because you pushed me first.”

Yve’s head swiveled around, her cheeks deeply flushed with what I wanted to believe was lust, but was more than likely embarrassment. I tied the towel around my waist, because my dick still hadn’t calmed down, and I didn’t need Jerome seeing that.

“Yve, we need to talk,” I said.

Her eyes hardened. “I need to go. I have shit to do. And I also have nothing to say to you.”

“Yve—”

Jerome interrupted. “My dear, how about I find you something dry to put on. You don’t want to run off like that.”

She looked at Jerome, then me. “You keep a lot of women’s clothes in your house? You know, for occasions like this when you dunk them in the pool.”

I held back what I really wanted to say, given our audience, and instead replied, “I’m sure Jerome could find you something. His nieces have been here.”

“Yes,” Jerome said in an even tone, “and I’m sure they’ve left something behind. If nothing else, Lucas will fetch you something of his.”

“I think I’d rather stay wet.”

My lips quirked into a smirk.

Holding the towel to her chest, she turned for the door. Hell, her dress really was transparent now that it was wet. Everywhere.

“Yve. Wait.” She didn’t, so I said a word I rarely uttered. “Please.” When she froze, I continued. “Let us get you some dry clothes. It’ll only take a minute.”

My request hung in the air for long moments before she finally replied, “Fine. I’ll wait.”

“I’ll return promptly,” Jerome said before hurrying off as fast as his old legs could carry him, leaving Yve and me alone.

She didn’t turn to face me.

“So you come and then you go?” I asked.

Yve spun. “Fuck you, Titan. Don’t you dare try to shame me—”

I closed the distance between us. “The only shameful thing here is that you’re not naked and under me right now.”

Her expression hardened. “This was a mistake. I shouldn’t have—”

“Come from rubbing against my cock? I beg to differ. Although I’d prefer you wouldn’t have stopped there.”

“Jesus, you’re crass.”

“Just stating the facts.”

She released one hand’s grip on the towel, and it slid a little south. That hand went straight to her hip—propped and sassy. “I don’t like you,” she declared.

“I thought we’d established that you don’t have to like someone to want to fuck them.”

“Doesn’t make it a good idea.”

“Come on, Yve. Why not figure out an arrangement that’ll work for us both—”

I wasn’t prepared for the crack of her palm across my cheek, or the sting that followed.

“Fuck you and your arrangement.”

She tossed the towel to the floor, yanked the door open, and stalked out.

A MISTRESS. THAT WAS ALL men thought the women in my line were good for. Sex. That was it. Until I’d found the one who wanted to marry me.

God, I’d been so young and naive. I’d thought he loved me. Little did I know, he’d just wanted to own me. Some scars would never fade, and the ones Jay had left were equally as painful as the ones my mother had inflicted—except hers were invisible. Disguised as words of encouragement as I grew up, they still haunted me.

You’re a pretty girl, Yve. You’ll have no trouble finding a man to take care of you. You’ll be just like your mama. Never have to work a day in your life, as long as you keep him happy.

An arrangement. That was exactly what a guy like him would want. I would never let a man take care of me in exchange for sex. Screw that. My determination to make Dirty Dog mine and prove myself as a competent businesswoman grew exponentially. I was not my mother. I had more to offer than my body. And screw anyone who believed differently. Especially Lucas Titan.

Yeah, I might have considered another round with the guy, but that was a far cry from a goddamn arrangement. Angry, I wrenched the steering wheel a little too hard as I turned down my street. The word set me off like nothing else. It was right up there with understanding.

In my book—which might be a messed-up one, but it was the only one that mattered—they were all euphemisms for the same damn thing . . . being a whore. Not a slut, not sleeping around—I was totally cool with that. What I wasn’t cool with was someone offering to compensate me for the use of my pussy.