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Mating Theory: A Trust Fund Standalone Novel <—- Oh how I love stories about opposites that attract (especially when one of ’em is rich, brooding and jaded and the other is homeless on the street) and this is one of those!! YAY US!! And Skye Warren is today’s Friday Finds newsletter sponsor and we are celebrating this week’s HIT release, my friends!

My best friend is getting married to the woman I love. They say the nice guy finishes last. So what’s the point of being a goddamn gentleman?

Maybe I should take what I want.

Even that sexy little thing on the street corner.

She needs a hot meal and a place to sleep. Instead I’m taking her home to soothe the savage beast inside me. I was born a bastard, and for the first time in my life I act like one.

Except the more I use her, the more I need her.

I didn’t know I had someone left to lose.

But for a single heartbeat, I had her.

There’s something worldly in that dark gaze. Any other day I would find out what.

Tonight, I don’t care. She isn’t a person with wants and dreams and needs of her own. I’m going to use her body the same way they used mine. I’m going to take what they took from me.

“Your name,” I say, though it doesn’t really matter.

“Ashleigh.” She sounds uncertain for the first time tonight, her name drawn out into two parts. Ash, like the soot in a fireplace. And leigh, leigh, leigh. She’s beautiful, and I’m wasted.

“Come here, Ashleigh.” Except I don’t give her a chance to come here. She might use it to leave, to disappear down that metal staircase where I can’t follow.

My hand wraps behind her neck, pulling her close. My lips are harsh against hers, hungry and hard. I want to punish her for the emptiness inside me, except when she makes a little sound of fright, it fills me up with something else. Pleasure like black velvet, the kind of darkness I want to stroke my fingers over, back and forth, to feel the fibers pull against me.

Her shuddery breaths are like water, and I drink and drink. My tongue slides against hers. It’s a graphic act, this kiss. More obscene than actual sex could be. More invasive as I push her head back and explore her mouth, not waiting for permission, not leaving any place untouched.

I must taste like whiskey, but she doesn’t pull away.

I’m the one who breaks the kiss, panting hard. Liquid dark eyes stare up at me.

Surprise. More than that. There’s outright shock in her expression. Is she younger than I thought? More innocent than anyone I ever met? I should ask her about sex, but those aren’t the words that come out of my mouth. “Have you ever been in love, Ashleigh?”

A slow shake of her head. “No,” she whispers.

“Good. That’s good.”

“I can pretend.”

“What?”

“For a hundred dollars.”

There’s a drum in my head, pounding, pounding, telling me I’ve got something wrong. Really wrong. “A hundred dollars,” I repeat, wishing my veins weren’t running hot with liquor.

“For an hour. I know how much that suit costs. You can afford it.”

I pull back, moving careful so I don’t tip over. “What are you talking about?”

A cool breeze skates over us, and she shivers. I want to comfort her, but that’s not what this is about. A fast fuck on an abandoned rooftop while the sounds of a massive block party bounce off the buildings around us. And a hundred dollars, apparently. Jesus. I was about to fuck a prostitute.

What’s worse is that I still want to do it. More, because I know she’ll let me do anything.

For a price.

I fumble for my wallet, and she tenses. Maybe it’s her first time selling that sweet little body? Except that worldliness in her eyes… it’s not the first time. My cock is rock hard in my slacks. I pull out the wad of cash that’s inside and press it into her hand without saying a word. A few hundred, I think. “Take it.”

I want to use this girl, but I’m not going to use her like this.

She scoots herself back, only an inch. There’s shame on her face. And hurt, like maybe this rejection matters even though I gave her money.

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