Home > oyally Endowed (Royally #3)(16)

oyally Endowed (Royally #3)(16)
Author: Emma Chase

“Useless bastard.” Then he spits on him.

“Really?” I ask Tommy.

“What? It’s my favorite shirt.”

Tommy may have a touch of sociopath in him.

I crouch down and lift the shitbag up by his collar, my tone soft and serious, “You come near Ellie Hammond again, if she glimpses you on the street . . . I’ll kill you with my bare hands.”

Then Tommy and I stroll through the door.

Out on the pavement, heading for home, Tommy pulls his eyes from the tragedy of his stained shirt and glances at me. “You laid it on pretty thick at the end.”

“What do you mean?”

We take the stairs down to the subway.

“I mean, if he’s stupid enough to come sniffin’ around Ellie again, we’d bust him up, sure—but we’d leave him breathing, wouldn’t we?”

I take a moment to think about my answer before I respond.

“Yeah. Sure we would. I was just making a point.”

Like I said . . . sometimes, I lie.

LOGAN IS WATCHING ME.

He’s been doing that a lot lately. Even when I don’t catch him doing it, I feel it—like the brush of a hand on my skin. It makes me warm . . . tingly. And the spot on my forehead, where he kissed me that night . . . I can still feel that too.

I’ve talked with Olivia about moments that change our lives. How it’s important but difficult to recognize them when they happen. Things that change us, forever. Logan was worried that Mitchell did would change who I am. It didn’t.

But, he changed who I think other people are. I can’t help that. It seemed like it came out of nowhere, without any warning or sign. But maybe there were signs, and I missed them.

Now I know to look beneath the surface, to be smarter—to question that what’s on the outside, the words people say and the things they do, might be totally and completely different from what’s really going on, on the inside.

I talked to Logan about it too, a few days later. About people who lie, misrepresent for all kinds of reasons.

He held up two fingers on his right hand and told me in that strong, steady voice: “Two guaranteed signs of lying—they fidget or freeze. They either move too much or work too hard to not move at all. You’ll sense it if you pay attention; something about their look will seem unnatural . . . off. Anytime someone has to put effort into their words, you can bet what they’re saying is a steaming crock of shit.”

“Fade Into You” by Mazzy Star plays from my phone as I dip my brush into the bucket of paint and drag it up the wall. It’s a good song to paint to. Slow and rhythmic.

I’m at the newest Amelia’s location. Olivia and Nicholas have grown the coffee shop into a chain of “pay what you can” restaurants across the city. This’ll be the third one, and the grand opening is in a few weeks, so I’m helping out. Nicholas and Livvy are in the kitchen setting things up—and making goo-goo eyes at each other like they so often do.

Logan leans against the wall behind me, his arms folded, his eyes alert—watching me. When the wall is covered in its first coat of paint, I lay the brush on a cloth on the floor and turn around to face him.

“What?”

He shifts his eyes from the front window, where he wasn’t looking a second ago, to me.

“What ‘what’?”

“Do I have paint in my hair?” I twist my body and look at my butt. “Did I sit in something?”

Logan scoffs. “No.”

“Then what’s with the deep-thoughted glares? I can hear you thinking from here.”

He tilts his head and rubs his chin. “You should learn how to fight.”

“Like Ronda Rousey? If God wanted me to be an MMA fighter, don’t you think he would’ve made me bigger?”

“Not like Ronda Rousey.” Logan shakes his head. “Like self-defense. You should know how to protect yourself.”

“I thought it was your job to protect me.”

“It is. And this is part of how I’ll do that.”

Logan crosses his arms, his biceps bulging against the sleeves of his dress shirt, and waits for me to answer.

“Okay.”

“Good.” He walks up to me, close enough that I can smell him. Logan always smells so good . . . like crisp, cold air, fresh wood and fall leaves.

He holds up his palm. “Punch my hand. Let’s see what we’re working with.”

I step back, brace my feet and raise my fists—bouncing like a boxer. Then I give all I’ve got—landing my fist as hard as I can in Logan’s open palm with a smack.

It was pretty badass, if I do say so myself.

“That was pathetic,” Logan says.

Everyone’s a critic.

I make a face at him.

“Have you ever gotten into it with someone before?”

“I pulled Liv’s hair when I was seven. She was going to rat me out for breaking our mom’s decorative cake plate and when she tried to retaliate, I locked myself in the bathroom until our dad came home.”

“Wow.” Logan lifts an eyebrow. “Okay.” He claps his big hands together and rubs. Then he takes a step back, spreading his feet, and looks me in the face.

“Eyes and balls.”

“Excuse me?”

“The most vulnerable spots on a man are his eyeballs and his cock.”

By the power of suggestion, my eyes immediately drop to Logan’s . . . latter.

And in his perfectly snug dress pants, the latter is . . . fucking amazing. Significant. I’ve covertly checked it out before and though I’ve never seen a bull in person, I can safely say that Logan could give one an inferiority complex.

He catches where I’m looking and a quick, deep chuckle rumbles in his chest.

“Let’s stick with eyes for now,” Logan says—almost teasingly. “We’ll work on the cock in a bit.”

Work on the cock . . . is it getting hot in here?

Over the next half hour, Logan shows me how to turn my thumbs into dangerous, eye-gouging weapons. How to duck and block and use my body weight to propel me away from an attacker. How to use my legs—the strongest part of my body—to stun and escape. He demonstrates how to squeeze my fists into rocks—thumbs on the outside, people—and punch a guy’s nads up into his throat.

When we’re finished, his shoulders are looser, less tense, his face is less scowly and there’s the sound of pride in his voice.

“That’s good, Ellie,” he says quietly, after I throw my arm up in a block meant to protect my face. “Well done.”

“Thanks.” I nod.

But then the mood shifts, as if the air becomes thicker, weighted, more . . . sultry.

Because slowly, Logan sinks down to one knee in front of me—looking in my eyes the whole time. In this position, I could touch his shoulders, comb my fingers through his thick hair. He’s the perfect height for me to bend down and kiss his mouth—the perfect height for him to kiss me back . . . in a lot of places.

My breath hitches. And I wonder he feels it too.

There’s a sound of tearing Velcro, and Logan takes something off his ankle—a holster, with a small silver knife, about three inches long. Still on his knee, he takes the knife out and sunlight glints off the blade.

“Keep this on you all the time,” he says seriously. “Just in case. If you wear a skirt, the strap will fit around your thigh.”

And I almost laugh. Most girls get a ring from a guy on his knees. I get a murder weapon. But still, it makes me feel safe . . . watched over. Like I’m something precious that deserves to be protected.

I take the knife from him, testing the surprisingly solid, heavy weight of it in my hand. I press my index finger to the tip.

Logan grabs my wrist tightly. “Careful. It’s sharp.”

There’s a small, painless nick, a tiny bead of blood, so I put my finger in my mouth, sucking.

And Logan’s watching me again.

Watching my mouth.

His chest seems to rise just a little faster, and his throat ripples when he swallows. He bends his head, curves his strong back, and then I feel his hands on my ankle, securing the strap. His touch is warm and self-assured. It’s the way he always moves—confident and experienced. Logan knows his body and he knows how to use it, in every way possible.

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