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After the Ex Games (The Ex Games #4)

By:J. S. Cooper

After the Ex Games (The Ex Games #4)
Author: J. S. Cooper

Chapter One


"Brandon, I'm telling you that you need to step in." Her voice was urgent as she spoke to me. "She's in danger and it's your fault. If you don't do anything, I don't know what will happen." She hung up before I could say anything else, and I ran my hands through my hair as I thought about what she had said. My heart was racing, and I could feel the cold sweat of fear building up in my temple. It had been a long time since I'd spoken to Patsy, and I wasn't happy to be hearing from her now.

I should have known that my happily ever after wasn't going to be that easy. One would think that waiting seven years for the love of my life to come back to me would mean that our eventual reunion would be nothing but smooth sailing for the rest of our lives. However, nothing was ever smooth or simple for me.

I stared at the phone in my hand for a few seconds before putting it into my pocket. I had no idea how I was going to break the news to Katie. Our wedding was supposed to be in one month, but if Katie found out the truth, I wasn't sure if the wedding would still go forward at all. I'd wanted to marry her right away, but now I wondered if I was going to get to marry her at all.

I wasn't sure if Katie could take any more secrets. Not right now. Not with all the revelations that had come forward recently. I knew she was still pretty upset about the incident in the bar. Even I knew that it had been slightly out of line, but I hadn't been able to stop myself. Every fiber of my being had wanted to show that bartender that Katie was mine-all mine-and no one was going to get in my way. I wasn't going to let my past stop me from living out the future I had planned. I didn't care what I had to do. If Greyson Twining thought he had heard the last of me, he was in for a rude awakening-old school friend or not.

Greyson and I had gone through boarding school and college together. We were both the sons of prominent businessmen and we'd both rebelled against the status quo of our environments and what had been expected of us. We had decided to start the club when we were seniors in high school, though we'd actually started it when we were freshmen in college.

"We should start a secret club." Greyson had been intense as he'd stared at me in the dorm we'd shared. "It will be exclusive and private and we can do whatever we want when we want."

"Isn't exclusive basically the same thing as private?" I raised an eyebrow at him.

"We need to create the rules." He ignored my comment, his blue eyes alive with excitement. "First rule is that no one joins without both of us consenting."

"Joins what?"

"Our club," he muttered, exasperated. "We can call it the private club."

"That's the name?"

"Yeah. It's brilliant." He grinned at me. "It's perfect. We can talk about it in public and no one will ever know."

"Sounds stupid." I rolled my eyes and jumped up off of my bed. "I'm going to the hall to grab a slice of pizza."

"We can have women." Greyson grabbed a pen. "Special women."

"Special women?" I stared at him. "What does that mean?"

"You know. Women who don't ask questions."

"No, I really don't." I leaned against the door and stared at my best friend clinically.

Greyson Twining was most probably the most popular boy I'd ever known. He had been the guy all the girls in our coed boarding school wanted, and he was already attracting a lot of girls in college. With his golden-blond hair and sky-blue eyes, he was the picture-perfect All-American boy. And he knew it. He charmed students and teachers alike, yet he never seemed happy. Everything came to him so easily.

"When we start Harvard in the fall, we're going to need something to set us apart from all the usual idiots," he said with a vivid light in his eyes.

"We are the usual idiots." I ran my hands through my hair. "We're handsome, white, and rich. We're the men who run the world."

"Let's run a different world." His face was serious. "Let's start our own club."

"Fine. Whatever." I shrugged at him nonchalantly. "Do you want a slice of pizza? I'm starved."

"I'm too busy to eat." He wrote furiously. "I need to plan this carefully."

"What's there to plan?"

"You won't be huffing and puffing when I have the hottest women in the world pleasuring you."

"Hookers?" I blanched. "No thanks."

"We would never have hookers at the private club." He shook his head. "Like I said before-special women."

"Greyson, why don't you just do your calculus homework and forget about this?"

"Brandon, when are you going to understand that if you want to rule the world you have to dominate it? And to dominate it, you have to be in charge. And if you want to be in charge, you have to change the rules."

"I don't want to rule the world."

"You just want to fall in love and get married." Greyson's eyes narrowed at me. "You sound like a girl. Pussy."

"You're a pussy, punkass."

"I'm a punkass who's about to start the best private club in the world." He lay back in his bed and his eyes sparkled. "And you are either in or you're out. What's it gonna be?"

We stared at each other for about five minutes, and I knew what he was saying underneath it all. I was either a part of the private club or our friendship as we knew it was over.

"I'm in." My voice was strong, even though I was unsure of what I was doing.

"Good. That's what I thought you'd say." He rolled over and pulled some money out of his pocket. "Get me a slice of pepperoni and a Coke. Also, tell Jane that she can come to the room at about nine p.m. I'll be ready for her then."

"I thought you were dating Lucia now."

"Lucia was so last week." He laughed then, a boyish, charismatic laugh, and I was reminded of why all the girls fell in love with him. This was the Greyson the world saw. They didn't see the some