Family Ties - (Book 3 of the Marvelous 3 Saga)

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11 - Control

“Ayo, Leo! What’s good, bro!”

“Sup, Mark,” Leo said, giving a large guy with a muscle T-shirt on a rough hug.

“I’m glad you decided to show face, man. Thought this shit wasn’t good enough for Excalibur royalty such as yourself, Mr. Quarterback,” Mark grinned.

“Yea, well, I couldn’t miss out on seeing some of my old crew,” Leo smiled.

Mark glanced at Rhea standing behind Leo while sipping on a cocktail as she looked around the party. She wore a short black mini skirt and a gold sleeveless blouse with a black leather jacket. Her signature large kinky hair nearly swallowed her face that was dusted with the gold glitter contrasting nicely with her brown skin. “And who’s this fine piece of ass over here,” he said, eyeing her up.

Rhea looked at him startled as she stopped sipping her drink. Leo quickly moved to stand protectively in front of her. “This is my best friend, Rhea. And she’s not a piece of ass. She’s keeping me company,” Leo said firmly.

“Yea?” Mark said, trying to look around Leo. “She can always keep me company,” he grinned.

“Mark-” Leo tried to warn before it was too late.

“I think the fuck not, you piece of shit!” Leo let out a heavy sigh as Levi walked up behind Rhea and grabbed her possessively by the waist.

“Who the hell are you?” Mark said, annoyed.

“Levi, please don’t,” Rhea said, putting a hand to his chest.

“None of your goddamn business,” Levi growled at him. “Look at my girl again and I’ll tear your fucking head off, ya damn mudbreed.”

Mark turned red and went to retaliate when Leo quickly grabbed him by his arm and led him in the opposite direction. “Talk to me about the recruitment process this year. I know some guys you might be interested in,” Leo said as they walked away.

Rhea sighed in frustration. “Baby... why do you have to be so aggressive?”

“Oh, I’m sorry, princess, were you expecting me to just let him hit on my kroshka?” Levi said sarcastically.

“Leo had it handled. He didn’t know I was with you,” she said.

“Yeah well, his ass knows now,” Levi said. He wrapped his arms around her waist and pulled her against him to nuzzle her neck with his nose.

Rhea rolled her eyes. “This is why I don’t take you anywhere.”

Levi shrugged. “No skin off my back. I much prefer staying inside so I can fuck you all night,” he smirked against her neck as he grabbed her ass.

“Sorry about that, guys,” Leo said, walking back towards them. “Mark can be a bit of an asshole.”

“Glad you moved him away before Levi could truly lay into him like the drama queen he is- OW!” she squealed from Levi pinching her ass.

“Watch it, princess...” Levi warned with a smirk.

“I sympathize with Levi. I feel the same way about Kiara...” Leo said. He perched himself on a stool and put his head in his hands.

“Don’t you dare fucking mope,” Levi warned. “Or I will take you outside and kick your ass.”

Leo rolled his eyes with a chuckle. “When is she supposed to get here anyway?” he said looking at Rhea. “I really appreciate you setting this up. Normally, I wouldn’t come to these parties. At least not anymore. I’m done with Greek life. I just wanna focus on football. And now that Kiara’s back in my life, I really want to make her a more permanent part of it.”

Rhea sucked extra hard on her straw, avoiding Leo’s eyes. He looked at her curiously. “RiRi?” he asked.

“You gotta tell him, princess...” Levi said.

Leo looked at them confused. “Tell me what?”

Rhea struggled to speak as she looked at Leo apprehensively. “Listen, Leo... about Kiara... she-”

Just as Rhea was about to speak, Kiara walked through the door. She wore black heeled ankle boots and a short black dress that clung perfectly to all her curves and showcased her thick mocha brown thighs. A short, red blazer fit nicely on her shoulders. Leo felt his body temperature sky-rocket. She looked drop-dead gorgeous.

He immediately lost his erection when he saw who walked through the door behind her. “You invited that damn bloodsucker?!” Leo snapped angrily.

“No, Leo! It was an accident! I mean... She invited him-. Sorta... She-” Rhea stammered.

“Why the fuck is he here?! With her?! Are they together?!” Leo was practically steaming as his eyes flickered between his friendly baby blues to an angry fiery orange ember.

“Leo, you need to calm the fuck down,” Levi warned him.

“And quick. She’s coming over. Please, Leo, try to stay calm and behave. Don’t say or do anything impulsive. Remember what Marshala said,” Rhea said quickly.

Leo clenched his fists and used every fiber in his being to try to calm his mounting rage as he watched a beautiful, smiling Kiara head toward him with his enemy in tow.

“Hey, guys,” Kiara greeted them.

“Hey, girl. Wow, you look great,” Rhea said nervously as she pulled Kiara into her arms.

“Thanks, boo. Likewise,” Kiara winked at her. Her eyes switched to Leo and a huge smile painted her face. “Leo! I’ve missed you!” She ran into his embrace, wrapping her arms around his neck as he slightly lifted her off of the floor. She could have sworn she heard him growl as his arms tightened around her waist for just a brief second, not wanting to let her go. She pulled back and looked at him to see his face was rather tense. In fact, he looked infuriated. “Dude... you okay?” she asked him.

“... Yea,” Leo muttered. His response sounded more like a grunt.

“Okay...” Kiara said, confused by his demeanor. She noticed him glaring at Alexander who also seemed tense. His sharp blue eyes locked onto Leo in the most unfriendly manner.

The tension both confused her and made her feel awkward. She looked up at Levi standing behind Rhea. “Hey, Levi. Nice meeting you again.” Levi merely nodded. “Well, you guys know Alexander,” Kiara said. “Alexander, this is Rhea, who you already met. Well… sorta.”

“Hey,” Rhea said awkwardly and tight-lipped.

“Alexander, this is Leo,” Kiara continued. “He was my best friend from back in the day. He was such a fun, lovable goofball and I’m happy to see nothing’s changed,” she smiled at Leo. But Leo couldn’t stop himself from fuming enough to respond. “Leo?” Kiara asked with concern.

“I have to go... smoke or some shit,” Leo said abruptly. He shoved past Alexander and headed towards the door. Levi glanced at Rhea and shook his head in frustration before following after his cousin.

“Uh... what’s his problem? And since when does Leo smoke?” Kiara asked, surprised.

“Since... today?” Rhea said with uncertainty as she glanced at Alexander.

Kiara quirked a brow. “Anyway, I thought it was important for my best friend to officially sit down and talk to my...” she looked up at Alexander. “...boyf-”

“Kiara, can I talk to you for a minute,” Rhea said, cutting her off. She quickly grabbed her arm.

Kiara looked at her startled. “Uh... sure?”

Rhea gave Alexander a look before pulling Kiara to the side. “This was a bad idea,” Rhea said tensely.

Kiara rolled her eyes. “Come on, Rhea, you said you would at least try.”

“Well, I can’t. Okay? You shouldn’t have brought him.”

Kiara frowned. “Well... if he leaves then... maybe so should I...”

“Come on, Kiara, don’t be like that!”

“You’re the one being intolerant, Rhea. And you won’t even tell me why you don’t like him. At least give him a chance?”

Rhea let go of her arm and looked down with regret. “I... I’m sorry, Kiara, I can’t...”

Kiara frowned and shook her head with a sigh. “Fine...” She walked away from Rhea and approached Alexander. “Let’s just go,” she said with defeat.

“Why? I thought you wanted to come?” Alexander asked.

“I changed my mind.”

“Hey,” he said, grabbing her shoulders. “We’re here already. Let’s have some fun.”

She looked at him surprised before smirking. “Alexander? Fun? I didn’t think those words even went together,” she teased. “Alright, I’ll bite. But we have to get drinks first. Nothing more boring than being the only sober one in a room full of drunk people who can’t dance,” she grinned. She pulled him to the kitchen-turned bar. She grabbed a red solo cup and handed one to Alexander and took one for herself. She quickly downed it.

“Woah. Kiara, take it easy. You shouldn’t drink too fast,” Alexander said cautiously.

“Oh, come on, Alexander. I’m not a lightweight. Besides, I’m living the experience I missed out on in undergrad. Bottoms up.” He watched her carefully as she downed another cup. “Come on, you. Let’s dance,” she said, grabbing his hand. She pulled him to the crowded living room.

Kiara wrapped her hands around his neck as he held her by her waist. Her eyes switched between holding his gaze and looking at his lips. Feeling his body pressed against hers sent all her nerve endings on overdrive as she felt her want for him growing. Despite remaining as calm as usual, she could still see the hunger in his eyes as she pressed herself against him. Kiara wanted to play on the desire he was obviously feeling and turned around in his arms. She provocatively pushed her backside against his crotch. She felt his heavy breathing on her neck and his body tense against hers as she sensually moved into him. She couldn’t tell if it was her heart or his that quickened as she grabbed his hands and slid them up her body.

Alexander’s mind was on overdrive as his urge to take her became overwhelming. He didn’t understand why she wanted him so badly. The fact that she was so willing to give herself to him did not bode well for his self-control. He felt his pants tighten as she directed his hands to touch her chest. Her beautiful dark brown skin looked delectable to him as she craned her neck to the side as if inviting him for a taste.

He looked around to see other men watching them but most disturbingly watching her. Their eyes were full of hunger as they eagerly roamed her form. Insane jealousy crowded his mind as a possessive anger engulfed him. He quickly turned her around to face him and she looked at him startled. “What’s wrong?” she asked.

“It’s pretty late, Kiara. We should get you home,” he said quickly.

She chuckled with amusement. “Oh, okay, grandpa! It’s not that late, Alexander. We just got here,” she smirked at him. “And we’re adults. We don’t have a curfew.”

He could see more people glancing at them and it unnerved him as flashbacks of a similar party scene from his violent past came rushing to his mind. “I’d rather spend time alone with you, away from here... and all these people,” he insisted.

She gave him a mischievous grin. “Look at you. Making moves. Well, why didn’t you just say so?” He quickly grabbed her hand and led her to the door. Kiara searched for Rhea in the crowd. She found her standing by the wall on her phone when she looked up at Kiara with worry in her eyes. “I’ll call you!” Kiara signaled with her hand to her ear.

~*~

“Fuck!” Leo punched the tree in front of him, sending bark flying everywhere.

“Leo...” Levi said, watching him.

“Dammit! Goddammit! Shit!” he snarled angrily as he punched the tree several times stripping it of its wood with his blows.

Suddenly, one of the branches smacked him in the face. He looked to the side to see Rhea walking towards him. “Don’t take your anger out on that poor tree! It did nothing to you!” she snapped.

Leo snarled. “Ri! Don’t fucking start wit-”

Rhea moved her fingers and another branch slapped him in the back of the head. “And don’t take your anger out on me either!” she warned him.

“She’s right, Leo. You need to chill the fuck out before you mess up your hand again like last time,” Levi warned.

“Too late,” Rhea sighed. She grabbed Leo’s bleeding hand and inspected it with a frown on her face. “I get that you have to meet certain ‘Volkov’ expectations because your brother is an Alpha, but you need to get better at this part first, Leo. You can’t just release your anger by hitting things till you bleed.” She took out a small vial of liquid from her pocket and sprinkled a bit on his bleeding knuckles.

“Nick and Marshala keep telling me to keep my distance which has been the most difficult thing I’ve ever had to do,” Leo said with exasperation. “I’ve been waiting for Kiara for years. For fucking years! I can’t stay away from her. I don’t want to. I’m in love with her. I’ve been in love with her. And now seeing her with... him,” Leo groaned angrily.

Rhea swallowed hard as she concentrated on his wound. Leo’s frustration and pain were palpable. She knew very well how invasive the mate bond for a wolf was and the havoc it could wreak on a wolf deprived of his own mate. She tried to be supportive of her best friend, but there was not much she could do.

Leo looked at Rhea seriously. “Why didn’t you tell me, Ri?” he asked. “Why didn’t you tell me she was with him?”

Rhea looked up at him with guilt in her eyes before refocusing on his hand. “I didn’t want to hurt you, Leo…” Leo scoffed as he yanked his hand away from her. She sighed as she looked at him regretfully. “She needs time, Leo. She’s her own woman and she’s going to make her own decisions. But she doesn’t know what he is or what his kind has done yet. I’m sure when she finds out, she won’t want anything to do with him anymore,” she tried to reassure him.

Leo clenched his fist as he looked at her with sharp amber eyes. “If he doesn’t kill her first.”

~*~

Kiara giggled as Alexander carried her to her room. The house was already quiet with Elijah and Cole gone. “I’m tipsy, not drunk, Alexander. I can walk on my own, you know,” she said, jumping down from his arms.

She fumbled with her bedroom door handle before pushing it open. She took off her heels and plopped down on the bed as she looked up at the ceiling. “Well, that was the shortest party of my life. College life is overrated. Nice to know I missed out on absolutely nothing,” she joked.

Alexander walked to the edge of the bed and looked down at her. “I see you’re not complaining,” she smirked at him.

“I prefer the silence... and being alone with you...” he said.

“You’re a strange one, Alexander...” she said softly as she pondered him.

“I get that a lot..”

She stared up at him with a shy smile. “Come here,” she said, sitting up. He bit his bottom lip and leaned down just as she grabbed the lapels of his jacket. He bent over the bed as she pressed her lips to his. Kiara pulled Alexander down on top of her as she deepened their kiss. He placed his hands on the bed on either side of her and climbed on top of her. She crawled backward on the bed as he followed her, their lips never parting. Kiara helped him shrug his jacket off of his shoulders before tossing it off the bed. His hand slipped around her waist as she wrapped her arms around his neck.

She ran her fingers through his luscious black hair at the back of his head as he kissed along her neck and down to her chest. He nuzzled her breasts with his face and she arched her back, moaning her want for him. He teasingly ran his lips over her hardened nipples through her blouse, eager to take the small pebble between his lips. His hands roamed down her waist and underneath her backside till he reached the hem of her dress. They disappeared underneath her dress and he gently squeezed her cheeks.

Kiara could feel his large erection pressing invasively against her and was eager to have more of him. His fingers caressed the inside of her thigh as he felt her heat radiating. He groaned his frustration as he struggled between deciding whether to take her or leave while he still had the willpower. “Stop trying to talk yourself out of it, Alexander, and just touch me,” she teased as she held his face in her hands.

His eyes searched hers and despite her words pushing him to continue, he couldn’t help but second guess himself. He brushed his fingers against her damp panties and she closed her eyes at his touch. He could feel her holding her breath as he moved the thin cloth to the side and stroked her bare clit.

Alexander nearly came undone feeling her wetness interlace with his fingers. His hunger returned with a vengeance as his eyes darkened with a red tint and his fangs instinctively descended. He slowly slipped his finger inside of her as she arched her back again and widened her quivering legs. He stroked the hood of her pussy agonizingly slow as his thumb teasingly rotated her sensitive nub in circles.

Kiara kept her eyes closed as she moaned, moving her hips in motion with his teasing fingers that were driving her wild. “Alexander...” she breathed out. “Stop teasing me like this...”

He eyed her like a predator eyes its prey as he intensified his pace. He was in agony watching her come apart, her moans playing on his hunger. His cravings flickered between his desire to take her and his desire to feed. He licked his lips as he leaned over her and tenderly kissed her neck. He ran his tongue along her vein and opened his mouth, prepared to finally taste her.

Her phone buzzed in her pocket causing them both to jump. Alexander immediately removed himself from her as she struggled to pull her phone out of her jacket. He hid his face as the phone lit up in her hand. “Ugh... seriously, Rhea? Bad timing, girl.”

She turned her phone off and tossed it over her shoulder. “I’ll call her back,” she said, grabbing Alexander’s hand. “Come here, you.”

“Kiara, I can’t,” he said, quickly pulling his hand out of her grasp.

She looked up at him confused. “Wha- why? Are you okay?”

“No. Yes- I can’t. I can’t do this,” he said, swallowing down his angst. He shot up from the bed and grabbed his jacket before heading for the door. He hated himself for what he was about to do to her.

“Wait, Alexander,” she said, sitting up.

“Goodnight, Kiara.” He slipped out of her room and closed the door shut behind him.

~*~

“You look like you got hit by a bus,” Rhea said as she grabbed some books from her locker.

“Ugh... I hope that didn’t reflect in my routine during tryouts...” Kiara groaned as she leaned back against the wall.

“Surprisingly, you looked well put together... unlike now...” Rhea smirked.

“Whatever... cheerleading was another bad idea. I’m too awkward for this crap. I’m sticking with my books and the library like the bookworm I am.”

“Giving up already? What happened to that can-do, positive school spirit,” Rhea teased.

“Shut up, Rhea... at least I put in some effort,” Kiara smirked.

“Yea, you put in more effort into tryouts than you do in your relationship with Leo.”

Kiara raised her brows surprised. “Well damn, girl! Who pissed in your cereal?”

Rhea sighed as she looked at Kiara. “I’m sorry, that was uncalled for. I just... I can’t believe you just left like that.”

Kiara looked at her wide-eyed. “Um, if I remember correctly, y’all left me!”

“Well yea, cause you brought... him...” Rhea said tensely.

“Come on, Rhea, seriously? You know how much I like Alexander. It would mean a lot to me if you could at least lay off him. Your disdain is mad extra for no reason,” Kiara said. “Last night was a dud anyway. This guy is constantly rejecting me...”

Rhea eyed Kiara covering her face as she slouched in defeat. “You’re too good for him anyway. You could have any guy you want,” Rhea encouraged.

“I don’t want any guy, I want him,” Kiara said, looking forlorn.

“But why?”

“I don’t know, there’s just... something about him... that draws me to him... It’s not like it matters. I’ve tried everything. But he’s like Jekyll and Hyde sometimes. I don’t know why he keeps playing with me. First, he says he likes me, then he can’t be around me. His kisses feel passionate but then he keeps me at arm’s length. Like seriously, what the hell...”

Rhea frowned, suddenly feeling very bad. “Kiara...”

“Maybe he’s secretly gay and he feels bad about it so he’s using me as a cover-up for his intense homoerotic love affair,” Kiara said suddenly.

Rhea burst into laughter. “You seriously watch too much Netflix!”

“No such thing, boo.”

Rhea rolled her eyes. “Come on. Leo should be practicing now. Let’s not dwell on this, okay?” Rhea said, grabbing her arm.

Kiara shrugged as she walked arm-in-arm with Rhea to the field. They sat on the bleachers talking as they watched the team run onto the field. “There he is,” Kiara said, spotting Leo running to his position.

Leo immediately sensed Kiara’s presence and looked up to see her waving at him. He hesitated as he could only muster a small smile. He flushed a bit when he noticed how small her uniform was on her and swallowed down his desire. She looked so good.

“Volkov! Focus!”

He looked in front of him to see his coach directing him. Leo nodded as he grabbed the football and started the play. Kiara watched with Rhea but her mind couldn’t help but wander to Alexander.

“Kiara...”

She looked up at the voice that called her and saw him standing by the door. “Alexander?” she said. She stood up from the bleacher and walked towards him. Rhea watched her and sighed before turning back to watch the field.

“Hey... what are you doing here?” she asked him.

“Just wanted to see how the tryouts went,” Alexander smiled.

“Eh... they went... Not really my thing but at least I tried,” she chuckled with embarrassment. “What do you think of the outfit?” she said, doing a twirl for him.

His eyes roamed eagerly over her body, taking in her dark mocha thighs underneath her short yellow and red skirt. He swallowed hard before his eyes met hers. “You look... amazing, Kiara...”

She felt her cheeks get warm. “Thanks, Alexander...”

Leo was getting ready to do another play when he looked up and saw Kiara talking to Alexander. His anger immediately flared as his eyes flickered an amber gold.

“Hike!”

Leo’s eyes switched from Kiara to the players charging at him. He snarled rabidly and tackled two of the guys down to the ground hard. “Ah! Fuck! What the hell, Volkov?!” one of the men groaned.

Leo stood up and looked from the guys on the ground to Kiara still talking to Alexander. “Volkov, what’s your deal?” one of the other players said, grabbing his shoulder.

Leo forcefully tossed his hand off of his shoulder. “I’m fine!” he growled angrily. “Run the play again!”

Kiara looked up at Alexander and leaned in to give him a kiss on the lips, but he moved back.

“Seriously, Alexander?!”

“Kiara, listen. Let me explain...” Alexander tried to reason.

“No, it’s fine,” she said frustratingly. “You’ve made your point.” She stalked away from him to join Rhea back on the bleachers as she plopped down in a huff.

“Are you okay?” Rhea asked.

“No,” Kiara said coldly as she rested her face in her hands.

Leo couldn’t help but look up to see Alexander watching Kiara with a somber expression. It pissed him the hell off.

“22! 47! 22! 47! Hike!”

A large guy charged at Leo. He growled angrily and flipped the guy off his back as he landed hard on the ground behind him with the wind being knocked out of him. The guy groaned in agony as a few other guys ran to help him.

“Seriously, Volkov?! What’s your fucking deal?!” one of the other players said, grabbing him. Leo instinctively pulled his fist back and punched the guy hard in the face, sending him flying backward. He landed hard on the ground as his nose gushed with blood.

Rhea and Kiara looked on stunned as a few players tried to hold Leo back.

“Don’t fuck with me!” Leo snarled angrily.

“Volkov! Take 5! NOW!” the coach shouted at him.

Leo angrily shoved the guys off of him. He stalked off of the field and into the locker room ripping his helmet off of his head.

“What the hell...” Kiara said flabbergasted. Rhea groaned as she covered her face with her hand. “I’m gonna go check on him,” Kiara said, getting up from the bleachers.

“Wait! Kiara!” Rhea called out. But Kiara had already disappeared inside.

~*~

Leo tried to calm his trembling hand as he unwound the cloth on his fist.

“Hey, Leo… are you okay?” He looked up at the sultry voice to find Jenny walking out of the boy’s bathroom. She was fixing her hair while a guy rushed out, zipping up his pants.

Leo groaned irritably. “I’m fine...”

“I can see you’re tense,” she said, walking up behind him. She rubbed her hands against his arms. “If you ever need help getting out all that aggression... you have my number.”

Kiara walked into the locker room just as Jenny was planting a kiss on Leo’s cheek. Jenny glared at Kiara before walking out of the locker room.

“Oh, gross. I hope you scrub your face later,” Kiara joked as she approached him. Leo looked up from unwinding the cloth on his hand and glared at Kiara. “Woah! Easy there, tiger. I come in peace,” she teased with her hands up.

“Why are you here, Kiara?” he said sharply.

She looked at him startled not only that he didn’t call her ‘Angel’ but the blunt anger in his tone. “Uh...I... was just coming in to check on you... Things got pretty intense out there.”

“Yea? What the fuck do you care?” he said, pulling off his jersey.

Kiara got briefly distracted by his extremely toned and muscled bare chest, glistening from his sweat. She quickly looked at him annoyed. “Why wouldn’t I care? You’re my friend, Leo.”

Leo scoffed. “Oh really?! Could have fooled me!”

She quirked an annoyed brow and tensed her jaw. Leo desperately tried to suppress the heated anger bursting to be released. He hadn’t felt this angry in a long time. “Do you have a problem with me, Leo?” she asked irritably.

“Of course not. Why the hell would I have a problem with you, Kiara? Everything’s fucking peachy,” he muttered angrily as he went to walk by her.

“Seriously, Leo?” she said, grabbing him by his arm. “What is your freaking deal? Grow the hell up and tell me why you’re angry with me!”

“I told you I’m not angry with you!” he said, trying to move past her.

“He says while yelling at me. Bullshit. What’s your damn problem?” she said, blocking him.

“Kiara, move out of my way!”

“No! Not until you tell me what’s wrong!”

Leo finally lost the battle of self-control. Before he knew what he was doing, he immediately grabbed her by her shoulders and forcefully pushed her back against the wall as he slammed his lips against hers. Kiara was completely taken off guard by Leo’s kiss. There was a lot of anger and aggression as his lips devoured hers but there was also a lot of passion. Like he had been holding it in for a very long time.

His body completely enveloped hers as he pinned her to the wall. He tightly gripped her waist before running his hands over her hips and down her thighs. His hands disappeared underneath her skirt as he roughly grabbed her ass, squeezing so possessively he elicited a gasp from her lips.

Leo’s skin felt scorching hot against hers until her body temperature started to rise with him. She felt an overwhelmingly warm feeling completely invade her as he wrapped his hands around her thighs and picked her up onto his waist. Her core was damp against his large erection pressed firmly against her. He nibbled and sucked on her bottom lip, pulling it between his teeth. He scoured her jawline and planted his lips on her neck where he sucked on the soft flesh just above her collarbone. She tightly held onto him, panting erratically. She felt slightly dazed and beyond aroused as his hands crept underneath her panties and squeezed her bare ass. Kiara’s scent invaded Leo’s nostrils and he let out an animalistic growl into her neck as he slapped her ass with one hand.

Kiara gasped and let out a throaty sound in a completely different language. “Возьмите меня, Leo...” she moaned out.

Suddenly, Leo pulled back from sucking on her neck and looked at her wide-eyed. She came out of her daze and met his gaze before she quickly pushed him off.

“What the?! What the hell was that?!” she said frantically. He immediately flushed over as guilt danced in his eyes. “Leo?!” she said.

Leo struggled to find his words. “I’m... I’m sorry, Angel... I-”

“Don’t ‘sorry’ me! What was that? What was any of that?” she asked.

He rubbed the back of his neck and bit down on his lip as he tried to think of what to say. Nick had scolded him so often about staying in control around her and now he was starting to remember why. “Shit...” he grumbled.

She watched him mumbling to himself, waiting, still feeling completely shocked by what just happened. She instinctively touched her bottom lip where she could still feel the erotic pull of his teeth. And feel her pull towards... him.

Leo met her gaze before staring down at her lips. “... You still feel me... don’t you...”

She felt herself get warm all over again. She tried to shake off the strange sensation and glared at him. “That’s not an answer to my question, Leo. Why did you... why would you-... how did I-”

“Because I’m yours, Angel... and you’re mine...”

She looked at him blankly. “I’m sorry, what?”

He took a step closer to her as she backed up against the wall. She squinted her eyes as she noticed his friendly baby blues flicker to a strange amber color. “I said...” He lifted her chin with his finger and stared into her eyes as the other hand wrapped around her hip and possessively grabbed her plump backside. “You’re mine...”

Kiara felt that strange warm feeling flush over her again for the third time as he took her lips with his. She felt herself melting into his kiss and had no idea why her body was responding to him like this. Why she felt this intense desire light up inside of her every time he touched her.

She willed herself to push him back as he stumbled backward, looking at her hot and bothered. “Leo, what the freak kind of game are you trying to play with me right now?” she said alarmed.

He looked at her confused. “Angel...”

“Are you toying with me? Is this like a joke to you?”

“No, Angel, I-”

She shook her head and rushed past him, leaving him alone in the locker room.

~*~

“Kiara...?”

Kiara snapped her head up to see Marshala looking at her concerned. “Yes?” Kiara asked.

“You haven’t said anything for 10 minutes, hun...”

Kiara grumbled as she rubbed her hand over her face. “I’m sorry, Marshala, I just...” Marshala looked at her expectantly. “I can’t do this bullshit anymore.”

“Wow! Kiara knows some spicy words,” Marshala chuckled. Kiara tried to smile but only frowned. “What’s wrong, Kiara?”

“...I know you wanted me to get used to this... university life or whatever. Try new things... meet new people... but this isn’t me, Marshala. None of it is.”

“Kiara, you just need to give it some time... It often takes students a while to settle in. I think this is really good for you. You should try to appreciate these experiences since you didn’t have them when you were...” Marshala stopped herself.

Kiara raised a brow. “When I was what…?” Marshala frowned, not wanting to say it. “When I was an orphan. Right? I’m sure that’s what you were going to say?” Kiara said. Marshala gave her a regretful look. That wasn’t the message she wanted to convey.

“Listen... you’re so sweet to me and I’m thankful that you have my back. Putting me up with the Blackbournes, giving me all the tools I need to carry out my research. I appreciate that you care about me so much, Marshala. But just because I was raised in an orphanage doesn’t mean I missed out on life or something. I don’t need you to feel sorry for me. I made it this far on my own,” Kiara said.

“I know, Kiara. You’re the strongest girl I know. I just don’t want you to feel... alone.”

Kiara smiled. “I know I’m not alone. Though... honestly I’m probably better off alone right now.”

Marshala tilted her head to the side. “Why do you say that?”

Kiara slowly exhaled. “It’s boy stuff... you don’t want to hear it.”

Marshala raised a brow. “No, please do tell...”

Kiara sighed as she leaned back in her chair. “Alexander is the guy Katy Perry was talking about in her song ‘Hot n Cold.’ One minute he wants me, the next minute he’s giving me the cold shoulder. It’s so high school and I’m not here for it. Meanwhile, Leo damn well attacked me in the locker room after losing his damn mind on the field. And then had the nerve to say I was his! And the weird thing is that I actually enjoyed kissing him. Like it just felt right...he felt right... But I kind of feel like he was just messing around with me. I mean he’s a freaking quarterback and I’m… me. Maybe I’m being too negative, but I’ve had people try to manipulate me my whole life, so I’m just cautious. I don’t know what the hell is wrong with me. Messing with Alexander and now Leo when neither of them has their shit together. Maybe I’m just sexually frustrated. God, I should just get a vibrator. Oh god, that was too much information, I’m sorry. “

Marshala groaned as she shifted in her chair. “Let’s back up... You’ve been romantically involved with Alexander Blackbourne?”

“If you can call it that,” Kiara said sarcastically. “I really like him but clearly he doesn’t feel the same way.”

Marshala rubbed at her temples. “And Leo Volkov... kissed you?”

Attacked me. The correct term is ‘attacked’,” she chuckled. “Jeez, that boy knows how to kiss. Damn well had me speaking in tongues.”

Marshala shot her head up as she looked at Kiara shocked. “You spoke Russian?”

Kiara looked at her startled. “I’m pretty sure it was just gibberish. I’m being dramatic. He just caught me off guard. I mean I’m attracted to him... a lot. But, Leo’s my childhood friend and the most popular guy at school. I never thought he felt that way about me...if it’s even true and he’s not just playing me for a sap.”

Marshala felt herself getting even more upset. “These boys... I swear...”

Kiara could see that Marshala was clearly frustrated and didn’t want to upset her further. “Listen, Marshala, don’t sweat it. I just came here to tell you that I really just want to focus on my studies and my research. I’m okay not being involved in campus life like that.”

“Let’s meet up next week after your third lecture before lunch,” Marshala said agitated as she scribbled on some paper.

“... Okay..” Kiara said confused as to why she was so upset.

Marshala waited until Kiara left her office before she picked up her phone. “Clare? Get me Professor Volkov,” she said angrily.

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