Page 56

I dug through my clutch for the lipstick and suddenly heard the sound of glass shattering onto the floor.

“What the hell? You can’t just barge in here, sir!” The curator gasped. “Sir, you have to get out. Now.”

My head snapped up and I saw a red-faced Jake through the mirror’s glass. His eyes met mine in the reflection.

“What the fuck do you think you’re doing?” He bellowed.

I looked back at him, completely confused. The few guests that were in the room headed for the door, murmuring their shock.

“What the fuck do you think you’re doing, Gillian?” He repeated, even louder this time.

“Excuse me?” I spun around.

“I didn’t stutter.” He gritted his teeth and walked over to me. “Why the hell were you talking to Evan Pearson?”

Shaking her head, the curator picked up her brochures and left the room, leaving the two us alone.

I wasn’t sure why he was glaring at me right now but my blood was beginning to boil at his rude ass intrusion. “I’ll talk to you when you calm down,” I said. “Whenever you realize who you’re talking to.”

“I’m talking to you.” He hissed. “And I’m talking about Evan Pearson, someone I need you to never, ever talk to again.” He stepped closer, pressing me against the wall. “But since you’ve already done it, I need you to tell me why the fuck you were talking to him, and I need you to explain it right now.”

“I wasn’t talking to him. He approached me when I got here, insisted on getting a dance, and telling me stupid jokes.”

“You expect me to believe that shit?” He narrowed his eyes at me.

“I don’t care what you believe.” I felt my face turning red. “And I don’t have to explain anything to you. Do you really think you can tell me who I can and can’t talk to?”

“When it comes to certain people, yes.”

“Well, I hate to break it to you, Jake,” I said, feeling angrier than I’d ever felt before. “But you don’t own me.”

“I’m aware.” His forehead touched mine and he slid a hand under my dress and between my thighs, tapping my bare pussy with his fingertips. “But I’m pretty sure, for however long our arrangement lasts, that I do own this.”

My breathing slowed as he pressed his thumb directly against my clit, but I didn’t back down.

“Our arrangement only covers sex with other people, not conversations with other people.”

“Is that so?” He moved his hand away, leaving my pussy throbbing. “Do we need to add a common sense clause about not letting other people put their hands on you and you fucking laughing about it?”

“He’s the CEO’s son, Jake. The press was watching his every move. What was I supposed to do?”

“Before or after he tried to fuck you?” He damn near shouted. “Do what you do to me so easily, walk away.”

“That’s your specialty, not mine.” I felt the sudden urge to slap him. “He was drunk and I was simply being nice in entertaining him.”

“You can be nice to anyone but him. As of this moment, he no longer exists to you, so don’t say as much as one word to him again.”

“When I see him on my way out, I’ll be sure to say goodbye. I might even say, Nice seeing you again.”

“Then consider this arrangement over.”

“Because I talked to Evan Pearson?” I was on the verge of losing it. “Because you feel like he’s some type of threat?”

“Because he’s my goddamn brother.” He said it so loudly that the woman who’d just walked into the gallery stopped dead in her tracks.

“Exactly.” His attention was still on me. “So, tell me right now, Gillian, is staying the hell away from my brother while you’re fucking me going to be that much of a problem for you?”

“No.” I stared him right in the eyes. “Because I won’t be fucking you anymore. I don’t need this.” I pushed my way past him and left, not even caring that the woman who’d walked in on us was Miss Connors.



New York (JFK)—>Los Angeles (LAX)

The flashing white fireworks from the gala lit up the sky as I sped out of the parking lot. My blood pressure heightened with every passing second, and I was sure if I didn’t make it home within the next hour, I was going to do something I might later regret.

I was used to seeing my father’s face plastered all over the magazines and commercials, used to reading his words and rolling my eyes at his every lie, but actually seeing him face to face tonight made me realize just how much I still despised him. How much Elite and everything he stood for repulsed me.

I turned on the radio so I could focus on something else, but as thoughts of my father slipped away, thoughts of Gillian came into focus. The sight of her in that half-of-a-dress and flirting with Evan. The fact that it actually made me react.

“Our arrangement covers sex, not conversations with random people...”


I made it to the valet at The Madison and didn’t bother waiting for the attendant to approach my car. I stepped out and left the keys in the ignition, quickly rushing up the building’s front steps.

“Good evening, Mr. Weston.” Jeff held the doors open. “How are the skies lately?”

“Turbulent.” I went straight to the open elevators and up to my suite, still appreciating that I no longer had to double check security each time I came home. I opened all the windows in my living room, letting the cool night air sift inside. Then I walked into my kitchen and pulled out all my shot glasses, filling them with bourbon.