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Excerpt for Boss Me Please (Boss Me Series, Book One): (A Billioniare Steamy Romance Series) by , available in its entirety at Smashwords

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Boss Me Please

A Steamy Billionaire Romance Series



Book One





Brooke Kinsley

© 2016 All Rights Reserved

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other non-commercial uses per law

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.



"Pornography is about dominance. Erotica is about mutuality."-Gloria Steinem









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Content



Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven



About The Author







Description

When math genius Stephanie gets a scholarship to the prestigious Knightswood University in London, she’s both excited and terrified. She’ll have to leave everything behind in Kansas, but she’ll be finally appreciated for her intelligence. Finding herself plunged into the center of English university life, she soon becomes popular and finds her footing as one of the school’s most gifted students.

What she doesn’t know is that billionaire and previous Knightswood student, Fredrick Milton is volunteering in her class in a bid to source the most talented mathematicians.

When a mysterious test is placed in front of her and she finds herself getting top marks, she’s soon pushed into his orbit. She can’t deny how handsome he is and he has eyes for her too! But when the two find themselves alone in her dorm will things finally heat up, or will Fredrick’s big mouth land him in trouble?



Chapter One

The smell of sweat is heavy in the air. It's making my nostrils twitch even though my face is pushed down into the seat, the upholstery scuffing away the skin on my cheek.

"Slow down, Jon."

He grunts and begins to rock back and form in a less frantic rhythm.

"I'm sorry," he says with his voice strained and faint. "I can't help it. You just make me so horny, you know."

He grunts again and slides his hand around my front to cup a breast.

"They're getting bigger," he says.

I'd been thinking that too. They were usually flat and rather sad to look at, loitering somewhere over my ribcage under a brown, threadbare bra. But this morning, as I'd stepped into the shower, I had noticed there was now a fullness to them. I'd clutched them tight between my fingers and for once, thought they looked pretty good. Maybe it was the extra weight I'd been carrying recently. Behind me, Jon shifts his weight.

"You're always so tight and juicy," he moans as he pinches my nipples. "You always were the best."

Leaning forward, he strokes the sweat dampened hair from my eyes and kisses my bare back.

"I'm close, sweetheart. Are you?"

I whimper with my lips still pressed into the seat belt.

"Rub me," I cry. "Like this."

Pulling his hand away from my breast, I move it down in between my legs. His fingertips connect with the slick wetness that's covering my engorged clitoris.

"Oh, God."

He rubs it furiously as he glides in and out of me.

"Yeah... Fuck!"

I'm screaming as I feel an orgasm approach. My knees are burning against the polyester seat cover but in the moment, the pain only seems to intensify the pleasure.

"Fuck!"

He begins to move faster again, reaching a steady speed as the pickup truck squeaks as we rock it from side to side. Outside, the rain is pelting down in waves over the windscreen, the noise covering my voice. In the distance, I can hear a door bang open and closed in the ferocious wind. Somewhere a sheep bleats, then there's the creak of a tree branch as it bends in the breeze.

"Choke me," I gasp.

"What?"

For a moment, he slows down as though he's about to stop.

"I said fucking choke me!"

"Are-are you serious?" he stutters

"Uhuh..."

I replace his hand with mine and slide two fingers around my clitoris. My fingers touch the shaft of his penis and I move a little further back until my hand is clenched tight around his balls.

"Woah!Easy, girl."

His hands are around my neck. I can feel his fingers touch my windpipe.

"Harder!" I demand.

"I'm not really sure about this," he says.

But his rock hard erection says otherwise.

"I know you wanna do it," I half-laugh as I turn my head to look up over my shoulder.

His face is crimson red with a vein popping out the front of his forehead. There's a small line of spit along his lower lip and the tendons in his neck are pulled taught.

"Fuck, Stephanie. I dunno."

"Just do it!"

He hesitates.

"Go for it!"

He grips my throat hard and I start to feel the air supply being shut off. The blood leaves my head and travels south. The heat between my legs builds up as I grow wetter. The sides of my vision start to blur and suddenly the sound of the rain starts to drift away. Then I can't see a thing. There's only blackness and silence and I'm nothing but my thoughts and the pleasure that's pulsing in my vagina.

I climax hard, my whole body trembling as I fall onto the gearstick. It hits me in the stomach and for a second, the pain threatens to spoil it.

"Oh, God!"

My blood's rushing to my ears. I'm convinced I'm about to pass out. I might even die. Then I feel him pump his ejaculate into me as his buttocks clench and he's letting go, his fingers slithering away as he sits back on his heels.

My vision comes back to me in a haze of colors; the faded blue of the seat, the inky black plastic of the door. I can smell the spearmint air freshener that's dangling from the rearview mirror, almost taste the sweat that's coming from both our bodies.

The sound of the rain returns and it's then that I notice how heavy it is. I wonder why the truck seems to be rocking all by itself, then I realize it's the wind that's jerking it around. Gulping in a lungful of air, I latch my fingers onto the door and pull myself up. My back aches from being bent over and there are pins and needles in my legs from being scrunched up. Behind me, Jon is breathing hard, the smell of his whisky breath drifting over to me. I'm breathing heavier with the pain in my chest dissipating with each breath I take.

"You're a real dirty girl," he gasps.

I pull up my jeans and fasten my bra at the back.

"I'm not dirty, I'm... I don’t know, bored of the usual, I guess."

Pulling down the passenger mirror, I look at my mascara that's smudged down over my cheeks. Mom'll think the rain did it. Meanwhile, my hair is puffed up at the back. I tug at the tangles but my stubborn, curly hair won't budge.

"You ok?" he asks as he zips up his pants.

"Yeah," I sigh.

He's looking at me strangely.

"You don't look it."

"I'm fine! Just...Recovering."

"That was wild, weren't it?"

"Yeah, pretty crazy."

Looking at my neck in the mirror, I see dark red marks start to form on my pale skin.

"Are you sure you're ok?"

"Yes!"

"It's just..."

I glare at him and he closes his mouth. Noticing my belt's still undone, I lift up my hips to get a better angle and see the stripes across my skin. I was always told the stretch marks would fade eventually but they never did. Even my attempts at tattooing over them had failed.

"They're kisses from lightning bolts," my mother had told me. "You're a daughter of Thor."

But her words had fallen on deaf ears. They were an ugly reminder of what I had lost and I couldn't ever see them as something beautiful.

"Have a lot on your mind?" Jon asks.

"Wow, you're asking a lot of questions today."

He purses his lips and pulls out his pouch of tobacco from his jacket pocket.

"Hey, roll me one, will you?"

"Sure," he smiles.

"If you must know..."

There's a lump in my throat. I know what I have to say but nothing's coming out.

"Jon... I have something to tell you."

He licks the edge of the cigarette paper and rolls it up into a perfect tube, something he's been able to do since he was nine years old.

"Jon, I'm leaving."

"Leaving town?"

I shake my head.

"Leaving the state?"

"Leaving the country," I say with tears pricking my eyes.

He's staring at me as though he's waiting for the punch line to a joke. When it doesn't come, his mouth drops and his hand shake as he hands over the cigarette. I light it and take a deep inhale of the toxic smoke.

"You're joking. You must be. Steph, tell me you're not being serious."

"I'm being serious. I got the scholarship. Remember I applied to do mathematics at Knightswood University?"

He nods and blinks.

"Sure, I remember but... I didn't think..."

"You didn't think I was smart enough to get it."

"I didn't say that!"

For a long while, we sit in silence blowing smoke out into the cab of the truck and watching the rain.

"How long have we known each other?" he asks as he stubs his cigarette out in an empty soda can.

"Since I was four, no five."

"I always thought the two of us would end up married. Even after you got pregnant with Henry's kid, even when we never officially got together, I always thought you were the one, you know."

"I never thought that," I say. "Shit, I mean, I didn't mean to be so blunt but, Jon," I take his hands in mine. "I've always wanted more. You know that."

He doesn't say anything, just swallows and looks out the windshield.

"You always said those things; how you wanted to travel, meet new people and study abroad but shit, I thought they were just pipe dreams!"

He sniffs and pulls his hands away.

"You'll be back, though, right?"

"At Christmas," I say. "I'll be back then."

"So that's it. Just a few weeks here and there."

I don't answer.

"England..." he breathes, "You're really moving to England."

"I'm really moving to England."

"I should be happy for you."

Yet, I can sense that he's never been more miserable.

"When did you find out?"

"The letter came this morning."

He starts rolling another cigarette. As I watch him I remember all the years we've known each other and how he'd always been here for me. When I was at my most unlovable, he was at my door with a bottle of whiskey and a pack of smokes. When I thought I'd never smile again, he'd had me doubled over laughing. When I said I've never trust another man, he'd held me gently and never once tried to change my mind.

"I have to go," I blurted out. "

"Steph, don't. Stay a while."

"Sorry."

I leap out the truck and wince as the rain lashes my face. Then I run through the trees toward my front door. Mom’s on the porch with a coffee in her hand and she looks up when she sees me running.

"Where the hell have you been?"



Chapter Two

"So, I suppose you'll be drinking tea by the gallon and paying your way through college working as a chimney sweep."

My sister Susan's standing behind me but I can see her reflection in the switched off television. She thinks I can't see her and face that’s twisted up into a jealous snarl, a cigarette precariously perched in between her teeth.

"And what will you be doing?" I ask.

She huffs and shifts her weight from hip to hip.

"How should I know?"

There are frantic noises coming from the kitchen. Mom's attempting to bake something but it doesn't sound like it's going to plan. There's the sound of cupboard doors being slammed shut along with her mumbling profanities under her breath. The strong smell of burning is wafting through to the living room but that might just be Susan's cigarette. Everything in this house smells rotten.

"I'm going to pack," I huff and begin walking up the stairs.

Susan glowers after me as I walk away. A loud clatter comes from the kitchen.

"Jesus fucking Christ!" mom shouts and Susan laughs.

I close my bedroom door behind me and pinch the bridge of my nose. If I never see this place again it'll be too soon.

"Urgh..."

Sitting on the edge of the bed, I lower my head into my hands and begin to weep. The letter of acceptance is on the floor in front of me, wedged in between some balled up socks and a wet towel. I don't know why I'm crying. For once, luck is on my side, but I can't shake the feeling that I'm doing something wrong by leaving my family behind.

"Steph?"

"What is it, Susan?"

"Can I come in?"

"No."

She pauses for a second.

"I won't shout at you, I promise."

I rub at my eyes with my sleeve and open the door with a sigh.

"What?"

She pushes past me and sits at my desk looking around at the stacks of books. My sketchbook is in front of her, flipped open to a nude sketch I'd attempted to copy from an Egon Schiele book I found in the library. She wrinkles up her nose at it.

"You did this?"

I nod.

"What? So you like women now as well?"

"No. I just like to draw them."

"Why did you draw her tits all weird like that? They're all flat and sad."

"Susan..."

She hasn't finished.

"What the fuck is chaos theory?"

She opens a textbook that's lying at her feet.

"This may as well be in Chinese for all I care. Why do you even read this stuff?"

"It's fun."

I snatch the book away from her.

"It's also, if you haven't noticed, my future."

"Right... Advanced mathematics at Knightswood University. Where is it again?"

"North London."

"Well, say hello to Harry Potter for me."

I close my eyes and take a deep breath.

"Can't you please be happy for me?"

She shrugs and stubs her cigarette out on the window ledge.

"Sure. I'm happy for you."

"You don't look it."

She doesn't say anything.

"What do you want, Susan? Did you just come in here to belittle me? I've got more important things to do right now."

"Huh, so you think you're better than me now."

"I literally never said that."

"You didn't need to," she says as she rolls her eyes. "Anyway, mom wants you downstairs. Dinner's ready."

~

I'm sitting at the table feeling awkward. We never eat at the table. In fact, I can't remember the last time we even ate dinner together. The dining room table is usually reserved for overflowing ashtrays and unfinished puzzles. Now it’s packed out with matching crockery and bowls of roasted vegetable. In the center sits a plump, steaming chicken.

"Mom, you shouldn't have."

"It's my last night with you," she sniffs. "The least I can do is make you dinner."

"I appreciate it. I really do."

Susan is ominously silent with her arms folded across her chest. Mom sniffs again. I look up and see there are tears in her eyes. She gulps down a mouthful of scotch and slams the glass down on the table.

"Mom, please. Don't be upset. I'll be home at Christmas and Spring Break."

"I just can't believe it. My baby going to college across the other side of the world. You won't forget us, will you?"

"What? No!" I insist as I reach for the potatoes. "We can talk anytime you want for free online. It's really no big deal and I'll send you pictures every day."

"Make sure you do," she says as she points her fork at me. "Now tuck in."

The food's good, really good and I'm chewing down on a piece of juicy chicken when Susan blurts out:

"Make sure you take it easy over there. Don't want you turning into a drunk again."

"Susan!" mom shouts.

"But it's true. She was a drunk, a terrible drunk. That's why the baby died inside her."

I screech my chair back and stand up.

"Why have you got to ruin everything, Susan? Why! Because you're jealous? Is that it?"

She sets her knife and fork down and lights a cigarette.

"Susan, no smoking at the table!" mom shouts as she tries to slap it out her hand. "Now girls, calm down and eat your dinner. This is the last night it'll be the three of us until who knows when."

I look at my sister's smug, satisfied face. She's enjoying every second of my misery.

"Fuck this!"

I storm away.

"Steph? Come back!" mom calls after me.

But the tears are tumbling down my face and I'm running up the stairs. I can hear mom arguing as I run.

"See what you've done. She doesn't need this! She's had a hard enough time already."

"Shut up, mom. She knows I'm not being serious."

~

The airport is huge, almost like a self-contained city and I'm completely overwhelmed by the situation. Mom is crying and sniveling into a tissue while Susan waits in the car. We're amongst a dozen other people saying their goodbyes by the departure lounge.

"Come here," I pull mom into a cuddle. "I'm really going to miss you. Are you going to be ok?"

I can feel her head nodding in my arms.

"I'll be fine," her muffled voice says.

She looks up to me, her meager frame seeming so small and vulnerable as I hold her. Her eyes are all bloodshot and as I look down to the top of her head, I see a single gray hair poke out from her scalp. Suddenly, she seems so old and I can't bear the thought of leaving her.

"Mom, I got to go but I love you."

"I love you too. Your dad would have been so proud of you. He always said you were the smart one."

"And Susan got the looks, right?"

We both burst out laughing and pull apart. Above us, the speakers announce my flight's ready to be boarded and I wipe a tear off my cheek.

"I feel like I'm about to throw up," I say. "What if I hate London? What if I have a meltdown as soon as I get off at Heathrow?"

She smiles and rubs my arms.

"You'll do great. You're the toughest person I know."

She reaches up on tiptoes to kiss my cheek and we both start crying even harder.

"I'll call as soon as I arrive."

"I'll be waiting," she says as she turns away. "Love you!"

She blows me a kiss and I pretend to catch it. I watch her disappear into the hordes of people before I walk away.

Twenty minutes later I'm sat in the seat that's to be my home for the next eight hours. I reach over to pull a magazine out of the chair in front of me and I notice my hands are shaking, giving the impression that the tattoo on my wrist has momentarily come alive. The small teddy bear with the words until we meet again jitter and I trace a finger over it.

Above, the pilot's voice is coming from a little speaker above my head but I'm not listening to a word he says. The engine roars beneath me and a minute later we're in the air, my stomach lurching as I clutch the arm rest and realize I've never been more scared in my entire life.



Chapter Three

"Knightswood, eh? I'm always picking up students from there. They love a good party, don't they?"

The taxi driver hasn't shut up since he picked me up at the airport.

"So is this your first year?"

"Yep!"

"And first time in London?"

"Yep!"

"Ah, well welcome to the city! I've lived here all my life. Wouldn't be anywhere else."

We break at a stop light and to my right sits the Thames with the late summer sun glinting off the water. Tourists cover the sidewalk taking photographs of anything and everything.

"I always thought I'd quite like to go to university someday," the driver muses as he speaks to me via the reflection in the rear view mirror. His pale, blue eyes are loitering on my neck where my raven tattoo sits. He runs a hand through his gray-streaked hair and sighs.

"How come you never did?" I ask although I'm not really interested in hearing the answer.

"Could never afford it," he replies. "Costs a bloody fortune to get a degree these days."

"I'm lucky. I got a scholarship."

"You are lucky! You must be a genius or something."

I look out the window embarrassed. Genius seems like such a pretentious word.

"What's your accent anyway? American, right?"

"Kansas," I say. "Just outside of a place called Lawrence."

"Never heard of it," he says as he pokes out his lower lip in thought.

"Don't worry. No one has."

He pulls away from the lights and points into the distance.

"We're here," he says waving his hand across the windshield.

Rolling down the window, I poke my head out slightly. As we drive into the campus, I see how large and sprawling the grounds are. It's everything I expected it to be.

"Know where you're going?" the driver asks.

"I'm meant to check in at a building called Foxley Halls."

"I know it!" he nods with a smile. "The number of drunk kids I've brought back there."

He sniggers and shakes his head.

"Thanks and think about going back to school, won't you?"

I pay the driver and he gives me a friendly smile and a wink.

"Good luck!" he calls out the window as he drives away. "And behave yourself!"

I'm not alone, standing in front of the dormitory halls with two huge suitcases by my side. There are other girls here who look just as confused as I do except most of them have their parents with them. A girl beside me is practically bouncing up and down with excitement, her long, blonde hair bobbing from side to side.

Her mother huffs and pulls things out the car.

"Now, now, Amelia, calm down. We've got so much to do. We have to make your bed and get your television upstairs and unpack all your toiletries..." the mother frowns as she struggles with a large, red trunk.

This is it, you've made in one piece. Now all you have to do is find your room and...

"Hello!"

A willowy redhead with a clipboard walks over.

"You look a little lost. Are you moving into Foxley today?"

I nod and look up at her. In my boots, I'm five foot ten and she must be at least four inches taller than me. She's painfully thin too with her delicate wrists adorned in pearls.

"Here, I got this."

Pulling out the acceptance letter from my pocket, I'm a little embarrassed to see it's almost falling apart from all the times I've reread it.

"Let me see."

She takes it from my finger with a perfectly manicured hand.

"Floor 3, room, C," she says. "That's easy to remember. I'll take you up."

Following her inside the building, I'm hit by the chaos of hundreds of students milling around the stairwell in varying states of a meltdown. Some are excited and seem to have buddied up with others already while some are simply staring into space while their parents take charge.

"Okay, here we are!" the redhead sings as she points to my bedroom door. "Now you'll be sharing this floor with eleven other girls."

"Eleven!"

What if they hate me? I instantly think.

"Don't look so worried. Everyone's delightfully lovely," she says.

If they're anything like you I'll blow my brains out.

"Well, good luck with everything," she says as she makes her way back down the stairs. "If you need anything my office is on the bottom floor."

I watch her leave and wonder how she can walk down the stairs so quickly in her heels.

"So you've met Miss Battersby already then?" a voice says from behind me.

I turn around and see a short girl with a blue bob and a septum piercing. She's wearing an Avenged Sevenfold t-shirt and holding a coffee that smells incredible.

"Gingerbread latte?" I ask as I point at the cup.

"Yeah!You want one? One of the girls brought her own espresso machine. How crazy is that?"

She leads me inside.

"I'm Alex by the way."

"Stephanie," I reach out a hand awkwardly and she shakes it quite formally while giving me an amused look.

Why the hell did I just do that?

Walking down the hallway, I'm hit by a strong girly smell coming out from all the rooms; sweet perfume, coffee, and scented candles.

"Hey, I think we're a full house now," Alex announces as we walk into the living room.

Everyone turns to stare at me and I'm suddenly overcome by the feeling of being out of place.

"I'm Stephanie," I mumble.

"Woah, is that an American accent?" somebody asks. "Cool!"

"Kansas," I explain. "Just outside of Lawrence."

"London girl born and bred," Alex says. "But there's not many of us in here. Jenny here is from Mumbai," she gestures to an impossibly beautiful girl in the corner with eyes that are so large and brown she looks like a Disney character.

"Hello!" she wiggles her fingers at me.

"And Gemma here is from Liverpool," Alex points to a petite blonde in an oversized sweater.

"I keep telling you it's Newcastle!"

Alex shrugs.

"Kansas..." Someone else muses out loud. "Isn't that where Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz lives?"

I see a girl with onyx black hair sitting on the floor rolling a cigarette. I notice her knuckles are tattooed with runes.

"Yeah... that's right. Are those the Zeppelin runes?" I gasp as I point to her hand.

"Yeah, I was raised on a diet of twenty-minute drum solos and patchouli," she laughs. "You into Led Zeppelin?"

"Damn right!"

"Awesome," she says in an accent I can't quite identify. "You wanna come for a walk?" she asks. "Tale a walk around campus?"

"Sure!"

After dumping my suitcases in my room, a small box like space with a single bed, a desk and the smell of fresh paint lingering in the air, Alex, me and rune fingers head outside.

"You ever get tornados in Kansas?" Alex asks.

"Sometimes."

"Crazy," says rune fingers.

"What's your accent?" I ask.

"Welsh," she sighs.

"I've been to Wales once," says Alex. "It pissed it down the whole time I was there."

"Yeah... that sounds about right. I'm Morgana by the way."

"Morgana! You must have some weird parents," I joke.

"I do," she smiles.

We make our way around the grounds, the campus buzzing and filled with fresh faces.

"I think we're the odd ones out already," says Alex.

"I was thinking that too," says Morgana.

"Me too."

Everyone seems so clean cut and normal. Whereas the three of us are clad in black despite the warm weather and have tattoos that aren't something cute and meaningless like a lotus flower or a butterfly.

"Hey, I didn't realize there was going to be a reunion for the cast of The Craft," a voice comes from an upstairs window.

We look up and see a group of guys laughing at us as they drink beer. Behind them, terrible dance music is playing and I shudder.

"Okay, so this area is a no-go zone," I say.

"Agreed," Morgana nods as she fiddles with the piercing in her eyebrow.

"So are you in advanced mathematics too?" Alex asks.

"Yeah!"

"Me too!" squeals Morgana.

"Awesome! Although I can't help but think I'm a lot older than you two. I'm twenty-one, everyone else here is like what, eighteen?"

"Nineteen," Alex corrects me.

"Yeah, eighteen," Morgana smiles.

I look around the campus to see if there's anyone else who looks about my age and I'm drawn to a boy in a red sweater who's walking his bicycle across the grass. But as he gets closer I see that he looks as young as everyone else.

"Don't get down about it," Alex playfully punches me in the arm. "You can be the wise one out the three of us."

"I guess. Hey, you wanna see where the nearest bar is?"

"Sounds like a plan," Morgana smiles as she begins to roll another cigarette.

And I realize that I never did get that gingerbread latte.



Chapter Four

There's a buzz in the air. People are chattering in hushed voices with their new stationary spread out in front of them. People are whispering and passing notes back and forth while the lecturer screeches his name on the board in chalk.

"Mr. Gibbons!" he announces.

Everyone shuts up and looks down at the cocky yet frail old man in the tweed suit and oversized glasses. He's wearing a bow tie, something I'm not sure is being worn ironically or not. He tweaks at the sides of it as he talks as though it were a mustache.

"May I welcome you all here. It is, after all, your first lecture here at Knightswood and I can sense the vibrancy coming from all your young minds already. What I would do to be in your place once again."

I lean over to Alex and whisper:

"Are all the lecturers here going to be so quaint and eccentric?"

"Probably," she huffs and starts doodling a skull on the front of her notebook.

Jenny looks over her shoulder to see who's talking and, seeing it's us, flashes a dazzling smile while tangling a tendril black hair around a slender finger.

"Are the rumors true?" she asks.

I lean forward and make sure Gibson isn't looking in our direction.

"What rumors?"

"That Fredrick Milton is here."

"Who's that?" I ask.

"Milton?" Alex joins in looking horrified. "Are you serious?"

"He was seen on campus," Jenny says. "Walking toward the maths department."

"You're shitting me!" Alex gasps. "That bastard better not be here."

"Erm... Ladies!"

Gibson pretends to clear his throat and raps his knuckles against the blackboard.

"Is this lecture interrupting your conversation?"

"Sorry," I croak.

"Yeah, sorry," Alex mumbles and resumes her doodling.

Gibson holds my gaze for a second looking thoroughly annoyed before resuming his lesson.

"The Golden Ratio..." he tugs at his bow tie as he walks across the front of the room, "All of you will be familiar with it, though many of you won't know that..."

"Hey," I nudge Alex in the ribs. "Who's Fredrick Milton?"

"A scumbag!" Morgana says as she leans over Alex's lap. "He's a billionaire, has ties to arms dealers and the pharmaceutical industry."

"Made his fortune in real estate," Jenny says over her shoulder.

"And he also funds the conservative party," Alex sneers.

"He's also insanely handsome," Jenny swoons with her eyes shining at the thought of him.

"He's a war mongering twat!" Alex rages.

"He's also a mathematical genius and graduated from this very college," Jenny seethes through gritted teeth.

"Ladies!" Gibson yells.

We all jump and look up ahead as though we weren't doing anything.

"Do I need to send you out?" he asks. "Or can you behave yourselves? This isn't high school, you know."

"I'm sorry," I say again.

"Sorry!" Jenny ducks down and starts scribbling away in her notebook as she catches up.

"So..." he continues, "Now that I have ALL of your attention, I'd like to move on. As many of you are aware," he looks right at us with a mischievous glint in his eyes. "We have a special guest on campus, someone who you are all most fortunate to meet."

"It's true..." Alex whispers as she grips her pencil until her knuckles turn white.

Meanwhile, Gibson is striding up and down with his chest swelled up with pride.

"Frederick Milton!" he says. "One of the most forward thinking men on Earth, the greatest rugby player this university ever knew, mathematics prodigy and world Tetris champion! He's also pretty good with money."

A sarcastic ripple of laughter waves over the room. Then silence. We're all staring down at the old man and waiting for the grand reveal but nothing seems to be happening. Gibson's watching the door to his left as though the more he squints his eyes, the more likely Milton will walk through it.

"Has he gone mad?" I ask.

"I hope so," Morgana giggles.

Soon everyone is murmuring and wondering what's going on. Some of the guys down the front are getting restless.

"So is he coming or what?" one of them shouts.

"Calm down," Gibson waves a hand dismissively. "He'll be-"

"He's not here is he?" someone else interrupts.

The guys at the front are loving the chaos, jostling each other and laughing.

"He's stuck on the underground," one of them jokes.

"Yeah, or his Lamborghini broke down."

"Gentlemen," Gibson says with a hint of desperation in his voice.

"Milton!" one of the guys shouts and hits his hands off his desk.

"Milton!" someone else joins in.

"Noooo, don't' start," Gibson claps a hand to his forehead.

Alex starts giggling and shouts out:

"He's probably too busy selling landmines to children to make it!"

Gibson glares at her while the guys continue to shout.

"Milton!"

"Milton!

"Milton! Milton! Milton! Milton!"

The room erupts into a cacophony of chants and we all start slapping our desks while Gibson looks as though he's on the brink of having an aneurysm. When his face turns so red he begins to resemble a burn victim, he slumps down in his seat and buries his head in his hands.

Then a subtle knock comes from the door.

Everyone goes silent.

"Hello?" Gibson asks with a quivering voice.

The handle rattles for a moment before the door opens.

"Hello? Advanced mathematics with Mr. Gibson? I'm SO sorry I'm late. I got the rooms mixed up and I'm afraid I missed my big entrance."

Fredrick walks in gushing apologies and Gibson is staring up at him as though he's Jesus. Shit, he IS handsome. I feel myself blushing and press my fingers to my cheeks. Then I look at the other girls in the room and they're all shifting in their seats and smiling uncontrollably.

"Don't tell me you're falling for his boyish charms and ridiculously high cheekbones," Alex asks enraged.

"No! I'm just too hot in here with all these people."

She eyes me suspiciously for a second.

"Hmmmm..."

Fredrick Milton. I'd never heard of him until two minutes ago but now he's all I can think about. He's looking around the room at us and I can sense the eagerness coming from all the students, can practically smell all the attention seeking thoughts as they all want him to spot them. Jenny's smiling so wide it looks as though her cheeks have been stapled into place. Fredrick scans the rows and for a second he lingers on her, smiles then looks up at me. I feel his gaze burn into my face and glance away with my hair falling over my eyes.

Meanwhile, Morgana and Alex couldn't look more disinterested as they keep their heads down and their arms crossed.

I look up through my hair and watch as he leans back on Gibson’s desk and joins his hands together.

"Wow. It only seems like yesterday that I was in this room having this exact same lesson with Mr. Gibson here."

The old man smiles beatifically, closes his eyes, and nods.

"Of course, it wasn't yesterday. It was almost sixteen years ago!"

His voice is smooth and sophisticated yet clipped and curt as though he wouldn't wish to waste a single iota of airspace.

"Some of you will know me as the guy from Lion's Lair. You might think of me as a bit of a hard bastard who likes to give people a rough time."

Alex snorts and I elbow her.

"But I can assure you that side to me is just that, a side to my working life. Hopefully, at my time volunteering here at Knightswood, you'll all get to see a different side to me and maybe I'll even get to inspire a few of you to become billionaires too!"

Someone at the front whoops and Fredrick reaches over to high five them.

"Yeah! Like your enthusiasm, mate."

Someone else leans if for a high five and Fredrick turns away without noticing. The poor kid leans out the front of the class like he's trying to hitch a ride, then rests like that as though that's what he intended all along.

"So this is a fleeting visit," Fredrick explains as he looks down at his Rolex. "But I'd really like to get to know you all. How about a few of you stand up and say a little something about yourselves?"

There's total silence as everybody sits like a statue.

"Come on, anybody! He looks across the rows of people. "How about you?" he points in my direction and I assume he's pointing at someone behind me. "You, the one with the raven tattoo on your neck."

"Me?" I gasp.

"Yes! Stand up."

I feel as though my stomach is about to fall out my ass but I manage to stand up anyway and stutter:

"Wh-what do you want me to say?"

"Just introduce yourself," he smiles.

I look down at Jenny and see the jealousy in her narrowed eyes.

"Oh, okay. I'm Stephanie Blomquist and I'm twenty-one."

"Great accent!" he says. "American?"

"Kansas," I say for the hundredth time in the last twenty-four hours. "Just outside of Lawrence."

"Cool. Well, it's nice to meet you, Stephanie.” He turns to the others. “Who's next?"

He's about to point at an eager young redhead in the front row when he looks at my arm and does a double take.

"Hey! What's that?"

"This?" I look down at my bicep. "It's the equation for entropy."

His face lights up and he grins.

"Fantastic!" he claps his hands together. "Stephanie and entropy, it almost rhymes."

He moves away and begins talking to some other students but I'm not hearing anything else he's saying. My heart is hammering in my chest and my palms are sweaty. A billionaire knows my name, I think. An insanely gorgeous, smart as shit billionaire.



Chapter Five

"Are you Googling that Milton prick?"

"Maybe..."

Alex is sitting across from me watching television. Morgana is beside her on the bed rolling a cigarette and nodding her head to the song that's playing.

"Why do so many girls even find him attractive?" Alex moans.

I slam my laptop shut and shrug.

"I don’t know. He's super confident."

"And mega rich," Morgana says.

"Well, yeah, that as well but it's more like he walks around like he's a king or something," I say.

"Yeah!" Morgana grins. "He just walked into our classroom today like everybody in it adored him already."

"Jesus, Morgana. Not you as well," Alex says outraged.

"I can't help it. I'm only human."

"So was Hitler!"

"Are you comparing me to Hitler because I find Milton sexy?"

I let the two of them argue while I slip out into the hall to make a quick phone call. I'm lingering on the stairs listening to the dial tone when I overhear the sound of two girls on the floor below me. I lean over the banister and see them smoking on the landing below.

"Hey, you wanna sweet piece of gossip?" one of them asks.

"Er... obviously."

"That billionaire with the face of an angel is on campus."

"Yeah, he was in the math department earlier."

"No, I mean he's on campus right now! In the bar at the union knocking back pints with Mr. Gibson."

"No way!"

"Yep."

Suddenly the dial tone disappears and I can hear mom's voice hitting off my ear.

"Sweetheart! How's it going'?"

"Oh, great!"

"That's fantastic. We miss you so much already."

"We? You mean you miss me so much already."

She's silent for a moment and I can hear her knocking her tongue off her front teeth.

"How's London anyway?" she changes the subject. "You seen all the big sights yet?"

"Nah. Haven't really been off campus that much since I got here. Hopefully going to head into the city at the weekend, though."

There's a commotion on the other end of the line and I can hear Susan in the background shouting about something.

"Sorry, honey. I got to go now," mom says.

"That's okay. I'll call you back tomorrow."

"Ok, love you."

I hang up with a heavy heart. Somehow Susan even manages to ruin my night from the other side of the planet. I sigh and rub at my temples as a headache starts to spread across my forehead. The smell of smoke is still heavy in the air and I look over the banister again to see the girls have gone. Heading back into Alex's room, I'm suddenly hit with an idea.

"Hey," I interrupt their bickering. "I'm bored staying in. We should head over to the union and get a few drinks."

"Good idea," Morgana unfolds her legs out from under her body and stretches them out. "I'm getting cabin fever in here.”

~

The three of us are staring at him. Alex is just glaring as though she's trying to kill him with her mind while Morgana is lustfully looking at his ass. I'm more fascinated with his face with its regal bone structure. His eyes are the same deep brown as his hair and his complexion is immaculate and tanned like he's just back from a luxurious vacation.

"You two make me sick," Alex moans. "I don't know what you see in him."

We ignore her.

"I mean he's a barbaric industrialist. It's been proven that his vaccinations cause cancer!"

"Ah, nonsense," Morgana scoffs. "That's just a conspiracy. Get your head out of the internet."

Alex narrows her eyes and sucks on her straw. I watch as the glass of vodka and diet coke drains away until it's empty.

"I think it's time for another," she says.

"I'll go! It's my turn anyway, isn't it?"

"Maybe," Alex shrugs.

I walk up to the bar with the empty glasses and join the queue of dewy-faced students. To my left, leaning against the bar, Milton is engrossed in conversation with Gibson and the two of them are gesticulating wildly as they discuss inflation and interest rates.

"Three vodka diet cokes," I say as I reach the bar.

The barmaid nods and proceeds to fill up the glasses.

"Hey, Dorothy!" a voice comes from beside me and I see Milton waving and making his way over.

Is he talking to me? He can't be.

"Hey!" he says.

"Dorothy?" I look bewildered.

"Yeah, sorry I can't remember your name but you said you were from Kansas, right?"

Shit, he's talking to me! What do I do? Oh, my God!

I part my lips to speak but nothing happens. I swallow and try again.

"It's Stephanie."

"Oh, right yeah. The entropy thing."

"Yeah..."

We stare at each other for a moment and I'm aware that my cheeks are burning scarlet.

Fuck, he's so hot. What is he even doing here?

I can't stop myself looking him up and down. He looks so out of place in here amongst all the scruffy students in his pristine mohair suit with his tie so gracefully pulled undone at his neck. I see the stubble that surrounds his Adam's apple and have the strongest urge to run a finger down his throat. I wonder what it would feel like to wrap my fingers around him and feel his windpipe against the palm of my hand. Maybe, he likes to be choked like me.

"Three vodka cokes!" the barmaid interrupts my thoughts and slides the glasses over to me.

I fumble in my pocket for cash but in the moment I'm so nervous and flustered that I pull out a twenty-pound note and a fistful of change comes out with it and scatters all over the floor.

"Shit."

I bend down to pick it all up and stand back up blushing even more and feeling like a total idiot.

"Don't worry about that," Milton says as he pulls a money clip out his pocket.

He pulls a wad of fifties out and hands over an indiscriminate amount of money to the barmaid. All I can do is gawp.

"Fancy joining me?" he asks. "Old man Gibson's starting to give me a headache."

He smiles and I find myself grinning like a crazy person.

"I'd love to. Just... Let me take these over to my friends."

I slam down Alex and Morgana's drinks and they look up shocked.

"Sorry, gotta go."

"What? You got a better offer?" Alex rages as she nods toward Milton.

"Yep!"

"Go for it!" Morgana says. "I would if I could."

I head back to the bar and Milton's waiting for me.

"Stephanie," he says. "I can't quite believe I forgot your name. You must forgive me. I meet so many people every day."

For a moment, I look into his eyes and feel my stomach flip. I glance away and mumble:

"It's okay."

"So... You're new here?"

"Uhuh."

"Liking London?"

"Haven't seen much of it yet," I say.

"What? That's almost a crime! I'll have to show you around."

My stomach flips again.

"So... what's it like being back at Knightswood? Weird?"

"Yeah, a little."

He runs a hand through his hair and looks effortlessly suave.

"You always buy drinks for the students?" I joke.

He smiles and sips his beer.

"Not until tonight."

"Well, don't I feel special."

He's looking at my neck, eyeing up the raven tattoo again.

"What's that about?" he points.

"The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe, it's my favorite."

"Really?" he smirks. "I prefer the Pit and the Pendulum."

"Shut up!" I laugh. "You're a Poe fan too?"

"Who isn't?"

He's getting more attractive by the second. He's gorgeous and charming, polite as well as filthy rich and has a penchant for macabre stories. I feel like I'm on the brink of exploding.

"So, your little blue haired friend over there looks thoroughly unimpressed at my presence."

"I think she hates everyone," I say.

"I bet she thinks every straight, white man in a suit is out to murder the world."

"That's the general impression I get off her," I say and we both laugh.

This is almost easy. I don't remember the last time I just hung out with a guy that wasn't Jon. There's a weird twinge in my chest as I think about him. I haven't spoken to him at all since I arrived here. He must hate me, I think. I'd hate me if I were him.

"Everything ok?" Milton asks.

"Yeah, sorry. I was just thinking."

"Feeling homesick?" he asks.

"You're very perceptive," I say.

Did he just glance at my ring finger?

"Missing someone back home?" he asks as he leans in closer.

"Just my mom," I say and feel immediately ridiculous.

His face spreads into his signature smile and he looks down at his almost empty glass.

"Another?" he asks.

"No, really I shouldn't. I should probably get back to my dorm. I have a paper I need to work on."

"Aw, really?"

"Yeah..."

What the fuck am I saying? He's into you! Don’t go anywhere!

"How about I walk you home then?" he offers.

"Well, I'm not gonna say no to that."

He grabs his jacket, says his goodbyes to a seriously drunk Mr. Gibson and we head to the door, walking past Morgana and Alex who look as though they'll need their jaws surgically removed from the floor.

This is all too easy, I think. Why are things going so well? Does he really like me that much? What would a guy like him see in a weirdo like me?

"I'm just over at Foxley," I say as I zip up my hoodie and point into the distance.

"Foxley!" he exclaims and slaps his hands together. "I remember it well."



Chapter Six

"Isn't it weird being back on campus?"

"Weird?" he asks with a frown.

"Yeah, like you're a billionaire now and could be anywhere in the world but you're here, walking some random student back to her dorm."

"Aw, you're not just some random student."

I blush again and pretend I'm looking for my keys in my handbag.

The campus is deserted. There's nothing but him, me, and the distant sound of music coming out a faraway building.

"This place is huge," I say in an attempt to make small talk. "I keep getting lost."

He laughs and shakes his head as though he's remembering something.

"During freshers week I got totally, shit-faced drunk and stumbled back to my dorm, barged through the door, pulled off my clothes and proceeded to take a shower, puking into the bath the entire time."

"Ew!"

"But you know what? I was on the wrong floor. In my drunken haze, I'd wandered into the girls' dorm downstairs!"

"No!"

"Yeah and one of them got up in the middle of the night to use the toilet and found me singing Rod Stewart naked into a bottle of shampoo."

"That is one of the most deeply tragic stories I have ever heard," I say.

He holds my gaze for a second and looks a little offended. Then he bursts out laughing and we're both giggling so hard we're barely making a sound. I'm just bent over slapping my thigh while a strange snort escapes my face.

"Please tell me you can hold your liquor better now?" I ask as I try to take deep breaths to calm down.

"Oh, absolutely!" he laughs. "It's safe to say I still can't hear Rod Stewart's Do you Think I'm sexy? without cringing."

"I think that goes for most of us," I say and he laughs again.

Foxley Halls is now only a few steps away and I reluctantly pull out my keys and sigh.

"That was quick. Usually takes me ages to get here."

"And it's still early too," he says with raised eyebrows.

I know the sensible thing is to say goodbye and start that paper, but something at the back of my mind is telling me not to pass up a chance.

"You wanna come upstairs?" I ask.

"Sure!"

And it's happening. He's really following me up to my room. There's the smell of cigarette smoke and cheap booze in the air and as we ascend the stairs, I kick away an empty noodle box and a tittie magazine. Suddenly, I'm kinda embarrassed to be bringing anyone back here, let alone a man as rich and sophisticated as Milton.

"Sorry. This place is a real pig sty," I say in an attempt to placate my embarrassment.

"It's a lot nicer than what I remember!"

I click open the door and see a group of girls is sat in front of the TV in the living room watching Disney movies in their onesies. There's the strong smell of butterscotch popcorn and the sound of Jenny mouthing along with the movie. As we linger outside my bedroom door, I see everyone turn to me. I freeze.

"Steph? You never said you were bringing home a date?" someone out of sight says.

Jenny pokes her head around the door and sees Milton leaning against my bedroom door. She gasps and shrinks back before the sound of frantic whispering start to drift down the hallway.

"Let's get inside," I say. "They're a bunch of gossips."

Once in my room, I'm even more embarrassed. He’s eyeing up my band posters and stepping over dirty socks. He sits down at my desk and looks over the books I've got strewn over the surface. Flicking through a notepad, he rests on a page and nods admiringly.

"Maxwell's equation. I'm surprised you're covering it in first year."

"We're not. I was just going through it for fun," I say.

"For fun? I'm impressed."

I pull out a crate of beer I'd been hiding under my bed and pass him one.

"Cheers."

It feels weird, really weird. He's sitting in my room looking like a prince while Beauty and Beast blares out from the room next door. The girls are in the full swing of things, singing along loudly like a group of caterwauling drunks.

"I miss living in halls," he muses out loud as he listens to them.

"You... Miss living in halls. Somehow I think that's bullshit."

He gives me a wry smile and sips from his bottle.

"There's a reason I love American girls. They're always so feisty and to the point. They're more interested in getting their own way than being polite."

"Hey! We can be polite too."

He looks amused and turns away to look at a nearby poster of Marilyn Manson.

"But really, I do miss living in halls; the parties, the friends, the constant sense that you're not alone."

A look of sadness flickers over his eyes for a second.

"It must be nice to know you always have your friends nearby," he says.

"Oh, sure! They're all so nice, but I'm sure you have your own wild parties, right?"

"Not anymore," he says and that look of sadness returns. "Anyway!" he snaps himself out of it and slaps his thighs. "I didn't come up here to depress you. You must think I'm a boring old fart. I'm a little surprised you even invited me up."

"What? You're not boring, or old! You're not even a fart."

He laughs.

"I feel old sometimes. I think that's why I volunteered myself to come back and help at the college. I wanted to recapture that sense of excitement I had when I was a kid. Life's rather boring at the top."

"Pffff...." I scoff. "Boring? I doubt it. I thought guys like you hung out with Richard Branson in space and wooed supermodels on your luxury yachts."

"Okay, boring is not the word. I guess I mean it's too serious. All the magic's gone. Everything you ever wanted is only an arm's length away and there's nothing else to look forward to. Believe me, it's the journey to the top that's the most fun. When you get here you realize you've left everyone else behind."

"Hmmm..."

I sit back against the wall and warily watch him.

"Forgive me if I'm not convinced. You have everything you want at arm's length and somehow that's a bad thing. Sounds pretty ungrateful of you."

"Ungrateful? Well, that's not what I meant at all..."

There's a sudden tension between us. I should have kept my mouth shut but I had to ruin everything.

"I like this," he says.

"What?"

"You challenging me. I needed this, needed to be taken out my comfort zone. I miss having people around me who argue and disagree with me. Everyone I know is a pure yes man. I'm followed around all day by a troop of suited bobbing heads that make me want to blow my brains out. This..." he points to the both of us. "This is what I came back for."

I smile. He smiles. The tension has lifted and we're back to being two new friends sharing a beer.

"So... Kansas," he says. "What made you come here?"

"A scholarship," I say.

"You must be exceptionally clever," he replies.

"Maybe I am."

He's looking at the other tattoos on my arm then his eyes are drifting over my stomach, down my hips, and down my thighs. I can almost see what he's thinking. He's wondering if I have any other tattoos and if I'm keeping any in secret places.

"I'm sorry, Stephanie but would it be ok if I tell you how incredibly beautiful you are?"

I laugh so hard I snort.

"What? Oh my, God, that's the most British thing I've ever heard! Yes, you may tell you that. I'll allow it, just this once."

"Sorry, I know some girls find it to be rude when you point out their appearance," he explains. "But you are stunning. A girl like you should be strutting around like the queen on campus but I sense a shyness in you."

He leans forward in his seat and takes my hands in his. His skin is warm and smooth and he's so close I can smell his rich cologne.

"I'm sorry. I shouldn't be doing this but..."

He brushes the hair from my face and leans forward a bit more.

"I'm really not supposed to get this close to the students but..."

He hesitates and pulls back slightly.

"I'm really good at keeping secrets," I whisper and he breathes in a sharp intake of breath.

"So am I."

He kisses me softly and I feel myself ease into his arms. His lips are so soft and gentle but his hands are firm on my face. He pulls away and looks into my eyes.

"I've been meaning to do that since the first time I saw you."

"Me too."

"You're so beautiful, Stephanie."

He slides a hand down the side of my body and rests on my hip.

"I've always loved bigger girls."

"Bigger girls?"

He leans in to kiss me again and I push him away.

"What's wrong?" he looks up confused.

"Bigger girls! Are you fucking serious? I'm a hundred and thirty pounds," I yell.

"You know what I mean!" he pleads. "I mean, you know, biggER girls. Like curvy girls."

I roll my eyes.

"Shit, Stephanie. I didn't mean to upset you. I was trying to compliment you. Fuck!"

He grimaces and pinches the bridge of my nose. I'm suddenly aware that the television next door has gone silent.

"I'm sorry," he says and shakes his head.

I don't say a word.

"I guess you'll want me to leave."

"Please," I say as I open the door.

He lingers in the doorway for a moment and looks so miserable I almost feel bad. Almost...

"You don't want to see me again, do you?"

It's more of a statement than a question.

"No," I say.

He purses his lips and slumps his shoulders.

"I really was just trying to be nice."

"Just go."


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