Devoured (CHAPTER TWELVE)

There are at least twenty YouTube videos of Lucas's performance circulating the Internet by time I wake up at 7am on the dot the next morning. There are already – and I shit you not – death threats about the "red-headed cunt" Lucas was serenading on one of the Your Toxic Sequel fan sites.

And I find out about all of this because Tori sends me links, messages, and enough texts to make me want to turn off my phone.

Finally, I just suck it up and answer. It's 5:30am in California. "There are pictures of you with Lucas Wolfe online," she says in a monotone voice. "Why are there pictures of you with Lucas Wolfe on the Internet?"

"I-I . . ." I'm stuttering ridiculously, staring down in horror at my computer screen at the video of Lucas performing, and wondering who else has seen these videos. You know, besides every rabid Lucas Wolfe fan. For once I feel fortunate that Tomas, my boss, is such a media snob and refuses to read gossip magazines. I don't need this getting back to him – not when I'm supposed to be here in Nashville to take care of my Gram. Not when –

I feel a sinking feeling in my chest, and I ball my hand into a fist, massaging it over my heart. What if my grandmother sees this? It would literally break her heart.

"Sienna, talk to me," Tori says pleadingly.

"I . . . I work for him," I admit.

And just as I expect, she starts freaking out. She starts doing the exact thing that made me avoid telling her about my deal with Lucas in the first place. "Since when? Why? Sienna . . . he's trying to take your grandmother's goddamn house away. How could you work for him? Why would you work for hi – "

"For the love of God, shut up for just one second so I can think," I snap. I hear a sharp gasp for air on the other end, and I immediately feel horrible for barking at her. In all the time that I've known Tori, I've never once raised my voice at her.

I've never spoke to anyone like that besides Lucas Wolfe.

"Tori . . . I'm sorry," I whisper.

She sounds dazed when she speaks. "I'm actually hovering somewhere between really fucking irritated you told me to shut up and being impressed. Sienna, what's really going on? Please . . . I'm your best friend."

I cry as I tell her. I leave nothing out except for Lucas's sexual habits, and when I'm done all she's able to say is "Wow" over and over and over again until I tell her that she's giving me a headache.

"You've got to be the most . . . selfless and ridiculously awesome person I know. To be doing something like that with someone like him."

I don't like the way her tone implies that he's a bad person. Hell, I don't like the way I'm so willing to jump to his defense, but I do it anyway. "He's not all bad," I say, my voice sounding totally convincing.

"Oh. My. God."

Thinking that there's been a new article put out about me and Lucas, I frantically refresh Google news search I have open on my screen. "What? What?"

"You're in love with him."

The second those words come out of her mouth, sounding like an accusation and a curse and a crime all at once, I wish she had said there was a new set of rumors instead. I'm not in love with Lucas. Completely in lust, yes, but not in love.

Never in love.

"That's ridiculous I don't know him well enough to love him."

"Then, he's got to have the most – " Tori's words are cut off mid-sentence by the sound of my cell phone beeping. I pull it from my ear and my heart launches into my throat, gagging me, when I see that it's Seth. God, this can't be a good thing.

I promise Tori that I'll call her back and she warns me that she'll fly to Nashville tonight, spending our rent money and leaving us homeless, if I don't. When I click over to Seth, he's already cursing. Seething.

"You lied to Gram so you could go fuck the douchebag who bought her house?"

"Seth, I – "

But he doesn't want to let me get a word in.

"You're disgusting. Guess you're more like her than you let on, huh? Don't worry . . . what you're doing won't ever be big enough news to reach Gram and I sure as hell won't tell her. Maybe if you're lucky he'll – "

My heartbeat picks up wildly when Lucas plucks my phone out of my hand and jabs the END button. "You're going to sit there and let him talk to you like that?" he demands. "That's your brother, right? The skinny little prick with the big mouth from court?"

I never realized Seth had ever said anything to Lucas, and I glance down at my lap, at my hands. "He was angry," I whisper.

"That's no excuse for him treating you like shit."

"We're all over the Internet," I say. "You and I are everywhere because of last night."

Even though he shrugs, I can tell it gets to him, too. That he regrets having ever looking at me while he sang. "It's not a big deal. And stop changing the subject. We're talking about your brother speaking to you like you're nothing."

"He'll – " I want to say that Seth will get over it, but I don't even know how to defend him to someone like Lucas. My brother hadn't even said very much to me but somehow managed to take a pair of scissors to my self-esteem.

Lucas kneels down in front of me, on his knees, and places his forearms on either side of my body so that they're almost brushing my hips. He bends his head toward my lap and a primal ache stretches across my belly. "Call him back and stand up for yourself."

I shake my head, my long hair sweeping back and forth over his face when he looks up at me. "No," I whisper.

His eyes narrow. "You're going to have to one of these days. Stand up to your brother and your mom. You don't have to take shit from people. You don't have to try and explain yourself."

He climbs to his feet, looking down at me with almost sad hazel eyes. "Today's the first day of filming for the documentary and I've got some studio work that needs to be done. Take the day off."

"Bu – "

"Take the day off," he orders. "I can't – you can't expect me to be able to be around you like this when I want you so bad. When you're not willing to let me have you."

And now – now I think I fully understand why he's encouraging this. Because Lucas Wolfe thinks that if I take on the things and people that I always back down to, I'll allow him to conquer me.

The sound of a piano awakens me a little after 1am. I had stayed up until a few minutes short of midnight waiting up for Lucas and texting Tori as she hopped from night club to night club.

After I slide a short cotton robe over my t-shirt, I follow the noise down to the lowest level of the house. Once I hit the bottom step, I let the scent of what Lucas is smoking guide me. I've always hated the scent of pot because it reminds me of Preston, of the people who used to hang around my mom's house, and I automatically wrinkle my nose. Lucas doesn't look up when I open the door to the piano room, but I know he knows I'm in here because his back straightens and his shoulders tense up. I sag against the doorframe, listening to him, drinking this moment in. He's shirtless, wearing nothing but a pair of jeans that ride low on hips. Lucas Wolfe is all muscles and tattoos and sexiness, but it's his music that has a way of getting to me. It strips me down.

Then devours me.

And I let it. The only difference is that now, it's in person and once it's over I'll have to face the real Lucas Wolfe and not the poor excuse I keep in my nightstand drawer.

Lucas's shoulders relax a little as he pushes out the last few chords. He scribbles something into a tattered blue notebook, reading over his notes a few times before he lifts sleepy, hazel eyes to mine. Locks of his messy, dark hair spill into one of them. "I didn't call for you," he says huskily. "What do you want?"

"I-I didn't realize you played," I whisper. God, where's my voice? My nerve? Why the fuck do I come apart when I'm around him?

"Google is your friend."

I feel my body ignite, but when I turn to leave, he says softly, "Stay. I don't want to . . ." And though there's a part of me that wants to take advantage of the vulnerability in his voice, there's another part that's reminding me of my deal with this man. I'm at his beck and call for the next five days.

And now, he wants me with him.

Tentatively, I walk forward. The tile is cold under my bare feet, and I wish I'd never gotten out of bed. I stand next to the piano and cross my arms over my chest. "How long do you need me for?" I demand, glaring down at him.

He's writing in his notebook again – shorthand lyrics from the look of things – but his lips move into a slow grin that makes those uncomfortable flutters start in the pit of my stomach again. Does he realize how much these little gestures screw with my resolve?

Of course he does.

"Long as it takes," he says.

"For what?"

Lifting an eyebrow, he tilts his head to one side and studies me for a good minute before starting to play again. It's the same song from before, but now he's changed the key, slowed it down. Now it's haunting and unnerving. He sings along in some spots. The lyrics aren't whole enough to fully make sense, but paired with his voice, they're the sexiest I've ever heard. He sings about keeping the lights on and fucking right now, and I feel like it's an invitation meant only for me. All of the sudden, my throat is dry.

He glances up at me when he's done. "Well?"

I flick the tip of my tongue over my lips. His body stiffens. "The end is wrong," I murmur. "Too happy. It should be" – I move forward, lean down, and play several chords – "this."

"You play?"

"Google is your friend, Wolfe."

He stands, slides the bench to the wall and gestures almost sarcastically to the piano. "Play it again."

I don't argue. I'm too tired and too worked up and all I want is to go back upstairs and climb in bed. I stand behind the keyboard and repeat the chords.

"Again. Slower. And this time, close your eyes, Red."

I do what he asks. The moment I smell his cologne, though, I miss a key. "This is when you tell me to have sex with you then make me run out for Cheetos, right?" I ask, my voice high-pitched and strained.

He laughs. I swear I feel his mouth on my skin, even though he's not touching me. "Cheetos suck. And you know what you have to do for me to have sex with you," he says.

Gritting my teeth, I slam my palms down on the piano. The keys make a horrible screeching noise. I glance over my shoulder into his hazel eyes. "Since you don't need me, can I go to bed, Mr. Wolfe?"

"Abso-fucking-lutely not. Look Si . . . all you've got to do is say the words."

"And what would those be?"

He dips his face down, bringing his mouth so close to mine we're only a breath away from kissing. From tearing each other down. From the inevitable. "Take me all the way, Lucas," he drawls in his best impersonation of my accent. "And that's what you're going to say the first time we fuck. My name. Just Lucas."

But the thing is, the last – and only – time I was weak enough to avoid the inevitable with this man, he treated me like shit. I won't let him do that to me again. "Fuck you, Lucas."

My words don't faze him. He's boasting that cocky look that always makes me want to chop him in the throat. Instead – like an idiot – I rise up on my toes and crush my mouth to his. His tongue parts my lips. He still refuses to touch me, so I whisper, "Please . . . your hands . . . I want your hands touching me from now on."

I'm safe as long as I'm in control.

Keep telling yourself that.

He doesn't cup my face or touch my hair or anything romantic like that. He roams his hand down my body, over the curve of my hips, until he's between my legs, his palm pressing against my panties. He draws his mouth away from mine. "Fuck me, you're wet," he says. "Say the words."

"No."

"Turn around, and play. Same as before and don't stop," he orders.

I expect him to take his hands away from me when I start, but he doesn't. I'm one chord in when his fingers slide under my panties. Three measures when he pushes one finger inside me. I gasp and he growls in my ear.

"Don't. Fucking. Stop."

He slips another finger inside of my body, and then moves his hand, hard and fast. Back and forth until I swear I'm dying. I whimper. He breathes heavily into my hair, and I curve my bottom toward him. He's hard. He's so fucking hard that I'm suddenly grinding against his hand. And the moment his calloused thumb presses on my clit, I come. I slump against the keyboard on my elbows, my ass in the air. I don't have it in me to play anymore, but I don't think he could give two shits. He's staring down at me with his lips pressed into a thin line and all I can think of is how I want them and his tongue on me.

And my mouth on him.

"Lucas, I want yo – "

"Go to bed, Sienna."

Carefully, he pulls his fingers out of my body, and I shudder again. Though my flesh feels like it's scorching, I manage to stand upright. "No," I say.

"Let's try this the way you're familiar with then: Get the fuck out. I need to work and like I've told you before, you're fucking horrible for music."

Something sharp and prickly twists my chest. He knows exactly what to say to piss me off. I want to tell him he's the dumbass who came up with this arrangement in the first place, but I choke back the words. All he'll do is turn it back on me and remind me why I agreed, throw the deed in my face. I keep my face emotionless and my hands clenched by my sides as I say, "Good night, Mr. Wolfe."

As I leave the room, I become aware that my panties are still pushed aside. And that as long as I'm around Lucas, he'll keep consuming me until there's nothing left.