twenty-eye

The exiles would have been greeted by a tall, slender and impressive young man in his mid-twenties, with small blue eyes and noticeably bad teeth in a long, sallow face beneath very fair hair.  Amiable and high-spirited, Henry Tudor was friendly if dignified in manner, while it was clear to everyone that he was extremely intelligent.  His definitive biographer, Professor Chrimes, credits him – event before he had become king – with possessing ‘a high degree of personal magnetism, ability to inspire confidence, and a growing reputation for shrewd decisiveness.’  On the debit side, he may have looked a little delicate – he had poor health – while despite his obvious ability, so far he had had no experience of warfare and as yet there was no military leader of repute among his followers.  Nevertheless, it is obvious that he had no trouble in presenting himself as a serious rival to King Richard.
—  The Wars of the Roses by Desmond Seward
Protected | R.M.

Summary: Reggie Mantle grew up protecting what he loved.


I miss you.

You received the text on the first day of school, the instant your baby pink ballet flats maneuvered within the halls of Riverdale High, which were marginally filled with mayhem from everyone’s first day jitters.

Well, not everyone. You, despite your extra pretty face, extra shiny curls, and extra preppy outfit, wore a heavy façade that drooped lower than the Maybelline Fit Me-concealed eye-bags that were situated below your unexplained, cheery eyes that tried to greet everyone with much positivity as possible. As everyone knew your perfect reputation, the happy-go-lucky cheerleader that everyone admired and loved since the day you entered high school. It was never tarnished, so you refused to let a silly break-up move it at all.

You took out your phone and shakily gazed down at the message. It was sent in clear, with no emoji’s or silly grammatical errors. Your nervous fingers moved for you, but your brain was being silly that day and it had no planned response for the text message.

A wave of students accidentally crossed and one of them partially collided against your hardly five feet tall physique, which was a thankful jolt that rattled you off from replying to the text message. You squeezed the iPhone tightly, bearing no mind of the glittery fake diamonds from the phone case bearing harsh indentions against your palm.

The moment you were able to fix your locker and lock it behind you, you immediately set off to find a seat in the gym—hoping that an early departure from the first day madness would create a false sense of comfort from your inevitable fate, which was meeting your ex-boyfriend again subsequently after a summer of trying to forget all about him.


Everyone had always said that you were perfect for Reginald Mantle.

You were a girl blessed with your father’s dominant sloped nose and your mother’s graceful and tiny, ballerina body. Being the only child meant being under the revolving gaze of your mother and father’s watchful eyes twenty-four/seven, and you grew up to be accordingly limpid; yet, at the same time pretentious for you were the heir of one of the wealthiest families in Riverdale.

Reggie was a boy meant for you even before you knew what he was supposed to be. He was a constant person in your life, a fixture caused by your parents and his parents’ meddling. Though, despite your unending play times together and a hired tutor that taught you and him up until you were in middle school, Reggie and you grew up in different paths, in different aspects.

You and Reggie were in the opposite sides of the spectrum. Nevertheless, you were inexplicably drawn to him. He was exactly the same as you, but as the same time, so, so different.

He was difficult to figure out. He had pushed children off swing sets and had hogged all the toy cars to himself as he disliked sharing. You hated the smirk on his face when he teased his inferiors, and still you loved him when he kissed you goodnight. He’d hold you in the softest way possible, muscled arms entrapped around you with touch as light as a feather, and similarly he’d used the same arms dangerously with heated intent at someone else.

You never got why people often told you that he was perfect for you. He was, in your point of view, a mixture of positives and negatives. He was your opposite.

The thing about opposites was that when a unity occurred, it would be a co-existent dependency that held itself with tension.

You loved him more than he loved himself. That was probably the reason why the balance wasn’t right and he pushed himself off, leaving you in the dust.


“Are you alright?” Surprisingly, Cheryl Blossom would be the first person to question you that today. The said Blossom stood above you, her red curls down the right side of her chest, a hand on her hip and a raised eyebrow. You tried to hide the flinch that came with Cheryl’s edged tone, but she assumingly noticed it since she took it herself to sit next to you on that noisy lunch table.

“Talk to me,” she demanded. “I don’t want anyone on my squad to be sadder than my supposed star quality. You cannot rain on my parade on this week’s performance.”

“I’m fine,” you muttered as you picked on your salad.

“[y/n], a stupid boy doesn’t have the right to state your mood status.” She hissed. “There are 7 billion people in the world. God knows how much boys will there be after your life post-Reggie Man—“

“Damn, Cheryl,” You stood up. “I said I’m fine!”

Your words were a little too loud, and laced with anger. The whole open-lawn cafeteria went into a full pregnant pause from your little burst and your eyes betrayed you as it went to a familiar face that you couldn’t just let go off. His smirking, never ceasing, hardly-caring face wavered slightly as he looked your way, as everyone had. He looked down once before pushing his left foot off benched on the seat and faced in the opposite direction, going back into a conversation with Chuck Clayton.

You couldn’t care less what that meant and you sped off from your table, grabbing your cellphone with you. Opening the text message up on your interface, your quivering fingers typed out a reply before hitting send.


“I thought you said I couldn’t see you again,” the tall and handsome boy chuckled as he sat coolly on the stools that they had in Pop’s. His tousled, brown waves would shine into a blondish side under the neon lights of Pop’s infamous signs, and his pretty blue eyes would turn your messy head into a complete haze of white noise. “I missed you,” Jackson voiced out, echoing what he had recently texted you that morning.

It was seven in the evening, and mostly everyone had this night tacked to watch the last screening due for the closing Midnight Drive-In. You had thought to go but you knew that it would simply be another place that would haunt you again with memories that happened in the arms of a familiar stranger.

“I couldn’t resist,” you whispered zealously, biting your lip, then striding towards him until both of your faces had no space with each other. He kissed back passionately, and you followed along in accord, ignoring the way your heart bleated in a monotonous fashion, like it was a routine you followed every morning. Fingers tracing down his rugged, jean jacket, you stopped as it went to a tracing on his arm. A tattoo of a dangerous serpent.

“Watch it,” he pushed himself off you and went to slip down his sleeves. “Any good ‘ole folk wouldn’t wanna see that snake on a young thing’s skin.”

“A young thing, huh?” You titled your head, letting him caress your cheek. It made you feel like being touched by an intruder. You held your tongue from stating that out loud. “I heard that your buddies are over at the drive-in tonight.”

“—yeah,” the handsome, rugged boy agreed, holding your hand like a whisper. “But you’re much better than any movie, let’s agree. Pretty and innocent [y/n][y/l/n].”

“If my father saw you with me,” you told him with a trace of a smile hinting on your lips while leading the boy down to a booth. “He would freak,” you ended with a pendulous but crude smirk, as the feeling of going behind your parents’ back often created a brilliant feeling of teenage rebellion.

However, the light that would go unperturbed that night beneath the luminescence of you with the boy from the Serpents would go back unlit as a sudden burst of unexpected customers walked in the empty Pop’s.

It was a famous group of blue and yellow hues, the king, the boy in between the boisterous and rowdy laughs, and you couldn’t help but shake as his eyes immediately turned toward the serpent and your contumacious self.

“[y/n]?” Reggie Mantle took it upon himself to breeze through the rows of booths with a face of disbelief, his voice rising. And as you expected, anger rising as his comical face slowly slipped to stone cold when his eyes landed on the lingering fingers of the serpent teenager on your arm. “Who the hell is he?”  

“Fuck off, Reggie,” you glared, bringing yourself to whisper to your current partner beside you, “Ignore him.” You tried your best to act a casual as possible, though the sudden racing of your heart that went with the way your ex-boyfriend stared at you in a mix of hardening confusion and indignation.

The other football players were left in a fit of widening eyes as Reggie, in impulsion, went and grabbed your arm in fury, “I’m taking you home.”

And it was a laughable scene, provided that you have been in witness in a circumstance like this before; on the contrary, you were always behind him before, supporting him like a good girlfriend. Until now.

Reggie showed the chaos within him through the bones between his knuckles—several scars made proof of that. Now, you were his enemy, the one that caused the fire beneath his eyes. The booths made a guarded ring.

“What the hell, man—“ The serpent boy scoffed before Reggie snapped and gripped and landed a good punch with no regret on the other boy’s face. That started a full-blown fight, which lead pandemonium where Moose, Chuck, and several others hurriedly tried to pull the Asian off the other boy. Reggie’s blows were pernicious, and over the yells of the football team trying to stop the fight, the only thing you could do was watch everything in horror.


“—fighting on public property, what on earth caused you to do that?!” And Mrs. Mantle let out a startled shriek and tried to shield her son as Mr. Mantle gave a tumultuous slap on Reggie’s already bruising face. You gripped your jacket, feeling the cotton and thinking of it as abrasive as hooves, guilt going off you in waves as the only thing you could do was watch the aftermath unfold in the Mantle estate, where you had been protectively ushered off to with your parents and Sheriff Keller due to Pop’s emergency dial.

“This is getting out of hand,” Reggie’s father continued, a harsher than stern look on his purple face. Yanking back his hand, his gaze shot to you, which you couldn’t bear to hold longer than a second. “This boy has been nothing but trouble this year—I swear, this was the last straw, Reginald. I need to ship him to board—“

“It was my fault,” you found your voice, hurried and not gentle at all—willing to cross out the guilt killing your tightening chest. Your parents’ tension-heavy faces whipped their heads to you, their protected daughter that could hardly do no wrong in this world. “I came there with Jackson—“

“No, I fought him, she had nothing to do with th—“ Reggie hastily claimed, harsh and scarily void of emotion. He was seemingly too callous from responding to his father—and you had realized that this could have been happening more so than none and that this boy could have grown up this way, and while your heart was pouring from hearing him protect you, you knew that it was your call to turn things around.

“No,” you squeaked, hearing yourself panic. “I guess I was being rebellious, I met up with Jackson, and – and- “ You eyed your father. “He was with me and Reggie saw me and Jackson did something and he got provoked,” you finished, lying. You looked at Reggie, and he gazed at you, turmoil and hurt swirling in his eyes.

That led to a tension-filled silence. You closed your eyes, and could hear the sounds of Reggie’s father’s footsteps going off to a direction. Somewhere that’s not here, of course.


“Sorry, that shouldn’t have happened,” he would tell you days later, smirk latched to his lips like a boy to a candy bar. He’d say it would no feeling, no emotion, as if he wasn’t someone that was in what happened and he was merely a person who’d heard of what happened.

The memory of his father slapping him because of you would haunt you forever, and your eyes would wander to his cheek not due to any romantic purpose, but the ache of wondering how much it hurt to protect you, a person he shouldn’t even be caring for anymore.

“I’m sorry,” you ignored his first statement, and spat out what you needed to say. The hallways were empty. “I was being petty. I wanted to—“ The words were dignified to be stated out in the open. “I wanted to forget about you.”

His silence mocked you. The 6’3 handsome and usually word-y jock—the boy you really, just really, really loved, gazed at you as if your turbulence, though with a slip of concern on his façade. You continued, lips burning with words you only imagined you would say in a dream, “You hurt me, Reggie. I hated you for making me spend a summer without you. So, yeah. I did something. I slept with that douchebag, that serpent, just to forget about you. So, fuck you.”

The response was instant. An utter storm shadowed over his face. “Fuck me? Fuck me? Are you fucking kidding me?” His fingers wrapped tightly around his coifed hair, eyes blazing with chasms of void and anger. “The only thing I ever did was goddamn protect you! If you hadn’t been so stupid, you wouldn’t be in this mess. I shouldn’t have protected you from the start if it was going to lead this way.”

“Protected me from the start?” You questioned, beckoned with hatred.

“Yes! I’ve always been protecting you. I love you, [y/n]. So much. The reason I ended things is because you were going to end up broadcasted on this shitty book and—“ Reggie sighed and you looked at him confusingly. He stepped forward, “Look, last year I was in hell. My dad caught me doing some stupid shit and he was going to blame it on you. I needed to protect you, it was instinct. I had to break up with you because I couldn’t bear the guilt that—“

This time, it was your turn to slap him. Reggie snapped his head back at you, shocked.

“You stupid jerk,” your body shook from relief and at the same time, numbness. “You couldn’t have at least told me about that? I literally cried for a week because I thought I wasn’t good enough for you, the great Reggie freaking Mantle.”

Reggie stared at what only could have been eons, before shaking his head and returning a soft gaze that was only for you. “I’m sorry.”

You could shake your head as he placed out his warm hand next to yours, swirling and wrapping it around yours in the gentlest way possible.


It was an epiphany, when you looked at him and you had finally seen a glimpse of an extent that he would do for you. The balance was off and you had thought of it in the wrong way.

He loved you more than he loved himself.


omg i’m so sorry. whenever i write i’d always get so carried away with excessive details and annoying character musings!!! please tell me what you think! feel free to reblog or like or message me! always open to hear what you guys think huehue. :) 

Trying to Make Friends at College Like
  • Person: Hi!
  • Me: Hi!
  • Person: Tell me a little about yourself.
  • Me: I am haunted by the fact that some of my favorite musicals will never see Broadway stage but for some reason we felt the need to give Cats and Spongebob a stage this year. What right do they have over Hunchback of Notre Dame? Or Dogfight? What about Daddy Long Legs? FREAKING HEATHERS? How about the fact that Deaf West Spring Awakening got two months while Chicago is still running after twenty plus years? *eye twitches*
  • Person: *smiles politely and slowly backs away*
Magnetic [Part 1 / 2]

Based on “Shape of You” by Ed Sheeran.

Pairing: Bucky x Reader

Warnings: Explicit Language, Unprotected Sex, Use of Alcohol, Strong Sexual Reference and Suggestive Themes. 

Word Count: 5.3k+

A/N: I am completely enamored with this song and I had to sink my teeth into the prompt idea so enjoy lovelies! x. T



SoHo, New York City  |  9:57 PM

.     .     .

The soft golden glow from the lights overhead illuminated the area in a warm, alluring haze that cast everyone in shadows in just the right places. The gloss of the oak bar top shimmered in that light, making the perspiration that touched the wood from your sweating glass glisten brilliantly and you were entranced in watching a drop form. Lost in thought and staring at the cocktail in your fingers, you were unaware of the three men that entered the bar.

Keep reading

“You know, you can use music, you can use this show. I want you to know that whatever it is that you brought into this place, whatever baggage, whatever thing you’re working through, you can use music, you can use this show to leave it all here tonight and start fresh. Never forget to start over, please never forget. You can start over if you need, doesn’t matter what you’ve done.” – Tyler Joseph

for best experience, listen with headphones in and close your eyes.

Fast Firsts and Sloppy Seconds  (a Manorian/Rowaelin AU)

NOTE: This is a piece very near and dear to my heart!! Welcome to my very first TOG fic, and second fic overall! This is kind of a celebration of hitting 100 followers, and kind of a celebration of ACOWAR, but first and foremost, this is a gift for my girl @highlady-casandra. You’re pretty cool, I guess and I love you so so much but you already knew that <3 but also I really hope you’re sleeping right now or we’ll have to fight  Second, it goes to to my fellow Revolutionaries,  @miladyaelin  @snaps7@jxmessjrjuspottcr @throneofstars @fictionalcharactersaremyreality, y’all are the true heroes ;) Third, for @propshophannah, my favorite SJM blog and one of my favorite writers for this fandom, who is a hero in her own right for a million reasons. Thanks for existing. Last but not least, this one’s this is for all of you guys reading it!! I hope you enjoy, and I hope I didn’t butcher them too bad! ( @meabhd You’re a queen and amazing artist and I hope I didn’t butcher your accent/country too much :/ ) Without further ado, here we go!


Dorian and Aelin burst into the small lively Irish pub. Well, “burst” was kind of a strong word, considering how bogged down they were by their huge backpacks. The two friends had decided to travel across Europe after their college graduation. It was supposed to be a group of them, but they’d lost Lys and Aedion back in Italy. Chaol was supposed to meet them in Dublin – but that was if they ever made it there. The huge storm had come out of nowhere, and their flight had been redirected. Aelin had insisted they try to catch a ferry to continue on to Dublin – but when the huge waves had almost flipped over the boat, she conceded, and they were dropped off on the beach in some other part of Ireland. Trudging up the long hill, they finally came to the bustling pub – the only awake part of the small sea town. Gasping for breath and dripping wet, they glanced around for an empty table in the crowded bar, and spotted a couple getting up in the corner. They quickly grabbed the table before anyone else had a chance, pulling the massive weights off of their backs and flopping into the hard wooden chairs.

They could feel the heat of the packed pub seeping into their bodies. Groups of people danced around, producing more and more warmth as they jumped and whirled to the tune of the lively reel. The band in the corner looked like they’d been playing for a while, empty beer bottles scattered around their feet as they played.

They took a few minutes to settle down – wringing the water out of their soaked shirts. Aelin was running a hand through her long blonde hair, trying to untangle the wet tresses, when Dorian shook his head at her like a dog, spraying water everywhere. It was at this moment that the waitress walked over, a hand on her hip and a smirk on her face as she watched Aelin smack him repeatedly.

She stopped quickly when she noticed the gorgeous girl. A tray was balanced against her hip, and she had a long, messy white braid over one shoulder, along with a wicked grin on her bright red lips. “Name’s Manon,” she drawled, her Irish accent washing over them. “What can I get you lot?”

Dorian cleared his throat, quickly running a hand through his hair in an effort to look presentable. He began to stumble over his words as his eyes ran over her lithe, muscular body. “I – uh – we – do you have any, um, menus?”

She snorted, raising an eyebrow at the boy. No – man. He was in his early twenties at least. Her eyes quickly flashed to his flexing muscles as he awkwardly scratched the back of his neck. He was broad, tall, and all around gorgeous. His bright blue eyes avoided hers as she watched him squirm under her golden gaze. “Aye, o’ course lad, would you like some gold rimmed plates, too? What d’you think this is? A palace, princeling?” She rolled her eyes, scowling at the gorgeous man. Why was it always the pretty ones that were like this?

“I’ll take a Guiness –”Aelin’s cool voice cut in, as Dorian struggled to regain his composure. “And some food. We’re both starving.”

“Aye, and soaked through the bone,” Manon mumbled, glancing at their wet clothes. She let out a deep sigh as she crossed her impossibly long legs. “I’ll see what the boys can dig up – kitchen’s supposed to close any minute now.”

The full weight of her golden gaze turned back to Dorian, a smirk on her face as she watched him startle under the attention. “Anything else I can get you, princeling?”

He cleared his throat and narrowed his stormy blue eyes as he forced a smirk on his face. “A double shot of whiskey, please.” He winked at her then, feeling the bravery re-enter his voice. “Need something to help warm me up.”

“Aye,” she smirked, “and some of that Irish courage will do you good, as well.”

With that, she turned, making her way back to the bar. He couldn’t help but stare at her enticing hips as they moved from side to side. Just like she’d wanted him to.

He was cute, this American boy. Kind of ridiculous, but cute.

Soon enough she was back with their drinks, shot Dorian some heated looks, and was off again. He wasn’t usually a one night stand kind of guy, in most situations. But for her? For her he’d make an exception. Miles of long legs were barely covered by a pair of ripped jean shorts. She had on a loose red t-shirt, further accenting her bright red lips. Yet, even in the simple outfit, she looked like a queen. His queen.

Aelin rolled her eyes watching Dorian eye-fuck the white-haired beauty. Aelin thought she was kind of a bitch, but Dorian never listened to her opinions on his conquests. He was usually more of a relationship guy, but she could tell that this time he just didn’t care. And she wasn’t drunk enough to put up with his shenanigans.

With a heavy sigh, she stood up from her seat to get another drink. Dorian barely paid her any attention as his eyes followed the waitress, watching her float from table to table, laughing heartily as she flirted with everyone, lighting up the room with her smile.


Aelin stepped up to the bar, the barkeep nowhere to be found. She eyed the empty seat in the corner and decided to take it right as she noticed someone else about to make a move. It’s not like Dorian was much better company. She ran a hand through her long blonde hair, still wet from the rain. She’d opted to keep her soaked sweatshirt on, wearing nothing but a small tank top underneath. But between the grossly wet fabric against her skin and the heat of the pub, she was leaning closer and closer to taking the damn thing off. Finally, she gave in, ripping off the soaking wet hoodie. And of course, this was the moment the barkeep chose to arrive.

Rowan Blackthorn couldn’t help but watch, shell-shocked, as the blonde beauty pulled the dark sweatshirt off of her curvy torso. As if the barely-there lace tank top wasn’t bad enough, it slowly slipped up her body as she struggled with the sweatshirt. And there, in that moment, he knew he was absolutely fucked. He cleared his throat as he stepped up across from her, averting his eyes.

“What can I get you, lass?” His voice was a soft sensual rumble, but she couldn’t really properly enjoy it in her struggle.

“Right now,” she grunted, “a hand would be nice.” He winced at the fact that he was completely and totally about to begin his descent into hell, and reached over to pull the girl’s sweatshirt off.

She was suddenly greeted by six feet and four inches of pure muscle. She wasn’t exactly short, but the bartender towered over her. His short white hair was cut close to his head. Gaelic tattoos trailed down half of his face and one of his arms,clearly showing off his heritage. His bright green eyes caught her gaze, and she found herself unable to look away. “Um, thanks,” she mumbled, reaching to grab the sweatshirt that he was holding out to her.

They stood there then, just like that, watching each other. He took in her wet blonde hair that fell just to her shoulders, and her tight light pink tank top. At least it wasn’t see-through. Then he would have definitely lost it.

“Y’know,” she teased, trying to lighten the mood, “normally I don’t let guys undress me until after I’ve learned their name.”

He snorted at that. “Is that all it takes with you, then?” Shit. He couldn’t stop himself. The words were already out, but he’d immediately regretted them. Well, that was that, he supposed.

She narrowed her eyes at the man. As pretty as he might be, she wouldn’t put up with any bullshit he was presenting her with. “Give me another Guiness,” she snapped. He raised an eyebrow before turning around to grab it without another word. He pulled the cap of the beer straight off with his hands, the asshole. The muscles in his arms tensed and relieved as he accomplished it, and Aelin just about died.

It was in this moment that Manon sauntered over, two plates in hand. “Are you goin’ back t’yer boyfriend there, or are you stayin’ over here?”

“He’s not my boyfriend,” she scowled, reaching out a hand for one of the two plates. “On a good day he’s my friend. Right now though, he’s my pain in the ass. So yeah, I’ll eat over here.” Manon smirked as Aelin finally accepted the Guiness Rowan had been holding out.

She walked away, an extra bounce in her step as she once again made her way to Dorian. Aelin rolled her eyes at the predatory smirk that was growing on her friend’s face. It looked like he’d found his footing fast enough. She turned back to her beer, and the asshole of a bartender.

He’d begun to clean a glass, obviously trying to look anywhere but at her. She scoffed, rolling her eyes, and turning her attention to her meal.

Rowan was a fucking idiot. Yeah, Rowan. Great idea. Get the gorgeous girl to like you by insulting her. That always works. Then again, he was sort of out of practice. And more than that, she was only here for, what, a day? Two maximum? He was willing to bet the storm had rolled her in, and she’d be leaving as soon as it was over. Slowly shaking his head, he sighed. Rowan didn’t have time for more attachments to beautiful women who were just going to leave. So maybe being an asshole was a good idea.

Except then he heard the moan slip out of her mouth. And every logical thought left his head as his entire body stiffened at the sound.

“God,” she sighed, “who the hell is your cook, and can I marry him?”

Rowan cleared his throat, straining to talk as her husky voice just played over and over in his head.

Shit.

He was in such deep, unending shit.

“We have two cooks,” he grumbled, trying to prevent his voice from cracking as he watched her lick her fingers, unable to look away.

His words ran away from him as he watched her dip her soda bread in the Irish Stew and take a large bite, letting out another long, low moan. “Please tell me whichever one made this stew is single.”

A low growl built in his throat, the sight much too sensual to bear. That moan. However good that stew was, it couldn’t taste nearly as delicious as he was sure she did. What he wouldn’t give to have her thighs around his head, how she would moan then –

He grit his teeth, shook his head, and forced himself to look away, discretely adjusting his pants as he once again tried and failed to regain his composure. At the sound of bickering voices coming up behind him, Rowan let out a small sigh of relief. Saved by the devils.

“Fenrys, Connal!” He called behind him, welcoming the distraction. And then he remembered what she was wearing. And that he’d been an asshole. And that she had wanted to marry one of the two idiots. And suddenly regretted everything. “You have an admirer,” he ground out. He hesitated, cautiously glancing at Aelin once again as she slowly enjoyed the bread, her eyes closed and a soft smile on her face. He began to smile as well, and then stopped, scowling instead. Remember. Lyria. With that thought in his head, he stormed down the walkway behind bar to go pour some other drinks.


Aelin opened her eyes at the sound of the barkeep stomping away. Her eyes were quickly drawn to the tightness of his pants against what she assumed was his equally tight ass. Dear god. She quickly looked away, chastising herself. She shouldn’t pine after what she knew she couldn’t have.  She didn’t even know his name.

It was then that she found the twins stepping up to her behind the bar. Both were well-built, with gorgeous dark eyes, and deep tans to their skin. They seemed older than the barkeep. The one on the left was easily the most beautiful man she’d seen in her life. He had long golden hair and a mischievous grin on his lips, easily accompanying his onyx eyes that held her favorite kind of sinful promises. The other was just as beautiful, though with long dark hair, and thoughtful dark eyes. He seemed calmer – more melancholy in a way. The dark to the other’s light. Though for some reason, neither could compare to the bartending buzzard.

She took a sip of her beer and grinned at the twins who were eyeing her just the same. The blond was unashamedly appreciating her figure under the tank top, offering her a wolfish grin, hinting that cooking wasn’t the only thing he was good at doing with his hands. Meanwhile the dark-haired twin simply stepped back, leaning against the bar and rolling his eyes at his brother’s behavior.

“Name’s Fenrys,” the blond purred, holding out a large hand for her to shake. She took it slowly, feeling the calluses in his palm as her eyes met the heat in his.

“Aelin.” She smiled coolly, dropping his hand and returning to the stew, feigning aloofness. She could eat politely when she wanted to. And now that the beautiful barkeep wasn’t around, she had no reason not to. She almost laughed thinking back to his attempts at discretely readjusting his pants. As though his lust for her wasn’t entirely obvious. I hope you hate every minute of it, she thought, glaring at his gorgeous broad back.

“So,” Fenrys drawled, dragging her attention back to him. “Is our dear cousin Rowan treating you well? Irish hospitality and all that?”

Rowan. Gorgeous name for a gorgeous man. Her eyes followed him as he poured out shots for a group of boys who looked just barely legal. Then she dragged them back to Fenrys, and lifted one shoulder in a lazy shrug, her face entirely blank. “Well enough, I suppose.” She took another small bite of the stew, even though all she really wanted was to devour it.

“You know,” Fenrys murmured, his fingers lightly playing with the tips of hers, “I could certainly treat you very well, if you’d let me.”

She drew her hand away from his and placed it under her chin, raising a single eyebrow at his forwardness.

“Since I’m not a dog, I doubt you’ll be surprised to hear I don’t respond well to treats. Though since I’m not entirely certain you’re not a dog, unless you’d like me to rip off your balls so you can play fetch, I suggest you leave me alone.”

Connall barked out a laugh as Fenrys staggered back, an incredulous look on his face. A surprised laugh escaped his lips as he stepped away, reaching for the whiskey and mumbling to himself about crazy American women.

It was at this moment that Rowan walked back over, an aggravated look on his face. He should’ve been relieved that she’d probably already agreed to sleep with Fenrys, but for whatever reason, all he felt was a quiet stifling rage. His shoulder rammed into his cousin’s as he passed by him, stepping up next to Connall.

“Congratulations,” Connall grinned at her, “it’s not often a lass sends my brother off with his tail between his legs.” The two chuckled at the joke between them, Aelin finally smiling again as Rowan stood there, confused.

“What happened to your betrothed?” He bit out, defensive, not allowing himself to hope for what was too good to be true.

Aeliln’s smile turned sensual as her eyes once again roamed over his muscular frame. The heat in them almost burned him as they finally met his once again. “Turns out he wasn’t my type. Too easy.” A smirk spread on her lips as Rowan flinched. Connall chuckled again and began to walk away, clapping Rowan on the shoulder. “This one’s all yours, cousin. Good luck.” He winked at him and continued into the kitchen, finally ready to clean up for the night.

She took a few more bites of her stew, and Rowan went back to methodically cleaning his bar.

He wished he could say he’d forgotten she was there. But he hadn’t. Even with his back turned to her, he could feel her behind him, burning him with her gaze, and then it was almost as if her moans were ringing in his ears again. With a low groan, he wiped down the bar harder, angrily scrubbing.

A mischievous grin stretched across her lips, entirely aware of the affect she had on him. He’s going to sleep with me tonight, and he’s going to like it. And then we’ll see who’s the easy one. She ignored the small voice in her head that pointed out the fact that she would no doubt more than like it as well.

“So, Rowan,” she purred, placing both elbows on the bar and leaning her chin on her intertwined fingers, “tell me about yourself.”

Part 2

The Devil Wears Laces

“Please tell me you didn’t do it,” Nikandros said as soon as Damen picked up the phone. Instinctively, Damen looked around, as though he were going to find Nikandros staring at him in disapproval from across the street. Or behind him. Or perching from one of the buildings like a gargoyle.

“I only did it because of you, you know,” Damen told him.

“You did this because of me,” Nikandros repeated. “I was the one who told you this was going to happen. Kastor has been jealous of you for years. It was only a matter of time before he made a grab for your position. That’s why he-”

“Why he told our father that I was burnt out and needed vacation time? Why he’s helpfully filling in for me during my forced sabbatical?”

“Yes.” It was exactly what Nikandros had said, though not with those specific details. Nikandros, who knew everything, had told Damen that his brother would jump at the opportunity to show their father he was capable of being CEO. Damen just hadn’t listened. But now Kastor was sitting at the Editor-In-Chief’s desk - his desk - and he’d decided to start paying attention.

“Which is why I’m not going to sit down and be useless while the company prepares for its biggest deal in years.”

“So, you’ve applied at Vere?”

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