Cheater's Regret (Curious Liaisons 2) - Page 12

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And then I posted it to my Facebook page but made it private, selecting her profile along with Lucas’s and Avery’s. At least she’d know I had my own version of blackmail hanging over her head. Above the picture, I typed, “Who cheated who?”

After all, she might blame me for our relationship being destroyed, but a part of me still blamed her.

Blamed her for asking too much too soon.

Blamed her for making me feel like it was what I needed to do in order to stay with her.

“Austin.” I breathed her name as she rocked her naked body against mine. I could never get enough of her. She wasn’t the type of girl you slept with once and conveniently lost the number for the next day.

It had taken me one full week with her to realize that I didn’t want something easy; I wanted her.

Lucas was going to lose his shit the minute I told him that rather than break up with her, I was going to ask her to be my girlfriend.

I grinned to myself like a complete loser.

“Harder.” Her fingernails dug into my skin, and pain, mixed with the pleasure of being inside her, sliced through my body. “Thatch—”

I silenced her plea with a kiss.

Our fling was supposed to be quick.

Fun.

But nothing about her deserved to be rushed—her skin smelled like fresh rose water and tasted sweet, like she bathed in sugar. I was addicted to the way she tasted.

“You always feel so good.” She hooked her arms around my neck. “How is that possible?”

“I’m a surgeon.” I winked. “I’m good with my hands.”

“Yeah, you are,” she agreed, her eyes locking on mine. “I like you.”

“I like you too.” I swallowed my stupid nerves. I’d never done this. Never committed to anyone—my parents’ failed marriage was one of the main reasons I never had more than a one-night stand and was thriving in a lucrative career where I had enough money to buy my own damn happiness. It was no use investing that happiness in another person—they’d just let you down.

“Be my girlfriend?” I asked in a quiet whisper.

Her eyes widened and then she was kissing me, pushing me onto my back and rubbing her hands up and down my chest.

I let out a moan. “Is that a yes?”

“It’s a hell yes.”

I shook my head at the memory and made my way toward my office, ignoring the funny looks and whispered hero references all the way to my desk.

At least I wasn’t paranoid about what she was going to do to me anymore—she’d already embarrassed the hell out of me. There was no way she could do worse.

No chance in hell.

Chapter Nine

AUSTIN

“What do you mean it doesn’t count?” I fought to keep my voice even as my evil professor looked at my website. “It went viral!”

“You posted an embarrassing video of an ex-boyfriend singing off tune.” He rolled his eyes and closed his computer. I swear he had some sort of God complex, since he was in his forties and had women falling at his feet, mainly hot undergrads. “Of course it went viral, but that’s not what this class is all about. What you posted is fine, but it’s a flash in the pan. It took absolutely no effort.”

Hah! I nearly died from a spider attack because of that video, but whatever. I bit my tongue and waited for him to fail me.

One of my classmates walked up to the desk and gave him a flirty wave. Her top was so tight, I could see nipple.

He grinned and waved back.

Bastard!

“What you need,” he said, returning his attention to me like I was an epic disappointment, “is something that is actually interesting. Maybe you can document something important to you? Your father’s campaign for reelection?”

Thanks, but I’d rather barbecue the trapped tarantula and eat it.

When I didn’t say anything, he kept talking.

“This man broke up with you?” His eyebrow arched. “That happens every day, and as fun as it is to watch someone else’s misery, people don’t root for that sort of thing, they forget about it. Besides, it lacks importance in society.”

Another girl walked by, another perfect girl winking at the dear old professor. I was half-tempted to snap my fingers in front of his face to gain his attention.

“Okay . . . ,” I said slowly, trying not to cry. “So, you want me to stop posting embarrassing videos and do what? Makeup tutorials? That’s the only other thing I’m noticing that goes viral fast and would get me followers. I’m not trying to be difficult here, I just don’t know what you want from me.”

His intense stare wasn’t helping my nausea, and the last thing I needed to do was puke all over the man who held my MBA in the palm of his hateful hand.

“It’s easy to lose a guy, it’s easy to get even—do the hard thing and you’ll figure it out. You’re an MBA student. Use your brain.” He shrugged. “You can go.”

“But—”

“Three weeks, Austin. You have three weeks to figure out your niche in social media. All you need is one hundred followers invested in your story. Make them love you. You just have to decide what you want it to be. This”—he tapped his computer again—“isn’t it.”

I barely made it out of his office without crying angry tears. A part of me knew it was my fault. I’d gotten drunk and posted a stupid video, partially out of hurt, partially out of anger. The tears had more to do with Thatch than my class.

I found an empty bench and sat, miserable.

Hungover.

In a war with a man who was going to put spiders in my bed.

And all for nothing.

I’d worked my ass off for eighteen months to do the MBA fast-track program with UW, and now a stupid elective class was standing in my way of getting that degree! An elective class that most people didn’t even have to take unless they were getting their MBA in marketing.

My story. He’d said I needed to make them love me. Love the story. The story, the story.

A couple holding hands walked by me. The girl looked like she’d been crying, and then the guy stopped walking and hugged her. When he pulled back, his eyes briefly fell to her mouth before he kissed her.

I tilted my head.

Their mouths met.

Jealousy slammed into me.

I had to look away.

Stupid heart.

Stupid invested heart.

Stupid boob-obsessed professor!

I jerked to my feet.

That was it.

He was right, anyone could post a video.

Anyone could exact revenge.

But a documentary on his favorite subject by way of Seattle’s youngest and best-looking plastic surgeon?

I grinned.

And then stopped smiling when I realized what type of sacrifice this would require on my part.

It would be hell.

Epic.

Hell.

And I

was going to have to beg on my hands and knees—oddly enough, one of Thatch’s favorite positions—so maybe, just maybe, it would work.

Either that or he was going to laugh in my face and send me to one of his creepy partners who I had seen leering at me last time I was in the conference room.

I shuddered.

This was business.

Not personal.

I needed that grade—and if there was one thing I knew about Thatch, he’d buried his heart a long time ago. He’d be fine. After this, we’d go our separate ways.

It might even give me the closure I so desperately needed.

Chapter Ten

THATCH

“I have a proposition for you.” Austin’s raspy voice always did mess with my head. I quickly turned around.

She was dressed in a short black skirt with a black-and-white striped T-shirt that showed an inch of pale skin at her waist. Her black gladiator sandals wrapped all the way up her calves. Basically, she was trying to kill me by way of high-heeled sandals and a hell of a lot of thigh.

“Austin.” Damn it, could my voice be any hoarser? “I’d say this was a pleasure, but I wouldn’t want to give you the wrong idea.”

She flinched before moving swiftly into my office, closing the door behind her, and grabbing a chair.

“Yes, please come in. It’s not like I have a job where I have appointments,” I grumbled, at my wit’s end with whatever the hell kind of drama she was about to unleash on me.

“I’m going to fail my class,” she blurted, eyes wide with worry. “And I can’t fail, not after everything I’ve gone through to get to where I’m at. I’m living at home still, and I just—” She took a deep breath. “Failure isn’t an option. Ever.”

Which was probably why our failed relationship drove her insane, not that I was going to say that out loud.

“Why is this my problem? Didn’t that little video of me go viral?”

Her lips twitched.

“It’s not funny,” I snapped.

“Admit it, it’s sort of funny.” She tilted her head in that adorable way that would make a weaker and lesser man fall to his knees and beg for forgiveness.

I clenched my hands into fists.

Yeah, not gonna happen.

“Tell you what, I’ll admit it’s funny when we can laugh about the spider chasing you onto a couch.”


Tags: Rachel Van Dyken Curious Liaisons Romance
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