Unmasked Excerpt

Chapter 2

 

For the next few hours, Olivia didn’t leave her father’s side. She needed to know everything; doctor’s names, phone numbers, medications. As her father rattled off the answers to her questions, she wrote down every last detail. Her father had been dealing with this alone, and because of it, he looked exhausted. The least she could do was take over her mother’s care. Besides, there was nothing for her in Los Angeles except a cheating fiancé, and a whore of an ex-best friend? Not appealing at all.
“With Damien here, it won’t be so bad,” her father said.
Groaning, Olivia wiped a hand over her tired eyes. “Where is he? I haven’t seen him yet.” Damien had managed to keep his distance over the years, even from her. He was always working, or out of town and the last excuse was his campaign.
“Well, you know how it is – being the new DA and all. He’s a busy man these days. I have to say, though, he turned out rather well.” The sarcastic chuckle said more about her father’s feelings than he’d ever let on. Damien had become a surrogate son to her parents, after the death of his mother, and untimely suicide of his father only a year later. All of that was too much for him, and it wasn’t long before Damien and her father were butting heads. Only her mother was able to step in, and she worked miracles with her nephew, but couldn’t ease the tension between a grieving teenage boy and her husband.
“Now, if he would just find a nice girl and settle down.” Her father smiled wryly, looking at her over the edge of his glasses. If she knew her father at all, he meant that with a hint of cynicism and if she knew her cousin, that was never going to happen. He might have been somewhat cute as a teen, but the attitude he adopted as a young boy growing up in the UK didn’t win him any popularity contests among the A-list crowd at school. Once word got around that his father killed himself it was even worse. During high school, he became something of a local legend. Damien was the wealthy bad-boy all her friends wanted to fool around with but no one would admit to for fear of upsetting their parents. She never understood it; especially when she’d find frogs in her bed or he’d eaten the last of her favorite oatmeal on purpose.
Her dad yawned loudly as she scribbled more notes on a legal pad. Looking up, the clock showed eleven PM. “Okay, Dad. I get it. Get some sleep.”
Isaac stood, giving her a kiss on the forehead. “Don’t stay up too late.” He closed the door behind him, leaving Olivia alone to comb through her notes, but she found herself trying to recall every memory of her mother since she was a toddler. She wanted to write them down, preserve them for when the upcoming days got hard. It might help when she lost time, like she had earlier, when she no longer remembered Olivia or even her cousin. She wondered how Damien had taken the news. Constance had become a surrogate mother to Damien over the years, calming his rancor and guiding him through life. She was an outlet for Damien’s grief, and the only one he’d go to when things got bad. Only once did he confide in Olivia after one terrible argument.

The angry shouting woke Olivia from a deep sleep, and when she came out of her room, mother was coming up the stairs.
“Go back to bed Olivia,” her mother said, trying to hide the tension in her voice. But Olivia wouldn’t let it go.
“I can hear Dad all the way from up here. What did Damien do now?”
“Its none of your business, young lady. Now, go back in your room.”
Olivia returned, per her mother’s orders, with a huff. Within moments, a door slammed, followed by her father climbing the stairs. He’d gone to bed, but Damien hadn’t. Olivia snuck out of her room, heading downstairs, and she found him exactly where she expected—in the basement rec room helping himself to the liquor behind the bar. A grimace appeared on his already sullen face as he took a swig straight from a bottle of Crown Royal, and without a word, brushed past her, disappearing into the screening room.
Olivia followed, undeterred by his gruff disregard. She was used to it, after all—and ever since he and his parents moved back the states when she was eight, he rarely paid her any notice. When he did, it was to taunt her.
Since then, Damien’s whole world had been shattered, and he had nowhere else to go. That night, they talked. Really talked, in an angst-filled, teenage sort of way about feeling out of place among the high-society snobs and the pain of losing his parents. Olivia and Damien were two sides of the same coin, one proper and straight-laced, the other defiant and angry. Yet, they found a common ground that night. She trusted him, she knew he’d never hurt her. Not really. So when she grabbed the bottle of whiskey and took a sip, he wore a look of amused appreciation as the alcohol burned her throat. She did a tolerable job covering up the pain, and they passed the bottle back and forth, until they were both drunk.

At midnight, Olivia left her father’s office and climbed the stairs to the second floor, moving along the long hallway to the west side of the house. At forty-five thousand square feet, her home was enormous, but she knew it blindfolded as she made her way to the freshly redecorated junior-suite. She was still thinking about that night, and the awkward morning that followed.

Olivia woke, overheated and nauseous and when she tried to sit up, she couldn’t. Damien had fallen asleep, and he was wrapped around her like a vine. Gross, she’d been spooning with her cousin!

Olivia giggled to herself, remembering her obnoxious, teenage reaction to waking up next to her cousin.
“Ow! Shit!” Her notepad slammed right into her face as she ran into something tall and solid. Her hands landed on a starched white shirt, but the wall of muscle underneath was warm, hard and unmovable. Not to mention, the fantastic body beneath the shirt smelled utterly delicious.
“Watch where you’re going, sweetheart.”
The delicious baritone voice scrambled her brain and shot straight through her spine all the way to her toes. She stepped back, disoriented and the notepad dropped from her hand. Olivia looked down at the man crouching before her, admiring the way the muscles in his thighs bulged as he picked up the yellow legal pad and the way his biceps threatened to tear open the sleeves of his shirt. He stood to his full height, his eyes moving along her frame as he straightened. Damien said nothing, only smiled as he held on to her notepad. What the hell was he staring at? After all between the two of them, at what she guessed was six-foot-four, he was far more interesting. The young boyish face was gone, and he’d grown into a chiseled, broad-shouldered god with a delectable looking mouth she wanted to kiss and the perfect amount of stubble gracing his sharp jaw and chin. He’d let his hair grown longer than she remembered, but it was combed back, and it showed off the piercing green eyes that almost matched her own. My, my. Time had definitely been good to Damien.
“What? What are you staring at?” Olivia grabbed the notepad from his hand, puckering her lips and tilting her head in annoyance. He couldn’t be. No. That would be…gross.
A slow, sexy grin spread across his mouth as he smiled and she wanted to gasp, to be offended at the way he was checking her out.
“Um. Nothing. You look different that’s all.”
Different. She looked…different? Well of course she did. Every time she came home for a visit he was busy, he was campaigning, he was…busy getting gorgeous.
“Yeah, well you look the same. And you make a better door than a window, by the way.”
He chuckled at her sarcasm, and his deep, throaty laugh made her toes curl in her shoes. Fuck. This was all kinds of wrong. She couldn’t be thinking this way about a man. Not so soon, and she certainly shouldn’t be thinking about him. Olivia gathered her wits and huffed as she tried to move past, but his big, muscular body was between her and the bedroom. Besides, what was he doing up here anyway?
“Pardon me, princess. Don’t let me get in your way.” He stepped aside, holding out an arm to let her pass. His British accent had faded after all these years, but his snobbery remained.
“It’s princess Olivia to you,” she said with a quiet laugh—mainly for her own amusement. As Olivia walked away, she listened for heavy male footsteps against the polished wood floor. But there was only silence, and she knew Damien hadn’t moved. Even from a distance, his eyes warmed her skin and, she wanted to escape it.
“Don’t look,” but her eyes moved involuntarily as she opened the bedroom door. She was right. Damien was standing just where she’d left him and he’d been watching.
In the cool darkness of her room, she leaned against the door, trying to shake off the strange tension she left standing in the hallway. This is wrong. But she couldn’t deny the way he looked at her, like he was devouring her slowly with his eyes or the way that made her feel. And it didn’t feel good when she realized the truth—Spencer never made her feel the way Damien just had—and all in the space of ten freaking seconds. Her cheeks flushed and her skin was tingling like someone had turned a dial up to vibrate, and she could barely think in his presence, but she knew she’d never felt like that before.
Okay, stop this nonsense. He’s your cousin. There has to be laws about that type of thing, surely.
Her notepad landed on the bed as she walked into the bathroom. Stripping out of her clothes, she stood naked as the water poured from the faucet into the ultra-deep Jacuzzi tub. She stepped in and sank into the warmth and silence, hoping to put Damien and her mother’s illness out of her mind but there was nothing but him when she closed her eyes. Shit.
The last she’d heard; he was avoiding father like a bad cold. He even moved to a room downstairs, next to Roberto in the staff wing. Mother hadn’t mentioned a truce between them, but she resolved to find out the next morning at breakfast.
Of course, Damien might be at breakfast, staring at her with those penetrating eyes and that chiseled jaw, eyeballing her as she squirmed under the weight of his gaze. Fuck, why did my annoying cousin grow up to be so…hot? Where did that somewhat cute but obnoxious boy disappear to? Because the man she bumped into in the hall was sex in a bespoke suit. Three years ago, Spencer seemed like the one, the man who was the love of her life. But this—this was entirely different. Bumping into Damien in the hall was like capturing lightning in a bottle, and she was compelled to play with it. She didn’t care what it might cost her. In the space of a few seconds, he’d defrosted her heart and sent her body tingling in a way Spencer never did. Damien was more than just her cousin, he was a man—with an intense sexual energy that knocked the breath out of her, and she wanted more of it. No matter how wrong it was.

The fleeting sense of impropriety was all but a memory as she recalled the feel of his pecs beneath the crisp white shirt and the way his wool pants strained against his muscular legs when he bent down. Olivia closed her eyes, remembering the way he looked at her as he stood in the hall. She was on fire, throbbing in places that made her blush. Even as she sat in the steaming hot tub, the fire raged between her legs with strength and urgency she never felt before. She wanted to feel his long, thick fingers penetrating her folds, instead of her own delicate hands. And with that one thought she dove into uncharted territory. Fantasizing about her cousin was a dangerous game to play, but her hands slipped lower along her body anyway, gliding over the flat of her stomach until she felt the smooth mound of her pussy under her fingers. Olivia closed her eyes, imagining him, imagining it was him spreading her delicate petals and drawing her juices out from deep within. She could almost hear his smooth, deep voice whispering in her ear, telling her what to do.
You’ve been waiting for this for years, haven’t you? Now spread those legs for me. Don’t make me ask you twice. Get that pussy good and wet for me.
Olivia’s hands moved faster, her fingers navigating the soft folds between her legs, moving up until the fleshy hood of her clit throbbed beneath her fingers. She hadn’t touched herself like this in years, but one damn encounter with him and she was a whore. Ready to do whatever he commanded. Her fingers circled her clit and as it stiffened, it peeked out from underneath the fleshy hood, aching to be touched. Her fingers moved faster now, pressing harder, increasing the friction as the mass of tingles snowballed at the base of her spine. Her other hand cupped her breast, but she knew his hand would feel nothing like hers. Even when she took a nipple between her fingers, rolling and tugging it, it was gentle. Far gentler than Damien would be. How she knew that, she wasn’t sure. But she did.
That’s it. Make yourself come for me, Livvie.
The water in the tub sloshed as her hand moved faster and faster. Finally the snowball of tingles exploded, rocketing along her limbs and straight up her spine. Her body arched more with each syllable as each muscle in her body tenses and then spasmed.
“Yes. Yes. Yes!” She shouted as her orgasm slammed into her, the water moving as her body shuddered. Only when the waves of pleasure subsided did she open her eyes.
Shit. I hope no one heard that.