Burning Ultimatum - By Aubrey Parker
(Trevor’s Harem, #4)
Publication date: March 15th 2016
Genres: New Adult, Romance
With Trevor’s contest at its end, it’d be easy to say we’re three against one. And yet I’ve never felt so alone.
My heart is torn, twisted, ripped. I’m alternately hot and cold. I dream vivid dreams, no longer sure if they’re fantasy or reality.
There’s a new player in the game. He’s tall, broad, beautiful, and intimidating.
Everyone is afraid of him, even the company. I’m told he has a secret, and that I’m its subject. And someone else has a secret, too — from our mystery man, and god help us if he learns it.
Everyone is loyal to something or someone in this place — though it’s seldom what it seems.
I don’t know who’s with me and who’s against me — if I’ll go home with my new protector … or be kept here forever.
I couldn’t possibly be what Eros has combed the world for … can I?
Trevor puts his hand on my arm, but I shake it away. I’m so frustrated. So angry. Trevor acts like my friend, but he cut Kat. I have no friends.“Bridget, there was no choice. Keeping her wouldn’t have been fair to Kat. And it would have contradicted the purpose of everything we’re trying to do.”
I look back at him. I stand. My eyes are wet with fury, but I’m wearing an angry smile.
“What?” he says.
“They got you. They got all of you.”
“Kylie. Kat was a threat to her. Do you know about her and Caspian White?”
“No. What do you mean?”
“I guess we’ll never know, will we? I could tell you. I could even tell Caspian. But something tells me it won’t ring true without Kat to back me up. Something tells me convenient lies and excuses have already been put in place. She’s always ten steps ahead, isn’t she? After all, that’s her fucking superpower, isn’t it?”
“Bridget, what are you talking about?”
“And Jessica. Because second place wasn’t good enough for her. She wants to win it all. Is that what Kylie promised her? That she could come in first place once Kat was gone?” I give a cynical little smile. “I guess we’ll see what Kylie’s promises are worth with a knife in Jessica’s back.”
“You’re making too much of this. Once I learned Kat’s situation, I took care of it. It was just me. Nobody else — not Kylie, not Jessica.”
Then it hits me. My hand goes over my mouth, and I actually laugh.
“Oh my God,” I say.
“They’re playing you, too.”
“Nobody’s playing me.”
I sit back down. I can’t help myself. I grab Trevor by the upper arms and look him right in his sweet, almost innocent eyes.
“This is about you, Trevor. Not me, not the contest, not the company. You. Kat was eliminated because you never had a choice. She backed you into it.”
“Who?” He’s getting annoyed, his face twisting.
“This whole thing is on you. It’s your name. Your company. Everything is being done for Trevor Stone.”
“So if it fails? If it goes horribly wrong? If someone can convince some other people that certain big-name billionaires should be squeezed out?”
“You’re being ridiculous.”
But I’m not. I see it clear as day.
Trevor stands, brushing off with an air of finality, as if these last thirty seconds have made him sorry for coming to see me.
“Trevor … ”
He meets my eyes with a hard stare — no matter what I say next, our discussion is over.
“I came here because I care about you, Bridget. That hasn’t changed.”
I don’t know what else to do, so as my shoulders sag, I nod.
“Are you leaving today?”
That was the plan, yes. But now I’m not so sure. If I leave, it’ll just be Jessica, Kylie, and Daniel versus Trevor. The three against one that’s also leveled against me. But I could stick around. I could keep being a wrench in the machine. The one question that nobody, no matter how honest they are, will answer is the biggest of all: Why am I still here? I survived the first elimination after refusing to play by the rules. I survived the second and third without blinking. And if Trevor is to be believed, I survived a sex-first challenge by being nonsexual while the sluttiest slut got the axe. All by following my gut and doing nothing special. All, it seems, without help of any meaningful kind.
“I don’t know,” I say.
“Same reason as before.”
“Because he likes you.”
“Then I should have no problems.”
Trevor doesn’t respond. He looks somehow punched, but I can tell he feels that affection, from Caspian White, probably isn’t a good thing.
“I’ll be fine, Trevor. Thank you for your concern, but I’ve made it this far, even without a superpower.”
I try to smile at the idea of superpowers, but Trevor stops, on his way to my door, and takes my hand.
“Daniel didn’t tell you,” he says.
“Tell me what?”
“At least on paper, he’s named a talent for you. To our board. And to Mr. White.”
I blink back up at Trevor.
“He’s been telling people that he’s figured out my superpower?”
“Yes. And going to face Caspian White, that’s what scares me.”
“What is it?”
“Technically it’s restraint, no doubt piggybacking on what the cameras saw between you in the garden, when you resisted his triggers.” Trevor purses his lips. “But Caspian has chosen to interpret your unflappability differently, if not quite literally.”
My heart beats faster. Maybe Trevor is right after all, and I should leave while I still can.
“‘Purity,’” Trevor says. “As if you were a virgin, waiting to be defiled.”
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