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Driven (Page 47)

I quirk my eyebrows up, my insolence mounting, “How so, Ace?” I watch his eyes focus on the hand I’ve kept on Sam’s knee. “Last night you were with me, and tonight you’re with her.” I shrug calmly at him although inside I’m anything but—my heart is racing and my breath has quickened. “Seems to me like—She. Belongs. With. You.” I mimic childishly.

Colton drags a hand through his hair and gives an exasperated sigh as his eyes flicker over everyone in the booth. I can see him try to rein in his frustration at me and at having to have this conversation in front our little audience. “Rylee,” he blows air out in a sigh, “You—You,” he looks around, out into the crowd and then his eyes finally come back to mine, impatience prevalent. “You test me on every level. Push me away,” he grunts, realizing he is saying this out loud. “What am I supposed to think?”

I look him up and down, my mouth twisting in thought. I’m kind of enjoying toying with him, making the man who is so sure of himself, who always gets what he wants, have to work at something. “I’m not sure if I want you yet,” I bait him. I hear Haddie suck in her breath at my flippant comment and the ice clink in Sam’s glass as he sucks down the remainder of it in anxiety. “A girl’s allowed to change her mind,” I taunt, tilting my head as I regard him. “We’re notorious for it.”

“Among other things,” he says dryly, taking a drink, watching me from over the rim of his glass. “Two can play this game, Ryles,” he cautions, “and I think I have a lot more experience at it than you do.”

My bravado falters slightly at the warning look in his eyes. I withdraw my hand from Sam’s knee and scoot toward the edge of my seat, my eyes never wavering from his. We stay like this for several moments, the music in the club background to our little drama. “You’re playing hard to get, Rylee,” he admonishes.

I glance over at Haddie who’s face is impassive but her eyes tell me she can’t believe what is unfolding. I stand up to face him, squaring my shoulders to him, defiantly raising my chin, “And your point is?”

He tsks at me, shaking his head, and takes a step closer. “I hope you’re enjoying yourself because it’s quite a show you’re putting on here.” He puts a finger under my chin, lifting so my eyes meet his. “I don’t play games, Rylee,” he warns, his voice just loud enough for me to hear, “and I won’t tolerate them played on me.” Sexual tension radiates between the two of us. The air is thick with it.

I breathe in a slow, calculated breath, trying to form an intelligent answer as his close proximity is clouding my thoughts and heightening my senses. “Well, thanks for the update.” I slap a hand on his chest, and lean in a little closer, my lips near his ear. “I’ll let you in on a little something as well, Ace,” I enlighten him, encouraged when I hear him suck in a breath in response, my voice a whisper on his cheek. “I don’t like being made to feel like I’m sloppy seconds to your blonde bevy of babes.” I step back, forcing a confident smirk on my face, “You’re developing a pattern of wanting me right after I know you’ve been with another. That’s a habit you’re going to need to break or nothing else is going to happen here,” I finish gesturing between the two of us as I raise my eyebrows at him, “that is if I want it to at all.” His lips curl at the corners, amusement in his eyes at the challenge.

God, he is gorgeous! Even when he is smoldering with anger, he emits a raw sensuality that my body has a hard time ignoring. I turn to glance at Haddie for encouragement, as I hear his name being called by a voice, seductive like velvet. “Colt, baby?”

The words make me want to vomit.

I turn back to him to see a well-manicured hand slide in between his arm and his torso, splaying over his chest in ownership. I see him tense at the touch, his eyes guarded in reaction, and he throws back the rest of his drink, hissing at the sting of it between clenched teeth. I proceed to watch as the blonde from earlier slithers up next to him, eyeing me up and down pityingly, trying to stake her claim. I see the spark in her eye when she recognizes that I’m the one he left her for on the stairs to dance with. If looks could kill, I’d be dead from her glare alone. But despite it all, Colton’s eyes remain steadfast on mine.

I am nauseated at the sight of her hands on him, and the thought of him giving any attention to her. I shake my head at him in condemnation as I cluck my tongue. “Case in point,” I attest, trying to contain my disbelief at her perfect timing in our conversation. I glance back at Haddie and the two men sitting there, sincerity etched in my face, “I apologize, but please excuse me.” Haddie starts to gather her purse, concern on her face, and I subtly shake my head for her to stay.

I turn back and look at Colton one last time, hoping my eyes portray the message I’m sending. Here’s your choice. Me or her. You pick. Right now. Last chance.

I avert my eyes, breaking our connection. He stands static with the blonde draped over him like a bad jacket. I guess he’s made his decision. I try to calmly exit the booth area. Try to flee from the dangerous path that I undoubtedly know he will lead me down.

Once I feel like I’m clear from view, I blindly push my way through the mass of people, hurt bubbling up to the surface. My heart aches with the knowledge that I’ll never be able to compete with someone like her. Never. I try to contain it as I push my way to the bar, wanting to numb the feelings I let myself believe were valid. Were reciprocated. Were possible again.

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