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“Oh my God… that’s well… I don’t know what to say.” I have my hands on my cheeks because they’re on fire.

He smiles. “Come on, Pretty Girl, help your new friend to the curb. One of my bodyguards should be waiting.”

“Oh… okay, are you sure I shouldn’t go get them? I mean are you all right to walk?”

“I can make it.”

I nod. “I’m Tess, by the way.” Biting my bottom lip hard, I taste coppery blood.

“I know who you are.”

We walk slowly as curious looks are thrown our way. But no one approaches us or asks if we need help. Jesus, this school. The rich are grotesque and that includes their offspring—our oh-so-elite student body. We make it outside and two men are waiting. One of them gently takes Brance, then turns toward me.

“Thank you,” he says, getting into the driver’s seat.

“Wait!” I call out, needing to make sure they take proper care of him. “Listen… he hit his head on a sink. Please make sure he doesn’t have a concussion.”

The man cocks his head at me confused and turns to listen to Brance from the back. His brown eyes take me in. “Mr. Martinez is inviting you over to his place. That way you can tell his physician exactly what you saw.”

“Oh, well…” Hesitating, I look toward the gymnasium. “My boyfriend is inside,” I say, pointing behind me. Reed will freak if I’m gone. But poor Brance needs me, and for the first time, the thought of having my very own friend, besides Reed and Jax, is almost too intoxicating. Without thinking of the consequences, I open the door to the limo and climb in, sitting opposite Brance.

He is leaning his head back, his eyes closed.

“So, you decided to be your own woman, huh?”

“I have no idea what you mean.” Pulling my phone out, I text Reed. “Where are we going? I need to tell him.”

He sits up and motions for me to give him my phone. I do. His graceful fingers glide over my phone, like a concert pianist as he texts Reed his address and phone number.

“There.” He smirks. “He should only go slightly insane when he realizes that his kitten is with me. The son of one of the biggest Colombian drug lords.”

“Oh,” is all I can say. He is so right—Reed is going to go insane. “You shouldn’t admit that about your father. People might take it the wrong way.”

He snorts bitterly. “Pretty Girl, this is my life. Why lie?”

He surprises me with that. It’s not often I hear blunt honesty. Needing to change the subject before I regret my rash decision, I ask, “How do you know Reed calls me Kitten?”

“Everyone knows. It’s pretty obvious that he is obsessed with you. I hope he’ll be cool about us being friends.” He says this like it’s a done deal. The contract has been signed in blood. In a way, it has: his blood.

“Well, he doesn’t have a say. He has tons of friends, and I never say anything.”

He simply looks at me, and I fidget with my nails.

“I am being honest, Tess.”

I look up to find his face full of lonely sincerity. “My dad seriously is a drug lord in Colombia. And when you see where I live, it’s a fortress rather than an apartment.”

“Is that supposed to scare me?” I smile bravely. “We all have crazy parents.”

“No, I hope it doesn’t scare you.” His dark eyes search my face as if looking for answers. “But it scares most people, that’s all.”

He closes his eyes again and leans his head back on the leather seat.

“Brance,” I say firmly. “I’m not a doctor, but I’m pretty sure you’re not supposed to go to sleep. As a matter of fact, that would probably be the worst thing you could do.”

“I’m not asleep.”

My phone starts ringing. I don’t need to look down to tell me who it is. I can feel him.

“Reed, Don’t frea—”

“Tess,” he cuts me off, “what the fuck?”

“Reed, I’m fine.” My voice remains steady as I try to calm him. “God… it’s a long story. Anyway, I’m going to Brance’s to help make sure he is okay. Can you guys pick me up?”

“Tess, that kid ‘Brance’ is Mateo Martinez! Do you have any idea what the hell his father does?” His breathing is harsh, and I hear him bark an order to Jay.

“Reed, stop it. He got beat up. I found him lying in his own blood in the gym bathroom. Thankfully, I was there to help.”

“Listen to me, Tess. Jay and I are on our way. We’ll be there soon.”

“Reed, for once, trust me. He’s hurt! I had to help him. I’m not in any danger with Brance. He told me right away who his dad is.”

Glancing over at Brance, I make sure he hasn’t passed out. His eyes are clear and he’s watching me, a small smile on his lips.