Blackmailing the Virgin

By: Alexa Riley

I nod again and go back to glaring out the window. “You’re right. I’ll see you tomorrow.”

The car stops and she leans over, kissing me on the cheek. “Night, Calder.”

I wave to her as she gets out and goes into her building. When the car starts to move again, I lay my head back and put my hands over my eyes. It takes everything in me not to tell Richard to pull the car around and go back to Felicity’s home.

Just one more look. I think if I could see her one more time, that’s all it would take to make this go away.

The distance between us grows, and the lie I keep telling myself falls away. Once with her will never be enough.

Chapter Three


“I have a meeting in my office, but I should be done in an hour.” I jump at my father’s words and close my laptop before he can see what’s on my computer screen. My shameful secret.

His eyebrows rise in a question.

“Sorry, you scared me. Just looking up recipes,” I lie. He gives me a half-smirk, seeing right through me. I’m the world’s worst liar. I don’t even know why I try.

“I’m asking my client to join us. Can you make sure there’s enough?”

“Yeah. I’m going to start dinner here in just a second. I’ll make sure there’s plenty.”

He walks into my bedroom and bends and kisses the top of my head. It makes me smile.

“I’m glad you could make it home. Even if it’s just for a few days.” He’s said this every day since I got here, making me feel guilty each time. I almost didn’t come home for the holiday. It was selfish, and when I’d brought it up to my father about not coming home, I took it back immediately when I heard the disappointment in his voice. It was Christmas, and I was a brat for even having the idea. My father and I are all the family either of us have.

All because I didn’t want to run into him. It’s on the tip of my tongue to ask my father who the client is, but I don’t. I’ve never asked something like that before. It’s not uncommon for my father to take meetings in his home office. He works from home even more when I’m here, and I don’t want him to catch onto me. My father is good at catching things like that.

“You’re just tired of eating take out,” I tease him. The only time Dad eats food that isn’t from a restaurant or in a to-go box is when I’m home to cook for him.

“I can deny that, but I’ve missed you.”

I reach up and fix his slightly crooked tie.

“I missed you, too,” I admit.

“Only a few more months and I’ll have you back in the city with me for good.” He smiles at his own reminder. Graduation is fast approaching, and he couldn’t be prouder. Me, I’m kind of freaking out. The whole what-am-I-going-to-do-with-the-rest-of-my-life question looms. But I’m one of the lucky ones. A lot of the other students I went to school with didn’t have a dad like mine. They didn’t like that their kids got degrees in fine arts and spent all their time playing an instrument. That wouldn’t put food on the table.

“Dad, you know I’m not coming back here, right?” He stiffens a little at my words. “I mean, back here.” I point down to the floor, indicating my bedroom. “I’ll be getting my own place.”

“That trust fund is already kicking me in the ass.” He lets out a deep sigh. “I know, sweetheart, but just keep in mind there are condos for rent in this very building. I could get you one now if you’d like to hold it. I’ll even buy it if—”

I cut him off. “Dad, don’t you have a meeting?” I don’t want to get into this conversation again. I’m not shooting down the idea, but if I tell my father I’m mulling it over, he’ll push for more and I’ll end up back in this bedroom again. My dad is just too good at negotiations, and I’ve learned to try and avoid them because I crack. I can’t help it when he goes all sweet, loving dad on me. I hate when he gets that disappointed look on his face.

“All right.” He kisses the top of my head again before leaving me alone in my room. I reopen my laptop and look at the New York gossip column I’d just hidden.

Looks like Sidney Grant spends the night at Calder Cox’s once again. Below the headline is a picture of Sidney exiting what I’m assuming is Calder’s place. The same woman he’s always pictured with. The same woman he’d left my father’s party with after kissing me.

They are always seen together at events. It’s rumored they are planning a secret wedding. I can’t seem to stop myself from reading each and every article I find on them. I’m starting to think I’m a masochist.

I shut my laptop again and pull myself away from my bedroom, making my way to the kitchen to make dinner. I’ve cooked dinner every night since I got here Christmas Eve. Dad makes a list of things he’d like me to make while I’m in town and I check them off one by one each day. I saved his favorite—stuffed chicken—for last, and I’m making it tonight. I won’t be cooking tomorrow night since he’s hosting a New Year’s Eve party, and I leave for school midday on New Year’s Day.