“You shut up,” Sebastian snapped at him. “You left the house. You don’t deserve the right to talk to us.”

His three friends got riled up at that. They moved forward, and I started eyeing the big one closest to Sebastian. He was a big motherfucker.

Four.

“Nate never should’ve been with you,” I said, commanding all of their attention. We were close. The camera would rotate back. I wanted their focus on me, not Logan. “That was a mistake he rectified.”

Three.

Sebastian’s eyes narrowed to slits. “I’m going to make both of you sorry that you came back here.”

“What about me?” Logan smirked at him.

No. I wanted Sebastian watching me.

He turned. “I already tried to get your acceptance revoked.”

Well, holy shit, I hadn’t expected that response.

Two.

Logan opened his mouth. His eyes flashed in anger, and he was going to say something to piss Sebastian off. I blocked him. I needed Sebastian and friends’ eyes on me.

“Time’s up,” I said calmly, quietly.

It worked. They all turned to me, and Sebastian’s eyes widened. He started to rear back—

One.

I rushed forward.

Sebastian lifted his arm to block my launch.

I soared past him.

He frowned.

It happened in the blink of an eye. I opened him up to Logan, and I checked the Big Motherfucker against the wall, holding him back.

I looked over my shoulder.

Logan threw the first punch. Sebastian was looking over his shoulder, following where I went, before he realized his mistake. Logan got him clear across the face, on top of the nose, and then it was game on.

Time slowed for that first hit but slammed back, and everything that happened afterward was so quick.

I had the bigger guy against the wall. He couldn’t move to help, and Nate rushed around me to stop the other two from going forward. Logan’s hit did the deed. Sebastian fell back, but he didn’t fall down the stairs. He fell into Nate’s back, and I clamped on Sebastian’s arm. One hit was fine, but having the guy getting more injuries or worse from falling down the stairs would be another thing entirely. His arm reached out and grabbed me. He didn’t know who was holding him. One of Sebastian’s friends slipped past Nate, but I maneuvered Sebastian, and shoved him so he fell into his friend’s arms.

Logan was at the door, waiting.

Nate reared his arm back, ready to deliver a hit of his own, but I caught his arm and ripped myself from the Big Motherfucker.

I dragged Nate behind me, and all three of us scrambled from the entrance. Once outside, I looked back. The camera was circling back to sweep where we’d left.

Logan tucked his hand into his pocket so no one could see the swelling.

We held firm. Nate started toward the parking lot, but I shook my head. This was Manipulation 101. We waited, and it wasn’t long before the door flung open.

Sebastian and his three friends flew out, searching for us.

We were right there, standing calmly.

Sebastian frowned, stopping himself, but he couldn’t hold back his friends. The three of them rushed us.

The Big Motherfucker came at me. The other two squared against Logan and Nate.

As the big guy swung, I dodged and scooted back, holding up my hands. “Hey, hey, hey.”

Here was the slimy part. I hated doing this, but it was needed to deal with Sebastian.

I lied through my teeth, “What the hell? Come on.”

The girls outside gasped. Two of them screamed, and I glimpsed a few grabbing for their phones. One girl sprinted into the bookstore.

“Stop,” Sebastian cried out.

He reached for his friends, but they weren’t hearing him.

The big guy swung again. I blocked his punch. I could’ve delivered a good uppercut, but I hadn’t. I shoved him away and held my hands up again. “Come on, man. What’s your problem?”

Logan was doing the same as me, ducking and dodging.

Nate started to throw his fist, but he caught on to us, and his arm fell back to his side. The three of us kept scooting around as Sebastian’s guys continued to throw punches.

“Guys!” Sebastian yelled at them.

They still weren’t listening.

Suddenly, they were grabbed and shoved backward. A wall of guys stepped between them and us, and it took a second before I realized what had happened.

Some of my football teammates were there. Drew, the quarterback, and a few others. Drew was standing in front of me with his back to me. The rest were literally a wall between Sebastian and his guys and us.

“Hey, man,” Sebastian started, moving away. He held his hands up, like I had moments ago. “They started this.”

A girl spoke up, “No, they didn’t. Those guys came out, and then those other guys just started hitting.”

Logan glanced at me. We shared a look. This hadn’t been planned, but it was like Sebastian delivered himself to us on a platter.

“We didn’t,” the Big Motherfucker huffed back at her. “The one guy hit Sebastian, and then they ran. We were just following. They started it.”

Drew turned to me before saying to Sebastian, “Well, it doesn’t matter. They have witnesses. You don’t. I’d suggest you walk and walk fast before campus security gets here.”

It was then when Sebastian figured it out. His anger spiked, and he glowered at me. Drew was studying me, too. I kept my face blank. I felt bad. Drew and the guys weren’t supposed to be there, but this was my fight against Sebastian. A lie to my quarterback was collateral.

Sebastian didn’t want to go. He lingered, but his friends were the smarter ones this time around. They grabbed his arm and pulled him down a sidewalk. He was glaring at me the whole time.

Good.

I wanted him to glare.

I wanted him mad.

I wanted him off balance. He’d mess up, and when he did, I would win.

Drew shook his head. He said under his breath to me, “That took some balls.”

“What are you talking about?”

He murmured so that no one else could hear, “Be careful, Mason. Okay?”

I was going to deny whatever he thought I was doing, but I saw it in his eyes. He knew. They were knowing, a little awed but also cautious. Instead, I nodded. “I will.”

SAMANTHA

Mason trailed kisses down my throat, lingering between my breasts, before groaning and lifting back up to meet my lips.

My god.

He pushed farther inside me, going deep, and I sighed from contentment as his mouth moved over mine.

I loved this man. The harder he went, the more I would unravel for him. The deeper he moved, the more I’d want to match him, thrust for thrust. Harder. Rougher. Deeper. As he moved, so did I. Our hips were glued to each other. I gasped, pleasure coursing through me.

As soon as I’d walked through his bedroom door, he pinned me against it and started kissing me. Not many words were shared. We didn’t need them, but as he readjusted his hold on my hands above me, I knew something was wrong. He was hungrier than normal, like he was starving to be one with me.

His hand swept down my side and gripped under my leg. I had a second to realize what he was doing as he reared back to thrust once more into me. He lifted me from the door and carried me to the bed. He held me up like that, and the sheer force of it rippled through his back. His arms were taut, holding me in place, and a thrill of adrenaline shot through me. This man, as he laid me down and gently fell with me, had so much power and strength.

I reveled in his caresses, loving every inch of him, as he went back inside before moving out and then back in. He was on top of me, but his weight was welcome. My wrists were stretched above me again, and then he lifted his head, watching me. He gazed down through lidded eyes, the stark need for me so bright and obvious in their depths. It was like an extra lay

er of emotion swimming over the surface. I saw it in his eyes and the way his mouth looked to be in pain from needing to touch mine again. It was even in how he grabbed my hip and moved it to the side, aligning his hips, so he could go even more inside me, reaching for a deeper angle. He was all the way in, sheathed there, as he held still for a second.

I was his.

What he wanted from me, I’d give.

I panted. I wanted to reach for him and pull him back to me, but he kept my wrists in his hand. This was for him.

He groaned, dipping back down to my lips. I felt his yearning once again, and I lifted up, pressing all of my body against his. We were both slick from sweat, so we seamlessly moved together, almost gliding against one another. He pulled out before going back inside me.

“Mason,” I murmured. I wanted his mouth on me, anywhere on me. I wanted him to go faster. I wanted to feel the ride.

The sensations were building. I was going to come.

“Sam,” he whispered, bending over so that his lips grazed my ear. He kept moving.

I felt his body tensing and knew he was right with me.

He cursed, gasping. “I love you.”

We both came together. I pulled at his hold on my wrists, but he held me, still pinned. I looked up to find he was watching me. A lazy smile adorned his face, and his free hand went to rub between my legs, right at my opening.

“Mason!” I jerked against his hand, feeling the sensations triple, as he started rubbing in a circular motion.

He pressed harder, but not too hard. I felt the buildup once again. Two waves were pressing onto me. I strained against him, trying to pause his caresses. I was going to come undone.

“Mason,” I whimpered. Please.

He kissed under my ear, finding my spot, and his hand moved faster and then slower before picking up speed, and pressing down. I couldn’t do anything. I was helpless.

He whispered, “Let go. This is for you.”

I was coming…

His hand kept rubbing.

He pulled out, but his finger dipped in me.

I gasped again. My back was off the bed. My hands, head, and legs were the only things touching.

Mason kept going. A second finger slid into me.

“Mason!”

He started kissing my throat, moving up the side of my chin to the corner of my mouth. He held there, a teasing caress. I wanted his mouth on mine again. I always felt home when he was there. I turned my head, seeking his lips, but he moved back.

My eyes flashed in warning. I was going to get him back for this.

He grinned, his hand pumping in and out, as he rubbed at my tip.

“I’m—” I couldn’t talk. I was panting again.

This man…he was going to be the death of me.

Mason stilled his hand. He let go of my wrists, and I curved into him, holding on to him, as I rode out the sensations. My body continued to tremble as wave after wave crashed over me. I was a puddle of nothing by the time they stopped. I could die happily.

“Fuck. You.” I rolled to look at Mason.

He bit out a laugh before dropping a kiss to my mouth. “Did you enjoy that?”

I curved my hand over his shoulder, savoring the feel of his muscles. “I’m going to get you back. You know that, right?”

“I hope so.” He sat up. His eyes darkened once again as he took in the sight of me.

My breasts were full and erect. I was perspiring, and my eyes must’ve looked crazy. He trailed a hand down from my throat to my stomach, ending right between my legs. “I missed you so goddamn much.”

So goddamn much.

So goddamn much.

I remembered the texts we shared a while back. A wave of nostalgia rose up, and my throat swelled. We’d been apart during that time. My hand cupped the side of his face. “Hey,” I said softly, rising up to my elbow, “what’s wrong?”

We’re together. We’re fine. Nothing will come between us, I tried to tell myself, but his rigid shoulders were causing me to worry.

“Hey,” I tapped the underside of his mouth, “talk to me.”

He grinned before lightly kissing me. Dropping to his back, he lay next to me and scooped me, so I was curled halfway over him. His hand fell down my back, causing a trail of tingles in its wake. “It’s nothing.”

It wasn’t nothing. I had two guesses, but I only needed one. “You saw Park Sebastian today?”

He sighed. “Yeah.”

“And it didn’t go well?”

“It did, but…”

I was done with his hesitation. Sitting up, I fixed him with a stare. “Talk. Now.”

He started to reach for me, but I caught his hand. “Tell me what’s wrong.”

He sat up, resting against the headboard, watching me. “Logan threatened to go after someone Sebastian loves, someone who’s vulnerable.”

I waited, hearing what he wasn’t saying. “You and Park Sebastian are not the same.”

“You’re right.” Mason gave me a half grin, but it didn’t reach his eyes. “He’s a monster that hurt a friend of mine where he was vulnerable. I’m the monster that let my brother threaten someone Sebastian loves.” He shook his head. “I don’t see how we’re that different.”

“Threatening someone so that he’s scared is completely different than actually doing it.”

“But Logan would do it.”

Our eyes caught and held. He was right.

I swallowed. “Logan wouldn’t do it unless he was forced, unless he had no other option.”

“Sam…” Mason tugged on my arm, drawing me closer to him.

I was almost kneeling on his stomach.

He caught and held my hand on his lap. “I know what you’re saying. I’m just worried that we’ve bitten off more than we can handle.”

His gaze was focused on me, but I had a feeling he wasn’t really watching for my reaction. He was watching me. He was worried about me.

I squeezed his hand. “Hey.”

I shifted until I was straddling him, and his hands rested on my hips, holding me in place.

“You and Logan are not monsters. You protect. You take care. You shield those you love. Yes, you’re ruthless. Yes, you go to lengths others don’t, but you do it so that no one—and I mean, no one—can hurt you or even try to hurt you. That’s why you do what you do. That’s why you’re who you are and why you’re loved by me

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