“You would be the perfect subject,” Scarlett says to me with a wink. “I’d love to study you, Aiden.”
I dip down to kiss her on the lips, thinking this is my cue, but she takes a step back from me as if she’s disgusted. “I didn’t mean that as a compliment or an invitation.”
Confused, I contemplate the next thing I want to say and choose my words carefully. “I don’t see how I would make a good subject for your trial. I don’t have an addiction.”
She squeezes the pen in her hand and holds it up to her mouth, causing my heart to beat faster. All I can think about is sex when I am around Scarlett O’Brien. Her mouth, those luscious lips, and delicate curves have me wanting her almost every second of the day. I’m hard half the time I sit next to her in our doctoral classes, and no matter how much I try, I can’t get her out of my head. This woman does things to me that I have yet to understand.
As a Psychology doctoral candidate, I know better than anyone that some tendencies can become habit forming. And Scarlett is more than a habit for me. So is sex.
“You have a sex addiction,” Scarlett says, lifting a notepad from the desk. “I’ve been documenting your behavior for a while now.”
“You’ve done what?” Outraged, my voice reaches a higher octave, and the quickening of my heartbeat that was once reserved for my sexual desire for Scarlett has turned to pulse-pounding anger that rushes through my veins. “What gives you the right to study me? I’m your colleague—not your patient.”
She jots down a few notes on her pad and stalks toward me, peeking up at me beneath light brows. Her blue eyes are glassy from pulling an all-nighter. But Scarlett still looks just as beautiful as she did when we started working on our latest assignment over twelve hours ago.
“I wanted to confirm my suspicions before I mentioned anything to you.” Scarlett leans against the table in the conference room, eyeing me up. “Your behavior indicates that my findings are correct, Aiden. It’s not a big deal. I can help you. I mean, I want to help you.”
“You can help me by taking off this dress,” I growl, lifting the thin strap off her shoulder.
Maybe Scarlett is right. Hell, I know she’s right about me. But I am not about to let her conduct experiments on me. She would never understand my world or why I do what I do. If she wants a guinea pig, she can find someone else.
“I’m not going to do that, Aiden,” she purrs the words, which only makes me more excited. “But I think you should take me up on my offer.”
“I’m not about to lose the respect of the faculty by submitting to your treatment program.”
I want to tell her the truth. But I can’t. She would never understand.
She takes my tie in her hands and pulls me closer, staring up at me with lust in her eyes. “It would mean we get to work together. You want me, Aiden. Am I right?”
“More than I’ve ever wanted another woman, especially right now.”
“The thing about addiction is that you can’t succumb to your desires. You have to fight them. If you want me, then you will not get me. It’s as simple as that.”
I narrow my eyes at her. “Ever?”
“No, not unless you go through with the trial.”
“And if I don’t?”
Scarlett drops my tie and pushes her hands onto her hips, drawing my attention to her narrow waist and the rest of her delicious curves. “Then, you’ll lose me forever.”
Her words hit me like a sucker punch to the gut. After working together for the last two years, I want to keep Scarlett in my life. But she has yet to give me the one thing I want. I can’t get Scarlett to submit to me. The more she fights me, the more I want her.
What I feel for Scarlett is the closest my damaged heart will ever come to love. So, why can’t I give her the one thing she wants? Because she denies me what I want.
”I’m not an addict,” I tell her, holding my ground. Even if I have a problem, I will never admit it aloud, and to Scarlett, of all people. “I’m not one of your junkie patients you can run tests on.”
Can I walk away from her? Do I want her help?
Scarlett sucks in a deep breath and blows it out. “We graduate next week. No one will ever know.”
“Yes, they will.” I step forward, take her face in my hands, and gaze into her eyes. “I don’t have a problem, Scarlett. Will you leave it alone already and just kiss me?”
“I refuse to feed your addiction, Aiden. All the signs are there, and as a doctor, even you choose to ignore them. Over the years, I have watched you sneak off with women between classes. I know what you do with them.”
To this day, Scarlett hasn’t allowed me to kiss her, not even a peck on the lips. At least now, I know why. She only wanted to study me, like some fucking lab rat.
“Sex addiction isn’t even a real thing,” I spit back, releasing my grip on her.
“Yes, it is,” she counters, with fire behind her words. “Hypersexual disorder is an addiction to sex. Don’t act like you didn’t learn the same thing as I did.”
“Just because you wrote your thesis on addiction doesn’t make you an expert.”
“I wouldn’t have a treatment program with the backing of the school if I was some clueless moron.”
“You know what I mean, Scar. Stop being so difficult.”
She turns around to shove her books and notepads into a messenger bag before she slings it over her shoulder. “I guess we are done here, Aiden.”
As I watch Scarlett walk out of the room, I know I should consider her program. But I’m too stubborn to go after her.
Penelope Prince is a dark romance author from Los Angeles, California who loves getting lost inside the minds of her characters. She's addicted to caffeine and chocolate, both of which she keeps next to her when she writes her dark and dirty novels.