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       The Lover's Surrender (No Exceptions), p.1

           J. C. Reed
 
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The Lover's Surrender (No Exceptions)


  Copyright © 2015 J.C. Reed

  All rights reserved.

  All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed or transmitted in any form or by any means including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods without the prior written permission of the publisher.

  This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, brands, media, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any similarities to persons, living or dead, is coincidental and not intended by the author.

  Trademarks: This book identifies product names and services known to be trademarks, registered trademarks, or service marks of their respective holders. The author acknowledges the trademarked status and trademark owners of all products referenced in this work of fiction. The publication and use of these trademarks is not authorized, associated with, or sponsored by the trademark owners.

  Cover art by Larissa Klein

  Developmental editing by Shannon Wolfman

  Inline editing by Therin Knite

  CONTENTS

  TITLE

  COPYRIGHT

  CONTENTS

  PROLOGUE

  CHAPTER 1

  CHAPTER 2

  CHAPTER 3

  CHAPTER 4

  CHAPTER 5

  CHAPTER 6

  CHAPTER 7

  CHAPTER 8

  CHAPTER 9

  CHAPTER 10

  CHAPTER 11

  CHAPTER 12

  CHAPTER 13

  CHAPTER 14

  CHAPTER 15

  CHAPTER 16

  CHAPTER 17

  CHAPTER 18

  CHAPTER 19

  EPILOGUE

  AUTHOR LETTER

  OTHER BOOKS BY J.C. REED

  To all who love and are loved:

  Love is a wild ride. Without the passion, we wouldn’t surrender and conquer what we never thought could be ours. True love stories don’t have happy endings, because for those who treasure it, true love never ends.

  Treasure Your Love - J.C. Reed

  New York City

  Stalking wasn’t Danny’s forte. He was used to his men doing this job for him, watching victims for endless hours, prepared to strike the moment those victims were vulnerable.

  Cushioned in the fake perception of safety.

  However, today’s victim was an exception. There was something special about the woman he was observing.

  Her brown hair, long and curly, and her face, now tanned with freckles, reminded him too much of a girl he had once dated. Brooke Stewart was in every way the carbon copy of her elder sister Jenna, now dead.

  Jenna had been a good prostitute, he remembered, the way she could take his whole cock in her mouth, and suck him to pleasure heaven. At least she admitted she was a whore, as all women were, and whores needed to be shown the way.

  Defeated when they were taken.

  Controlled when they were too wild.

  Too bad he had turned her into a user, stealing his drugs when he was out of it. If she hadn’t been so stupid as to take what wasn’t hers, she might still be alive.

  The first time Danny suspected Jenna had been stealing was when a bag of high-end drugs had gone missing from his place. The second time it happened, it was time to sell her, if only to make up for his lost revenue.

  And sell her good he did.

  First came his friends, and then he started to look for buyers. The money Jenna earned him was good, way better than what he made as a small-town drug dealer. Back then, in the beginning, she hadn’t even been aware of how easily he could spike her drink without her knowing, and then invite five to ten guys a night to have their way with her.

  The bruises all over her body, he explained, were there because she was too thin. High on drugs, she didn’t even feel the pain. And what Jenna couldn’t remember never happened, and the fragments of memories she dreamed were just a figment of her imagination.

  Danny smiled fondly.

  It had been a win-win situation for the both of them, he remembered. In some way, she started his career as her pimp. However, the real turning point came when one of his richer clients wanted her. Not just for one hour or a night, but as a possession, as a slave that he could keep in a cage—to do with as he pleased.

  Thirty thousand dollars had been the price he had offered Danny. It sounded like a good deal at first…until his client explained he wanted Jenna for a club he was a member of. Needless to say, Danny began to think of Jenna as a long-term investment. She could make him way more money as a prostitute, so he declined. Weeks passed. He had almost forgotten about the deal when a bigger offer came in.

  One hundred thousand dollars.

  It was so much money, Danny almost caved in on the spot, but he wasn’t ready to sell her just yet. He figured if someone was willing to pay such an exorbitant sum of money—more than three times the initial offer—he’d probably offer more. It was a good thing he had listened to his little birdie, because the next thing he knew he received an offer that changed his life:

  One million dollars for his girl.

  Plus a ten percent discount for whatever drugs they supplied to him. And the guarantee that he had protection from the police.

  But the one condition?

  Work for the secret organization called ETNAD, an extensive elite club run by high-ranked and rich individuals, and keep quiet about it. It was an offer too good to be passed on.

  Oh, how good a businessman he was.

  Oh, what a time it had been.

  Another chuckle escaped his mouth, and he licked his lips.

  It was the beginning of a symbiotic working relationship with the ETNAD club. They had made him rich beyond his wildest dreams, rewarding him for his consistency and loyalty. They had made him the owner of a nightclub and given him the kind of power he had always dreamed of.

  Now, ten years later, he drove four expensive cars, owned four houses, and had his own men working for him. He made so much money that he could easily buy a small island, and someday he would…once it was time to retire.

  He was no longer a cheap lowlife.

  In all the years he had worked for ETNAD, with the exception of a few he could count on his hand, he hadn’t seen a single one of the girls he had provided again. He never asked what happened to them, and he didn’t want to know. His lifestyle was too grand, too exquisite to allow the kind of consequences that came with being inquisitive. After all, when he sold the girls, they became the buyer’s possession, their property.

  But there were rumors and clues hard to miss. Eventually, he found out that the girls were raped, tortured, many of them killed for pleasure.

  The shock lasted all of a second.

  He had always guessed that with so much money involved, illegal events had to be at play; that the motivation behind ETNAD’s diligence was to keep the clandestine trade running smoothly.

  It didn’t take long for them to suspect Danny’s knowing about their little secret.

  Danny remembered that day all too well. It had been exactly five years, six months, and ten days ago when they first asked him if he would be interested in taking part in a private party.

  It wasn’t exactly a question, but a test.

  What choice did he have but to say yes, if only to please them and grow his already prosperous relationship with them?

  It wasn’t so much the money he earned that instantly persuaded him to jump in. It was their guarantee that he could do what he wanted and get away it. It was the knowledge that they had the power and the connections to make everything disappear. And when they prospered, his profits increased, too.

  And so his first attendance beca
me one of several invitations that now came with the job.

  Oh, how much he wanted to do it again. To relive the memories.

  He prided himself on how powerful he felt. To know that it took almost nothing to kill someone, like a wild animal could kill its prey without any consequences. To have the power to decide over life and death. To know that nothing could touch him.

  But then, he had slogged hard for his money.

  Yes, there were times he felt sorry that Jenna was gone. After all, she was the very first of many whores who worked for him. Drug addiction aside, she had been a good girl, and naïve, the way only a fifteen-year-old could be. Foolish as she had been, she had been in love with him. There was never a doubt she would have done anything he wanted.

  However, business was business. Love had no place in a world ruled by money, sex, and power. And power was something he now lived for. That Jenna was killed was just a part of a business transaction—a sacrifice that had been necessary to ensure his lifestyle. After all, only the fittest survived, and he was as tough as one could be.

  It had all started with that one girl, Jenna. Brooke’s sister. What an irony that it would end with Brooke.

  When he first saw Jenna’s younger sister a little over three months ago, he couldn’t believe that Brooke was the same girl he had met ten years ago—the very same woman, who brought a hell of a lot of trouble to him that year, when she escaped ETNAD.

  Of course he knew she’d fight to get justice for her sister, knowing that Danny was to blame for her death. But how the fuck did she dare go against him? How did she dare run away from him, after he worked so hard to get where he was?

  He balled his hands as unwanted memories began to flood his mind.

  Now he wished he had been harder on her.

  If he had done his job right, then Brooke would never have escaped his claws after ETNAD had her abducted. He wouldn’t have run into trouble with his boss. And when Dante was angry, that was never a good thing.

  So, when he stopped his car in front of Brooke’s building and saw that her lights were switched on, he smiled. She was there, all alone. Waiting for him. Or not waiting, but surely she could feel his presence, maybe even feel apprehension at the knowledge that she couldn’t get away from him.

  A ringing noise disrupted his train of thoughts. He picked up his phone, his eyes not leaving the woman he was watching from inside his car, which he had conveniently parked in front of Brooke’s building.

  “What’s the status?” the voice on the other end asked as a means of introduction. Danny recognized the voice immediately. It belonged to one of the many low-ranked guys working for ETNAD. He didn’t call them friends because Danny had none. During the hard life he had lived, he had learned to only trust himself.

  “Good. Couldn’t be better.”

  “And the envelope?”

  “Delivered. By now Brooke knows that Dante is out and has turned away from her boyfriend.”

  “Did anyone see you?”

  Danny frowned. “Since when do I play courier? Obviously, one of my men made sure it got delivered.”

  Or, more precisely, his cousin Barrow had.

  “She’s here, all alone in her apartment, you know?” Danny’s voice rose with excitement. “I could strike this instant. Now that she’s all alone, I could go up. It would be easy. Just give me the order and I’ll take care of her.”

  “No need. Dante has plans for her, ” the other voice said. “He wants you to focus on Mayfield first.”

  “Mayfield’s already been taken care of. I think we should take her now.”

  “She isn’t the problem.”

  What the fuck? Danny held the phone away from his ear to curse, then returned, quiet and calm.

  “She escaped. And she knows too much. How can that not be a problem?”

  “According to Dante, she isn’t.”

  Oh Dante.

  How he hated that arrogant motherfucking asshole known as Nate. But, in spite of his annoyance with his boss, Danny didn’t dare reveal his true thoughts.

  “What does he need the bitch for anyway?” Danny asked instead. “The first job is done. I was able to separate her from Mayfield. She doesn’t trust him, so I can easily get to her now. In a few hours, I’ll call the police, and Mayfield will be accused of killing the girl I took care of yesterday. Now would be a good time to take Brooke away. This is my professional opinion.”

  “Not now,” the guy on the line said stubbornly. “Dante’s order. He wants you to focus on Mayfield, and nothing but Mayfield. Make sure he gets arrested tomorrow. How you do it is your problem. As for the girl, you had your chance at the club. Dante knows about your failure, so he’s changed his mind about Brooke.”

  Danny balled his hand into a fist.

  Failure.

  He hated that word.

  Yes, he had been so close to her at the club. She’d already been drugged. And then her asshole boyfriend had appeared and ruined his plan.

  Stupid whore.

  It was all her fault.

  He spat on the floor at the knowledge that the little whore had escaped.

  “I’m getting there,” he whispered. “Do I have permission to enter her boyfriend’s premises?”

  “Yes. Whatever gets the job done,” the voice continued. “As soon as Mayfield is out of the picture, and Dante has access to the company’s money and is able to transfer it to an offshore account, he’ll disappear. He expects you to tie up all loose ends until then and take care of his problem. And then, only then, can you take care of the girl.”

  Danny looked up at the window, the thin curtain doing nothing to hide the silhouette of a woman. He knew it was Brooke, all alone up there and clueless. He knew because the moment his cousin had finished interrogating her as part of a fake investigation, Danny had called him, and ever since he had been following Brooke everywhere she went.

  The thought of her all naked beneath her clothes aroused him. Oh, what he could do with her. He couldn’t wait to get to that part.

  She might be his dead girlfriend’s sister, but he was certain they shared a connection, and, as such, they had a lot in common.

  He chuckled.

  Soon.

  Very soon he’d wrap his hands around her little throat.

  Danny smiled. “Tell him I got it. I’ll call when I’m done.”

  And with that, he hung up and leaned back in thought.

  Yes, the first part of his plan had been accomplished. He had separated her from Jett Mayfield. The next step was following orders. To fulfill that, he was going to replace Brooke’s belongings with those of her friend—the one he had killed the day before—and then tip off the cops.

  It was a brilliant plan, one he had carefully prepared for weeks.

  Once Mayfield was out of the picture and Brooke was all alone, with no protection and no one to take care of her, he’d find her, drug her again. Only then, when Mayfield was finally accused of committing murder, could he do what he had immediately wanted upon setting eyes on her.

  Rape her. Kill her.

  He liked that. Sure, there were obstacles to be removed first. Her boyfriend Jett was one of them, but he had a fucking plan so grand that no one would see it coming before it hit them.

  He liked that ability—to plan ahead—about himself.

  As a child, he had wanted to be a magician, able to transfix people. What he could do today was far greater. It wasn’t magic, but it was just as powerful.

  To have the power to scare someone, to make them doubt everything they’d ever believed about themselves, and—the best of the best about his new life—to frame someone else for a murder he committed…oh, how much he enjoyed being in control.

  He was a genius.

  Too bad the world didn’t know of his brilliance.

  “There’s no way that motherfucker isn’t going down,” Danny whispered with a new sense of pride.

  As soon as he got rid off Jett, he would focus on her. He would show her where
she belonged. He smiled, pleased with the thought.

  He had earned it.

  So his boss hadn’t said those exact words.

  No big deal.

  But Danny was sure Dante would want him to have fun. And even though his boss didn’t see his brilliance yet, someday he would understand. Brooke was a temptation, his reward. She belonged to him. She had escaped that one time. But this time, he’d make sure she’d never leave. Maybe he wasn’t allowed to have her just yet, but who was to say he couldn’t mess with her?

  With a smile, he grabbed a pen and began to write down the poem that had been running through his head. He figured as soon as he returned from Jett’s apartment, he’d pay the little bitch a visit.

  Jett

  New York City, 12 hours previously

  I drew in a thick breath. My head was buried in my arms, pounding from the pressure inside. For the past thirty minutes, I had been sitting in the silence of the room, trying hard not to think, not to feel, not to do anything. If I moved, I was sure I’d give in to my anger. And once it broke free, I sure as hell wouldn’t be able to contain it.

  Brooke’s words didn’t please me.

  Scratch that.

  The phone conversation with Brooke didn’t calm me…at all.

  In fact, if it weren’t for my last ounce of self-control, I would have driven off to find the motherfucker who had dared to meet up with her.

  The motherfucker who had probably wanted to touch her.

  Who might not know that she was my woman.

  Brooke Stewart was a sexy woman with eyes the rich color of chestnuts and lips so kissable that she never had to put on makeup to turn herself beautiful.

  But fuck, she was as stubborn and fierce as they came, and she was unlike any other woman I’d dated before. Her endless need for answers and her unwillingness to accept a simple explanation often pushed me to the brink of exasperation. Because that’s how Brooke was: cautious, mistrusting, and now vengeful—all the result of her difficult past.

  Whatever came her way, she questioned.

 
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