Ruthless King Exclusive Excerpt
This is your exclusive look at the upcoming second chance, enemies-to-lovers romance, Ruthless King! Coming January 10!
The Rittenhouse Prep graduation was tomorrow. Avery's little sister, Alyson was graduating. That meant she'd be there. I’d be seeing Avery there. I’d be sitting up on the stage knowing she’d be somewhere out in the crowd.
We’d managed to avoid one another since that night. More like her guilty conscious wouldn’t let her be within ten feet of me, but tomorrow would be different. Was she bringing a date?
I jogged a cross the street shaking my head. I.Did.Not.Care. I’d keep repeating it and maybe my brain would get the memo. Had she dated a lot since we broke up?
Being a professional athlete didn’t exactly provide for a lot of opportunities to meet people who didn’t want something from you. Not that growing up the way I did made it any easier. It had been drummed into my head from the beginning that people would be after our money—my money.
I’d loved the way her nose scrunched up when she got pissed off if I bought her something more than a dinner or maybe gas money for her old beater. I gave her a gas gift card one Christmas and promised her it only had one hundred dollars on it. Little did she know it was rechargeable. It took her a month to figure it out and then she’d chucked it at my head.
“I’m not with you for what you buy me, Emmett. I’m with you because you’re you. Sweet, caring, and pretty damn hot.” She ran her fingers down the side of my face and pressed her featherlight kisses against my lips. Her leg was hitched up over my hip and we were tangled up in the sheets still sweaty and out of breath.
“Marry me.” I blurted it out, staring into her eyes. I craved her touch, the way she looked at me and made me feel. I mattered to her.
Her eyes got wide and she chuckled before pinching my nipple. “You’re insane.” She laughed and fell over onto her back.
I pushed up, rolled over and caged her under me. “I’m serious. Marry me.”
“Not this again. You’re crazypants. We’re way too young.” Her fingers danced along my chest as she trailed them down my body. A shudder ran through me.
“Not tomorrow. But someday.” I stared intently into her eyes. We’d had this talk before. We’d said these words and every time it was the same. I’d been asking Avery Davis to marry me since she was sixteen.
“How about we both graduate from high school, make it through college and then we can think about big plans like that?”
“I don’t need to wait.” I didn’t. It was the one thing I was sure of in the entire world. My pro career was up in the air. I loved playing hockey, but did I want to play without the guys? Without the Kings by my side, was it even worth it? Finding my own way on a new team didn’t have any appeal.
“Maybe you don’t, but I do. What about college?” She interlaced her fingers behind my neck. Her arms pushed her breasts up even higher and squeezed them together. Just one dip of my head and I could have one of those dusky tips in my mouth.
She caught my obvious lusting after her more than a handful mounds and shook her head, laughing. “Come on, I’m being serious.“ She shook her arms looped around my neck, which had the absolute opposite effect making her chest bounce even more.
College didn’t interest me too much either, but I didn’t want to go straight for the draft. My family could write a check to any school and I could go wherever I wanted, even if my grades weren’t good, which they were. It didn’t hold the allure and promise it did for a lot of other people.
I’d get the first installment of my inheritance in a few months when I turned eighteen. A teaser. Barely a hundredth of the full inheritance I’d get when I turned twenty-five.
“What about Alyson? She’s only thirteen.”
“Alyson is a great kid, but you’re not her mom. You need to live your life. She’s got your dad.”
Her arms dropped from around my neck and she rolled to her side. I let out a sigh and moved my arm so she could hop out of the bed.
“I’ve got to get home, so I can get ready for work.” She slid into her jeans and I bit back a groan as her ass disappeared back under those ripped and just tight enough jeans.
I flopped back onto the bed and raked my hand through my hair. Why couldn’t she just let me take care of things? “Avery, come on.” She got like this whenever I brought up her not needing to baby Alyson.
“It’s fine, Em. I’ve got a lot of homework and then work work. I’ll see you tomorrow.” She got down on the floor and found her navy hoodie under the bed.
“You know you don’t have to work, right?” I sat up and swung my legs off the side of the bed. The bed wasn’t nearly as inviting if she wasn’t in it.
She shot me a glare. “We’re not having this conversation again.” She yanked her shirt on so angrily, it looked like it was seconds from ripping.
“I’m just saying, I think we could find a very agreeable arrangement for you to bake here. You know I’ll eat whatever you make.”
She threw her navy hoodie on over her head and pulled her hair out of the collar. “There’s a name for someone you pay to have sex with you.” With more force than necessary, she threw her chestnut hair up into the messy bun.
“I’m not paying you to have sex with me. I’d be paying you to not work, so we could spend more time together.” This was the part I hated. Watching her get ready to leave made my restless. I wanted to jump up, pull her back into bed and make her forget everything else outside these walls existed.
She slipped her shoes on and it felt like someone was stabbing me right through the chest, taking extra care to dig it in deep into my heart.
Each step away from me was them leaning on the knife a little bit harder. My skin tingled in anticipation of the silence. The deafening one that the filled the house once she was gone. I sat up against the headboard and scratched my hands along my chin. Hanging my head, I grabbed her pillow and set it on my lap.
Her steps across the hardwood made my shoulders inch higher. The jingle of the door knob made my stomach clench. And then her footfalls stopped.
I peered up at her and she glanced over her shoulder. The angry lines on her face melted away and she rushed back over to me. My arms were open the second she turned. They were always open if it meant I got to touch her a little longer. I squeezed her tight and breathed in her sweet, mouthwatering scent.
The strap from her bag dug into my chest, but I didn’t care. I’d endure whatever I had to for another moment with her.
“Don’t think that when I’m out there I’m not missing you too.” She stared up at me. “I wish we could stay curled up in bed together all day. That we could shut out the rest of the world and stay right where we are.”
I was nodding at every word. That’s exactly what I wanted. Her fingers trailed along the hair on my face. The beard she loved to play with, sometimes I don’t even think she realized she was doing it.
“But there is a real world out there, Em. Maybe not for you.” She peered up at me and let out a sigh. “But for everyone else, there’s a real world filled with real responsibilities that we can’t leave behind no matter how fast we run. But never doubt that I love you.” She rested her forehead against mine.
“I love you.” The words caught in my throat. There wasn’t much time left. If we went off to college, we wouldn’t have this time together. It was hard enough to breathe when she left the room, what happened when we were states apart?
She climbed off the bed again and left, leaving the door open behind her. I watched her walk the long hallway and then disappear down the steps.
Then the silence pushed in so loudly it roared in my ears. I grabbed for the remote and turned on the tv. It covered the massive space between the windows in my bedroom. Using the universal house remote, I switched on the tvs downstairs and the speakers so music pumped out throughout the house.
We needed to plan a party, something epic. A blow out for all the Kings to celebrate our last days together as a team.
I grabbed my phone and sent out a group text.
Me: Party at my house. We’re ending this year bigger than anything this place has ever seen.
Declan: Finally! It’s about time you got out of mope mode man! Let’s do this thing!
Heath: I’m on a beer run up to Vermont, I’ll get us a special six-pack for this occasion.
Colm: Nice, I’ll make sure I get a sitter for Liv.
Had I known what that party would mean for my life I never would have had it. I’d have buried my head in the fucking sand and stayed right there, never letting the world spin forward another day. Maybe my world wouldn’t have shattered in an instant…