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       Obligation, p.5

         Part #2 of Underground Kings series by Aurora Rose Reynolds
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  “Answer a question for me.”

  His expression closes off, and I can tell he is going to say no.

  “One question, Kai,” I plead, sitting up a little taller.

  His eyes search my face, and then he nods, making me feel like I just accomplished a huge feat.

  “Turn towards me and close your eyes,” he orders, taking my plate.

  I shift slightly and sit cross-legged in front of him. His eyes drop to my chest and then my legs, and I pull my dress down slightly so it lays over my thighs.

  “Close your eyes.”

  The rough, deep tone of his voice makes the butterflies erupt once more, and my pulse pick up. I bite my lip and close my eyes, feeling the intimacy of the moment wrapping around me.

  When I hear a low growl from him, my eyes fly open and I see that his are locked on my mouth.

  “Close your eyes.”

  I do and inhale sharply when I feel the touch from one of his fingers on my bottom lip.

  “Open,” he says, pulling down slightly on my chin.

  My lips part, there is a cold, sweet taste on my tongue, and the flavor of ripe pineapple fills my mouth.

  “Do you like it?” he asks, and I nod.

  I have always enjoyed pineapple, but since coming to Hawaii, I have found out that it’s nothing like what I used to buy at the store back home. Here, it’s sweeter, and there are times when I swear I can taste the sun when I take a bite of it.

  “Open again,” he tells me as soon as I swallow.

  I do, and this time, the taste of ginger and chicken hits my taste buds. I chew slowly, enjoying the texture.

  “Do you like that?” he asks.

  “Yes,” I whisper as soon as I swallow.

  “Again,” he instructs, pulling down on my bottom lip.

  My lips part, and the taste of smoked meat fills my mouth. I block out what I saw and just enjoy the flavor.

  “That is the taste of years of tradition. Men are taught at a young age how to properly prepare and cook the Kalua pig.”

  I feel his finger on my bottom lip again, and my eyes open. I look at him and suck in a breath. His face is inches from mine and his dark eyes are on my mouth.

  “I’m going to kiss you.”

  I can’t say anything. I can’t even breathe. His lips brush lightly over mine at first. I turn my head slightly, not wanting it to be over, and he groans as his hand tangles into the hair at the side of my head, making me gasp. Then I feel his tongue on my bottom lip, and I open my mouth, losing myself in his taste and smell. He pushes me back into the sand, his body lying half on me. His hand not in my hair holds on to my waist, his thumb close to the edge of my breast.

  “Kai,” I moan into his mouth as my hands find the hard, smooth skin of his back under his shirt. My nails dig in and my hips lift as he slides one of his large thighs between my legs.

  “TU Kai,” he groans when he pulls his mouth from mine and presses his forehead against my shoulder, ending what was one of the hottest make-out sessions of my life. “Ask your question,” he says as his chest moves rapidly against mine.

  My mind is in such a haze that it takes a moment to decipher what he said. My brain goes over all the questions I have to ask, trying to pinpoint one that will help me the most.

  “Why are you doing this?” I whisper, not realizing I spoke out loud until his body stiffens and his face rises above mine.

  “When you were little, I found you crying in your tree house. I wasn’t very old then, but the moment I saw you with tears in your big, blue eyes, I knew you were something that needed to be protected.” He looks above me and out into the water before bringing his gaze back to mine, pulling his hand out of my hair, and running it down my hairline. “I have always needed to protect you,” he says softly.

  I feel my world tilt once again. Without thinking, I lift my head and press my mouth to his. He groans, and his hand slides behind my back, pulling me deeper into his embrace. The sound of the ocean off in the distance and the feel of the warm sun on my exposed skin makes the moment feel even more surreal.

  He slowly pulls away, placing one last kiss on my lips before lifting his head and looking down at me. There is something in his eyes now that I didn’t notice earlier, but before I can read it, he looks away and sits up, pulling me along with him.

  “I don’t think we can eat that,” I say, laughing when I see that our plates have been sprinkled with sand.

  “I think we should head home,” he says, ignoring my comment.

  As I watch him stand, I suddenly feel awkward when he doesn’t look at me. I get up, dust myself off, and then pick up my sandals and my plate, heading towards a trash can. I have no idea how he can create such a tornado of feelings inside me.

  I don’t like that he has the ability to make me melt with a kiss or become so mad that I swear I could spit fire. With him, I feel like he causes me to become two different people. And I don’t even know if I like one of those people.

  “Are you ready?” he asks when his hand takes mine as soon as I have dumped my plate into the garbage.

  I look around and notice once again that people are watching us, so my stomach drops when I realize that, to him, this is probably all just a show.

  “Sure.” I shake my head and wish I had a pair of sunglasses so I could block him out. I know that, if he were to look into my eyes, he would see much more than I want him to.

  Chapter 4


  “How long are you going to pout for?” Aye asks.

  I look over at him and glare. It’s been a week since I went with Kai to the beach and met his family. One would think that things would have been different after our awkward moment¸ but they haven’t.

  The man confuses the hell out of me. One moment, he is kissing me senseless, and the next, he is standoffish and making me feel like I had made a giant mistake. But then he’s back to being his regular charming self while acting like he didn’t rock my world.

  “I’m not pouting,” I sigh.

  “Your bottom lip tells a different story. Now be a big girl and tell Daddy what’s wrong,” he says, taking a seat next to me on one of the oversized loungers as I fight back the smile threatening to take over my face.

  “Please stop referring to yourself as Daddy,” I say, but I end up laughing at the end, which makes him smile.

  “Please stop telling my wife to call you Daddy,” Kai growls, walking up behind us, which makes me jump.

  “Yes, sir,” Aye says, standing quickly as I tilt my head back and put my hand above my eyes to block the sun so I can look at Kai.

  “Are you still upset?” he asks then looks at Aye and flicks his head in a sign for him to leave us.

  “No,” I tell him, watching Aye go, even though I still feel a small amount of anger over the news he gave me this morning.

  “It’s for the best,” Kai assures me.

  “Is it?” I ask, tilting my head when he comes over to sit down at my side.

  “Yes. Your mother and father have been worried, Myla.”

  “So you”—I press my finger into his chest—“took it upon yourself to tell them that I ran off and got married, and then you paid for their plane tickets to come visit. So now, not only am I forced to lie to your family, but I have to lie to the people who raised me since I can remember. Not to mention, their son is Thad, so you have just told him where I am,” I say, trying to keep the fear over the last part out of my voice.

  “Thad won’t get near you,” he growls, grabbing my thigh.

  “Okay, Kai. You know everything.” I shake my head and look out at the ocean, trying to ignore the feelings his hand on my skin is giving me.

  “It’s a few days, Myla,” he says gently.

  “It’s a few days of lying to their faces,” I clarify. “How are we going to explain sleeping in separate rooms?” I question, raising a brow at him.

  “We’ll be sleeping in the same room while they’re here.” H
e shrugs like it’s no big deal.

  “What?” I whisper, feeling the color drain out of my face. It’s difficult enough seeing him every day. I have no idea how I will deal with him sleeping in the same room as me, let alone the same bed.

  “It will be fine. You’ll see.”

  “You’re delusional,” I breathe.

  “Pardon?” he asks, taking on the same tone I hear from him when he’s speaking to his men.

  I gather some much-needed courage and look him dead in the eyes before repeating myself more slowly. “I said you’re delusional. You actually believe this is going to turn out okay, when I know that it won’t. Haven’t you ever watched a movie before? There is always some huge lie that is being kept hidden, and in the end, the truth comes out.” I suck in a breath. “I don’t want to be there when this hole caves in.”

  “The difference is this isn’t a movie, Myla, and I know what I’m doing.”

  “If you say so.” I shake my head again and pull my eyes from him.

  When we were just lying to ourselves, I was able handle all of this, but now that we have gotten people we both care about involved, I know that this is going to be something I end up regretting. I just hope I don’t regret it for the rest of my life or that my choice doesn’t have a negative effect on the people who are innocent in this whole thing.

  “Your mom misses you,” Kai says, breaking into my thoughts.

  “I know, and I miss her too, Kai, but this isn’t the time or place for a family reunion.”

  “You need to learn to trust me.”

  “And you need to learn to talk to me before taking it upon yourself to just do stuff you have no right to do,” I argue.

  “You’re right,” he says, and I’m completely taken aback by his words and the fact he just agreed with me. “You’re right, but I’m also right.”

  I let out a defeated breath, realizing once again that he just doesn’t get it.

  “So much for that,” I think and don’t realize I’ve said it out loud until I see his lip twitch.

  “It will all work out.”

  “You keep saying that, Kai, but you and I both know that your mother has built it up in her head that my mother’s wish has come true. She is so happy that she has this relationship to reconnect her with her friend who is long gone that she is not going to be very understanding about the fact we have lied to her and everyone else.”

  His eyes search my face, and for the first time, I get the feeling that he finally understands what I have been saying all along.

  “So we try to make this into a real relationship.”

  My lungs freeze and my mouth goes dry as I sit there in stunned silence, looking at him and trying to think of a way to come back from that.

  After a moment, I sit up in the lounger. “Are you insane?” I screech.

  “You’re attracted to me,” he states.

  “I…I’m attra—attracted to you?” I stutter out.

  “And I’m attracted to you,” he says as his eyes travel over my body, and I feel my nipples pucker against the thin material of my bikini.

  “Be serious.” I cross my arms over my chest.

  “I’m being very serious.”

  “It won’t work,” I argue.

  “Why won’t it? Every relationship starts with attraction. You’re attracted to me, and I’m attracted to you.”

  “Stop telling me that I’m attracted to you,” I growl, trying to stand up, but before I can, I’m down in the lounger and Kai is leaning over me with his face inches from mine.

  “Why not try, Myla?”

  “Because it’s a very, very dumb idea, Kai.” I roll my eyes.

  “We don’t even have to have sex until you’re ready,” he says, ignoring what I just said and moving his face closer to mine. “Let’s try it while your family is in town. After they leave, we will reevaluate everything and then decide if we want to keep moving forward in our relationship.”

  “I can’t believe I’m even considering this,” I say.

  A small smile appears on his face right before he lowers his head and takes my mouth in a kiss so hot that I feel it all the way to my toes. When he pulls his mouth from mine, his lips go to my forehead, my nose, then my chin. I’m surprised by the sudden feeling that ignites in my chest from his soft show of affection.

  “We need to have a first date,” he tells me, and I don’t even try to fight back my smile this time. “What?” he questions as his eyebrows pull together.

  “I get to pick our first date,” I tell him and then bite my lip when his eyes narrow.

  “All right, Myla. You get to pick the first date,” he agrees.

  I can tell he is trying to figure out what I’m up to, and it takes everything in me not to smile or tell him that he’s in for it.

  “In the meantime, would you like to watch a movie?” he asks, catching me off guard.

  “I…” I pause and search his face before lowering my voice and asking, “A movie?” Aye, Pika, and I watch movies often, but Kai has never even asked to watch one with us. And he honestly seems annoyed when he finds us all lazing on the couch together.

  “It’s Saturday. There isn’t much going on, and I don’t need to work, so uh—”

  “Okay,” I agree, cutting him off, seeing how uncomfortable he is with asking me, “but I get to pick.”

  “No!” He shakes his head. “I’m not watching a chick flick.”

  “I never said anything about watching a chick flick. I said I get to choose the movie.”

  “Nope. I’m picking,” he says firmly.

  I roll my eyes and hop off the lounger before he can stop me again. I look over my shoulder when I notice he’s not following me. “Are you coming?”

  “Yep,” he mutters with his eyes glued to the waist of my bikini.

  “What’s wrong?” I ask, looking down to where his eyes are locked.

  “Your color is changing,” he says, his eyes traveling up my body, making me feel like I’m not wearing anything.

  “I’ve been using sunscreen,” I tell him when the look in his eyes doesn’t change.

  “I can see that,” he says so quietly that I almost don’t hear him.

  I’m just about to ask him what his problem is, but then his hand goes to my waist and he pulls the side of my bikini down.

  “What are you doing?” I ask, stepping away from his touch.

  “Your tan lines…” He shakes his head like he’s coming out of some kind of trance.

  “What?” I ask confused.

  “Nothing. Are you ready?”

  “Sure.” I bite my lip and walk into the house in front of him. The whole way, I swear I can feel his eyes roaming over my exposed skin. “I’ll be right back,” I mumble, running up the stairs and into my room, where I quickly grab an oversized shirt and slip it on before I run back down to the movie lounge. “What did you pick?” I ask, plopping myself down onto one of the overstuffed sofas.

  “You’ll see.” He smiles at me over his shoulder, and that image alone is enough to make me want to go to him and kiss the smile off his face.

  For a man who doesn’t smile often, when he does, it’s always stunning. It astounds me that someone who gives off the energy of a person you wouldn’t want to cross is the same man you would pray to spend a moment with just to see if you could get him to smile at you.


  “Hmm?” I ask.

  “I asked if you would like something to drink?”

  I feel my face heat up, realizing I was staring at him, and know that I need a moment to gather my wits before sitting alone with him in a quiet room. “Oh, I can get it.” I hop up off the couch and make it to the edge of the movie room before turning around and asking, “Would you like something?”

  “A beer.” He smiles and I feel my already-hot skin become even hotter.

  “Got it. Beer,” I say under my breath, quickly going to the kitchen.

  By the time I make it back to the movie room, it has b
een a good fifteen minutes. I got drinks, made some popcorn, and dug around in the cupboards until I found some gummies and chocolate. I was killing time, but I knew that, if I was going to be around him, I would need to have provisions that would keep my mouth and my hands full while I was in such close proximity to Kai.

  “So, what did you pick?” I ask him again before grabbing a handful of popcorn and shoving it into my mouth.

  “You’ll see,” he says once more, coming to sit down right next to me.

  I try not to look at him, but I can’t help it. I swear my eyes have a mind of their own. When I turn my head, he has what looks like an iPad in his hands and is pressing the screen.

  I study him for a moment when I know he is completely caught up in what he’s doing. His hair is tied back like it usually is, and his jaw is locked in concentration. The slight bump in the center of his nose is more pronounced with the downward tilt of his chin. My eyes lock on his lips, and even from his profile, they look full and completely kissable.

  “You’re staring at me.”

  “Am not,” I tell him, putting popcorn into my mouth while turning my face towards the TV.

  “I told you you’re attracted to me,” he mutters.

  “Whatever.” I smile then look over at him when I feel his eyes on me. “What?”

  “Nothing.” He grins, making my belly dip.

  “So, what are you torturing me with?” I ask.

  His eyes heat at my words, which makes me squirm in my seat. Without answering, he presses another button. Then the TV lights up and Die Hard begins to play.

  “Oh my God! I love this movie,” I beam at him, and his hand comes up, his finger running over my lips before he drops his hand and turns to face the television again.

  I inhale a deep breath, letting it out slowly before turning back to face the screen. We spend the rest of the day watching movies and relaxing, and by the time we’re both ready for bed, I have found something out about Kai that I never expected: he is definitely someone I can see myself falling head-over-heels in love with.

  I also realized that, with him, it would never be as easy as just love. Love seems too simple of an emotion to describe what I’d feel for him if I allowed myself to go there.

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