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After the Ex Games (The Ex Games #4)

By:J. S. Cooper

ughed. "I'm pretty sure all her photos were against protocol, but at least they never took her phone."

"Maybe her new job is very private? It is a private club after all."

"The operative word in your sentence is club, Brandon." Katie rested her head on my chest. "Why does a club need to take your phone away? What the hell is happening in there?"

I shrugged and kissed the top of her head. "I'm sure nothing bad is happening." I looked away from her, my heart pounding as I thought of all the bad things that had gone down there.

"I don't know," she sighed. "I just can't stop thinking about her. Meg's not like me. If she sees something shady going on, she's going to investigate and try and get to the bottom of it. So if something shady is going on, then she could be in trouble."

I held her close to me and closed my eyes as I thought about Patsy's phone call. She'd urged me to come back to the club. There was a girl asking too many questions, she'd said. And there were other people there who were up to no good. I took a deep breath as I realized that I had to tell Katie the truth. If I was to make sure Meg was okay, Katie was going to have to learn everything. I held her tighter to me as I realized that this might be one of the last times that Katie and I were ever in this loving position.

Chapter 2


I woke up the next morning at about three a.m. in a cold sweat. I'd had nightmares about the day that had changed my life. The day I never seemed to forget, no matter how hard I tried. No one knows what grief and regret feels like until they have someone kill themselves because of them. Rationally, I knew that Maria had died because she was depressed and had other issues. But still, I also knew that she had thought she was in love with me and I had broken her heart. Now that I knew what love was, I could understand how she'd felt. I didn't know what I would do if Katie left me again. That was why I was having a hard time working up the courage to tell her about the club. Though the club was the least of my worries. I was scared to tell her the truth about everything. Once she knew all my secrets, I was positive she would leave me. She would leave me and I would be left with nothing.

I knew I had two options. I could come out with the truth and lose my best friend and the love of my life forever or I could keep my mouth shut and hope that my lies weren't about to be exposed for all the world to see. I didn't know which one I was going to do. I knew that I should come out with the truth, but there was just so much truth to come out. I knew that my secrets were powerful and devastating. My secrets would break hearts. And they would ruin lives. Greyson would be affected if I told the truth as well. There was another option of course, but that was the unthinkable. That option would make me a monster. Though I suppose some people would already call me that. I was the monster who had grown a heart, but perhaps that wasn't going to be enough.

I'd called Greyson several times to get him to fire Meg, but he was having none of it. It had felt weird speaking to him after all these years. I had nothing to do with the club anymore aside from the money I donated every year and my accountant was in charge of that. I could almost forget my involvement with the club some days. Some days, I almost felt like a regular human being. But now everything was crashing back down on me and I had no idea what I was going to do. The only thought that seemed to have any credibility was to get Meg out of there myself. If I could just go there and get her to leave with me before anything went down … If Meg would just leave, there was a chance that I could still pretend that everything was okay. Though I knew in my heart that I would never be able to pretend everything was okay again.

I was mad at myself and I was mad at Greyson. I didn't understand why Greyson had kept her there. She didn't fit the profile of girls he now helped. She wasn't a druggie, she wasn't uneducated, and she wasn't about to prostitute herself out. The only reason I could come up with was that he was attracted to her. I had to admit that she was a beautiful girl, with her silky blond hair and big blue eyes. She had an incredible body as well, though I would never tell Katie that.

I lay very still as I realized that Meg was in trouble of getting her heart broken by Greyson. He didn't do anything for love. It was all about sex to him. And I knew from what Katie had told me that Meg was not that kind of girl. And then there was Patsy's call. She had said Meg was in danger, but I didn't know what she meant. Why would she be in danger? Unless my worries about Patsy were correct. Greyson had never wanted to see that she was a snake and I'd never wanted to tell him how or why I knew she was.

"You okay, Brandon?" Katie yawned and slowly opened her eyes.

"I'm fine." I nodded and kissed her forehead. "Go back to sleep."

"You seem tense."

"I think I had caffeine last night. I can't sleep." I rubbed her shoulder. "I'll be fine."

"Harry asked me if he can go to Coney Island tomorrow." She smiled sweetly at me. "I swear he wants me to make up for all seven years in two weeks."

"You should take him." I nodded, an idea coming to me. "You guys will have fun."

"I guess it could be a fun family trip. Can you get out of work tomorrow?"

"No." I grimaced. "I have an important meeting tomorrow. I can't make it."

"Oh no." She frowned and rubbed my chest. "Who's it with?"

"Oh just the owner of a nonprofit I invest in." I smiled. "Nothing too important."

"Can't you cancel?"

"No, I don't think so." I shook my head. "I think it's an important meeting."

"Oh, okay." She looked up and stared in my eyes. "You'd tell me if there was something wrong, right?"

"Of course, silly."

"Okay." She sighed. "Even if it's about Maria?" She shuddere