Crushed Page 81

There’s another guy. Tall. Painfully handsome, save for a few wicked scars. Still, if anything, that seems to make him more handsome. I’d stare. Maybe drool, except …

My eyes move to Michael.






It’s dark navy, and there’s no sign of a tie, but he looks so deliciously alpha and tortured that I … God. I don’t even know.

His eyes are blazing. As though he’s trying to tell me something.

My knees buckle just the tiniest bit when I see him, and the little brunette grabs my arm. “Don’t you dare,” she mutters under her breath.

Then she tugs me in.

I didn’t know what to expect when I got a call from this Paul guy saying that Michael needed me, but it wasn’t this. It so wasn’t this.

“Paul, darling,” Olivia says, her voice dripping honey. “You have got to stop doing this to Michael.”

Ah. So this is Paul. I focus on him, because I sure as hell can’t look at Michael.

“You’ve done this before?” I ask, my casual voice belying the fact that my heart is thumping crazy fast.

“Well …” Paul makes a side-to-side motion with his hand as though to say, it’s complicated.

“This is the guy who summoned me to Maine,” Michael says.

I force myself to meet his eyes. Again, they’re unreadable.

“He pretended to be Olivia. So I went.”

I flick my eyes to the gorgeous blond girl, expecting pity, or smugness, but there’s only a kind smile of understanding. At least until she looks at her Paul, and then it’s all snarl.

“Hey.” Paul holds up a finger. “I was very up-front with Chloe here about who I was. I didn’t pose as Michael.”

“Because if you had, she wouldn’t have come,” Michael says. His eyes are still locked on me. Burning me up.

Except the look isn’t just hot, although it is that. It’s also warm.

The other guy—Ethan—looks between Paul and me and then seems to spring into motion. “Guys. Let’s clear out.”

“Good idea,” Stephanie says. “To the bedroom!”

She holds up a fist in a charge motion, heading toward the door at the other end of the apartment. Ethan grabs her wrist and redirects her so she’s facing the front door. “I’m thinking more coffee shop around the corner, Steph.”

“Coffee shop? Try bar,” Paul says as he opens the front door.

Stephanie scowls and tries to skid to a halt as Ethan half-drags her. “But we can’t hear shit if we leave.”

Paul grabs her other arm and helps Ethan haul her out into the hallway. Now it’s just me, Olivia, and Michael.

Michael’s still staring.

Still not moving.

And I still have no idea what the hell’s going on.

Olivia starts to follow the rest of them, but then she falters, turns on her heel, and moves toward me. No, glides. She’s one of those girls.

And then, catching me off guard, she hugs me. “Give him a chance,” she whispers. “Please.”

My eyes water, and I’m torn between wanting to slap this girl who once broke his heart and wanting to thank her for rejecting him.

Because that rejection led him to me.

Even if he came to me as irreparably damaged goods.

She closes the door behind her with a quiet click, and still neither one of us moves.

“You came,” he says quietly.

I glance down at my feet. “This Paul guy … he was … honestly? His voice was sexy.”

He takes a sip of his drink, his eyes not leaving mine. “You came because his voice sounded sexy.”

I lift my chin. Lie. “Yup.”

That, and he said you needed me.

But he doesn’t look like he needs me.

“Can I have one of those?” I glance at his glass.

He grabs a bottle of wine and holds it up with a questioning look.

I nod, and he pours me a glass, setting it on the counter. I walk toward it, my fingers touching the stem of the glass but not picking it up.

“How’s school?” he asks.

Really? We’re doing this?

“School’s great,” I say, lifting the glass and taking a tiny sip of wine. “How’s working for Tim?”

He raises his eyebrows, surprised that I know, and I shrug. “Devon mentioned it.”

I see something shudder over his face, but it’s gone in an instant. “So you guys have kept in touch.”

“Mmm-hmm.” I take another sip of wine, watching him.

His jaw moves and he looks away. “Are you—?”

Now would probably be a really good time to tell him that other than a few casual how you doing? texts, I haven’t really had much to do with Devon.

But Michael’s words from that night are still fresh in my mind.

Go to Devon, and let him love you, because I can’t.

I’ve never thought of myself as a girl who plays games, but I don’t tell him that Devon’s not in the picture.

He doesn’t deserve to know one way or another.

He hasn’t earned anything from me except scorn.

Hasn’t asked me for anything except to be left alone.

And yet …

“Why am I here, Michael?”

He swirls his drink. “Thought it was because Paul’s voice was sexy.”

There’s a hint of a smile around his ragged expression, and I smile back. “Cold-shower worthy, for sure. So he and Olivia are—”

Prev Next
Romance | Vampires | Fantasy | Billionaire | Werewolves | Zombies