"I was right," he purred seductively as he savored the juice. "Delicious."
My heart skipped. Oh no. I was starting to feel it: that inescapable pull, the sheer force of his sexuality unleashed on me through those dark, haunting eyes. Somehow the situation had turned dangerously flirtatious—exactly what I didn’t want to be doing if I wanted to have a job in accounting at the end of this tour.
"I—I really should get back to making buttons," I said, turning away. Taking one last bite, I tossed the pit in the trash, and went back to that dreaded machine. As I bent, trying to make sure I didn’t give Jax any more upskirt views, my shoulder twinged again. "Fuck!" I cried, bolting upright as the muscle cramp intensified.
His eyes narrowed as he stared my shoulder. "What happened? Are you still hurt from this morning?" His voice was heavy with concern, the flirtiness from before gone.
"No, it’s just this damn machine," I said, spinning my arm in slow circles. "It gets stuck, so I have to push it hard."
"Here, lay down." He gestured to the couch.
Feeling more achy by the second, I didn’t have much of a choice. I slowly eased myself down on the couch with his help. When I settled into a semi-comfortable position on my back, I looked up at him seated on the armrest. "Thanks."
"Don’t thank me yet," he said. His expression was unreadable as he swirled his finger. "Turn over."
My brows lifted. "And why would I do that?"
"So I can give you a massage."
Laughter burst from my lips, and I smiled. "Well, I gotta give you credit for your persistence. I appreciate the offer, but I’m already comfor—Ow!" My shoulder spasmed again.
Damn it. It was if my body was conspiring against me.
"Don’t be stubborn, Riley. You’re in pain. We’re both losing from this."
His tone—and the fact that he called me Riley instead of Pepper—made me think he was being serious. Still, I was wary about agreeing to receive a massage from him. A man who had clearly stated his intentions to pursue me. A man who could trigger an orgasm with a chorus.
I narrowed my brows. "How so?"
"You can’t do your job if you’re hurt, and if you can’t do your job, you can’t manage our finances."
Crap. He had a good point. "I’ll be fine," I mumbled.
"You said our relationship was going to be strictly professional, and that’s what this massage is. Professional. Trust me."
The ache began to worsen again and just looking at his beautiful face and hearing his deep voice was starting another ache of its own—this time between my legs. "Alright," I resigned petulantly, eager to move to a position where I wasn’t facing him. "Just don’t try anything fu—" Before I could finish, he gripped my legs and deftly flipped me over. It was a smooth move that left me wondering how the hell he was able to pull it off without hurting me.
Jax came around to my side and the next thing I knew, I felt light pressure through the back of my blouse, long fingers gently exploring the landscape of knotted muscles.
My eyes widened. Good lord, that feels good.
From the first touches, it was obvious he knew what he was doing. My body responded to him like clay in a potter’s hands. I found myself relaxing, the soreness fading fast.
His thumbs worked at a place in my neck where I’d ached ever since I got whiplash on a Tilt-a-Whirl when I was in high school. Jax may have had his faults—manwhore, arrogant, dangerous, to name a few—but being bad at massages was not one of them.
With one palm on each side of my spine, he folded his fingers together and made a sharp, quick motion. My neck cracked with a loud snap.
"Aaaah! Did you just break my neck?!" I cried. I reached to rub at the ache, expecting to feel a bone popping out the side of my neck only to find that my neck now bent more when I flexed it—and it didn’t hurt.
"Relax," he said in a low voice that seemed almost intimate. "This is just the beginning. I had to do that to loosen you up."
Finding nothing out of place, and in fact actually feeling much better, I settled my cheek back onto the leather cushion. He resumed kneading my back and shoulders, and it wasn’t long before I found my eyes closing and thoughts of the hectic day dissipating by the second.
"You’re holding your breath," he said softly as his fingers plied at sensitive muscle. "You need to relax."
I exhaled with control, becoming aware that his hands had moved to my lower back and that I’d been holding my breath ever since they got there. "I am relaxed."
"That’s better. Now you are," he said, pushing at a tender spot, making electricity jolt up my spine. It felt amazing and I bit my lower lip to prevent a sound from escaping. "You know . . ." he said softly, "moaning helps."
Eyes closed and feeling like jello, I managed a wry smile. "If you think I’m going to moan for you, I wouldn’t get your hopes up."
"You will," he said, so casually that it seemed trivial.
"I won’t," I responded, mimicking his tone.
He settled into a rhythm, kneading the muscles along my neck and working his way down my back, then starting at my neck again. Slow, languid movements. Soft but firm. Up. And down. Again and again.
"Little harder, right there," I breathed, as I felt Jax’s hand drift over a sore spot at the base of my lower back. He lifted the bottom of my blouse slightly and splayed his warm hands over the area, gradually increasing the pressure with the heels of his palms. I found little reason to resist and lacked the energy to as well. With the barrier between his hands and my skin removed, his touches felt twice as good.
"Harder," I insisted softly.
"Patience." He took his time, squeezing his thumb into the ache, steadily increasing the pressure and sending relief flooding through my body.
My fingers dug into the leather cushion. I arched into his palms, feeling the heat of his body spreading into mine. His hands were so big they could almost cover my whole back at once, and I squirmed against them trying to feel their radiating pressure.
I was vaguely aware of his muscular thighs straddling me as he leaned his body into the movements. I writhed beneath his touch, my heartbeat pounding in my ears. I couldn’t think of anything but sensation.
I felt something warm near my shoulder and realized it was his breath, hot and hungry and so very close. His mouth lingering inches away from my flushed skin, I trembled with a need that I knew better than to fulfill.