Home > The Proposal(7)

The Proposal(7)
Author: Kitty Thomas

If we get lucky and this man just happens to live in a mansion, fantastic—that's okay, you're still a good girl. But if he's broke, love is enough and we shouldn't want anything more. We should be the one who believes in his potential whether or not he's ever going to do anything with it. Stand by him, help “build him” as if he's a Build-a-Bear workshop.

To go and intentionally chase wealth and power? Gold digger. Slut. Whore. It doesn't matter if we really do love the guy... we wanted to rise above our station in life and that can't be allowed. People say we live in a classless society. Bullshit. We absolutely have classes and everyone is supposed to stay in their lane.

And I didn't. And now Soren will see to it that I am punished because I made a stupid mistake in college and wasn't as careful as I thought I was.

I know part of this is about the fact that all three of these men must have been convinced because of their wealth and power they could beat out whatever men they might be competing against. It never occurred to them that all my other suitors were just as worthy as they were in that area. They each were sure that eventually they'd break me down and be in my bed—or more likely me in theirs. I'm not sure what would have happened after that, but they've collectively decided to rewrite the entire script, so it hardly matters anymore.

Soren has finally had enough of my crying and hesitating, he backs me against the wall. His mouth is suddenly on mine in a possessing kiss, his tongue tangling with mine as though it's just a new battlefield to conquer me on. He's never kissed me quite this way before, and I want to hate it. I want to be scared, offended, pissed off. I want to scream at him and push him off me, but all I can do is let my body melt into his as he claims me, every nerve ending on fire while the other two men watch—and maybe in part because they watch. I don't want to think about what that says about me.

He pulls away, breathing hard, his dark green gaze locked on me. His voice is low and barely human when he finally speaks. “You belong to us. Now be a good girl and say: yes.”

My eyes dart to Griffin and Dayne as if either of them can or will save me from whatever comes next. But each of them is a wall, closed off from me. No mercy.

“Yes,” I finally whisper. I have no other choice, and all four of us know it. Soren is ruthless. He isn't bluffing. He isn't the kind of man who makes a threat he has no intention of following through on. If I don't do this, mine and Macy's lives are effectively over. Mine may be over anyway, but this is the only bridge left to cross.

Soren jerks the top of my dress down to my waist and takes one of my breasts in his mouth. My clothes have never come off with any of these men before this moment. I've practically been a nun. It's been so long since I've done anything like this that it feels foreign and shocking like being plunged into a lake in the middle of winter. And tonight it feels far more angry than I remember it ever being with any of the other men I've been with in the past.

I'm crying full on now, the fear finally kicking in as I begin to realize what's about to happen here. “Please. Don't do this...” I whimper, hating myself for sounding so weak and scared, and hating them for making me feel that way after they just rescued me from a different man who may have intended the same fate for me. Somehow this is an even bigger betrayal than all their plans behind my back.

“Soren,” Griffin says, putting a hand on his shoulder.

Soren snarls and pulls away, putting my dress back the way it should be. His smoldering gaze holds mine while he does this.

“Fine. You know what? We won't touch you until the wedding night. We know you're not a virgin, but why ruin a good illusion? We'll let you sweat it out this time.”

I swallow hard at this and look down at the ground, the enormity of tonight somehow engulfing me.

Soren stalks off, and I'm left with Griffin and Dayne.

“I'll drive you home,” Griffin says.

I nod shakily and follow him to the parking garage. I still don't know which one of these men I'm supposed to be marrying or what the hell I'm going to say to my family about it. They don't even know I've been dating anyone.

 

 

Soren

 

 

The No Girlfriend Speech

 

 

Eleven months ago. Last July.

 

I've been seeing Livia over the past month. She's a strange and unique creature. First, despite my obvious wealth, good looks, and charm—I never said I was modest—she seems somehow unfazed by the catch every other woman seems to think I am. Women aren't a challenge for me. Ever.

I can have any woman I want in my bed any time I want. That's not bragging, it's the actual fact of how it plays out. Usually I've got their panties off by the first and often only date. And I've never dated a woman who still turns me down on the third—until Livia—because the third date is the sex date for good girls who don't want to look too slutty. On a certain level, though I'd never admit it to another human being, I find this really disappointing—that it's all so easy. Only a century ago no man would expect a respectable lady to fuck a suitor by the third date. It would be expected that he wouldn't get to do that with her until they were married—until he'd offered her a life and safety. How much of this was religion and how much of it was the nature of the male drive to want to win something, I'm not entirely sure. I wasn't there. But I could take a guess.

So here we are, on the fourth date with no sex. Other peculiar things about this woman: She hasn't called or texted me once. And when I text her, she doesn't reply. It's infuriating. She only responds to phone calls. I thought she was playing games at first, but she flat out told me she doesn't like texting, she probably won't reply, and it's not the best way to reach her. Oookay. Not once did she worry this would come across as difficult or that I wouldn't want to see her again. If the thought ever did cross her mind, she must have decided that would be just fine with her.

This is an unusual situation for me to say the least. I'm equal parts intrigued and annoyed by it.

Women are always trying to win me, earn me, impress me, like I'm a trophy they want to display on their shelf. They want to land a rich eligible bachelor so they can be the envy of all their friends. I'll admit, I preferred when things went the other way around, when it was women who were the prizes. When there was something to live for, fight for, die for. But people tend to overly romanticize the past, and maybe that's what I'm doing now.

There's a part of me that wants to say this woman is too much drama—except that she isn't. She's happy to hear from me when I call. She's fun and flirty when we go out. And she hasn't once asked me “Where is this going?” There is zero pressure. It's like she doesn't care. And I honestly don't know what the hell to do with that. It's so novel that I just keep calling her like a fucking idiot even though part of me is sure she's playing me somehow.

Is she involved in some advanced next-level gold-digging where she gets the man to shell out without ever spreading her legs? Given tonight's extravagant date, that's possible. And well-played, my dear.

I've tried on every date to push things a little, to maneuver her into bed with me... and... nope. She's assured me she's very attracted and feels strong chemistry, but she doesn't do casual sex. I don't normally do the girlfriend thing, partly because I get trapped in vanilla suburban hell where the woman I'm with doesn't have the slightest clue of who I really am or what I'm actually into.

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