The entire ACOTAR series is on our sister website:

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!

Ten Trends to Seduce Your Bestfriend: Epilogue


~Several Months Later~

“Did it bother you? When you read Mr. Lorher’s article?”

I studied Ms. Ekker. She sat at the end of the rectangular table, Winnie at the corner on her left. I sat on Winnie’s right. The woman’s questions and manner continued to appear sincere and reasonable. Still, I debated how best to answer.

I’m terrible at predicting how people will react to my honesty because I don’t believe I react normally to other people’s honesty. It doesn’t bother me, it doesn’t typically hurt my feelings, it doesn’t influence me one way or the other. It’s a data point, and I don’t feel pressured by it.

But what form of honesty would Ms. Ekker respond best to? This was the question Winnie had taught me to ask before replying to strangers.

“I didn’t read the article,” I replied honestly and accepted the hardcover book Winnie passed me.

“But your manager told you about it?” Ms. Ekker took notes and also used a transcription application on her phone. We were being recorded.

According to my manager and agent, Harry Lorher had managed to turn the three minutes we’d spent inside the elevator in New York into a ten-thousand-word article denouncing me as an entitled, no-talent hack.

“She did,” I confirmed, glancing at my manager. Pamela stood by the door, ever the faithful guardian. She deserved a raise.

“What was your reaction to her description of the article?”

I shrugged, returning my attention to Ms. Ekker. “Why is it important?”

“I don’t know that it is important,” she said reasonably. “But if someone had printed that I utilized—and mistreated—ghostwriters for all my books, I’d be upset.”

“He said, ‘allegedly,’” I corrected. “He said I ‘allegedly utilize and mistreat ghostwriters.’ In reporter jargon, doesn’t that make it acceptable? For example, I heard Mr. Lorher allegedly eats kittens for breakfast and spends his evenings as a bridge troll in Hampshire. Since I said allegedly, I do believe you can print that.”

Ms. Ekker chuckled.

I gestured to Pamela by the door, letting her know I was ready for another reader to enter the room.

All of this—arranging the profile and interview with Jes Ekker, arranging to have me sign and inscribe the books my publisher had donated, arranging for the quiet room at the middle school so I could meet with each reader individually rather than being overwhelmed by hundreds of people all at once—had been Winnie’s doing.

Weeks ago, Winnie had claimed that she did not excel at pushing people outside of their comfort zone. Either Winnie was ignorant to her own innate talent of encouraging others to try new experiences and be open to wonderful possibilities, or she was a liar.

Winnie was many things, but she was not a liar.

A man entered the room and I focused on smiling as he approached. Winnie had told me I looked handsome and more approachable when I smiled.

“Hello. I’m Byron.”

“Hey. I’m David. Do you take credit card? Or—or cash?”

Glancing up from the book I’d been opening, I lifted an eyebrow at the odd question and responded with an equally odd answer. “Sorry, sir. I only accept items offered in trade—wheels of cheese, barrels of wine, livestock. No bushels of wheat or sacks of grain, though.” I indicated to Winnie with a tilt of my head. “She’s allergic.”

“I—what?” The man gaped, his eyes revealing his panic. “You do?”

Despite my best efforts, my smile fell. “No. That was a joke.” My delivery required work.

“Oh! Sorry. Ha ha.” He laughed, visibly relieved, wiping his forehead. “Sorry. That’s funny. I didn’t expect you to be funny.”

“No one does,” I mumbled, flipping to the second of the title pages, poised to add my signature to it.

Win had talked me into the interview with Ms. Ekker during a moment of weakness (i.e. right after she’d given me a blow job and while she’d been naked) promising that I wouldn’t be asked any questions about my parentage or my family, only about my life as a writer and the inspiration for my books.

She’d argued that giving an exclusive to a serious profile journalist—one who had a reputation for fairness and integrity—would satiate the public’s curiosity about me, especially after the frenzy that had been the Jupiter Awards and Henry Lorher’s unflattering account of our very special three-minute elevator ride of infamy.

Winnie nudged me with her elbow, a quiet rebuke. “You don’t need to pay for the book, sir,” she said, her customer service skills far superior to mine. “You already bought it via the auction.”

Along with the purchase price of the signed book, the winners had been invited to a meet and greet, and for this opportunity they were more than happy to pay double. But to ensure I didn’t feel overwhelmed, the winners who’d opted in waited in a separate area. Only one person at a time was allowed in this room for a chat and to have their book inscribed.

David gestured to me, but his eyes were on Winnie. “Oh. I don’t need to pay for him to sign it?”

Like most people, I did quite enjoy being discussed in the third person.

“No. That was already included in the price.” Winnie’s hand came to my shoulder, likely sensing my irritation.

“Oh. Nice.”

“Who should I make this out to? The same name as the purchaser?” I lifted the invoice, showing it to him.

He angled his head to read the paper. “No, that’s my name. The book is for my son. S-T-E-P-H-E—”

“No.” I stopped writing after the first letter. “My brain doesn’t work like that.”

“Like what?” Ms. Ekker asked.

“I cannot write letters or numbers as they’re called out,” I answered her question, then asked the gentleman, “What’s your son’s name?”

“Stephefen, with an ‘F’.”

I felt my eyes narrow along with the weight of Ms. Ekker’s scrutiny. “Stefan?”

“No. Stephefen. But with an ‘F’.”

Acutely aware that I stared at the man with a face as blank as Mr. Lorhrer’s list of accomplishments, and that Ms. Ekker watched the entire encounter, poised to capture it in all its ludicrous hilarity, I could do nothing. This man and his son’s name had rendered me helpless.

After several harrowing seconds, I broke the awkward silence. “I surrender. I have no idea how to spell that name.” It didn’t sound like a human name. It sounded like the brand name of a pharmaceutical agent used to treat IBS. I didn’t know what “step-a-pe-he-an” was or where an “F” might reside within it.

“Here, sir.” Winnie’s smiling voice cut in. “Could you write the name down on this piece of paper? Then Byron can use that.”

“Sure,” the man said, glancing between us.

I signed the book, I handed it over, I thanked the man for his support of Winnie’s school, and he left.

As soon as the door closed behind him, Ms. Ekker asked, “Did you really tell Mr. Lohrer, quote, ‘Anyone who purposefully reads your sedimentary fecal residue is a leeching shit stain and can also fuck off’?”

“I did.” I accepted the next book from Winnie, turning to meet her gaze, and hoping she would read my mind and give me a kiss.

She gave me a wink instead.

I grunted.

“That seems harsh,” the journalist said conversationally. “Do you usually tell people to fuck off?”


“Why is Mr. Lohrer so special? What did he do to earn your ire?”

“He is special because he harasses me with questions he has no right to ask.” I sent the woman a meaningful look. “And, off the record, he’s in love with his own self-importance and desperately longs for relevancy, which he’s only ever achieved by representing delusions of grandeur and hysterics as truth. As well, given that he turned a three-minute elevator exchange—where thirty percent of my words were fuck and off—into a ten-thousand-word piece of electronic tripe, I suspect, like Victor Hugo, he gets paid by the word.”

“Hmm,” was Jes Ekker’s only response besides her smile.

“What?” I glanced at Winnie, then back at the reporter. “Why are you smiling?”

“You’re funny,” she said. “I didn’t expect you to be this funny.”

“No one ever does,” Winnie mumbled.

This time, when I looked at her, she did read my mind and gave me a kiss.

Friday nights were spent at Amelia and Winnie’s apartment, playing a video game called Stardew Valley with a woman named Serena. She’d been a friend of theirs, and an acquaintance of mine, since undergrad. I enjoyed the game. Serena was fine. But I did grow weary of the three women comparing me to an NPC (non-player character) named Sebastian.

“Look! It’s Byron! He’s taking me out on his motorcycle,” Serena called to us from the small kitchen table, her laptop open in front of her, as though we were three miles away instead of three meters. “This cutscene is so delightfully cheesy.”

“You know, if you marry Byron—I mean, Sebastian—he makes you adopt a frog.” Amelia sat on the other side of the kitchen table, across from Serena. “On the plus side, he’ll sometimes make you coffee.”

“Is this what I can expect if we marry?” Winnie rested her temple on my shoulder. “Frogs and coffee?”

Win and I sat next to each other on the floor of the family room, our laptops set on the coffee table. We’d decided as a group to move our weekly games to my house as soon as Jeff officially moved out.

Winnie hadn’t told me about Jeff’s actions the morning after our first kiss. Jeff had told me just last week, making a joke of it. He was now frantically searching for a new place to live as I’d threatened to place all his belongings in the road if he wasn’t out by tomorrow.

It explained why Winnie had never wanted to spend any time at my awesome house. I’d been worried she didn’t like my home and that I’d have to find someplace new, someplace she adored enough to consider, one day, sharing with me. Thus, I’d experienced both relief and anger when the real reason for her avoidance came to light. I could easily evict Jeff. But giving up my house would’ve pained me.

When I’d asked her why she hadn’t told me about Jeff’s actions, she could offer no explanation. I knew she did her best to communicate her wants and needs, but this revelation served as a good reminder that no lasting change occurs overnight.

She would probably always avoid difficult conversations; I would probably always avoid people; neither of us were perfect, but we were trying our utmost to be better.

Presently, I placed a kiss on her forehead and responded to her question about marrying me, I mean, Sebastian. “You know I want to move to the big city. People just don’t understand me in this small town.”

All three women laughed, and the conversation turned to how Amelia enjoyed giving trash to an NPC named Alex, the impressiveness of Winnie’s wine cellar, and Serena’s anxiety about iridium sprinklers.

I’d quickly learned with these three ladies, making fun of myself produced better results than broadcasting outward irritation at their antics. Oddly, after employing this approach over time, I found I rather enjoyed it too.

“Are you two done with all your challenge videos?” Amelia asked, turning in her chair to peer at us. “Or are you going to keep doing them now that Winnie has that hotshot job with Ethical Cosmetics?”

“There are three challenges we haven’t—uh—done, but we haven’t filmed any in months,” Winnie answered for both of us.

“Which three are left?” Amelia set her elbow on the back of the chair.

“Toxic Dance, Whisper A Secret, and Kiss Your Crush.” With the last, Winnie and I shared a glance.

I’d watched the video of our first kiss and what came after many times, especially on nights when she worked late, or days when her workload kept her from coming over at all. Any fears I’d possessed of my schedule and hyper focus on writing being a source of contention between us had evaporated at the initiation of the school year. Winnie was far, far busier than I.

“What about the leggings one? Didn’t you just post that?” Serena stood from the table, picking up her empty water glass and crossing to the sink.

“I’ve been posting the ones we have banked. The Leggings Challenge is the last one we have done, there are no others recorded.”

“You should do one tonight.” Amelia, still surveying us over the back of her chair, narrowed her eyes on me. “How about the Toxic Dance Challenge?”

I glared at my friend.

She smirked, standing from her chair. “Come on. We should probably end the game soon anyway. How about you two do the Toxic Dance Challenge and I’ll be the camerawoman?”

“Oh! I’ll play the song.” Abandoning her water glass on the kitchen counter, Serena pulled a phone from her back pocket.

Winnie glanced at me.

Tight smile on my face, I shrugged.

“Sure. I think I remember the steps,” she said, standing and then offering me her hand. “Do you know what you’re going to do?”

Nodding, I accepted her hand only so I could pull her forward for a kiss as soon as I was on my feet.

“Oh, don’t worry about Byron.” Amelia meandered into the family room, tapping through screens on her phone. “All those ballroom dancing classes? He’s got moves.”

Winnie laughed, obviously believing our mutual friend’s words to be a joke. They were not a joke. I was an exceptional dancer.

When Winnie had given me the original list of challenges, I’d taken the time to research each one and watch several examples. Initially, I didn’t know whether Win expected me to do the dance along with her, but I’d wanted to be prepared.

“I wish we had better light for this,” Amelia said, lining up the shot while I pushed the coffee table out of the way.

The first notes of Britney Spear’s song “Toxic” reverberated from Serena’s cell phone and Winnie and I got into position, standing next to each other. I remembered most, if not all, of the steps and quickly scanned my memory, arranging them in order.

“Should we—should we do a practice one?” Win asked, pulling off her sweatshirt and tossing it to the couch, her question for Amelia.

Our friend shook her head. “No. I’m recording. It’s almost time. And . . . go!”

And so I went.

Right arm over head. Lips. Touch. Body wave. Pull from waist. Heart hands. Drop. Cross hands. . .

In my peripheral vision, I could see that Winnie had stopped dancing the moment I did the drop, and I felt her shocked stare on me as I completed the steps. Meanwhile, in my forward vision, Serena’s mouth had fallen open, her eyes widening to their maximum diameter.

Amelia, looking unsurprised and unperturbed, simply bobbed her head in time with the music until it was over. But when it was over, she punched her hand in the air and made a whooping noise.

“Damn, Byron. You need to try out for the next ‘Magic Mike.’” Crossing the short distance, Amelia lifted her hand for a high five. I did not leave her hanging.

But Winnie’s choking sounds soon had me glancing her way. Her mouth opened and closed, her gorgeous eyes round with surprise, but heating quickly. She grabbed the front of my shirt, her chest rising and falling with rapid breaths, and I read what was on her mind as though she’d spoken the words out loud.

“Amelia,” she said, never taking her eyes from me. “I will give you a bonus of twenty thousand Chuck E. Cheese tokens if you clear everyone out of here in less than a minute.”

I smiled at the memory even as my body hardened in response. The look in her eye, the intent, the need, were mirrors of mine. I never took for granted the moments I witnessed them reflected in her.

Not waiting for her roommate’s response, Winnie dragged me by the shirtfront to her room, shoved me inside, and kicked the door closed with her foot. Then she attacked, leaping forward and jumping at my torso. I had no choice but to catch her and we both tumbled to her bed in a tangle of limbs and lips and grabbing hands.

Fuck. I loved this. I loved when she was hot for me. I loved when she became mindless in her pursuit of my submission, my loss of control. I loved how greedy she was when we touched, how she never seemed satisfied, her creativity, dedication, and curiosity.

So, fuck me, but right now, in this moment, I didn’t know what I was waiting for.

“Byron—” she said between biting kisses. “Byron, please.” Straddling me, her hands shoved my shirt up and off, her nails scoring my chest. “I need you.”

I groaned and fisted my hand in the hair at the back of her head, loving this spot and the control it gave me over the position of her head, how it forced her mouth open, how it pointed her eyes where I wanted them.

“What do you need, Win?” I pushed my hips up, wanting her to feel what she did to me.

She gasped in my mouth, her body tensing. “Where did you learn to dance like that?”

I didn’t want to talk about dancing.

“Take your shirt off.” I sat up and released her hair, my fingers moving to the front of her jeans, growling a curse when I encountered difficulty with the button. “And take these fucking things off.”

“Yes, sir.” I felt her shiver just before she stood, quickly moving to obey. “Anything else you want while I’m up?” she teased, yanking her tank top over her head and whipping off her jeans along with her underwear.

I watched her, my mouth watering at the sight of her body, my vision blurring everything in the room but her exquisite beauty, her cinnamon eyes, her vibrancy. She stole my breath each time our eyes met. She stole my thoughts with her laugh, rendered me unsophisticated and speechless with her touch.

So what THE FUCK are you waiting for?

My jeans off, my hands at the waistband of my boxer briefs, I paused, shaking my head to clear it. There must’ve been a reason. And it came to me as she unhooked her bra and threw it haphazardly behind her, rushing over again and tackling me once more.

We were always like this. Always frantic. Always mindless and starving for each other’s bodies. I didn’t want that for our first time. I wanted to make love to her.

Filling my hands with her breasts, I groaned, debating. “Win—”

“Me first,” she said, biting kisses from my jaw to my neck to whisper, “Do you want me to sit on your face?”

I groaned again, a spike of pleasurable pain pressing along the base of my spine. “Wait, wait a minute.”

“I don’t want to wait,” she whined, grinding herself against my cock, the fabric of my underwear the only barrier between us.

I need to gain control over the situation. I needed her to slow down. I was so fucking tired of waiting, of waking up in the middle of the night next to her, hard, desperate, the pain and ache of blinding desire, of wanting to be buried inside her sweet body but not yet trusting myself not to spend prematurely.

I wanted her to come. I needed her to come. Which meant I needed to be certain I would last.

“My face,” I said through gritted teeth, reaching for her legs. “Come here.”

I watched her breasts sway as she crawled up my body, spreading her legs over my mouth. Knowing exactly what to do, knowing precisely what she preferred, I made my tongue soft and flat and licked her like I was lapping up cream. And I enjoyed my view.

“Oh God—” she gasped, rolling her hips, tossing her head, arching her back.

She was already close, so close. I could feel it in her restlessness, the inelegance of her rhythm.

Now. Do it now. Make love to her now.

Wrapping my arms around her legs, I held her still and kissed the inside of her thigh. “Win.”

“Yes?” She squirmed against my hold, wanting my lips and tongue.

I cleared my throat of all uncertainty and doubt, and said, “I’m checking in.”

Her body stilled and she looked down at me, blinking. Then she blinked again, the unfocused quality of her gaze clearing, her lips parting with surprise.

I watched her chest rise and fall as realization dawned, quickly followed by a flicker of worry. “You want to . . .?”

She didn’t finish her thought.

Keeping my eyes on hers, I gave the interior of her thigh another kiss, slower, softer than the first. “Yes,” I said. “Do you?”

Winnie swallowed roughly, then nodded. Already shifting to the side, the movements were unhurried, her eyes wide and watchful. She reclined on her back, and I stood to remove my boxers, the gravity of the moment weighing me down.

She must’ve felt it too because she didn’t reach for me like she usually did. She didn’t tackle me or tease me. She simply lay there, her knees pressed together, arms draped over her breasts, eyes huge, and lips swollen from our earlier, frantic kisses. And when I pulled off my boxers, leaving them on the ground, her gaze lowered to my cock. Sucking in a silent breath, her body seemed to tremble as she released it.

I licked my lips, tasting her there, smelling her, my body pulsing, urging me to climb on top of her and between her legs, nestle myself in the wet heat of her pussy. And so I did. Studying her reactions carefully, I placed one knee on the bed and didn’t miss how her lashes fluttered. She inhaled deeply again, this time holding the air in her lungs.

Using my arms to support my weight, I planked over her, watching her face. Her attention seemed to be fastened to the front of my body and I waited for her to open her legs, which she did upon releasing the breath she held. Lowering my hips to the cradle of hers, I felt her hitching breaths and watched her eyes close. She gritted her teeth.

Body rigid, breathing shallow, eyes squeezed shut—I frowned at her posture and expression. This didn’t feel right. I found I needed to check in, and not because we’d agreed to do so. I needed it.

“Are you okay?” I whispered, holding still, waiting for her answer.

She gave her head a jerky nod.

My frown deepened. “Win. Open your eyes.”

She swallowed, and then opened them. They were bracing.


“Just do it. Please.”

Now I swallowed, my throat tight. “Are you dreading this?”

A little laugh burst out of her. “I am. But just this first time. I heard it’s the worst, but it gets a lot better. I’m—I’m sorry.”

“Don’t be sorry. I’m dreading it too.”

Winnie pressed her head back against the pillow, looking surprised. “You are?”

“Yes.” I hadn’t yet lowered myself fully between her legs and my arms began to shake with the effort of holding the plank position.

Her features seemed to relax at my confession, her gaze warming. “Why? Are you afraid I have teeth in my vagina?”

It was my turn to laugh. “No. You have teeth in your mouth and those don’t scare me.”

She made a biting movement, nipping at my lips. “Then why?”

“Because,” I confessed hoarsely, “I can’t predict how it’ll end.”

She stared at me, her expression warming, then heating, a small smile tilting her mouth up on one side. “It’s not going to end,” she whispered. “This isn’t the end. This isn’t the beginning either.”

“Then what is it?”

Her hands lifted, touching me for the first time since I climbed over her. One palm settled on my ass while the other reached around to my front. She fisted me and my eyes rolled back, my arms bending by degrees as she guided me forward.

“It’s the middle,” she said, stroking me, spreading her legs wider and tilting her hips in offering. “Make love to me, Byron.” Winnie kissed my eyelids, my nose. “Make love to me.”

Swallowing thickly, I opened my eyes to find her watching me, grounding me, anchoring me, telling me that her love for me would be as constant and eternal as my admiration and love for her.

And so I said, “Make love to me too, Win.”

“I will.” Winnie’s chin wobbled even as she smiled, and then she promised me, “Always.”

*The End*


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