Return to a world of opulence and seduction with the third serial installment of CASTAWAY, the continuation of the New York Times bestselling miniseries ANYTHING HE WANTS!
Jeremiah Hamilton is not a man inclined to forgive, and now a broken-hearted Lucy is left shattered and desperate to get back home to her mundane life. There, she can nurse a broken heart and try to go back to normal far away from danger.
But the promise of safety is an illusion. Someone has marked her as a target, and believes her to be the key to revenge against the Hamilton family. There is nowhere Lucy can hide...but help is about to come from an unlikely source.
About the Author
SARA FAWKES is the New York Times bestselling author of Anything He Wants, Castaway, and the upcoming New Adult novel, Breathe Into Me. She lives in California, where she writes full time.
SARA FAWKES is the USA Today bestselling author of Anything He Wants, which was originally self-published as an e-serial novel and sold hundreds of thousands of copies. She lives in California, where she writes full time.
Read an Excerpt
Reaching up, I pulled out the clip from my hair and let it fall in a tangle to my shoulders. A shower and nap sounded divine; my nerves could use the relief. I had already started unbuttoning my shirt, moving through the living room to the bathroom at the back of the suite, when I saw something near me move.
I gave a startled squeak, stumbling back against a nearby chair as Jeremiah rose to his feet from the couch beside me. He'd been sitting there the entire time, and I'd been so preoccupied that I hadn't seen him. My heart racing, I leaned against the chair and placed my hand over my chest as he crossed the room, pausing to look outside. "Jeremiah," I said breathlessly. "I was just ..."
"When," he asked, his voice as cold as I'd ever heard, "were you going to tell me you fucked my brother?"
"My team was able to locate Loki's boat. I suppose once the job was over and the cargo was gone, there was no reason to hide its presence."
I fumbled for the chair beside me, legs suddenly as weak as jelly, as Jeremiah continued. "Nobody was aboard, so they were able to do a search of the vessel. A thorough search. Any ideas on what they found?"
At that moment, I wanted nothing more than to run away, not have to face the anger and hatred of the man before me. My legs, however, were far too feeble to hold me up, let alone do anything as strenuous as running. I couldn't speak, could barely breathe. My lungs screamed for air but the pressure in my chest left me no room.
"Lucy, please elaborate as to why there were condom wrappers in the main cabin's bathroom."
His voice held that familiar commanding note, the one that had always sent me running to do his bidding before. He expects me to do the same as I always did. I closed my eyes, the sick churning in my gut turning into a fiery pit. "You left me."
He paused for a second, as if trying to figure out how my answer fit his question. "That isn't what I ..."
"You left me." My voice was stronger than I felt inside, but I still couldn't look up at his face. "I said I loved you and had that thrown back in my face, then you told me I could leave. What was I supposed to think?"
"So you show that supposed emotion by jumping in bed with my brother?"
My head snapped up. Jeremiah was looking at me down his nose, head high and proud. I surged to my feet, determined to meet him head on. "What was I to you?" I demanded, staring up into his cold expression. "Was I just your whore, a toy to play with until something better came along?"
Something flickered across his eyes as I spoke, and then his brows came down. "Don't think you can turn this one back on me," he muttered darkly.
"This is all about you," I exclaimed, spreading my arms wide. "Oh, heaven forbid someone else makes a mistake, but let's jump all over that one so we can cover our own sins." I snorted. "You're like a child, trying to be the best at everyone else's expense."
Rage spasmed across Jeremiah's face, then disappeared again beneath his mask. He leaned in close. "You. Fucked. My. Brother." he said, enunciating every word.
I stared up at him, some of the fire draining away. My jaw started to tremble, and I clenched it tight, not allowing my gaze to leave his. "Yes."
He leaned back, then gave a jerky nod. "You're fired."
My body went stiff with outrage, but I felt the cracks in my heart grow larger. Legs trembling, I put a hand on the back of the chair beside me to steady myself.
"As per the contract, all income is now forfeit and is owed back to me with interest." His voice was clinical and detached, as if he were talking about a financial report.
"Are you serious?" Anger suffused me, but I didn't know how to express myself. All I wanted to do was beat some sense into his stupid head, but I knew he'd twist anything I said. "This is about your goddamned contract? That digital piece of garbage would never hold up in court if I threatened to sue you for sexual harassment, and you know it!"
"Try it." An arrogant condescension entered his shuttered gaze as Jeremiah stared at me down his nose. "You'll find life very difficult with me as an enemy."
I stared up into his cold, implacable gaze. There was nothing I could do right now to redeem myself in his eyes, a part of me reasoned, so why try? Frustration welled up, and my fingernails dug into the plush upholstery of the chair. "Is that what I am to you now? An enemy?" When I thought about it pragmatically, the loss of the money stung. I didn't want any part of it now anyway, however. I'd be back at square one ... no, I amended, square zero. "So you'll ruin me," I said in a brittle voice, staring at the mantelpiece behind him.
He snorted derisively. "You're already ruined, it won't take much."
A black hole opened inside my heart, sucking at my remaining emotions. The enormity of my situation hit me like a train: I was stuck halfway across the world with no way home and no money to call my own. There wasn't a doubt in my mind he would drain my bank account; I saw it in his eyes. He wanted to hurt me, to make me suffer, and he had the clout to make that happen. "That was a low blow," I whispered, "even for you."
Across from me, I saw Jeremiah shift. "Lucy ..."
I flinched away from his outreached hand. He froze, but I couldn't bear to look at him. "I was never anything but your paid whore." Except now I wasn't being paid, so what did that make me? The righteous anger that had sustained me was bleeding away, leaving an aching chasm where my heart once beat.
"You're an asshole, Jeremiah Hamilton," I murmured, and then turned away. My legs felt like jelly but they gave me enough support to stagger out of the room. There was no dignity in my escape; I just needed to get away from him.
The moment I was around the corner I collapsed sideways against the wall. My limbs trembled and the growing emptiness in my chest threatened to consume me. All I wanted to do was fall down into a hole and stay there for a very long time, but I couldn't do it yet. I had to get away from Jeremiah; I couldn't bear to see the anger and hatred in his eyes.
Bracing myself, I pushed off the hard surface and made it to the door. Swinging it open, I started to exit then blinked at the figure that was already there.
"Hello, gorgeous," Lucas said in a cheerful voice. "Just wanted to see ..."
A sob escaped me at the surprise. I couldn't take this, not now. His voice trailed off as I tried to push past, then he grabbed my elbow. "What's wrong?"
The upbeat tone was gone. There was a commanding note to his voice, demanding an answer, and I was so tired of being told what to do. "Let me go, I need ..."
I trailed off, trying to push past him, but Lucas didn't relent. He grabbed my shoulders and turned me so I faced him. "Lucy, what happened? What did he do?"
There was the wild expression in his eyes, concern for me in his voice, which broke something inside me. "He knows." The whispered words were ripped from me, and I swallowed back more emotion. "And I'm fired."
The instant they were uttered I wanted them back, but it was too late. Words have power, and in this case I felt like speaking them cemented their meaning. I couldn't look at Lucas; to see the confirmation in his eyes would destroy me absolutely.
Behind me, I heard my name called again and cringed, desperate only for escape. Then Lucas pulled me away from the doorway and stepped between my former employer and me. "You son of a bitch."
At the same time he said that came the solid smack of flesh and bone meeting, and around Lucas' lean frame I saw Jeremiah stagger back. My hands flew to my mouth in shock as Lucas advanced on his brother. "Anya wasn't enough for you," the gunrunner snarled, delivering another blow to the side of Jeremiah's head. "You have to ruin another life ..."
Jeremiah surged up to his feet, and Lucas fell back, landing hard on his side against the tile entryway. Jeremiah faced me, a raging bull looking to charge, but all his attention was on his brother. "You've taken everything from me," Jeremiah said in a low, tight voice, aiming a kick at his brother.
"I've taken everything?" Lucas absorbed the blow and grabbed his brother's lower leg, twisting and pulling sideways. "You ruined my life, you ruin everything you touch! You're no better than Rufus." The blows he delivered to Jeremiah's face before being shoved away only accentuated the scarred man's words.
Both men scrabbled at one another as I stood in the hallway, watching in horror. I couldn't move, rooted to the spot, as the two men grappled. Jeremiah managed to put his brother into a chokehold from behind, but Lucas, still on his knees, brought his larger brother over and sideways. The small entryway table rattled as Jeremiah hit it, sending the decorative glass plates falling sideways to shatter on the tile.
Both were on their feet immediately, and Lucas charged at Jeremiah. Gasping, I backpedaled into the hallway as the two men spilled out of the hotel room. They were locked together, slamming against the far wall and falling sideways to the floor. From beside me I heard a woman cry out in surprise, but I was too riveted by the scene to look. They were muttering low enough that I could only make out brief curses.
I thought Jeremiah would be able to take his brother down easily, but Lucas held his own and put up a hell of a fight. All the rage and pain from their shared pasts seemed focused in this one struggle. The two men grappled at one another as they rolled around on the ground, throwing punches and the occasional knee. They fought like little boys, not grown men; training was thrown out the window, all that was left was the anger.
"You turned Anya against me," Jeremiah grunted, "now you try and take Lucy ..."
"Anya never betrayed you, you stupid son of a bitch."
There was a pause in the struggling, and Lucas took advantage of the moment. He delivered several blows to Jeremiah's torso before a fist sent the gunrunner tumbling sideways. Jeremiah rolled to his knees. "You're lying."
Lucas wiped the blood from his torn lip. "Sure, I approached her to spy for me, but she turned me down. So I got my information from elsewhere, toyed with your plans, and what did you do?" He lashed out, kicking his brother in the ribs. "Threw her out, did everything you could to discredit and wreck her life. I picked up the pieces because what happened was also my fault, but I'll be goddamned if I let you do it again!" He spat blood on the floor between them. "Father would be so proud of you."
Behind me, the elevator doors opened and several men in suits spilled out onto the floor. They flowed past me toward the two fighting brothers, who seemed to have exhausted their mutual rage, at least for the moment. Each was hauled to their feet by the suited guards, and at the same time both looked directly at me. I staggered back a step and stared between them, as if trying to decide which man to approach.
Screw them. The thought came unbidden to my mind. I moved away, unable, unwilling to listen to more. Screw them both.
Both men were restrained, giving me my chance for escape. I took it, backing into the still-open elevator and mashing the button for Amyrah's floor. When I heard my name called, I hid against the side of the car and didn't breathe until the elevator closed and began its descent. Even then, I only held myself together by a thread. The dead feeling inside me was a bleeding wound, crawling through my body like a slow poison. I thought for sure I was going to be sick, and held tight to the rail, struggling to not make a mess inside the elevator.
I knew immediately which room was Amyrah's when the doors opened onto her floor. Two men stood outside, staring directly at me. One man raised his hand to his mouth and murmured something. I stopped at the elevator threshold, suddenly unsure of what I was doing, and afraid of what reaction I'd get.
I clutched the elevator frame, looking around the dark hallway, when the room door was wrenched open. Amyrah's head appeared around the entrance. "Lucy? Is everything okay?"
* * *
In the other room, I listened to Amyrah arguing with her brother in Arabic. I couldn't understand what they were saying, but heard the heat in their voices.
Rashid had appeared at his sister's door less than ten minutes after I'd arrived. It was barely enough time for me to compose myself from the mess I'd become. Amyrah had laid a blanket over me and promised to be right back, then dragged her older brother outside the room. It hurt to think they were arguing over me, that I was the cause for yet more discord, but I couldn't do anything except lay there.
There's a clarity that comes with having all emotion drained away. I'd experienced something similar before, not long after my parents' death. In that bank office, listening to a lawyer explain the decisions my parents had made, a bleak future was laid out for me that I nevertheless eventually fought against. Back then, my world had revolved around saving my New York family home, shrinking until that was all I could think about. For nearly two years, I'd put my life on hold, struggling to achieve that one goal.
In the end, I'd ultimately lost it all.
The guilt of losing my family's home barely held a candle to that which I felt now. This time, there was no bank or evil entity fighting against me. I'd called the shots here, made all the wrong decisions. The blame for that part was entirely mine, and I'd have to live with my choices.
But I'd be damned if I'd feel any shame for what Jeremiah had done to me. He still had no idea the arrogance of his actions. There had never been any real option except to sign his contract back in New York. I thought my eyes were wide open to what I was doing, and stupid me had fallen in love with an ass.
I felt like such a fool.
Finally the arguing stopped, or at least grew quieter. A few moments later, Rashid appeared through the door, followed by Amyrah, who came to stand beside me. She rested her hand on my shoulder, chin up and staring resolutely at her brother. I didn't know what they had been arguing, but the Arab girl's support right then meant the world to me.
Rashid didn't appear to approve, but he had a defeated note in his eye when he glanced at Amyrah then back to me. "You saved my sister's life, and for that I am forever in your debt. Ask me anything and I'll grant it."
"I want to go home." My voice was a croak, and I grimaced. "Back to New York," I added after clearing my throat. That would be a good start, just getting back to the States. Pride kept me from asking any more; I'd deal with that when I arrived back on home soil.
Rashid's eyebrows rose slightly as if he was surprised that was my only request, and he nodded. "Done."
The door opened and another man in a dark suit entered quietly. He padded over to Rashid and whispered something in his ear. Rashid immediately went still, although his expression didn't change. "You'll have to excuse me, there is an urgent matter I must attend."
It wasn't until he left that I saw Amyrah deflate with a breath I hadn't realized she was holding. She murmured something in Arabic, and then smiled down at me. "I surprised my brother by arguing," she said, a small smile forming across her lips.
"Thank you." I grabbed her hand and, not caring about what traditions I might be breaking, kissed the knuckle in thanks.
"I wish you would tell me what happened," she said, kneeling down beside me. Genuine concern leaked from her eyes. "I am not as fragile as you might believe."
How I wished I could tell her, to spill my pain and let someone else help me. But it wasn't her problem, and I didn't want to risk any condemnation for my choices. There was enough of that inside me to last a lifetime.
When I didn't speak, Amyrah sighed and nodded. "Come," she said, holding out her hand to help me up, "let's go get your things."
One of the guards near the door slipped out, probably to make sure the coast was clear. It amazed me how normal this all was to the Arab girl beside me. She didn't seem to notice the bodyguards hovering around her, the added steps made to keep her protected. I got the impression this had been the story of her life and she'd grown to accept it long ago.
I'd barely tolerated two men hovering over me, let alone a small army. Overprotective brothers were obviously not always all that fun.
We were passing through one of the living rooms when a small crash came from ahead.
"Where is she?"
I fell back a step as Jeremiah's voice boomed from the entrance to the suite. Amyrah threw me a panicked look then said something to the guards beside her, who raced toward the sound of scuffling. I stood, frozen, as the sounds grew closer.
Excerpted from "Anything He Wants: Castaway (#3)"
Copyright © 2013 Sara Fawkes.
Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
love the story and the series.