Love or Lust - Rachael Brownell

Chapter One

Day 30

From twelve to six.

Half gone.

Voted off by those who remain.

Including myself.

Even waking up in Jace’s warm embrace doesn’t make me feel better about being a part of it all. About ranking the guys. Knowing one of them always has to be last.

This past week, that person was Drake. Not because I didn’t like him. Not because I didn’t think he deserves to be here. It was a toss-up between him and Milo, and I’d voted Milo the week before. I wanted to play fair and thought that I was.

Now I just feel guilty.

Drake is gone. I’m part of the reason why.

I’ve been going over the math and still can’t figure out how, though.

It needs to be a majority vote. I guarantee Lennon and Jace were at the bottom of the list for both Teegan and Courtney. They wanted one of them to leave. They were hell-bent on destroying me any way they could.

Especially Courtney.

Which is why she’s now gone.

Of all the people who have been sent home, Gage included, Courtney is the one I feel the least sorry for. Yes, Gage was an asshole. Rude with an explosive temper and no filter. Maybe he would have changed if he’d had the chance to stay a little longer. Maybe we would have gotten along.

I’ll never know because he wasn’t here long enough for us to get to know each other.

Courtney, on the other hand, had plenty of time to show her true colors.

“You’re beautiful in the morning, even when you look sad,” Jace says as he tightens his hold around my waist. He always manages to find a way to make me smile in the morning. “What’s on your mind?”

“Drake,” I confess, knowing he won’t take it the wrong way.

“Don’t blame yourself. I think he was ready to go home anyway.”

“What makes you think that?”

“He may have mentioned something about needing to take care of some unfinished business yesterday. Maybe I misinterpreted his words, but I think he either knew he was going home or that’s what he wanted.”

“Yeah, maybe.” The uncertainty in my voice rings loud and clear.

“I would have thought you’d be happy I was still here.”

“Don’t get me wrong, I am happy about that, I just feel bad that people I like are getting voted off. It sucks. We’re all having fun, and I like almost everyone. I get it’s part of the game, but that doesn’t make it any easier.”

Kissing the side of my neck, Jace doesn’t try and argue with me. He knows there’s no point because this game is only going to get harder. More people are going to be sent home. Maybe me. Maybe him.

Not wanting to think about the fact one of us might not be here in a week, I roll toward Jace and press my lips to his. All I wanted last night was for him to hold me. After seeing the clips they put together of the two of us, of our growing relationship, I felt the panic rising in my chest. I was close to having a breakdown, and time alone with him would be the only thing that would calm me.

Because it meant he was still here.

It meant he still wanted to be with me, even after the world found out.

That he wasn’t ashamed of our relationship.

A concern I hadn’t realized I was harboring.

Now that the world knows, I don’t care what they see. I don’t care that there’s a camera hidden in this room, recording a very intimate moment I’m sharing with Jace right now.

Which is why I smile brightly when I straddle him, grinding my hips against him.

And why I don’t stop him when he slowly begins to lift my shirt even though I’m not wearing anything underneath.

I’m done hiding how I feel. I’m done denying myself what I want.

Ed made it perfectly clear last night that this week is the most important one yet. It’s our final chance to make an impression. Our final week to get to know each other and decide if we want to make a lasting connection.

Or one that only lasts the night.

I’m pretty sure that’s the direction he was pushing us in. After all, I’m sure the producers were banking on all of us having sex with each other for six weeks.

Sex sells.

It makes TV more interesting.

Which is a big part of why Jace and I were featured last night. Why they spliced images and videos of us together in a way that told a story that was only