Kalvin snorts. “As if. I can easily take you.”
He’s clearing bluffing. While Kalvin is tall and broad and looks like he can take care of himself, he isn’t an even match for Kyler.
“Besides, we both know you can’t risk injury right now.” Kalvin sends him a smug smile.
“Out. Now.” Kyler drags him toward the door, and they both leave without even acknowledging me.
I gulp as I stand rooted to the spot. I’m not sure if I’m wanted here. At least not by my cousins. James said the triplets were excited, but that wasn’t the impression they gave off in the kitchen. With the exception of Keaton, and possibly Kalvin, the rest of my cousins didn’t exude overly welcoming vibes.
They don’t want me here.
I don’t want to be here.
At least we have that much in common.
Air whooshes out of my mouth as I claw my fingers through my damp hair. Remembering my phone, I scramble toward it, dropping to my knees. Flipping it over, I feel like crying when I see the smashed screen, and not just because I no longer have a way of staying in touch with my friends. This phone represents the last birthday gift I received from my parents. I wonder if it’s repairable.
I plop onto my bum, crossing my legs in front of me. Tears linger at the base of my eyes, waiting for instruction, ready to break free. And it’s tempting. Oh, so tempting. How I’d love to let loose, to let it gush forth like the Nile. But I’m afraid that once I open the floodgates, I won’t be able to shut them again.
A subtle movement at the door causes my heart rate to kick off again, and I lift my head. Kyler blocks the doorframe with his powerful body. Smoldering eyes lock on mine as he sticks me with an intense gaze. I wonder how long he’s been watching me and what insight he’s gleaned this time. I can’t show vulnerability around a guy like him. He’ll most likely latch onto that and try to use it against me. If he’s anything like me, he won’t be happy that I saw inside him, that I glimpsed a sliver of the inner turmoil he’s in.
I need to regain control.
Clutching the broken phone to my chest, I climb to my feet and glare at him. Throwing his words back at him, I snap, “Are you done drooling yet?”
A slight twitch of his lips—barely perceptible—is the only clue to his response. Stepping back into the corridor, he pulls the door shut without a word.
I crawl into bed, wishing I could fast forward the next few months.
I wake a few hours later in desperate need of the bathroom. I’m creeping back into bed when I spy a lonesome figure trekking across the lawn toward the entrance to the woods. It’s too dark to tell who it is. Glancing at the clock on my wall, I note it’s past one a.m. What on earth are they doing outside at this time of night? If I wasn’t so wrecked, I might be tempted to follow, but I can barely lift a muscle. I watch the retreating form until it’s swallowed up by the forest.
I sleep fitfully the rest of the night, tossing and turning relentlessly. Jet lag and anxiety clearly don’t sit well together. At five a.m., I give up the fight and change into my swimsuit. Grabbing a towel from the en suite press, I head out in search of the pool.
The house is unearthly quiet as I pad through the empty corridors. After about ten minutes of trying different passageways, I finally find the exit leading outside.
The air is already balmy, even at this early hour. Lilting little chirps emanate from the vicinity of the forest as I slip into the heated pool. My limbs relax as I dive in and out of the water. Limbering up, I swim countless laps of the pool as day breaks, only getting out when I feel an achy exhaustion seeping bone deep. Wrapping the towel around my body, I head inside.
Faint sounds of music reach my ears as I walk the corridor leading to my bedroom. Curious, I keep walking beyond my door, beyond the corridor, and out into a wide recreational room. Huge black leather couches surround the biggest wall-mounted screen I’ve ever seen. Tons of Xbox paraphernalia litter the top of the low coffee table. A foosball table rests beside a pool table on the other side of the room, alongside a snazzy-looking stereo system.
A bunch of framed photos occupies one wall, and I move closer to inspect them. I spot Kalvin and at least one of the triplets captured in action on the football field. Others show a helmeted figure atop a dirt bike on a mucky track. Kyler, I’d guess, judging by the covetous display in the garage last night. There are photos of a younger Keven shooting hoops on the basketball court and ones of Kaden playing baseball. Professional modeling shots of one of the triplets look out of place, but there’s no denying the boy was born to be in front of a camera. He has that moody pout down to an art form.
I keep walking along another corridor lined with doors on either side. I sneak a peek into some of the rooms as I pass. One houses a private cinema complete with popcorn station and reclining chairs, and another grants entry to the indoor pool.
The music grows louder as I approach the very last room. I open the door slowly and quietly and peer in. It’s a reasonably sized gym with a multitude of different equipment. Kyler’s back is facing me from his position on a cycling machine. His well-defined legs are thrusting so fast I can’t even follow the movement. His upper torso is bare, and every inch of his muscled back glistens with sweat. Well-developed arms grip the handlebars as he lifts his ass off the chair and cycles half-standing. My eyes are glued to his firm ass cheeks, and my face flares up. He is sex on legs, and it’s doing funny things to my insides.
I may have only just met him, but I know his type.
Kyler is trouble.
So why the hell does that excite me so much?
Why do I feel drawn to him instead of wanting to run a million miles away?
I don’t need to answer my own question. I already know, but I’m not willing to face facts yet; to acknowledge that I’m in way more danger here than I imagined.
Suppressing my concern, I quietly shut the door before he notices my presence.