Drawn to You: Volume 3

By: Vanessa Booke



Ceci’s gaze lingers over me as she waits for my response. I briefly look up at Tristan, and to my surprise, he’s staring right back at me.

“No, I’m not involved with anyone,” I lie.





Emily

Sandwiched between two men might sound like every girl’s dream, but the tension that vibrates off of Tristan is enough to shake my whole world.

The day sped by a lot faster than I had anticipated, but I guess it helped having Tyler to talk to—even if it meant constantly having to deal with Tristan’s strange mood. It was manageable up until the point that Tristan decided to sit on the other side of me.

I stab a marshmallow into the fire pit in front of me as I try to distract myself. It sizzles and pops. I smile as I pull it out of the fire. It’s burned to hell. Just the way I like it. Before I have a chance to grab it off my stick, Tyler grabs it.

“Here you go.” He smiles.

He holds the burned marshmallow to my mouth. It feels strange having him hand feed me. His eyes are fixed on me as I force my mouth to open and take a bite. Warm sweetness fills my mouth as its sticky texture clings to my lips.

I turn my head at the sound of a low growl coming from Tristan’s lips. His eyes connect with mine with a furious heat. My heart palpitates in my chest as the awkwardness of the situation grows. Fortunately, Nick, Ceci, and Tyler seem too oblivious to notice the silent conversation that passes between us. This morning jealousy got the best of me after watching Ceci parade herself around Tristan. The worst part is he didn’t even push her away. It’s like watching them openly flirt at the beach all over again. I can’t help but feel everything he’s told me this morning isn’t true.

I smile at the thought of Tristan feeling jealous over Tyler feeding me a marshmallow. A simple, but effective way to even the playing field.

“Hey, Tristan. Nick said a few of your paintings are being auctioned off for charity.” He smiles.

“They are! I’m really excited about it.”

“That’s amazing! You should show them to me sometime,” Ceci says, tipping back a shot of tequila before giggling and groping his arm.

The yacht sways as it breaks across bigger waves. A sickening feeling spreads across my stomach. I’m not sure if it’s being on the ocean that’s making me sick or watching my best friend throw herself at Tristan.

“Are you okay?” Tyler asks, rubbing his tattooed thumb over my wrist. “You seem a little tense, and you’re looking a little green.”

I flinch involuntarily and look away as my best friend exchanges a secret conversation with Tristan. The sound of waves crashing against the side of the boat drowns out their words. The only other sound is Ceci’s nauseating giggle.

“Did you hear me?”

I look up to find Tyler’s curious blue eyes watching me. The sympathetic smile he wears gives him a boyish appearance.

“I’m fine.” I smile.

Tristan’s voice breaks across a gust of wind as the yacht starts to sway harder.

“You should all come to the fundraiser a colleague of mine is hosting. You remember Sebastian, right, Emily? Sebastian Wolfe.”

The image of Selena, the slave I met at Tristan’s studio creeps into my mind. My cheeks burn. Of course, I remember the mysterious Dom. How could I forget the man who walked a woman on a leash in front of me like she was a pet? A flicker of amusement flashes across Tristan’s face as he watches me from the rim of his beer. He’s bringing up that day to rile me up? Or is it to distract me from Tyler’s conversation?

Ceci stares up at Tristan with a curious gaze as she glances from him to me. I can only imagine the look on her face if she knew the kind of paintings Tristan does. Then again, she might like it. I have her to thank for ending up at the Pleasure Chest.

I lean into Tyler’s embrace, closing the space between us. Despite the awkwardness that I feel doing so, I push away any thoughts of guilt. The scowl on Tristan’s face haunts me briefly, but he quickly recovers and makes his way over to the helm of the yacht where Nick stands. I’m grateful for the small opportunity to breathe. Every time Tristan comes near me, I feel my whole body tense. I’m not sure how to act around him anymore. I’m too afraid someone else will notice.

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