The explosive fourth and final installment of CASTAWAY, the anxiouxly awaited conclusion to the New York Times bestselling miniseries ANYTHING HE WANTS!
When enigmatic billionaire Jeremiah Hamilton first seduced Lucy Delacourt, he swept her out of her ordinary life and into the extravagant world of the rich and powerful...and then he broke her heart. Hopeless and alone, Lucy is now the victim of a madman's pursuit. Outmatched and outsmarted at every turn, Lucy is forced to make a terrible choice that will haunt her forever.
For in her hands lies the fate of two men, both of whom she loves, and she must decide who will live, and who will die. With everything on the line, will Lucy rise to the challenge and make the right choice? Or will she destroy everyone and everything she's fought so hard to save?
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
Anything He Wants: Castaway (#4)
By Sara Fawkes
St. Martin's PressCopyright © 2013 Sara Fawkes
All rights reserved.
Waking up was painful.
I stayed in a fuzzy stupor for too long, my brain unable to deal with reality quite yet, before I finally came lucid. My whole body hurt, as if I'd been slammed to the ground repeatedly by a team of linebackers. I lay there for a moment, taking inventory of all the small pains, before daring to move so much as an inch.
Immediately I knew I was in trouble when my leg wouldn't budge. Something heavy lay atop it, but in the darkness I couldn't see what it was. I coughed, the air a mixture of smoke and dust. My brain didn't seem up for the challenge of thinking much beyond the discomfort, the act sending shards of pain through my skull.
Stuck in place, I laid back down on the uneven floor, closing my eyes and simply trying to breathe. My lungs felt tight, too full of particulates, but right then breathing was all I could manage. Anything else hurt too much, and when the coughing started it brought sharps pains up the pinned leg.
Jeremiah. The memory was there, but distant. I saw a familiar man's face in my mind, green eyes staring down at me, but anything more hurt too much to think about. I squeezed my eyes shut, tears leaking out and drying almost instantly against the dust on my cheeks.
I reached out blindly with one hand, feeling out my surroundings, and felt something shift nearby. A groan echoed through the small space as someone else woke up. "Are you okay?" I managed to croak, my voice all but gone.
There was silence for a long moment. "Lucy?"
The voice put me in mind of a carefree, flippant personality. I closed my eyes. "Lucas. What happened?"
"Dunno." I heard him shift next to me, and then he gave a small groan. "Hang on."
Light from a cellphone illuminated the space, and I squinted as it was pointed directly at me. Shielding my eyes, I looked around the small area and saw thick pieces of wood holding up rubble less than a foot away. "I liked it better when I didn't know what was on me," I whispered faintly.
"No kidding, right?"
The silence had sharpened my hearing, and through the pain in my skull I thought I heard voices. Lucas must have as well because he said, "Help is on the way."
I squeezed my eyes tight, lethargy overwhelming me. "So tired," I murmured, only wanting to sleep.
"Hey!" The sharp voice reverberated inside the tiny space. "No sleeping until we're out. You might have a concussion."
The lethargy continued to spread however, and no matter how I tried to keep awake my body demanded otherwise. I reached out a hand toward his voice. "Lucas."
I vaguely remember someone tugging at my arm and saying something in my ear, but nothing could keep me awake.
The next time I awoke was to bright lights being shone into my eyes. I batted at the hand feebly, the rays splitting through my head like nails, and the light disappeared. Voices echoed around me, and as I blinked the world into focus, they started to make sense.
"I'm telling you, we can't go back to your office."
"That is the only option I have at this point." Marie's heavily accented voice told me the Frenchwoman was under a lot of stress. "We are not equipped to deal with a situation like this."
"He expects us to do that, don't you see? We can't do what is expected or we'll walk right into another trap."
"I thought that's what you said we should do," I croaked in a hoarse voice, and both arguing parties paused to look at me.
Instantly Jeremiah was at my side, kneeling down and picking up my hand. "How are you feeling?" he asked softly, laying his fingers on my knuckle.
I waved a feeble hand in the air. "Meh." The movement hurt — hell, breathing itself hurt — but the gesture seemed to relax Jeremiah. I shifted my legs and sucked in a pained breath. "My ankle," I moaned, making myself go still.
"You were pinned under the main roof joist of the cabin. It took some time to get it off your foot."
"What about Lucas? Is he all right?"
"Present, and in one piece. Well, mostly."
I rolled my head back to see Lucas approach, hobbling slightly. He was clutching his midsection and moved slowly, but his smile still shone in the darkness. He waved off any concern, kneeling nearby. "How's the leg?"
Steeling myself, I wiggled my toes, and then flexed my foot the barest hint. I had no idea how long I'd been out but could tell it was stiff and swollen. The pain was still there but at least it wasn't such a surprise this time. "Been better, actually."
Lucas' grin widened. "That's my girl."
The arms around me tightened, and Lucas' eyes flicked to Jeremiah. I gave a frustrated groan, realizing the tension that statement brought up, but Lucas backed off. "Do you know what happened?" he asked Marie, who I noticed was also leaning heavily on a broken two by four. "RPG, hand grenade, bomb that was already placed?"
"I have people working on it, but most of our equipment was damaged in the blast." Marie's voice sounded hoarse, like she'd been breathing smoke or barking orders all night. "We don't have enough light to do a thorough sweep, plus we have our own wounded to tend."
"Well, we can't stay here."
"That I know, Mr. Hamilton." Another man in a dirty suit came up and whispered to the French agent, and Marie hobbled away.
I lolled my head sideways against Jeremiah's arm. "What happened?" I whispered, glad for the darkness. My headache was receding but not quickly enough for my peace of mind. "I remember my cuffs coming off, then the explosion."
"There were three explosions actually," Jeremiah answered in a gruff voice, "all perfectly targeted to bring down the cabin. This wasn't directed at any one person, it was designed to inflict as many casualties as possible."
I squeezed my eyes shut, swallowing. "Can I have some water?"
"I'll get it," Lucas said before Jeremiah could answer. The scarred man stood to his feet stiffly and shuffled away into the darkness.
Between the pain in my ankle, the horrible headache, and the stress of being targeted by a madman, all I wanted to do was cry. "How are you doing?" I asked, squeezing his hand.
"Decent. The couch landed on top of me, shielding me from most of the blasts."
The image in my head made me smile. "You got attacked by a couch?"
"Let's keep that little secret between us, shall we? It definitely took the brunt of the attack though, but when everything settled I couldn't find you."
His last few words were ragged, and a big lump settled at the base of my throat. "I want this to be over," I mumbled, clinging to Jeremiah's shirt.
He drew in a ragged breath, and then laid a hand on my hair. "I've got you," he murmured, leaning down and kissing the top of my forehead.
I couldn't help but wonder if that would be enough to survive this.
* * *
"I need to contact my people."
"And I'm telling you right now, that could be a really bad idea."
Muffled voices woke me up for the third time. I was still in a dark area but nearby I could see lights illuminating a small area beside the ruin of the cabin. My bed was also no longer the grass outside but a cot, with a wadded up jacket serving as a pillow. The pain in my skull had finally diminished, and I sat up carefully, testing out pain levels. I noticed someone had splinted my ankle, and left a single wood crutch on the ground next to me.
Swinging my legs over the side of the narrow cot, I sat there for a moment to make sure I was okay before trying to stand. The first attempt went badly; pain shot up from my injured ankle, and I cursed under my breath. The second time I kept my bad foot off the ground and twisted around, using the cot as leverage to get on my one foot. Picking up the crutch, I slipped the crutch under my arms and hobbled toward the light.
I wasn't the only injury to the group. Several people, some of whom had bloody clothes and bandages, sat on cots up along the edge of the cabin wall. Around the edge of the light, I could see several covered figures lying on the ground. As I watched, another figured was laid alongside the line, and I saw a pale hand roll out from beneath the cover.
They were the dead. I shuddered and averted my eyes.
The single light ahead of me, while bright, cast uneven shadows on the ground. I hobbled unsteadily across the ground toward the familiar voices, still arguing.
"Mr. Hamilton, while I respect your expertise in some matters, I need to get my men and your company to a safe location."
"And I'm telling you it's too dangerous to trust any communication you might receive. We need to figure out something free of any outside influence."
"Do we know what happened yet?"
My voice sounded hoarse as if I'd been sleeping a long time, but my question got their attention. Marie immediately dismissed my presence, turning to another agent who came up beside her, but Jeremiah rushed over to me. "How are you feeling?" he asked, the conversation with the Interpol agent forgotten.
"Tired. Like I have a broken ankle. It is broken, isn't it?"
"The skin was purple as I wrapped it which isn't a good sign, but we won't know for sure until we get you to a hospital."
I groaned. I was completely helpless, useless, and the danger was far from over. "What are we going to do now?"
"We can't stay here. Nobody can tell how the explosion occurred, which means we don't know if it can be replicated. Right now we're sitting ducks. I don't trust any communication, any electrical equipment, because it can all be tracked. Even the damned cars they drove here have GPS chips inside."
"My men are working now to remove those from two of the vehicles. The wounded will be taken back, while the third is repaired."
Jeremiah shook his head at Marie's words. "He can still track us from the skies. As far as I saw, there aren't any tunnels around here for us to use to hide from satellites, and we have to assume he's tapped into those, as well."
The older woman heaved a sigh. "Are we even sure this was Rush?
Jeremiah peered at her through narrowed eyes. "What do you mean? Who else could it be?"
Behind us, someone cleared his voice. "I might have made myself a few enemies over the last day or two."
I cocked my head sideways as Lucas shrugged, a jaunty smile spreading across his face. "After we parted ways at the airport, I made a slight spectacle of myself in order to attract the attention of the lovely agent here. Really darling," he added, glancing at Marie's tight-lipped face, "your lot took forever to notice me."
"You didn't have to hit that security guard," Marie said in a tight voice, ignoring Lucas' smirk and looking at me.
"But he was so rude to me when I was going through the security checkpoint," Lucas said, batting his eyes innocently.
"Loki here has been giving us information," Marie continued, ignoring the smirking man beside her. "The pictures I showed to you in the airport were part of that. He's helping us identify some of the key players in his arena."
I looked at Lucas. "Mr. Smith from the docks?" I remembered the well-dressed, calm older man from the docks in Jamaica. He hadn't looked dangerous but, remembering the fear in Niall's eyes, something told me he didn't take kindly to betrayal. "Do you think he knows already?"
A muscle ticked in Lucas' face although the smile never left his face. "I have no doubt he knows, hence why I'm not sure this is necessarily Rush."
"You're helping them?"
Lucas looked over at Jeremiah, raising an eyebrow at the dubious note in his brother's voice. "What, can't your big bro be a hero, too? Bet you thought you had the monopoly on that in our family."
"But we were directed here," I said, frustrated. "Whoever sent us must be the one who set it up."
"Unless one knew about the other and wanted to kill two birds with one stone." A voice called out to Marie. "If you'll excuse me," she said, and then faded away into the darkness.
Beside us, Lucas shifted. "I think I should probably go lay back down."
I hadn't realized until he said something how hunched over Lucas stood. "Are you all right?" I asked, moving toward him, but he waved me off.
"I'll be fine, I just need some rest." He glanced over at Jeremiah, the corner of his mouth tipping up. "See you in a few."
He definitely didn't look fine as he hobbled away back toward the cots, one arm around his belly. Part of me wanted to go make sure he was all right, but my throbbing ankle reminded me that nobody was really safe. My mind went back to the dead lying at the edge of the light, and I pushed myself deeper into Jeremiah's embrace.
Above me, Jeremiah was scowling into the darkness. "I don't trust them."
"Maybe not," I murmured, running a hand along his shoulder in a soothing gesture, "but what choice do we have?"
I laid my head against him, pressing up against the heat of his body. "Is this all Interpol?" I asked. What little I'd heard about the organization didn't seem to fit this scenario.
Jeremiah shook his head. "They've brought in the heavy guns, as well as local authorities. Britain's Crime Agency has a hand, and I've seen some NATO badges on men and equipment. I wouldn't be surprised if some of these people were CIA. Rush has made himself an international enemy, and we're stuck square in the middle."
Beneath me he was as hard as a rock, every muscle tight. Inside was a caged bull, searching for something, someone, to charge. At the moment however, no enemy was in sight, and unknown dangers lurked in the darkness. He was practically vibrating from the tension of holding himself back.
As I ran my hand through his hair, I felt some of that tension lessen. He looked down at me, then reached out and cupped my cheek with one hand. "I never would have hit you."
The abrupt change in subject confused me. I leaned away and stared up at him. "I know that." There were things I'd been afraid he'd do, but lay a hand on me was never a consideration.
"When we were at the hotel ... When I reached for you and you flinched away." He broke off and looked out into the darkness. "My father ..."
Given what little I knew about their family, any sentence prefaced with those two words never boded well. As gently as I could, I grabbed his chin and turned his face to me. The scowl was gone, but even in the dim light I could see the pain shining in his eyes. "Not once when we fought did I ever believe you would hurt me."
My words didn't seem to have much effect. "I could have," he murmured. "It would have been so easy."
"But you didn't." The vehemence in my voice finally got his attention. "You hurt me with your words, yes, but you were entitled to your pain. Even if you had carried out your threats ..." I pursed my lips, realizing my wounds were too raw for me. The memory of his words still hurt, and I would have to deal with it eventually. "We both made mistakes, and forgiveness won't happen overnight."
"Jeremiah." I pulled his head sideways again, making sure we were eye to eye. "I don't know the specifics of your family life growing up, but I think I know the man you are now." I hobbled with the crutch around until we were standing face to face, and then entwined my arms around his neck. Jeremiah was watching me silently, but I knew I had his rapt attention. Inexplicably, tears formed in my eyes and I blinked them away as I continued. "You're incredible, and despite everything we've been through I'm so glad you were put in my life."
The silence stretched between us, but I didn't look away from his eyes. They glowed in the faint light, and while I couldn't tell what was going on inside his head I didn't care. Finally, he cleared his throat and looked away. "We should see how everyone else is faring."
If I'd expected a similar declaration from him, that would have been a disappointing response. As it was, I just snorted and rolled my eyes. Men. "Care to give a girl a hand?"
He turned slightly and held out his elbow toward me. Handing him my crutch, I wound my arm through his, squeezing close to him. There was so much more I wanted to tell him, but that would come later. Right then we had other problems to worry about, and with his help I hobbled back into the light toward the rest of our party.CHAPTER 2
"Do we have any idea where we're going?"
"Not a clue. But I think the general consensus is that we can't stay here."
I frowned over at Lucas standing beside me. "Are you all right?"
We were next to one of the large black vans sitting in front of what was left of the cabin. In the dim light, I could see a line of sweat running down Lucas' face. His pale skin glowed in the darkness, and he was leaning heavily against the hood of the van.
"Yup, I'm right as rain." He glanced at me. "At least I didn't turn into a gimp."
I flushed, fidgeting with my crutch. "Did you pull me out?" I asked, ignoring his sarcasm.
"As much as I could." With one hand, he gestured vaguely at my ankle. "Can you put any weight on it?"
Excerpted from Anything He Wants: Castaway (#4) by Sara Fawkes. 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.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I'm usually not fond of short stories, but I couldn't put this down.
love the book just wish they didn't put it into so many series so that I would have to keep buying for the outcome.
The suspense in the one practically killed me! I love Sara's work, among many others. I've read all the AHW books and i can definitely say it was quite the journey from beginning to end with enough twists to keep you guessing. As with most books i get into i laughed and cried with Lucy. This is absolutely one of my favorite series that i've read.