Ruthless King Chapter Reveal

Declan: Come inside. We can see you out in your car. It’s starting to get weird…

Staring up out my windshield, I couldn’t hold back my half-smile. Their faces were pressed up against the balcony door on the second floor like some weird totem pole. The laugh burst out of my lips before I could stop it. That was why I was there. My new team was full of great guys, but they weren’t the Kings, weren’t the guys who’d been more like brothers than teammates. No matter what, they could always make me laugh.

Emmett: I need a minute.
Colm: Are you staying?
Ford: ?

I closed my eyes. Leaving meant letting her win, meant I was running away like I’d done something wrong. Screw that! She was going to have to see my face, own up to what she’d done, and not get to pretend nothing happened.

Me: I’ll stay.

I sat in the car until the lights in the house started flicking off. Was she still awake? Had she taken my bedroom? Had she changed into pajamas? Dropping my head into my hands, I jerked upright when my head hit the horn, cringing at the sharp blare. Sorry, summer neighbors.

Walking to the back of the car, I grabbed my bag out of the backseat. Staring up at the house that had held promises of drunken nights, hilarious pranks, and lots of drinking, I now felt like I was walking into a fiery pit of angry wolves ready to rip me apart piece by piece.

My steps sounded like gunshots on the wooden stairs. I opened the screen and pressed against the front door. All the lights were off, not a sound in the entire place. Naturally, I slammed my foot into one of the end tables.

Cursing and sucking in a sharp breath, I clamped my lips shut to keep myself from yelling at the top of my lungs. I dropped my bag over the side of the couch and grabbed my foot. What the hell is that table made out of—titanium?

“What the hell?”

It was like ice water had been poured down my back. My bag rolled off onto the floor, and the lump on the couch whipped the blankets from over her head. Staring back at me was a pissed-off Avery. She rubbed her hand against the side of her head.

The pain in my foot evaporated, and as my eyes adjusted to the darkness, I could make out her form.

She licked her lips and spoke, her words coming out in a rush. “I didn’t come here to piss you off.”

“It’s not like you volunteered to leave once you knew I was here.” The reply shot out of my mouth.

“Keep your voice down,” she whispered harshly.

The muscles in my neck tensed. “You have no right to take this summer away from me.”

“I…I don’t want to turn this into a summer from hell, but I’m not leaving until my two weeks are up. I’m not trying to take anything away from you, Emmett.” She crossed her arms over her chest.

My eyes narrowed. I would not look away first. It was almost a reflex. “I would expect nothing less from you. You’re a taker, Avery. You pretend you aren’t, but it’s what you’re best at.” My pulse pounded. Everything I’d said to myself in the car about ignoring her had evaporated in a cloud of smoke at the look of shock on her face.

She shoved the blanket off her legs and knelt on the cushions of the couch, facing me. “You don’t know what the hell you’re talking about. You have no idea what I’ve been through. You don’t even know who I am—but I learned that a long time ago. I haven’t had a vacation in…well, forever, so I’m staying.” Her harsh glare bounced right back into the molten anger brewing in me.

“Where do you want to go?” I whipped out my phone, pulling up a travel app.

Her eyebrows scrunched down. “What do you mean?”

“Where do you want to go on vacation? I’ll pay for a two-week vacation for you and a friend anywhere in the world.” I gritted my teeth. “A female friend.”

Her eyebrows shot up. “Are you trying to bribe me? Pay me off to get me to leave?”

“I thought that was pretty obvious. I’ll pay for you to go anywhere you want—anywhere but here.”

“Wow, Emmett. I didn’t think you had it in you.” Her gaze traveled up and down my body. “Looks like you do. Apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree.” She crossed her arms, tension radiating off her like a steam engine ready to blow. Good, because I was already there.

“What the hell does that mean?” My harsh whisper clashed with her sharp gaze.

“Nothing.” Her eyes darted away from mine before returning with all the sizzling fire from before. “There is nothing you can do to get me to leave this house. I’m going to have the time of my life, right here.” She jabbed her finger down at the couch.

Why couldn’t she be reasonable? This was a fucking fantastic deal, one she didn’t deserve, but other than dragging her out the front door, I didn’t have too many other options.

“And I plan on doing the exact same thing. You stay out of my way and I’ll stay out of yours.”

“Done.”