The Cunning (Book 1/2)

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“I think Madison’s gone insane,” Sam said when he got back in Jase’s car after dragging an unconscious, blood-covered Harvey on to the road outside of the warehouse Mitch and the others were congregating at earlier. He wasn’t talking anytime soon. Jase was halfway through a cigarette, pulling away from the bright spotlights hanging from the roof of the empty building. He looked at Sam and smiled.

“You’re not wrong. Staying in a room with nothing to do for that long will do that to you.” He was glad she had dealt with the situation the way she had. For a second, when she’d said not to kill Harvey, his heart had sunk at the thought of having to kill her.

“Did you see how she was watching him? It was borderline unsettling and I’ve seen some fucked up shit in my time,” Sam continued. Jase just chuckled. The unpredictable aura she had given off had amused him like nothing else. Seeing the effect it had on everyone in the room only furthered his attraction to her and solidified his trust in her. It wasn’t an act. People couldn’t act that kind of thing; they always reached the edge and ran back. But Madison had jumped and she’d smiled as she did so.

“I think Madison scared Harvey more than my gun did,” he mumbled, indicating and palming his steering wheel before inhaling from his cigarette.

“I don’t know how well she’s going to do as a whore, but she’d be fucking good at our job if she was a bloke,” Sam said. Jase looked at him from the corner of his eye but didn’t say anything. When he got in, he had another shower, washing away the splashes of Harvey’s blood. The heating had been turned on now they were halfway through autumn so he didn’t bother putting on a fresh t-shirt, sticking to grey sweatpants and white socks.

He wasn’t sure what he had expected from Madison when he went into the bedroom. Half of him had thought that what she’d done had settled into her and she’d feel traumatised but he was surprised to find her sitting in front of the mirror, applying lip balm with her middle finger.

He leaned his lower back up against the desk, folding his arms and watching her. Madison could feel his eyes fixated on the side of her face causing the hairs on the back of her neck standing up.

“What?” she asked casually. Jase pursed his lips.

“What was that earlier? That wasn’t the attitude you walked in this house with,” he said. Madison stood up.

“I hardly walked into this house,” she mumbled, stepping closer to the mirror to wipe at the corner of her lips where the balm had overlapped. She hated that look, when someone sloppily applied their lip product. It was so careless.

“You know what I mean.” Jase replied. He pushed off of the desk, stepping behind her, placing his hands in his pockets and meeting her eyes in the mirror. “Because that night when Tia died, you seemed horrified with the thought of me killing someone and now you’re sticking cards in people’s mouths.”

“What else can a girl do for entertainment around here? I’m stuck in the same room for nearly 24 hours a day.” Jase tipped his head back, praying for will power and self-control.

“What changed?” he asked. She turned to face him. Her focus lingered on his body. Gradually making its way up to his lips, then his eyes. She cocked her head slowly.

“I did.” She noted his jaw muscles tense and ran her tongue at a painstaking pace across her upper teeth before allowing them to split into a smile as she backed away from him, leaving the bedroom and heading for the bathroom. Jase was practically shaking with the frustration she drew out in him as he watched her leave.

“Fuck,” he breathed, closing his eyes and shaking his head. He left the room before she came back. As much as every inch of testosterone was raging in his body, he didn’t need a distraction right now. Not the kind Madison was supplying him with at least. He needed to be ready and waiting for whatever backlash was coming their way.

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