The Cunning (Book 1/2)

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Jase had gone to the gym for a few hours and returned late in the evening to find Adam, Sam and Benny standing around in the kitchen. They were all dressed in black.

“We’re heading out, trying to pick up any stragglers of the night,” Sam said. He was referring to the prostitutes that still had the gall to walk the streets even though so many of them had been taken already. As far as they were concerned, no dismembered body meant no real danger. “You coming?” Jase dumped his gym bag on the table, shaking his head.

“Not tonight.” It wasn’t out of character for him to turn down this part of the job, he didn’t particularly enjoy mingling with the ladies of the night when he didn’t have to. The others shrugged and continued to ready themselves as Jase prepared food for the girls.

“Is there anything I can do?” Madison asked when he walked into her room. He stared at her, confused, and allowed his curiosity to get the better of him.

“Like what?”

“Anything. I’m going stir crazy. Can’t I have a book to read or something to draw with?” Jase screwed his face up in disbelief,

“You know this isn’t a summer camp, Bunny. I don’t particularly care whether you’re entertained or not, why would I get you a book?” She tilted her head,

“Why would you do anything for me?” There was a challenge in her words and Jase picked up on it quickly, clenching his jaw.

“You think you have an advantage. You don’t. Just so that you’re aware, more damage will come to you than it will to me if you bring up me letting you sneak off down the alleyway. I made a mistake that night. I won’t make another one so I’d wind your neck in if I were you. ” Not a single fibre of his being wanted to deal with Madison’s attitude so he left her to stew in her irritation and boredom, going back downstairs. Sam had been right; she was seeing what she could get away with. Well, now that he didn’t have to worry about her saying anything so much anymore, that would be a lot less than she originally anticipated.

He had customers coming and going throughout the night and was soon joined by Reece and Owen.

“Heard you had some trouble with a one of the new girls.” Reece said as he lowered himself onto the worn sofa. Jase could only assume he was talking about the dispute between Madison and Charlie. He shrugged, not caring much for the playground gossip that had down it’s rounds rather quickly.

“These things happen.”

“According to Charlie, she got off scott-free. Is that how you deal with things now? They crack their skull on someone’s nose and you just send them to bed early?” Reece continued. Jase didn’t take kindly to his methods being challenged but decided not to bite.

“If it was anyone but Charlie, I might have done more but considering he’s a prized prick, I didn’t feel the need to.” Both Reece and Owen started laughing but they were soon interrupted by a loud banging coming from above their heads.

“What the fuck is that?” Owen questioned, looking at the ceiling. It was one thing having people talk about Madison not getting put in her place after attacking someone that broke a house rule, it was another her making a scene for absolutely no reason. Jase’s lack of effort in reprimanding her hadn’t gone unnoticed and that was a problem.

He’d saved his neck from her mentioning their brief meeting by buying her time. Now he had to make sure no one would attempt to take the piss or insinuate he was doing things in Madison’s favour.

Once more, he scolded himself for not just taking her the first time. It seemed it was a decision that he was going to be kicking himself over for a while. She had single-handedly thrown everything off balance.

“Take a guess,” Jase said, already standing up from his chair and marching up the stairs. Madison didn’t even flinch as he threw the door open, causing it to bounce of the wall. She was laying on the floor, kicking the desk repeatedly. The anger boiled up in Jase as he grabbed the scruff of the jumper she was wearing and wrenched her up. “What the fuck is wrong with you?” he growled. Madison’s brows furrowed as she mirrored his frustration and tried to struggle out of his grip.

“I told you, I’m bored.” Her words quivered out of her lips, contrasting with the bold front she was trying to put on. Jase let her go.

“I don’t care. I’ve got people downstairs and all we can hear is your fucking banging, pack it in.” Madison frowned,

“I will if you let me out of this room.” He drew his brows together, shocked by her audacity.

“What? No-”

“Please,” she continued, “just for ten minutes to stretch a little and get out of these four walls, it’s just ten minutes.” Jase couldn’t believe what he was hearing. She really was trying to take him for an idiot.

“No. Sit down and shut the fuck up.” His eyes flickered to her hands which were balled into tight fists. Small fists. He smirked, looking back to her, “you reckon?” she quickly uncurled her fingers, “behave yourself before I give you a real reason to want out of here.” Tears burned at her eyes as he left the room and she lowered herself onto the bed, shaking with fury. She hated being manhandled by him and more so, she hated how much his strength had been flexed when he dragged her off the floor. Wiping her eyes with the back of her hand, she sniffled. She knew that it had been a longshot to try and get the layout of the house whilst someone was there anyway. Her plans would have to be carried out from memory and blind faith.

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