She's Too Young (She's Too Young #1)(7)By: Jessa Kane
“Why?” Mr. Rose shakes his head. “You’re young. You look like a damn movie star. When the women on my floor pass you in the lobby, they talk about it for weeks.” Silence passes. “Is it only because she’s…seventeen?”
I’m unused to being asked for reasons from anybody and I find the prospect of discussing my inner workings distasteful. But I force myself to attempt an explanation, perhaps because I’m looking for one myself. I’ve never experienced this kind of all-consuming fixation before, nor will I again. “If it were only about her age, I could make that happen in my world. Nothing is…off limits to men like me.” A sharp object jabs me in the chest and twists. “I was asleep before she appeared and now I’m so awake I can barely fucking stand it. Does that answer your question?”
Eyes falling shut, he picks up the pen. “This makes me as much a bastard as you. Selling my own daughter.” The tip touches down on the signature line. “If I had any other option—if I wasn’t weeks from losing everything—I wouldn’t do it.”
“Aren’t you going to read the full contract?”
“What could be worse than what I already know?”
He shouts the question, causing my security guard to step into the doorway, but I wave them off. “There is one more thing.”
Normally on a Thursday afternoon, I’m waist-deep in conference calls and purchase negotiations at the office, but I’ve cancelled the second half of my day. I want—fuck it, I need—to be home when Veda arrives. It has been five days since our first meeting on the roof and I’m barely holding on. Apart from the photographs I’ve been sent of her going about her daily activities, I’ve had no contact with her and I’m like a caged bear, pacing the living room of my apartment.
All right, maybe ‘apartment’ isn’t the correct word for my four-story living quarters in Tribeca, located at the top of a fifty-story luxury building. From here, I can see the Hudson and New Jersey on the other side. From my bedroom upstairs, the Statue of Liberty seems close enough to touch and yet I’m not confident about any of the amenities now. I can’t very well see the place through the eyes of a seventeen-year-old girl, can I? So I’ve hired the correct people to make sure Veda’s wishes are met at all times, since I can’t be home often enough. A fact that never bothered me before, but I have a distinct feeling will be abhorrent to me going forward.
My cell phone buzzes in my pocket signaling an incoming text. The bellman downstairs is letting me know Veda is on her way up in the elevator and God almighty, my cock starts to get hard. I know what you must think of me by now, but understand that the moment those elevator doors roll open and I witness Veda’s trepidation, I stop thinking with the heavy tool in my briefs, because my chest wants to cave in. She looks so small inside the polished chrome mouth of the elevator, suitcases being held by a bellman to her right. So fragile.
Fragile and…a touch suspicious.
If I hadn’t made it the final condition that Veda know nothing about the contract—merely that I’ve offered her a place to stay while Jack is overseas—I would think she knew what I’d done. But I don’t think her father is that reckless.
I’ve closed half of the distance between us before I realize I’ve even moved, issuing a brief directive to the bellman regarding where to leave Veda’s luggage. I consider asking if she’s going to remain in the elevator forever, but she finally steps out, head tilting back so she can meet my eyes. Hers are still filled with unease as she says, “You’re even more handsome in the light.” Her chin is stubborn. “I wish you were ugly.”
She lifts one shoulder gracefully and lets it fall, beginning to play with the edge of her skirt. Her short, blue and white plaid, private school skirt. Fuck. Me. “I can’t think straight around you,” she whispers, as if sharing a secret. “I think you’re up to no good, Ramsey Beckett, but I think the more time I spend around you, the less I’m going to care. And that’s bad.”