Home > Driven (Driven #1)(7)

Driven (Driven #1)(7)
Author: K. Bromberg

“Careful, Rylee,” he warns as he grips my wrist, looking every bit as dangerous as his voice threatens. “I don’t take kindly to insults.”

I try to yank my wrist away, but his hold remains. To anyone in the room, it looks as if I’m laying my hand on his heart in affection. They can’t feel the steel strength of his grip.

“Then hear this,” I snap, tired of this game and the warring emotions and sensations within me. Anger takes hold. “You only want me because I’m the first female who’s said no to your gorgeous face and come-fuck-me body. You’re so used to every female falling at your feet, pun intended, that you see a challenge—someone immune to your charm—and you’re unsure how to react.”

Despite his nonchalant shrug, I can see his underlying irritation as he releases my wrist. “When I like what I see, I go after it,” he states unapologetically.

Shaking my head, I roll my eyes. “No, you need to prove to yourself that you can, in fact, get any girl who crosses your path. Your ego’s bruised. I understand,” I patronize patting his arm. “Well, don’t sweat it, Ace, I forfeit this race.”

He raises an eyebrow, a ghost of a smile on his lips as he finds something humorous in my comment. The muscle in his clenched jaw tics as he regards me momentarily. “Let’s get something straight,” he leans in, inches from my mouth, the gleam in his eyes warning me I’ve gone too far. “If I want you, I can and will have you, at anytime and in anyplace, sweetheart.”

I snort in the most unladylike way, astonished at his audacity, yet trying to ignore the quickening of my pulse at the thought. “Don’t bet on it,” I sneer as I hastily try to skirt past.

His hand whips out and grabs hold of my arm again, spinning me back toward him, so that I’m standing intimately close. I can see his pulse beat in the line beneath his jaw. Can feel the fabric of his jacket hit my arm as his chest rises and falls. I glance down at his hand on my arm and glare back at him in warning, yet his hold still remains. He leans his face in to mine so that I can feel his breath feather across my cheek. I angle my head up to his, not sure if I’m raising my chin in defiance or in anticipation of his kiss.

“Lucky you, I’m a gambling man, Rylee,” his resonating voice is just a whisper of sound. “I do, in fact, like a good challenge now and again,” he provokes, a mischievous smile playing at the corners of his mouth. He releases my arm, but runs his finger lazily down the rest of it. The soft scrape of his finger on my exposed skin sends shivers down my back.

“So let’s make a bet.” He stops and nods at a passing acquaintance, bringing me to the here and now as I’ve forgotten that we’re in a room full of people.

“Didn’t your mother teach you when a lady says no, she really means no, Ace?” I raise my eyebrow, a look of disdain on my face.

That smarmy smirk of his is back in full force as he nods in acknowledgement at my comment. “She also taught me that when I want something, I need to keep after it until I get it.”

Great, so now I’ve acquired a stalker. A handsome, sexy, very annoying stalker.

He reaches out and toys with a loose curl on the side of my neck. I try to remain impassive despite my urge to close my eyes and sink into the whisper of his fingers across my skin. His smirk tells me that he knows exactly what his effect is on me. “So, like I said, Ryles, a bet?

I bristle at his proposition. Or maybe it is at his effect on me. “This is asinine—”

“I bet by the end of the night,” he cuts me off holding a hand up to stop me, “I have a date with you.”

I laugh out loud stepping back from him. “Not a chance in hell, Ace!”

He takes a long swallow of his drink, his expression guarded. “What are you scared of then? That you can’t resist me?” He flashes a wicked grin when I roll my eyes. “Agree then. What do you have to lose?”

“So you get a date with me and your bruised ego is restored,” I shrug indifferently, wanting no part of this contest. “What will I get out if it?”

“If you win—”

“You mean if I can resist your dazzling charm,” I retort, my voice laced with sarcasm.

“Let me rephrase. If you can resist my dazzling charm by the end of the night, then I’ll donate,” he flickers his fingers through the air in a gesture of irrelevance, “let’s say, twenty thousand dollars to your cause.”

I catch my breath and look at him in bewilderment, for this I can agree to. I know that there’s no way in hell that I’ll succumb to Donavan or his captivating wiles, the arrogant bastard. Agreed, I was caught in his tantalizing web for a few moments, but it was just because it’s been so long since I’ve felt like that. Since I’ve been kissed like that. Been touched like that.

Come to think of it, I don’t think that I have ever been made to feel like that. But then again, I know that a man has never kissed me while his lips were still warm from another woman’s.

I regard him impassively, trying to figure out the catch. Maybe there isn’t one. Maybe he’s just so cocky that he really thinks he’s that irresistible. All I know is that I’m going to increase our contribution total tonight by twenty thousand.

“Isn’t this bet going to put a damper on your evening’s pursuit of other possible bedside companions?” I pause taking a survey of the room. “It’s not looking too promising Ace, considering you’re oh for two right now.”

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