“You should come back to my room with me,” he suggests. “We could get to know each other better.”

“I don’t think so.” This time, I get out of his hold and I step away, ready to bolt. But he’s quick and he reaches out, locking his fingers around my arm again and jerking me toward him.

“Women like you are all the same,” he says, his beer-laced breath hitting my face, and I wrinkle my nose. How much has he had to drink? Why did I talk to him anyway? Why do I always get myself into these awful situations? “You flirt, you give me the look, you force me to buy you a drink and then you won’t put out.”

“You think with a few words and a free drink I’ll put out?” I try to jerk my arm out of his grip but it’s no use. The guy is strong. “You’re disgusting.”

He leans in even closer, his mouth practically touching mine, and I lean my head back as far as I can. “What the hell did you think, coming to a club called Vice? Give me a break with the innocent act. It’s a bunch of shit.”

My mouth pops open, I’m about to hurl an insult, when I feel an ominous presence behind me.

“If you’re smart—though I’m wagering you’re not—I’d suggest you let her go before I rip your fucking fingers off.”

I glance over my shoulder, my knees going weak when I see him standing there, tall and broad, wearing a white linen shirt in a sea of Hawaiian print, a stark contrast against his tanned skin.

It’s my watcher.

Chapter seven

Max

I FOLLOWED HER INTO THE CLUB, though she wasn’t aware i was tracking her. What a sight she was, too, in that hot-pink dress that fell to the tops of her thighs, the skirt swishing and swirling with that captivating walk of hers. The dress, while simple, showed a lot of flesh. Her shoulders, her back, all that sun-kissed skin on display and driving me out of my ever-lovin’ mind. I couldn’t stop staring.

More like, I didn’t want to stop staring. The fact that she rejected me yesterday, leaving me in the dust without a backward glance, kind of pissed me off. It shouldn’t, because the fact that I’m interacting with her, wanting to get closer to her, is risky. I need to get her laptop, but I can go about it in different ways.

Certainly don’t need to flirt with her, that’s for damn sure.

Lily’s not very observant, though. I learned that quick enough. She seems fairly savvy in some ways yet she’s completely oblivious in others. And that makes me worry for her safety.

For example, this dickwad has such a tight hold on her I can see his fingers pressing into her flesh. From the moment he approached her—which was seconds upon her arrival—I could tell he was no good. I stood on the other side of the bar in the shadows, observing their interactions, ready to spring into action if she needed me. Lily appeared distracted most of the time, as if she wanted to be anywhere but with that guy, not that I could blame her.

Has she ever frequented a club like this one before? Hell, I know I haven’t. I didn’t even know this place existed at the resort. Vice is unlike any club I’ve ever been to before and I’m intrigued. The moment I walked in, the vibe was overtly sexual. Women studied me with interest in their eyes as I passed by them. The music that filled the space had an incessant, primal beat. An energy hummed in the air, pumped in my blood, and I knew I could easily find a woman tonight if I wanted one.

And I do want one—Lily.

As fucked up as that is, it’s the damn truth.

“Who the hell are you?” the guy asks, his nostrils flaring, eyes wide and filled with anger. He doesn’t let her go and that infuriates me. Makes me want to smash his face in, but I need to show some sort of restraint.

“Doesn’t matter to you. Just do as I say and let her go,” I demand, my voice loud, causing more than a few people to turn and look in our direction. Reluctantly, he releases his hold on her and she springs away from him, absently rubbing her arm at the spot where he touched her. “Come here, Lily.”

She hurries over to stand just behind me, never protesting my command, and I’m thankful. I don’t want any trouble, but I feel like everywhere this girl goes, she’s a walking, talking disaster. To keep her out of danger I’ll have to put her under lock and key.

And why does that thought appeal so damn much?

“What, is she your bitch?” the man asks as he starts to laugh. I lunge for him, my hands gripping the front of his shirt, close to his collar, as I yank him up almost to his toes and thrust my face in his.

“Don’t you ever call her that again, do you hear me? Or I’ll fuck up that pretty little face of yours,” I murmur, my voice low so only he can hear me.

He blinks up at me, the anger in his eyes turning to fear, and I let go of his shirt, pushing him away from me so he nearly stumbles and falls. He bumps into a small crowd of women and they all shout out in protest, calling him names as he scrambles to his feet and takes off, the women’s laughter trailing after him.

I turn to Lily, about to ask her if she’s all right, but I find her gaping at me, a shocked expression on her pretty face.

“You defended me,” she says, her voice full of awe.

I brush at the front of my white shirt. Despite how dark the club is, the lights are almost fluorescent and my shirt seems to glow. I didn’t mean to be so damn obvious. I also didn’t mean to end up at some sort of deviant club, defending Lily Fowler’s honor, for Christ’s sake. “Of course I did. That asshole had his hands all over you.”

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