(A Hellfire Club Novel)
Publication date: November 17th 2020
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
The new girl doesn’t belong here. So why can’t I stop thinking about her? Iris Briggs a goodie two-shoes with a headmaster father who aims to ruin my school year before it’s even begun. She gets under my skin. With her demure skirts and braided hair, Iris flits around the periphery until she runs right into me, hot coffee soaking me as she looks up at me with wide, innocent eyes. We start off scalding.
In the library, we reach lava levels.
And then in the city? We go nuclear.
She’s a good girl, but I’m a Constantine. My duty is to my family. At least, it was until I started unbraiding the good girl and realizing there’s more to life than duty.
The library, on the other hand, was safe. It was the first stop on back-to-school night. The headmaster always gave his address here, and Headmaster Briggs had already finished his pointless speech and then whisked the parents off to see the new swimming pool, which left my Pembroke sanctuary completely to me. Which meant I could lose myself in Keats and Longfellow as I waited for the wealthy and elite and the sycophantic to give me my campus back.
Amongst the stacks and stacks of books and the nooks and crannies, I’d learned to find solace. A little peace and quiet where no one would look for me. Sometimes, it was like they all thought I was a jock only and forgot that I was smart. And actually liked to read.
As I strolled along the smooth stone tile at the library, surrounded by the dark wood and stacks of books at the reference section, I inhaled it all. That smell of vellum and leather. It always brought a smile to my face.
Books helped me get out of my own head when my family was being waspish dicks, which was pretty much every damn day. Luckily, aside from Tinsley, I didn’t have to deal with them today.
I passed one of the stacks and paused, then took a quick sniff. What was that smell?
It smelled like something floral. Something sweet. It smelled like her.
The new girl.
Fucking Iris Briggs.
I’d gotten close enough to her that first day to catch a hint of roses and vanilla in the air. It wasn’t overwhelming like some girls who liked to drown themselves in the latest Dior or Lady Gaga, or God help them, eau de RiRi.
No. This was some simple essential oil type of shit. Just enough to linger and tease. Not enough to overpower. But she wasn’t here.
As a matter of fact, I’d barely seen her since that first day. It was almost like she was taking all routes to purposely avoid me.
Why do you care? You have Clara.
Yes, I did have Clara. At least, that’s what everyone believed. We were the golden couple, the ones people wanted to be like. I wondered how people would really feel if they found out just how fucked up Clara and I both were.
Well, they’re never going to figure that out.
When I turned towards the fiction stacks, I froze. There, perched on one of the rolling ladders, was the source of the rose and vanilla. The source of my fucking sleepless nights for the past week. “What the fuck are you doing here?”
Her head snapped up and she gasped. “Jesus, you scared the shit out of me.”
Why was she looking at me like that? All fresh faced with her sky-blue eyes and her dusting of freckles on display and looking so clean and fresh and fucking pure. I wanted to make her dirty.
What the fuck is wrong with you?
“I repeat. What the hell are you doing here?”
She narrowed her eyes. “It’s a free country,” she said slowly, as if she was trying to control her temper. “I’m reading. What are you doing in here?”
I scowled. Maybe no one had told her how things worked here. I asked the questions. New girl provided the answers. That’s how it was supposed to go.
Becker Gray is the brainchild of two best friends who love rich boys in peacoats. The Hellfire Club is their first series together.