The Cunning (Book 1/2)

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Adam watched Madison get friendly with the two new girls and felt the anger bubble up in him, heading into the kitchen and interrupting Jase’s conversation.

“You ought to have a word with Madison, she’s getting a little too big for her boots,” He said, unimpressed with the girl’s confidence as he relayed how she was making friends with the sisters. Jase grumbled disapprovingly, excusing himself. He called her from the living room, taking her into the hallway and out of earshot.

“Have I done something?” she asked, feigning confusion, peppering it with just the right amount of fear.

“What are you playing at?” Jase asked. He was annoyed at her, that much was evident. Her brows furrowed,

“What do you mean?”

“Adam told me you were in there talking to the new girls. You know you’re not allowed to talk to anyone here so what are you doing? Right in front of him as well, you’re not stupid, Bunny.” He was suspicious, and she didn’t blame him, this had played out so perfectly.

“When Lily came into my room it was more insulting than anything to have her suggest I could see her as some sort of friend. She certainly didn’t make me want to be on my best behaviour. I figured it would sound better coming from someone in the same shoes as them, you know, telling them how to act. Lily does it for her own benefit, I’m doing it for theirs.” He looked over her shoulder, into the living room where he could see the girls half smiling at one of the punters talking to them. It wasn’t a real smile, obviously, but it seemed that whatever she’d said had worked. Madison shrugged when he didn’t reply, “they’ll be more inclined to listen if they think I’m doing them a favour.” His eyes went back to hers, nodding slowly.

“Keep it to a minimum. I don’t want the other girls trying to follow in your footsteps because there will be repercussions for them, understood?” She sucked in her lips, bobbing her head, like a child being warned.

“I won’t do it again. I was just trying to save them from trouble.” Jase wasn’t mad at her. It wasn’t like she was conspiring with them but he had to enforce at least one rule before she really did start taking the piss. And before everyone else started taking notice. Fortunately for her, tonight wouldn’t be the night. She’d technically done their work for them, just taking a different approach. As far as he was concerned, the less hassle the girls were the better.

“Right. Well, whatever your reason, don’t make a habit of it. They won’t be here for long, save yourself the distress of trying to save everyone else.” Madison’s heart sank, but it wasn’t as though she wasn’t already aware of that fact. Her main goal was to save herself and unfortunately, a couple of eggs would be cracked to make an omelette. She hung her head.

“Noted.” Jase, satisfied with the outcome of the conversation, went to step past her when she placed a hand on his forearm, stopping him. His eyes looked down at her fingers. They were cold on his warm skin. “Thank you, by the way,” she said, looking up at him, inches between them. His brows knitted together,

“What for?” she looked to the kitchen door, then back,

“For getting that man to leave me alone.” He poked his tongue in his cheek, deciding it was best if he didn’t reply, slipping away from her hand and back to the others.

He liked Mike about as much as he liked Charlie. He didn’t. In fact, he didn’t like any of the punters. There was a characteristic in people that paid for sex, with girls that didn’t want it, that he wasn’t a fan of. Regardless of how hypocritical it made him look.

They were dogs. Dogs that reeked of desperation, which he only saw as a weakness. He didn’t like weak people either. At least he could justify his position because he was making money and he could hold his hands up to the things he did. They were throwing cash away for an hour of sex and it was rare they even stayed the whole hour, shamefully picking up their trousers, leaving the room without being able to turn back and look the girl in the eye. Punters were a breed of people that Jase didn’t associate himself with on a personal level.

He stayed off the cocaine during the showing, always on the lookout in case someone got rowdy. However, the night ran smooth, the crowd thinning by three. Five of them were sat around the table in the kitchen. They’d taken out a deck of cards and were playing poker.

“What was Madison’s deal earlier?” Sam asked. Jase looked at his hand, slouching slightly to peak at his cards by just lifting the corner. Two aces. The pot was well over £100 now, a pile of tens and twenties in the middle. He slid another twenty in and shook his head,

“Nothing, she was just informing the girls how things work in this place.”

“That’s what Lily’s for,” Adam replied, clearly annoyed that once again, nothing had come of Madison’s actions. Jase shrugged.

“I know, but as Madison stated, they’re more likely to listen when it comes from someone in the same boat and as much as I hate to agree with her-”

“Do you?” Adam interrupted, Jase’s brows furrowed and the game was put on hold for a second. Everyone feeling the tension rise.

“Do I what?” he tested, knowing exactly where he was going. Adam just frowned, folding his arms and sitting back in his chair. How quickly he got irritated both simultaneously irked and amused Jase.

“Hate to agree with her?” Jase tilted his head, not enough to be dramatic but just enough to warn Adam that whilst he was going to be invited to speak his mind, it was probably best if he didn’t.

“If you’ve got something to say then say it.” He raised a brow, waiting impatiently, but Adam averted his eyes.

“Fold,” Sam said.

“Madison had a point,” Jase continued, not wanting the boys to think he was covering her again, “the new girls did as she said. I’m not punishing her when only good came out of her actions.” No one said anything, either unbothered by Madison’s entire presence or not willing to speak up against Jase. Realistically, they all knew Madison had actually done them a favour. They had still been prepping the girls before they were sent off to Ramon. He wouldn’t appreciate them turning up and causing a disturbance because they hadn’t listened when they were told how to act. She was cooperating, which was what she’d been asked to do. Albeit, in her own way, but the outcome was still the same.

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