I don’t know if that’s true. I don’t know anything, because apparently there’s a long conversation coming, and I don’t know what it’s going to sound like.

I don’t wait for his permission. I don’t say another word; I just quit the study and head upstairs before I run into Vince and Mia. My emotions are out of control and I want to rip her hair out of her pretty little head, so I definitely do not want to see her.

I try to ground myself while I walk. I’m out of sorts, getting carried away, but I need to relax. For one thing, Mia was normal around me until yesterday. Until they danced. He can’t be fucking her yet—he came home with me, and they didn’t disappear together after they danced. So he isn’t fucking her. But he must have said something to her in those three minutes that changed things for her. Maybe he told her that he wants to fuck her. Which seems like a disaster, because Mia’s so fucking infatuated with him that she stays in a relationship with someone she half-hates just so she can keep coming around.

I need to find an objective perspective. I need to clear my mind, push past my foreign surplus of emotions, and figure this out.

Chapter Five


I hustle through the front door, Vince trailing behind. I think he’s moving slowly just to aggravate me. We’re running late, and I hate running late.

Since we are running late, I don’t wait for him; I make my way to the left and through the open door of Mateo’s study.

I expect to find Mateo at the helm and men in arm chairs.

But there’s only Adrian sitting alone in a wing chair with a drink in his hand. He tips his glass at me in acknowledgement as I walk in and come to an abrupt stop, searching the room for Mateo. He’s not by the drink cart and he’s not behind his desk, so he clearly isn’t in here.

“Where is everybody?” I ask, as Vince catches up and stops behind me.

I know it’s Vince behind me, because I would be able to feel Mateo.

“We’re on our own tonight. Mateo canceled dinner. You were already on your way, Elise is already cooking, and I’m still hungry, so it’s just us.”

My stomach sinks. “He canceled dinner? What happened?”

“You,” Adrian mutters, taking another drink.

My stomach somehow sinks harder, and the blood in my veins turns to ice water, sending chills everywhere.

Vince laughs and heads over to the alcohol cart to pour himself something.

“I don’t understand,” I say, not moving.

Adrian’s brown eyes meet mine and he states, “Meg needed to spend some time with Mateo. So he’s spending time with her.”

“Is she mad at me? Are they both mad at me? Maybe I should go—”

“Don’t even think about it,” Adrian says, cutting me off.

“Are we done pretending this isn’t a thing, then?” Vince asks mildly, taking his drink and heading over to the wing chair. Then he reconsiders and comes over to grab my arm, casually dragging me along so he can yank me into his lap once he’s seated.

I have half a mind to tell him we don’t need to put on a show; only Adrian is here. But there are probably cameras in this room, so I don’t.

I feel terrible about everything right now. “Was Meg upset?” Meg rarely gets upset. She’s a fortress. If I’ve upset her, I’m literally the worst person ever.

“I’m sure you’ll be looped in later,” Adrian tells me, drinking some more. “I’m not dealing with this shit until I know what I’m dealing with, so I’m afraid I’m not going to be a stream of information for you tonight.”

“Is Mateo coming back down later?” I ask, since apparently I need him for any answers.


It’s impossible for my mind not to wander to them upstairs in bed together. Sure, he only said spending time together, but he’s Mateo. If she’s mad at him, he’ll just make her stop with his stupid sexy body. With his tender, playful words. With his beautiful face, his sensual smile—the one that makes you feel special. That makes you feel everything he wants you to feel. Mateo can handle emotional women. You can’t really stay mad at him if he doesn’t want you to.

This makes me sad.

Not sad because I want Meg to be upset, but sad because I don’t want to be sitting here on Vince’s lap while Mateo fucks Meg upstairs in their bed.

“Maybe we should just go home,” I murmur.

“Nope,” Vince says, echoing Adrian’s adamant tone just a minute ago. “We’re here; we’re eating.” Then he gives me a little squeeze, “What’s wrong, babe? You love family dinners. Dressing up, coming to the mansion.”

I roll my eyes as he mocks me. There’s no live audience to perform for, so I don’t.

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