Running Wild

Running Wild

by SE Jakes

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781626491540
Publisher: Riptide Publishing, LLC
Publication date: 06/28/2014
Pages: 244
Sales rank: 797,067
Product dimensions: 5.25(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.55(d)

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Running Wild (Havoc, #1)


By SE Jakes, Sarah Frantz

Riptide Publishing

Copyright © 2014 SE Jakes
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-62649-154-0


CHAPTER 1

YOU DON'T HAVE TO ASK


"Bertha's tonight!"

Noah's voice blasted through the house, and I stirred in bed, struggling to yank myself out of a dead sleep.

In the Army, I'd learned a lot from the Special Forces guys, including how to shove myself into REM sleep. They'd warned me I'd be giving up on sleeping normally again, and they'd been right. I'd been out for three months now and still slept lightly, usually waking in an instant and always alert.

Except this morning, like random others over the past eight months, my head ached and my body felt like lead. I untangled myself from the sheets and lay on my side, cheek pressed against the cool mattress, my naked body splayed across the messy bed.

The clothes I'd worn last night were scattered with the pillows on the floor, the shade opened just enough so I could see I'd slept through my entire day off.

And I was alone. Except for the rose, which was the only thing left on the night table. There were also more of them in the living room from last week, shoved into a glass since I didn't have any vases, and I couldn't just leave them without water.

Red roses. I fucking blushed every time I looked at them, and every time more were delivered. They never came with a card, but I knew who they were from.

I heard Noah fucking around in the kitchen, then he yelled again, "Rush, did you hear me? Berthas's tonight. Come on, it's late."

"Yeah, way too fucking late," I muttered, reached to the floor to grab a pair of sweats and yanked them on, simultaneously annoyed that I'd ever given him a key, and willing him to deliver me coffee by the sheer power of thought.

He walked into the bedroom without knocking. Noah was an inch shorter than my six-foot frame and broader too, his hair longer than it'd been in forever—mine wasn't buzz cut, but it was longer and messy, just the way I liked it, while his dark hair was tied at the nape of his neck. Mine went between dark and light brown, depending on the amount of sun I got, and my eyes were the color of good, strong whiskey. His were hazel and were now attempting to scrutinize me.

He'd been my best friend since juvie, but the only thing that kept me from kicking him out this morning was the coffee he handed me before turning to survey the room. "What the fuck, Rush?"

I could ask the same of him, had been planning on it for a while, and now it was going to be a matter of self-defense and deflection, two of my best skills.

But first, coffee. Because I already knew what Noah had been up to the past few months—and I suspected it'd been going on a hell of a lot longer. But when he'd started, I'd still been caught up in my own shit, wondering what the hell I'd do with my life once I got out of the Army. Plus there was all that sex keeping me pliant and distracted. "Fuck Bertha's. We can just go back to Cy's."

"Yeah, after that fight you started last night? I don't think so." Noah shook his head. "And you didn't even drink."

I hadn't, ever since I'd decided that the first late-night tryst was the byproduct of an overactive, alcohol-fueled imagination. Had to be.

Didn't explain the roses, but it'd made me feel a whole lot better. Actually, better wasn't the right word for it. Disappointed when he hadn't come back the next night, even though he'd left no indication that he'd ever come back. But he'd randomly snuck in a couple nights later.

And many nights after that.

If he was going to sneak in and fuck me, he could at least have the decency to be predictable.

I took several sips of coffee. "Yeah, you and Linc had no problem joining in." Linc'd been in Basic with all of us, assigned to the platoon Billy and I were in (Noah wasn't, but ended up in the Sandbox with us anyway), and he'd left the Army the same time as me and Noah.

Noah grabbed a chair, sat next to the bed, put his feet up, countering, "You threw the pool table into the front window."

Yeah, okay, there was that. "I told Cy I'd give him the money," I muttered, then took another giant gulp of coffee. I'd had to fight, because everything twisted up inside of me had no place else to go except barreling into someone's face.

With my hand still wrapped around the mug, I rubbed my bruised knuckles, the ones Ryker had kissed last night, while Noah continued to bitch. "And then you left me there with Linc—you're lucky we didn't have to call you to post bail. And now I find out you left so you could get laid. And you got her flowers? Nice touch."

Of course he'd naturally assume I'd gone home with one of the girls we'd been shamelessly flirting with last night. Noah was straight, but he'd known I was bi forever, and I'd never been so much partial to either sex as much as partial to sex in general. Lots of it, with lots of partners, and rarely the same one twice, because who the fuck needed that kind of complication?

I hadn't, until eight months ago, when I'd become satisfied enough. And obviously, it had become complicated, at least in my mind.

"Bertha's. Tonight. Eleven. The band's awesome—tribute to Guns N' Roses," Noah continued obliviously, like repeating it enough times would automatically make me say yes, which, although annoying as all fuck, was a good thing.

Because at least he'd veered off my sex life.

"Don't you think it's better we stay away from shit like that?"

Noah finished his coffee and rolled his eyes at me. "We're going to drink and dance. Besides, we don't have to answer to anyone."

Bertha's had been off-limits to us when we were in the military because of its rumored associations to Havoc, a motorcycle club with alleged criminal ties. We weren't so much not allowed in there as strongly advised by our CO to avoid it if we wanted to live. With our dicks intact.

Now that we were out, there were no restrictions, except for those we set for ourselves. Noah and I hadn't talked about it, but for me, those were few and far between—like the options I had to make a living that didn't include stealing. But I still avoided Havoc like the plague.

I'd lived in this area long enough to know that the rumors about Havoc being a one-percenter club were actual truths. But a new president had come in a while back and cleaned it up—they were supposedly legitimate now, although who the fuck knew what that exactly meant. Didn't mean they weren't dangerous as fuck. Which I was completely drawn to.

I was also smart enough to know when to court it and when to stay away.

Speaking of which, I got out of bed to get away from Noah for a few minutes, took a piss, washed up, and headed to the kitchen. Hopefully, I could talk Noah into cooking something to go along with the coffee.

Noah followed me, picking up our conversation right where we'd left off. "What's the problem with Bertha's? You had fun last time we were there."

Yeah, that was exactly the problem. We'd gone that one time when we were both still in the Army, the illegal nature of the visit making it way more fun than it'd normally be. And that's the exact night when those late-night visits and the goddamned roses started. "It's dangerous to hang around that place."

"Seriously? Dangerous? You're worried about danger now? After you picked a fight with three guys after you screwed them over at pool?" Noah shook his head, his brow furrowed, because danger was what always amped me up. Noah knew that, and was typically the one to help me feed the need for it while keeping me somewhat safe. We were a good team like that.

I took out bacon and eggs from the fridge—the only food in there—and put them in front of Noah, a not-so-subtle hint. "What are you implying?"

"Don't be dense."

But I would, because then I wouldn't have to admit what happened that very first night. And last night. And all the nights in between that.

"Rush?"

I looked up at Noah, who was staring at me funny. "What?"

He pointed to the delivery guy he'd let in—and I'd been so deep in my own thoughts I hadn't even noticed—and I froze. Not that I didn't expect it, but fuck, in front of Noah? Really?

And, like he knew, the delivery guy grinned when he said, "Flowers for Sean Rush," because obviously he thought it was great that I'd gotten them. Again.

Noah grabbed the big box—bigger than normal—and pushed me out of the way to put it on the table. I tipped the delivery guy by lifting Noah's wallet from his back pocket and taking a couple of bucks, then pointed him to the door. It was only fair since Noah was already opening the box, demanding, "Who the fuck's sending you long-stemmed roses? The chick from last night?"

Thankfully, there was still no card. Hell, I still didn't need one.

Ryker was sending them. They came every morning after he made me come. Anyone might think he was courting me, but I knew better. The fucker had to be making fun of me. Didn't stop me from letting him into my bed though. "Long story. And fine, Bertha's tonight."

"You're just saying that to get rid of me." Noah smirked as he turned one of the roses in his fingers—this time there were eight roses instead of the usual single one. He touched a thorn and hissed when it pricked him. "Someone's into you."

"Yeah, right," I muttered, walked to the counter, and started cracking the eggs, badly, because I knew he'd intervene.

He did, putting the rose down in the box with the others. "What do you mean, 'Yeah, right'? In the real world, red roses mean serious business."

I wasn't living in the real world. I was sucked into a dream world where a man too big to move as silently as he did broke into my house, and I did nothing to stop him. I was actively encouraging it with my silence.

I was doing the same thing with Noah now, because I knew the fucker was stealing cars. Again.

If I had to pinpoint it, I'd say it started right after Ryker fucked me for the fourth time, which meant about five months ago. Because that's how I measured things now—in Ryker time. As in, the time before Ryker fucked me, followed by the time Ryker fucked me for the first time, the second time, and so on. I also knew what was different about each time. Because for the most part, (except for the pieces that were missing from our first night pre-first-fucking), I was clearheaded about what happened and when—and they were all excellent fodder for those times when Ryker wasn't around, and I was forced to jerk off and pretend it was as good as Ryker doing it for me.

I shook my head, trying to get away from the all-Ryker-all-the-time show. "I know you're stealing again."

Noah didn't turn away from the stove, like scrambling the eggs was the most important thing in the world at the moment. And while I couldn't lie that I wasn't starving, the truth was, he didn't turn because he was guilty.

When we'd gotten arrested together at seventeen, the judge told all of us—me and Noah and Billy—to stay away from cars. But come the fuck on—how was that even possible? Fixing, racing, and stealing cars and bikes was what I was good at. My gift, so to speak. Noah and Billy had started because of me, so I didn't know if they really loved all of it, or just the stealing part of things.

So when I left the Army, I'd tried to find a way to do some of it. Legally. And when I'd told Noah what I wanted, he told me he'd heard about a new garage here—and he'd gone to meet the owner right before I'd met Ryker. I'd wanted to move to Florida for a fresh start, but Noah hated change. So we'd agreed to stay close to where we'd grown up for a while. Work at Edmund's on high-end cars. Keep our noses clean.

I knew we were both fucked up. I thought it was the PTSD. That we missed the Army, missed Billy. I was wrapped up in my own secret, and I made every excuse in the book as to why Noah was acting secretive, when in my gut, I knew what Noah was doing and what the problem was.

And now, I waited, because we'd spent a lot of nights huddled together—in juvie, in jail, in the Sandbox—at first pretending not to be scared, and then too tired to care about fear. That would normally be the time guys would confess their deep, dark shit, but hell, we already knew each other's deepest, darkest secrets.

Until now, when we're both actively keeping secrets from each other. The only one he didn't know about was Ryker, and I wasn't sure why I kept it to myself. There were times I really wanted to tell Noah, ask his advice ... but maybe I knew he'd tell me to get the hell out of it. He'd force me to realize what I already knew—Ryker left every single time.

Noah finally turned around. "Are you pissed?"

"At myself, for not asking you about it sooner."

"I only kept it from you because you've been fucking white-knuckling it, Rush. I didn't want to be the one to throw you over that edge. Just because I couldn't stay away ..."

"How long?"

"How long have you been getting fucked and getting roses?" Noah countered.

"Nice one." I stared up at him. "Since we went to Bertha's."

"Same."

"See?" I slammed my fists on the table, so fucking pissed at how off I'd been. That would never have happened pre-Ryker. "Fuck that place."

"We were both just getting what we needed." Noah slid a plate of eggs in front of me.

"So what happened to make it a problem?"

I started to eat while Noah attempted to deflect with a muttered, "Nothing, it's fine."

I pointed my fork at him and smirked. "Right. You can stop any time you want to."

Noah rolled his eyes. "Things got out of control really fast. I mean, for months now, it's been fine. Odd jobs—small ones," he added quickly. "But last week, there was a bigger call than I thought I could handle and ..."

He paused, like he didn't want to say anything more, so I added, "Edmund told you that you were in too deep to back out now."

Noah's brows raised. "You know about Edmund?"

"I know he's got a rep from before he showed up here." Just because I hadn't stolen a car in this area in years didn't mean I didn't keep up with this shit. I'd been trained by the best, a guy named Al who'd become a legend because he'd killed himself in a stolen car during a police chase rather than being caught and going to jail. People knew my rep, and they told me shit, kept me up with the business, even when I pretended I was done with it. Because every car thief knew that there was no done with it. We were lifers. "You've got to get yourself out of this—he's going to get you in deeper every time."

Noah rubbed his eyes tiredly. "I know. I'll figure out a way to handle it, Rush."

"Right—with my help."

"I won't drag you into it."

"I'm offering."

Noah sighed. "I'm always getting you into trouble."

"And I always get you out of it." It was our familiar pattern, and even though I told myself I was offering to help Noah steal cars because I wanted to save his ass—which was true—I also needed to steal a motherfucking car. I couldn't deny it any more than I could stop breathing, and it felt good to admit it, even if it was only to myself. "When's the next one?"

"Tomorrow night. And I can't pull it off by myself," Noah admitted, and he looked as tired as I felt. "It's the Ferrari."

Every car thief has a car that nearly broke them, one they tried to steal over and over and it fucked with their heads. Every car thief except for me, because Al had trained that shit right out of me. "I'll do it."

"Thanks, Rush," Noah told me, and I wanted to wipe the guilt from his eyes. Until he said, "Now it's your turn—spill about the roses."

"My turn? I'm going to steal a car to help you and that's not enough?"

"No," Noah deadpanned.

I pushed my plate away. "I'm almost positive they're coming from the same person."

Noah looked at me like I was an idiot. Which I was. "We talking guy or girl here? And couldn't you just ask?"

"It's a he. And we don't do much talking, so fuck you and your logic."

Noah smirked. "Okay, how about afterwards, then? Or in the morning? You must have a few minutes where you actually speak."

My cheeks got hot, and Noah was staring. He knew I had very few inhibitions in bed, if I had any at all, which was questionable. I was loud and explicit with what I wanted, what I liked, with men and with women.

"Let me get this straight. He comes in here in the middle of the night, has sex with you, and then leaves."


(Continues...)

Excerpted from Running Wild (Havoc, #1) by SE Jakes, Sarah Frantz. Copyright © 2014 SE Jakes. Excerpted by permission of Riptide Publishing.
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.

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Running Wild 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
JacksonJG More than 1 year ago
An excellent put together story.   SE Jakes never disappoints.   
yazzyFM More than 1 year ago
I've read a lot of books by SE Jakes and this is one of her best! It was well put together, I didn't want it to end. A must read!
asgoodrich More than 1 year ago
5 stars = I freaking LOVED this book I loved the beginning of this book – actually, I loved the whole book, but the beginning struck me as the perfect blend of Mystery Man and Motorcycle Man by Kristen Ashley, but with an M/M twist. It’s like Ms. Jakes took the best of Hawk and Tack and made him bi-sexual. And by no means am I remotely suggesting that Ms. Jakes is ripping off KA, but rather it’s like she read the books and asked herself what the love-child of Hawk and Tack would be like and created Ryker. So as a huge KA fan, I freaking loved Ryker. And my impression of Ryker is where the similarities between Ms. Jakes and KA ends. Now what made Running Wild so much fun to read was that Ms. Jakes gives us not one, but two bad boys. Sean might not be a biker, but he is a bad boy in his own right. Due to his time in the service and his propensity for grand theft auto, he is most definitely a tortured bad boy at that. Both are alpha male bad boys and they should not work, but they do … oh boy, do they. Ryker and Sean take man-on-man to a-whole-nother level. While Ryker can do sweet, it is the hard and rough balls-to-wall encounters that left me chewing a hole in my lip. And the passing conversation about a threesome … good grief Ms. Jakes, are you trying to incinerate my Kindle? Bikers, car thieves, and alpha male bad boys in abundance. Running Wild is an action-packed, testosterone-filled, thrill ride that held my attention from page one to the end. I am so freaking glad that this is going to be a series as I cannot wait to read more about the Havoc MC. This might have been my first novel by S.E. Jakes, but it most definitely won’t be my last.  I received a complimentary copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.  Reviewed by Angela at Crystal's Many Reviewers!
jojoNE More than 1 year ago
As I LOVE stories involving MCs I was immediately drawn to this story and its unrelenting sexiness and action-packed sequences. Sean further kept me engaged in the story as he's an emotionally damaged character who's been through a lot in life and came out stronger but more bitter and indecisive because of it. I found myself drawn into his life and rooted for him every step of the way even though his wishy-washyness annoyed me at times. Throw in the super sexy encounters and there was a lot I liked about this story. There were also some things I had issues with which took away some of my enjoyment. I had hoped to see more of some badass bikers but got Ryker, who was a bit too sweet to be called completely badass. He was sexy but a bit too much of a romantic. The author also included a lot of extraneous themes like child trafficking, PTSD, even bits of the paranormal. It overwhelmed the story at times and disrupted the flow. Ultimately though I enjoyed this story and look forward to future installments. There's plenty of secondary characters who we see glimpses of and who left their mark. The m/m loving was super steamy with lots of pulse-pounding moments along the way. Though this is no Sons of Anarchy with grittiness around every corner, it instead has sex around every corner and I look forward to more!