I thought Chad and I were meant to be. I thought I could change and that would fix us.
Stupid, stupid Gwen. “He was gay. That’s why he didn’t want you.” And I wasted years of my life. Worse, I blamed myself.
Well, no more. It wasn’t my fault. “There’s nothing wrong with me.” I straighten. I’ve always wanted to come to Club Toxic, so I’m going to go back out there, do my head toss à la Lizzo, hit the dancefloor, and party like a rockstar.
I take a step towards the music, and a figure unfolds from the darkness. I startle backwards and a tall stranger emerges from the silken shadows. His hands catch my elbows, steadying me.
I look up and freeze. If Lucifer designed a face to seduce innocents into temptation, it would look just like this. A sleek jaw covered with stubble. Lush lips shaped for sin. He’s clad in all black like an assassin, which is why I didn’t see him at first.
He steps closer, well into my personal space. I have to tip my head back to look him in the eye. I should feel intimidated, but a mad desire to curl into this man’s chest overwhelms me. Something tells me he’d keep me safe.
The man tilts his head, dark brows slanting into an expression of concern.
“Are you lost, babygirl?”
She blinks up at me with wide, wet eyes. I heard her talking to herself. The little lamb had been in love with a gay man. I wish I could say her tears move me to pity, but they just make me hard. This is what she’d look like after a good flogging.
I’m getting ahead of myself. Step one: make sure she’s okay. Step two: obtain consent and seduce her. Step three: fuck her blind.
First step first.
“No. I just… needed a moment.” She jerks her head down and swipes at her eyes. The move makes her unsteady on her feet; I reaffirm my grip on her elbows. She leans into me, without seeming to notice.
“Great,” she mutters. “My makeup is ruined. Again.”
“Let me see.” I cup her jaw and raise her face to mine. She stills, letting me maneuver her the way I wish. Good little submissive.
I take my time, studying my awkward angel. She has gorgeous eyes, a light color I can’t make out in the dim light. They’re tilted at the corners. Pale skin, and long dark hair, caught up in that white ribbon. She looks like a Disney princess, if Disney princesses ever have mascara tear tracks down their cheeks. I wouldn’t know; I don’t watch those movies.
“Here.” I thumb away her black tears. “Good as new.”
“Thank you, Mr…”
“Call me Dimitri. And don’t thank me. It was my pleasure.” I keep my hands on either side of her face. “Do you want me to kill him?”
She blinks. “What?”
“The man who made you cry. Shall I make him disappear?”
“Um, no.” She laughs like I made a joke. “That’s okay. He’s my ex.” Her lower lip wobbles. “We broke it off a couple months ago.”
“His loss,” I say softly, and brush my thumb across her bottom lip. Her mouth opens. So fuckable.
“Yes,” she agrees in a breathy tone. Half under my spell. Not that I used any form of thrall with her. I’m just giving her what she wants. What she craves.
“He’s not worth your tears.”
“No. He’s not.” She jerks out of my grip, tossing her head. “I’m not sad.”
“No?” I raise a brow.
“I’m not,” she insists. “I’m pissed at all the years I wasted with him. I knew something was wrong. Things weren’t quite right. I thought there was something wrong with me.”
“There’s nothing wrong with you. You’re perfect.”
She shakes her head. “I squandered my youth.”
Her sweet voice is so mournful, I have to turn my head. It’d be rude to laugh right in her face.
But she laughs along with me.
“You’re still very young,” I tell her. Almost too young for a monster like me.
“I know.” She wrinkles her nose. “I’m kidding. Sorta.”
“So you’re all right?”
A firm nod. “I am.”
Step one: check. On to step two. “And you’re not leaving?”
“Heck, no.” Her stubborn chin rises again.
“Good. May I buy you a drink?”
“I’d like that. I’m Gwen, by the way.”
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