Prologue - Then
Maybe I said it too loud, maybe I even meant to, but the moment the words were out of my mouth and into the smoke-filled air, I regretted them.
Every single pair of eyes turned towards me, but truthfully I only cared about one. The wide brown ones that were looking at me in horror. She recognised me just like I had recognised her. I had seen it in her face even when she tried to hide it. And those brown eyes? How could I forget them? They were the same eyes that I had kissed tears from only last month as I took her virginity. And just looking at them now, I knew she had heard what I said, and I had lost her.
Of course, I hadn’t known who she was then… She had just been a summer distraction, or at least she had meant to be. Until suddenly, she wasn’t. Not that I had admitted that to anyone. I had a reputation to uphold.
It had hurt when the fresh-faced Ava had ghosted me. One second she was there asleep in my bed, her warm body wrapped around mine and then she was gone. Like a damn thief in the night she had skipped out before I had even woken up.
But she wasn’t Ava, she wasn't who she pretended to be.
She was Avery Waters.
Her name seemed to echo in my head.
Daughter of the president of the Black Aces. The only daughter of the president of the Black Aces. The very man I was here to help to overthrow. His time as president was over. Everyone knew it, everyone it seemed but him. And the best bit, he had offered up his daughter to anyone he thought might help him. Myself included, I wasn't even patched in, and he offered her up like a lamb to the slaughter just because my own father looked set to take his place.
Combining our great families like we were something out of a medieval play, and my asshole father had agreed.
As long as she was a virgin.
I watched as pure panic flickered across her face. The terror almost palpable. She didn’t move. It was like she was a deer stuck in car headlights.
Somewhere to my right, someone laughed, and at the moment I made my decision. My mouth opened, and I repeated the words louder. “Well, we all know she’s not a virgin, so ….” I gave a nonchalant shrug.
I was an asshole, and I knew it, but what could I do? Everyone had heard me the first time and I couldn’t back peddle without losing face. Losing face wasn’t something I was willing to do. Not even for a sweet piece of ass like Avery Waters.