Claimed by a Stranger (Craved Series #2) (3 page)

5: Jack



I stretched my body out and groaned, my abs sore and tight from
paddle boarding as I rolled over and opened my eyes. It was nine o’clock.


I was late for class. The girls would be pissed. Actually, they probably
wouldn’t even give away mild irritation. It wasn’t the Thai way, but that still
didn’t make it okay.

I sprung out of bed naked and searched the floor for a pair of
shorts. When I saw a pair hanging over a chair, I slipped them on over some
clean boxers. Then I slid my balcony door open and pulled a clean shirt from
where it had been drying on the railing. Including the time it took me to brush
my teeth, I was out the door in less than three minutes.

Jin’s bar was just down the street so I managed to get there
quickly on my bike, but I was still ten minutes late by the time I got in.

“So sorry I’m late, ladies. Please forgive me,” I said, running
my fingers through my bedhead and leaning against the edge of the pool table.

A half a dozen women looked at me and smiled, but despite their
good graces, I could tell they thought I looked a hot mess.

“Everything okay, Jack?” Mai asked.

I nodded. “Yes, thank you. Everything is fine,” I said, avoiding
eye contact with Sammy.

“Are you sure?” Mai asked. “You look like you were up all

I pursed my lips and exhaled through my nose.

“Maybe Jack had a hot date,” Sammy said.

“Ooooh,” the girls cooed in unison.

“Is that true?” she asked. “Did you have a hot date?”

I looked at Sammy and smiled, grateful that she’d single
handedly changed the class’s tone.

“We’re here to talk about you getting hot dates,” I said. “Not

“Was she a Thai girl, Jack?” the youngest woman asked. “Is it
anyone we know?”

“No,” I said.

“A Thai girl wouldn’t let him leave the house with his hair like
that,” another added.

I shook my head. “There’s no girl.”

“That’s not what Jin told me,” Mai said. “Jin said you are in

I cocked my head. “You don’t believe everything Jin says, do

Mai shrugged. “Only when he’s not talking about Jin.”

I laughed. At least she had a good strategy.

“Is she a farang, Jack?” Sammy asked. “Like you?”

I sighed. It wasn’t worth lying. They were too desperate for the
gossip, and I’d rather they heard it from me than Jin.

“Yeah,” I said. “She’s a farang.”

“Where is she from?” they wanted to know.

“America,” I said.

“Is it serious?” Sammy asked. “Can we meet her?”

“Absolutely not,” I said, crossing my arms. “I just met her
yesterday. We only went to dinner.”

“Dinner,” one of the girls said, covering her giggling mouth.
“Sounds spicy.”

“It was,” I said, narrowing my eyes. “But only because of the chilies.”

“Did she suck your balls?” Sammy asked.

“No,” I said. “We only had dinner, and she was a classy lady.
Plus, that kind of thing is only for when you’re in a relationship.”

Sammy looked unconvinced.

I admit I was, too. I would’ve happily let her suck me off every
way she knew how and spent the rest of the night showing her how much I
appreciated it, but it wasn’t to be.

“What do you mean by classy lady?” Mai said.

“I’m so glad you asked,” I said, eager to take the spotlight off
me and the fact that I didn’t get any last night. “A classy lady is the kind of
lady a man wants to date.”

The girls nodded and a few of them pulled out their notebooks.

“We all know the difference, right?” I asked. “If you’re not
classy, a man might still want to sleep with you, but he will not want a

Mai furrowed her brow like I was explaining quantum physics.

“And that’s what you’re all looking for, right? A meaningful,
committed relationship.”

Sammy shrugged.

A woman at the back raised her pencil in the air. “So how can we
let men know we are classy ladies?”

“It’s complicated,” I said. “But I can give you three tips that
will help you out.” My mind wandered for a moment as the girls perked up their
ears. I could see Audrey clearly from last night- her bright smile, her shiny
hair, the way her loose dress fell over her curves.

God I couldn’t wait to see her later. All of her. I wanted to
show her that I was reliable, that I wasn’t the kind of guy that just abandoned
women in the middle of the night, that I deserved her giving me the time of

“Ready,” Sammy said.

I shook the vision of Audrey out of my mind and turned back to
the task at hand: trying to teach these women how to be as special as a woman I
never knew existed until last night.

“Okay,” I said, counting on my fingers. “Number one: A classy
lady carries herself well.”

It was obvious from the blank stares around the room that further
explanation was necessary.

“What I mean is, you must be confident.” I stood up straight and
tall. “If you don’t believe you are special and attractive, no one else will be
able to see you that way.” I hunched over and looked at the floor. “Not like
this,” I said, dragging my feet as I crossed the room like Quasimodo. “Does
that make sense?”

They nodded.

“When you stand up tall and you smile, other people notice you,”
I said. “And they will be attracted to your confidence.”

“What’s number two?” Mai asked.

“The second way to be a classy woman,” I said, leaning against the
pool table, “is to not give in too easily.”

Mai squinted at me.

“For example, if a man asks you out, you don’t have to say yes
the first time he suggests it. You can say you’re busy. Then when he starts to
look sad, you can suggest another time. Does that make sense?”

Nobody looked sold.

“Trust me,” I said. “It’s more fun for a man to pursue a woman
who seems slightly unattainable.”

Mai cocked her head. “Isn’t that rude?”

“No,” I said. “If he wants to take you out for the right reasons,
he’ll be patient. You want him to feel like winning you over isn’t so easy that
anyone can do it. He wants to think he’s better than all the other guys that
want your attention cause that will make him feel good. If he thinks you go out
with anybody who asks, he’ll lose interest.”

“That makes sense, Jack,” Sammy said. “Sometimes when I say no,
men want me even more.”

I smiled. “Exactly.”

“So what’s the number three rule for being a classy lady?” Sammy

“Number three is very simple but very important,” I said, waiting
for the girls to lift their eyes towards me. “You have to dress classy. Now
that doesn’t mean fancy. It just means you want to dress in a way that makes it
clear that you’re not-” I looked at the ceiling as I searched for the right

“A working girl?” Sammy asked.

“Yeah,” I said, grateful she’d said it and not me since the last
thing I wanted to do was offend anybody.

“Is this okay?” Mai asked, standing up. She was wearing a long
sleeved t-shirt and a floor length skirt. How she wasn’t sweating buckets was
beyond me.

“Yes that’s lovely, Mai,” I said.

A woman stood up at the back. “And this?”

“Okay,” I said. “I’m not here to tell you what to wear. Only you
can decide what you’re comfortable in, but let me give you another example.”

The woman at the back took her seat again.

“Let’s say I bring you two presents. One present is all wrapped
up so you can’t tell what’s inside it. The other one is only half wrapped
because I ran out of wrapping paper so you can see what the present is before
you even start opening it.”

The looks of concentration on me were so funny it was hard not
to laugh.

“Which present do you want?” I asked

“Are they the same?” Mai asked.

“Yes,” I said.

“Then the wrapped one is better. It is more fun and makes you look
like you care more.”

“Exactly,” I said. “Does that make sense?”

Nods peppered the room.

“It’s better to leave a little to the imagination.”

“Uh-oh,” Mai said.

“What?” I asked.

“Looks like Sammy needs some new clothes.”

“Very funny, Mai. You wish you looked this good.”

“Alright,” I said. “Settle down. Are there any questions about
anything I’ve said?”

“Yeah,” Sammy said, smiling.

“Go ahead.”

“What’s the classy lady’s name?”



6: Audrey



I was waiting
on the stairs outside the hotel in the only motorcycle appropriate clothes I
had, some black harem pants and a purple scoop necked t-shirt.


I felt a bit eager
waiting for him outside like that, but he made such a big deal about the
importance of being on time for the show that I figured it was important I be


Across the
narrow road, the beach was surprisingly crowded with Thai families settling in
a safe distance from the rising tide. In front of them lay huge spreads of food
that overflowed from coolers and smoked on small barbeques. And from the amount
of dark rum bottles littering the tables, it seemed safe to assume they were
enjoying themselves.


And as the
salty smell of fresh seafood wafted by, I was glad I came. I felt happy. Sure,
my life was in shambles back home, but here- and in the grand scheme of things-
I felt I had much to look forward to. What, exactly, I didn’t know, but I had a
good feeling about the future for the first time in ages.


And why
shouldn’t I? For one thing, a handsome man had never taken me on a dinner date
to a surprise location before.


Okay, that wasn’t
true. I was often surprised by the shitty places I got taken to dinner, but I
trusted Jack. He wouldn’t disappoint me again, not after last night. Tonight
would be extra special. I could feel it.


He pulled up
right on time, sitting with his arms wide on a large black motorcycle. “Hey


“Hey,” I said,
taking a step towards the curb. “That’s a bigger bike than I was


“It’s a
friends’,” he said. “I borrowed it because it has a sissy bar.”


I winced at
the name but was relieved to see that there was, in fact, a backrest behind the
passenger seat.

“You don’t
have to lean against it if you don’t want to,” he said, “but I didn’t want to
take any chances with such precious cargo.”


appreciated,” I said, noticing the way his forearms flexed as he gripped the
handles. “Is everything okay?”


His face fell.
“You mean because of last night?”


I nodded.


“Yeah, thanks.
Everything’s fine. I apologize again for abandoning you like that.”


“It’s okay,” I
said, shrugging. “You gotta do what you gotta do.”


“Here. Put
this on.” He handed me a small, cheap looking helmet that was hanging on one of
his handlebars. 


I crinkled my


“I insist,” he
said. “Plus, if you don’t wear it, your hair will be a tangled mess by the time
we get there.”


“What about
your hair?” 


He shrugged.
“It’s hopeless anyway.” He pointed to a hot metal tube behind his foot. “Be
careful not to burn yourself on the exhaust when you get on.”


I looked down
at the pipe.


you’ll get what they call a Thai tattoo.”


I pursed my
lips and straddled the bike, planting my feet firmly on the footrests and
trying to play it cooler than I felt. 


“If I’m going
too fast, just give me a squeeze and I’ll slow down.”




He handed a
spare pair of aviators over his shoulder. “And wear these to protect your


I unfolded the
glasses and slid them over my face.


“Ready?” he
asked, looking over his shoulder.


“All systems
go,” I said, wrapping my arms around him and resisting the sudden urge I had to
dig my fingers into his abs.


He sped up
quickly, the bike roaring to life underneath me as we took off down the main
stretch of road. At the first traffic lights we came to, I caught a glimpse of our
reflection in some shop windows and couldn’t help but think we made a cute
couple. I mean, he was beyond hot, but I didn’t look completely ridiculous by
his side either.


I was just
getting comfortable when he turned onto the highway, and I felt my nerves
spring into action. With one hand, I reached behind me to assess how far away
the sissy bar was. Then I squeezed my legs along the outside of his, excited by
our full body contact.


The wind
whipped against my arms as we sped down the road, but it was nice to feel cool
for a change. Once I got used to our speed, I peeked over his shoulder just
long enough to catch a glimpse of the speedometer. It said we were going 80kph,
but it felt much faster to me.


But I wasn’t
going to make a fuss in front of Mr. X Games, so I ducked down and tucked my
head behind his neck. After that, I felt much better, and besides the
occasional small rock hitting my shins and my arms, it was kind of fun.


Eventually, I got
so comfortable holding on to him that my mind was able to wander from my
current chances of imminent death to where the heck he might be taking me.


Twenty minutes
later, Jack slowed down and turned off the highway onto a skinny road that looked
more like a dirt path and definitely felt less smooth under the bike. If I’d
known we were going to be off-roading, I would’ve worn a sports bra… instead of
leaving it in my underwear drawer in Seattle.


In fact, it
wasn’t long before I decided I had no choice but to press my chest right up
against his back so I wouldn’t bounce around until the road evened out again.


When it
finally did, I leaned back just in time to see a large rock formation jutting
into the sky over Jack’s shoulder.


He pointed
towards it. “That’s where we’re going.”


To a rock? I
was confused. I thought we were going to a show? And what about dinner? Maybe
the show was going to be him watching me hunt for my own food in the Thai
wilderness. Oh god I hoped not.


Still, I’d
come too far to back out now.


As we headed
towards the peak, more craggy rock formations sprung up along the horizon around
it until they were almost blocking out all the light from the setting sun. It was
mildly unsettling. I mean, the scenery was a lot more ominous and wild than I
was expecting.


It genuinely
felt like the backdrop of a Hollywood film set in a prehistoric jungle, like
the cast of Lost was going to jump out from behind the greenery and say “you
found us!”


But I knew
better than to think there was anyone else around. After all, not only was our sense
of isolation tangible, but we hadn’t seen a single soul since we’d turned down the
dirt path.


And while Jack
hadn’t mentioned anything about it being a private show, I was beginning to
think I’d be shocked if it were anything but.



Other books

book by Unknown
A Marine Affair by Heather Long
Labyrinth by Jon Land
One Through the Heart by Kirk Russell
BlackWind: Viraiden and Bronwyn by Charlotte Boyett-Compo Copyright 2016 - 2023