She's (Still) Too Young (She's Too Young #2)

By: Jessa Kane

Chapter One

Veda is dancing.

Always dancing. Sometimes she can’t even sit still at breakfast long enough to finish her yogurt. Or she holds the bowl aloft while she twirls around the kitchen, moving her intoxicating hips to a beat only she can hear. The spectacle of her serves as my breakfast, although right now, she’s dessert, dancing as she is around the rooftop of my Tribeca penthouse.

Today is her eighteenth birthday, and I’ve thrown her the most ridiculously lavish party ever witnessed by mankind. Over the course of the last two weeks—since she came back to me—she has changed her mind about the theme sixteen times. Yeah, I counted. I catalogue every single movement and whisper she makes. The hours she spends away from me in school are fucking unbearable because I know she’s chewing her pencil or straightening her plaid skirt and I’m not there to see it. Having my driver bring her directly to the Manhattan office so she can recap her day only appeases me slightly.

But I’m more than appeased tonight because I’ve spoiled her rotten, turning the rooftop into an enchanted garden in honor of her officially becoming a woman in the eyes of the law. Lush greenery seems to grow directly from the roof’s concrete surface, soft white strings of lights and flickering candlelight highlight the mist drifting across the dance floor, winding through the high tabletops and milling guests. Vines, porch swings and gilded birdcages hang down from a carved wooden pergola, doubling as seating. An unseen DJ plays trance and trip hop, giving the fantasy-esque scene a modern, somewhat eerier edge, and Veda is right there in the center of it all, a beautiful blonde nymph on the dance floor, her very existence a scandal to the guests who whisper to one another behind their hands, thinking I don’t notice.

I notice. I just don’t give a shit. And I’m not taking my eyes off Veda long enough to burn a hole in them with a glance.

While my business associates are quite aware of the nature of my relationship with Veda, a high school senior, the facts haven’t quite made it to the gossip mill that churns in the yard of her private all girl’s school. Since every student in Veda’s grade and their respective parents have been invited tonight, however, they’re beginning to get the picture.

It took a good hour for the mothers to catch the decidedly non-parental vibe between Veda and me, but the men? They knew immediately. You don’t bring a perfectly formed, sweetheart-mouthed, perky-titted schoolgirl to live in your home and not get her on all fours at the first opportunity. The covetous looks they’re sending toward the dance floor say they wouldn’t hesitate either if they had a chance to do the same. Which they never will. Normally, I don’t even allow men around Veda, but I’ve made an exception for her birthday. One night. Knowing the damn party is almost over and I’ll finally have her alone soon keeps me rooted in place rather than removing limbs from the pricks who ogle her.

We had a rough start, she and I, but the first grovel of my life—emblazoning her name across the top of my tallest building—was effective enough to bring her back, thank Christ. But we’re not in the clear yet. Oh no. I’m still working triple time to make up for purchasing Veda from her father, one of my employees, and sending him packing across the Atlantic so I could have her all to myself. I was brought up to be a cold bastard and to take what I wanted, by fair means or foul, and that’s how I operated when I laid my eyes on the treasure of Veda. And while she came back, it’s there in her eyes on occasion, a wariness that says she hasn’t quite forgiven me for buying her, the way one might procure an object. She’s got a lot more going on in her mind than people assume when presented with her angelic appearance. So it’s a constant balance between letting her past my defenses and keeping my guard up.