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Chaser

By´╝ÜStaci Hart

CHARMING BASTARD





Maggie

COOPER GRABBED ME BY THE hips and dragged me to the end of the bed where he knelt. I gasped — somehow, I was completely naked, but he was fully clothed, smiling up the line of my body, that crooked smile of his that made my insides turn into mush. My thighs rested against his shoulders, and his eyes were smoldering hot, locked onto mine as he closed his lips over me and sucked. Hard.

“Whoamygod.”

That’s what I tried to say, at least, but I think it sounded more like Humuguh. Not that Cooper needed clarification. His eyes closed, dark lashes against his cheeks, fingers digging into my hips as he licked and sucked, sending tremors up my thighs when he moaned softly against me.

My eyes slammed shut, and my chin pointed at the ceiling as my fingers twisted in his dark hair. Within seconds, I was rocking against him with my heart doing its best to escape my ribs and the rest of my body begging him to keep going.

He broke away. I cracked my lids, which weighed about seven pounds each, and glanced down at him. His face was turned toward the closed bedroom door, with alarm written in every angle.

And then I heard the front door close.

Lily.

Cooper looked back at me, blue eyes wide, and we stared at each other for one stunned second before bursting into action. I rolled out of bed with wobbly knees, and he stood, scanning the room for a place to hide.

Here’s the problem: No one knew Cooper and I were hooking up.

Here’s the bigger problem: My brother, West, might actually kill Cooper if he found out.

It wasn’t because Cooper was one of West’s best friends. I mean, I guess that was part of it — calling West overprotective was like calling a great white shark ‘cuddly.’ The real issue was this.

Cooper was a player.

I don’t mean he dated around. I don’t even mean that he slept around. What I mean is that his level of hookup was beyond my ability to comprehend. Cooper was heir to a billion-dollar fortune, though that money required nothing to maintain. No job, no responsibility, which meant he partied nonstop. He’d dated — read: banged — every model and socialite in the New York major metropolitan area. I knew because I’d seen the details splattered all over gossip magazines in nearly every grocery store I’d ever been in.

No one would approve of the affair, particularly not my brother. God only knew what West had seen when they were roommates at Columbia — enough that West had sworn me off of Cooper for eternity. If he found out, he might ship me back to Jackson. And I’d have a hard time keeping it from West if his girlfriend found out. His girlfriend who had just dropped her keys in the dish by the door.

“Hide,” I hissed, as I pulled on my flowery bathrobe, and Cooper blinked at me as I spun toward the door.

I bolted out of the bedroom and closed the door behind me, smiling at Lily with what I was positive were crazy eyes.

“Hey, Lily.” My voice was a little too high, and I smoothed my crazy blond curls.

“Hey, Maggie.” She didn’t seem to notice I was acting squirrelly, just strode into the kitchen to fill up her water. Her legs were a mile long and lean, dancer’s legs, and she had the nicest butt ever. Rewards for being a professional ballerina with the New York City Ballet.

“You’re home early today. I thought you had a show?” My face seriously felt like a plastic mask as my heart jackhammered and my brain scrambled through places Cooper might have hidden. There was no space under my bed — that area was strictly reserved for my shoes, of which I had many — and the closet was about big enough for a mop.

I hoped to God Lily would leave to go meet my brother without needing anything from our room. And then I died inside because there was no way in hell that was an actual possibility.

She twisted her long, blond hair and threw it over her shoulder. “No show tonight. Maybe you were thinking about tomorrow?”

I let out an awkward laugh. “Oh, maybe I was.”

Lily finally glanced up as she screwed the lid on her water bottle, and her eyes narrowed the second she really saw me. She looked me over. “Why are you in your bathrobe?”

“Oh … well, I just got out of the shower.” My cheeks were on fire.

“How come your hair isn’t wet?” Her brows shot up, and her mouth fell open in a gaping smile when she figured it out. “Oh, my God, is Mr. M in there?”

“No,” I blustered, but she looked at me like she knew exactly what I’d been doing seconds before she walked in the door.

“You liar.” She laughed and bounded past me to throw open our bedroom door. Her face fell as she scanned the room, and I stepped into the doorway behind her.

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