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Driven (Page 32)

“Make what official?” My mind flickers trying to figure out what I’m missing.

“That you’re mine.” Colton’s breath flutters over my face as the look in his eyes swallows me whole. “Once I fuck you, Rylee—it’s official, you’re mine and only mine.”

Oh. Fucking. My. How can those words, so possessive, so dominantly male, make me want him that much more? I’m an independent, self-assured woman and yet hearing that this man—yes, Colton Donavan—inform me that he is going to have me without asking, without giving me a choice, makes me weak in the knees.

“It might not be tonight, Rylee. It might not be tomorrow night,” he promises, the rumbling timber of his voice vibrating through my body, “but it will happen.” My breath hitches as he pauses, allowing his words sink in before he continues. “Don’t you feel it, Rylee? This—” he says gesturing a hand between him and I, “this charge we have here? The electricity we have when we’re together is way too strong to ignore.” I lower my eyes, uncomfortable with his overconfidence yet turned on by his words. He takes a hand and reaches out, the spark he’s referring to igniting when his index finger trails up the underside of my neck to my chin. He pushes up to lift my chin so that I’m forced to stare into the depths of his eyes. “Aren’t you the least bit curious how good it will be? If it’s this electrifying with just the brush of our skin against each other, can you imagine what it will be like when I’m buried inside of you?”

The confidence in his words and the intensity of his stare nonpluses me, and I avert my eyes down again to focus on the ring I’m worrying around my right ring finger. The rational part of me knows that once Colton has his way with me, he’ll move on. And even though I’d know this going into it, I’d still be devastated in the end.

I just don’t want to go through it again. I’m afraid to feel again. Afraid to take a chance for the consequences before were life-altering for me. I use my fear to fuel my obstinance; no matter how wild of a ride, the inevitable fallout isn’t worth it to me.

“You’re so sure of yourself, do I even need to show up for the event?” I say haughtily, hoping my words cover for the deep ache he’s responsible for creating in my body. His only response to my question is a heart-stopping smirk. I shake me head at him, “Thanks for the warning, Ace, but no thanks.”

“Oh, Rylee,” he admonishes with a laugh. “There’s that smart mouth that I find so intriguing and sexy. It disappeared for a little while with your nerves. I was getting worried.” He reaches over and squeezes my hand. “Oh, and Ryles, just so you know, that wasn’t a warning, sweetheart. That was a promise.”

And with that, he leans back on his elbows on the blanket, a cocky grin on his face, and challenge in his eyes as he stares at me. I travel the length of his lean body with my eyes. My thoughts running to how I should resist this over-the-top, reckless, troubled, and unpredictable man whose continual verbal sparring makes me uncomfortable. Makes me desire. Churns up feelings and thoughts that died that day two years ago. And yet rather then head the other way as I should, all I want to do is straddle him right here on that blanket, run my hands up the firm muscles of his chest, fist my hands in his hair, and take until I surrender all my rational thoughts.

I brave meeting his eyes again for I know he is watching my appraisal of his body. I make sure that my eyes reflect none of the desire I’m feeling. “So, what about you, Colton?” I question, turning the tables on him. “You said you don’t do the girlfriend thing and yet you always seem to have a lady on your arm?”

He arches his eyebrows at me, “And how would you know what I always have on my arm?”

How do I know that? Do I admit to him I occasionally glance through Haddie’s subscription of People and roll my eyes at the ridiculous commentary? Do I confess that I peruse Perezhilton.com as a distraction when I’m in the office sometimes and that I usually skip over the gossip about self-absorbed Hollywood brat-packers like him, who think they’re better than everyone else? “Well, I do stand at the checkout lines in the grocery store,” I admit. “And you know how true all of those tabloids are in the stands.”

“According to them I’m dating an alien with three heads and my photo-shopped picture is right next to the caption stating a chupacabra was found in a movie theater in Norman, Oklahoma,” he says, animating his expression, eyes wide in a mock stare of horror.

I laugh out loud. Really laugh. So glad that he takes the media in stride. Happy that he’s added some levity to the heavy topics of conversation. “Nice change of topic, but it’s not going to work. Answer the question, Ace.”

“Oh, Rylee—all business,” he chides. “What is there to say? I hate the drama, the points system of who is contributing how much, the expectation of the next step to take, trying to figure out if there is an ulterior motive to them being with me …” He shrugs, “rather than deal with that bullshit, I come to a mutual agreement with someone, stated rules and requirements are laid out, specifics are negotiated, and expectations are managed way before they even have a chance to begin or get out of hand. It simplifies things.”

What? Negotiations? So many things run through my head that I know I’m going to have to think about later but with his eyes boring into mine, awaiting my reaction, I decide that humor is the best way to mask my surprise at his response.

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