We will not fulfill any book request that does not come through the book request page or does not follow the rules of requesting books. NO EXCEPTIONS.

Comments are manually approved by us. Thus, if you don't see your comment immediately after leaving a comment, understand that it is held for moderation. There is no need to submit another comment. Even that will be put in the moderation queue.

Please avoid leaving disrespectful comments towards other users/readers. Those who use such cheap and derogatory language will have their comments deleted. Repeat offenders will be blocked from accessing this website (and its sister site). This instruction specifically applies to those who think they are too smart. Behave or be set aside!

Empire of Desire: Chapter 15


“Are you listening, Gwen?”

I slide my attention from my assaulted vanilla milkshake that I’ve been jamming the straw in and out of to Chris, who’s staring at me with a furrowed brow.

He came to pick me up earlier and we’ve been sitting in a coffee shop and talking. Well, he’s ended up doing all the talking while I’ve been thinking about other things.

Like what was Nate doing with Aspen the entire afternoon?

For hours.


She didn’t even leave in her car.

Logically, I shouldn’t be this affected, because I have no hold on him, right? Except maybe I do. After all, there’s a marriage certificate that says he’s married to me, and it should go without saying that he doesn’t leave with a woman who isn’t me.

It’s only on paper. The marriage isn’t real.

“Are you still upset about your dad?” Chris tries again.

He’s such a gentleman. Like the best ever, and he’s hot, too, with his leather jacket, medium-length hair, and his pouty lips that are good at kissing.

But I don’t think kissing should feel good. There needs to be a shattering quality to it. Maybe something like the feeling that’s now taking asylum in my chest.

It’s supposed to hurt. To tear someone from the inside out and make them bleed out.

But is being hurt and shredded to pieces the correct thing to do?

Maybe Nate’s right. Maybe safe is what I should choose. Because who wants to be ripped apart with no hopes of ever pulling themselves together again?

Me, apparently, because the longer I stare at Chris, the surer I am that he isn’t who will give me what I wish for.

“It’s not about Dad.” I stare at my milkshake, following the swirl of my straw before looking up at him. “I’m sorry, Chris.”

“For what?”

“For leading you on. I promise I didn’t mean to, but…”

“You’re just not that into me, huh?”

I wince.

“It’s okay, though my pride is a bit wounded. Now, I think Jen is right and you used me for the Harley.”

“If it’s any consolation, I think you’re perfect.”

“Just not perfect for you?”

“Yeah, I guess. If I weren’t crazy, I would’ve chosen you.”

“It’s because you’re a little crazy that I like you, Gwen. People who don’t appreciate that about you don’t deserve you.”

“They don’t?”

“Nope and you need to cut them off from your life.”

“But what if I can’t? What if they already made a snuggly place for themselves in there and it’s impossible to find them, let alone remove them?”

He relaxes back in his seat, crossing one ankle over the other, and takes a sip of his iced coffee. His favorite drink is similar to his personality—cool, delicious, and definitely soothing. “I guess that means you’re in too deep.”

“Nope, no. You’re supposed to tell me I should find a way to push them away, even if I’ll get hurt in the process.”

He tilts his head to the side. “Why do you have to get hurt in the process? If anyone should be in pain, it’s them.”

“I don’t like that—hurting people, I mean. I feel horrible doing it to you.”

“Never mind me. I’ll just be your practice, babe. Now, tell me, who’s the asshole?”

“You…don’t know him.”

Of course, he does.

Everyone in the country knows about the Weavers and their power. Besides, Chris studies pre-law, so he’s more than aware of W&S.

But I’m a coward, okay? I don’t want him to judge me for being so hopelessly and stupidly into Dad’s best friend. I usually wouldn’t care, but Chris is special. He likes my weirdness, and people like him are keepers. I don’t want him to run for the hills because I’m upset that someone who’s way older than me is out with someone more suitable. Someone close to his age and who works with him.

I scoff, slurping half of the milkshake without the straw to soothe my burning throat.

“Whoever he is, he’s a jerk who doesn’t deserve your time.”

“Yeah, he’s a fucking asshole.”

“A motherfucker.”

“A cold bastard with no feelings.”

“Get it off your chest, Gwen.”

“And…and he’s never even stopped to ask me things, you know, even though I’ve learned everything about him. He thinks I’m a kid, because he likes to remind me that I’m young. He likes bringing up the age part because I can’t fight it. So he’s like the biggest jerk to ever exist and I hate him sometimes. I wish I could hate him all the time.”

Chris smiles a little. “It’ll take practice, but you’ll get there.”

I sigh, feeling a little relieved after my outburst. “Thanks for listening to me blabber even though I was a bitch to you.”

“You were never a bitch, Gwen. You gave enough signs to push me away, but I wanted to stay close. It’s my choice and I still stand by it.”

“You still want to be friends?”

“Of course. Besides, you’re stuck with me for the summer.”


“I got accepted for an internship at W&S.”

“Oh my God, Chris! Why didn’t you tell me?”

“I just did.” He grins in that charming, lighthearted way and I’m so happy for that. I’m happy that I didn’t hurt him to the point of taking away his beautiful smile.

“I’m so glad we get to spend time together.”

“I thought you’d be all over getting rid of me.”

“Of course not! We can be friends, right?”

He clinks his iced coffee against my drink. “Sure thing.”

We fall into an easy conversation, which isn’t anything new. Chris and I have always gotten along, which is why he asked me out, saying he wanted to take it to the next level. That obviously didn’t work, so I’m thankful that we can still have a friendly relationship.

We talk about college and exams and where our colleagues are doing their internships. He tells me about the interviewing process at W&S and how hard it was, but he passed because he impressed them and he’s a genius.

It’s great to know that I won’t be a lonely face in the midst of all the hostile interns. With Chris around, I’ll have a more tolerable summer.

We go shopping for a few suits since he can’t just show up in his leather jacket, though it’s a killer look. Then I end up buying a few things for myself. I lose track of time in all the shopping we do, but I don’t mind.

Being preoccupied is nice. I’m the type who shouldn’t be given too much free time, because it’ll all be spent on overthinking until I drive myself insane.

By the time Chris drops me off at home, it’s late. I take a few moments to pull my pencil skirt down my thighs. I had to hitch it up so that I could ride behind him, and used the bags to cover up. Apparently, pencil skirts and Harleys aren’t best friends.

My hair is enemies with the helmet, too, because it gets stuck inside it. For the third time today.

“Stupid hair.” I groan as I struggle to untangle it without ripping it from the roots.

Chris chuckles and slides down from his bike to take over the task. He’s gentler than I am and manages to remove the helmet without pulling out my hair.

“You’re supposed to be patient, Gwen.”

“Isn’t that another word for boring?”

He shakes his head as he smooths down my hair.

“Thanks, Chris. For everything.”

He wraps his arms around me. “I’ve got you.”

I hug him back. “Now I’m feeling like I’m using you.”

“I’m the one who’s using you so that you’ll give me a permanent job when you own W&S.”

I push back, laughing. “They’ll be lucky to have you.”

“I’m holding you to that.” He ruffles my hair before he hops on his bike. The sound of the revving engine echoes in the air as he leaves, and I remain there, waving, until he disappears out of sight.

Then I tiptoe to the entrance because Dad will totally have my ass for being late and riding on a bike.

My shoulders hunch when I open the front door.

Right. Dad isn’t here anymore. I think I’m still in denial about it all, because every day, I wake up thinking I’ll find him in the kitchen or that he’ll be banging on my door, telling me I’m late for school.

In my mind, my dad’s still here. He’ll come back, because that’s what dads do. They stay.

They don’t leave like moms do.

My dad won’t abandon me like she did.

“What time is it?”

I jump, letting the bags fall from my fingers and hit the ground with a resounding thud.

The entry hall is dark aside from the garden lights slipping through the windows. But some of it is camouflaged by a tall, broad figure who’s standing there, blocking the soft hues, massacring and turning them into a shadow.

I can’t see his features clearly, but I can feel the harshness in them. It’s hanging in the air and shooting imaginary daggers at my chest.

“I asked what time is it, Gwyneth.”

My spine jerks in a line at the cold edge of his voice and the blunt authority in it. He’s always been firm, stern, but this is the first time it’s sounded so angry, and that pushes me to talk.

“Uh, eleven, I think.”

“You think? Is that the best reply you can come up with after disappearing, not answering your phone, and returning on the back of a fucking bike?”

“You called me?” I reach into my bag that’s in the middle of all the shopping items and rummage through it until I find my phone.

Sure enough, there are three missed calls from Nate.

“It was on silent mode,” I say slowly, and it sounds like a lame excuse.

“What did I say about answering your phone?”

“I was working and forgot to turn it back on…”

“Answer the fucking question, Gwyneth.”

The force of his anger slams straight into mine, dragging it out in all of its chaotic glory.

You know what? Fuck him.

He doesn’t get to talk to me this way after he was the one who hurt me. So what if I wanted to forget about him for a few hours by hanging out with a friend? Why is he trying to make me feel guilty about that?

I raise my chin. “You don’t get to tell me what to do, okay? I can choose not to answer my phone and to go out on a bike and come back late and you have no say in it. You’re not my dad, Nate!”

The silence that falls between us is deafening and that makes me hyperaware of the sound of my own breathing, of the pulsing in my neck and the thundering in my chest.

The pause stretches for so long that I don’t think it’ll ever end. Or maybe I’m just imagining things and it’s only been a few seconds.

Nate strides toward me, the sound of his footsteps is sure and strong and I can almost hear them stomping on something inside me. I don’t realize I’m moving back until my sneakers skid on the floor, because holy shit, how can I be so equally terrified and excited at the same time?

I think the fear part wins, because the shadows on his face keep multiplying with each passing second.

I squeal when my back hits something. It’s only a wall, but I’m so rattled that I’m sucking in air through my nostrils, which makes me breathe in his spicy, woodsy scent.

He’s close.

So close that I have to stare up at his punishing dark eyes.

“W-what are you doing?” I don’t mean to stutter or speak in such an airy voice, I really don’t, but he’s kind of robbed something from me.

Because he’s a thief. All he does is steal things from me.

First, my respect.

Then my girlhood dreams.

And now, he’s coming after my body.

“From now on, I’ll have a say in it.”


“The curfew. Answering your damn phone. Not getting on the back of a fucking kid’s bike.”

“You…can’t. You’re not my dad.”

“No, but I am your husband.”

“On paper, remember? No touching, remember? It’ll be all over when I’m twenty-one. Do you remember all of those? Because I do. And this marriage means nothing.”

There’s a tic in his jaw. It’s small and barely-there, but I notice it because I notice everything about him. It’s my only superpower.

“It means nothing, huh?” He draws out the words, speaking slowly, but it’s downright menacing.

“Yeah, nothing.”

“Is that why you pulled up your skirt and hopped on the back of a bike with a kid? Because it means nothing?”

“Chris is not a kid, okay? And he can drive that Harley like nobody’s business. That’s what it’s called, by the way, a Harley, not some normal bike.”

“And why did you get on that not-some-normal bike?”

I cross my arms over my chest. “None of your business.”

“Watch your fucking tone. Don’t go on the defensive in front of me or I promise it’ll end ugly—for you, not me. So drop the attitude and your fucking arms.”

I don’t want to, I really don’t, but my arms seem to have a mind of their own as they fall limply to my sides.

“I don’t see why you should care who gives me a ride or who I spend my time with.”

“Is he your boyfriend?”

The question catches me off guard, or the tone does. It’s calm but with a deep, nefarious undertone that makes me curl my toes in my white sneakers.

“What if he is?” I feign nonchalance.

“Answer the question. Is he?”

“I’m not allowed to have one? I’m twenty, you know, and that means I have crushes, boyfriends, and urges. It means I go out and ride motorcycles and do whatever the hell I wish.”

“What type of urges?”


“You said you have crushes, boyfriends, and urges. What are the urges?”

Shit. Of course he’d focus on that part of my word vomit. I should backpedal, pretend it means nothing, but I’m feeling extra ballsy. I feel like being extra bad.

Maybe it’ll hurt worse afterward, but I don’t care. The pain is worth it sometimes.

“Sexual urges,” I whisper in a breathy voice that surprises me.

Apparently, it surprises Nate, too, or maybe my words do, because he goes so tight, I think he’s going to auto-combust or something.

Even his voice is as stiff as the rest of him. “Sexual urges like what?”

“You know.”

“I don’t know. Tell me, Gwyneth, what are the sexual urges you need the not-some-normal bike kid for?”

“K-kissing, for starters.”


“Yeah, with tongue and groping.”


I can feel the fire spreading all over my neck and ears, but I don’t stop. I can’t. “Then he’d finger me.”



“How would he do it? Would his fingers be deep inside you, making you all full?”

Holy shit. I am now. All full, I mean, and it only took his words. They’re not really words anymore. They’ve gained a dimension and are now living inside me, touching me, making me all stuffed with him.

“Yeah…and they feel so good, too.”

“They do, huh?”

Everything in me clenches—my chest, my stomach, and my pussy. It’s clenching so hard, as if I’m trying to keep his fingers there.

“How good?” The rigidness in his voice and posture doesn’t go away. He sounds like he’s on the verge of something. What, I have no clue.


“Describe it.”


“Why not?”

“Because I can only feel it. And that only happens in the moment.” This moment, apparently, because I’m so hot and bothered, I’d only need to touch myself for a few seconds to get my much-needed relief.

“Show me then.”

My head whips up so fast, it hits the wall. But I don’t feel the pain, because his words are still swirling around my head.

“What did you just say?”

I don’t get to see his face or focus on his reaction, because my feet give out and the world turns upside down. No, it’s not my feet or the world. It’s him as he picks me up and throws me over his shoulder.

“You’ll show me all those sexual urges. Now.”


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


not work with dark mode