Home > The Temptation of Lila and Ethan (The Secret #3)(14)

The Temptation of Lila and Ethan (The Secret #3)(14)
Author: Jessica Sorensen

I bite down on my lip, trying not to stare at his lean muscles or his luscious lips or the fact that he just told me one of the sweetest things I’ve ever heard. “No, I haven’t even talked to him in months. My mother’s been calling me all the time to come back home, but that’s not what’s wrong.”

“Did you finally tell her off?”

“As much as I always do.”

“Was she mean to you?”

I shrug. “It doesn’t even matter. At this point it barely affects me.” I’m such a liar and I think he can tell.

His forehead creases as he studies my face. “Do you want to just tell me what’s bothering you or should I keep guessing?”

The light flashes to go ahead and cross the street and I step off the curb. He walks with me, keeping close to my side as we maneuver through the crowd coming at us. I want to tell him what’s wrong, but I’m not one hundred percent sure what’s bothering me just yet. If it’s money, the loneliness I’ve felt for the last month, the fact that I need a job but don’t even know how to get one, or if it’s the feelings I have for him.

“Did you know that Ella and Micha are engaged?” I say, changing the subject and stepping up onto the curb.

Traffic rushes by us as we walk past the towering, uniquely shaped buildings that glimmer and shine. Each building is so different from the other: a replica of the Eiffel Tower, a massive pirate ship, a pyramid—you name it and it’s probably here. Neon lights flash across billboards and marques, trying to entice people to come gamble their money away, see flamboyant shows, or drink drinks while staring at tits. There are a lot of people whisking around and the heat, the dancing, the skimpy clothing, and the music playing make the atmosphere erotic and steamy. The combination makes me want to dance and have fun, instead of thinking about stuff.

“Yeah, Micha told me a couple of weeks ago.” He slips his arm around my shoulder and draws me closer as a guy tries to hand me a card with a picture of a nak*d lady on it. “Sorry I didn’t mention it. Micha wasn’t even supposed to mention it, because Ella wasn’t ready to tell anyone, but he let it slip out.”

“She told me the other day,” I say, breathing in his scent. He smells so mouthwateringly good. “And she sounded so happy.”

“I’m sure they are.” He slants his head down to meet my eyes and inquisitiveness sparkles in them. “Is that why you’re upset? Because they’re getting married?”

“No, I’m just… honestly, I’m not sure what’s bothering me. I think maybe I’m just tired. I haven’t been sleeping well lately.”

He searches my eyes a moment longer, the lights on the marque above our heads reflecting in his pupils. “Do you want me to take you home?” he asks. “So you can get some rest?”

I shake my head, even though I’m exhausted. I don’t want to go home to my empty house. “Can we go to a club or something? And I mean really nice one.” I grab his arm and pretty much beg. “I need to do something that’s fun.”

He dithers. “You know how I feel about clubs. They’re too God damn noisy and packed and fancy ones are even worse.”

“Please.” I pout, exaggeratedly sticking my lip out. “I’m not ready to go home just yet.”

“Can’t we just go to a bar?”

“I want to do something that’s my kind of fun.”

“You mean spend money you don’t have?” he says bluntly.

I glare at him. “Fine. I’m sorry I even tried.” I start to stomp away, but he pulls me back.

He sighs. “Fine.” He gives in to me, then lets go of my arm and offers me his elbow and I take it, even though I know I shouldn’t, because I’m getting too attached, dangerously one-sidedly attached. He guides me across the road, talking about how hot it is. So simple. So easy.

Too bad he doesn’t want me because I would love to let him have me.


I really hate clubs. There are too many people packed in a tiny area and the music is always turned up to the point where it vibrates in my chest. But Lila didn’t want to go home and I don’t want her out and about when she’s obviously upset about something.

We’re sitting on barstools at the bar that probably cost more than my truck. The bartender keeps hitting on Lila, even though she seems uninterested. It’s annoying to watch, but it’s always hard to watch her get hit on. In fact, it’s harder than it used to be and I can’t help thinking she’s mine, even though she’s obviously not.

“Are you sure you don’t want a shot?” she asks me over the music as she slams down her fifth shot of top-shelf vodka, which I’m sure she can’t afford. I remember when I first met her how much of a lightweight she was, barely able to drink beers, but now she’s f**king crazy, reckless even. It makes me a little nervous and I’m seriously considering taking her fake ID and cutting it in half so she can’t use it anymore to go out, but then again I’d be a f**king hypocrite if I didn’t get rid of mine so I could stop going out.”

“Then who would drive home?” I ask loudly, glancing at the dance floor. There are a ton of women out tonight, dressed in short dresses, tight pants, their tits pretty much bulging out of their tops. It’s usually a nice sight, but I’m not feeling it tonight. I wasn’t even feeling it back at the bar with the blonde eyeing me. I kept staring at her, deciding if I wanted to hit on her or not, but Lila and my worry for her kept pulling me back and finally I’d decided just to focus on her.

“We could get a cab.” She spins the empty shot glass around on the bar. I open my mouth to protest, but she interrupts. “You don’t have to. You’re just always so tense when we come to these kinds of places and alcohol usually relaxes you.”

My forehead creases as I assess her. Typically, people don’t notice my uneasiness and it makes me question why she’s been paying such close attention to me. I remember the countless times London use to drag me to noisy places, either not noticing that I hated the noise or not caring.

“What?” Lila touches her hair self-consciously and then glances down at her dress that brushes the middle of her legs. She has a sweater jacket thingy over it, which makes no sense to me since it’s hot as hell outside. She also has a pearl bracelet on and a diamond necklace and everything about her screams money, a rich princess pretty much. We’re so opposite, yet I can’t seem to stay away from her.

“It’s nothing,” I say, patting the bar with my hand. “I’ll take a few shots with you, but you have to order them.”

She lowers her hand to the bar. “Why?”

I restrain an eye roll. “Because the bartender is obviously into you and I’m guessing he might get the shots for you faster.”

She glances over at the bartender talking to a group of women. “He’s not my type,” she says nonchalantly, looking back at me with curiosity. The lights from the dance floor flash across her face and there’s no use trying to deny how beautiful she is, princess or not.

“Not preppy enough for you?” I tease, but underneath my skin, irritation surfaces.

She props her elbow on the bar and watches me, not saying anything. It’s making me uncomfortable. I want to ask her what the hell she’s thinking about and why she’s staring at me like that, but I don’t because I’m afraid of the answer. “What do you want to drink?” she asks.

I shrug, taking an uneasy deep breath, hating how unsettled I feel inside. When did things get so complex between us? How did I let it get that way? “I’m going to have to go with tequila.”

She giggles under her breath. “To kill ya coming up.”

She raises her hand, leans over the bar, and flags down the bartender. She slips off her jacket, the thin straps of her dress revealing her shoulders and the low-cut back showing her smooth skin. I’m not sure if she does it on purpose, to get the bartender’s attention, but it works. She orders a shot of vodka and a shot of tequila. He grins at her, drinking her in, and I want to punch him in the face just for looking. I’m not much of the jealous type, so the feeling throws me off a little.

The guy on the barstool next to Lila starts flirting with her a few seconds later, eying her lips as she chews on the straw. He’s older, at least twenty-five, wearing a black suit and ridiculously shiny shoes. Lila seems vaguely interested in him, not laughing at his jokes, yet she lets him place his hand on her thigh and inch it up north.

I’m getting pissed. I’ve never had much of a possessive side—I’ve seen my father overact too much with my mother, even if she was just talking to the mailman—but right now my jealous, controlling side is coming out. As the bartender sets the shots down in front of us, I grab the top of her barstool and spin her in my direction so the guy’s hand falls off her leg.

Her eyes widen as the guy shoots a glare at me. “What the hell, Ethan?”

I have an arm on each side of her and my hands are just beside her hips. I lean in so she can hear me. “If you want me to stay here with you and take shots, your attention needs to be on me.” I wince at my own words, but it’s too late and I can’t retract them.

Her expression is calm, yet her eyes carry interest. “Okay,” she says simply and gathers the shot from the counter. She raises it in front of her, giggling. “To paying attention.”

I shake my head, rolling my eyes at her drunkenness, but a laugh slips through as I collect the shot glass. “All right, Lila.” I raise the glass upward. “To paying attention.”

I’m about to clink our glasses when she pulls back. “That goes for you, too,” she says and when my expression slips to confusion, she adds, “You have to pay attention to me tonight, too.”

Why do I see this going very, very wrong? “Okay.” I’m an idiot. “You have my one hundred percent undivided attention, Lila Summers.”

Her lips curve to a smile and then she clinks her glass against mine. We both pull away and tip our heads back, devouring our shots.

“Now what?” I ask, slamming the empty glass down on the bar while she gags on the drink—she always does.

Her grin is almost devilish. “Another one?”

I sigh and shrug, feeling slightly better as the alcohol burns its way through my body. “Why not?”

“Why do you think it’s so hard to be alone?” Lila asks, struggling to keep her eyes open as she gazes out at the night sky through the cab window.

I’m turned sideways in the seat, with my knee up, so I’m facing her, even though she won’t look at me. I lost count of how many shots we had hours ago and I can barely comprehend how we got to a cab—stumbling, laughing, as she rubbed her hand up the front of my jeans. No, that can’t be right, can it?

“I think being alone is fan-f**king-tastic… well, maybe… sometimes…” I mumble, draping my arm on the back of the seat. I stare at her for a moment, taking in her bare skin in the moonlight. I want to touch it. Lick it. Even bite it.

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