Love is a dangerous word.
As much as it has ended battles, it has started wars.
As much as it has healed pain, it has caused agony.
As much as it has ended hate, it has created loathing.
I fell in love. A kind of love that I would live and die for. A kind of love that I would forsake who I was to obtain it. I was one of the believers until I wasn’t anymore.
I trusted too easily, I fell too quickly, and I loved… oh, I loved too deeply.
However, there was one thing I was excellent at…
Was I insane? Sure. Borderline psychopathic, when I didn’t take my meds.
But it was okay…
They liked me that way.
I smiled as I watched them hand in hand wondering what was going to happen next.
They think it’s over.
They think there’s a sense of remorse within me.
I laughed harder.
You’ve got my attention
The club pulsed with a beat that vibrated through my jumpsuit clad body. I regretted my decision to wear it that night. It was velvet and clung to my impressive curves in a suffocating manner. I lifted my long, dark tresses off my neck and held it up in a knot against the back of my head. My best friend Naomi was way passed drunk and had her ass plastered to the crotch of some nameless dude.
That was what our Friday nights were like. Trolling. We were from the elite side of Manhattan. We were the Breakfast at Tiffany’s, lunch at the golf estate and partying with cocaine at the Masters’ mansion types. I was a cliché. I was good with that, too. It was necessary to my cause.
Being the Sterling heiress came with certain responsibilities, like entertaining the elite and showing up when they invited you out for drinks. Drinks which ended up in one-night stands and hoping none of your indiscretions landed on Page 6.
There was someone else with an agenda that night. There was someone else who wanted to be part of the elite, he had different reasons. However, he did not realize that his agenda was going to bring him right to me. Our lives changed that night. We were both playing a game that night. We were both trying to be seen by the other on purpose. And see him, I did.
Elias Porter commanded the room. He was tall, broad and tan. His black suit and shirt looked poured onto his large body. That sinful smirk that twisted his perfectly plump lips had my own lips parting. His hair was thick and messy, a dimple in each cheek and the best part? His eyes. Those fucking eyes I would never forget, no matter what.
Those dark eyes were on me. His one hand was curled around a glass while the other was in his pocket. He sucked in his bottom lip as he took me in. I almost swayed toward his hypnotic pull. Like he was the charmer, and I was the snake. I was a snake. A snake with the type of poison that would creep through his mind, heart and blood like a vine. A snake whose bite had no cure.
He was not aware that I already knew who he was. In fact, I was pretty sure he believed that tonight was the first night we would meet. I smiled slowly and raised a brow at him. His lips parted and as soon as I held his focus, I turned my back on him.
“Girrrrl, you need to be on the dancefloor, right now!” Naomi slurred. Her dark brown skin had a sheen of sweat while her sequined dressed stuck to her sinful body.
“I’m not drunk enough,” I chuckled, removing my Vape Pen from my purse and inhaling the cotton-candy flavored smoke. “I’ll be there in a bit.”
She shrugged her shoulders and disappeared into the crowd. Naomi and I were friends out of necessity. She had connections that I needed without having to use my name and she needed my name to make other connections. I watched her latch onto the same guy again. It was quite poetic how she gravitated to the same man. The man that would be my in with Elias.
The club we were in was owned by the Masters’; Grant had inherited a trust fund on his twenty-sixth birthday, and this was what he decided to do with it. It wasn’t all that bad considering the things he had going on in the basement of the club. Of course, he was a devious motherfucker. It ran in his family blood. They were shrewd, cunning and a little tilted.
Speaking of Grant, he appeared at my side just as I was about to head out.
“Mackenna,” he greeted.
Grant was dark-haired, blue-eyed and a gorgeous piece of rugged handsomeness. If that was what you were into. His knowing gaze traced my features. He knew my games, and he played them well with me. He was dressed in a t-shirt with a giant middle finger on it and jeans that cost more than some drinks at the bar. His messy hair made messier as he ran his hands through it.
“Grant,” I raised a brow. “Do you mind? I want to get some air.”
“You can in a bit,” he stared right back at me. “What are you up to?”
I frowned. “Going outside to get air, duh.”
“I saw your eye on Porter,” he stated.
“He’s a looker,” I shrugged and made a move to leave.
He caught my arm and gripped it hard. “Whatever you’re up to, I will find out.”
“That’s fine,” I smiled slowly. “Give my love to your parents.”
I stalked along the sidelines heading to the back, ignoring the stares and the catcalls from random drunk men and women. My sole focus was to breathe. I had a rough couple of days. I had stopped fighting the demons in my head when I was a child, it was probably why I needed the quiet. They needed to speak. I thought back to Grant’s warning. It was weird how he always figured out when I was about to play a game.
Too bad he didn’t know that the game had already started. Years ago. It was a game that was going to change the course of nature.
The ice-cold January air sliced across my face as I stepped out into the snowy New York weather. It was a shock to my system. Almost as if I was in two different worlds. Where I felt hot and sticky inside, I now thanked my lucky stars that this velvet was thick.
I forwent my Vape Pen and instead pulled out a pack of smokes. I lit the cherry flavored cigarette and took a long hard drag. I laid my head against the brick wall and exhaled, pretending it was all my sins and troubles that were being released into the air.
It would take a lot more than that to overcome all the things I had done in my life.
“You disappeared on me,” a deep voice vibrated through my body.
I opened my eyes and slid them to the side and found the suit. Elias was gorgeous up close. The disheveled sandy brown hair had streaks of gold in them, his eyes were dark and piercing, and his body looked like something out of a romance novel. Maybe more like that guy from the porn flick I watched the night before.
“I had no idea I was around for you,” I said in a monotone. I took another drag of my cigarette and blew out the smoke faster this time. “Is there a reason you’re disturbing my peace?”
He looked taken aback. Obviously, he thought he held my attention earlier and was trying to use that to his advantage. Unfortunately, to hold someone’s attention, you had to pretend as if they did not have yours. It got them riled up. They saw a challenge and would not stop until they have won it.
“I saw you inside thought we had a moment in there,” he shrugged.
“Don’t flatter yourself, darling. You’re wearing a suit to a nightclub,” I laughed. “I was just trying to figure out what that was all about.”
He shrugged. “The suit works.”
“Well, I stand out, in a club full of ripped jeans and baggy t-shirts, I’m the sophisticated one that has a woman looking twice,” he straightened his thin silver tie.
I was impressed with how unabashedly he said that. The glint in his eye told me that he had no care how it made him sound. There was a take me as I am, or I’ll find someone else quality to him.
I turned toward him. “Well, you have all of my attention, what will you do with it?”
“I would start by introducing myself,” he held out his hand. “Eli.”
I placed my hand in his and felt an immediate connection that almost scared but intrigued me. “Kenna.”
He stared at me for a few seconds while I sucked on the cancer stick. He knew who I was. There was no way he hadn’t come across me before. I was interested to see how he played this out though.
“That’s a bad habit you know,” he said lightly as he came to stand opposite me, mimicking my stance by leaning against the opposite brick wall.
“So I’ve heard,” I chuckled and sucked harder on the cigarette. “We all have a vice.”
“Where are you from, Kenna?” he asked as he loosened his tie.
“Upper East Side,” I shrugged, stubbing out the cigarette. “You?”
“Same,” he frowned. “How is it that we haven’t met before?”
I raised a brow. “I have no idea. What is it that you do?”
“I’m an investment banker, junior for now,” he said with confidence. “What are you into?”
“I’m a software engineer.”
He raised his brows in astonishment. I got that a lot. No one believed a spoiled rich bitch like me could actually have some sense of intelligence, let alone being able to code and decode programs. Of course, Eli wouldn’t let on that he knew the extent of me being rich. His perfect portrayal of intrigue and lust gripped me by the throat. I wouldn’t even mention my ability to create gadgets. Which reminded me, I needed to check in on my latest attempt at creating my own spy cam.
“Are you passionate about that?” he asked, genuinely interested. I would look back at this day in the future and wonder, if only he was just a man, and I was just a woman, this meeting would signal the start of a romance. This here? This was a start of a war.
“Nah,” I shook my head. “I’m actually a photography buff. If there was a choice, I would choose that.”
Elias nodded slowly. “I get it. I’ve loved the idea of working on Wall Street since I was a teenager and saw the way these men in suits all held the power. It lit a fire inside me.”
I smiled, enjoying the passion in his voice. His eyes lit up and the smile that twisted those perfect lips made him all the more attractive. I walked away from my end towards him putting an extra sway to my hips. He stood up straighter as I approached him. I stopped only when the front of my body was pressed against the front of his. I had to look up at him, he was at least a foot taller than me.
“I think we’ve chatted enough for the night; don’t you think?” I asked him on a breathy voice.
Elias lowered his nose to my hair and inhaled deeply. “I think you’re right.”
I raised my face and touched my lips to his. He responded by capturing mine and taking charge of them. He kissed me deeply. His tongue dueled with mine. I was right that this was a beginning of a war. We were fighting a war. A war of attraction. Lust burned and pooled between my legs as his large hand traveled down my back and gripped my ass. I ground against him, well aware that my panties were now soaked and there was no way that I could take off this jumpsuit unless he was taking me back to his place or his car.
His soft lips were a contrast to the scrape of his teeth along my bottom lip and the fierce way in which he grabbed my flesh. It was as if he wanted to devour me and destroy me all at one. If one kiss ignited such a feeling between us, sex would be explosive.
I moaned deep in my throat. I wanted him. Now.
The shout of a random bouncer sprung us both apart. We glanced at the tall stocky man. “None of that here!” he pointed up, and we belatedly noticed the cameras. After a few more warnings, the bouncer headed back inside.
Spying the camera, I knew I had to hack into it later and download the footage.
We both laughed uncomfortably. Elias ran his thumb along my bottom lip. “Wanna go back in?”
I shrugged. “Looks like we’d have to.”
I felt uncomfortable as I walked because of the arousal that made my thighs sticky when they rubbed together. I hated being so worked up with no release in sight. We made it back into the club. The night wore on with us grinding against each other on the dancefloor. We drank like fish and made out sloppily in dark corners.
Elias held my attention all night, which meant that as soon as he had confirmation of who I was, I knew that too.
He leaned against the bar and watched her as she swayed her body seductively on the dancefloor. He knew it was for his benefit. After all, up until they were faced with each other outside the club, she wasn’t on the dancefloor. She wanted his attention and just like how he knew he had hers, she had his.
“The Sterling Princess, huh?” Grant Masters clapped him on the shoulder.
Eli frowned and looked at him. “What do you mean?”
“I thought you were pursuing her because you knew who she was,” Grant raised a brow.
Grant Masters was a rich bastard that owned almost half of the Upper East Side while the Sterling family owned almost all of New York. Sterling and Masters, the biggest names in the city. Eli had wanted an in with the Sterling family for years now, it was always part of his plan. The fact that the heiress herself happened to be at the same club and all over his dick, that was a bonus.
“I actually did not know that was her,” he lied with a grin. “Now that I do, she just became interesting.”
“I’d watch out if I were you,” Grant warned.
“I’m not afraid of Munro or Douglas for that matter,” he waved his hand in the air.
“Wasn’t talking about her brother or her father,” he chuckled, his dark eyes held a tinge of amusement. “I’m talking about Mackenna herself.”
Eli rolled his eyes. How bad could a woman be? He glanced at the dancefloor one more time to look at her only to find that she was no longer there. He straightened his stance and tried to see over the gyrating bodies and crowded corners. She was gone.
He took a lap around the club with no sign of her. She was an enigma. A beauty. A magician.
He found her friend, Naomi, an African American beauty with skin like caramel who was grinding up on his friend Evan. “Hey, have you seen Kenna anywhere?”
Naomi looked up drunkenly. “She left.”
Eli felt disappointed, and he clenched his jaw. He wanted to get to know her more. Now that he knew exactly who she was, he wanted to find his way into her heart and squeeze it. He wanted to be the person that she brought home in front of Munro and his wife. He wanted the Sterling heir to feel him weasel his way into their lives and destroy them all.
Like they destroyed him.
Eli sighed, got into his Mercedes and zipped into the city to reach his apartment. Hennessey was fast asleep when he stepped inside. It was three in the morning, he wasn’t supposed to be out this late, but Kenna was all he thought about that entire night. He walked towards his roommate’s room and watched as she lay there beautifully.
Her thick dark hair fanned out on the pillow, her large eyes closed in sleep and her pouty lips parted as she dreamed. He trailed his finger along her cheek. She was a reprieve from all the bad things he had to do. She was the uncomplicated beauty that held his attention while the woman he really wanted paraded around with another man.
Eli walked upstairs and into his bedroom, he stripped off the suit and stepped into the hot shower. He reflected on the day before. He tried and failed at landing a job at Sterling. It was almost as if Munro remembered him. Logically, Eli knew there was no way. He was just a punk that faced off with Munro five years earlier.
His thoughts briefly traveled to Kenna. Her thick body draped in a skintight body suit that tempted him from across the dancefloor. He had an idea that Mackenna Sterling was going to be at the club, but he had no idea what she looked like. The Sterling family were always front and center in the news but never the princess. She was always the secret that remained hidden.
Eli laid his head against the tiles of the bathroom and stared aimlessly into the water. The hot water raised the steam in the room, and it was almost as if Mackenna stood there in the mist, watching him. His lips parted, his breathing increased, and his hand reached for his cock.
He stroked his hard length, biting his teeth so that he didn’t let out the guttural groan that begged to be let past his lips. Her eyes, so wide and blue, would stare up at him while she was on her knees. Those thick plush lips would wrap around his cock and frame it perfectly. Her hot tongue which he was lucky enough to taste, would lap up every drop he released into her.
He couldn’t take it anymore and came in strings across the tiles, the water washed away his sins before he could contemplate it.
Wrapping a towel across his waist, he walked into his bedroom, ignoring the need to go downstairs into Hennessey’s room, he walked straight into his. His phone vibrated around his nightstand and he noticed Evan’s name flash across the screen.
He answered. “What’s up?”
“Munro Sterling is dead.”