Rose starts laughing as he leaves just as quickly as he had arrived. I elbow her, hardly able to believe Lucian had been just a bit embarrassed when he left. That’s something that doesn’t happen to him often, I’m betting. “That man is just too fucking sexy, and the way he dotes on you is out-of-this-world adorable. If I didn’t love you, girl, I’d hate your freaking guts for having a boyfriend that fine.”

“Stop trying to change the subject.” I secretly agree that Lucian is everything she says, but I’m beyond curious as to what has transpired between her and Max. “I’m still waiting to hear what happened.”

“Well,” she purrs as she licks her lips dramatically. “When he put the car in park, I climbed from my seat and into his lap.”

“No, you didn’t!” I hiss, unable to believe it. I mean, I know she talks about sex like a sailor sometimes, but she knits, for God’s sake. That just seems like such a contradiction.

“Oh, yeah, I did. I crawled him like the tall tree he is and kissed him until neither of us could breathe.”

“Did he…kiss you back?” I quickly look to where Lucian disappeared just to make sure he isn’t somewhere listening. I want details, but I don’t want to sound like a complete pervert.

“It took a few seconds, because I think he was in shock. But he caught on fast.” Fanning herself, she continued. “That man knows how to use his tongue. I thought I was a good kisser, but he made me feel like a virgin. He was just everywhere. It was the hottest fucking kiss of my life. My panties were totally in danger of melting from the heat he generated.”

“Shut up,” I whisper, even though I don’t mean it. I want to hear the rest, and if she stops, I’ll pop her.

“Oh, no, it’s all true. I know he felt the same way because he was so hard and I’m not just saying that. I felt him against me and then I slid my hand in his pants and wrapped it around him. At least I tried to. The man is huge. I shit you not; my fingers didn’t come close to meeting.” I think briefly of Lucian and how well-endowed he is. I can’t imagine that Max could compete with him in that area, but I decide to keep that to myself. The last thing I want is for him to come back and find Rose and me discussing his penis size.

“So, did you?” I ask, unable to resist finding out if they went all the way in his car.

Rose rolls her lip out, pouting for a moment before grinning again. “Nope, he finally called a halt, but I wasn’t going to let it go much farther. I wanted him to know what it would be like between us, and by that point, he got the big picture, believe me. I pulled my skirt back down, climbed off him, and walked away without a second glance. Max might not know it yet, but that was my way of saying ‘game on.’ Now, I’ll just give him a couple of days before I make my next move.”

“But…what about Jake? Aren’t you in love with him?” I hate to be the voice of reason, but how can she move on so quickly? I would be lying in a sobbing ball somewhere if Lucian had done that to me. I almost panic at the very thought of it, which is more than a little unsettling. He has become my world in the months we’ve been together, and it scares me that I can’t imagine my life without him.

For just a moment, I see a crack in her happy veneer before it’s quickly gone. “I’m a realist, chick. I have to brush myself off and move on. I’ll make him sorry and then I will forget him. I won’t allow him to screw me over and ruin my life.” When she straightens her demure outfit, I feel a touch of awe. How can she seem so calm and collected after what’s happened to her? As always, she looks ready to attend a society gathering, but as I glance down at her purse lying on the table in front of us, I wonder if there is a gun inside. My friend is a badass in disguise; I still can’t wrap my mind around it.

Suddenly, my brain rolls backwards to something she just said. “Whoa, wait. What do you mean you’ll ‘make him sorry’? Are you talking about what you did to him already?”

Oh, no, she’s checking her nails and looking evasive. “Sure, of course…”

“Rose…” I say, trying to get her to look at me, but she jumps up from her place on the couch and grabs her purse.

“I’ve got to run, chick. Dinner with the parents. Daddy wants to hear all about my arrest.”

“Oh, crap, are you in trouble?” I ask, concerned for my friend.

She rolls her eyes at my question, seeming to think it’s absurd. “Hell, no. He’s probably told everyone he knows by now. Daddy’s a firm believer in jail yard justice. I mean, don’t get me wrong; he wouldn’t tolerate me being some random brawler, but he wants me to defend myself. If someone wrongs me then I should retaliate—within reason, of course.”

“By ‘within reason,’ you mean?” I ask, needing some clarification. Her daddy sounds a little crazy to me, but it’s not as if I have any room at all to throw stones.

She drapes her purse strap over her shoulder and starts walking toward the door. “No killing anyone,” she answers over her shoulder before giving me a backwards wave. “Talk soon, muah!” With those words, she strolls out the door, looking as freshly put-together as usual. Just thinking of how…clean she looks makes my skin crawl. No matter how hard I try, I haven’t been able to feel that way since my attack. I have showered so many times since I got home from the hospital that Lucian had started to ask questions. I try to do it while he’s occupied in his office. I don’t want him to think I’m crazy, but I need just the brief respite, which comes from scrubbing myself.

I walk down the hallway toward his office and hear his voice. Good, he’s on the phone. I quickly make my way to the bedroom and straight into the bathroom. I wrap my hand in plastic to keep the cast on my wrist dry and turn the water on as hot as I can tolerate. I’ve stopped wearing most of the other bandages, as my cuts have healed enough to do without them. I quickly remove my clothes, turning to avoid seeing my reflection in the mirror, and take a fresh loofah from the bathroom cabinet. The rough texture gives me hope that eventually I’ll be able to scrub away the feel of him on my skin. My stomach churns at the very thought, and I quickly jump under the scalding water.

Again and again, I add liquid soap to the loofah and scrub my body. I work the hardest on my stomach, breasts, and the area between my thighs. Those places never seem to be free of the filth I feel crawling back almost immediately. I have no idea how long I’ve been in the shower, but as I start to sway, weak from the hot water and exhaustion, I realize I’m sobbing almost hysterically. When I look down, I see blood on my hands and on the sponge. A scream rips from my throat as the door is thrown open and Lucian stands there looking terrified.

Tags: Sydney Landon Lucian & Lia Billionaire Romance