That fucking prick.
A smirk spreads across his lips, the movement excruciatingly slow, almost as if he's not the least bit surprised to see me. He looks so satisfied with himself that it’s all I can do not to walk up to him and slap that stupid smug smile right off his face.
Instead, I stand there, my heart pounding so loudly in my chest I swear everyone in the room must be able to hear it. I'm frozen, paralyzed, staring at him like I'm some kind of idiot.
The devil incarnate.
A devil with the bluest damn eyes I've ever seen, right here in my father's house.
When Caulter directs those blue eyes toward me, I just know he can see right through me. I'm naked under his gaze, helpless to prevent the heat from rising to my cheeks as his eyes linger on me.
The only thing I can think about is the last time I saw him - the heat of his breath on my neck that made me practically writhe with the anticipation of him being inside me, the way he bit the edge of my lip when he kissed me that caused me to cry out, unsure if I was feeling pleasure or pain. When the tip of his cock pressed against my entrance, I winced and he gave me an odd look. “Shit, Princess, tell me you’ve done this before.”
I'd forced a laugh, tried to sound more casual than I felt. That was all it was -- casual. Hit it and quit it was Caulter's mantra. Unlike Caulter, I had exactly zero experience with that. I had been Little Miss Perfect my whole life -- 4.0 GPA, class president, valedictorian, the whole nine yards. The daughter of Senator Harrison. The Senator Harrison. There were certain expectations of me. Let's just say that no one -- at least no one normal -- was clamoring to date the daughter of the retired Marine Corps General. The same man who was expected to make a bid for President in the next few years.
And no one was trying to get in my pants. Except for Caulter Sterling, the bad boy who didn't give a damn about rules or expectations.
The week before graduation, I had made my decision. Enough was enough. I was eighteen, an adult. I was headed to Harvard in precisely ninety days, and I sure as hell wasn't arriving there with my virginity intact. I texted the one boy I knew would do the deed -- even if he was the only boy I truly couldn't stand.
Caulter moved slightly, the head of his cock pressed insistently against me. "Tell me, Princess," he whispered, his voice nearly a growl. "This isn't your first time, is it?"
"Of course it's not, jackass," I lied, my jaw set, forcing an assuredness I definitely didn't feel. "Are you going to screw me, or not?"
My father's voice cuts through the memory with military-like precision. "Katherine," he says. "You know Caulter Sterling."
Do I know Caulter Sterling? My cheeks feel like they are on fire. Surely everyone in here can see what is written all over my face. Do I know him? Only in the most Biblical of senses.
I know how he tastes.
I know how his cock feels as it slides into me.
I know how it feels when I come on him, digging my fingernails into his shoulders as I cling to his body like I'm afraid I'll be swept away.
The boy I'd lost my virginity to -- the same one to whom I'd mumbled an awkward "thanks" as I'd slipped out the door of the hotel the next day in what was inarguably the most awkward morning-after exchange in the history of mornings-after -- the boy I hadn’t spoken to since he did the deed two weeks ago -- is now standing in my fucking living room.
With my father.
In terms of embarrassing moments, this has to rank as one of the worst. A million thoughts are swirling around in my head. Does my father know? I wonder. No, he can't possibly. I try to reassure myself. My father would have already throttled him with his bare hands if he knew the debauched things Caulter had done to me that night. The thought of those things sends a rush of heat between my legs that I try to ignore.
"Yes." I choke out the word, my voice little more than a croak. "I know Caulter Sterling. Hello, Caulter."
"Hello, Harvard," Caulter says, his voice drawing out the word, lingering on it. His lips turn up on the edges. The image of him above me, those sweet lips millimeters from mine, flashes in my head as clear as day.
Standing there next to my oh-so-conservative father, Caulter pulls his lips into a smirk again. And winks. If there is such a thing as death by humiliation, I swear I am two seconds away from experiencing it.
"Of course you two know each other from Brighton," my father says, apparently oblivious to what has to be the now-scarlet color of my face.
I swallow hard and nod, willing the heat in my cheeks to subside. "Yes. Brighton."
"And you know Caulter's mother, Ella Sterling," he says.
I've been so focused on Caulter that I haven't even registered the other person in the room. Ella Sterling. Caulter's mother. She’s a huge movie star, a Hollywood icon. If I had met her in any other setting, I'd be star-struck right now.
Why are she and Caulter in my living room? I silently pray this is all about some kind of political fundraiser, even though that might require that I play nice with Caulter. You know you'd like to do more than just play nice with him. The thought jumps right into my head, unwanted, and I banish it.
"Hello, Katherine." Ella steps forward and extends her hand. She’s looking at me with the kind of affectionate expression you reserve for children and puppies, her eyes soft. "I've heard so much about you."
Before I can think about why she's looking at me the way she is, my father speaks, his tone staccato, clipped. Business as usual. "Ella and I have an announcement to make, and we want the two of you to hear it from us first."