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Book: Coercion by Lux Zakari Read Free Book Online
Authors: Lux Zakari
Tags: Erótica
    “I can’t make any promises,” Valerie said. “Daniel tends to cheat and take advantage of the weak.”
    “Goodnight, Mrs. Mercer,” Daniel said. “Maybe in the morning, Valerie will have learned to be a better sport.”
    “I won’t hold my breath,” Valerie’s mother joked, closing the living room doors behind her.
    “Trying to get in good with my mom, I see.” Valerie nudged Daniel’s shin with her toe. “I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but she’s sort of seeing my dad right now.”
    Daniel raised his hands in the air. “Hey, it’s not my fault. I can’t help I’m insanely attractive and older women love me. It’s a curse, really.”
    “Why?” Valerie asked with a laugh. “Sounds like a pretty good deal to me.”
    His brow creased as he concentrated on splitting the deck in half. “It’s usually a sign their daughters want nothing to do with me.”
    Valerie’s gaze danced over his face. Pink spots bloomed on his cheeks and could no longer be blamed on too much summer sun. She swallowed a giddy, nervous gulp and gave him another nudge with her foot. “I can’t speak for all those other daughters, but I’m having a decent time.”
    He glanced at her and gave her a cautious smile. “A decent time?”
    She nodded. “That’s right. And I think after you let me win a few rounds, I’ll be having a blast.”
    Daniel let out a loud laugh. “Is that so?”
    “Yes, haven’t you heard? It’s good for morale.” She tapped her finger thoughtfully against her lips. “Actually... What time is it?”
    He looked at his wristwatch. “Almost ten. Why?”
    “Because I know a way to boost my self-esteem while keeping you morally sound.” She took a deep breath, her heart thumping like it always did before something important was about to happen. “Are you any good at bowling?”
    “Bowling? I—”
    A sudden, lazy calypso beat sounded on the door. Valerie and Daniel shot each curious looks, and she pushed herself off the rug and padded barefoot to the front door. Then she peeked through the peephole and felt her heart turn over when she saw Michael Vartanian leaning against the steps’ metal railing.
    She unlocked the door with fumbling fingers and swung it open, giving him what she hoped was a dazzling smile, but he appeared not to notice as he stepped inside and brushed past her. Her grin faltered. “Won’t you come in?”
    He turned around and heaved a sigh. “Sorry. You want me to take about three steps backward so I can go outside for a whole two seconds just so you can invite me in, which you were going to do anyway?”
    She bit her lip. “No. I was just teasing you.”
    “I’m not in the mood for teasing.”
    Valerie followed him as he made his way into the living room and sat on the couch. His knee bounced as he stared blankly at the stone fireplace surrounded with potted houseplants and paid no mind to Daniel Travato, who openly gaped at him with distrust.
    “ you guys know each other?” She gestured between her two visitors.
    “Yeah.” Daniel gave Michael a brief, tight nod. “I’ve seen you around before.”
    Michael turned to Daniel and narrowed his eyes, as if simultaneously trying to remember him and figure out why Daniel was there. Finally, he just muttered “Hey” and returned his attention to the fireplace.
    Before Valerie could find the words to fill the awkward silence, Daniel got to his feet and handed her the deck of cards, all fifty-two of them stacked neatly and put in their thin, cardboard sleeve. “I better get going, Valerie. I need to get up early tomorrow.” He grabbed his coat from the back of the couch. “I’ll see you ’round campus.”
    She followed Daniel to the front door. “I’m sorry about this.” She dropped her voice. “It’s just...he looks upset.”
    “He sure does.” He gave her a small smile and took a deep breath. “See you.”
    Valerie shut the door behind him and closed her eyes. She hadn’t wanted her

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