Jax shifted slightly, causing his leg to move between mine. I bit down on my lip as my lower stomach tightened and a wave of sharp tingles shimmied up my spine. His breathing hadn’t changed, it was still deep and steady, but the hand curved along my hip started to slide.
A shiver chased after his hand, and my chest rose sharply against the side of his body. His hand slipped lower.
Jax cupped my butt cheek.
Totally hands-on, cupped my butt cheek.
Holy shit balls raining from the sky.
I should’ve been ticked off that he was copping a feel in his sleep, but that wasn’t what I was feeling at all. A languid heat invaded my body, sinking beyond the skin and muscles, spreading through every cell. A slight throbbing picked up in certain areas of my body. My breath came in short inhales as my h*ps jerked against his thigh. The feelings intensified, rushing through me like molten lava. The throbbing between my legs increased.
This was bad, because it wasn’t fair. There was no reason to allow myself to get so worked up when nothing would ever come from it, so I needed to get out of this bed. Panic swirled around in me like a dust storm, mixing with the acute and rapidly swelling arousal.
Jerking back, I started to rise, but I didn’t get very far. The hand on my rump moved to flatten across my stomach as his arm tightened along my back.
“Where you going?” His voice was raspy with sleep.
My gaze shifted down to him. His eyes were heavily hooded, lips parted. Dark stubble spread across his jaw, adding to the ridiculously sexy, bed-messy look.
He turned his head to the side, looking at the clock on the nightstand. A groan rumbled through him. “It’s too early. Go back to sleep.”
Too early? It was almost nine o’clock! Granted, being a bartender meant one’s idea of early and late were two different things.
When I didn’t move, Jax tugged me back down so that I was half sprawled across him once more.
“Sleep,” he grumbled.
What the hell? I managed to wiggle back enough to get my hand between us. I pushed back as I rose. “I’m not going back to sleep and I don’t think this is really appropriate. I need . . .” I trailed off as I stared down at him.
Jax’s head was tilted back against the pillow, exposing his long, tan neck, and the tips of straight white teeth bit down on his full lower lip. The look on his face, like he was stopping himself from doing something very naughty and very fun, confused me.
And then I realized why.
I’d planted my hand on his lower stomach, like way lower stomach, and my thigh was now pressing in between his legs. “Oh God,” I whispered, feeling my face heat as I jerked back my hand.
Jax moved lightning quick, capturing my wrist in his hand. “You probably should’ve just gone back to sleep.”
My heart flounced in my chest. Yes, literally flounced.
He rolled suddenly, and before I could take my next breath, I was flat on my back and he was hovering above me, one hand still curled around my wrist and the other planted in the bed beside my head, his lower arm curved into the mattress.
“What are you doing?”
Not immediately clueing me in, his warm brown gaze traveled over my face—my face—before fixing on my mouth. “You know what they say about guys in the morning?”
One side of his lips kicked up, and then I got it and then my face really was burning. A deep, husky chuckle shook him. “I’m kind of glad you didn’t go back to sleep. This is by far more interesting.”
My brain emptied.
The hand around my wrist slid down my arm, stopping at my elbow, where it was jabbing into the side of my stomach. “You know what else I find really interesting?”
“What?” Why was I asking? Why did I care?
His head lowered until I felt his nose brush mine, and I tensed. “It’s interesting how much I liked waking up with my hand on your ass and my leg between yours.”
“You were awake!”
He grinned. “Maybe.”
Using my other arm, I pushed my hand against his chest. “Get off.”
“Would love to.”
My eyes narrowed with irritation. “Yeah, that’s not what I’m talking about, jackass.”
Totally unfazed, he moved his thumb in a slow circle over the inside of my elbow. That tiny, almost unconscious touch sent a shock wave of sensation through my system. One second I was ready to knee him in the nuts and the next I was thinking of other more pleasant things involving said nuts.
“What are you doing?” I asked again, my pulse racing and even pounding.
His chest expanded, brushing mine, and my toes curled in response. “Doing something better than sleeping.”
That really wasn’t an answer.
Jax dipped his head and the tip of his nose grazed my right cheek. “I like you.”
My heart stopped flouncing and did a twirl on one toe. “What?”
“I like you,” he repeated, voicing dropping to a whisper that glided over my skin.
“You don’t know me,” I pointed out for what felt like the hundredth time in the short time I had known him.
“What I know of you I like.”
Perfect answer. It really was. I swallowed hard. “But—”
“Don’t overthink it, honey. Life’s too short for that shit,” he said, his lips grazing my skin. Every muscle tightened in the most delicious way, and his thumb, it was still swirling, still dragging out an array of sensations. “I like you. That’s all.”
“But you can’t.” The words sort of popped out of me.
His lips stilled against my cheek and then he lifted his head. Our gazes collided, and I wanted to look away, but couldn’t. “I can.”
Then Jax lowered himself, and all the air in the world was sucked out of that room. His weight . . . I’d never felt anything like it before. He was heavy, but it was good, and his h*ps were cradled between my legs, and . . .
Holy mother lode, there was no mistaking what I felt pressed against me.
“Get it?” he asked in a voice that probably caught a hundred panties on fire.
I didn’t get it.
Jax liked me and he’d known me only a handful of days. That made no sense. If I looked like Avery or Teresa, I could get it. They were gorgeous in their own unique, practically f**king flawless ways. They had members of the Hot Guy Brigade, rightfully so. And I was Calla—Calla whose makeup, my Dermablend, most likely had sloughed off my face, leaving the scar a hell of a lot more visible. It wasn’t like I was Miss Shiny and Wonderful Personality, either. Hell, for all Jax knew, a piece of rock could be smarter than me.
So I didn’t get it and I told him.
“I like you, Calla. Yeah, I’ve only known you a couple of days. But you’ve made me laugh,” he said, his gaze never leaving mine. “I can also tell you’re nice and sweet when you wanna be. I think you’re cute as hell and you make me hard.”
Whoa. Did he seriously just say that?
“You’ve made me hard a couple of times in the last seventy-some-odd hours and I gotta say that’s not a bad thing,” he went on. “I want to f**k you, and all I need to want to do that with you is to like you. It’s really not that hard to get from point A to point C on that, honey.”
He’d laid it out to me, right to the point and taking no prisoners, and I found something refreshingly . . . hot about that, which probably meant something was wrong with me. Or it was just lack of experience when it came to guys saying they wanted to get bow-chick-a-bow-wow with me.
Either way? Daaaaammmn.
Taking my dumbstruck silence as acceptance, he dipped his head again, and I didn’t freak out this time. He wanted me, and I honestly didn’t know what that felt like until . . . until now, and I was awed by the blossoming heat rippling through me. I forgot about the fact that most of my makeup had to have wiped off during the night. My eyes drifted shut and my toes did the curling thing once more. He was going to kiss me, and I wasn’t going to stop him. Maybe this time there’d be tongue. I was really interested in exploring that.
Jax didn’t kiss me.
Not my lips at least. His mouth veered off to the left at the last second, skating over my lips to my left cheek. He kissed the scar.
He f**king kissed the scar.
Emotion—violent and energetic—warred inside me. A mixture of a thousand screwed-up thoughts and feelings. Beauty. Fear. Panic. Lust. Ice. Heat. Revulsion. Confusion. I felt it all and it was too much.
I slammed my hands into his chest. “Get off.”
He froze. “What?”
Jax got off. It had to be something in my voice, because he rolled right off me, and I rolled right off the bed, coming to my feet. I backed up until I hit the corner of the dresser, sending a burst of pain across my hip.
He sat up and moved over the bed, both hands on the mattress. “Calla, baby, are you scared of me?”
“No. Yes. I mean, no. I’m not scared of you.” I squeezed my eyes shut briefly. “It’s not like that.”
“It’s like what then?”
We would never f**k.
There. I couldn’t say it out loud, but there it was. I would never get na**d with him. I would never get that close.
God, that shouldn’t be as disappointing as it was, but this with Jax—being in bed, tangled together and wanting each other—was normal. And I wouldn’t get any kind of normal, not with a guy like Jax. Not when he might’ve gotten over my jacked-up scar on my face, but hadn’t seen or felt the rest of me.
This wasn’t about having a low self-esteem, being inexperienced or weak or being too nervous to get na**d because I needed to drop twenty pounds. My body was wrecked. There was nothing attractive about it.
Drawing in several deep breaths, I forced the sting out of my eyes and the back of my throat. “This is what I’m about. Okay? So this isn’t going to happen.”
His dark brows rose.
Damn, he gave good brows.
I was distracted again. “I mean, you’re really hot. Don’t get me wrong. And I’m sure you know that, because there is no way you don’t know that.”
The corners of his lips started to tip up.
God, I needed to shut up. “And I’m flattered that you . . . um, that you like me, but that . . . it can’t happen. Okay? There’s no way. I’m not your type of girl.”
“How do you know my type of girl?” he asked, sounding genuinely curious.
I almost rolled my eyes. “I know. Trust me. And that’s okay. You’re nice and I appreciate everything you’ve done for me and are doing, but this . . . this isn’t going to happen. All right? You got that?”
He stared at me a moment, seeming to want to push the issue, but then he nodded slowly.
“Got it,” Jax said.
And then he grinned.
I didn’t think he got it at all.
Jax lived closer to the bar, in a neat and well-kept row of townhomes not even a mile outside of town. I hadn’t gone in when I’d dropped him off and I hadn’t hung around after he’d climbed out of my car. Having woken up the way we had and my subsequent freak-out had sent me clamoring for alone time.
Time where I could make sense of what Jax wanted and how he could want it. It shouldn’t matter. It would never be, but Jax was stunningly gorgeous. He couldn’t be hurting when it came to females willing to jump in bed with him. There was a crap ton of obvious reasons why I shouldn’t be anywhere near the top of his I Want to Hit It list.
God, there wasn’t enough time in the world for me to figure that out.
I actually hadn’t gone to the bar, either, when I’d dropped Jax off. That day I moved onto the shift that he worked and I didn’t have to go in until that afternoon. So I’d picked up just a handful of groceries that made me feel like I was going on a diet and then headed back to the house. During the day, I wasn’t too worried about junkies or crazy he**in drug lords, which was probably stupid, because it wasn’t like they were vampires and only came out at night.
Things were just scarier at night, and after my shift on Friday night—and after I made pretty decent tips, I would’ve dreaded going back to the house if I hadn’t been so damn tired. I’d stayed while Jax showed me how to shut down the bar, including how to close out the registers and cash out.
That entire shift he’d acted like nothing had happened between us that morning, like things were normal. Or at least what I thought was normal with him. He charmed and he flirted. For the second night in a row, he made a point of tying my apron when I worked the floor and his hands lingered on my hips, causing me to blush, but that was all.
I’d only made it to my car when I heard my name being called out. I turned, feeling my heart do a quick jump when I saw Jax.
“I’ll be right behind you,” he said, stopping at the side of his truck.