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Authors: C. M. Owens

Kade's Game

BOOK: Kade's Game
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Kade’s Game

Published by C.M. Owens at Smashwords
 

No part of this book may be reproduced, or stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise without express written permission of the author. This eBook is licensed for your enjoyment only. It may not be re-sold or given away to other people.

 

The story in this book is the property of the author, in all media both physical and digital. No one, except the owner of this property, may reproduce, copy or publish in any medium any individual story or part of this novel without the expressed permission of the author of this work.

Thank you to the wonderful C.J. Pinard, author and editor, who took the time to edit this for me. You’re absolutely amazing, and I can’t thank you enough.
Dream as if you’ll live forever. Live as if you’ll die today

—James Dean

Chapter One

 

"Let's get wet!" Mel screams, her overly excited voice grating on my nerves.  I hate that fucking game.

This party got out of hand over an hour ago.  I'm not sure why security let so many people in that I didn't invite.  I'll make sure to never hire those morons again.  Everyone is sloppy drunk, and I don't have time for the obnoxious frat boys tonight.

Normally, fraternities are great for building bonds, but I don't have the time nor the patience to deal with their constricting rules and ridiculousness.  My parties get more attention than theirs anyhow because of the reputable names that come.  Tonight...
tonight
is an embarrassing disaster.

Everyone is too drunk and pointless, and very few are leaving, which means I'll have one hell of a mess by morning.  The maids will curse me when I call the cleaning service.

I lock the door to my room, but loud laughter draws me to my window.  I can't help but notice Raya Capperton is already at her window to investigate.  She's on her phone - possibly calling the cops as she looks out at the four frat boys who are now laughing as they crash through her fence, making me grimace.

Ah, hell.  I'll have to replace that.  She already hates me, though I have no idea why.  She's one icy bitch most days, if she even bothers to glance at me.  I stopped trying to be nice when I waved once or twice, only to be ignored or glared at.

And rich people are accused of being stuck up.  She has to be the most unapproachable person I've ever met.

The drunken idiots head toward a bulldozer.  That can't be good.  I need to go stop them before they fuck up and run over my house.

With a weary breath, I head back over to the door, only to be held up three or four times by slurring fools who won't remember if I was rude or not.  I push through, smiling cordially while disentangling myself from numerous people on my way to the door.

As soon as I step out, I hear a thunderous crash, wood creaking, heavy things collapsing, and a roaring engine far too close.  My heart sinks when I see Raya's home crumbling. 
Son of a bitch!

I rush toward it, yelling for someone to call for help, and numerous other guys beat me to the wreckage, though I don't know how.  I start tearing apart the pieces of her room.  This side is completely demolished, and I just saw her here before I left my room.  Shit.

"Raya!" I yell, praying she answers, but I'm met with nothing more than the others yelling for her as well.

"I've got a girl!" Jacob yells, and I push away from my spot to rush over to the far end that hasn't fully collapsed.

"We can't move her.  She could have spinal injuries," Mel says as I dive into the section of her house that could fall at any moment.

"If we don't move her, this place could fall and kill her," Jacob argues.

He has her in his arms and moving her out into the yard before anyone else can object.  I stumble to her side, checking to make sure she's breathing.  The sirens sound like wailing tales of promise, and I almost cry in relief when I hear her groan, even though she's unconscious.

She's alive.

I brush her hair away from her face, worried there's more damage than we can see.  There's no way she walks away from that without some damage.

The house collapses the rest of the way just as the four laughing frat boys cackle.  Mel scolds them, but they laugh in her face.

I know they're not fucking laughing.  That's it.

My fists clench, but I'm hauled backwards by people I can't see, seconds before I launch myself at the four idiots who just demolished Raya's home.

"They'll sue the hell out of you," a guy says, his voice strained as he exerts himself to help restrain me.

As if I care if they sue.

"Let me go," I growl, still unsure who even has me.

I lose my opportunity to do any damage when shuffling feet and shouting voices draw my attention.  Damn.  Several flashlights, harsh warnings, and numerous badges appear, making me drop my head back in defeat.

Ripping free from the loosened grip of my human restraints, I turn around to search for Raya, but she's gone.

"Where the hell did she go?" I ask Jacob.

He motions over his shoulder now, not even bothering to look back.  Does no one give a damn that she might die?

"She's fine," he says casually, apparently reading my murderous glare.  "They're taking her to the hospital for observation.  She could have a concussion, but that's all."

That's all?

Apparently
, Jacob feels a concussion isn't too damn serious.  I look over just in time to see the ambulance doors closing, and then I rush to grab the first one of my cars that I can maneuver out.  Unfortunately, there's no way to get any of them out of the garage.

Her family will probably be there.  I'd rather not show up anyhow.  They'd want to know the details, and I'd end up getting my ass reamed for simply being the party's host.  Not what I need.

I'll just call the hospital.  That's the safest.

Fuck it. I'll call a cab.

 

"She's going to be fine
.  No serious injuries,"
Dad says over the phone just as the taxi drops me off in front of my house.

I've called the damn hospital a hundred times, but no one would tell me anything.  I went down there, and no one would even let me back to see her.  It infuriates me that he calls with information ten minutes after he found out about what happened.

But his words bring an exhale of relief from me.  It's almost painful to try to take the next breath.  That scared the hell out of me.  I've never witnessed anyone getting knocked out and loaded into the back of an ambulance before tonight.  I don't particularly want to see it ever again, either.

"They said they couldn't release any information to people outside of her family.  How did you-"

"You need to learn how to ask questions.  You could try not barking at people the way you are me right now."

Maybe I'm a little worked up right now, but fuck.  He would be, too, if he had just watched a house collapse on his neighbor.  I cringe a little as I look out the window.  How did she get out of there unscathed?

"You need to make this right," Dad says, using his most condescending tone.

"
I
need to make this right?" I ask in disbelief.  "
I
didn't do a damn thing. 
I
rushed out there to check on her. 
I
yelled for someone to call 911. 
I-"

"Had the party that
you
let get of control," he interrupts, not finishing the sentence the way I had intended. 
Dick
.  "You're a spoiled, privileged boy with no real understanding of what you do and how it influences the world around you.  Not to mention the consequences you have no fear of.  Why your grandfather thinks you can run the damn vineyard, I don't know.  You can't even run your own life."

T
wenty-one, and he still has the gall to call me a
boy
.  It takes a conscious effort not to throw my fist through the wall.  It's always the same.  If I know someone who screws up, I'm just as guilty as they are.  How the hell am I responsible for everyone?

"I'm not spoiled, and I didn't-"

"I've got another call.  My lawyer.  I'll call you back."

He hangs up, not letting me even defend myself.  I bet the four frat douchebags that demolished the damn thing will have their fathers explaining the "boys will be boys" bit to anyone who questions them.  Unbelievable.

At least my house is now empty.  Well, it doesn't have people in it.  This party jacked my place up worse than usual.  But it'll all be worth it in the end.  Right now I'm laying the foundation for future contacts that will be priceless, and Granddad's wines will become global instead of in-state.

Grabbing a fresh glass and a bottle of whiskey, I head back to my room.  I never got drunk at the party, but after the night I've had, I might need to remedy that.

My phone rings just as I pour my glass, and I answer quickly when I see my dad's number.  We're going to finish this conversation.  I can't believe it.  Just to be safe, I decide to bypass a
hello,
and go straight back to what I was saying.

"I didn't-"

"You remember how you wanted to explain how innocent you are in all this?" he asks, making it sound as though I'm stupid, and not giving me a chance to respond before continuing.  "Well, congratu-fucking-lations.  You'll get you chance—in court."

I burst out laughing, barely containing myself.  Does he really think I'm stupid enough to fall for that pathetic excuse of joke?  Is this a sad attempt at a scare tactic? Unbelievable.

 

Chapter
Two

 

This is so stupid.  How the hell did I just end up in this sham of a hearing with a moron for a judge acting as though he has power?

And Ray
a—how could she?  I've lived next door to her since school started, and I've been nothing but nice.  Well, as nice as possible.

I've never once said anything rude, I always put her name on the lists
—in case she decides to stop being a hermit and come to a party—and I've never bothered her at all, dammit.  How does she repay me?  She sits in the back, glaring at me like this is all my fault.  My father is beaming—when he's not staring at his phone.

"Counselor, you realize the actions of Mr. Colton and his friends could have resulted in the death of a student, correct?" the judge asks, his distaste rolling off his tongue and drenching his eyes.

What's his problem?  He acts as though I've wronged him personally.

"My client is perfectly aware of the severity of the situation.  However, Your Honor, he wasn't one of th
e four boys who stole and wrecked the bulldozer into Ms. Capperton's home.  He simply hosted the party that got out of hand.  Surely you can't hold him responsible for the actions of four grown boys."

Exactly! 
On that note, I might smirk.  It's a small, respectable one, though.

My whole body relaxes once I feel like there's someone on my side.  Albeit I'm paying him to be on my side, but it's still comforting to have more than just me on
team Kade.

"And the school is allowing him to stay there because of that, Counselor.  The others were expelled and arrested.  However, I'm not too thrilled with the fact he supplied that much alcohol to underage partiers who then destroyed the home."

This is really getting old, and fast.  This overpaid ass in a suit had better get me the hell out of this and soon.  I'm bored out of my damn mind, and I'm only getting more pissed by the second.

"He didn't supply that alcohol, and he checked the identification of every partier.  No one under twenty-one was allowed."

I hired idiots to check their IDs.  I'll pay more for professionals next time.

"Sure he did," the other lawyer interjects, choosing this second to pretend to be a part of this charade as he cuts his eyes toward me in challenge.  Dick.

I'm surprised they're not accusing me of also giving them fake IDs at this point.  Apparently I'm responsible for everyone and their decisions. 
Christ.

I can feel my father's presence nearing behind me, but I refuse to turn and face him.  I won't give him the satisfaction.  He's probably enjoying the judge telling me everything he's already said.

"I think I know a way we can solve this," Dad rattles out in his imperious tone, able to sound bored and haughty in one breath.  That's a Paul Colton signature tone.

"Please, Mr. Colton, proceed," the judge mumbles, sounding sardonic and irritated, but as always, Dad has far more influence in any room than anyone else
—no matter where he is.

I'm going to jail.

"My son fucked up," he says, making me wish I could punch him.  Or the judge.  Or my overpaid lawyer, who is proving to be useless now.  "But he didn't force those boys to mount a bulldozer and go for a joyride.  I do agree he should be punished in some form, but I think I know better than anyone else how to do that."

Motherfucker.  I can't believe this.

My jaw clenches as I stare straight ahead, furious that he's about to treat me like a ten-year-old kid who just stuck firecrackers in a mailbox.  I'd rather go to jail at this point than to be subjected to whatever form of punishment
he
feels I deserve.

"I think Ms. Capperton's situation has become... a problem now," Dad says, but I still refuse to even offer him a glance.  I'd lose it if I saw the smirk I can feel him wearing.

"She needs a home," he continues.  "My son's home is directly across from the school, he has amenities most would die for, and there is plenty of room there for another person."

This is a joke.  He'd better not be saying what I think he is, because I'll-

"Are you suggesting Ms. Capperton go live with him?" the judge scoffs, rolling his eyes.  Yep.  That's what I was afraid of.  Hell no.  No one will go for this.  It's preposterous.  "That's your form of punishment?  No wonder he's so irresponsible."

Irresponsible?  I had designated drivers there, security on staff, and I only ordered one keg.  How about all the idiots who brought in their liquor, paid off my security, and then got raging drunk?  They're the irresponsible ones.  Not me.

My father's throaty laugh does nothing but piss me off.  But not even he has the power to make such a thing happen.  No one—especially Raya—will agree with this asinine idea.

"Then you don't know my son as well as I do.  He hates to have rules."  At this moment, I hate him worse than I hat
e rules.  I happen to love rules—my rules, that is.  "While Ms. Capperton is there, he will respect any and all her needs.  Everything he wants to do will have to go through her for approval.  She'll have power over him, which will limit his social life.  If he steps out of line, she can call me, and I'll start taking things away as punishment for refusing to abide by her rules.  Let's face it, Roy, you can't hold him for anything.  You can't charge him with any wrongdoing.  I'll hire the best lawyer to keep him from having jail-time on his record.  It's up to you."

If I've ever been angrier, I can't remember it.  I've officially been scolded like a child, talked about like a child, and now I'm going to have to seek constant permission like a child?  Fuck that.  This is not happening.  She'd better say no.

What am I talking about?  She hates me.  Of course she'll say no.

"Ms. Capperton?  How do you feel about this?" the judge asks through gritted teeth.

I don't know why he's grinding his teeth.  It's my life that's getting screwed with, not his.

"I don't want to live with Kade Colton," she says without hesitation, making me relax immensely.  Thank God.  For once I'm delighted she's so frosty.

"Ms. Capperton, do you have a home or money to rent anywhere?  I've looked over your financials.  It wouldn't have been long until you were kicked out.  I'm sure you could sue for the damages done, but that takes time and money as well.  Do you have time and money?" my arrogant, condescending, dickhead father asks, narrowing her options.

I'll buy her a house.  Problem solved.  Then she won't have any reason to be at my house.  Whew.

"No," she says in a hoarse rasp that can barely be heard.

"Didn't
think so.  You'd have a home—a nice home—and at the end of the school year, I'll buy you a new house you won't have to stress over.  You have to live with Kade first, though.  And if he gives you any trouble at all, you call me right away."

I'm in a nightmare.  This isn't real.  That's all there is to it.  If she says yes, then I'm going to buy her the first house up for sale.  End of story.  If she says no, I'll buy her the house she wants.

"Ms. Capperton?" the judge says, a hard edge to his tone, impatiently demanding her to make a decision.

"Fine."

Ah hell no.

I can feel my father's victory grin, and I start worrying I've beveled off all the edges of my teeth.

"Fine?  What does fine mean, Ms. Capperton?" the judge asks.

I glare across the courtroom, praying I can intimidate her enough to say
no
.  I'd at least like some victory over the ass who’s supposed to be my father.

"It means yes.  I'll do it," she says, shattering my hopes.

For the first time since we started this ludicrous hearing, I face the man who is reveling in his triumph, just as he takes one final stab at me. "Son, meet your new leash."

 

Pacing around in my room
isn't helping me shed any fury.  There's no arguing with him.  I can't wait to get out from under him and finally be free.  If I didn't need this home, my cars—well, at least one of them—and my tuition paid for, I'd leave now and never look back.

I could tap into my trust to break ties from Dad, but it would piss off Granddad.  If I buy her a house, though, he'll think I'm doing something generous and noble.  No drama for me.  Then this problem will be over.

Not to mention, it would upset Granddad to find out my Dad and I are arguing.  He doesn't need that to worry about.  This works out for everyone, as long as she says yes.  But, how could she possibly say no?

I just need to get my damn father out of her room and out of my house so I can talk to her without him finding a way to screw me over.  Again.

My phone buzzes, and I groan when I see how tight this leash already is.  Is he really summoning me via text?  To her room?  This ends soon.  I just have to play along for now.

As I climb the stairs, I hear their voices being muffled by the walls.  The closer I get, the more I start silently rehearsing my offer.

"You rang?" I growl as I lean against the doorframe, ignoring Raya completely.

"Yes, I was texting to tell you to make sure you get this mattress replaced today.  There's no telling what your friends have done on it, and I want Raya to have fresh sheets as well."

He really expects me to play his puppet.  That's fine, considering I already anticipated this.  I admit that it's a little funny when Raya casually removes her bag from the bed and drops it to the floor, her face scrunched in disgust.  But I keep my expression hard and serious, doing what I can to make her feel as unwelcome as possible.  She can't get comfortable.

"Already called the furniture shop.  They'll be bringing it by tomorrow," I lie, no longer displaying my anger.

Showing him I'm upset about this just excites him.  I plan to have her in a hotel by nightfall and in a new house within two weeks.  Less, if possible.  Until I can get him out of here, I'll go for calm and nonchalant, act as though I'm over it.

"Not good enough," Dad says.  Should have seen that coming.  Unless it's exactly what he wants when he wants it, it's never good enough.  "I'll contact them myself.  I'll have it delivered this afternoon.  In the meantime, take Raya shopping.  She's itching to death since your friends got fragments of fiberglass in her clothes.  It'll never come out.  Grab some stuff to help her dress up the room a bit as well."

"I have to chauffeur her around?"

Crap.  Displayed my anger.  But he can't be serious?  I didn't expect to have to drive her anywhere.

"No.  You have to chauffeur her
and
carry her bags.  You'll do whatever she needs you to do," he says with a hidden tone of warning you wouldn't catch unless you know him as well as I do.

I never thought it possible to hate my father.  I've wanted to strangle him for most of my life, but until this moment, I've never hated him.  This crosses a line.  He's belittling me as though I'm nothing to him, stripping me of all my dignity the best he can.

"You call me if he gives you any trouble.  I need to get a hold of the furniture shop.  Do you need anything else?" he says while turning to her, his voice softening as well as his eyes.

"Um... my clothes are fine," she stammers, seeming uncomfortable.  I hope she's as uncomfortable as anyone can be.

"Nonsense," Dad says, pulling out a credit card.  "Take this and get whatever you need.  Have fun with it.  Abuse the bagboy as well."

I almost let out a laugh to mock his, but refrain.  I don't need any more trouble.  I just need her gone, and the sooner we can get out of here and away from him, the sooner I can make that happen.

Play along, Kade.  Play along.

Raya starts, "I can't—"

But Dad—per the usual—interrupts.  "Kade, take the girl to some of my shops.  They have a better selection.  Make sure they dress her right."

Biting back a few curses, I just shrug, trying to seem as bored and disengaged as possible.

"Whatevs," I mumble while walking away.

He says something to her as I make my way down the stairs, but my anger is actually thrumming in my ears, making it impossible to hear anything else.

Dad passes me, making sure to fix me with one of his sternest glares, but I continue acting dispassionate about it all as I continue to make my way to the garage.  Raya is a prude.  That's all there is to it.  She doesn't get out, doesn't have parties, and doesn't have a lot of people over—ever.  In fact, she seems to go to school, work, and then home.

I avoid that damn coffee shop because of her.  Initially it was because I saw her running around in her panties, so seeing her was awkward.  I was going to be nice and remind her that she needed blinds or curtains, but when I waved that next morning, she iced me down with her glower.

After that, I avoided my window as much as possible.  Really, I did.  But she was always there.  Her bed was right in front of the damn thing.  It was... distracting.  I used to think she was doing it on purpose, but then I figured out she was just oblivious.

But her bitch glare made me keep my mouth shut, and now I avoid the coffee shop because it's apparent she hates me.  At this moment, I pretty much hate her as well.  I'll hate her less when she agrees to take the offer I'm about to give her.

BOOK: Kade's Game
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