Authors: Danielle Slater,Allegra Ryan
MADE: A Bad Boy Romance
The Bad Boy Games: there’s nothing they won’t do, no line they won’t cross.
When it comes to bad boys, I’m smart enough to look and not touch. When it comes to Nathan, all I want to do is touch. . .
To get my little sister out of trouble, I have to play the game, his twisted game. The worst part? I love it. I didn’t intend for things to work out this way. I knew I was in over my head, but some part of me believed in him, that he really would help us.
This whole crazy thing began with a pair of red shoes and a contract. Now he thinks I belong to him. The scary part? He might be right.
Brooke thinks she’s playing to save her sister. The truth? She’s just another pawn running out of time. . .
So what? Her illusions aren’t my issue. She also thinks I’m using her for my own dirty reasons, that I’m just another player. She might be right, but what I want is to move up in the organization and take my rightful seat at the table. I’m smart enough to realize that dream’s likely never going to come true.
Still, the job has its perks, and one of them is that sweet redhead. I’m going to get my fill while I can—because the one thing the bosses can’t take away from me—I play for keeps.
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For a guy like me who ushers people from this world to the next, there’s almost nothing that’s off-limits.
Women whenever I want? Check. Maybe a couple of interchangeable babes? Check and check, all night long or until I swat them on the ass and send them packing, whichever comes first. Money? Don’t ask. I’ve got more socked away in discreet corners of the world than I know what to do with. I’m not exactly what they call a fancy guy; my needs are more basic. Drugs? Forget about it. In my line of work, I need all my wits about me, or I’ll find myself real dead, real fast. When I need to take the edge off—and I’ll admit, it happens from time to time—I pour one, and only one, shot from my private stash of Pappy Van Winkle’s and call it a night.
So when I actually think about it (‘cause what the fuck else do I get to do lately but think?) my life isn’t defined by a lack of limits; it’s really all about discipline: staying in shape; planning each hit down to the second; making damn sure each contract is handled with care and precision. I’m all about never allowing clueless cops to catch a hint I even breathed in the vicinity of their precious crime scenes.
It’s not just a job; it’s who I am. And that’s the problem: it’s who I
to be—a skilled craftsman in a profession that, on occasion, requires a few deadly talents I happen to possess. What can I say? It’s a living.
It was a living.
A month ago, the boss ordered me off the road and dropped me inside the organization like he’d done me this huge favor—a promotion he called it. I call it being bored out of my fucking skull.
Safeguarding VIPs? There’s no skill required unless you count making sure they don’t slip and fall while hobbling off their private jets. There’s no edge, no excitement—unless you count making the dreams of seventy-year-old billionaires come true.
Now I get to stand around a club called Dominion. Classy place, if you’re into that sort of thing. Two or three times a night I have to spring into action. Not the old kind of
, mind you, the new job makes me into a cross between a butler and a bouncer.
It’d be fucking embarrassing if I worked for any other organization than Harley & Sweet. They only sound like a straight-laced accounting firm. The truth is a lot more twisty and profitable. Their roots go straight back to the original families of the East Coast mafia. The boring-as-fuck corporate name is just the new coat of paint for the twenty-first century.
Don’t get me wrong; there are perks to the new job. Dominion is one of the hottest clubs in the city and filled with enough eye candy to satisfy any male. So I get to look all I want. The problem is that while I’m on the clock, I can’t touch. That fact added to the endless boredom is turning me into a sexual time bomb.
No matter how blue my balls get, I can’t forget one thing: my boss, Tucker Voss, isn’t the kind of guy anyone with half a brain would cross. I should know—I’ve put down a few of the idiots who tried. Think of it as natural selection in action.
So yeah, the mandate to follow too many damned rules is a hard truth I never questioned before. Since coming back to the city, I’ve been putting up with so much crap it kind of makes my head want to explode. What the fuck kind of life is that? Sure, I’m not on the road any longer and, truth be told, when Tucker called me home, I’d been feeling the urge to settle down for a while and figured this was my chance.
Still, I miss the old days. Hell, wet work might be a crime or even a sin to some, but to me, it was the thing I did best in all the world. I hate having to jump when Tucker says
. If someone’d told me six weeks ago when I was kicking back in Rio that I’d soon be freezing in New York City, I’d have laughed my ass off.
Tonight, I’m not laughing.
A new game cycle is starting. You see, that’s what Harley & Sweet does, among other things. They entertain and gratify the desires of the rich and not just the merely wealthy. H&S caters to ultra-high net worth individuals. They make things happen.
For a price.
For added flair, they turn the twisted desires of the ultra rich into games. Sometimes other clients bet on the outcome. Everybody wins—except the pawns, of course—but that’s life.
Want somebody out of the way? No problem. Permanently gone? Again, no problem. H&S is nothing if not full service.
Want to fuck a woman who won’t say yes and doesn’t give a shit how much money you’ve got in the bank? Harley & Sweet delivers. She’ll be spreading her legs for a wrinkled dick before midnight and smiling like a fool the whole time. Want to play games with girls and have them disappear later so word doesn’t get out to the shareholders what a twisted freak you are? No problem.
There’s nothing they won’t do; no line they won’t cross. Every pleasure provided; the nastiest of messes cleaned up; world-class discretion at no extra charge. Don’t get me wrong. I have no issue with the nature of the services they provide. It’s not my place to judge. I do what I have to do to survive, no more, no less.
What’s driving me up a fucking wall since the boss brought me in from the cold is the endless, mindless monotony. Instead of flying to a hundred different cities a year, I spend every night in the same place, doing the same thing. When I can’t take it anymore, and I’m about ready to go in the back room and jam a nine-millimeter under my chin to put myself out of my misery, my work phone goes off.
Oh yay, what now?
Probably the arrival of a new pawn.
I pull the phone out of my pocket and scan the screen, studying the app that identifies my target—another female to deliver into the arms of a rich geezer.
I look up across the crowded nightclub, ignoring the thump of music, the intoxicating scent of perfume drifting up from a succulent set of tits until I find a woman wearing a certain pair of red shoes that were delivered to her place earlier today. There’s a tracker embedded in the heel that’s lighting up the app on my phone.
She’s a brunette with smooth, light brown skin, and a rack that won’t quit. Streaks of scarlet thread through her dark hair. Her shimmery silver dress leaves little to the imagination, which was a smart wardrobe choice on her part. Right now, Tucker has seated the player in front of a security monitor displaying shots of the club floor from every angle, giving the high-roller a chance to decide if he wants the woman or not. Because my phone went off, that means he said yes. Now it’s up to the woman to agree. Or not. As if any of them ever back out. If she’s wearing the red shoes, she’s already signed a contract that guarantees her a lot of money for going through with it.
If she survives the game.
Sometimes the ultra rich aren’t satisfied with ordinary debauchery. They need the hits of adrenalin that come from ingenious, dirty games like ordinary people need air and water.
This afternoon I had to drive out to JFK (like a fucking chauffeur) and pick up a geezer named Etienne de Hainault, who’d flown in from Paris. He’s got about three hairs on his head, a mouth full of yellowed teeth and can’t walk without being propped up by a cane carved from illegal ivory. He’s also only a second or third-tier client since he’s schlepping via limo instead of sailing into the city by helicopter like the first tier clients.
My guess? The brunette is the pawn in the French dude’s game—whatever that turns out to be. We were on the expressway when I overheard de Hainault talking on the phone to Tucker Voss. The conversation revolved around the length of periods, how scoring will be calculated, time limits, and so on. Games are one way H&S has taken plain old prostitution into the twenty-first century and given it a new twist.
If I’m any judge of character—and taking people out for a living makes you a pretty good one—the brunette is fucked and not in the way she wants. The games favored by the ultra rich usually don’t turn out well for anyone with a net worth south of a few million; if she’s wearing the red shoes, she’s a pawn because she can be bought. I don’t hold that against the pawns because I’m no different. I’m not stupid enough to think I can’t be bought.