Filthy Foreign Exchange(8)

By: Angela Graham & S.E. Hall

Savannah bounds forward, using the voice I thought was reserved solely for Sebastian. “Hi! I’m Savannah Turner, Echo’s best friend. It’s really nice to meet you, Kingston.”

“The pleasure is all mine,” Kingston responds, taking her hand in his and laying a kiss on her knuckles. Yeah, he’s gonna want to watch that if he expects my parents to believe there’s a chance in hell he’s considering a future in the priesthood.

Clay steps forward, lowering Savannah’s arm for her and extending his own for a handshake, his voice as gruff as he can get it. “I’m Clay Morris.”

Kingston shakes his hand and eyes him up, a small curve forming at the corner of his mouth. He peers over at me and I’m shocked, because after only one night, I already know exactly what he’s thinking: Is this guy for real? Are those actual highlights in his hair?

I cover my mouth to stifle my laughter, but answer his unspoken question with a quick, subtle nod of my head.

“I’m Sebastian’s best friend,” Clay continues, seemingly unperturbed by our silent exchange. “Figure it’s my duty to get to know the guy who’ll be living in the room next to our Echo.” He taps the end of my nose, and I jerk my head away, like I always do. “If you’re not busy, me and my boys thought we’d take ya out—show ya around town.”

“It’ll be fun!” Savannah exclaims as she claps and bounces in place, making sure Kingston notices how well-endowed she is. And he obviously does, if the widening of his eyes is any indication. Not exactly sure when she became “one of the boys,” but it looks like Savannah has every intention of joining in on this so-called “tour.”

Enough of this fun. I grab Sammy’s hand and head for the door.

“Let’s go, Mr. Magic. Daylight’s burning!”

Chapter 3

After a long day of cleaning and magic tricks, I emerge from the shower, more than ready for bed. It’s nearly ten and there’s no sign of Kingston, but I’m not sure what my parents set his curfew at—nor do I care. He may be an adult, placed as a junior in American college, but I know my father will still establish a curfew of some sort, just like he did with Sebastian.

I wake sometime later to a nearly full moon, trying its best to illuminate my dark room. However, I soon realize it wasn’t the intruding glow that disturbed my sleep, but a commotion coming from downstairs.

I sit up to listen, unable to make out precisely what’s being said, but catch one undeniable thing: John Kelly, AKA my dad, is not happy.

I slip out of bed and tiptoe across the room as quickly and quietly as possible, opening my door a crack to more effectively eavesdrop on the conversation in which my father is laying into Kingston mercilessly.

“I don’t care how old you are!” The ferocity in my dad’s yelling shakes the walls. “As long as you’re in my home, you’re my responsibility! There are two children in this house who, like you, have school tomorrow! You will obey and respect my rules—one of which is curfew!” He pauses briefly. “I thought we went over this. Do we now understand each other?”

“Perfectly, sir. This was one-off, I assure you.”

“One-off what?”

I’m with Dad. No idea what he means, either.

“Oh, um…” Kingston replies as he scrambles for, I’m guessing, American terms. “It will only happen this once?” He more asks than tells, sounding unsure of both whether he’s explained himself and will be given another chance.

“You’re damn right about that. Because if there is a next time, you’ll find yourself on a plane home. Now go to bed—and don’t wake my children!”

I smother my laugh at the irony. He just woke the dead with his screaming.

Kingston’s foot hits the bottom stair and I duck back inside my room, taking care to shut my door silently before jumping into bed.

Just as my heartrate slows and my eyelids start naturally resting shut, that riveting accent breaks the silence.

“Did my scolding amuse you, Love?”


I jolt up in bed to find Kingston leaning against the doorframe of the bathroom—on my side. Apparently, his slinking skills surpass my own, because he obviously knows I was listening but didn’t hear him come through the bathroom. Too bad he failed to use those stealthy maneuvers to get past my dad successfully.

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