Separation by Stylo Fantôme (The Kane Trilogy, #2)
Release Date: September 2014
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Degradation (The Kane Trilogy. #1)
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Can the Devil be Forgiven?
Everything is fun and games till someone gets hurt, and what Jameson Kane did to Tatum O’Shea goes so far beyond hurt, he is well into the realm of unforgivable. Tate says she wants him gone for good, and he quickly learns that the old saying, “you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone”, is most definitely true.
But Jameson has never been very good at following instructions, and when Satan decides to seek redemption, he’ll go to great lengths to get it. He proposes one last game – one to end them all, if she agrees to play. He is very confident that he can win, but Tate warns him that’s not possible; she will not lose again. Little does she know, Jameson is prepared to do whatever it takes. Prepared to lay the entire world at her feet. Prepared to bear his soul.
What he didn’t count on, though, was handing the damn thing over.
Now he can only pray that his evil ways haven’t rubbed off on Tate too much. Sometimes, it’s very difficult to tell who the Devil really is …
WARNING: contains a semi-reformed devil, a woman scorned, and more Sanders than anyone has a right to witness. Also graphic sexual situations and strong language.
Crazy woman living in an undisclosed location in Alaska (where the need for a creative mind is a necessity!), I have been writing since …, forever? Yeah, that sounds about right. I have been told that I remind people of Lucille Ball – I also see shades of Jennifer Saunders, and Denis Leary. So basically, I laugh a lot, I’m clumsy a lot, and I say the F-word A LOT.
I like dogs more than I like most people, and I don’t trust anyone who doesn’t drink. No, I do not live in an igloo, and no, the sun does not set for six months out of the year, there’s your Alaska lesson for the day. I have mermaid hair – both a curse and a blessing – and most of the time I talk so fast, even I can’t understand me.
Yeah. I think that about sums me up.
People often thought “Sanders” was Sanders’ last name; it wasn’t – his last name was Dashkevich. Sanders was the name of some long forgotten relative. Kind of exotic, really. But he never explained this story, he just let people think what they wanted. That always seemed to work out best for him.
He was thirteen when Mr. Jameson Kane found him, starving on the streets of London. He had tried to steal from Jameson. He had been very bad at pickpocketing, and Jameson had grabbed him by the collar, held him against a wall. But then he’d looked at Sanders in the strangest way, and instead of getting angry, he had offered to buy Sanders lunch.
After the meal, Jameson informed him that if Sanders was at the same spot every day, he would continue buying meals for him. Sanders was sure to be there, every day. After two weeks, they finally got to talking. Jameson asked why he was starving, living on the streets.
“I ran away from home,” Sanders had replied. Jameson had nodded.
“I know how you feel.”
“You ran away, too?
“Sort of. I did something very bad to someone back home.”
“And you felt bad, so you ran away?”
“No, I didn’t feel bad, and that’s why I ran away.”
They kept meeting for lunch. Jameson would have him run the odd errand, then pay him for it. Jameson would laugh – “you’re my assistant now, Sanders, so we have to work out a salary.” Rented out a hotel room for Sanders to stay in, bought him new clothes.
Sanders couldn’t figure it out. Who was this guy? What did he want? For a long time, Sanders thought it was sex. He kept waiting to hear his hotel room door open, see a silhouette in the light. It’s what had always happened to him, in his old home. But it never happened with this man. It became very obvious, very quickly, that Jameson was not attracted to him, at all. Sure, Jameson was very adventurous, and Sanders could see that he lived by a “I’ll try anything once” kind of creedo – but he wasn’t gay. Jameson loved women.
“The perfect woman, Sanders. That’s what I’m on a quest for – the perfect woman. Don’t know if I’ll ever find her,” he had slurred late one night, very drunk.
“Have you ever met a perfect woman?” Sanders asked. Jameson thought long and hard about it.
“I think I might have. But I didn’t know it at the time. And she wasn’t quite perfect yet.”
“Was it a long time ago?”
“Not long enough.”
Sanders wasn’t gay either, but he didn’t really have any interest in sex. He’d never done it. Well, at least not consensually; and never with a girl. He had always been too busy hiding his secret. Then after Jameson came along, Sanders had been too in awe of his new world, too in shock, to think about girls.
He told Jameson about the family he’d grown up with – his aunt’s family, in South London. Sanders was originally from Belarus, but his parents moved to England when he was five. His family got deported, but they managed to leave him at his mother’s sister’s house. He never heard from his mother or father again. His aunt’s husband was an Englishman, and not a very nice one. Sanders didn’t want to tell Jameson that whole story.
So how could Jameson have known?
He had wanted to surprise Sanders. Wanted Sanders’ family to see how well their nephew was doing, the kind of life he was now leading. Let Sanders show off a little. His family owned a small bed and breakfast, and Jameson surprised him by getting them rooms there for a night.
Something snapped in Sanders. When his uncle came to his room, tried to hold him down, tried to tell him that he would never be more than what he was in that moment, Sanders fought back – the first time he had ever done so. He wasn’t a large man, but rage completely overtook him. It wasn’t until Jameson was standing over him, pulling him away, that Sanders even realized he had completely beaten his uncle’s head in against a radiator.
His life would be over. He would at best be deported back to Belarus. At worst, and most likely, spend the rest of his life in prison. Sanders sat in the middle of the blood and gore, and just sobbed. Jameson knelt down and grabbed onto him, held him still against his chest. Told him everything would be okay, that he didn’t have to worry, that Jameson would take care of everything. And when Sanders finally calmed down, Jameson kept his promise. He magically managed to have the body disposed of; cleaned up the room. Left a large sum of money with Sanders’ aunt, who never even seemed to question her husband going missing. Apparently he wasn’t a nice man to anyone else, either.
They never spoke of that night again. Jameson didn’t even ask, just arranged for Sanders to come back to America. Paid for him to attend the best private schools. Sanders was very smart, it turned out. He spoke fluent English, Russian, Belarusian, Polish, and German; as well as conversational French and Spanish. He could play the piano, and got as high as a Master level in competitive chess, before he gave it up. Took classes in sharp shooting. Learned how to rebuild automobile engines.
While in school, Sanders was also diagnosed with a mild form of Asperger’s syndrome. It explained some of his intense focus, why he never really wanted to talk, and his minimal OCD. He hadn’t thought much of it, and Jameson had just laughed, said it would give him a leg up in the world.
Because of Jameson, Sanders was able to do anything he wanted; was allowed to do anything he wanted. Jameson never questioned his choices. When Sanders turned eighteen, Jameson offered to pay for him to go to college, but he declined. He wanted to stay with Jameson. He wanted a real job with him. He wanted to be wherever Jameson was, and the best way was to take a real position as his assistant.
They’d never had an entirely normal relationship, anyway. Jameson was more comfortable, in general, treating everyone like they worked for him. That appealed to Sanders’ meticulous and cold nature. Their relationship worked for them. They didn’t speak a whole lot, and even when they did, they weren’t prone to long conversations. But there was a bond that no one could possibly understand. Sanders loved him. Hadn’t known it was possible to love a person as much as he loved Jameson Kane.
That’s why it killed him to see Jameson so unhappy. Jameson didn’t realize he was unhappy, but Sanders could tell. All the women, all the sleeping around, all the debauchery. Something was missing in Jameson’s life, that much was clear.
Girls came and went. Some stayed a little longer than others. Most ignored Sanders. He ignored all of them. There was an opera singer from Rio that he had almost considered liking, but before he could make up his mind, she was let go. She hadn’t been up to Jameson’s speed, anyway. None of them were, when push came to shove.
Then Petrushka Ivanovic entered the picture. How Sanders had hated her. She was the only one who ever truly got under his skin. They would have arguments in Russian – so Jameson couldn’t understand what they were saying. She called Sanders a useless, dirty, immigrant who was just leeching off of Jameson. He called her a tasteless, fake, bitch who was just another notch on Jameson’s very well marked bedpost. It took a lot longer, but eventually she went away, too. He was very glad.
It wasn’t too much longer before Tatum O’Shea came along. Jameson had mentioned her a couple times, usually after many late night drinks. It was obvious that she had been the reason he had run away so many years ago, that she was that “not quite perfect yet” woman. It was also obvious they hadn’t known each other well – they hadn’t seen each other in over seven years. It was a while before Jameson explained the history to him.
Sanders wasn’t sure what to make of Tatum, at first. He had expected just another silly girl. Another woman who thought she could keep up with Jameson, but ultimately wouldn’t be able to keep up at all. Or one of those types of women who only wanted Jameson for his status and money.
Not Tatum. She took everything Jameson threw at her and rolled with it. Asked for it. Wanted more of it. And she seemed oblivious to, and uncaring of, the fact that he had more money than God. For a short while, and by mutual agreement, the relationship was purely physical, and she actually seemed to like it that way.
She also completely ignored Sanders’ weird, awkward, social habits. He didn’t like to talk very much. Tatum liked to talk a lot, and just talked to him anyway. She paid attention to him, asked him how he was doing, what he was doing. Seemed to look right into him sometimes.
She also touched him – no one ever did that. Sanders usually hated to be touched, and it had bothered him a lot, at first. But Tate was very persistent. She held his hand, hugged him, tried to tickle him. It almost seemed as if she touched him more just because she knew he didn’t like it. She was so comfortable with him, right off the bat. The same way Jameson had been. One day, she even kissed Sanders. It was a joke, a ruse, but something snapped in him. Sanders was twenty years old and had never kissed a girl, and here was a girl, laying one on him. He took the opportunity and kissed her back.
But Sanders wasn’t attracted to Tatum, not like that. He could recognize that she was a very, very sexy woman. She was not shy about her body or her sexuality, and she flirted shamelessly with just about anything that moved. He wasn’t entirely immune to her charms; he was heterosexual, after all. But for the most part he didn’t view her that way. She was something different to him. Something special.
On top of that, it was clear from day one that she was different to Jameson, too. Also something special. No one else would have been able to tell, but Sanders could tell. She made Jameson happy. She made Sanders happy. He grew very attached to her.
When the relationship between Tatum and Jameson started to become strained, she would seek Sanders out. Their bond grew stronger. She would come into his room late at night, play chess with him, talk with him. She never rushed him to talk, just waited for the words to come out. Eventually, they did. She never asked questions, never judged anything he had to say. He fell a little in love with her. Not romantically, not sexually. He didn’t know how to explain it. He just loved her.
If necessary, he would probably kill for Jameson Kane.
If asked, he would probably die for Tatum O’Shea.
When the relationship between Jameson and Tatum ended – and it ended badly – Sanders had mourned it. Jameson had been in the wrong. It was the first time he had ever asked Sanders to do things that made him uncomfortable. Things that he found repugnant. He didn’t like lying. It all went to hell. He thought Jameson would admit his fault, admit he’d been wrong, then apologize. But Jameson wouldn’t. It had shocked Sanders. He held Jameson to a very high standard. It was like hearing his father damn himself to hell. Sanders would have to save him.
Sometimes, Sanders felt like he had to fix everything.