Chapter 0 - A Love Song For Liars (Triology)

I hate Timothy Adams. Hating him would be my religion if music wasn't.

But he's here, facing me, his hair falling across the pillow in a dark cascade. His eyelashes are thick and so long it's unfair. His mouth is parted in sleep, the top bow firm and the bottom lush.

I'm freaking out, my heart racing a mile a minute.

He's warm. His heat emanates from his body, inviting me closer.

I hate how much I want to.

I want.

I want.

I want.

My thighs press together because if there's a response to that realization that doesn't involve a rush of heat flowing south, I don't know what it is.

Of course I'd never let him know that when he's awake, but he's not.

Thank God he's not.

I shift in bed, wincing as my muscle ache.


There's a reason I've never had sex, and If I were going to, he's the last guy I'd slept with.

He could have so much more than this stupid place, this stupid school... Instead he sold me out for a bunch of dumb, rich assholes.

Timothy groans, and my heart leaps.

When he shifts, rolling onto his back and exposing even more beautifully carved torso, the covers ride low on his hips.

Not quite low enough to see if he's wearing anything. I swallow.

I could look...

Don't fucking look...

I pressed my hands to my eyes as if it'll erase the image of the beautiful guy next to me.

Two days ago, all I cared about was being on stage, impressing my rock star father who's Eddie Carlton, and not falling for Oakwood Prep's Rebel Prince, Timothy Adams.

But when his eyes start to open...

I know I'm well and truly screwed.

♡--♡--♡--♡--♡--♡--♡--♡--♡--♡--♡--♡--♡--♡--♡--♡--♡--♡--♡--♡--♡--♡--♡--♡--------------------- - Two Days Earlier -

" Are you going to fuck it or just fantasize about it all day? "

The syrupy sweet voice makes me cut off my chorus halfway through a line.

" Your spoon. "

The platinum blonde in the front row crosses one tan leg over the other, making her plaid skirt ride up.

" Your staring at it like you want to -- " " She's a mermaid, Carla. She wants to be a human. It's an emotional moment. "

My hands tightens on the flatware from the school dining hall.

" Whatever, Little Virgin Emily. And you? " Carla turns to the corner of the stage, where Jessy's reading her lines behind a curtain of straight, dark hair.

" You're wearing a garbage bag for a tail. You look homeless. "

"Emily made it. " Jessy blurts, turning pale under her freckles.

" I was afraid I'd trip when we got our costumes, so I wanted to practice first. "

I step between them.

" First off, Jessy? Frank Craig slept on park benches and J.Lo couch surfed at our age, so that's a compliment. "

She finds a nervous smile before I turn back to Carla. "

Second, Jessy has conditional acceptance to Stanford, and your fast track is to Real Housewives, but that's no reason to be jealous.

" Our school's queen bee edges forward in her seat.

" I don't know why you're even rehearsing, Emily. Being a dumb teenager who'll never be what her daddy wants must be super relatable. I bet every night the great Eddie Carlton wishes he hadn't fucked that groupie and ended up with you. "

I could beat Carla over the head with this spoon. Not hard enough to do permanent damage, assuming there are cells inside to damage but hard enough to mess up her perfect waves. Maybe hard enough the made-up minions on either side of her would lift their over tweezed browse in surprise. But I won't let her see her words get under my skin.

"Girls, I hope you've been practicing while I've been gone. "

Miss Norma strides through the auditorium doors, returning from checking on a burnt-out stage light. Our drama director shuffles up the aisle, her black sheath dress hugging her full figure, and takes a seat a few rows behind Carla and the others. She pushes her purple glasses up her nose expectantly, eyes narrowed on the stage. When the music starts again, I will myself to focus on my performance. To be a mermaid far away from the catty comments of bitchy school girls who wouldn't have the first idea what to do with themselves if they ran out of people to torture. But when I see Carla unscrew the top of my water and tip a tiny brown bottle to pour something inside, my voice wavers.

" Stop! Emily, I thought we had this section. " Miss Norma calls from her seat a few rows back. Frustration flaws through me.

" We do. We did. "

" Why don't we try it with the understudy? "

Carla smiles as if the idea just popped into her head.

" Good idea. "

Miss Norma folds her arms, and I swallow the anger as I trade places with Carla, who holds out her hand expectantly. I shove the spoon into her hand before flipping her off.

" Wash it when you're done. "

I step out of my garbage bag and retrieve my water bottle, sniffing it before shoving the thing back in my bag.

" That part never should've been yours. " Laura, one of Carly's minions, whispers.

ou is because your dad's a rock star.

derstudy. " Thalia, the o

happen in fi

, Flotsam an

iel's sisters. Watching Carla perform, I

nough rehear

ays when Car

y, a mo

nd cross to

m auditions? The fearless

ke my

here. I


nning out

t know what she can't know is how much I need this role. This year, everything is going to change for me. I feel it the way you feel

y, Prin

a decent voice. It's a curse for the rest of us because he landed the male lead and begged out of almost half of rehearsals for sports. Of cour

seeing you at the pa

uction cast part

a look toward Carl

vated, and her parents won't have

about your

e would be peeling off from the evil stares of Carla

's that's as appealing as

or the doors, falling

practice, but we should rehearse

m before holding


n my bare skin. Chris' attractive, and a lot of girls would love his attention, but he's not my typ

main doors. If I'd thought Oakwood Prep would be simpler than the public school I attended most of my childhood, I was wrong. It's full of pe

em and me is I grew up with less than nothing until I was pluc

grass, the mature trees. It's hot for Dallas, and all I want is to get home and jump in the pool. I reach the modern steel fountain that marks the middle

es for taking things tha

me and the parking lot

n't belong t

alking abou


itely don't belo

ociety, the rules supposedly apply equally to everyone. They don't. Not even close. Even amongst the rich, there are circles of p

c attempt not to die a virg

ning in as she s

Oakwood will

etween us and meet her

can get that


. Uniforms are an attempt to make everyone look the same. In this case, they come up short. All three guys comin

g a sweat. He has an angled jaw and cheekbones, brown eyes a little too serious to be kind, and dark, wild hair. If Chris is this

eaks, every

the guitar, eve



give me a r

t the hell out of this toxic place before I burn it down. I shift into my silver audi, turning the key in the ign

hood for the shiniest parts to s

girl who has everything bu

and my co-star Chris Albright share top billing on the " Senior boys every Junior girl would give their BMW to bang " list, it's

rom nothing and doesn't blink before taking everythin

a king doesn't mean h

er at

, you're dumber

rk hair, the chunk of blue at

ture. You put on a scarf and held

rity carnival. I

that spiritual advice. Don

thy's nodding through the windshield, rolling up the sleeves of his shirt dress, the jacket are already gone. I don't want Timothy Adams under my hood. But if I have to call m

ound my neck for safekeeping. I don't notice his height, his hard body, the careless way he

why Carla fuck

er, twisting one end of his tie

us of my fash

me an incre

with your heart on your sleeve, begging to

bleed. I knot the bottom of my shirt up ar

ving anything that could be

t want you, they want what they think you possess. And the

a coiled elastic off my wrist, twisting my long hair

might think being Prince o

car to me. The crisp white shirt, rolled at the sleeves, makes him look gorgeous and a little reckless, like some pirate on a mission to charm an

Someone might think

ranks ever could. I want him to back the fuck up, but I can't speak. Right now, all I can do is take in Timothy's

need some

ah, I

rt is supposed to propel blood to your vital organs. Mine a traitor. It doesn't give a fuck if I live or die. When he's this close, it beats for him. He drops his wrench i

tell me you cheated o

e of my skirt, and I

y skirt is none of

th as he straightens

he murmurs moment l

e coupling for you

my blank e

ter at politic

the rolled-up arm of his d

If it gives you any

the start button, the engine roars to life. Relief washes over me as I stuff my blazer in the back seat and unbutton my shirt another button

pped with commu

e bag on top of my books. I shi

t the park last week, but no, that's my practice costume fo

have trouble evadi

ans Anderson wa

taking credit for it. He reaches into the car, and my breath hitches as he lifts his tie from around my neck, drawing it out in a long ribbon. The silk strokes

reative with my car, I'm


ng a hand through his

estroy me for letting h

m out of my life. Oakwood's rebel prince doesn't live in a brick mansion with a closet full of V-n