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Driven (Page 11)

And at myself. Donavan is confident and sure of himself and more than comfortable with being the alpha male. For me, there is nothing more attractive in a man than that. But right now, I’m irritated with him for he’s gotten under my skin. And I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or not, but I know that places inside of me that died that horrific day two years ago showed some signs of life tonight.

Starting the moment he touched me.

I stand there trying to comprehend the night’s unexpected events, and after a few moments, I’m certain of two things. First, there is absolutely no way I am honoring this agreement. And second, deep down, despite my staunch resolve, I know this will not be the last I am going to be seeing of Donavan.


I strum my fingers on my desk, as I peruse through our parent company’s website. I have so many other things I need to be doing right now, but I find myself looking at pictures of all of the chairpersons on our board as well as the members of the organizing committee.

I can’t place which member’s son is Donavan, and it’s really starting to annoy me. I don’t have his last name to help the puzzles pieces fit into place. I wish I hadn’t told my staff that they could wait a few days on getting me the paperwork. I was just trying to be nice after all of the hard work they had put in. If I had it though, I’d have the answer. I know I could just call up Stella or Dane and ask the name of my future date, but then they’d know something is up because something like that wouldn’t be important to me. And with those two gossipers, I don’t want to open that floodgate.

More importantly, I’m irritated at myself for even caring who he is. “Manwhore,” I grumble under my breath.

I rub my tired eyes and run my fingers through my hair, pulling it back off my shoulders. I exhale loudly, for it has been a long, tiring weekend, and I’m exhausted.

I glance at the clock. I have fifteen minutes before I have to leave to get to The House for my twenty-four hour shift.

My computer pings and I click on my mailbox to see an incoming email. I don’t recognize the address, but can assume the person’s identity. Here we go again. I click on it because the subject line has piqued my curiosity.

To: Rylee Thomas

From: Ace

Subject: Backstage Liaisons



Would you have opened the email if the subject line simply stated, “Date the Highest Bidder”?

Didn’t think so.

You owe me a date.

Let me know your availability so I can make plans.

You have twenty-four hours to respond. Or else.


I sigh heavily in confused relief. I’m irritated at his ridiculous ultimatum. More so though, I’m irritated at myself. Why, even if I don’t want to go out with him, do I feel like a giddy schoolgirl excited that he’s emailed me? That the cool, popular kid has acknowledged the awkward, ordinary girl.

After he’s made out with the head cheerleader behind the bleachers, that is. God, he is annoying! I check the clock to make sure that I have time for a response.

To: Ace

From: Rylee Thomas

Subject: Cat Got Your Tongue?



Demanding, aren’t we?

You never addressed your subject line. Should I worry about how many other emails you sent out with the same title to your other conquests from Saturday night trying to get a follow-up date?


I smile as I hit send, picturing his face in my mind. His smile. His emerald eyes. The devastation he had over my control. It’s only been two days since the auction, and yet I wonder if my memory is making Donavan out to be more than he really is. Making his transgressions seem less offensive than they really were. Before I can ponder it further, my inbox alerts me.

To: Rylee Thomas

From: Ace

Subject: Chivalry isn’t dead



A gentleman never kisses and tells, Ryles. You should know that.

When you think about me, make sure to note that my demands will only result in your pleasure.

And you never answered my question. A bet’s a bet. Time to pay up, sweetheart.


I laugh out loud to his response. Maybe if I ignore his question, he’ll just go away. Good luck with that! Despite detesting the game he’s playing, I find myself smiling as I type my reply. I’m a challenge to him, plain and simple. If I’d acquiesced to his request for a date, or maybe even if I had continued kissing him in the hallway without backing away, he’d have never given me a second thought. He would have had his wicked way with me and walked away without a backwards glance.

To: Ace

From: Rylee Thomas

Subject: Fat ladies and yellow birds



I read somewhere that a boy needs the adulation from many girls to be satisfied whereas a gentleman needs just the adoration from just one woman to be fulfilled. By that definition alone, you are definitely not a gentleman. That means you should be singing like a canary, then.

Besides, a date is WAY ABOVE my pay grade.


P.S. Oh, and don’t worry, I don’t think of you. At all.

Take that! I think, proud of myself for my wit despite the blatant lie in the last comment. I stand and pack up my stuff, straightening my desk. As I reach to turn my computer off, my inbox alerts me again.

To: Rylee Thomas

From: Ace

Subject: You need a raise



I may be a man, but I’m nowhere near gentle. In fact, I think you’re a little curious just how I like it. Step over the edge with me, Ryles—I’ll hold your hand and revel in making you lose that self-control you pride yourself on. I’ll be anything and everything but gentle.

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