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After the Ex Games (The Ex Games #4)

By:J. S. Cooper

times dark and sinister side of him. "And you know I don't date. I fuck."




"You're so crude."

"Stick with me, boy, and we'll go far." He handed me a twenty-dollar bill and casually flicked his fingers through his blond hair. "We're about to turn eighteen, Brandon. This is our time to take control of our lives."

"Fine, fine."

"Trust me. This private club is going to change everything for us." He grinned at me, and I couldn't stop myself from grinning back. His excitement was contagious, and I felt a thrill of adrenaline run through my veins. "This is going to change our lives."

And for once, he'd been right. The private club had changed both of our lives, and now I needed to make sure that it didn't ruin the rest of my life.

***

"Brandon, lunch is ready," Katie's voice called out to me from the kitchen, and my heart skipped a beat.

I still couldn't believe that she was here with me. My Katie. The love of my life and dreams. In fact, it still seemed like a dream-a beautiful, vivid dream. But the deep thudding of my heart was an agonizing reminder that the dream could easily turn into a nightmare.

"I'm coming." I walked out of the study slowly, thinking about my options. "What's for lunch?" I walked into the kitchen and gave Katie a kiss on the cheek.

"What do you want?" She grinned up at me and winked suggestively.

"Now now. I thought you wanted to wait to have another baby until after we were married." I laughed as she put her arms around my neck and pressed against me.

"Are you saying you don't want to have sex again until we're married?"

"Is that a trick question?" I kissed her lips softly and ran my fingers down her back. "I don't want to go one day without making love to you, so unless you tell me we're getting married tomorrow..." I pretended like I was joking, but there was nothing more that I wanted. I wanted that ring on her finger sooner rather than later. A part of me hoped that if we were married by the time she found out the truth, it would be harder for her to leave me.

"I can't plan a wedding in half a day." She giggled. "Plus, I need to talk to Meg. She needs to know we're getting married."

"Oh?" My body froze. "How is she?"

"I'm not sure." She looked up at me and frowned. "Remember she went to that interview at that private club? Well, she got offered the job but is on a three-day probationary period. She gave me a quick call but said she can't talk to me again until after the probationary period."

"Oh?"

"It just seems weird." Katie pulled away from me and sighed. "I'm a bit worried actually. It's not like her. I've never heard about a job like this. It just doesn't sound right, does it?"

"I don't know." I cleared my throat and ran my hands through my hair.

"You said you knew the private club though, right?" She looked up at me with clear, wondering eyes. "Is the job legit?"

I stared at her for a few seconds, not knowing what to say. How could I tell her the truth without telling her my involvement with the club? I thought back to that day in high school and wished that I had said no to Greyson. I wished that I had gone for the pizza and left the room and not cared about losing Greyson as a best friend. I didn't know what to tell, Katie. How could I tell her that her best friend was in danger and it was all my fault-in more ways than one?

I leaned down and crushed my lips against hers, pulling her tight to me, enjoying her squirming against me as I cupped her butt cheeks. She pushed her breasts against my chest and my fingers crept under her shirt. She moaned against my lips and I breathed a sigh of relief inside. I had bought myself a few hours. I kissed Katie, but my mind was on the previous phone call. I had no idea what I was going to do. If I told Katie about the private club, I didn't know what she was going to do.

***

I'd never had a problem with jealousy until I'd started dating Katie. I thought it was because I'd never been in love before and I'd never worried that I wasn't good enough for someone before. There were so many reasons why it shouldn't have worked with her, but it had. She'd fallen as deeply in love with me as I had with her. I hadn't cared that Katie was eighteen. In fact, I'd been over the moon that she was legal. If she'd been seventeen, that would have been it. I couldn't and wouldn't have dated her if she had been seventeen. I hadn't even cared that she'd lied about her age. I would have been a hypocrite if I'd cared. I'd lied about so many things myself.

I thought that's why I was so jealous and scared. No one would have believed that Brandon Hastings was a big wuss on the inside. Well, to be fair, I was only a wuss when it came to Katie. I'd been so scared that the truth would come out and she would leave me. It had seemed like the easier thing to do was just end it and wait. But then Harry had come along and everything had changed. My priorities and plans had changed. I'd wanted to tell Katie the truth-my truth. But there had never been a good time. There'd never been the right time for me to confess. Everything was still so precarious between us and I didn't want to risk Katie walking away again. I didn't want to risk her hating me. And I would never forgive myself if she took Harry and left. Life wouldn't be worth living then.

"I'm worried." Katie climbed into bed next to me, her eyes filled with fear. "Meg's not answering her phone."

"Maybe she's in bed?"

"All day?" Katie shook her head. "I've been calling and texting her all day."

"I thought you said she couldn't talk while at the training?"

"Yeah, but what sort of job takes your phone away. I have a friend who got a job at the White House and she still texts all day. Shoot, she sent us all a photo of the Oval Office a couple of months ago."

"Really?" I frowned. "That sounds a bit shady."

"She was fired recently." Katie la

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