Arrogant King - Book cover

Arrogant King

Skyler Mason

Chapter 2


Every neuron in my brain screams at me to back out and slam the door shut, but I stay frozen in place. My cheeks are on fire as I stare at Tristan, at the corded muscles in his neck and the sheen of sweat on his brow.

His eyes fly open, meeting mine in the mirror. “Fuck!” He jerks his hand from his penis and whirls around, grabbing for his jeans. “Get out!”

I blink, my tongue feeling thick in my mouth. “I-I’m sorry. I thought someone was hurt.”

“You thought wrong.” His words are like chips of ice, a sharp contrast to the crimson that colors his cheeks as he struggles to pull up his zipper. “Now get the hell out of here!”

I stumble backward, nearly tripping over my own feet. But even as I turn to leave, my gaze catches on Tristan’s once more in the mirror. He’s watching me go with an unreadable expression in those blue eyes.

Heat pools low in my belly. I’ve never been turned on by a man’s ecstasy before, but oh fuck… That look in his eyes while he rapidly moved that big hand up and down his cock.

It was hot. So hot that I’ll most likely call it to mind when I touch myself tonight.

Why am I so shallow? I hate this man. I’ve hated him for as long as I can remember. Tristan is an asshole. He set out to humiliate me on purpose with this whole game nomination. I thought it wasn’t possible for me to be attracted to a cruel person.

I don’t know myself as well as I thought I did.

My heart pounds as I hurry down the hall, desperate for my escape. When I burst outside, the cool ocean air calms my nerves. I quicken my pace into a jog. It’s the best I can do in these damn slippers.

By the time I make it to my dorm, my groin is no longer tightening from the thought of what I saw.

Why the fuck did he do it? It’s such odd behavior coming from the campus man-whore. There were probably dozens of girls at that party who would’ve been happy to do the job for him.


I rush up the stairs to my suite and find a group of my friends in the common room.

“Don’t you dare try to sneak back to your room!” My roommate Katie walks over to me with a red solo cup in hand. When she walks over to me, she sets it in my hand. “We were just about to send out a search party. You never go out at night.”

I force a smile and take the cup she offers. Usually, I’m not a fan of alcohol because it makes my head fuzzy before bed, just when I need to write. “I to Goldridge,” I say. “I needed In-N-Out. I couldn’t live without it.”

The lie makes my stomach hollow, especially when Katie grins. “I hope you weren’t high. That’s a long drive.”

I want to wince when I realize I wasn’t gone nearly long enough for a drive to Goldridge. Hopefully, Katie is too drunk to notice. I force a smile. “Not high. I just had a craving.”

“Are you okay?” she asks, leaning in close enough for me to smell the sweet, fruity alcohol on her breath. “You’re kind of…flushed.”

“I’m fine.” I lift my cup, and the amber liquid sloshes over the rim in my unsteady grip. “Just really full after that burger and animal-style fries.”

Why don’t I just tell her the truth? Gigi will probably tell everyone on our floor about my game nomination by tomorrow afternoon. There’s no use hiding it.

Katie frowns. She opens her mouth, likely to interrogate me further, when a loud crash echoes from down the hall.

We both whip around as Tristan stumbles into view. His eyes lock on mine, liquid blue circles flickering with an energy I can’t quite decipher.

Holy fuck.

What is he doing here?

Heat floods my cheeks. I look away, taking a long sip of my drink. The alcohol burns all the way down but does nothing to extinguish the fire in my veins.

Tristan marches up to us, his huge feet thudding against the carpet. He reaches for the cup in my hands, lifts it up to his mouth, and drains the rest of the contents.

He leans forward, his lips brushing my ear. “We need to talk.”

I jerk away from him, frowning. “What was that noise?” I ask.

He smirks. “The door.”

“Why did it sound like you broke it?”

He ignores me, his eyes scanning the crowd of people, who are now standing silently staring at him.

Of course they are. He’s Tristan Wolfe. They must be wondering what the hell he’s doing here talking to me of all people.

“Can we go somewhere private?” he asks.

“No,” I say, surprised how calm I’m able to make my voice sound when my skin is vibrating with nerves.

His smile doesn’t reach his eyes. The tension in the room is thick, all eyes on us.

Tristan leans in close again, voice low. “Meet me in the courtyard. Now.”

Irritation sizzles under my skin at his high-handedness. I want nothing more than to tell him to go to hell but refusing him would only make a scene. I’m not ready to tell Katie—or anyone for that matter—about my nomination.

I nod stiffly. “Fine.”

He turns on his heel, stomping off down the hall and out the door. I follow after a beat, my pulse racing.

The cool night does nothing to douse the heat on my skin. I cross my arms over my chest and glare at Tristan. “What do you want?”

He takes a step back, which casts shadows over the sharp plains of his face. “You’re not going to back out of this competition. I didn’t get a chance to say it earlier because of…” He smirks. “What happened.”

I clench my teeth. That’s what he came all the way over here for after what I just saw? He doesn’t even care that I caught him masturbating. All he cares about is this plan to humiliate me.

I glare up at him. “Watch me.”

“You won’t.” He reaches out and grabs my arm. His fingers dig into my skin as he pulls me close to him. He leans forward. Our noses brush, and his breath is hot on my lips. “I’ll tell everyone I caught you peeping on me while I jerked off.”

My cheeks burst into flames, but I refuse to cower. “I don’t believe you.”

“Try me.”

I swallow hard, searching for a retort and coming up empty. Tristan probably would tell everyone that. What does he have to lose? He’s gorgeous and charming and has a way with words, even when he’s in large groups of people. He could laugh the whole thing off like it was nothing.

I’m the one who would look stupid. I stood there for who knows how long gawking at him.

Based on his malicious smirk, Tristan must see my hesitation. “I’ll see you tomorrow, Amelia.”

At the opening ceremony for the game, he means, and fuck him for always calling me by my full name. He used to call me Amelia years ago, back when he first started dating Harper. Before she rejected me. Back when I thought he and I might become friends.

He turns to leave, and panic rises in my chest. I can’t let him have the last word. I scramble for something, anything, to wipe that smug look off his face.

“Wait!” The word is out before I can stop it.

Tristan pauses, glancing over his shoulder. “What?”

An idea sprouts. Something not fully formed. It vibrates over my skin before my brain can fully process it.

What if I seduce him? What if I make him want me?

He nominated me for this competition to embarrass me. I don’t know exactly how he means to do it, but my guess is he wants to do a typical cruel joke. Pretending to like me and then yanking the rug from under my feet once I start liking him back. The classic “you really thought I’d be into you?” prank.

What if I were able to beat him at his own game?

It might make it all go away. The pain of losing Harper because of him. The humiliation of having the deepest, most precious part of who I am—my writing—ridiculed publicly.

Yes, I’m going to seduce him. I’m determined.

I don’t even know how to begin, but exhilaration pumps through my veins at the thought.

I shoot him my best attempt at a sultry smile. “If you don’t want me to back out, you’d better prepare yourself.”

The smile that spreads over his face is full of amusement, and unbearable heat creeps up my neck and face. Oh God, am I really going to do this?

Yes. Yes, I will. I’ll get revenge on Tristan even if I have to sell my soul to the devil to do it.

He tilts his head. “What are you going to do?”

My mouth goes dry. I have no idea what I’m going to do. I barely know how to seduce anyone, let alone a man-whore like Tristan.

I swallow hard and step closer to him, my heart pounding. “Whatever it takes.”

He laughs. “And what might that be?”

“I don’t know.” I shrug, swallowing to ease the tightness in my throat. “Something that will make you take the fastest route to the bathroom so you can jack off thinking about me.”

His eyes widen, and my skin grows as hot as a broiling oven. I can’t believe I just said that. I resist the urge to fidget under his gaze, keeping my chin high even as panic and mortification roar through me.

Obviously, he would never think about me of all people while…masturbating, but it was an odd coincidence. He rushed away right after I touched him, and then I caught him masturbating.

Why was he masturbating? Is he so horny all the time that he couldn’t wait?

After staring at me for a long moment, he takes a step in my direction, and I force myself to hold my ground. He stops mere inches from me, so close I can feel the heat radiating from his body. My heart pounds so hard he might be able to hear it.

“Is that what you think?” His voice is rough, husky. “That I was thinking about you.”

My stomach roils. I tilt my chin up to meet his gaze, praying I look more confident than I feel. “Yes.”

He reaches out, catching a strand of my hair between his fingers, and I fight the shiver vibrating at the back of my neck, ready to make its way down my spine. His knuckles brush against the side of my neck as he tucks the hair behind my ear. “Pretty confident, Amelia Harrington.”

I swallow hard. “It’s the most logical assumption.”

The corner of his mouth twitches. “Is it? You think I want you so bad that I had to rush to the bathroom and beat my cock thinking about you?”

Fuck, it’s so hot when he talks that way. My skin heats, but I’m able to hold his gaze. “Why did you do it?”

He shrugs one shoulder. “I was wound up. It eases the tension.”

“Why didn’t you go to your bedroom?”

His lips quirk. “Too far. It’s all the way upstairs.”

When I grimace, his smile grows. “But who knows?” he says. “Maybe I was thinking of you. Maybe I think about you all the time when I beat my cock.”

My lips curl into a sneer. He’s such a dick when he mocks me. “Of course you do,” I say.

His eyes narrow on my face. “Then I challenge you to make me horny enough to do it again. Give me your best.”

Mocking me again by daring me to kiss him. Fuck him.

I’ve gone too far to back down now, even if the thought of taking this further with Tristan makes me want to flee.

But I can’t show that kind of weakness. Not now.

“Tomorrow,” he says, puncturing my anxious daze.

The next moment, he disappears around the side of the dorm building.


“What do you think he’s planning?” Cody asks, his eyes narrowed as he stares sightlessly at the wall of my dorm room.

I invited him here as soon as Tristan left. I needed to work through my thoughts aloud. Cody is always honest, even when it hurts my feelings.

“I don’t know,” I say, “but I have a feeling he wants to embarrass me again. This is similar to when he told Harper my pseudonym. He sought me out in the library that day. Approached me. He was after me.”

Cody’s jaw ticks. “I want to kill him for it.”

I wave a hand. “I’m over it now.”

But it’s not true. Thoughts of that day in the quad make my skin hot and my stomach churn as violently as if it were happening all over again.

I had just started to recover from all the drama in high school. The pain of losing Harper. Having them both attend the one college that happened to grant me a hefty scholarship was like a slap in the face. I had hoped I could move on and forget everything that happened. Instead, I was forced to attend this tiny private university where I could never escape either of them.

“Maybe he wants me to develop a crush on him so that I’ll break down when he chooses someone else for the homecoming dance.”

Cody frowns. “But you wouldn’t develop a crush on him.”

He doesn’t sound as certain as he ought to be, and it makes my cheeks heat. I scowl at him. “Of course not. I hate him.”

“The opposite of love is indifference.”

“What a dumb cliche. Passionate people like me aren’t indifferent to anything, even mundane things. I have a passionate hatred of green olives, for example. I hate them even when I don’t have the misfortune of having to pick them out of my Greek salad. I hate that they exist in the first place.”

He groans. “Tristan isn’t a green olive. He’s the homecoming king, and don’t lie and say you aren’t attracted to him.”

“I can admit that he’s objectively hot. But I’m never attracted to people based on looks alone. I’ve known this man since my freshman year of high school. I know what kind of cruelty he’s capable of. I’ve also had enough conversations with him to know he’s about as interesting as a documentary on rock classification.”

Cody’s eyes sparkle. “I don’t buy it. I think you’re just telling yourself that to make yourself feel better.”

I cross my arms over my chest. “I’m done with this conversation. Tomorrow is the opening ceremony. I need you to help me prepare.”

“Why are you even doing this? You should just drop out.”

I adjust my pillow behind my back as I lean against the wooden headboard of my bed. “I’m not dropping out. That would be letting him win.”

“No,” Cody says immediately. “It would be thwarting whatever plan he has.”

“And I’d rather thwart his plan in a more spectacular way. I want to show him once and for all that he has no power over me.”

Cody rolls his eyes. “By giving him what he wants.”

“Initially, yes. Now stop being a pain in my ass. Give me ideas for what I should do tomorrow.”

“Tomorrow is the five-minute dates with all ten contestants?”

“Yep. I want to really throw him off during my time with him. I’ll show him he can’t break me.”

Cody’s quiet for a long moment, and I can almost see the thoughts working behind his soft brown eyes. “You should act bored. Try to yawn a lot.”

I shake my head. “Not good enough.. If he tries to touch me—and you know he will—I’ll act repulsed by him. He’s always touchy with the contestants. I’ll cringe and pull away.”

Cody sighs. “You’re not that good an actor.”

“I won’t need to act. I am repulsed by him.”

Cody huffs, clearly not believing me, and I wish I could believe myself.

I do find Tristan’s personality repulsive, but physically… I’m not so sure. I never thought his touch would set my body on fire like it did tonight. I never thought I’d enjoy watching him stroke his…

Fuck, I can’t think about what I caught him doing in the bathroom. If I want this to work, I have to pretend like he’s disgusting.

He’s Mr. Wickham. Charming and beautiful but ultimately shallow and tediously self-absorbed, like a spoiled little kid. I can’t stand people like that.

I’ll have to remind myself of that over and over again tomorrow if I’m going to pull this off.

Next chapter
Rated 4.4 of 5 on the App Store
82.5K Ratings
Galatea logo

Unlimited books, immersive experiences.

Galatea FacebookGalatea InstagramGalatea TikTok