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In high school, Veronica Tanner was “a stuck-up bookworm who’d never get laid in a million years”—at least, that’s what the mean girls called her. But she’s grown out of that, and now all she wants is Jax Cole, her stepbrother’s drop-dead-gorgeous best friend. Luckily for her, he wants her too, but they’ve known each other since they were kids. Wouldn’t it be weird and kinda gross? He is stupidly hot though…

Age Rating: 18+

 

Desperate by Sapir Englard is now available to read on the Galatea app! Read the first two chapters below, or download Galatea for the full experience.

 


 

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1

Summary

In high school, Veronica Tanner was “a stuck-up bookworm who’d never get laid in a million years”—at least, that’s what the mean girls called her. But she’s grown out of that, and now all she wants is Jax Cole, her stepbrother’s drop-dead-gorgeous best friend. Luckily for her, he wants her too, but they’ve known each other since they were kids. Wouldn’t it be weird and kinda gross? He is stupidly hot though…

Age Rating: 18+

Original Author: Sapir Englard

VERONICA

“She got my heart jumping

And my adrenaline pumpin’ and gunnin’

Like ain’t nobody ever seen…”

– David Guetta

***

I’ve known Oliver ever since his father married my mother when I was twelve. Five years my senior, he didn’t think I deserved any attention from him. Safe to say, we were never close.

He had his friends, his niche, and now, eight years into our parents’ marriage; a career, and an often changing girlfriend.

For me, Oliver wasn’t anything more than a distant stepbrother. One I inevitably got along with a new stepfather, and frankly, I didn’t mind keeping my distance from him.

He wasn’t of any interest to me just as I wasn’t of any to him.

But while Oliver and I don’t really share anything in common, I can’t say the same about his best friend, Jax.

It started with a party. Honestly, all good stories–especially romantic ones–always start with a party.

Laura, my friend, was helping by throwing it in her sorority house and of course I was automatically invited.

At first, like all responsible, good girls in the world, I was reluctant to go.

“I’m not sure it’s such a good idea,” I voiced my worry to my friend when we hung out at the beach a few days before.

“You don’t think any party is a good idea,” she said tartly in response.

She was right. Parties were trouble friendly, and I did everything to steer clear of those.

“I just don’t think I’ll have fun. It’s not my thing,” I said.

My thing was attending the book club I loved. My thing was working at the bookstore around the corner. My thing was not getting trashed and banging a stranger in a stinky toilet stall.

But Laura insisted. Maybe it was the bright, hot sun, or even the smooth sound of the waves, but eventually I agreed to go.

That’s how I found myself dressed in skin-tight jeans and a top, with my dark hair a mess of curls streaming down my back and my dark eyes with an edgy-smoky look.

Logically, I knew I looked modest, compared to today’s “It Girl’s” fashion choices. Personally, I felt like I’d been downgraded into a slut.

Laura thought I looked smashing when I came by earlier to help her with the final preparations of the upcoming frat party.

“Really, Ver,” she said, shaking her head at me, “you really need to stop being so self-conscious.”

“I never said I am,” I retorted, “I just didn’t want to go to the party.”

“Well, it’s too late for that.” Grinning wickedly and slinging her arm around my shoulders, she continued, “I’m looking forward to you getting drunk and finding you a random, hopefully hot, boy to make out with.”

***

A couple of hours later, the place was completely packed.

From seventeen-year-old high-schoolers to boring wife-seeking thirty-somethings, in no time at all, there was hardly any walking space.

People danced, people drank, people jumped fully clothed into the home’s private pool. Everyone was making out with everyone, and nearly everyone was having sex. It was one big happy orgy. Yay.

The scene wasn’t for me. I guess I was too much of a goody-two-shoes for that kind of action.

I wanted to have a boyfriend, to be in love before going through all the trouble of kissing, goofing around, making love, and so on.

Laura, unlike me, was dutifully drunk before midnight and had found a fling for the night: a cute guy named Brody who had the beauty of a Ken doll.

But I don’t judge. After all, if I’d judged Laura, I wouldn’t have been her friend.

By midnight, I decided I wanted to go home. People were starting to get sloppy over one another and I felt out of place and foolish with my cup of water instead of vodka.

Weaving my way through the crowded floor, I managed to reach the kitchen where almost all the liquor bottles were empty. I wanted to find some more water before I headed home.

Laura was already holed up in her room with her Ken doll, so I’d given up on telling her goodbye.

“Dammit,” I cursed when I didn’t find any water bottles.

Searching among the empty bottles, pushing away tipsy, gropy men who thought they had a chance, finally I found a half-empty water bottle.

I poured the heavenly liquid into my cup and, without thinking twice, swallowed it all at once.

I didn’t count on it actually being some sort of alcoholic drink. By the time my shocked mind realized what I’d just gulped, the liquor flowed down my throat, leaving a burn in its wake.

It was too late to spit it out.

Choking, I blurredly searched for real water but found none. Instead, I started to get buzzed and before I knew it, I was giggling. Fucking giggling. I don’t remember the last time I giggled.

Judging by the fact I was drunk as shit in about five minutes, clearly, I was a lightweight.

In my buzzed haze, I grabbed some more liquor and waveringly made my way through the crowd and joined in on the dancing, gulping the bitter liquid as if it was nectar.

If it was even possible, I grew drunker and drunker. I was nearly blackout by the time I heard a familiar voice say, “Veronica?”

Turning around–basically falling in the process–I saw none other than Jax Cole, Oliver’s best bud.

I’d met Jax a few times before when Oliver brought him home. Until the party, I hadn’t seen him for months.

Even though I wasn’t in my right mind, my subconscious still managed to appreciate his great looks.

Over six feet with broad shoulders and rippling muscles, he was a devastatingly handsome, sexy man.

His dark hair was a mop of wavy mess that gave him the legendary just-got-out-of-bed look. His eyes, a radiant shade of midnight-blue, were as piercing as ever.

He was gorgeous, the perfect specimen. Every girl in the house, sober or not, couldn’t deny this fact.

Now, the hot Jax Cole was standing in front of me, looking completely sober and gorgeous in jeans and tee, and seemingly surprised to see me there.

I would’ve been surprised too, to see the likes of me at a party.

Because a nerdy bookworm like me shouldn’t have been partying like that, especially not in a damned sorority house.

But here I was, a bottle of alcohol in hand, and the promise of my first ever hangover waiting for me in the morning.

And here he was. My shock in seeing him, on the other hand, was totally misplaced.

I wouldn’t say Jax was the party animal type but seeing him in such a scenario was way more understandable, considering his looks and the fact he made every girl swoon or fawn all over him.

I blame the alcohol for making my jaw drop and my eyes pop at the sight of him.

Then, I just had to say, “Oh my God, it’s you, Jesus!”

Yeah. I put both God and Jesus in the same sentence and completely misnamed the man in front of me by calling him Jesus, as though I hadn’t known him for a long time.

Later, when I recalled these details, I would remember him cracking a small smile. “I’ve been called a lot of names, but Jesus is a first.”

I was far too drunk to feel the mortification. Instead, I simply giggled and said, “Oopsie. God ya wrong, Jax.”

Nope, I did not make any sense.

He finally seemed to realize I wasn’t in my right mind.

“You’re drunk,” he said, amused.

Took you long enough, Captain Obvious, I giggled, closed my mouth shut when I realized I giggled yet again, and cocked my head, asking, “Why’re ya here?”

Apparently, drinking converted my speech level to that of a four-year-old.

“I could ask you the same question,” he said, grinning a little.

At that moment, because evidently, I wasn’t thinking straight, I dropped my bottle somewhere on the ground and grabbed his hands.

“Dance with me!” I ordered and started moving my body to the sound of some trance track. It sounded like a David Guetta song, but I couldn’t be sure.

“Veronica, I think you should sit down,” Jax said, not cooperating with me.

My stagger a moment later increased his belief in my inability to stand straight and he slung his toned arm around my waist to keep me from face-diving into the ground.

Through the blurry threads of soberness, I found that I could feel the heat of his arm through my top and it made me a little tingly.

“I wanna dance,” I whined. Instead of complying, I wrapped my arms around his neck.

I’d worn heels, something Laura convinced me to do, and so I managed to somehow reach his chin, when usually the top of my head would barely grind his Adam’s apple.

Jax chuckled in that deep voice of his, and it made an unreasonable shiver ripple through my spine. “I really don’t think that's a good idea in your current state.”

My dizzy eyes captured his and, as if a stranger took over me, I batted my lashes like a flirtatious whore.

“Please?” I asked huskily. Meaningless to say I’d never made such a voice before.

I don’t know if I imagined it or not, but I think his eyes glazed over for a moment. Maybe I was actually affecting him, I wouldn’t know.

Sure, I looked amazing that night, but he had girls lining up for his attention and a lot of them were extremely gorgeous.

He couldn’t possibly be attracted to me, a girl he’d known since before she hit puberty, a girl who was his best friend’s stepsister, right?

Eventually he sighed in defeat. “You won’t go unless we dance, will you?”

Grinning, maybe too widely, I pressed myself to the lines of his strong, muscular body. “Nope.”

Fortunately, my mother had put me in dancing lessons for about ten years until I was fifteen–when I insisted on stopping because it wasn’t fun anymore–so I wasn’t a horrible dancer.

In fact, I thought as I moved my body to the music along with the sinuous movements of Jax’s, I was pretty good.

Jax was in a league of himself, so I guess it wasn’t hard to follow his lead anyway, but I was good too.

When his hands brushed my bottom once, I suddenly noticed just how close we were. I realized that I had a delicious twenty-five-year-old man in my arms, and that I was pretty horny.

Celibacy would do that to a woman. Not that I was preferably celibate; I’d just never found an opportunity to shed my virginity or scream at someone to “take me now!”

The air thickened around us, and my skin felt taut, my abdomen filled with knots. My breathing grew heavy, and all of a sudden, I wasn’t so much drunk as aroused.

I wanted him, and I wanted him now. It didn’t matter that he was Jax fucking Cole. All that mattered was that he was delectable, and I was starving.

I pressed myself even closer to him and saw his blue eyes narrowing a little. His arms tightened around me, and we stopped swaying to the music–or rather–he stopped.

I wanted to keep going, but his tense arms kept me in place.

“Veronica,” he said, my name like a smooth caress coming from his luscious mouth, “you don’t want this.”

Tell that to my body because it doesn’t believe you.

“Jax…” I all but purred–purred! And when one of his hands brushed my butt again and he pressed me even closer, I moaned slightly as well.

“You’re drunk,” he whispered harshly into my ear, his heated breath tickling my sensitive lobe. “I won’t take advantage of you.”

But I wanted him to take advantage of me. Dear God, I don’t think I wanted anything more, ever.

“Please, Jax,” I whispered desperately. He was so close, so strong, and male and I wanted to devour him.

I was sexually famished, and he was like a raw piece of steak. Or maybe well-done. He struck me as well-done.

He didn’t move for about a minute and I grew itchy and frustrated with his damned self-restraint.

So, in order to induce some reaction out of him, I rocked my lower body as much as I could against his, and for my utter satisfaction felt him hard and ready for me.

He jerked and tightened his hold of me while practically growling, “You’re Oliver’s baby-sister.”

Stepsister,” I corrected, half-moaning when, to my relief, he rubbed his body against mine as well.

“Please Jax,” I begged again, “I need you.”

As I said, I’d met Jax Cole about ten times in the past eight years I’d known Oliver.

We’d never really spoken or even interacted on any level, not even after I finally went through puberty and became a full-fledged woman.

Sure, he was impossibly hot, I couldn’t deny that. And of course, like every healthy woman in her prime, I found him unbearably attractive.

But I never gave him the time of day because I simply thought he was out of my league, someone I could never have, from a galaxy far, far away.

And so, I’d never thought I would find myself grinding myself against him, desperate for him and his screwable body. Yet here I was, all but feeding myself on a golden spoon for him to devour.

And devour he did.

Something must’ve snapped in his mind, because he didn’t seem to care about anything anymore as he crushed his mouth on mine.

I moaned, horny, and opened my mouth for his tongue to slide in and tangle with mine. I shuddered at the erotic touch and in response, one of his hands grabbed a handful of my hair while the other cupped my butt.

Before I knew it, we were moving, and my back hit the wall. Caged by his much larger frame, I grabbed onto him, fisting my hand in his mop of curls, and clung to his toned shoulder.

He growled into my mouth, and suddenly the clothes between us were too much. I wanted nothing to hide his skin, nothing to cover him from me.

I wanted to touch and lick and taste every bit of him.

Apparently, I projected that last thought telepathically because next thing I knew, Jax was leading us to an empty bedroom and practically threw me on the sheets.

In a swift move he took his shirt off and in the dim light of the room I marveled in the view.

His chest was chiseled, as if sculpted by God Himself; toned, ripped muscles beneath smooth, golden skin with a trail of dark hair disappearing into his jeans.

His eight-pack teased me, begging for my touch, and my mouth filled with hungry saliva, it took my entire will not to drool like a disgusting teenage girl.

Then this stunning body was on me, pressing me to the mattress, and I was covered in a hot, warm flesh I wanted to prey on like a lioness.

His mouth was on mine, and for a moment of clarity I found that he tasted of male in his prime, hot and tasty and, and of faint beer too.

Apparently, I wasn’t the only one downing booze tonight, and it made his caving more understandable. Alcohol can snap the will of even the most stubborn man alive.

The moment of clarity was gone as fast as it came, though. I was aware of myself pushing my top up and off my body, and then unbuttoning my skinny jeans.

He helped me slide them off, as well as my boots, and then unbuckled his belt and unzipped his own jeans and pushed them away in one quick maneuver along with his boxers too.

The only thing that separated our bodies were my bra and panties, which he got rid of a second later, and then his hands were cupping my generous breasts and my mouth met his again in a fierce kiss.

His lips left mine and his blue eyes illuminated in the dimness as they locked on my own for a moment.

He started trailing kisses down my jaw, my chin, my neck, where I moaned since this place is quite sensitive.

There he suckled on my skin, leaving a hickey no doubt, and continued down the valley of my chest where he simply buried his face, taking a long deep breath in, as if savoring the scent of me.

Before I knew it, he was between my legs, pushing my thighs apart with his oh so strong arms, and he was giving me a languorous lick that made my eyes roll.

He lost patience and mercilessly sucked and nipped my clit, even pushed his tongue into my entrance, and I lost it.

My body violently thrashed at the tight knots that manifested in my abdomen and when he pushed a finger inside, I screamed, orgasm exploding from the inside out.

It was the first time I came by the hands of someone else–I’d come in the past when I’d touch myself–but this was the first time that it was so strong, so powerful.

I didn’t know if it was because I was finally having my eternal dry spell nullified or if it was a secret talent of Jax. Maybe it was both.

He tasted my fluids and when he finished, he slid back up my body like a python and kissed me with an open mouth.

The aftermath of the shocking orgasm still rocked my body and only intensified when I felt his rigid erection probing against my inner thigh.

An excited moan left my mouth and it seemed to return to his senses. He suddenly broke away from my lips and stared down at me with those piercing eyes of his.

“Okay?” he asked roughly, lowly, growly. He tensed, making his muscles much clearer and way more richly toned than before. It made my mouth water all over again.

Dazed and unable to speak, I simply nodded.

He decided that maybe I was a little sober after all and the next thing I knew, he was gripping my thighs and roughly, almost viciously thrusting inside of me, balls-deep.

Screaming with the sudden pain, tears welled in my eyes.

He growled something that sounded like “Fuck!” and was about to pull out when I grasped his shoulders and held him in place.

I let my body get used to the uncomfortable fullness I felt, and once the pain subsided a little, I looked up at him and whispered, “Don’t stop.”

I don’t know if he realized that he’d just taken my virginity.

In fact, I think he’d just thought that I needed time to adjust to his supremely huge cock.

Believe me, while I hadn’t been experienced, I saw enough penises on the internet to realize his size for what it was; thick and long.

Either way, he let the reins go and next thing I knew, he was pumping in and out of me with strong, rough strokes that made me feel even more pain but also building pleasure.

Hanging on to his shoulders, grinding my torso to his, I held on for the wild ride.

Soon enough, the pain dissipated completely, leaving only sheer, erotic pleasure that made me moan so loud it was a wonder no one came to check in on us to see if everything’s alright.

One of Jax’s hands was grabbing my breast almost painfully while the other gripped the bed frame above my head as he drove in and out so fast, it was a wonder he didn’t get cramps.

With him obviously working out, and probably having sex on regular basis, it wasn’t all that surprising. The man screamed stamina and endurance through and through.

Suddenly, he flipped us over. He was sitting and I was straddling him. He drove up into me, doing all the work, while I was wrapped around him like ivy.

He buried his face in my neck, his teeth closing on my skin as he penetrated into me faster and faster, making my tiny, unused inner muscles clench on his big, heavy shaft.

His next growl made me shiver as I felt it vibrate through his chest and I moaned when my abdomen went tight-knotted again. I was about to cum again, and I couldn’t wait.

“Jax!” I screamed sharply as finally I orgasmed, the ecstasy ripping me into two and making me see pretty stars.

Spasming, I felt him tensing, and then he drove one last time so deep until I swear, I felt the head of his cock kissing my womb. He shuddered as he emptied himself inside me.

We were both breathing heavily when he pulled away from my neck and looked at me with wonderment in his eyes.

Still buried deep inside me, he planted his lips on mine and kissed me slowly, seductively, and I melted into him.

Eventually he pulled out and we both lay on the bed, trying to catch our breaths. Before long, I felt dizziness settle in my mind, cutting off everything else, and soon enough, I fell asleep.

***

Imagine waking up in an unfamiliar room with Jax Cole sleeping next to you, a major headache cracking your skull, and annoying sunlight piercing your eyes.

Imagine having a short-term amnesia while you try to recall what the hell had gone on the previous night.

Then imagine having all the memories shoving their way back into your mind, simultaneously.

In short: it’s not a good time.

Although my head was pounding, I pushed myself out of the bed and searched for clothes.

I found them crumpled on the ground and got dressed as quietly as I could and then looked at the body-mirror in the room.

I looked like crap, with my black hair a mess of frizzy curls, my dark brown eyes bloodshot, my lips red and puffy, and my skin paler than usual.

Then I saw the love bites that decorated my neck and my body and I kind of froze.

I had sex with Jax Cole last night, I thought, my eyes broadening with dread. I had otherworldly monkey-sex with my stepbrother’s best friend last night.

As that realization hit me, another one split my mind: I’m no longer a virgin. Surprisingly, I wasn’t that upset about losing my V-card. In fact, I’d been waiting for ages for the opportunity to arise.

But the fact that I did it drunk, with none other than Jax Cole, who’s Oliver’s bestie… Let’s just say I was slightly a mess.

Forcing myself to calm down, I walked away from the mirror and paused, watching Jax’s sleeping form.

The man was simply magnificent, lying on his stomach with his back all lean and ripped and lickable. He himself had a hickey on his neck, when the hell had I given him one?

And now, in the bright morning light, I could see he had a tattoo in the middle of his back of a black-and-gold Hindu sun.

God, but he was beautiful. And he had sex with me.

Me, Veronica Tanner, the bookworm nobody wanted to date in high school because she was too stuck-up and obnoxious.

Sure, I didn’t want to date anyone in high school anyway, but you know what I mean.

Me, the girl the school’s “It Girl” believed to be a virgin for another ten years at least.

I’d actually gotten laid.

Suck it, Hailey Pritchard! And while you’re at it, take that stick out of your ass!

Feeling triumphant, I started to grin, but when I remembered my pounding headache, my grin quickly turned into a wince.

Then my gaze zeroed on the red spots that marred the mattress. My virginal blood looked darker against the maidenly white sheets, and it only enforced my sudden happiness.

I really did have sex with Jax Cole!

But then it hit me. I had sex with Jax Cole. Jax. Cole. He knew me since I was twelve or so, and he’d fucked me.

Well, it didn’t matter anyway. I was twenty now, and he was twenty-five. The five years gap didn’t matter anymore.

We were both fully grown and in a matter of months I was going to be twenty-one, which officially meant an adult who could legally get drunk.

Besides, it was an act of pure consent, lust and passion, and there wasn’t anything wrong with it.

Many girls lose their virginity in a fling. I know Laura did; she told me about being fucked by some thirty-year-old dude in his apartment when she was seventeen.

Then, of course, she told me how much it sucked but eventually got over it. She told me it was the best way to get rid of your virginity. I didn’t take her advice.

Until that moment with Jax, that is.

Feeling way more gleeful and giddier than I thought I would be after having sex for the first time, I shot one last look at sleeping Jax and tiptoed out of the room, closing the door gently behind me.

I returned home, feeling like I was about to turn into a new leaf.

 

Read the full uncensored books on the Galatea iOS app!

2

VERONICA

“You and me baby ain’t nothin’ but mammals,

So let’s do it like they do on the Discovery Channel,

Do it again now…”

– Bloodhound Gang

***

I was turning a new leaf.

After that night at the party, I got myself checked and fortunately it turned out I didn’t catch STD or something from Jax.

Since I was on the pill due to irregular periods for a few years now, I also didn’t get pregnant, which was a huge relief, seeing as we drunkenly forgot protection.

When that was cleared, I started a new way of life.

It was as if getting rid of my virginity, with the kind help of Jax Cole, opened new doors for me. I found the promiscuous party-life so alluring, I couldn’t resist.

Laura approved, as did my roommate Amy, who, like Laura, had lived this life for way longer than me. Until she met her current boyfriend Nick, that is.

I started going to every party I either heard about from my friends, got an invitation to on Facebook, or saw it rolling in Twitter.

I attended each and every party, got butthead drunk and slept with whoever I deemed worthy.

It was fun. It was no-strings-attached. It was a distraction.

I used to seek books to distract me from thinking or reliving the memories of my past.

Books were fictional, the characters were relatable, with much bigger problems than mine, which is always a plus. With books, I could just plunge into another world for a few hours.

That’s why I worked at the bookstore; I got to read whenever I didn’t have work to do, and that’s why I wanted to be a published author once one of my works got accepted.

Reading and writing was my way of life, my way of falling into a single-minded reality.

Then I found the parties and sex. I still wrote and read and worked at the bookstore and attended the book club’s meetings, but another means of distraction was added.

It was fun, pleasurable–mostly, at least, since there are some guys out there who don’t know how to do it correctly–and it was mind-numbing.

It’s been three months now since the night I lost my virginity to Jax. I hadn’t seen or heard from him ever since, which was just as well because I didn’t try to contact him either.

It was a one-night-stand and it was well and truly over with. No hard feelings, really.

Besides, it wasn’t like I saw him on a regular basis or something; whenever I came to mom’s home for dinner on Fridays, I only saw Oliver.

We didn’t really tend to exchange any words other than me asking him to pass the salt or him telling me I dropped my napkin.

So yes, I was a free spirit and I loved having sex with random strangers while drunk. I don’t think I can count how many men I’d slept with anymore. Not that it mattered to me anyway.

Now I was at one of those dinners I’d talked about. My mother, Charlene Bryson-previously-Tanner, was laughing at something her husband, my stepfather and Oliver’s dad, Stephen said.

Oliver was as silent as always–he was the brooding, I-don’t-do-smiles kind of guy.

Instead of actively listening, he was texting on his phone, probably something to do with work, since he was as devoted to his job as a high-tech business man as could be.

For all I knew he might be sealing some deal right now.

Next to Oliver sat my younger, biological sister, Andromeda–Andy, as she preferred to be called. Andy was fifteen, nearly sixteen, and looked nothing like me.

While my hair is jet-black, hers is a soft, dark brown. Instead of my dark brown eyes, hers are almost golden.

My skin is fair, and hers is exotically tanned, and while I’m five-foot-eight and quite curvy, she’s petite and slender, barely brushing five-foot-three.

Our personalities are different as well, especially since I’m almost five years her senior.

Andy was texting her friends at Olympic-worthy speed. The only ones who actually conversed were my mom and Stephen.

Mom was in the middle of telling us, or rather telling Stephen and me, about her friend Carol’s divorce when Oliver suddenly exclaimed, “We struck a deal with Microsoft!”

Told you.

Startled, Mom, Stephen and I looked at him, and after a few stunned moments, my mother cried, “Congratulations!” and Stephen gave his son a manly pat on the back.

“That’s awesome, Oliver,” I told him truthfully.

The company he worked for wasn’t a small one, but it wasn’t one of the biggest or most influential, either. The fact that they sparked Microsoft’s interest was huge.

“Thanks,” he said, smiling for a moment before becoming expressionless again.

If he smiled more, I have no doubt he would’ve been a knockout.

He certainly has the traits for it; closely-chopped dark blonde hair, a curtain of thick lashes around shockingly silver-green eyes and a lean figure with smooth olive skin.

The only thing not going on for him is his height. He’s like, an inch taller than me, which isn’t much by society’s standards for men. That, and his lack of emotions other than seriousness.

But when he did show he wasn’t a robot, like that little smile he’d just given us, he flashed a dimple that could’ve weakened many women’s knees had they seen it.

Mom and Stephen gushed for about half an hour afterwards and I was only half-listening.

My phone beeped and I saw a text from Amy, telling me there was a small getting-together at her boyfriend Nick’s frat house. I agreed to go and pushed myself up off the chair.

“I’ve got to go,” I told my family apologetically, “got some business to attend to.”

Or rather men to sleep with, hopefully.

“Sure thing, darling,” Mom said, not very sad about it.

“See you next Friday then,” I said, waving goodbye to everyone. Andy didn’t even spare me a glance, probably not registering anything beyond her phone’s sight.

I took my beat-up car and drove to the campus of Bernard College.

After I graduated from high school, I started at this college and met Laura, Amy, and the rest of the gang.

There was our pal Slutty Santana, Nick the Jock who was Amy’s boyfriend of two years, and Warren, the alleged boy-next-door who’s rebelling against monogamy.

Finally, there was rock-star-wannabe Kyle, the officially confirmed player who’s writing a blog called The Heart Crusher–modest, I know.

The blog freely discusses all of his sexual escapades, consisting of his various one-night-stands and short-term girlfriends.

I hung out with them during the time I spent at college, and when I eventually dropped out, we still remained friends and kept in touch.

After Amy dropped out as well, we rented a small apartment together close to campus so we could still meet with the gang whenever we wanted.

Those who’re still at college were all divided into frat houses or sororities.

Laura belonged to Gamma Girlz–yes, with the Z–the hottest sorority around, along with Santana, who managed to get in due to her wealthy heritage and, of course, her slutty title.

Nick shared a frat house with his jock friends. Thanks to his athleticism and genius mind, he’d gotten a full scholarship.

Kyle often crashed at his place, since most of the time his own frat house of musician-wannabes turned into a brothel and sometimes, even Kyle wasn’t in the mood.

Warren, however, had a dorm room on the west side of campus and shared it with some strange dude called Ransom. I know, right?

Ransom was too much of a goody-two-shoes, which I can proudly say I am not anymore.

It’s a wonder that the past me managed to befriend such a group of shameless whores and previously high school populars. I was drawn to them, I guess, because of the charismatic air they emitted.

They made me feel alive and happy and since they were mostly shallow, I didn’t have to think or talk about things more than gossip and parties and who slept with whom.

Remember my thoughts about distraction? They’re a big part of it.

After my night with Jax, when all my inhibitions about parties and sex disappeared, I felt even more kinship to them and so did they to me.

We got along better than ever, hung out much more, and went to tons of parties together, where they all rooted for me or whistled when I dragged some prey–I mean man–to the restroom.

Now all of my friends were at Nick’s frat house when I arrived.

Shirtless jocks with perfect biceps and six-packs wandered around from room to room, ignoring the gang who frequented the lounge seeing as it was normal scenery around here.

Plus, most of them had already screwed either Santana or Laura and lost their interest.

If they were ever bothered by our presence, no one had ever commented to say so. Probably because Nick was the captain of the college’s football team, and everybody was afraid of him.

They regarded him like some sort of an alpha or something.

Everyone waved at me when I arrived and plopped myself on the cushion next to Santana.

“Hey-hey,” I said, grinning.

“Hello there,” Kyle said, eyes smoldering and smirk intact. Kyle flirted with everything that registered as female and he never relented until he got what he wanted.

I didn’t want him. He wanted me. I didn’t let him have me. The whole point of my sleeping-around is that I don’t have to see the faces of those I slept with. Like Jax.

“You look as smashing as ever, Nix.” His voice was deep, and his eyes roamed my body with clear heat.

All of my friends called me Nix or Ver or any other short nickname. Veronica is just way too mouthful. Only my family and those who weren’t so familiar with me called me that.

Like Jax.

I should really stop making Jax the example to everything.

“Thanks, Kyle,” I said, giving him a flirtatious grin, although I felt nothing but platonic feelings for him.

I loved toying with him, since I knew nothing would ever come out of it, and I also loved teasing him and seeing how he’d grit his teeth when my teasing put his pants in a twist.

Evil I know, but fun, nonetheless.

“How was dinner?” asked Santana, who looked as slutty as ever today with a tiny blood-red dress and what I suspected as a push-up bra beneath it, not to mention her stockings.

While I acted slutty, I didn’t get the title because I dressed like your average woman.

Santana, on the other hand, lived and breathed sluttiness, especially with her bright-red hair, exotic green eyes, and voluptuous, long-legged figure.

“It was fine,” I replied flippantly.

“Is Oliver still as delicious as ever?” Laura asked, licking her lips at the thought of him.

I suppressed a gag. It’s not that I didn’t think Oliver was good-looking, because he was, in his way, I just figured that thinking about my stepbrother as hot or sexy or delicious is quite inappropriate.

Giving my blonde-haired-blue-eyed bombshell of a friend a warning look, I said, “He’s well, I guess. Got some deal going on with Microsoft.”

Warren, who was studying business and marketing, seemed the most shocked or interested by this news.

“No shit,” he said in amazement.

“I know, right?” I grinned at him.

“Anyway,” Amy said, smiling at me, “before you came–and no, I didn’t mean it literally–we were talking about playing Never Have I Ever.”

“And I said that I think it’s a game for little horny kids,” Nick countered immediately, “and that we should do something less stupid.”

Nick was sitting behind Amy on the loveseat.

They looked so good together. Her bob-cut chestnut hair, kind hazel eyes, and short, slim body, along with his long, athletic figure, wavy chocolate-brown hair, and gray eyes.

They fit together, as if they were soulmates, the perfect match.

I snorted inwardly. Yeah right. As if soulmates exist. But they were the closest thing I’d ever seen to it, I guess.

“It sounds fun, actually,” I said, grinning, “I can even go first if you like.”

Eagerly, Kyle took a vodka bottle out of somewhere and put it on the coffee table.

“We need some shot glasses and we’re good to go,” he said, smirking wickedly. Kyle found sharing secrets the biggest turn-on. I have no idea why. None of us do.

As if conjured of thin air, Santana pushed seven small glasses onto the table.

“Let’s do this,” she said with a wild grin.

“As promised, you go first,” Warren said, giving me a lingering glance.

Warren was cute, and he got the boy-next-door title for a reason; tousled tawny hair, light brown eyes, and lanky figure with growing muscles, since he only started going to the gym in the past couple of months.

No one would’ve thought him to be a monogamy-hater, but he was. Like the rest of us, he preferred sleeping-around to scratch an itch than settle down like Amy and Nick.

Next to him, though, Kyle looked like what you would expect of a player; spiky blond hair, smoldering baby-blue eyes, and tall, lean form.

He looked like the rock star he believed himself to be, and he had that I’m-going-to-alter-your-life-forever aura bad boys often had that drew girls like moths to a flame before getting irrevocably burned.

Internally I shook my head to clear my thoughts and then got to the business ahead.

“Okay guys, get ready,” I said and grinned mischievously, knowing exactly what to say first and who would down the first shot.

“Never have I ever slept with a black man, or woman,” I quickly added when Warren, the smart-ass, opened his mouth.

Playfully cursing, Laura, Santana, Warren, and Kyle downed the shots and hurriedly refilled.

“My turn now,” Laura proclaimed, chuckling evilly, “never have I ever let someone fuck my asshole.”

Santana now downed a shot and, astonishingly, Amy as well. She blushed when we all shot her questioning looks, even Nick.

“What?” she said defensively, “It was when I was fifteen and stupid and believe me, it wasn’t fun.”

She shuddered, as if recalling the memory.

Santana snorted and said, “The boy who did it to you didn’t know what he was doing.”

Then she fixed us all with a mock-serious gaze. “You have no idea what you’re missing out on.”

While I found sex enjoyable and I was very open to it, the idea of someone penetrating my behind, where my poop is… I had to stifle a disgusted shiver. Yuck.

Now it was Santana’s turn. “Never have I ever had sex with an obese person.”

None of us were shocked when Kyle took this one singly. He practically slept with anyone who had a vagina, whether they were born with it or had gone through bottom surgery.

“Never have I ever kissed someone of my own gender,” Kyle said.

Laura and I exchanged knowing glances and downed our shots. Back in the first year at college we wanted to discover what it was like kissing another girl and gave it a go.

It was actually pretty fun, although it lacked the roughness of a man’s lips. We weren’t the only ones to down a shot; Santana and Amy did as well. And Warren too, which drew the curious eyes of Kyle.

“What?” Warren asked, mimicking Amy’s earlier defensiveness.

We kept playing like that, downing shots after shots until we were all either tipsy or fully drunk. But when it was Warren’s turn and he announced, “Never have I ever had sex with a redhead!”

I found myself to be the only one not downing a shot.

“Seriously?” I asked Laura as she wiped her mouth. “You had sex with a ginger?”

“Yup,” she giddily and giggled, “he was pretty good.”

“You have to have sex with a redhead at least once,” Santana said, pointing at herself, “I mean, look at me. I’m a sexual deviant. It’s a sign.”

“But redhead boys aren’t attractive!” I protested.

Amy looked at a point beyond my shoulder and smirked. “Well, check again.”

Frowning, I turned around and saw a cute auburn-haired guy with blue eyes. He was lifting weights, shirtless, while glistening sweat covering his remarkable chest as his muscles flexed.

Drool-worthy indeed.

“That’s Drake,” said Nick with a small grin of his own, “he’s good people.”

Laura shot him a questioning look. “Is he good in the sack?”

“That’s what the ladies say,” Nick replied with a glint in his eyes.

Now Laura turned to me. “Have sex with him, Nix!”

I considered it. Drunk enough? Check. Cute guy? Check. Mood? Check.

“Okay,” I said and stood up with a smirk. “I’ll see you guys later, then.”

“So confident,” Kyle muttered, scoffing. He was probably just pissy that I hadn’t chosen him as the fling of the night. As I said, I didn’t do my friends.

Chuckling, I smacked a deliberate kiss on his cheek.

“Poor baby,” I teased in response to his pained groan and then sauntered over to the redhead in question.

He was still working out when I reached him. Then he stopped, mid-lift, and raised his head to me, his electric-blue eyes seeming much more pretty up close.

“Can I help you?” he asked politely, but I could see he was a little annoyed at the interruption.

Well, that was the problem about trying to have sex with men when not in a party; there was a chance they wouldn’t be in the right mood.

But I’d done it once before–after I got drunk at a restaurant and dragged some waiter to the washroom–and I could do it again. Besides, it was a good challenge to my game.

And I loved a good challenge.

I smiled innocently.

“These look heavy,” I said, motioning with my chin to his weights. “How much?”

Surprised, he blurted, “Ninety pounds.”

“Impressive,” I said, and then bit my lower lip and acted as if I wanted to ask him something but was too shy to do so.

He took the bait.

“What?” he asked, but not in annoyance as before.

In fact, he watched my mouth as I nibbled my lip, distracting him a bit from the course of the chat, and as if he couldn’t help himself his gaze dipped to the rest of my body.

I wore shorts and a tank top and knew I looked good. His gaze confirmed my thoughts, seeing as it instantly turned interested as he kept roaming down my body.

When his eyes drank me back up and rested on my face, he seemed down-right hungry.

Bingo.

“Can I touch?” I asked, pointing at his massive biceps.

He lost his ability to speak, apparently, since he audibly gulped and nodded. Gotcha.

My hands landed on his biceps, and I massaged them as though checking for how strong he was.

“Wow,” I breathed, “you’re so…”

I pretended to shudder.

His heated gaze landed on my boobs.

A couple of minutes later we were in his room, his weights and my friends forgotten somewhere downstairs, and we were having sex. Me, drunk and willing. Him, completely sober but sexually high.

In all of the times I had sex, including now, while I found it fun and satisfying enough, I’d never orgasmed as hard as I had when I slept with Jax.

Sure, I came most of the time, but never like that. Never like I had with Jax.

I don’t know if it was because he was my first and it was the first time someone had caressed my touch-hungry body in ages, or if it was simply because it was him.

Most likely it was the former. After all, it’s not like Jax and I even knew each other more than the occasional hello. I hadn’t known him enough to grow a crush on him or something.

Having sex with Drake the Redhead was good. He obviously knew what he was doing in bed, and I obviously knew what to do to drive him crazy, and when we finished, I was mildly satisfied.

As we got dressed, I heard Drake say, “I didn’t catch your name.”

I froze mid-dressing.

Oh boy, he was one of those.

Guys who wanted to actually talk after fucking, as if they wanted more from me or something. While I wasn’t as adamant to reject monogamy like Warren, I did try to avoid it.

I didn’t want or need a boyfriend in my life. Even the mere thought of having a guy fawning all over me was enough to make me want to vomit.

So, when the men I screwed wanted to talk or even just know my name after screwing, the high I might've had during the act disappeared and my mood was officially ruined. Like right now.

When he saw I wasn’t answering he asked again, “What’s your name?”

I finished buttoning my shorts and turned to see him already fully dressed and looked at me with a curious light in his eyes I didn’t like. Just what I needed.

“Look,” I said, trying to sound bored and indifferent instead of annoyed, “you don’t really need to know my name, just like I don’t need to know yours. We fucked, that’s all.”

That’s all it’d ever be. A simple fuck.

He seemed shocked. “That’s all? We just fuck?”

What did he expect that I would throw myself at him, begging for him to be my man? Was he daft?

“Took you long enough,” I said, and then turned to leave, but before I could do so, he grasped my wrist.

“But I want to know you,” he said persistently, and I mentally groaned. I hate clingy boys the most.

“That’s too bad,” I said with mocked sympathy and tugged at my hand. “Now let me go. We’re done here.”

Reluctantly he did and I got out of the bedroom, officially irritated. Why couldn’t all boys be like most of the guys I slept with? Like Jax. Why did they have to wish for more?

It was such a spoilsport.

I returned to my friends and Santana laughed at my sour face while Kyle grinned triumphantly, as if he won some tournament I wasn’t in.

“He wasn’t good, was he?” Santana asked.

“That’s not it,” I said and mimicked a gag, “he wanted to know my name.”

All of them groaned sympathetically. They’d all been there, even Amy and Nick before they became a couple.

They all knew how it killed the mood, especially Warren, who practically pissed himself when talks about relationships and love came to the surface.

There was no point in elaborating.

I had sex, it was over, and now we were back to talking and exchanging new gossip, Never Have I Ever left behind.

My mood lifted thanks to these conversations and later, when I returned with Amy back to our apartment, I slept soundly.

No guilt, no regrets interrupted with my sleeping hours. I was good.

After all, that’s the whole point of no-strings-attached, right?

 

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Reaper’s Claim

_Everyone gets an upbringing. Everyone is taught the essentials of life by their parents, and sometimes the parents’ essentials of life aren’t always the best._

_I learned to roll a cigarette before I was taught to tie my shoelaces. I suppose in most families this would’ve been considered odd, but in ours, it was normal._

_My father, Jed Harrison, was president of the Satan’s Sons Mother Charter…_

Humanborn

Kiara’s entire life has been hell. After suffering fifteen long years of torture at the hands of her parents and the rest of the pack, she’s almost given up on life. That is, until she meets two alphas, both of whom desire her and would kill for her. The only thing she wants, however, is freedom—until she realizes that one of them is her destined mate. But which one?!

Original Author: A. Makkelie

Stepbrother Dearest

When my stepbrother, Elec, came to live with us my senior year, I wasn’t prepared for how much of a jerk he’d be.

I hated that he took it out on me because he didn’t want to be here.

I hated that he brought girls from our high school back to his room.

But what I hated the most was the unwanted way my body reacted to him.

At first, I thought all he had going for him were his rock-hard tattooed abs and chiseled face. But things started changing between us, and it all came to a head one night.

Then, just as quickly as he’d come into my life, he was gone back to California.

It had been years since I’d seen Elec.

When tragedy struck our family, I’d have to face him again.

And holy hell, the teenager who made me crazy was now a man that drove me insane.

I had a feeling my heart was about to get broken again.

Finding My Way

When Mafia princess Ariana Nichols-Delgado’s world is turned upside down at the age of fifteen, she moves in with her grandmother on the other side of the country. Ten years later, she’s built her own little empire, separate from the one run by her father. When her two worlds collide, Ariana must figure out who, and what, is most important in her life. Watch as Ariana finds her way to becoming a fierce Mafia queen, accompanied by the man she has always been destined to love.

Age Rating: 18+

Back into Darkness

Belle’s life has been hard. Not only did her father despise and beat her, but he also sold her for the gratification of disgusting old men. After years of putting up with this abuse, she’s finally managed to escape, only to catch the eye of Mafioso Lorenzo Calabria, who captures her and forces her into his world of pain, cruelty, and corruption. Will she survive and come out stronger, or will the darkness consume her forever?

Age Rating: 18+ (Rape, Sexual Abuse, Incest, Violence, Kidnapping)

Infinity

Lux’s mate is all she can think about since the very first day she caught his scent. She tries to imagine what he looks like, tastes like…but she knows that even her wildest dreams don’t do him justice. From sun-up to sun-down, Lux’s mate is always there, lurking in the shadows, just out of reach. She doesn’t even know what species he is. All she knows is his name: Soren

Age Rating: 18+

Undressed by the King

_Every time I lose my virginity it’s different._

_Sometimes it’s in a palace, and sometimes it’s in the dirt._

_Sometimes I’m on top, and sometimes my face is buried in a pillow to muffle my screams._

_Sometimes it hurts like hell, and sometimes it’s pure ecstasy._

_But there’s one thing that stays the same, no matter what._

_In every lifetime, you find me._

_I always lose it to you…_

Just a Few Steps Away

From the author of You Make Me Happy.

Jennifer Bailey is eighteen, but she’s never been with a guy. Ever! She’s never even been kissed. So when some new neighbors move in next door, of course Jennifer is the first to notice Jake, the hot nineteen-year-old son. It doesn’t help that they can perfectly see into each other’s rooms!

Age Rating: 16+

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