Drawn to You: Volume 1

By: Vanessa Booke



“The suit with the cigar?”

“Yeah.”

“This is his party…”

“He used to sleep with my mother,” I say, gritting my teeth at the sound of my confession.

“I’m assuming it didn’t end well.”

I shake my head, feeling one hell of a headache coming on. It kills me to know he’s here drinking whiskey and smoking his Cuban cigars while my mother is at home detoxing from all of the shit she has in her system. Our apartment still smells like vomit and whiskey.

“No, it fucking didn’t,” I confess.

“What did he do?”

What eats away at me is not what Stefan did. Sending my mother out the door without a second thought is fucked up, but the final nail in that coffin was when he refused to acknowledge any of her letters. It didn’t take long for her to shut down after each one came back returned and unopened. She stopped going outside after that and she didn’t bother ever trying to find another job again.

“I’m going to go take a smoke break.”

“Go,” Vivian says with a small smile. “I’ll cover you.” Despite the massive amount of people at the party, Vivian seems undisturbed by the room full of wealthy tycoons and entrepreneurs. In fact, I think it’s safe to say that she’s annoyingly humming with excitement. At least one of us is enjoying this party.

“I’m going to go take this tray back to the kitchen.”

“Tristan, don’t lose your shit. The night is almost over, and then you won’t have to see him anymore.”

“Thanks, Viv.”

“Seriously, just try not to get us both fired.” She smiles. “Don’t go dueling pistols at dawn or anything.”

“Don’t worry, I left my white gloves at home,” I say.





THREE


EMILY



These heels are killing me. Never mind the fact that my dress dips way too low, but I’m almost sure I’ll break an ankle if I step the wrong way in these heels one more time. My evening dress flares out in turquoise waves as I move across floor toward the refreshment table near the lobby. Even the beaded hem comes alive as it sparkles each time the lighting from the chandelier hits it. As much as I love the it, I’ll be happy when I can trade it for a pair shorts and a t-shirt. My father promised my brothers and me if we attended this evening’s book launch, he give us the keys to our summer beach house for this weekend.

I pass the appetizer table, narrowly avoiding running into Mr. Stokes, aka Mr. Strokes, my father’s accountant as he hovers over the assortment of food. He pulls his attention away from his plate long enough to assess me with a critical but curious gaze.

“Ms. Emily, you’ve grown so much. What a beautiful dress…”

I can almost see him salivating as his eyes slowly trace the dip of my dress with interest. He slides a hand in his pants pocket and I cringe at the thought that he might be touching himself through an open hole. It wouldn’t be the first time I’ve caught him doing it in public. It’s the main reason why Ceci came up with the nickname, Mr. Strokes. Now, every time I see him I have to remind myself not to say it aloud. I watch as his salt and pepper eyebrows furrow in disappointment as he spots the shawl surrounding my shoulders. I pull it tighter around my naked skin hoping that my obvious discomfort will deter him away. I’m not used to having men look at me the way he does, especially men who are three times my age.

“How is your brother Alexander doing running the business?”

“He loves it. I’m sure my father will be happy to retire earlier than he expected.”

“Amazing. Alexander is going to make an incredible CEO.”

It’s true. Alex is the brains in the family. He somehow graduated law school early. A feat most people don’t even accomplish and he did it all while working at StoneHaven Publishing.

“And your brother, Nicholas?”

“He is… Well, I’m not sure what he wants to do. He’s still in school.”

I’ve always found it funny that my two brothers look similar, but they couldn’t be more different. Alex is level headed, down to earth, and at times, a little predictable. Nick is sort of a wild card. My parents have been trying to pull the reins on him for a while.

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