Drawn to You: Volume 1

By: Vanessa Booke



“Emily!”

I turn and spot Ceci scurrying across the ballroom floor with a wicked grin on her face. She’s not even halfway over when her eyes lock on Mr. Strokes. She throws me a knowing look as she lifts an eyebrow at him.

“Ceci, you made it!”

“Emily, your brothers are looking for you,” she says.

Time to make my escape.

“So what’s on tonight’s agenda?”

“Doing our best to avoid grabby hands and taking advantage of the chocolate fondue.” I smile.

“Emily, you’re always such a good girl,” Ceci says beside me as we stare out into the crowd of guests. “Forget about behaving tonight. Be daring. Go blow some guy at the coat check-in.”

I blush at the thought of going in the back of the hotel coatroom with just some random stranger. Not because I’m afraid. No, because the thought of doing it sends a thrilling sensation throughout my body—a feeling I can only assume will multiply such an experience.

“No,” I blush.

“At least make out with someone.”

“I’m all right.”

“You’re boring.” Ceci huffs. “C’mon, you can practice on me.”

“Go practice on my brother, Nicholas.”

“Practice what on me?”

Nicholas’s bright smile pops into view as he rounds the corner of the ballroom entrance. Trailing just behind him is my brother, Alex. A flurry of women descends to the dance floor at the sight of them. Even the older women nearby seem to trip over themselves. I’ve always been envious of the way people seem to be drawn to my brothers. No guy has ever looked at me the way women see them.





FOUR


TRISTAN



I almost convince myself that no matter how this evening ends, I’ll leave here in one piece. I believe it with all of my soul until the moment she walks into the room. My breath constricts at the sight of a familiar blonde angel entering the room. The sight of her sends a strange shooting pain in my chest. I watch her as she crosses the ballroom floor like a figure from one of my paintings wearing a bright blush on her cheeks and her hair spun in a bun. It can’t be her. It never crossed my mind to think that Emily would be here tonight. It’s been more than four years since I’ve seen her and the last time, she was four years younger with a goofy smile permanently fixed to her face.

Her name floods my mind with memories of late night poetry, warm embraces, and that familiar smell of lavender. My Lily Pad—except she’s not so little anymore. The figure gliding across the room is very much a woman. The turquoise dress she’s wearing does little to hide the curves that accentuate her petite frame—curves that weren’t there before. My emotions pull at me as her cheerful smile makes the room seem just a little bit brighter. I step forward hoping to steal a glimpse of her to take with me when I leave, but I stop myself at the appearance of Alexander and Nicholas beside her. The three illuminate the room with their mere presence. I’m tempted to follow them, but I stop myself. I’d hate to think that I came here to give Stefan a piece of my mind only to be thwarted by the family I once thought I deserved.

I slip away and make my way to the kitchen to drop-off my tray, stopping for a moment to search for a cigarette. I’m just about to light up when I feel something, or rather a someone, run straight into me. It isn’t until I hear her yelp that I realize it’s a woman. The impact of her small frame takes me by surprise as she sends us both tumbling to the marble floor. The sound of glass shattering spills across the room as the force knocks the tray from my hands. My heart constricts as crystal goes flying everywhere. If I didn’t want to make a scene before, I’m sure as hell making one now.

A stinging sensation runs up the side of my back as we land with a loud thud. A crowd of gasps circulates through the hall as guests turn and inch closer to see the spectacle. I wipe the sliding mess of champagne off my face and look up to find bright aquamarine eyes staring down at me in shock.

Shit. Her.

To my surprise, she doesn’t immediately untangle herself from my lap. Her stare grows increasingly intense as if she’s trying to mentally extract information from me. Several seconds pass before she finally moves, or at least tries to move. I hear the sound of her dress swishing as she steadies her arms at the side of my head. She wiggles to free a part of her skirt trapped beneath me and I inwardly groan at the pressure of her rubbing against me. Fucking hell. My cock twitches leaving me with a growing erection.

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