Authors: Lauren Rowe
Copyright © 2015
Published by SoCoRo Publishing
Cover design © Sarah Hansen, Okay Creations LLC
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form without written permission from the publisher, except by reviewers who may quote brief excerpts in connection with a review
To B, S and C for teaching me every day about deep and abiding love.
There are two twitching, trembling women standing in my living room right now—and I’m not talking about the good kind of twitching, trembling women. Sarah and Kat are scared shitless right now, freaking out about their places being ransacked and their computers stolen (undoubtedly by the motherfuckers at The Club), and wondering if today’s events represent the sum total of the iceberg slamming into them or just the tip of it. And I can’t blame them for being scared. Now that Sarah knows the truth about The Club—and The Club
she knows their secret—what might those fuckers be willing to do to protect their global cash-cow-prostitution-ring? Well, I’m not going to wait to find out. I’m taking these motherfuckers down.
I admit I don’t have the slightest idea
I’m going to take them down at the moment, but whatever I come up with, it’s going to be definitive, unequivocal, and effective. End of story. Or, at least, I hope so.
To be honest, I don’t think I can do this on my own—I’m definitely not used to wearing a red cape—but when my brother gets here and the two of us put our Wonder Twin powers together, when we combine my brain with Josh’s sheer awesomeness, and then throw Josh’s hacker friend into the mix, whoever he is, we’ll be unstoppable. I know we will.
We’d better be.
How did everything get so fucked up? Only an hour ago, Sarah and I were floating on cloud nine after arriving home from our magical trip to Belize—the two of us gliding up the walkway to her apartment, high on each other and on life, having experienced every form of ecstasy known to man over the past four days. We climbed waterfalls in Belize and leaped into dark chasms and toppled Mount Everest again and again and again and again in our tree-house-cocoon built for two, all the while discovering, with astonishing force and clarity, that the two of us were innately designed for each other in every conceivable way.
Being with Sarah down there in Belize, I felt... I get shivers even thinking about how I felt... I felt
for the first time in my whole life—or, at least, for the first time since I was seven years old.
Holding Sarah’s naked body against mine all night long, touching every inch of her, looking into her big brown eyes as I made love to her again and again, sitting on the deck of the tree house and holding her hand while listening to the jungle all around us, talking with her for hours and hours about everything and nothing and laughing ‘til my sides hurt, getting my ass kicked by her every which way, telling her the things I’ve never told anyone before—even the things I’m ashamed of—just sitting there, mesmerized, watching her eat a fucking mango—it didn’t matter what we were doing, that woman made me start believing in rainbows and unicorns and even the crown jewel of Valentine’s Day bullshit—happily ever afters. (Really, I should just mail my Man Card to the fuckers at Hallmark and Lifetime with a note that says, “You win, motherfuckers.”) What Sarah and I experienced down there in Belize was nothing short of the ideal realm, precisely as Plato described it.
And then, boom, we got back to Seattle and the shit hit the fan. Sarah’s place was trashed and her computer stolen. And now she’s scared out of her mind, understandably, and I’m standing here like a jackass, my mouth agape, trying desperately to figure out—
What would Superman do?
I need a foolproof strategy for decimating The Club—and I swear I’m going to come up with one the minute Josh gets here, I really am— but right now I’m just too amped up to think straight on my own. Left to my own devices, all I can think about is wrapping my arms around Sarah and making love to her, tenderly, purposefully, ardently, and whispering “I love you” into her ear as I do it.
I had my chance to say those three little words to her in the limo on the way over here, but, pussy-ass that I am, I didn’t seize the opportunity. I wanted to do it, but we were on our way to pick up Kat, and my heart was pounding in my ears, and I wanted to say the words and
her at the same time. And then, two minutes later, Kat hopped into the backseat of the limo with us and the two of them started clutching each other and sobbing and the moment went up in smoke.
Okay, fine, yes, fuck me, I blew it. I know I did. I should have told her.
And now we’re here in my house—with Kat in tow, of course—and I’m standing here with my usual hard-on for Sarah and my thumb up my ass. I can’t stop thinking about making love to her and whispering those three little words into her ear as I do it—and yet I’m mad at myself for even thinking about that right now. Quite obviously, sex is the last thing on Sarah’s mind, and I don’t blame her. She’s scared and worried and frazzled and freaking out, as any sane person would be. What she needs right now, obviously, is a strong man who’s going to make her feel safe and protected—not an asshole who’s going to keep poking her in the hip with his inexhaustible hard-on. Seriously. But I can’t help myself. She just turns me on, no matter the circumstances, even when all hell’s breaking loose.
I look over at the ladies. They’ve moved to the couch, and they’re talking softly to each other. Sarah looks on edge. Kat’s got her arm around Sarah’s shoulders, reassuring her. The two of them look completely exhausted—especially Sarah, who spent all day traveling only to come home to a wrecked apartment.
Looking at the anguish on her beautiful face as she talks to Kat, it’s all the more clear I’m a total asshole for thinking what I’m thinking. I need to rein myself in and focus on taking care of her. What I need to do is divorce my mind from my insatiable body. I need to aspire to my best self—the ideal form of Jonas Faraday. I need to visualize the divine original. Yes.
Visualize the divine original.
I take a deep breath.
Visualize the divine original.
“Can I get you girls anything?” I ask feebly. “Something to eat or drink?”
Sarah shakes her head and opens her mouth to speak.
“You got any tequila?” Kat asks.
I smirk. Sarah’s told me all about Best Friend Kat.
“I don’t know what I’ve got in the house,” I reply to Kat. “I’ll look.” I never drink tequila, but Josh loves it. I’m sure he’s left a bottle around here somewhere.
I glance at Sarah.
She flashes me a wan smile—but even when she’s tired, her eyes are full of warmth. But, wait, is there something else twinkling behind those big brown eyes besides warmth? Is that
I try to grin at her, but I’m too jacked up to smile. I can feel my mouth twitching, so I look away. I wish we were alone, just the two of us. I wish this craziness with The Club weren’t hanging over us. I wish we were still in Belize.
I head to the kitchen to look for whatever booze Josh might have graced me with on one of his many visits. Bingo. There’s a big bottle of Gran Patron in a corner cabinet. I should have known—only the best for Josh.
I rummage around for shot glasses.
I hear Sarah and Kat murmuring softly to each other in the living room. Their voices sound anxious, on edge. Sarah’s obviously scared and worried—and nothing else. Yeah, I was definitely imagining that heat in her eyes, probably just wishing it were there. I need to think about what she needs right now and stop thinking about what I want—what I always want. Sarah deserves nothing less.
This whole situation is a giant cluster fuck, I swear to God. Why, oh why did I join The Club? Why, oh why did I fuck Stacy the Faker—or should I say Stacy the Prostitute? Jesus. Why, oh why didn’t I let Sarah take her computer to Belize like she wanted to? And why, oh why, oh why didn’t I listen to Sarah’s intuition?
From day one, even before Stacy accosted Sarah in that sports bar bathroom, Sarah told me, “I keep feeling like there’s got to be some sort of consequence for what I’ve done,” as if contacting me against The Club’s rules was some sort of mortal sin. “You didn’t defy
,” I scoffed, misreading the situation completely. Why didn’t I take a step back and really listen to her? She’s so damned smart, I should have known to take her seriously, no matter what. If I’d only listened to her, instead of swinging my dick around and acting like I know everything like I always do, maybe none of this would have happened. In so many ways, I’ve totally blown it here. And now it’s up to me to make things right.
I can’t find any shot glasses. Juice glasses will have to do. I look in my fridge for a lime. Nope. I pour three double shots of Patron and head back into the living room with a shaker of salt.
I hand the ladies their drinks. “No limes,” I say. “Sorry.”
“Cheers,” Kat says, taking a glass and the shaker of salt from me. “To you, Jonas. Thanks for the hospitality.” She raises her glass. “Nice to meet you, by the way.”
“Nice to meet you, too. You’re everything Sarah said you’d be.”
Sarah smirks at me. She knows exactly how she described Kat—“a party girl with a heart of gold.”
I clink my drink with Kat’s. “Sorry we had to meet like this,” I say.
“Yeah, well, at least this time I’m actually meeting you instead of just spying on you in a bar... ” She stops. Insert foot in mouth.
I shift my weight and exhale. Wonderful. Yes, Kat, I fucked Stacy-the-Faker-Miss-Purple-Who-Turned-Out-To-Be-A-Fucking-Prostitute the night you and Sarah spied on me at The Pine Box. Nice of you to remind me of that most unpleasant fact—right in front of my girlfriend—as you sit on my couch, drinking my premium tequila.
I scrutinize Sarah’s face for signs of humiliation, hurt, or embarrassment, but I don’t see any of that. At least I don’t think so.
Kat’s face flushes bright crimson. “Sorry,” she mumbles.
Sarah puts her hand on Kat’s arm. “It’s okay.” She looks at me pointedly. “I don’t give a rat’s ass about any of that.” She shrugs. “I really don’t.”
Ah, My Magnificent Sarah.
From day one, I asked Sarah if she could just forget the long (looooong) parade of women I’ve slept with, as well as the year’s worth of purple playmates I signed up for in The Club, and she said yes. And she’s never once wavered on that agreement. Not once. Because my Sarah’s not like anybody else.
Kat whispers something in Sarah’s ear. Sarah grins and nods.
Nothing against Kat personally, but why, oh why is she here? I want to rip Sarah’s clothes off and make love to her right where she’s sitting on my couch. But there’s goddamned Kat, sitting there looking at me like she’s laughing at me with her eyes the same way my fucking brother does.
“Bottoms up,” Kat says. She licks salt off her hand and then knocks back her drink. “Good stuff.” She purses her lips and exhales.
I follow suit. Surprisingly smooth. I never drink tequila. It’s better than I remember it.
Sarah doesn’t knock back her drink. She watches me intensely, like a cat.
Something in her eyes makes me tingle—I don’t think I’m imagining that come-hither stare.
“You gonna drink that or what?” Kat says to Sarah, nudging her shoulder.
Not taking her eyes off me, Sarah shakes some salt onto her hand and then slowly, oh so slowly, licks it off with the full expanse of her tongue. She brings the rim of her glass to her beautiful lips and drinks the entire double shot in one fluid motion without so much as wincing. When she brings her head back up, she licks her lips slowly, smirking like the smart-ass she is, her eyes fixed on me.