You stop in mid-step as the words leave his mouth.


You whip around and face him again, your eyes boring holes into his head. “You son of a bitch—”


“Now, let’s not get hostile, Raven,” he says coolly, easily cutting you off and closing the distance between you once more.


He slides his hands into his pockets almost nonchalantly, and he sports a bored expression on his face. He seems pretty aloof, but obviously he’s anything but since he can’t seem to keep his irritating behind out of your business.


He looks you up and down for a moment, his eyes traveling all over you and scorching your skin with their intense gaze.


“I have no intention of letting your grandmother know what you do in your spare time,” he says casually.


“This isn’t what I do in my spare time!” you lash out. You realize you’re raising your voice, and you quickly tone it down for fear that someone will hear.


He continues to look at you intently, as if he’s trying to observe something, almost as if he’s assessing you.


He lets out a sigh before he continues. “This is the first time you’re doing something like this, isn’t it?” he finally says.


“What difference does that make?” you say, feeling annoyed beyond measure with him. “And more importantly, what’s it to you?”


He shrugs. “You’re my patient, and I take my oath very seriously as a medical practitioner. You have issues with your digestive tract and we don’t know the severity of those issues yet. I’d advise against consuming any alcohol until further notice—”


“Are you fucking kidding me?,” you hiss, your angry eyebrow arching so far up your forehead you’re afraid it may never come down again. “This is why you’ve been harassing me for the last half hour? Because I’m your patient?” You raise your hands, partly in surrender and partly in disbelief, but mostly because you’re not really sure what else to do with them right now. “You know what, you’re not even my doctor,” you say, shaking your head adamantly. “I just happened to get paired with you. If anything, Doctor Templin is my doctor and I’ll be consulting him from now on.”


You start to walk away again, but he stops you with his words once more.


“That’s a shame. Doctor Templin will be out of the country for a few weeks, so you’ll be waiting a while. And…”


And?” you press. You’re annoyed that he’s obviously stalling to piss you off. He clearly thinks that this is a game or something.


“And, I’d really hate for your sweet grandmother to catch wind of this…this news about you,” he says, gesturing to the space around him to demonstrate the mansion, the nature of parties like this, and what exactly he’s implying. “I can only imagine how disappointed she’ll be when she finds out her favorite granddaughter is out trying to whore herself to rich men in the outskirts of the city—”


Before you even realize what you’re doing, it’s already done. You’re on your tip toes and your palm connects soundly with the side of his face.


The impact makes a loud sound that cracks through the cold night air. You feel rather than see people look your way, and it becomes more obvious when a chorus of voices heads in your direction.


You don’t want to look behind to confirm it. You don’t want to keep standing in front of this unbelievable asshole. And you don’t want to be in this fucking compound any longer.


You storm past him without another word, still in utter disbelief that he actually just threatened to tell your grandmother about this.


Your palm is throbbing, your fingers are trembling, and you can still feel the sharp sting from what you just did to Frost. You sincerely hope his cheek hurts a million more times than your hand does.


You seriously can’t believe this dude. I mean, what the hell is his problem? What kind of crazy game is he trying to play? It doesn’t make any sense. The man you just slapped across the face is not the same man you met a few weeks ago. You don’t even know him well enough for him to take such liberties and have such an audacious attitude toward you.


He looked and spoke so smugly, he obviously thought he could get away with it. In truth, he can still get away with it. If he decides to go ahead and tell Gran about this, there’s really nothing you can do to stop him. You can’t even stomach the mere thought of her knowing that you would do something like this. It would destroy her. She’s endured so much in the past year already and this would just send her over the deep end. You don’t know what you’d do if she ever found out.


Hot tears burn from behind your eyes, threatening to tear you apart as everyone else carries on as if you’re nothing short of invisible to them, concerned only with frolicking and having a good time.


You walk faster, your feet stomping into the cold grass as you feel your tears rising quickly to the surface. Once again tonight, you feel powerless and helpless, caught in a shitty situation that you’re not even sure how you got into.


You have no idea where you’re going, but you don’t really care right now. You just want to get as far away from that douchey doctor as possible and try to compose yourself. Unfortunately for you, he has other plans.


You hear him following after you, his strides long and effortless and he gains on you. You try to walk faster, as fast as your shorter and colder legs will carry you, pushing yourself to move quickly even though your feet are still slightly sore.


You feel yourself being swung around as he pulls you back to him and turns you to face him. He does it so effortlessly that you want to scream and slap him again. Why is it so easy for him to maneuver your body like it’s nothing, especially when you’re this mad?


As soon as your eyes meet his again, he freezes for a split second, and you realize it’s because you’re on the verge of crying. You hate that he’s seeing you like this; so vulnerable and weak.


This isn’t fair.


What the hell have you done to deserve all this, and on the same night, no less?


He seems slightly stunned, but finds his voice eventually. “Ramona, I—”


“Let me go,” you say, shaking your arm free of his hold. You don’t want to see him right now, much less talk to him. But he doesn’t let go. His grip loosens but it’s still firm and clearly unrelenting.


“What the hell do you want from me?” you ask, feeling your voice transform into something of a pleading whisper. You sound pathetic. 


He takes a deep breath, exhaling on a sigh before running his free hand through his hair as if to compose himself and refocus.


“I won’t tell your grandmother,” he says, his icy eyes boring into yours. “On one condition,” he adds.


You can’t stop yourself from scoffing. Of course. There’s always some sort of condition with men like him. You wonder what the hell it is this time.


You charge at him the only way you can—with your words. “What? You want me to promise to consult with you and not doctor Templin? You want me to donate to a medical charity or only do business with Greenwood from now on? Huh? What? What could you possibly want from me?”


You’ve had it up to here with him and his games and attitude for tonight—more like for a lifetime. You’re done and don’t have any more patience for this, whatever this is.


Out of nowhere, you hear another voice from behind us; one that you unfortunately recognize.


“There you are!” Mitch’s rowdy bark disturbs the cool night air, overshadowing every other conversation in the area in the most annoying way.


You realize he’s making his way toward us—toward you.


Jesus, how much worse can this night seriously get?! And just how obnoxious can one human being be?


You can’t even decide which of the two of them you’re more annoyed with right now.


“Oh God, I need to not be here right now,” you mumble to yourself, but you think Dr. Frost hears you.


Mitch quickly catches up to us, and as he approaches, he looks up at Frost, almost as if he’s sizing him up. His expression turns somewhat sour when he sees Frost’s hand on your waist, and his stare lingers there for a second too long.


His disdain is pretty noticeable. This pompous ass and the “good doctor” are obviously participating in some kind of silent dick-swinging contest; one that you have absolutely no interest in being a part of.


“How’s it going, Frost?” he asks, almost as if he’s only doing so because he feels obligated by common courtesy and that he has to acknowledge his existence.


Not that a presence like Frost’s can be ignored.


“I’m doing good, uh…what’s your name again?” Frost says casually, one of his brows arched as he cocks his head slightly to the side in indifference.


You have to hold back a serious burst of laughter. If you were drinking something you’d have spit it all over Mitch’s face. Frost is being shady as hell and he knows it. All three of you know it.


Mitch’s expression turns even more sour, if that’s even possible. It’s like his face is a second away from literally turning green with anger.


“It’s McGraw,” Mitch says, visibly gritting his teeth, but he does his best to maintain whatever composure he seems to have left.


Frost extends his hand to him and Mitch reluctantly accepts the handshake. You think he only takes it because he’s trying to look like a gentleman in front of you, although you wish you could tell him not to bother. Anything gentlemanly about him was completely lost on you the second you met, without Frost’s interference or help. Bitch McGraw clearly doesn’t need anyone to make him look bad. He does a perfect job of that all by himself.


He looks between the both of us, his brows furrowing in question.


“You two know each other?” he asks. He sounds almost slighted, as if he’s annoyed with you. It’s like he thinks he claimed dibs on you or something. This guy is beyond ridiculous. You think all the men here clearly have a few loose screws in their heads.


Dr. Frost doesn’t bother to answer his question. He looks to you and asks, “Would you like me to take you home, now?”


You’re totally surprised by the question, and you’re stunned for a few seconds, trying to figure out what to say or how to respond. You figure anything would be better than being stuck here with Bitch McGraw any longer.


“Yes,” you say with a nod, smiling at him in a faux truce just so you can get out of this messy situation that has the potential to turn super messy really quickly. You’re certainly not about to give it the opportunity to.

He offers you his arm and you tentatively loop yours through it.


“Later, McGraw,” he says with a nod that you feel is more condescending than acknowledging.


He’s definitely being a douche to Mitch, but you’re not mad at it. You actually like seeing him be an asshole to an even bigger asshole.


You’d like to think that you just chose the lesser of the two evils, but as you walk across the lawn and over to his car, you’re not entirely sure that’s the case.



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