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“But I’m lonely in a different way.” She slid off the counter, her dress briefly pulling up very high on her thighs. “It’s been so long since I had a real man in my life.”

He held up his hands. “I have a sense of where this conversation is going, and I can head it off right here. I am not that man in your life. I never will be. Ever.”

“We got off on the wrong foot, and you just need a chance to get to know me,” Penn said, but she hadn’t taken any steps closer to him, so that was probably a good sign.

“Well … Penn, I mean this nicely, but I think you’re evil. So I can’t see us being compatible—ever—because I don’t think I’m evil. Or at least anywhere near as evil as you are.”

“This is ridiculous. I could have anyone I want.”

“Then have them. Go.” He moved his hands in a shooing gesture. “I encourage you to do this. Or them, as it were.”

Penn had started walking toward him with slow, measured steps. “But I don’t want them. I want you.”

“That is flattering, but…” He shook his head.

“Do you know how many men I’ve slept with?” Penn asked him.

“I don’t know why you think I would find that fact appealing.”

“Daniel,” she snapped. She stood in front of him, staring up at him with her dark eyes. “Stop. Listen to me. Do you care about your girlfriend?”

He licked his lips. “I think you know I do.”

“And you care about her sister?”

“What are you getting at, Penn?” Daniel asked, growing increasingly nervous with this line of questioning.

“I will make a deal with you. I want you to sleep with me.”

“Penn.” He laughed emptily. “No, I can’t.”

“I won’t kill them if you sleep with me,” Penn said, her tone seductive and velvet.

Daniel scoffed. “You think you can threaten me into loving you? Is that your plan?”

“No. I think I can threaten you into sleeping with me, and once you have, you’ll never want to leave,” she replied matter-of-factly.

“Penn, that’s…” He lowered his eyes. “It’s disgusting, and I won’t do it.”

“Really?” Penn arched an eyebrow. “I’m promising you that I would leave Harper and Gemma alone, if you have sex with me one time. I would spare the people you care about most, and I would give you the best night of your life.”

He decided to go with a different approach to turning her down, and asked, “Do you realize how desperate this makes you sound? How pathetic this offer is?”

“Oh, trust me, Daniel, I get it,” Penn said, and her expression led him to believe that she did. “But I’ve thought about this a lot. I want you, and I will do anything to have you.”

“I’m really not that great,” he insisted. “You can ask some of my ex-girlfriends. I think I’d end up disappointing you.”

“Are you a virgin?” Penn asked.

He hesitated before saying, “No, but it has been a while.”

“Then what I’m asking really isn’t that big a deal.” She smiled up at him. “Let’s just do it. I can make you feel things you’ve never felt before.” She stepped closer to him, so she was almost pressed up against him. “I’ll show you ecstasy you didn’t even know your body was capable of. Let me make you happy.”

His shirt was unbuttoned all the way down, so he was exposed. Almost tentatively, she put her hands on his stomach, and he let her. He stared down at her, his breath coming out ragged.

Penn stood up on her tiptoes, and he closed his eyes so he wouldn’t have to see her as she pressed her lips to his. She kissed him gently—tenderly, even.

At first he did nothing, but then slowly he began to kiss her back. Her body was pressed hot against his, but he kept his arms at his sides, unwilling to touch her.

She leaned in, kissing him more deeply, and he was surprised to find his body responding. As much as she repulsed him, the way she touched him actually did feel good.

Her lips traveled down, kissing his neck and then his chest. He leaned back, resting his head against the wall, and he felt her hands moving south, unbuttoning his jeans.

“Penn…” He pushed her hands away. She let go of his pants, but she moved her hands to his sides, still hanging on to him. “No. Penn.” She tried to kiss him again, and he turned his head away. He grabbed both her wrists and pushed her back away from him. “I said no. I can’t do this.”

She yanked her wrists free from his and stepped back, stomping on the floor. Her eyes were yellow-green, and Daniel stayed against the wall, not wanting to set her off.

“It’s because of that stupid bitch, isn’t it?” Penn snarled. “If I get her out of the way, you won’t have any reason to deny me, will you?”

“Don’t even.” He walked to her, so he could stand right in front of her and tower over her. “Right now you’re just a nuisance. You’ve been harassing the people I care about, but you haven’t done anything to me. If you hurt Harper or Gemma, then you’ve crossed me. Then I’ll do everything in my power to destroy you, and you will never touch me again.”

“What’s the difference?” She threw her hands up in the air, but her eyes had returned to their normal color. “You’re already telling me that I’ll never have a chance with you. What incentive do I have to keep them alive? What reason do I have to keep you happy?”