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Always Wicked: A Cunningham Family Novel

Always Wicked: A Cunningham Family Novel

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Always Wicked: A Cunningham Family Novel

ratings:
5/5 (1 rating)
Length:
251 pages
3 hours
Publisher:
Released:
Sep 30, 2019
ISBN:
9788834192108
Format:
Book

Description

A twisted retelling of HIS WICKED GAMES, this time from the devilish Calder Cunningham's point of view...


This is my game. And she has no idea how far I’ll go to win the ultimate prize…her.

When Lily Frazer shows up at my family’s estate making demands, I can’t help myself. I have no intention of sharing my family’s secrets with her, but I also have no intention of letting this wild, passionate woman get away from me.

So I invite her to play.

To my pleasure, the enticing Lily is happy to play by my twisted, sexy rules. But as our games heat up, I soon discover that there’s more to this woman than I initially bargained for.

And I plan to have my sweet, satisfying victory…no matter what it takes.


AUTHOR'S NOTE: This story was written to be enjoyed both by those who've read HIS WICKED GAMES and those who haven't. Whether you're a loyal reader or brand new to my work, I hope you find this steamy story to be perfectly wicked.
xoxo, Ember
Publisher:
Released:
Sep 30, 2019
ISBN:
9788834192108
Format:
Book

About the author

EMBER CASEY is a USA Today bestselling author living in Atlanta, Georgia in a den of iniquity (or so she likes to tell people). When she’s not writing steamy romances, you can find her whipping up baked goods (usually of the chocolate variety), traveling (her bucket list is infinite), or generally causing trouble (because somebody has to do it). 


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Always Wicked - Ember Casey

Author

Always Wicked

A CUNNINGHAM FAMILY NOVEL

EMBER CASEY

Copyright ©2019 Ember Casey

All Rights Reserved. This book or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the author except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

Cover image ©konradbak, used under license from Depositphotos, Inc.

You can contact Ember at ember.casey@gmail.com.

Website: http://embercasey.com.

BOOKS BY EMBER CASEY

THE CUNNINGHAM FAMILY

His Wicked Games

Truth or Dare

Sweet Victory

Her Wicked Heart

Take You Away

Lost and Found

Completely (short story)

Their Wicked Wedding

A Cunningham Christmas

Their Wicked Forever

Always Wicked

THE FONTAINES

The Secret to Seduction

The Sweet Taste of Sin

The Lies Between the Lines

The Mystery of You

The Thrill of Temptation

THE DEVIL’S SET

Claiming His Treasure

Hunting His Jewel

Protecting His Prize

Defending His Heart

STANDALONE NOVELS

The Billionaire Escape Plan

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A NOTE FROM EMBER

His Wicked Games was the very first book I ever released into the world. Calder Cunningham, its sexy, brooding leading man, not only launched my bestselling Cunningham Family series but also kicked off my writing career. But those aren’t the only reasons he holds such a special place in my heart—he remains one of the most complicated characters I’ve ever created, and the ups and downs of telling his story have changed me both as a writer and as a woman. I’ve been wanting to tell his side of the story for years, but it took some time before I was finally ready to tackle this book.

Always Wicked was written to be enjoyed both by those who’ve read His Wicked Games and those who haven’t. It can either be an entry into the Cunningham Family series or a companion novel for those who already have long-standing relationships with the Cunninghams. Whether you’re a new reader or long-loyal fan, I hope Calder captivates you the same way he does me.

xoxo, Ember

CHAPTER ONE

There’s a crazy woman at my gate.

I lean toward my computer monitor, frowning at the grainy security video showing me the entrance to my family’s estates. There’s a car parked next to the call box outside—a sad-looking sedan that’s obviously past its prime—and its owner has stepped out of the vehicle and started demanding that I let her in. She’s currently standing right at the gate itself, shaking the bars as if she believes she can bend hundred-year-old wrought iron.

Who the hell is she? And what the hell does she want?

I haven’t had a visitor in a while. And the paparazzi all left weeks ago. They got bored, waiting for the infamous Calder Cunningham to do something scandalous in the wake of his father’s death. After all, I’ve spent the last several years causing all sorts of trouble around Europe—partying for days on end, seducing supermodels, and all the usual things expected of the heir to a massive fortune—and that means I have a reputation to uphold. Unfortunately for the tabloids, I have no intention of giving them the story they crave now.

But this woman doesn’t appear to be a reporter. And my family has taken great care to ensure that the general public doesn’t know the exact location of our private estates. Honestly, though, it doesn’t matter who this woman is, paparazzo or stalker—I don’t have the patience for this. Not tonight.

I rise from my desk. I’d been about to head to dinner when I was pinged by the call box at the gate. I’m not sure why I even bothered pulling up the security feed. Nothing or no one could entice me to open that gate. God knows I have more important things to deal with.

The woman is shouting now. Something about her not having a camera. As if that’s my objection to her presence here. I’m Calder Cunningham, and I’ve spent my entire life dealing with people who feel like they have a right to my time, attention, or money. Now, more than ever, I have no intention of suffering any fools, especially those who show up at my home looking for handouts.

I’m halfway to the door when I hear the woman shout something about the Frazer Center for the Arts. I stop dead in my tracks.

Please, the woman outside calls up to the security camera. I just want to speak to Mr. Cunningham in regard to the letter he sent us. He won’t return my calls.

For an instant, my indignation falters, replaced by a tiny bud of guilt. I can’t believe she came all the way out here…

In spite of everything, I’m drawn back to my computer. To her.

I can’t believe I didn’t recognize her before. I blame the grainy black-and-white footage. But there she is—Ms. Lily Frazer, glaring up at the security camera like some sort of vengeful goddess.

Fuck, she’s every bit as breathtaking as I remember.

Lily and I have never spoken in person, but this isn’t the first time we’ve crossed paths. No, I remember the night well—the Arts & Hearts fundraiser organized by that little arts center she runs with her father. It was a dull affair, but my spirits had livened up considerably the moment I noticed her across the room. She’d been wearing this slinky black dress that flowed over her curves like water. And her hair had been up, emphasizing the long, graceful curve of her neck. She was completely enchanting.

My limited communications with her since then have been…less than enchanting. Culminating in the letter she refers to now.

My father left quite the mess in the wake of his death. And unfortunately, as primary inheritor of the Cunningham estate, I’ve been forced to make some difficult decisions. One such decision was ending my father’s extremely generous donations to the Frazer Center for the Arts, a local non-profit organization.

Needless to say, Lily Frazer wasn’t pleased with my decision—especially when I wouldn’t even tell her why I was withdrawing my family’s significant support.

Hello! she calls. Can anyone hear me?

She’s not wearing that black dress today, obviously. But for some reason I still can’t take my eyes off of her. Her chestnut hair hangs loose around her shoulders, and I involuntarily clench my fists, imagining what it would feel like to bury my fingers in those thick strands.

I don’t know why I’m surprised to see her here. From the very first time I caught sight of her at that fundraiser, it was clear she’s a woman of passion and determination, one who will fight for the people and things she loves until her last breath. She’s certainly been persistent in expressing her displeasure about my decision to break the pledge contract my father signed.

I wonder if I can distract her from her little crusade. Persuade her that our interactions could—and should—be much more enjoyable for the both of us. She wouldn’t be the first woman who saw things differently after a night in my bed.

As I contemplate the various ways I would convince her to forget her complaints, it begins to rain outside. Lily looks up at the sky, frowning, before running back to her car and hopping inside.

I surprise myself by releasing a sigh of relief. I could amuse myself for some time watching her—and imagining how her supple body might move beneath my hands—but it’s better that she goes. For her own sake.

Unfortunately, the car doesn’t move. In fact, she hits the horn a couple of times. It’s starting to look like she’s planning to camp out there all night.

It’s admirable, even if it is inconvenient. And I must admit, I’ve always had a weak spot for women who approach life with such…ardor. I imagine that passion manifests in other, much more intimate areas as well.

I wait, watching her through the window of her car. It’s hard to tell—the rain is making it even more difficult to pick out the finer details in the already-grainy footage—but she appears to be on her phone.

I wonder who she’s talking to? That thought, shockingly, is accompanied by the tiniest twinge of jealousy. She’d been with a man that night at the fundraiser—boyfriend, husband, or escort, I couldn’t guess, but she’d spent half the event gazing up at him with moon-eyes.

It isn’t that I doubt my ability to seduce a woman who’s already in a relationship—I have plenty of personal experience to prove that a boyfriend or even a husband is rarely an obstacle when I set my sights on a woman—but I also hate to share. Even temporarily.

When I want something, I want it to be mine and mine alone.

My fingers drum against the desk. Maybe I should go out there. Make it clear, once and for all, that I have no intention of changing my mind about the pledge. Then steal a kiss under the rain, giving her a taste of what we could share before sending her off home again.

It wouldn’t stop with a kiss, a wicked little voice in my head points out. Oh, no—I know myself too well to lie about that. One kiss would just stoke the desire I already feel for her. If her lips are half as soft as I imagine, her body half as supple beneath my hands, then I’ll have her bent over the hood of her car in a matter of minutes, not even caring about the rain pounding down around us. She’ll forget about that silly little pledge while she’s crying out my name.

Thunder rumbles outside, drawing me back to my senses.

Yes, fucking the sweet, passionate Lily Frazer would be immensely satisfying, providing me with a release I’ve needed for weeks. But it would complicate things as well. And a smart, determined woman could use any slip of my control to her advantage. I have no intention of letting anyone—let alone Lily Frazer—have that sort of power over me.

Besides, I remind myself, she needs to leave sooner rather than later. The road out to the estate can flood during heavy rains, and this is already shaping up to be quite the storm.

Another boom of thunder sounds overhead in response, making the windows shake.

I rise for the second time, determined to put the woman out of my head. Besides, it’s time for dinner. Martin will be waiting for me.

Just as I’m about to step away from my desk, though, her car door opens.

Instantly, I’m riveted again. Lily climbs out, glaring up at the camera. She presses the call button once more.

I don’t suppose you’ve changed your mind? she calls over the weather.

The rain has already plastered her clothes to her body, hugging her everywhere, and my blood is pumping steadily toward my groin.

Hey, boys, she yells, teasing. And then she grabs the bottom of her shirt.

By the time I realize what she means to do, she’s already lifted her shirt up over her face. Her bra, too. Her breasts hang there in front of the security camera, a pair of glorious handfuls just begging to be touched, teased, tasted. I groan. My pants are suddenly uncomfortably tight.

That little teasing minx.

She drops her shirt again far too quickly. And there’s a satisfied grin on her face as she takes a step back. She’s proud of herself, the little tease.

It makes me want to teach her a lesson.

As the minutes pass, though, I witness her confidence begin to fail her. Her smile falls, and she looks toward the gate. She honestly believed that little stunt would do the trick and get her inside.

It nearly did. A significant part of me still aches to go out there, to show this wild, stubborn woman exactly who she’s messing with. To sate the hunger that’s been slowly building in my bones.

But I maintain control of myself. If there’s one thing that’s never failed me, it’s my unwavering self-control.

Wait—what’s she doing now? Lily has stepped toward the gate, and she’s moving down the length of it, reaching through the thick English ivy toward the iron bars.

Is she going to shake it again? I wonder. Hasn’t she realized that won’t work? That gate was designed to protect my family’s privacy—the ivy shielding the property from curious eyes and the thick, intricate ironwork designed to withstand even the force of a car.

About halfway down the length of the gate, she turns her head and shouts something back toward the camera. And then she starts to climb.

She really is crazy. As I watch, she hoists herself up, reaching through the ivy and slowly scaling the ironwork. She actually means to break onto my property. She’s halfway up the blasted gate already!

Well played, Ms. Frazer. Her tenacity sends a little thrill through me, heightening the carnal urges already rippling through my body. She knows I can’t ignore her now.

I dart out into the corridor, not even bothering to pause for a coat. She wanted my attention, and she got it—and she has no idea what’s in store for her. Stubborn little trespassers don’t get off scot-free, not here at the Cunningham estates.

Now the tenacious, delicious Lily Frazer is going to receive a lesson she’ll never forget.

CHAPTER TWO

The rain is coming down even harder than I thought. But I’m not about to let a little inclement weather keep me from what’s mine.

I jog down the stone steps at the main entrance, scanning the grounds for Lily. It’s some distance from the manor house to the gates, and she could have headed in any direction. It’s probably best to just start toward the gate and keep watch on all sides.

Bowing my head against the rain, I start briskly down the drive. My family’s estates are extensive—my father used to call them a masterwork of landscaping—but all of that is hidden by the sheets of rain. Only the huge live oaks are visible, their dark, mammoth silhouettes guarding either side of the drive. My sister and I used to climb them as children, back before we had more important cares.

Where the hell is she? My gaze sweeps the area, hunting for the shape of my wild woman through the storm. My clothes are already soaked through, my T-shirt sticking to my chest, and I know Martin will chide me for not pausing to grab an umbrella in my sprint out the door. But I don’t care how wet I get. I must find—

There.

My entire body contracts at the sight of her. My quarry. My little minx.

Hey! I yell above the storm, taking off toward her down the drive.

Her head jerks toward me. And then she bolts.

Why the hell is she running? But I’m not about to waste my time analyzing the logic of women who break onto my property. I only have one goal now: to catch her.

She sprints across the lawn, and I follow, chasing her through the slick grass. She’s fast, but I’m faster. Little by little I gain on her.

You’re mine, Ms. Frazer. The moment she set foot on my property, entering my territory, she was at my mercy. Once I set my sights on something—or someone—I refuse to accept anything but complete and total victory.

She loses one of her shoes in the mud. Then the other. With every stride, every breath, I’m closer to her. Until finally, she’s close enough to touch.

I leap, grabbing her. We both fall to the ground, landing in the wet grass, and I grunt as the air is knocked out of me. But I have her by the waist.

Let go of me! she says.

Before I can respond—or ask why she’s running from the man she went through all this trouble to see—her elbow connects with my stomach. I double over, releasing her.

Is she mad? She came here to talk to me. Why is she trying to wiggle away?

Ms.—oof—Frazer, I choke out as her foot gets me in the ribs.

She doesn’t respond. Instead, she redoubles her efforts to get away.

I’m stronger than her, though, and I have the more advantageous position. Once I manage to catch my breath, it’s an easy thing to grab her and flip her fully onto her back. She tries to swing at me, but I grab her arms and pin them against the ground, leaning over her.

Get off of me! She glares up at me, blinking against the falling rain. In the glow from the nearby floodlights, she makes quite the picture. Her wet hair is plastered to the side of her face, and there’s mud splattered on her cheek, but God help me, she might be the most fiercely beautiful thing I’ve ever seen. My legs are on either side of hers, and I can feel nearly the entire length of her body against mine—but fortunately, I am well in control of myself. As much as I want her, I have no interest in forcing myself upon a woman.

I lean down. And why should I do that, Ms. Frazer? My voice comes out a touch deeper than normal. "You’re trespassing on my property."

She goes rigid beneath me. She looks up into my face, shaking the wet hair out of her eyes, and for the first time, she sees me.

I must admit—I’m deeply amused by the wave of shock that passes across her features. Her eyes widen and her lips fall open as recognition sweeps through her.

For a moment, she’s frozen. And then suddenly, she takes up writhing and wriggling beneath me again, trying to regain some control over the situation.

Get off, she says, bucking her hips.

Good God. Does she have any idea what she’s doing to me? Her movements are undeniably erotic, bringing her soft, curvy body up against mine in a way that leaves very little to the imagination. My hands tighten on her wrists as my cock responds to her undulations. My blood is hot, my mind already playing through all the ways I could have her right here in the grass. Would you enjoy that, sweet Lily? Getting fucked in the rain and the mud?

Suddenly, with a little gasp, she stills again. Apparently, the seductive nature of her movements was unintentional. It’s hard to tell in this lighting, but I’d swear she’s blushing.

I can’t help but chuckle. And I lean closer to her, making sure she hears every word I say over the pounding rain. And why should I let you go when you’ve already caused me so much trouble?

I’m close enough to see her pupils dilate, even in the near-darkness—she’s turned on by this. Glad to know I’m not the only one.

But angry as she is, she isn’t willing to admit that she might be having any sort of physical reaction to me. I can’t believe you’d hold a woman down when she clearly—

Woman? I want to laugh. I don’t see a woman. I see a trespasser. Tell me, do you make a habit of breaking onto private property, or did I just get lucky? I admire her persistence, true, but if I’m being perfectly honest I’m starting to grow weary of her righteous anger. I owe her nothing.

"You know exactly why I’m here, Mr.

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