Title: Yes, Mr. Van Der Wells
Author: S. Ann Cole
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: February 16, 2016
Running for my freedom.
Running for my life.
I’m running because everything hurts.
And all I want to do is breathe.
The old me was bold and wild and reckless and privileged.
The new me is timid and freak-stricken and weak and broken.
All I want is freedom.
All I want to do is breathe.
A complicated relationship? That’s the last thing I’m about right now.
Something casual and easy? I’m down for that.
But he is not.
He wants to own me.
He wants me to own him.
He wants to save me.
I’m too terrified to give in.
All. I. Want. To. Do. Is. Breathe.
But it turns out, Noah is the air that I need to do that…
I hear him returning, still talking on the phone. He emerges from around the corner of a narrow hall, stopping short when he sees I’ve invaded his living space. He fixes his stare at me, one hand holding a cordless phone to his ear, the other gripping a wallet.
I stare right back, noticing he hasn’t made an effort to don a pair of jeans, still parading around in his Ralph Lauren boxers.
He blinks then, away from me, his expression morphing into one of extreme annoyance as he snaps into the phone, “Sienna, I’ve had a shit night, alright? I’m not in the mood for your melodramatics right now. Good night.”
He listens for a second, then reiterates with emphasis, “Good. Night, woman,” before killing the call.
“If you can afford to live here, then you can afford a maid,” I comment as he carelessly tosses the phone in an armchair. “This place is a mess.”
He glances around, showing no signs of embarrassment. “My last male help had an affair with my wife, and every other female help I hired after that, I ended up screwing—yes, even the middle-aged Russian ones—causing bigger messes than this apartment. So, I avoid hiring help at all costs. My mom cleans up for me when she comes over on the weekends and she—why am I telling you all this?” He frowns, cocking his head at me.
“Thirty-eight bucks,” I remind him, fighting back a smile.
As he opens the monogrammed wallet and begins scanning through a thick file of one-hundred-dollar bills, it hits me that this man lives in a penthouse and obviously has a lucrative job, so why should I take a beating from Andrew for getting his car messed up because this manslut couldn’t keep his dick in his pants? “Um, you know what, you might want to add a few hundreds to that thirty-eight.”
His head raises, eyes finding me, eyebrows winging up. “Excuse me?”
Crossing my arms over my chest, I lock determined eyes with him. “You need to compensate for the throw-knives lodged in my car, Abercrombie.”
Swearing under his breath, he slaps a palm to his forehead as though the events that took place less than an hour ago are already a distant memory to him. “How about I make an appointment with my mechanic and tomorrow we can—”
“The car isn’t mine,” I cut him off, because I don’t like where that suggestion was headed. Unless I have a death wish, I have absolutely no intention of ever seeing this passenger again, let alone making mechanic dates with him. “It’s my boyfriend’s. And he’s kind of crazy, so it’s better to just give me the cash to pass on to him to have the dents compounded.” Palms sweating at just the thought of what Andrew’s reaction is going to be when he sees his car, I avert my gaze, uncross my arms and shake them out, shake out the apprehension, reminding myself to breathe. Breathe. Breathe. Breathe. It’s going to turn out fine, as long I get the compensation, it’ll be fine.
“Your boyfriend has you working a taxicab? At night?” He sounds furious. Which has me turning my eyes up at him to find that his expression matches his voice. He is furious. What the heck? “You don’t look a day older than eighteen. What kind of—”
“You’re wrong,” I bite back in defense. “I’m nineteen.”
“Same goddamn difference,” he grits out, stepping in to me. “You’re not—”
“What the hell do you care about my life?” I return, standing firm, refusing to be intimidated. “You don’t even know me.”
He stops advancing and chews on his lip, studying me. And then he nods, returning to his wallet. “You’re right. I don’t know you. Will five hundred do?”
“Six should cover it.”
He plucks out the bills and makes to hand them to me, and then pulls back at last minute. His eyes latch onto mine and don’t let go. They’re the green that the ocean appears to be closer to the shore; not too dark, not too light, but just right. Penetrating, invading, fierce.
“Just answer me this one thing,” he murmurs in that same soul-stripping soft voice he’d used on me in the elevator, the one that makes me feel unsheathed.
I snip out, “I wasn’t aware this was a negotiation?”
His chest rising on an inhale, he moves in even closer to me. Lifting two long, masculine fingers to my neck, he trails the tips across my skin, from one side to the other. And I stand frozen, not out of shock that he’s touching me so inappropriately, but because his touch lays siege on me.
The rabid feeling that his touch evokes, the rich desire that engulfs me, is unprecedented. Not even when I thought I liked Andrew in the beginning did his touch make me feel like this. This man’s touch makes me want to prostrate at his feet and tell him all my secrets.
“These fingerprints on your neck…” he whispers, ever so gently, “did your boyfriend leave them there?”
At this, I stiffen.
He isn’t touching me intimately. He isn’t caressing me. He’s trailing Andrew’s frickin’ fingerprints left behind from my near-death strangulation earlier. I never even thought about the possibility that there might be residual marks from his assault. Maybe, subconsciously, I figured they wouldn’t be visible in the cab. But now, out under the glowing, expensive, penthouse lights, under the penetrating, discerning stare of a sculpted demon, all that’s wrong with my life is seen.
Maybe it’s my body language, or because I’m taking too long to respond, but his jaw tightens and his fingers still on my neck as he grounds out, “He did, didn’t he?”
To hell with this! I don’t owe this man an answer. I don’t even know him. He doesn’t know me. We’re complete strangers. Who does he think he is, anyway? Not because he looks like a Roman god does it mean I have to leave an offering at his feet.
Closing the minuscule gap between us, so my breasts are brushed up against him, I tip up on my toes, lick my lips, and then hiss in his face, “‘You know nothing, Jon Snow.’.”
Snatching the bills from his fingers, I spin and bolt it out of there before he can stop me.
About The Author
Ann Cole is a passionate writer and reader, and a lover of anything that distracts her from the real world. Reader first and second a writer, S. Ann Cole is an exaggerator, a laugher, sometimes overly chatty, sometimes overly shy. She’s afraid of cats, dogs, snakes—heck, she’s only tolerable to gold fishes in a tank. Because if they do jump out and try to attack her, the suckers will surely die!
She hates fireworks, schmaltz and arrogance.
She loves carbs, Chris Brown and humility.
She lives nowhere and everywhere.
Jokey people are her utmost favorite people to be around, as laughter is the way to her heart.
Never mind her foul-mouth (she’s working hard on changing that!), she loves GOD. Fiercely. And believes prayer is the essence of all good, great, wonderful and miraculous things, and the most powerful privilege given unto man.
Ann hopes that one day, the right day, when it’s her time (because nothing happens before its time), her hard work will be noticed and appreciated.
When Ann’s not abusing her computer keyboard, you can find her nosing a novel, watching anything on television that makes her laugh until she breaks into hiccups (loves Disney , TBS, and Impractical Jokers!) studying the Bible, or sipping red wine.