“Shut up,” Adrian mutters, staring at his half-empty crystal glass.
“Come on, she’ll marry you eventually,” Joey says, grinning.
Adrian glares. “If Meg wasn’t in the way, I’d throw this at your head.”
“Ooh, sounds like you better stay here and protect me,” Joey jokes.
“That can be arranged,” I tell him, flipping my hair.
His eyebrows rise with interest, but instead of hitting on me, his gaze flits to Mateo’s.
Mateo’s gaze is glued to me now, his dark eyes narrowed with irritation. “You like Joey now?”
My stomach bottoms out at the edge in his question, not even an attempt at joking. The whole room tenses.
“I was being friendly,” I state, keeping my chin up.
“What can I say, I’m a friendly person,” I shoot back.
Placing his glass down on the edge of the desk, he advances in my direction. “That so?”
I don’t move. I get the impression Joey wants to, but he’s stuck in the chair with me in front of it, and I’m not budging. Mateo comes to a stop right in front of me, so close I can feel his breath, breathe his scent. All he’d have to do is lean in just a little, and he could kiss me.
I meet his gaze, unflinching. I want to bait him, but I won’t, not in front of his family. I want to ask him if I’m supposed to be intimidated. If we were alone, I would.
I wish we were alone.
All I can say is, “So friendly.”
His eyes narrow, and he remains right in my face. “Be a little less friendly.”
Fire leaps in his eyes and he grabs my arm, jerking me away from Joey.
Mia jumps, gasping, but I remain unfazed.
“I warned you about calling me that.”
He’s right up against me now, backing me against the wall, so close I’m afraid he can feel how fast my heart’s beating. Since I don’t want to push him too far but I do feel like pushing his buttons, I lean in and whisper in his ear, “I have a suggestion for where you can shove your warnings.”
For the longest moment of my life, he stares at me in disbelief, like I must have legitimately lost my goddamn mind.
Finally, he clips out, “Leave.”
I bow my head and go to scoot past him, but his arm darts out in front of me and he plants his hand against the wall, blocking me in.
“Not you. Them. Dinner’s over.”
“But… we haven’t…” Alec trails off, clearly at a loss.
I glance at Mia, whose eyes are wide in a sort of ‘oh shit’ look that can’t mean anything good.
No one else says a word. They put down drinks and push out of chairs, filing out of the room. Adrian is last, and he closes the door, since we’re obviously going to need privacy.
It’s only us now, so I meet his gaze. I’m not sure if he wants to kill me or fuck me, but it’s definitely one of the two.
“You’re not afraid of me.”
It’s not a question, but I answer it anyway. “No.”
“Why?” he demands.
I shrug, my eyes dropping to his massive shoulders. There’s power in every inch of him, from the finely sculpted muscles in his body, the sharpness of his mind, to the absolute power he obviously has over everyone in his life. It’s just good sense to be cautious of him, and I can’t explain why I’m not.
“I don’t know,” I finally admit. “I think if you wanted to hurt me, you would’ve by now.”
“You don’t know me,” he says. It’s not a challenge, just a statement.
“You don’t want me to,” I return, shrugging one shoulder.
He watches me for a moment, then clips out, “Don’t flirt with my relatives.”
“Don’t flirt with anyone.”
“Would you like me to just cut my vagina off while I’m at it?”
His other hand slams into the wall beside me, and that time I do jump. He has me firmly trapped between his arms, mere inches from his body, but I still hold his gaze.
“What’s your game?” he asks.
“Scrabble.” His eyes narrow, but I just smile. “I already told you I’m not playing any game.”
“Yes, you are.”
Finally looking away from him, I say, “Believe what you want, Mateo. Should I go make dinner or is it really canceled?”
“Get on your knees.”
My stomach drops, but strangely my loins stir at the same time. This isn’t like the other times; he doesn’t want me, he just wants to dominate me. I’m not Meg, I’m a mouth, and I don’t want to be.
And yet, I’m not allowed to tell him no. This is part of the agreement I made—whatever he wants, whenever he wants. Only I don’t want him right now—inconvenient, given how many times I have wanted him.
Since I can’t say no, I stare at his shoulder blankly. “Is that an order?”
“Did it sound like one?” he asks carefully.