The Auction Block (Agents of Interpol 1)

Page 36

Thankfully the slit isn’t on the other side. Tiny, burned crosses scar my left leg, from hip to knee. These are my scars though. I put them there. Fifty-three in all. They're the constant reminder of my life on the auction block . . . of why I am the way I am.
I sit on the edge of the bed, and pick up the largest box, removing the shoes Blake bought. They're black pumps, simple yet elegant, with a shimmery gem in the center of the toe. I slide them on and find them surprisingly comfortable. I've only worn heels once, so I pray I don't fall and bust my ass tonight.
Inside the bag are three smaller boxes. I open the largest of them and gasp. My fingers trail over the beautiful black onyx and white gold choker. With shaky fingers, I remove it and clasp it around my neck, letting it rest against the chain from my keepsake necklace hidden inside my dress. The next box is a matching bracelet that jingles as I clasp it around my left wrist. In the last and smallest box is a set of large onyx stud earrings, weighing down my lobes, but they're so beautiful.
I don't even look like me anymore . . . I almost look . . . normal.
The bedroom door clicks as it opens and I walk into the main area, coming face-to-face with Sammi. She stares at me with wide eyes, breaking into a sincere smile I've never seen before.
"You look stunning, Lily."
I smile, looking down at the floor. No one's ever said that to me before.
"Thanks," I mumble.
"Don't look down. Have a little pride, girl. You're beautiful. The guys are going to drool."
My face falls, and my breathing increases. I don't want that reaction.
"What's wrong?" She takes a hesitant step toward me.
"I'm out of my league, Sammi. Th
is isn't an auction. I don't know how to act around these people."
"Relax. Just be yourself."
She opens the bedroom door and steps into the hallway waiting for me. I take a deep breath, close my eyes and exhale, opening them again. It's now or never. All the worries are prominent in my mind, and more than anything, I want to run back to my room and lock the door.
Sammi and I stop at the bottom of the stairs. She clears her throat, and I keep my eyes on the floor. My hands shake, and everyone will notice my nervousness. I try to still my body, but it ignores me. A hand comes into view, pressing a light touch under my chin. I shake harder.
"Look at me," Blake says quietly, tilting my head up.
My eyes meet his, my breath catching in my throat.
His eyes are . . . beautiful.
He drops his hand back to his side and turns, letting my team get a full view of my newest look. I scan each of their faces, my eyes locking on Jax. He looks pissed, glancing from me to Blake and back.
Jax’s eyes soften as he walks over, and gently takes my shaking hands into his steady ones. "You look beautiful, Lily. You always do, with or without the expensive clothes."
My face heats and I'm sure my cheeks are a deep red.
I give Jax my sly grin and he gives me a full megawatt smile. Taking a deep breath, I turn to Blake, trying to ignore the wide-eyed stares from my fellow team members.
"Let's get this over with before I change my mind."
He saunters next to me, and holds his arm out for me to take. Nervously, I stare at his arm. My hands shake again as I place one in the crook of his elbow. Tonight's going to be hell on my nerves. I don't drink much, but I might make an exception at this point.
Blake leads us to the elevator, and I try to steady my breathing as we move down to the lobby of the building. I glance up at him, and he smirks down at me.
"I think you're going to make several men swoon tonight, Lily," he whispers.
I open my mouth to retort just as the elevator doors widen. My smart-ass reply is lost as we step into the lobby amidst a throng of photographers and journalist.
Oh fuck, I think I'm going to die.