My heart starts pounding erratically, slamming against my ribcage, and my palms are sweaty. I know we’re close, and a layer of anxiety is hovering in the wings, waiting for its cue. The car slows in front of an imposing wrought iron gate bearing the signature K logo.
I rub my hands up and down my jeans as the gates sweep open. The car eases smoothly forward and up a broad tree-lined driveway. A massive flowerbed rests majestically on either side of the lawn, lit up by a multitude of night-lights. The flowerbed is a circular shape, with a precise K-shaped arrangement in the center. White buds rim the border, while vibrant red flowers fill the K, replicating the logo that I feel will be indelibly imprinted on my brain. Honestly, it’s getting a little ridiculous at this point.
The driver pulls the car around the bend, and my jaw slackens as I take in my new home. It’s not at all what I was expecting.
Oh, it’s massive—as in White-House-sized proportions—but it’s a sleek, modern, one-story structure made of glass and wood, with differing angled roofs. It screams sophistication and glamour, and the only time I’ve seen anything like it is while watching MTV Cribs or in glossy magazines that showcase celebrity homes. I’m gobsmacked, but I compose my features and hide the whole “deer in the headlights” look I am no doubt sporting.
The house faces onto an expansive well-manicured lawn. Huge trees border the property at the rear. “We have our own private woods, along with a basketball court, putting green, and an indoor and outdoor swimming pool,” James says. I perk up at the mention of the pools and he notices. “You like to swim?”
I tuck my hair behind my ears. “Yeah. I was on the county swim team back home.”
“There’s a swim team at the school. You should try out.”
The car pulls into an empty spot in the massive garage, beside a souped-up flashy red sports car. James notices my interest. “That’s my baby. Isn’t she a beauty?”
It looks like something a teenage joyrider would steal back home, but I keep that opinion to myself. “Absolutely.”
I’m such a lick arse.
Several black SUVs line up in a row, and I’m guessing those belong to his sons.
The driver stops the car, and I wrap my arms around my waist to stave off the violent trembling that’s taken hold of me.
Their obscene wealth intimidates me.
Not the people.
The driver opens my uncle’s door first before attending to mine. James doesn’t make any move to exit. He looks contemplative. “I hope you’ll be happy here, Faye. Truly, I do.”
“Thank you. Me, too.” I hop out of the car as the driver retrieves my suitcase from the boot.
A splash of color in the corner of the garage captures my attention. Three racing motorbikes rest on an elevated platform. One is orange and blue and there is a multitude of brand logos on the side. The other two bikes are no less impressive. One is painted in a dark shade of green, the other bright yellow. A myriad of similar stickers decorates the side panels. I’m inexplicably drawn to them, and my feet move of their own accord.
Reaching out, I run the tip of my finger along the bodywork and up and down the wheels, my fingers dipping into the grooves in the tires. I can almost feel the enhanced adrenaline in the air. Motorbikes have always excited me, and the pure rush I’m getting is sending tingles of anticipation ricocheting all over my body.
I’m so entranced that I barely register the sound of approaching footsteps.
“Get your hands off my bike.” The deep male cadence verges on a predatory growl. The possessive quality to his voice isn’t lost on me either.
Giant goose bumps sprout on my arms, but I smother my fear and lift my head up in a confident manner. A red flush creeps up my chest and over my neck as a devastatingly good-looking boy reaches my side.
I’m tall—for a girl—and I’m usually pretty much on the level with most guys, but the top of my head barely reaches this dude’s chin, so he’s got to be at least six-two to my five-nine.
His body exudes warmth like a weapon. It crashes into me, almost knocking me off my feet. Slowly, my eyes travel up his body, taking in every ripped, lean, taut inch of him. He’s wearing dark navy jeans and a plain white shirt that’s molded to his perfectly chiseled abs like it’s painted on. I gulp.
They sure don’t grow them like this in Ireland.
My eyes continue their journey, up beyond the inviting, exposed strip of skin at the top of his shirt, and note voluptuous lips that are pinched tight, the light layer of dark stubble on his sculpted chin and cheeks, and the tan, smooth lines of his handsome face. I brace myself, rocking back on my heels, as I stare into stunning pale blue eyes. Framed by a thick layer of inky-black lashes most girls would kill for, his eyes are vast pools that I could easily drown in.
This guy is seriously good-looking, and he knows it, too. Crossing his arms over his chest, he pins me with a venomous look, and I shrink back from the dangerous vibes he’s emitting.
“Are you done drooling yet?”
Poison drips from his words, and everything locks up tight inside me. No matter that he’s right—I was ogling him like he’s my favorite Belgian chocolate ice cream—there’s no way I’m admitting to that. I spread a sneer over my lips and level him with one of my extra-special looks. The ones I usually deploy for cocky, arrogant dickheads. “Don’t flatter yourself. You’re the first specimen of prime American A-hole I’ve seen. I wanted to memorize the form so I know what to avoid the next time.”
He smirks, tilting his head to the side, and waves of smooth, sleek hair hover over his forehead. His hair is shorn real close at the sides but longer on top, styled back off his face. At home, all the guys are into skin fades with slick backs. This dude has a more stylish upper-class version of that.