THEY SAID SHE WAS GOING TO BE MY RUIN…
THEN LET HER RUIN ME.
He had everything—wealth, adoration, a brilliant future. Until one chance encounter changed everything.
The moment Caleb Lockhart spotted the mysterious woman in her siren red dress, he couldn’t tear his eyes away.
For the first time in his life, he wanted something. Something he knew he could never have.
The unforgettable stranger he dubs RED.
It was late when I arrived at Caleb’s apartment. I was exhausted, but I couldn’t help the grin that spread across my face. I might not have gotten a job offer, but I’d gotten my résumé into as many hands as possible. It had been a very productive day.
Opening the fridge, I wondered how fast I could make Caleb’s dinner so I could slip into my bedroom before he returned home—but the fridge was as empty as my bank account.
I groaned in defeat when I heard the front door open. But when I heard heavy footsteps coming from the living room, I reached for my pocketknife in case it wasn’t Caleb. I’d already made one mistake, but still—better safe than sorry.
I let out a sigh of relief when I heard Caleb’s voice. He was sprawled on the couch, remote control in hand as he turned on the TV. His black leather shoes and dinner jacket decorated the floor. Discarding his clothes there seemed to be a habit.
I stood behind him, admiring the way the bronze in his hair glinted in the light.
“What’s for dinner?” he asked, propping his feet on the coffee table.
“I just got back. I’ll make you something now if you want.”
He looked over his shoulder at me. If my heart tripped—which it totally didn’t—it was a normal and healthy reaction to seeing a gorgeous face. It didn’t mean anything.
“Are you trying to butt out of our bargain already?” he asked, turning back to the TV.
Insulted, I put my hands on my hips, glaring at him. “Unless you want orange juice soup with Pop-Tart croutons, you need to go to the store. We don’t have any groceries.”
He rested his head on the couch headrest and arched up and over so that he was looking at me upside down. “You’re giving me a neck injury. Why don’t you come around so we can talk like normal human beings?”
I narrowed my eyes at him.
He sighed. In a smooth move, he straightened, turned, then climbed to sit on top of the couch. He playfully studied me. “I’m bored,” he stated.
I raised my eyebrows. Did he expect me to entertain him? “And?”
“You owe me dinner.”
“I told you—”
A grin stretched across his face as he loosened his red tie. “You can pay me another way.”
My jaw fell open.
He laughed. “Why is your mind always in the gutter?”
I blinked once. Twice. My mind was always in the gutter?
He pushed off the couch, put his shoes back on, grabbed his keys and helmet from the coffee table, and walked past me. I thought he was going to leave when I felt his hand circle around my wrist, dragging me out the door with him.
“Oh for God’s sake, where are you taking me?”
God, he was tall. For every step he took, I had to take two to keep up.
He pressed the elevator button. “For a ride.”
He started laughing as he pulled me inside the elevator, pressed the Down button, and watched the door close. “I’ve never met a girl who twisted my words as much as you do. You have a filthy mind, Red. Filthy.”
“What the… A filthy mind!” I sputtered.
When the elevator door opened, he dragged me into the basement parking garage.
“A ride.” He clucked his tongue. “On my bike.”
I pulled my wrist from his hold, rubbing my hand against my jeans. His skin was hot and made me feel strange things.
He stopped and glanced back at me. “Problem?”
“It’s Sunday night. Don’t you have class tomorrow?”
“So?” He shrugged a shoulder. “I’m in college, not high school. I can skip class if I want.”
“Of course you can. You’re rich. You don’t have to work for anything.”
His eyes darkened, and he shoved his hands in his pockets, giving me a long look. “Do you like to be judged for being poor? You think having money saves me from pain?”
Chastised, I fell silent. When I opened my mouth to apologize, he cut me off. “You coming or not?”
I nodded, feeling guilty, and followed behind.
When he stopped in front of a sleek black machine, I stared at him in disbelief. It looked like it ate kids for breakfast.
“Ever ride a bike before?” he asked, tossing his black helmet from hand to hand like a basketball.
I took a step back. “I’m not riding that monster.”
His laugh was low and sexy. He grabbed my wrist again and pulled me close—closer than was necessary.
“I don’t know,” he whispered, his thumb stroking my palm in lazy circles. “I have a feeling you’re going to like it.”
My breath hitched, and he chuckled when I pulled away.
“N-no. I’d like to keep my limbs intact, thank you very much.”
His eyes danced at me playfully. “Yeah? Where’s the fun in that? Rule number one,” he said, gently placing the helmet on my head, “safety first.” He fastened the straps tightly under my chin.
“Rule number two,” he continued, flipping the visor down. I felt slightly claustrophobic so I flipped it back up. “When I’m making a turn, lean your body toward the turn. Never the opposite way. Got it?”
He smiled down at me, staring for a moment. I wanted to bottle the color of his vibrant green eyes. Realizing I was staring, I shook the thought from my mind and snapped, “What?”
He shrugged, then swung his long leg to straddle his bike. “Hop on.”
When I didn’t, he turned his head, eyebrows raised and eyes glinting with challenge. At that moment, he looked like a gorgeous devil who’d take my soul to hell—and enjoy every minute of it. “You scared?”
My skin prickled with irritation. It would take more than a pretty boy on a big-ass motorcycle to scare me. I’d prove him wrong. I huffed and climbed on the bike, grabbing the sides of my seat.
“Where’s your helmet?” I demanded.
“Only have one,” he replied. He was so close—close enough for me to catch his masculine scent. “Nobody rides this bike but me. You’re the first passenger.”
He turned the engine on, revving it a few times. The bike vibrated angrily.
“Forgot to tell you the last rule,” he said conversationally, looking over his shoulder. I could hear the mischief in his tone.
“I’m sure you’re going to tell me.”
He grinned. “Hold on to me. Really, really tight.”
I cried out as the bike zoomed forward, and my arms automatically went around him. I could feel his shoulders and hard stomach shaking with laughter.
He so did that on purpose! Fine, he won this round.
I vowed the next one would be mine, as we exited the garage with a roar.
I didn’t like the bike. It was noisy and dangerous. But as we streaked down the road, and the wind whipped cool and damp on my skin, I felt…
Chasing Red Duology:
Chasing Red (Book 1)
Always Red (Book 2)
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