The Reclamation (The Club #2)


by Lauren Rowe

Chapter 1

Jonas

There are two twitching, trembling women standing in my living room right now—and I’m not talking about the good kind of twitching, trembling women. Sarah and Kat are scared shitless right now, freaking out about their places being ransacked and their computers stolen (undoubtedly by the motherfuckers at The Club), and wondering if today’s events represent the sum total of the iceberg slamming into them or just the tip of it. And I can’t blame them for being scared. Now that Sarah knows the truth about The Club—and The Club knows she knows their secret—what might those fuckers be willing to do to protect their global cash-cow-prostitution-ring? Well, I’m not going to wait to find out. I’m taking these motherfuckers down.

I admit I don’t have the slightest idea how I’m going to take them down at the moment, but whatever I come up with, it’s going to be definitive, unequivocal, and effective. End of story. Or, at least, I hope so.

Fuck.

To be honest, I don’t think I can do this on my own—I’m definitely not used to wearing a red cape—but when my brother gets here and the two of us put our Wonder Twin powers together, when we combine my brain with Josh’s sheer awesomeness, and then throw Josh’s hacker friend into the mix, whoever he is, we’ll be unstoppable. I know we will.

We’d better be.

How did everything get so fucked up? Only an hour ago, Sarah and I were floating on cloud nine after arriving home from our magical trip to Belize—the two of us gliding up the walkway to her apartment, high on each other and on life, having experienced every form of ecstasy known to man over the past four days. We climbed waterfalls in Belize and leaped into dark chasms and toppled Mount Everest again and again and again and again in our tree-house-cocoon built for two, all the while discovering, with astonishing force and clarity, that the two of us were innately designed for each other in every conceivable way.

Being with Sarah down there in Belize, I felt... I get shivers even thinking about how I felt... I felt happy, genuinely happy, for the first time in my whole life—or, at least, for the first time since I was seven years old.

Holding Sarah’s naked body against mine all night long, touching every inch of her, looking into her big brown eyes as I made love to her again and again, sitting on the deck of the tree house and holding her hand while listening to the jungle all around us, talking with her for hours and hours about everything and nothing and laughing ‘til my sides hurt, getting my ass kicked by her every which way, telling her the things I’ve never told anyone before—even the things I’m ashamed of—just sitting there, mesmerized, watching her eat a fucking mango—it didn’t matter what we were doing, that woman made me start believing in rainbows and unicorns and even the crown jewel of Valentine’s Day bullshit—happily ever afters. (Really, I should just mail my Man Card to the fuckers at Hallmark and Lifetime with a note that says, “You win, motherfuckers.”) What Sarah and I experienced down there in Belize was nothing short of the ideal realm, precisely as Plato described it.

And then, boom, we got back to Seattle and the shit hit the fan. Sarah’s place was trashed and her computer stolen. And now she’s scared out of her mind, understandably, and I’m standing here like a jackass, my mouth agape, trying desperately to figure out—What would Superman do?

I need a foolproof strategy for decimating The Club—and I swear I’m going to come up with one the minute Josh gets here, I really am— but right now I’m just too amped up to think straight on my own. Left to my own devices, all I can think about is wrapping my arms around Sarah and making love to her, tenderly, purposefully, ardently, and whispering “I love you” into her ear as I do it.

I had my chance to say those three little words to her in the limo on the way over here, but, pussy-ass that I am, I didn’t seize the opportunity. I wanted to do it, but we were on our way to pick up Kat, and my heart was pounding in my ears, and I wanted to say the words and show her at the same time. And then, two minutes later, Kat hopped into the backseat of the limo with us and the two of them started clutching each other and sobbing and the moment went up in smoke.

Okay, fine, yes, fuck me, I blew it. I know I did. I should have told her.

And now we’re here in my house—with Kat in tow, of course—and I’m standing here with my usual hard-on for Sarah and my thumb up my ass. I can’t stop thinking about making love to her and whispering those three little words into her ear as I do it—and yet I’m mad at myself for even thinking about that right now. Quite obviously, sex is the last thing on Sarah’s mind, and I don’t blame her. She’s scared and worried and frazzled and freaking out, as any sane person would be. What she needs right now, obviously, is a strong man who’s going to make her feel safe and protected—not an asshole who’s going to keep poking her in the hip with his inexhaustible hard-on. Seriously. But I can’t help myself. She just turns me on, no matter the circumstances, even when all hell’s breaking loose.

I look over at the ladies. They’ve moved to the couch, and they’re talking softly to each other. Sarah looks on edge. Kat’s got her arm around Sarah’s shoulders, reassuring her. The two of them look completely exhausted—especially Sarah, who spent all day traveling only to come home to a wrecked apartment.

Looking at the anguish on her beautiful face as she talks to Kat, it’s all the more clear I’m a total asshole for thinking what I’m thinking. I need to rein myself in and focus on taking care of her. What I need to do is divorce my mind from my insatiable body. I need to aspire to my best self—the ideal form of Jonas Faraday. I need to visualize the divine original. Yes. Visualize the divine original. I take a deep breath. Visualize the divine original.

“Can I get you girls anything?” I ask feebly. “Something to eat or drink?”

Sarah shakes her head and opens her mouth to speak.

“You got any tequila?” Kat asks.

I smirk. Sarah’s told me all about Best Friend Kat.

“I don’t know what I’ve got in the house,” I reply to Kat. “I’ll look.” I never drink tequila, but Josh loves it. I’m sure he’s left a bottle around here somewhere.

I glance at Sarah.

She flashes me a wan smile—but even when she’s tired, her eyes are full of warmth. But, wait, is there something else twinkling behind those big brown eyes besides warmth? Is that heat?

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