Read The Debt 6 Online

Authors: Kelly Favor

Tags: #Literature & Fiction, #Genre Fiction, #Coming of Age, #Romance, #Contemporary, #Two Hours or More (65-100 Pages)

The Debt 6

BOOK: The Debt 6
8.75Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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The Debt 6 (Club Alpha)

By Kelly Favor

 

© 2014 All Rights Reserved

 

She was still in shock.

The news that Raven’s parents’ house had burned down was absolutely shaking her to her core.
 
It seemed impossible, like a bad dream come to life, and Raven was still trying to somehow wake up.

Jake got dressed and then came out of the bedroom to find her still standing there, phone in hand, her eyes wide open and staring into the distance.
 
She looked at him and her voice sounded strange in her own ears.
 
“I don’t understand what happened.”

Which wasn’t really true.
 
She did understand all too well what happened—and yet—in another way she really didn’t.
 
Her mind refused to accept that it was reality.

As strong as Jake Novak always looked, for the first time, Raven struggled to take comfort from his strength.
 
His brown eyes locked on her, his expression very serious but still calm, as if he could sense the troubles brewing under the surface and was treading cautiously.

“Sometimes these things happen…” Jake shook his head as he looked into her eyes.
 
“We should just be grateful that everyone’s safe.”

Raven nodded, but her heart wasn’t in it.
 
Everyone wasn’t safe.
 
Nobody would be safe until Club Alpha was out of her life for good.
 
But how could she make that happen?
 
It was completely out of her control.

“I need to get my head together,” Raven said, blinking, as she walked into the hotel bedroom.
 
She brushed past Jake, feeling his body heat and sensing his strength and wanting nothing more than to collapse into his arms—tell him everything.

No.
 
You can’t risk it.
 
Jake will go crazy and you won’t be able to stop him or control what he does next.

Jake followed her.
 
“Do they even know how the fire started?” he asked, his voice probing.

Raven stood there in Jake’s room, realizing she didn’t even have a decent outfit to put on and feeling more and more helpless and angry.
 
“No, they don’t know what happened.”
 

“I hope it’s not because of my connection to you,” he said.

Raven’s stomach tightened and a cold thrill of fear rushed through her.
 
She turned her head and stared at him.
 
“Why would you even say such a thing?
 
Are you joking?”

Jake folded his arms.
 
“It’s a possibility.
 
A crazy fan—they can do some really stupid stuff.
 
I’ve had death threats, stalkers, you name it.”

Raven swallowed and felt her throat tightening.
 

You need to say something.
 
You can’t let them get away with this.
 
Are you really going to spy on Jake Novak and tell Club Alpha about his secret military mission?
 
If not, then what are you going to do?

“I can’t deal with that right now,” Raven told him, an edge creeping into her voice.
 
“I can hardly think straight and you’re not helping.”

“You know it’s going to be okay,” Jake said, reaching out and caressing her hair.

He was too close, and she felt too torn and confused and guilty.
 
“Please, don’t—don’t touch me.”

“Why not?”

“Because, you’re distracting me.”

Jake’s lip curled.
 
“I’m distracting you.
 
Huh.”

She looked at him.
 
“Yes, you’re distracting me.
 
What are we doing here?
 
What is this?” she asked, waving her hands as if to indicate that them being in the room together didn’t even make sense.

Jake just looked at her, his warm brown eyes concerned but also searching, as if he could tell there was more going on than she was telling him.
 
“This doesn’t seem like an ideal time to have a big talk about the state of our relationship.”

“Exactly.”
 
Raven felt a sob nearly escape her throat, as she put on her shirt, pants and shoes from the previous night.
 
There was a slight bloodstain on the knee of her pants and the elbow of her shirt was a little ripped.

That brought back memories of Zeke, his nail clippings and blubbery lips and threats, and then Max throwing her out of the car.

She came back to the present and looked around her.

The blanket and sheets still bore the telltale signs of their sexual encounter.
 
Everything was messy and wrinkled and disorganized.

“Exactly what?” Jake asked, his tone still remarkably calm.

She blinked, confused, not remembering what they’d even been discussing a moment ago.
 
But then she realized she had nothing to feel guilty about, none of this was her fault.
 
Jake was the one who refused to let her in, refused to be in a real committed relationship with her.
 
As long as he had that attitude, she couldn’t tell him about Club Alpha and what they were trying to do.

“You don’t want to talk about the state of our relationship because it would force you to admit the truth.”
 
Raven smoothed her hair and straightened her shirt.

“What truth is that?”

She turned and glared at him.
 
“You refuse to be in a real relationship with me.
 
I can’t count on you for anything.”

Jake’s eyes hardened.
 
“So what are you doing here, then?” he said.
 
“Doesn’t this count for something?”

“It was fun,” she said, not blinking.

“You’re afraid and upset,” Jake told her.
 
“Don’t take it out on me.”

“Don’t tell me how I feel.”
 

Jake smiled, but it wasn’t friendly.
 
“I’m not telling you how you feel.
 
I’m telling you how you’re behaving.”

“Yeah, I’m upset.
 
My parents’ house burned down.
 
Meanwhile, you come in and out of my life whenever you want, acting like you care, pretending that I can trust you when we both know that I can’t.”

“You can trust me,” Jake said firmly.
 
“I’ve never done anything to intentionally hurt you or betray your trust.”

Raven looked down at the floor, her chest rising and falling quickly.
 
She was at war with her own mind and heart.
 
She wanted so badly to come clean with everything, but Jake wasn’t a known quantity.
 
He was an enigma, capable of anything at any time.
 
“The thing is, I know you believe that about yourself,” Raven said softly, finally looking at him again.
 
“But you’re wrong, Jake.
 
Everything about you is a lie.”

He swallowed and his eyes got a hollow, far away look as he took in her accusation.
 
“Are you sure we’re still talking about me?” he asked.
 
His eyes refocused on her, boring into her now, and Raven felt as if he could see through all the lies and half-truths.

She felt completely naked and exposed, and her heart was pounding.
 
But she couldn’t allow herself to admit that she was in the wrong.
 
“Yes, I’m sure we’re talking about you,” she lied.

He smiled bitterly.
 
“Have it your way, then, Raven.
 
When you’re finished in here, meet me in the lobby.
 
I’ll have a car waiting for you.”
 
He turned and walked out of the room and a moment later, she heard the door close.

Raven took only a moment to freshen up as best she could in the bathroom.
 
As she was looking at her strained and tired eyes in the mirror, she heard the hotel room door opening again and then footsteps entering the suite.

“Who’s there?” she called out.

“It’s me,” Jake said.
 
His voice was different somehow.

Her heart didn’t slow, but actually beat faster.
 

She swallowed with some difficulty, walking out of the bathroom to face him.
 
“What now?” she said, challenging him, sounding crueler than she needed.
 
It was as if she was baiting him for some reason.

Maybe you’re just scared to open up and let him in after all.

He was staring at her with a very strange look in his eye.
 
“I’m not going to let you do this,” he said, and his strong jaw was fixed, and he had a determined look on his face that made her more frightened than ever.
 
 

“Not going to let me do what?”

“I started to leave the room to get you a car, to let you go on your own, and then it hit me.
 
This is exactly what you want, Raven—you’re trying to push me away.”
 
He stepped closer to her and she retreated a step.

“That’s not true.”

“Yes.
 
It is.”
 
He came forward again.
 
“And I’m not going to keep falling for it.”

She shook her head.
 
“I don’t have time for this, Jake.”

“Listen to me,” he said, softly but firmly.
 
“I care about you, Raven.
 
I care about you more than I ever thought I could care about another person.”

His words blew her away, but she was also completely at a loss for what to do now.
 
He’d finally told her the very thing she’d been waiting to hear, but only after everything had gone sour.

“It’s too late, Jake,” she whispered.

“Why?”

“It just is.”
 
She walked past him again, but this time he didn’t let her pass.
 
He grabbed her arm.

“You’re not leaving without me.”

She spun and looked at him with tears in her eyes.
 
“Stop it, okay?
 
Just stop playing with my emotions.”

“I’m not playing with anything.
 
I’m telling you the truth, and I’m not going to stop telling you.
 
I care about you.”
 
And then he leaned in and kissed her, and from his lips—she knew.

She knew that he was telling her the absolute truth.

He took her breath away with his lips, and she was glad of it.
 
Her heart felt like it would burst in her chest, and everything else melted, all the problems were like dust in the wind when he touched her like this.

Jake Novak.
 
Jake Novak chose me, despite everything.
 
Despite all the baggage, and the mess, and the drama.

But will he still choose you once he knows everything?

Raven pulled away abruptly, and Jake pulled back too, his brow furrowed. “Raven,” he began.
 
“Just tell me what the hell’s going on.”

“Oh, God,” she murmured, putting a hand to her forehead and then felt everything start to spin.
 
Spots appeared before her eyes.

Jake grabbed her in his arms and held her as her legs gave out.

“What is it?
 
What’s wrong?” he asked again.

She collected herself, then stared into his brown eyes, and the love and strength she saw there gave her courage.
 
Raven steadied herself, found her legs again.
 
“I’m okay,” she told him.
 
“I’m okay.”

“You sure?” he asked, letting go of her, but hesitantly, as if he thought a small breeze might knock her over.

“I need to tell you something,” she admitted.
 
 
“There’s more to the story than I admitted to you.”

BOOK: The Debt 6
8.75Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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