The Cunning (Book 1/2)

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It was a good fifteen minutes before Jase actually did return to the bedroom, a half full brandy bottle in his hand. Madison had changed into one of Jase’s t-shirts. He had specks of blood splattered over his now bare chest. A cigarette was being rolled between his teeth before he lit it.

“Are you okay?” she asked, he nodded.

“Yeah, why?” She gestured to his bare upper half.

“You’re covered in claret.” Jase looked down at himself, wiping the now dried blood with his hand.

“I’m fine, it isn’t mine. The guy that bothered you had his ego bruised and was starting on everyone. He picked the wrong guy; this is just splash back from their fight.” He walked to his side of the bed, laying down. Madison couldn’t stop looking at all the specks. She rolled off the bed. “Where are you going?”

“To get a cloth,” she replied.

As Madison dabbed the wet flannel over his abs and chest, Jase watched her, tilting his head.

“What?” she asked. He blew smoke to the side, shaking his head.

“Nothing.” His body was solid, with the muscles close to his skin, his perfect, unscathed skin. “I’ve never had anyone clean blood off me before.” She just shrugged, putting the cloth on his nightstand.

“Why don’t you have any tattoos?” she asked.

“Because they would make me more identifiable,” he said. Smart. She always forgot how smart and meticulous he was.

“Does it not scare you? Getting into fights?” She laid back down, facing him. He shook his head.

“Not really. Get more of a kick out of it than anything.” Madison breathed a small laugh.

“That’s so messed up.” He took another drag on his cigarette, staring up at the ceiling.

“You’re really going to sit there and tell me that when you head-butted the bloke downstairs you didn’t get an adrenalin rush?” She remained silent and he looked at her. His voice lowered as he spoke. “That’s what I thought.” He stubbed his cigarette out.

“But mine was more about survival,” Madison said.

“Isn’t it about survival every time you get into a fight? To an extent?” Again, she remained silent. “That’s one of the things I like about you, Madison. That fight.”

“Even when I tried to suffocate you?” He laughed, and she reached across him to pick up the bottle of brandy, taking two large mouthfuls and praying she didn’t gag at the burning liquor. The Dutch courage in his presence right now was necessary. She wasn’t sure what to do with the feelings inside her other than attempt to drown them out or find some way to control them.

“As I said, you’re more likely to turn me on than worry me.” Her heart jumped again. “Does it scare you?”

“Does what scare me?” she asked.

“The fact that I fight.” Madison smirked.

“You don’t scare me, Jase.” He mirrored her expression. His eyes drifting over her body again. She didn’t look away from him, lifting the bottle to her lips again and letting it brush them before she tipped it back.

“Maybe I should.”

“And why’s that?” Madison questioned, the top-up from the alcohol she had drank earlier beginning to boost her confidence mixed with the weed. He took the bottle from her, taking a few mouthfuls for himself and placing it back on the chest of draws.

“Look at the size difference between us,” he commented.

“Haven’t you learned to not underestimate me?” Jase poked his tongue in his cheek, unable to stop the giddy smile that spread across his face.

“What is there to underestimate?” Madison shrugged.

“Who I am, what I’m capable of.” He licked his lips, placing his hands beneath his head, humouring her.

“And what exactly are you capable of, my little bunny?” He tensed his shoulders in an attempt to control himself as she replied.

“Wouldn’t you like to know.” He tilted his head back, hearing Madison talk like this was surreal to him. She had surprised him in more ways than one over the last few months but this was especially new. He was sure it was new to her too.

“I would love to know, but you’re all talk.”

“What makes you so sure about that?”

“Because you’re a little girl in a big boys world, all you can do is talk.”

“Is that all I’ve done so far? Talk?” she asked. The smile that followed her words frustrated him further. She was enjoying this, and he would have liked to be able to enjoy it more himself. The tension building up in him knowing he wouldn’t be able to release it only stressed him out. “So, what’s the real reason I should be scared of you?”

“Because of what I can do to you,” he replied. She giggled, and he was trying his hardest to remain where he was. He couldn’t even look at her. However, the option to avoid her was stripped away when she got brave enough to straddle him, leaning into his ear as she did so.

“It’s not what you can do, it’s what you will do,” she whispered back. In a split second, he had flipped her onto her back, pinning her wrists above her head as he hovered over her. A shocked gasp slipped from her lips and now it was his turn to smirk.

“Not so brave now, are you?” he teased, but the surprise of his actions quickly subsided as a seductive darkness pooled in Madison’s eyes. Their breathing was out of sync and heavy. His grip on her wrists loosened. Madison lifted her head slightly, meeting his lips. Jase succumbed to this kiss. Her nails grazed his abs softly before she flattened her hands against them, feeling them contort, warm against her cold hands. Everything around them melted away. Her legs wrapped around his hips, pulling him closer and closing the little space left between them, Jase pressed himself against her and only stopped to release a deep breath after Madison had taken his soft lower lip between her teeth.

“You can’t be doing things like that,” he said exasperatedly.

“Am I getting to you?” she tormented. Jase’s lips split into a guilty grin,

“Yes.” She smiled back at him, cupping his chin.

“Good,” she pulled his face closer and kissed him again, this time, flicking her tongue across his lip and releasing a groan from Jase she hadn’t heard before as once more, he pulled back, this time shaking his head.

“I’m going to stop you there before I get carried away,” he sighed, every fibre in his body was ecstatic. Madison was practically vibrating beneath him, a multitude of feelings coursing through her.

“Because of Peter?” she asked quietly, her heart sinking the second she reminded herself of him. Jase’s brows furrowed.

“What? No, fuck Peter.” He propped himself up above her. She had let him go from her legs now. “No, I’m stopping because you’ve had quite a bit to drink and smoke and, as much as I know my ethics are questionable, I’m not being that guy. There are a lot of things I’m willing to do, but that isn’t fucking one of them.” It was endearing, in the grand scheme of things, Madison thought. “Now, if you could do me a favour and stop teasing for the evening, that would be great because I can’t remember ever being this worked up.” She giggled. The confidence that had been oozing from her just moments ago dissolved as her heart softened again for the person Jase could be. He rolled over to her side, taking his cigarettes and offering her one. She accepted before her eyes flickered to his grey joggers, blushing at the clarification that he was indeed worked up.

Jase watched Madison where she was laying down beside him as they smoked. He was half sat up and there was only one thing he could think as his eyes trailed over her legs, then her black underwear, all the way to her hair splayed out around her; he was going to do some dumb shit because of her.

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