Wild Child: A Skull Kings MC Novella
almost knocking me off of my stool. I sat with my cheek against his shoulder, dazed. When he finally loosened his grip, I managed to pull away slightly.
    That was when he kissed me.
    It felt like kissing a wall at first. Gabriel was only a sensation against my lips, slightly cool and prickly. But then, he opened his mouth, and his hands floated down my arms toward my waist. I felt the first wave of something beginning to swell up inside of me, a tide of emotion and warmth.
    He was the first to pull away. I blinked at him and suddenly realized that I’d drunk that vodka a little too fast.
    “I think I should lie down.”
    Gabriel seemed to agree. He pulled a huge wad of cash from one of the pockets of his cut. I had no idea where he’d gotten it.
    “I’ll get us a room,” he said.
    * * *
    O ur room was sumptuously decorated, with plush carpets and striped wallpaper. The two beds wore matching, thick duvet covers. I stretched out on one of them and almost fell asleep right then and there. It was like sinking into a cloud. But I had a perfect view of the marble tiled bathroom, and I knew that I needed a shower. Badly.
    Gabriel fell onto the next bed and was completely silent.
    “I’m going to shower, okay?”
    When he didn’t answer, I got up and closed myself in the bathroom. Light glinted cleanly off of marble surfaces. A rectangular mirrored tray held some toiletries: tiny, fragrant bottles of shampoo, a decanter of cotton balls, a dry square of white soap that smelled of lavender. I held it up to my nose and inhaled. Lavender was supposed to be calming.
    So why was my heart beating so fast?
    I knew why, but I was afraid to go there.
    Girls like me didn’t stay in high-end hotels. We got Paradise Motel, cracked walls, and furniture dusted with cigarette ash. We only stayed at the nicer places if there was a man paying us to go with him...
    But I wasn’t that girl, anymore. I shook the memories out of my mind and undressed quickly. When I stepped into the spacious shower, I imagined all those men washing down the drain, riding lavender-scented bubbles.
    I’d just finished rinsing out my hair when I finally heard the knocking on the door. I shut off the water. “Yeah?”
    “Your phone was ringing,” Gabriel said, his voice slightly muffled.
    I wrapped a towel around myself and tip-toed out. Steam gushed out of the bathroom when I cracked the door open. I could see a sliver of Gabriel’s face and opened the door a little wider.
    “I think the caller left a voicemail,” he said. Then, his eyes fell off of my face to my body. I could see the change in his expression as his pupils widened, darkening his gaze. His Adam’s apple bobbed when he swallowed. Instinctively, I drew the towel tighter around my chest.
    The air hung heavy, suspended between us like a thick curtain. I could anticipate him reaching for me at any moment, and I remained frozen there, afraid to step away. It had been moments before that I’d been thinking about all those men I’d been forced to sleep with to pay off a debt.
    And moments before that when Gabriel kissed me.
    The ghost of that kiss was still on my lips. My hand floated up to my mouth as I recalled it. I’d never been kissed like that before. Ever.
    Gabriel coughed loudly and looked away. “I, uh, just wanted to let you know. In case you were expecting an important call or something.”
    I couldn’t imagine who it could’ve been. “Thanks,” I said faintly.
    I shut the door, erasing Gabriel from my view. What just happened? But before I even had a chance to answer the question for myself, Gabriel burst back into the bathroom.
    “Lisbeth,” he said, urgency in his voice. He grabbed my waist and pulled me toward him.
    Our lips crashed together, and my mind blanked out. All I could think about was how good it felt to be held, to be kissed by him. All I could hear was his breath, my breath. For just a few moments, it was just him and me. He was my world.
    His tongue penetrated

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