Don’t Go

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CEO Henry Osbourne has only ever desired one woman—the one who got away. New York Times and #1 ebook bestselling author Alexa Riley returns with Don’t Go, a virgin-hero insta-love contemporary romance in the For You series

I’ve spent the past ten years convincing myself that what I felt for her was teenage infatuation. That love so consuming couldn’t be real. Then everything went to shit, and in an instant, she was gone.

Kory Summers knew returning to New York meant running into Henry. The way her heartbeat picked up at just the thought was nervousness—not anticipation. Oh, no. She never expected to find him on her doorstep looking as handsome as ever.

She’s mine. She always has been. I’ve waited this long for her…but time’s up. I’ll use all my power, all my connections, to convince her she’s the one.

Kory ran from a boy, but a man of power and persuasion now stands in his place.

Prologue

Henry

I stand in the lunch line with my tray, trying not to get caught staring at her. There’s an ache in my chest as I watch her in the kitchen dishing out food and bringing it over to the buffet. She shouldn’t be serving all these spoiled assholes.

I know I come from money, but that’s not what defines me. My parents taught me that it didn’t matter the dollars I had in my pocket; all that mattered was what was in my heart. I never realized what they truly meant by that until the first time I saw her. When I laid eyes on her, it was the only time in my life that I cared about what someone thought of me. Of course, like any senior in high school, I wanted to impress her. But more than anything, I wanted her to see I was different. That I wasn’t some spoiled rich kid who slid in here because of my last name. I wanted her to look at me and see someone kind and smart. Okay, and maybe supremely hot.

Kory Summers moved here at the beginning of our senior year, but I don’t know her story. She’s quiet and keeps to herself, and I don’t have many classes with her. I’ve avoided asking about her because I don’t want to draw attention. It’s clear she wants to remain under the radar. She’s a scholarship student, which is obvious from her place on the other side of the counter during lunch.

Our high school is one of the best private schools in New York City, and if you can’t afford to pay the astronomical tuition, they offer a few rare scholarships that require working for the school in exchange for an education. We call the kids in these programs “ships.” The ships usually band together and don’t mingle with the rest of us for the most part. It doesn’t take a brain surgeon to figure out why, but Kory even stays clear of most of the ships unless it comes to work.

I’ve poked around and found out she hasn’t joined any teams or clubs. She has no after-school activities other than helping some of the ships with the rowing equipment after practice. If I didn’t pay so much attention to her every movement, if I was like every other person in this school, I might have missed her completely. But I don’t miss a thing when it comes to her.

“Yo, Henry, grab me three of those,” my cousin Pandora says as she walks past me and cuts in front of the line. I look down and see Kory place small plates of tacos in front of me, and I grab some for Pandora.

My twin cousins go here, too, but they’re almost a year younger than me. Most of the time, we eat lunch together, unless Penelope is in love this week and she’ll sit with whatever guy she’s picked up.
By the time I look up, I see Kory’s back as she walks away and could kick myself. It would have been a perfect opportunity to say something to her. Anything.

It’s not that I’m shy or that I have a problem talking to girls. I just don’t make the effort most of the time. My parents have ruined me for falling in love, and I don’t know that I want to play the hook-up game like some of my guy friends.

My dad fell in love with my mom the second he saw her. He did insane things to make sure he’d have her and the two of them are inseparable. They’re crazy about each other, and being a kid in the shadow of that makes it feel like finding what they have is impossible. So instead, I’ve gone out of my way to avoid the possibility of that kind of love and focused on school. Until Kory showed up. Now I can’t get her off my mind.

“Are you going to move or what?” someone says from behind me, and I tear my eyes away from Kory to go to the cashier.

I pay for my food then spot Pandora. Penelope is talking to a table of cheerleaders, but she’s still holding her tray in her hands, so I’m guessing she’ll be over to our usual table soon enough.

A few minutes later, Pandora gets to our table. Though she already has a full tray, she reaches over to take her tacos without so much as a thank-you. I’ve long ago stopped being surprised by how much she can eat.

“You talk to her today?” Penelope chirps as she arrives and sits beside me.

I pretend I don’t hear her and take a drink of my soda.

“You’re becoming obvious,” Pandora mumbles around a mouthful of food, and Penelope agrees with her.

“It’s true. We only noticed it in the beginning because we know your tells. But now you’re getting sloppy.”

“My tells?” I ask, feeling defensive.

Pandora rolls her eyes and Penelope smiles as she folds her hands in front of her.

“Just a few things here and there. But don’t worry, we’ll only use this knowledge against you in poker.” Penelope takes a drink and then raises an eyebrow. “So, are you asking her to prom or not? You didn’t even go last year.”

I shrug and glance back over to the kitchen. “She doesn’t even know I’m alive,” I mutter.

“Henry, I hate to break it to you, but with the exception of me and Penelope, you’ve got the vaginas well aware of your presence,” Pandora says, leaning back in her chair and rubbing her stomach. “Just ask her. She’ll say yes, and you can get over this weird phobia you’ve got of chicks.”

“I don’t have a phobia,” I protest, but already I see the two of them give me identical eye rolls.

“You can call it what you want, but there’s nothing wrong with being in love,” Penelope says.

“Not all of us can find it every week like you do,” Pandora pokes at her, and I fight a smile.

“I can’t help it if you two aren’t as romantic as I am.” Penelope takes a bite of her fries and looks over to Kory, then back to me. “What’s different about her?”

I shrug because I honestly don’t know. I can’t explain why no girl before her ever made me turn my head, but this one has me spun in circles.

“I can’t believe she dresses like that,” Pandora says, and my eyes snap to hers. “Hey, don’t look at me like that. You know I don’t care. I’m just saying, it’s kind of badass. I like that she doesn’t give a fuck. She’s got my vote.”

“I’m not taking a vote on it,” I say, but Penelope sits up straighter.

“She doesn’t roll her uniform skirts up like most of the hoochies here, and she wears a hoodie almost every day. She’s definitely not seeking attention. If anything, she’s trying to disappear. You’re a really nice guy, Henry. I think you’d be a good match. I vote yes, too.”

“Uggghh,” I groan, burying my face in my hands.

“She’s got gym next period, but she hides out in the campus library. She has a doctor’s note,” Pandora says as she piles up her tray with trash and stands.

“Wait, how do you know that?” I reach out, grabbing for her arm, but she moves it too fast.

“I know everything.” She’s smug as she walks away, and Penelope just giggles.

“All right, I’m off to meet the prom committee. We’ve got lots to do before this weekend.” Penelope leans forward on her elbows and looks into my eyes.
“Don’t let fear stop you, Henry. You owe it to yourself to see it through.”

I remain silent as she leaves and don’t move until the bell rings. When it does, I’m on my feet and headed in the direction of the library before my mind can do anything to stop me. I’ve listened to it for long enough. I’m going to see what my heart has to say.

ღ ღ ღ

The library is on the other end of our high school campus and it looks like it might as well be a cathedral for the size of it. The doors are gigantic, as well as the vaulted ceilings and stained-glass windows inside. There are about five floors below the first one, and while I’ve been inside plenty of times before, I have no idea where to even begin looking for her.

When I walk inside, there’s an older lady at the front desk, scanning barcodes on the backs of books. The sign in front of her reads “Information,” and it may be my only chance. When I walk up, she glances at me then back at her books.

“How can I help you?” she asks, not looking at me.

“I’m here to meet my study group, but I don’t know where to meet them.” The lie is so easy I surprise myself.

“Don’t you know how to text? Even I do that.”

“I would, but I didn’t get her number.” The librarian looks up at me over the tops of her glasses with a patronizing look. “She’s short, blond hair, sweatshirt and glasses.”

Something flashes in her eyes, then they narrow on me. “Three floors down. Back left corner,” is all she says, and I move on before she can stop me.

I take the stairs, because I don’t want to die in an elevator that looks like a death trap. When I go down three floors, it’s freezing. The cool air, combined with being underground, turns this floor into an icebox. No wonder Kory is always in a hoodie.

The corner is blocked off by rows of books that go from floor to ceiling. There are hundreds in just this area, but I don’t pay attention to them. I don’t really have a plan for when I find her, I’m just going to wing it.

Walking past the rows, I make my way through the maze until I spot a table with four chairs in the back, with someone sitting at it. It’s hard to tell if it’s Kory because they’ve got their hood over their head.

I walk over and slide my book bag onto one of the chairs and pull out the one beside it. “This taken?” I ask, and watch as she looks up at me.

There’s complete confusion on her face as she watches me. She even looks past me and then at my seat before pushing her hood back. Her dark green eyes meet mine, and the ache in my chest is back.

“Are you serious?” she asks, with a laugh in her voice.

“Yeah,” I say, suddenly feeling stupid.

“There are about seven hundred desks in this library. About eighty on this floor alone. And you want to come all the way to the back corner and sit at the one table that’s occupied?” She raises an eyebrow and leans back in her chair. For a split second, she reminds me of Pandora, but there’s a vulnerability in her eyes. “No thanks, my table is full.”

“You don’t even know me,” I say, feeling like she’s brushing me off just for the sake of turning me down.

“Oh, but I do. You’re Henry Osbourne, heir to the Osbourne fortune. You’re captain of the soccer team, debate team and mathletes. You’ve got a 4.0 and a full ride to Yale waiting on you when you’re ready. I know all I need to know about you, and I know that chair you want to sit in is taken. So either you move along or I will.”

“That will make this much easier,” I say, sitting down. “Now all you have to do is go with me to prom.” Kory’s mouth pops open, and all I can think about is how much I want to kiss her.

“You don’t even know me,” she says, repeating my words.

“You’re Kory Summers, scholarship student. You don’t like gym.” I look around at the stack of books. “You must like reading.” I pause, trying to think of something else, and just go for honesty. “And I think you’re beautiful.”

A blush hits her cheeks, but I can see she doesn’t know what to do with the compliment. So instead of letting her sit there embarrassed, I move on.

“I don’t know much about you, but I thought maybe you’d go out with me and I could find out.” I shrug, feeling a little embarrassed, but a small smile pulls at her lips.

“And you thought our first date should be to the prom?” She shakes her head. “You realize it’s this Saturday, right?”

“I thought waiting until the last possible second would give you less chance to back out.”

She laughs at my lame joke and leans forward. “Or maybe give me less time to find a dress,” she mumbles.

“So that’s a yes?” I feel hope stir in my chest where the ache was. Can this be happening?

“From the rumors I’ve heard, you’re a nice guy. I don’t have any plans on Saturday.” She tucks her hair behind her ear and pulls out her phone. “Give me your number and I’ll text you mine.

“I can’t believe I’m doing this,” she murmurs to herself after she keys in my information.

“What, agreeing to go out with me?” I ask, pretending to be affronted.

She grabs her bag, stands up and walks around the table. She looks down at me, and her green eyes are filled with something I can’t put my finger on. She opens her mouth to say something, but then she changes her mind. Just when I’m about to ask her, she says with heavy words, “Don’t break my heart.”

I never meant to.

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Of course I can be anything I wanna be... That's how delusions work. Smut Author & Daddy Aficionado.

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