“Well, obviously she’s not okay. She needs professional help.”

“Emma, honey, cover your ears really fast,” I said. She did. My insides tightened and I stood tall, facing Susan. “I’m going to say something and I mean this in the nicest way possible. If you say one more thing about my daughter I will literally kick your ass, pull out your hair extensions, and tell your husband that you’ve been screwing the checkout boy at the grocery store.”

“How dare you!” she cried, horrified by my words.

“How dare I? How dare you think it’s appropriate to walk up to me and tell me things about my daughter in such a rude, demeaning fashion? I think it’s time for you to go.”

“I think it is! Perhaps you should stay away from our book club, too. Your energy and life style is toxic to our group. Keep her away from my Rachel,” Susan ordered, walking off.

“Don’t worry,” I shouted. “I will!” There was something that happened to the sanest people when others talked about their children: you turned into a beast and would do anything and everything to protect your children from the wolves of the world. I wasn’t proud of the words I’d said to Susan, but from the bottom of my heart, I meant every single one.

I walked Emma into the living room and we sat down. “Mama, the girls said I was a freak because I liked zombies and mummies. I don’t want to be a freak.”

“You’re not a freak,” I promised, pulling her closer to me. “You’re perfect the way you are.”

“Then why did they say that?” she asked.

“Because…” I sighed, trying to find the right answer. “Because sometimes others have a hard time embracing people’s differences. You know that zombies aren’t real, right?” She nodded. “And you didn’t try to scare the other girls, did you?”

“No!” she said quickly. “I just wanted them to play with me as the characters from Hotel Transylvania. I didn’t want to scare them. I just wanted to have friends.”

My heart is breaking.

“You want to play with Mama?” I asked.

She shook her head. “No.”

“Well, how about we watch a cartoon on Netflix and have our own sleepover?”

Her eyes lit up, and the tears stopped. “Can we watch Avengers?” she asked, loving superheroes almost as much as her father had.

“Of course,” I said.

She fell asleep right as the Hulk appeared on screen. I placed her in her bed, kissing her forehead. She began to smile in her sleep, and then I went to bed to find my own dreams.

Chapter Nineteen


“Tristan,” I faintly muttered. My breaths were uneven, heavy.

His hand brushed against my cheek. “Suck it slow,” he ordered, running his thumb against my bottom lip. He slid his finger into my mouth, allowing me to suck it gently as he rocked it in and out of my mouth before pulling it away from me and running the wetness down my neck, against my bra strap, down my cleavage. My nipples were hardening from his touch, longing for his mouth to find its way to each one.

“You’re beautiful,” he said. “You’re so fucking beautiful.”

“We shouldn’t,” I moaned, feeling his hardness pressed against my panties. We should, I thought to myself. “We’re not supposed to do this anymore…” My breaths were heavy, hungry for him to be inside me, hungry for him to take me deeply. I wanted him to turn me around, lift my legs, and take me hard. He ignored my protest—as I wanted him to—twisting my hair in one hand and moving his other down my body, landing at my black lace panties.

“You’re wet,” he said, bending in closer to me, running his tongue against my cheek before he slipped his mouth over mine. He whispered as he slid his tongue between my lips. “I want to taste all of you,” he hissed. His fingers rolled against my panties, my breaths catching as his thumb circled my clit through the faint fabric.

“Please,” I begged. I arched my back, longing for his hand to remove the thin barrier.

“Not here,” he said, lifting me up to a sitting position. He slid my panties to the left and bent down, allowing his tongue to taste my wetness. My hips involuntarily arched in his direction as my hands ran through his hair. When he lifted his head, he rested his mouth against mine, allowing me to taste myself, to taste him. “I want to show you something,” he muttered against my lips.

Anything. Show me anything.

My eyes fell to his erection hidden beneath his boxers and a smile came to my lips. He lifted me off the bed and pressed me against the closest door. “How bad do you want it?” Bad, I thought, unable to speak. My heart was racing and I was almost afraid it would give up on me, unable to keep up with my wants, my desires. I wanted to explode for him. I wanted to lose myself to him. His hips rocked toward me as he pushed his hardness against my body.

“I want to show you the room,” he whispered against my ear, flicking his tongue up and down before sucking my lobe.

“Mmm,” I replied as he carried me down the hallway. There was a room to my left, which I hadn’t noticed when I’d first arrived. “What is…?”

He shushed me, placing his hand over my lips. “It’s my green room,” he muttered, pushing the door open.

“Your what?” Before he could reply, I turned around and saw a room filled with all green furniture. Green whips, green dildos, green everything. “What the...” I shut up and kept looking around. “This is kind of weird, babe…”