Burning Choice (Trevor's Harem #3) by Aubrey Parker
Age Group: New Adult
Release Date: March 1, 2016
I’ve been in this billionaire’s game for a month — but something changed when half my competition was eliminated.
It feels less like a contest now … and more like an experiment.
I shouldn’t have made it past the first round. I don’t know how I did; I’m not special like the others. When I ask Daniel, he just tells me it’s complicated. Then he talks about brain chemistry, how love and sex are an addiction. He tells me how wild animals claim mates, and how he’s claimed me.
The stakes are higher.
The competition is fiercer.
I should have been kicked out long ago, but Daniel tells me I might be the needle in the haystack the company has been looking for.
Sometimes I’m afraid of them all, even of Daniel.
But It’s like I’m on a tether. I couldn’t leave if I wanted to.
I walk away from the computer feeling watched. And that’s ridiculous because I’m sure I am. But I, unlike Bridget or any of the other girls, am allowed to send emails, even (and sometimes especially) to troubled friends and family.
So I’m careful about what I say. I keep every door open and hold back when emailing Brandon, technically not doing my job as well as I should. Instead of working my hardest to convince him Bridget is fine, I imagine him scratching his head at my latest and allow that itching to happen. Bridget’s and my situation isn’t dire like Linda’s, but we may need an out at some point, and a suspicious brother is a handy ace to be holding.
But too much is happening too fast. I don’t have the outlier brains the girls here do (well, except for Bridget), but I’m great at shooting from the hip. And learning, predicting, thinking things out before they happen.
Strategy is one of my talents — and if she didn’t have the advantage gleaned from rote-memorizing thousands of openers and entire games, I could probably even beat Jessica at chess. And so after talking to the board — after seeing Bridget’s head on the next chopping block, knowing my own destiny is now tied to hers and her survival here — I’d come up with something I thought would work.
But then I saw Bridget.
I thought of the scenarios that would likely confront her. The ways she’ll need to prove herself.
And something snapped.
Now that I’ve shown her the dead room, the game has changed. Now that I’ve reignited the spark that had finally been cooling between us by taking her in that room, my plans have been altered. Now that she knows who I am and why she’s here — and perhaps suspecting why the others are here, by contrast — her behavior will change. You can’t tell the subject they’re being tested. It taints the results.
Caspian sent Trevor a message. He’ll be here in two weeks. Whether we want him here or not, the cat is now decidedly out of the bag. The girls know he’s involved, and of course he’s somehow found out that they do. Maybe Kylie told him, seeming to contradict her own best interests in facing him, playing a longer game than everyone else — as usual. It doesn’t matter. Now that everyone here knows he’s inking a deal with Eros for a data trade, he’s content to dip his toe in the pool and see the machine chugging along. And possibly try to dip something else, if I know Caspian.
Two weeks. We’ll have two eliminations before he arrives, meaning only four contestants instead of six. The odds of him zeroing in on Bridget as the anomaly will be that much better, and he already suspects something amiss. And of everyone in the world, I’d wager Caspian is most likely to untangle my careful manipulations to see the truth.
I push it out of my mind. And vent the strange, charged air between me and Bridget. I didn’t need to tell her any of that. Worse: I knew that telling her was a mistake. That was obvious in the platonic safety of my office. This thing will be over in a handful of weeks, and whether Bridget stays or goes or hates me or loves me, I could have told her then. But now, her new way of approaching me — every glance and expression and affect fed from the cameras right into Halo’s calculations — will make manipulations that much harder to hide. So why did I tell her, other than that in the post-coital moment, I felt that I should?
I love to write stories with characters that feel real enough to friend on Facebook, or slap across the face.
I write to make you feel, think, and burn with the thrill that can only come from getting lost in the pages.
I love to write unforgettable characters who wrestle with life's largest problems.
My books may always end with a Happily Ever After, but there will always be drama on the way there.