The peer and the puppet, p.18
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       The Peer and the Puppet, p.18

           B. B. Reid

  “It’s cold!” she squealed.

  “Shut up.” I nudged her thighs apart, and she let me. My throat bobbed as I became captivated by her. I wanted nothing more than to have her bare and spread like a feast for a king, but we were in someone else’s home and uninvited at that. Casting a glance toward the doorway, I made sure we were still alone.

  And then the frosting caught my eye.

  “Stop bossing me around.”

  I grabbed the bowl and dipped the fingers sticky with Four’s juices inside. “Stop being a brat.” I ran cream-coated fingers over her sex “Or I won’t make you come again.”

  “I can’t anyway.” She sounded so sure.

  I sat on one of the barstools and tugged her closer to the edge of the island. “Say you want me to go down on you.”

  “Is that an order?”

  “If that gets you wetter.” She could pretend my taking charge didn’t turn her on, but I’d proven her wrong once, and I was about to do it again. For a while, there was nothing but the sound of my fingers unhurriedly gliding through her wetness. She seemed content to let me play with her, another orgasm on the horizon, but then she wailed in frustration.

  “I’m just not sure what we’re doing here!”

  “I told you not to think. Thinking comes later.”

  “I think they call that regret.”

  “And what did I say about thinking?”

  “Yes, master.”

  I gently bit the inside of her thigh. “Smartass.”

  Her fingers dug into my shoulders with brown eyes wide and vulnerable. “Ever, I don’t want to be toyed with.”

  “I promise you I’m very serious about tasting you.”

  “I mean after. I don’t want to regret this. Don’t make me a—” She inhaled when I swept my tongue up her slit. “Fool,” she finished with a moan.

  I chose not to respond. Instead, I devoured her. I may have wanted her more than my next breath, but I didn’t trust her any more than she did me.

  Was it deception?


  But she tasted too exquisite—like cool spring water after a lifetime in the desert—for me to care.

  Her shoes, jeans, and panties ended up on the floor, the reason why they’d still been on forgotten. Her legs were spread wide, leaving her pussy on vulgar display, so I seized her writhing hips, and when I felt her fingers tighten their grip on my hair, I pushed my tongue into her pussy. She came apart an instant later. I sucked her clit once more to prolong her orgasm, and this time, she clapped her hands over her own mouth as she came.

  Fuck yeah.

  When I lifted my head from between her thighs and stood, I had a tent in my pants the size of Mt. Everest. Pressing my hips into the counter to chase away the need to fill her, I licked my lips, tasting buttercream and…her. “Best cream I’ve ever tasted. The frosting’s good, too.”

  She shivered on the counter and stared up me through lowered lids. “I never expected crass from you.”

  “That’s because you don’t know me well.”

  It seemed to be the wrong thing to say when her face fell. Shit. Fuck. Shit.

  “And yet I let you do…that.”

  And just like that, the euphoria from tasting her was gone. How could she treat what she shared with me like some horrible thing? Anger rose too fast for me to push it back down. I heard myself saying, “I ate your pussy, Four. Don’t make it a big fucking deal.”

  “Oh, God.” Horror clouded her features, and she pushed my hands from her and scrambled off the counter. Hurriedly grabbing her jeans and shoes, she didn’t look at me as she stepped into them. She didn’t even bother fastening them before exiting from the kitchen and leaving me behind with her discarded panties and that goddamn buttercream.

  I WAS THE WORLD’S BIGGEST idiot. How could something that had felt so right end so horribly wrong?

  That was an easy one.

  Ever had opened his mouth and ruined everything.

  He had been the first boy to ever touch me, and I thought the gift I’d given him—my first orgasm—would have meant more to him.

  He had been right the night of his party. I didn’t hate him—not like I did right now.

  Regret washed over me like a wave until I was drowning. If only I hadn’t suggested that stupid race. There was no way I could deny his touch after witnessing such agility. His race against the clock had only lasted a few seconds, but it was forever carved vividly into my memory. It also made me wonder…

  If I ran and he chased, would I even stand a chance?

  I didn’t realize I was crying until I stumbled on the last step thanks to my blurred vision. Tyra and a shirtless Vaughn emerged from her room to witness the spectacle I was making of myself.

  Tyra immediately rushed to my side while Vaughn stayed glued on the landing. “What’s wrong?”

  “Can you make him leave?” I couldn’t look anywhere but at the carpet.

  “What did he say to you?” Vaughn questioned with a sigh. His concern was probably genuine. He certainly didn’t seem the type to be fake for anyone.

  Still, I didn’t respond or even look at him. His loyalty was to Ever.

  “It’s okay,” Tyra consoled with a hand on my back. “They were just leaving.”

  “Seriously?” Vaughn spat. His concern had quickly given way to irritation.

  “She’s upset, Rees.”

  I looked up in time to see him roll his eyes at her last naming him and yank his shirt down his muscled torso.

  “Fuck it. Fine.” He stomped down the stairs, clearly not giving a shit if he woke her father from his drunken sleep.

  “So you’re going to leave with an attitude?” she yelled after him.

  I was certain we’d all be caught soon.

  “Pretty much,” he snarled from downstairs. A second later, the front door slammed, and an engine roared as Vaughn and Ever sped away.

  “Spoiled rich brat,” she muttered. “God, sometimes I swear he isn’t worth the trouble.” Turning to me, her eyes bucked and her jaw dropped. “Son of a—you’re shaking! What did Ever do to you in there?”

  I debated telling her what went on in that kitchen, but embarrassment wouldn’t let the words free. “Nothing that should have surprised me.” Except he was full of them. Like when he had his hands down my pants and used his mouth to drive me crazy.

  “Let’s go finish your cake and talk about it.”

  I paused at her mention of the cake.

  So much for keeping what happened a secret. “Um…I’m really sorry, but it’s not a good idea to use the frosting.”

  Her frown deepened. “What happened to the frosting?” At my blush, understanding dawned, and suddenly, Tyra had trouble keeping eye contact. “Okay,” she squeaked, “no cake then.” After an awkward silence, she said, “I’m sorry your birthday had such a shitty start.”

  “It wasn’t all bad.” Everything that came before had been so very good.

  “Well, I’m just going to go grab the sanitizer. Meet you in the kitchen?” She took off without a response.

  The peer begged her forgiveness.

  I found the note waiting for me on my pillow later in the morning. Since facing Ever made me want to throw myself off the nearest cliff, I’d slept over at Tyra’s. The palace had been empty, so I was able to escape to my room without incident. Deciding a shower was in order, I tossed the card in my trash bin and shed last night’s clothes minus panties. When Tyra and I had returned to the kitchen, I’d discreetly searched for them, but the purple cotton had disappeared. I didn’t dare allow myself to think about them being in Ever’s possession or why he took them.

  The hot water cleansed my body, but it did nothing to erase last night. I never expected him to apologize, so forgiving him had never entered my mind. Frankly, it was the last thing I wanted to do. The first was forgetting what happened between us. A knock sounded at my door the moment I finished dressing, and I opened it to find Jamie, also dressed in his uniform, on the
other side.

  “Birthday girl!” He snatched me up in a bear hug before I could say anything. “Happy birthday.”

  “Thanks,” I choked out.

  His arms immediately loosened, and he set me on my feet. He then stepped back but not before placing something on my head.

  “Uhh…” I touched the plastic object with curiosity and started to remove it.

  “Leave it. It looks good on you.”

  “What is it?”

  “A tiara for a princess.”

  I snorted. “I’m no princess.”

  “Couldn’t agree more. Let’s go!”

  He clasped my hand in his and held it until we reached the kitchen where Rosalyn, Thomas, and Ever waited.

  “Happy birthday!”

  Thomas and Jamie wore bright smiles while Ever was watchful, and Rosalyn was like a statue carved from despair. Of course, she hadn’t given Thomas the memo. We never celebrated my birthday.

  “Sit, be merry, eat cake with us,” Thomas offered cheerfully. It was then I noticed the buttercream cake sitting in the middle of the island. I finally met Ever’s gaze.

  “I wasn’t expecting cake.” I had eyes only for Ever but not in the romantic, all-consuming-love way. I wanted to plunge the knife meant for cutting the cake into his black heart.

  “Of course, there would be cake. I didn’t expect my son to bake one himself, though.”

  Ever baked me a birthday cake?

  It was then I noticed the bit of flour on his cheek. Thomas’s expression turned thoughtful as he gazed at his son, but he quickly shook it away and beamed at me. “Hope you like buttercream.”

  “Love it.”

  Jamie launched into song, and Thomas and Ever followed. On the last note, I made the same wish I did every year, and then I blew out the candles. I stared into Rosalyn’s empty eyes over the rising smoke, but like every year, there was no genie to erase her pain. An oblivious Thomas picked up the knife and extended it to Ever. “Why don’t you do the honors?”

  Ever took the knife from his father and cut five perfect slices before placing them on the expensive china. We all dug in while Rosalyn ignored her slice of cake and excused herself. Too bad my sorrow couldn’t leave with her. I hoped her rejection would escape their notice until all three men frowned after her. When their questioning gazes turned to me, I smiled and pretended all was fine.

  She’s heartbroken.

  She doesn’t hate you.

  She’s just sad.

  The mantra was an old friend, chasing away tears and self-hatred.

  “Do you have exciting plans after school?” Thomas questioned. I could tell he was trying to lighten the mood and distract me from Rosalyn’s absence.

  “Tyra and I were thinking about hanging out at the beach.”

  “That sounds like fun,” he replied absently as he checked his phone. He excused himself, leaving me alone with Ever and Jamie.

  “My uncle’s full of shit. That’s a lame way to spend your birthday,” Jamie said as soon as Thomas was out of earshot. Ever didn’t say anything, but I could tell he agreed.

  “Well, I don’t exactly have popular friends to throw me birthday parties.”

  They smirked at my snappy comment. They may have thought my plans were lame, but it was more than I ever expected.

  “You have us,” Jamie corrected with waggling brows, “and we can give you better than a party.”


  “Yeah…skip school with us.”

  “Not going to happen.” I wasn’t exactly giddy to spend the day at school, but I wasn’t giving Ever another chance to set me up. No way was I spending another year at Natasha Madison’s School of Ladies.

  “Have you ever been to New York?”

  I met Ever’s gaze, but his expression remained perfectly blank as if he weren’t the least bit worried I’d expose him. Maybe Jamie already knew. Despite their feud over Barbie, they were thick as thieves.

  “No,” I lied. Well, it was more like a half-truth. I technically have been, but there had to be more to the Big Apple than crumbling buildings in seedy neighborhoods. “But I don’t think I need to risk suspension to visit. We’ve got that campus tour at NYU in a couple of weeks.”

  “You really think those stuffed shirts at Brynwood care about showing you a good time?” Jamie clucked his tongue. “Wake up, pretty girl. Their only concern is offering up prestigious young souls to those ivy league sharks.”

  I paused taking a bite of my cake. “So this is how you get girls to sleep with you? You convince them they’ll lose their soul if they don’t?

  He grinned. “There’s nothing wrong with leading a few lost girls to salvation.”

  Rolling my eyes, I shoved down more cake.

  “Skip school,” Jamie begged some more. “We’ll take you.”

  “Won’t they call our parents?”

  Jamie snorted. “So?”

  “You didn’t come home last night, and your mother didn’t bother to question where you were,” Ever absently pointed out as he watched me lick buttercream from my thumb. “I think you’ll survive skipping a day.”

  I felt my cheeks flame. Was it so obvious that Rosalyn was oblivious to me? And why was Mr. Discipline even agreeing to this when he’s worked overtime to keep me in line? “I guess we’ll never know because I’m not going anywhere with you.”

  He stared at me for a long, long moment.

  “Did you get my note?”

  “That crummy apology? Yeah, it’s currently at the bottom of my trash can where it belongs.”

  Jamie’s head had been whipping back and forth between us. “Something happen with you two?”

  “No,” we answered at the same time.

  “Wait…Ever actually apologized for something he did?” Jamie stared at me as if I held the cure for cancer in the palm of my hand. “What are you doing to my cousin?”

  “You’ve got it all wrong, Jamie. All the cards are in his hand. I’m just the one getting dealt.”

  “So you’re a victim now?” Ever spat. “As I recall, you got off twice, and I was the one left with blue balls.”


  Neither of us acknowledged Jamie.

  “I didn’t ask you to do that!”

  “But you loved it,” he countered calmly.

  “I only loved it because you lost.” At his frown I got smug. “Yeah, you thought you’d bring me to heel, but it was you on your knees and me calling the shots.”

  I wanted to punch him when he smiled so beautifully. “If that’s how you take charge, then I gladly offer you my surrender.”

  Exasperated, I gave up before I could give in. “I’m done talking to you. Have fun in New York.” I flipped him off for good measure and moved to the sink to rinse my plate. I should have known he wasn’t done with me.

  Spinning me around, he gripped my neck. “Another taste and I’m yours.”

  Ever seized my lips before I could turn him down. Countless tender kisses later, his gaze clouded with regret.

  “I’m sorry I was an asshole, okay?”

  It was pathetic how badly I wanted to forgive him. “No. It’s not okay. You’re always an asshole, but what you did was despicable… even for you.”

  “I know.” He exhaled and rested his forehead against mine. “Just come to New York with us. Give me a chance to make it up to you.”

  “Why should I?”

  “Because I can’t stay away from you. I’m trying, Four, believe me. I try so fucking hard, but you keep pulling me in.”

  I prided myself on the firmness in my tone when I spoke. “Rest assured it’s not on purpose. I pull you in, you push me away. I never wanted this war, Ever. You did. Why should I be the only one with scars?”

  His throat bobbed as he swallowed hard. “I push you away because you don’t know what you do to me and I’m not sure I want you to know.”

  A peck on the lips led to another and more still until our kiss deepened, and we were making out. Ever was
n’t the only one confused by his emotions. One minute I wanted to spill his guts and the next I wanted to mount him. Forgetting where we were, my arms locked around his neck while his hands found their way under my skirt so he could cup my butt.

  Jamie cleared his throat, causing Ever to break the kiss with a groan. “We need to leave soon so my father doesn’t ask questions.” I was mesmerized by the lust thickening his voice until he said, “Go pack a change of clothes in your bag and meet us outside.”

  “I didn’t say I’d go with you.”

  His grin was sly. “But you’re gonna.” He then patted my ass, sending me on my way.

  Upstairs, I ranted to myself about overbearing boys as I shoved an outfit in my bag. I was still kicking myself for being so weak when I stepped outside. Jamie was sitting in the driver’s seat of his Jeep while Ever waited by the open rear passenger door. I ignored him and climbed into the back seat, but then he followed me in.

  “The front seat’s empty. Why are you sitting back here?”

  He smiled a boyish smile and scooted closer until our thighs touched before resting his arm on the headrest. I ignored the heated fluttering in my belly and distracted myself by texting Tyra my plans.

  “We’re going to make a stop before we get on the road,” Ever announced.


  “Vaughn’s coming.”

  I paused. Was I really about to spend a day alone in a strange city with Ever and his band of arrogant assholes? No. No, I was not. “Then I’m inviting Tyra.”

  “He’s pissed as fuck at her, baby.”


  Not grease monkey, hick, swamp girl, or little troublemaker? Did letting him go down on me really change his perspective of me that much?

  “I don’t care. He was the asshole, and it’s my birthday.”

  I was surprised when, rather than argue, he smiled. “Sure, princess.”

  “Alright…” Ignoring the fluttering in my belly, I glared up at him. “What’s up with the pet names? I’m no princess.”

  From the front seat, Jamie snorted.

  “Because despite your backwoods upbringing, you carry yourself as if you were royalty. Always with your nose in the air, expecting your demands to be met.”

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