Played is coming! Here’s the cover and a sneak peak

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PLAYED (Fire & Lies, book two)

books2read.com/u/4EWaRO
Release date, February 15th.

BLURB

The gripping follow up to Partners (Fire & Lies -One). Be sure to read Partners first.

Be careful whom you trust…
It’s something I thought I knew but with Chloe Donovan, all of my reasons seems to fly out the window the moment I’m around her.
Blinded by lust, persuaded by love. I hedged my bets on our forever. Twice. And both times, I lost. She’s gone. And once again, she’s ruined my life.
Stuck helping a federal agent by the name of Drake Jefferson, I’m biding my time until I can find where she is.
I won’t be giving up my partner in crime to the authorities. I’ll be dealing out my own brand of justice, and when I’m done, I don’t care if I rot in prison for it.
Chloe Donovan had better start sleeping with one eye open. Because I’m coming for her.
She played me.
I let her in, and she played me. If she sees me. She’d better run.
I won’t be trusting her a third time.

You can preorder it from your favourite eBook store via this universal link – books2read.com/u/4EWaRO

And if you haven’t read book one, Partners, you can grab that for free for a very limited time via this link –books2read.com/u/bWKlG0

Here are the first three chapters to get you started (unedited and subject to change)

1

 

Caitlin

“Benson Tanner?” I arrive at a suburban home in the city’s south east and approach a stout looking man of Indian descent who is watering his lawn. Running a hand through my brown shoulder length hair, I wish I’d remembered a hair elastic as the bank manager eyes me curiously. I smile at him then reach into my navy suit jacket to pull out my badge before I continue. “I’m Agent Caitlin Saunders with the federal police. I was hoping you were feeling up to answering a few questions about your recent ordeal.”

I can see the sweat beading on his brow. His whole body begins to shake which is wholly evident by the quivering of his jowls. The poor man is a nervous wreck. I’m not surprised. Being an unwitting accomplice in one of our country’s biggest bank heists isn’t something that happens every day.

“Shh…sh…sure,” he says, gesturing for me to head toward the house as he shuts off his hose at the tap. His wife opens the screen door before I’m even close. She’s been watching us, concern etched in the creases between her eyebrows.

After introducing myself to her, she offers me a drink then sets about in the kitchen making a pot of tea. We sit in silence until she brings it all out and places it on the table that is covered in an old lace tablecloth with a bowl of fresh fruit in the centre.

“Do you have children?” I ask casually, nodding thankyou to Mrs Tanner as she sets my cup in front of me.

Mr Tanner looks almost dumbstruck and looks to his wife for help.

“We have a teenage son,” she answers, her lips pressing into a straight line as she takes the seat beside her husband. “He’s in his room, probably has his headphones blaring in his ears.”

Mr Tanner grips his mug and stares at the hot liquid intensely. “They strapped a bomb to my chest.” The words fall out of his mouth in a rush, and he struggles to lift his mug without spilling the contents.

“Can you tell me much about them? What they looked like. What they said.”

He shakes his head, staring at nothing even though I know he’s reliving the robbery as if it’s happening right in front of his face. I hate doing this. Interviewing witnesses and forcing them to recount everything in excruciating detail, only prolongs their suffering. Most want to move on and forget. I’m the one not letting them.

“The big one did most of the talking. There were two of them. I thought they were father and son at first, coming in to talk about managing some farm holdings. But they pulled out a vest with a….” He meets my eyes. “With the bomb on it. And they made me put it on u…under my coat. The big one, he talked like he was my friend, like it was fun for him. Said stuff like, ‘You’re doing great’ and he thanked me for being such a wonderful help. The little one, he was just a kid, he only stood there waving his gun about. I don’t know which one was worse. The talking, or the silence.” HE runs his hand over his face, his brow furrowing with the pain of the experience. “I…I didn’t know what to do. I had to left them in the safe, right? I…I couldn’t have done anything different, right?”

I reach across the table and touch his hand. “The fact you’re sitting here able to tell me this information, is a testament your actions. You didn’t the right thing, Mr Tanner. No one got hurt, and that’s all because of you.”

He nods quickly, his shoulders hunched forward, telling me he wants to withdraw into himself.

“tell me, where there only two men inside the bank?”

He shook his head. “Three. Maybe four. The big one said that if I didn’t h…help that I’d be dog mince and that his…his man would take out my employees.”

“So there was someone watching the entry foyer?”

“That’s what he said.”

“Did you see them?”

“N…No. They locked me in the safe, and the police were there when I got out.”

“I see. Can you give me the names of the other employees in the bank at the time?”

He rattles off the names of two female tellers that match the information I already have.

“Can you tell me how many people where in the bank when you entered the safety deposit area.”

His face drains of colour as he shakes his head faster. “I…no. I…a bomb.” He hits his chest. “A…a fucking bomb!” The man cracks, and his wife rushes to get some pills for him while I attempt to calm him as he rocks in place.

“I think he’s had enough,” Mrs Tanner gasps, her arms around her husband, soothing him.

Nodding sagely, I pull my card from my pocket and place it on the table. “Thank you for your time. And for the tea. Call me if there’s anything else he remembers. Any time. My mobile phone is on there too.”

“Yes. Fine.” Her words are short and snippy. I see myself out and squint up at the mid-morning sun, taking a deep inhale to clear the tension from that interview out of my mind. Poor man. I can only imagine how frightened he was.

As I walk back to my car, I get a call from my partner, Drake Jefferson.

“You finished with the bank manager?”

He doesn’t even wait for me to say hello. Nor does he say hello to me. With Drake, it’s all about him, all of the time, and he doesn’t waste any of that precious time on niceties.

“Just now. He didn’t give me much.”

He pauses. “I guess that’s what we expected. Are you coming back to the hospital soon?”

“Yes. Why?”

“Good. I need your help with something.”

“Help with what?”

He disconnects and I’m talking to thin air. Typical. I suppose I’ll find out when I get to the hospital where he’s currently waiting for our only solid lead in this case to wake up. Aiden Price, the big guy Benson Tanner was talking about.

***

At the hospital, Drake leans on the door jam and gives me his best lady killer smile. “Come on, babe. Just swing by and check on the fish. I haven’t been home in days and the auto-feeder will be gone by now.”

I can’t believe this is why he wanted me here. His damned fish.

“I’m not your ‘babe’. Perhaps if you quit having so many sleep overs, your precious fish wouldn’t be an issue.”

Drake chuckles then places his hands on his hips and steps back.

“I love that you call them ‘sleepovers’, Trix. That is the cutest damn thing I have ever heard.”

Rolling my eyes, I mumble out a response, “Fuck you, Drake. I’m so far from cute it’s not funny.”  I shake my head before glancing at the patient handcuffed to the bed in the room we’re guarding. He seems to be stirring.

“You’re cute, Trix. Live with it.”

I glance back at Drake. “Do you even know what cute means?”

“Sure I do.”

“It means ‘ugly but interesting’.”

“No. That’s not what it means. It means that there’s potential to be hot.”

“Potential?” I let out a hollow laugh. Drake has never seen me as anything more that an annoying partner he was forced to work with.

“Yeah. Potential. As in, if you just gave me one night, I could turn this cute between us into something very hot.”

The insinuation pisses me off. I’m well aware of Drake’s proclivities and they consist of one night stands with model-types. The exact opposite of what I am.

“Back off. I can have you done for fucking harassment, Drake. I’m your partner. Don’t forget that.”

“Aw, come on. You wouldn’t do something like that. Secretly, you love me. I know you do.” There’s amusement in his words. He seems to get off on teasing me.

“That’s just wishful thinking on your part. You, Drake Jefferson, will never be loved, liked, or worshipped by me in any way. Now, I’m going to go home, shower and eat. You can look after your own fucking fish.”

“You wound me, Trix. You just took my heart and stomped it into the ground.”

I walk out the door. “You’ll live, tough guy,” I say over my shoulder as I head toward the elevators and pretend that interaction didn’t pluck at my emotions the way that it did…

 

2

Aiden

My eyes open, and  slowly, the room comes into focus. Blinking, I hear unfamiliar voices. A man and a woman are talking about fish and the definition of cute. What the fuck? Who are these people?

I lift my hands to rub at my blurry eyes. But only one hand makes it. The other is jolted after moving only a short way. Handcuffs. Fucking fantastic.

My eyes slowly begin to clear and the room comes into focus. I’m in a hospital room. I’m cuffed to the bed and my chest hurts like…Well, it hurts like somebody shot me in it.

Fucking Chloe.

Moving slightly, I wince at the pain in my chest as memories of the bank job replay in my mind. I have to wonder why the hell she didn’t kill me. It would have been cleaner. She could have taken the bags and kept it all—the cash, the jewels—to herself. It didn’t make any sense. I know how good a shot she is. If she wanted me dead that bullet would have gone straight into my heart. Why would she keep me alive?

One thing was for sure, the first thing I wanted to do was find her and share this pain a little. Perhaps a bullet in one of her outer extremities would finally get her telling me some sort of truth. Right now, everything I thought I knew seems like a stinking pile of bullshit.

“Back off. I can have you done for fucking harassment, Drake. I’m your partner. Don’t forget that.”

My attention gets pulled to the two standing in my room. They’re obviously Feds. Dark suits. Badges on hips. Holier than thou attitude.

“Aw, come on. You wouldn’t do something like that. Secretly, you love me. I know you do.”

They seem to be flirting with each other. Internally, I roll my eyes—this is the calibre of feds these days?

“That’s just wishful thinking on your part. You, Drake Jefferson, will never be loved, liked, or worshipped by me in any way. Now, I’m going to go home, shower and eat. You can look after your own fucking fish.”

Get a room, guys.

“You wound me, Trix. You just took my heart and stomped it into the ground.”

“You’ll live, tough guy,” the woman says as she walks out the door. My eyes land on the guy as he half smiles and turns my way. He looks about the same age as Jared, and has dark hair, a slim but strong looking build, and one of those faces that looks like it went to private school. I kind of want to punch him in it.

“Oh, you’re awake. Nice,” he says when he makes eye contact with me.

I would have thought that after robbing the bank and being left for dead next to the getaway car I would’ve been given a one-way ticket to the lockup. But the fact this guy is smiling at me tells me he wants something.

He pulls a chair to my bedside and takes a seat. Glancing at the IV pole, I consider using it as a weapon to make my escape. I’m not  interested in cutting a deal with this devil.

“You’ve been out for a long time, I was actually getting pretty bored waiting.” He stretches his legs out and places them on the bed beside me. He’s cocky. Yeah, I really want to hit him.

“I’m Agent Drake Jefferson with the Federal Police. Seems like you’ve gotten yourself into a bit of trouble, Mr Price, or can I call you Aiden?” I raise my brow and just look at him, my hands itching to carry out a plan that ends with him bleeding on the floor and me free as a bird, ready to hunt down the bitch that blindsided me and put me in this position in the first place.

Not knowing my internal diatribe, he continues. “Well, Aiden, as I said, you’re in a bit of trouble. But if you can work with me—help me get to the truth—then we can probably work something out. I have bigger fish to fry than some basic thief that can’t even getaway properly.”

Basic? I’ll fucking show him basic. My hand makes its way toward the IV pole…

“I’ve looked into your past—your military past. Special ops? Ring a bell?” I don’t respond. There’s no way this guy has clearance to access that shit.  “I figure with your skill set and my access level,  we can do some great things.”

My hand stills. “I thought I was basic.”

He smiles at me like we’re best mates. “Is that what I said? Nah, I think you’re useful. What do you say?”

I don’t say anything. I’m not even sure what he’s after. Drake removes his feet from the bed and leans over to pour me a cup of water. I take it only because my throat is so fucking scratchy it’s like trying to talk with a sandstorm blowing through my mouth. Each sip is like drinking the elixir of life.

“I suppose we can look at it this way—you can cooperate by telling me who your accomplice was, the names of anyone else helping you. Plus, where they took all the valuables. And, anything else I might ask of you. Then I might find a way to overlook the fact that you and your friends turned an entire city on its head with that fake terrorist stunt you pulled.”

“And you just let me go—just like that?” I don’t believe for a second he has the power to do that.

“Not exactly.” He draws the words out, long and slow as we inch closer toward the truth of this proposal. “There’s a catch.”

“A catch?”

“You’re an interesting man, Aiden—a security specialist with a military file that is primarily redacted. You’ve seen some serious action in your time. I’m pretty sure you’re one of this country’s unsung heroes, so when I say I’m not interested you in you, I really mean that. But, my boss, he thinks you can be useful.”

“So far, it sounds like what you want is for me to do your job for you.”

He lets out a chuckle. “Well, you don’t get where I am by doing everything yourself. It’s called delegating Aiden.”

Thinking the IV pole idea might just be the best call after all, I try to sit up for better leverage. He’s wasting my time.

Drake takes a seat on the side of the bed and places his hand directly on my bandages to push me back. Gritting my teeth I wince through the pain that flashes behind my eyes and temporarily blinds me.

“Bad idea, mate. Assault of a federal officer will just land you behind bars and there will be nothing anyone can do about.” He presses a little harder. The pain burns so intense I almost pass out. “Except me, I could do something about it, but I’m a proud man—a vengeful man—and I’d be so busy making your life a living hell that I’d start to enjoy it. It’d become a game for me. A game I’d never want to end. So my suggestion is for you to lie back, I reckon you need all the rest you can get.” He pats my bandage twice causing the pain to surge forward again. Reflexively, I ball up my right fist, but the cuffs stop me from hitting out. I settle for grabbing him by the shirt with my left.

“Don’t fucking touch me again,” I growl, spitting from within my clenched teeth. My breathing labours as my whole body screams with the pain of a bullet wound.

“Then be a good little slave,” Drake says without the hint of stress in his voice. “I think I may have neglected to tell you that you and I have a common enemy.”

My hand relaxes and he slips from my grip, smoothing out the creases in his shirt as he continues to sit in front of me.

“I doubt you and I have anything in common.”

“Goldsmith.” His eyes widen dramatically and he lifts his hands as if writing the name in the sky for emphasis.

I relax back on my pillows. “Your enemy is Michael Goldsmith?”

“Of course. He’s been on our radar for a while. The whole Donovan Corporation collapse was a little too convenient for my liking. A wedding, a merger, then embezzlement? It makes no sense to me. Why would Terry Donovan be stupid enough to merge when that same merger would uncover his crime?” He shakes his head. “No. I smell a pile of shit in place of that story.”

“So you believe he’s innocent?”

“I don’t believe any man heading a multibillion dollar corporation is completely innocent. But of this crime, I think that perhaps the money went somewhere else. Somewhere else like in their many safety deposit boxes you emptied at that bank. Or maybe the daughter had something to do with it.”

“The daughter?” Just the mention of her sent my chest aching with pain all over again. My fists tighten. Chloe needs to pay for what she’s done. I never thought I’d feel this much anger toward a woman, but right now, it’s the only emotion I have for her.

“Chloe Donovan-Goldsmith. She abandoned her marriage very quickly after the charges were laid, and she’s the only one still in contact with Terry Donovan. We can’t find much on her though, she pretty much lives as a ghost and she’s excellent at shaking a tail. We haven’t been able to follow her anywhere that could help answer our questions.”

That didn’t surprise me.

“There’s a lot of speculation and a lot of moving parts in this thing, but we believe you’re the guy to help us put all the pieces together.”

“Is that so?”

“Sure. What were you really looking for, Aidan? I can’t imagine you’re desperate for money. You drive a pretty flash car, own a club, the security business. You’re not low on funds. So what would make a man like you go through all that trouble just to get to a few safety deposit boxes? This is literally the million dollar question. And the only thing I can think is that you did it out of revenge.”

“Revenge?”

He nods. “You know, that was a spectacular disguise you’re wearing. Word is, you really freaked out the EMT’s when your nose bent sideways while they were putting the oxygen mask on you.” He chuckles, slipping his hands inside his pockets as he stands and moves to the foot of my bed.

“I’m glad I was able to entertain,” I comment, keeping my voice steady and my features calm.

“Oh, you did, you sure did.” He begins to pace back and forth as if deep in thought. “Who exactly did that makeup job for you?”

“I learned it from YouTube,” I lie.

“And your partner?”

“YouTube.”

He grins. “It’s always YouTube, right?”

Feeling the ache of my wounded body, I find my attention starting to waiver. “How about we dispose of this chitchat and get to the point? I’m fucking tired and despite being cuffed to the bed, I don’t want to do this back and forth all day—exactly what are you asking me to help you with?”

He pauses at the end of my bed again. “OK, I’ll get to the point. You have a pretty impressive background from the Military. And considering you just robbed a bank that has the most up-to-date security system money can buy, I’m thinking you’ve got a team of highly skilled professionals at your fingertips.”

I say nothing. My ‘team’ is none of his damn business.

Narrowing his eyes, he returns to his pacing. “I’ll take your silence as a yes. We have use for people like you, Aiden. People who are clever enough to get a job done and done right with little casualties. The way I see this, there was no way in hell you were going to get caught. The only reason you’re here right now is that you had a traitor in your midst.”

A low growl seems emanate out of my chest of its own accord. I see the tick at the side of Drake’s mouth. He’s trying not to smile at my obvious slipup.

To say I’m angry at Chloe is an understatement. If I was anyone else I’d sign any fucking deal this guy offered me just to make sure she was dragged kicking and screaming into the nastiest women’s prison they could find. But I’m a guy who likes to do my own dirty work. I’m a guy who has revenge down to a fine art. No one crosses me. No one.

Already, my mind is ticking over, trying to work out the best way to make Chloe pay for what she did to me. I’m in the mood to burn everything to the to ground, and to do that, I need to get out of here.

I look at Drake. Despite my desire to punch that pretty-boy face of his, he’s my ticket out of here. I need this guy. I need him to believe me when I tell him I’ll help.

“I can help you, Aiden. I can help you get some revenge on this guy. Just give me the name of the guy who shot you, and I’ll get every law enforcement agency in the country looking for him. His picture will be on every news station in every newspaper and on the wall of every post office there is. Hell, I’ll even take out the billboard ad if that’s what it takes.” He moves back to the chair and sits down, leaning forward on his knees to talk closely. “I’m going to lay all my cards on the table right here. We need that guy. We need what he took with him. We need whatever was in those security deposit boxes. If you give us a name, we can close this bank case and move on to the big one. The one where you use your unique skill set and knowledge of company workings. The one where you help us land Goldsmith.”

He sounds like he’s a coach giving some down trodden team a locker room speech. But he’s barking up the wrong tree. “Listen, I never even worked for Goldsmith. I was fired before the merger. I don’t see how I’m supposed to help you”

Drake smiles. “I’m aware of that. Which is why I’m sure your motives for robbing the bank were steeped in your desire for revenge.”

“That job had nothing to do with revenge” I watch as he raises his brow in question then continue. “You stated it yourself—I’m not exactly wanting for money. Getting fired from the Donovan Corporation is probably the best thing that ever happened to me. I made more of a name for myself after Donovan than during.”

“Mate, I don’t think you want revenge because of money. I think you want revenge because of a girl.”

This one gets me. What the hell does he know? “A girl? You don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“Sure I know. During our investigations, we found a busted iPad with some fairly… let see if I can word this nicely…compromising footage of you and Chloe Donovan-Goldsmith on it.”

“Chloe and I aren’t anything. We fucked. That’s all.”

He shrugs. “Looked a little more than fucking from where I was standing. If they had have put music to it, it would have made a beautiful love montage.”

My teeth grind in anger, hating that anyone saw that night. It was the beginning of my end and something I deeply regret in this moment.

“I don’t care what you think. There’s nothing between us; nothing that would motivate some sort of revenge plot anyway.”

“Is that so? Well, the footage was all conveniently dated only a couple of weeks before her wedding to Sebastian Goldsmith and not long before your job was no longer available to you. You can’t tell me these things don’t have something to do with each other.”

That growl rumbles in my chest again. I wish he would shut the fuck up. Any mention of her seems to be turning me into a rabid animal. She’s a betrayer; a siren in the night calling me to the depths to drown.

His eyes widen and the fucker smiles. “You hate her, don’t you?”

“Chloe Donovan means nothing to me. She was a fuck. A mistake. It cost me my job and there’s nothing more to it.”

He stands and paces the room again, talking like he’s putting on a show and I’m his captive audience.

“No. I’m right. I know I’m right. I’m pretty intuitive guy, Aiden. And these kinds of things are only ever about two things—money or women, and sometimes both. There aren’t a hell of a lot of other reasons why men do things. Let’s face it, we’re ruled by our dicks.”

“Speak for yourself.”

“I don’t deny it. And there’s no point in you denying it either. You see, there’s a hell of a lot of CCTV cameras around the city these days. And my partner, Agent Samuels, is somewhat of a computer expert. She found some recent footage of Chloe Donovan-Goldsmith exiting your club. You were working there that night so I’m sure she was there to talk to you—I can’t imagine a girl like that was hanging around an area like yours for fun.”

“Your partner is a hacker?” This makes things a little more interesting.

“Hacker is such a nasty word. It implies that she what she does is illegal.”

“Isn’t it?”

“Not when she’s doing it for the government.” He flashes a grin.

“Funny that.”

“Don’t get jealous, Price. I’m willing to let you use your unique skills and your history with Mr Donovan to get you a government pass on unsavoury activities too. It’s how Samuels got her job. Not every crime needs to be punished with a gaol cell.”

“It just gets punished with government servitude?”

He pauses pacing and laughs, looking down at his foot as he scuffs at some sort of mark on the floor. “That’s definitely one way of looking at it.”

For a while, I just stare at him, wondering exactly what he knows. More importantly, I wonder what hell don’t know.

There’s only one way to find out.

“Fine. I’ll work with you.”

“Give me a name, and I can make that happen”

 

3

Caitlin

Pulling up outside Drake’s apartment, I mumble to myself about what a sucker I am for turning up here to check on his stupid fish. Then I get out of my car, knowing that he knows I’m a sucker too. I’ll bet that right now he’s sitting comfortably in that hospital chair smiling to himself because he knows I’m here doing his bidding. It’s like I really want to hurt myself by being in his space and seeing the side of him that no one sees while knowing, knowing, that the only reason I see it is because he views me as some sort of assistant to his own awesome. He certainly doesn’t see me as a woman, and the fact he teases me like some schoolgirl tells me he’s well aware of my crush and using it against me.

He’s such an arsehole…

Then why am I even here?

Annoyed with myself, I use the spare key I have in my purse for moments such as these—yes, I have a key, I even know his alarm code. I’m freaking Money Penny to his James Bond.

Once I let myself inside I take a moment to look around his very clean and open space. Drake isn’t one for clutter, and he doesn’t do a hell of a lot of decorating either. Everything is a dark theme, and the only real colour comes from the bright tropical fish in his floor-to-ceiling tank.

Walking over to it, I stand quietly; listening to the hum of the water filter and watching the fish. They swim along, languidly weaving through the live coral as it waves about in the artificial current. They don’t seem to have a care in the world and are completely at peace. I get a brief moment of serenity watching them.

For a moment, I can understand why Drake is so into his fish—they really are beautiful and calming to watch. But what I don’t understand is his refusal to bring the women he dates over to his place. If he could get over his stupid obsession with sharing a bed then I wouldn’t have to be here feeding his damn fish like some sort of servant.

I think in the two years I’ve been partnered with him, I’ve been the only female he’s allowed in his house. That fact speaks volumes to me. He flirts with me but he doesn’t mean any of it. I’m his partner. That’s it. At most, I’m a friend. But he doesn’t see me in any sexual way at all. If he did, he wouldn’t let me in here. In his words, he doesn’t like to share his space with anyone he is emotionally attached to. He thinks it complicates things.

I chew the side of my lip in thought as I reach up to open the feeding hatch. I don’t know why it all bothers me, it’s not as if I like him or anything—well, I do, I admit to having a crush.  I mean, he’s gorgeous so how can I not notice that. But, that’s as far as it goes.  The guy is my partner. He’s a player; a male slut—a charmer many would say. He’s not the kind of guy a geeky computer specialist would ever hook up with—even if I did want it to be more than it is. So really, it doesn’t matter how I feel. It doesn’t matter how attractive I find him. Drake and I don’t match,  and the job comes first.

But even I’m aware how full of shit my own thoughts are. I guess I’m just trying to convince myself that all of this is OK—that I’m OK. But I’m not. Like these fish, I’m trapped in a limited world.

As I drop the food through the hatch. I watch the fish swim around frantically to grab it. I continue to muse about Drake and his many differences to me. We’ve been told numerous times that he’s the muscle and I’m the brains. But Drake is very smart on his own, and despite being a hacker by trade, my field abilities aren’t too bad.

No. I think someone put us together on purpose, thinking it would be funny to put Drake with a plain, needy girl to watch him squirm with discomfort when she swooned. Well, the jokes on them—I’m not the swooning type. I’m the type who secretly admires and never does anything about it. And here’s why; Drake is the epitome of tall, dark and handsome—just like my father was. And he left my mum the moment being part of a family got a little too tough. So I know Drake’s type—I’ve lived with Drake’s type,  and Drake’s type causes nothing but pain. I wouldn’t be stupid enough to do that myself. Not when I saw the fallout of heartache everyday since I was ten. I don’t see how falling in love is worth it.

But I don’t agree with Drake’s fuck-buddy policy either.

Brushing my hands against my black work pants, I make my way into Drake’s kitchen and open his cupboards. He’s into all that whole food crap. You know the stuff—whole grains, raw nuts, protein shakes—it all disgusts me, I have no interesting clean eating at all.

After I move a few boxes around I spot what I’m after—strawberry pop tarts. They’re the only unhealthy thing that exists in his cupboards, only there as a bribe for me because I’m forever feeding his stupid fish, like the lackey I am.

Tearing the silver packet open with my teeth, I bite straight into the jam filled pastry. Then I walk back over to the tank, chewing quietly. Once again, I watch the fish, this time making kissy faces at their wide gaping mouths. I look ridiculous, but it’s not as if anyone is going to see me doing it. Hell, the fish don’t even notice me. Story of my life.

I watch until I’ve eaten both pop tarts then throw my rubbish in the kitchen bin and head out.

“See you next time I do exactly what I tell Drake I won’t do,” I tell the fish as I leave..

Then I get into my car and head back to the hospital, hoping Aiden Price is awake so we can get on with this job. I need to know who they used to hack into the city’s mainframe. I’ve never seen their work before and it’s driving me nuts being unable to track them down.

Preorder via this link – books2read.com/u/4EWaRO

Or, read book one, Partners, free for a very limited time via this link –books2read.com/u/bWKlG0

Happy reading!

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