He shook his head, smirking, and strands of his long dark hair fell across his face. "Hadn’t even occurred to me until now."
I looked into his eyes. "If I sleep here, we’re only sleeping okay? No games."
He didn’t say a word. He just sat up and slid a thick, downy blanket up over my legs. I hadn’t been tucked into bed in a long time, but when Jax did it, I felt somehow safe, protected. I couldn’t say no to that—and I didn’t want to.
"I wish your bed wasn’t so damned comfortable . . ." I said softly, my words fading as sleepiness took over.
A dim light overhead turned off with a gentle click.
"Good night, Riley," he said turning over on his side of the bed.
I clutched my pillow close as the room went black, realizing that Jax’s earthy scent lingered on it. In the pitch dark, I buried my face deeper and fell asleep to the soft, steady sound of his breath.
THE MILE-HIGH CITY
The faintest hint of sunlight woke me up the next morning. Feeling well-rested and alert, I rolled out of Jax’s bed while he continued sleeping. I admired him laying there for a moment. He looked so peaceful. It was almost hard to believe I was looking at the same guy who’d taken my bikini hostage yesterday morning.
I smirked and shook my head. I hadn’t really expected him to make a move on me last night, but I was somewhat surprised that he didn’t so much as put his arm over the pillow wall we had between us, or at least, I hadn’t noticed if he did.
I quietly slipped out of his room, went through my morning routine, and then grudgingly spent the rest of the day drowning myself in work in order to avoid thinking about my evolving feelings for Jax. Work provided a momentary distraction, but the second I stopped, my mind immediately went back to thinking about him. The only trouble was, I didn’t know what to think about him anymore. When I’d first met him, I’d thought he was only about rocking out and getting his rocks off. But after seeing a more down-to-earth side of him yesterday, I began to suspect he wasn’t just some sexy Siren who was constantly having backstage orgies. He might even be someone I could actually fall for.
It didn’t help that my physical attraction to him hadn’t lessened since we’d first met. If anything, it had grown, and now that I was sleeping in his bed, a part of me was afraid of what might happen in a momentary lapse of self-control. Ever since that massage he’d given me, I’d been more than a little sexually frustrated, throwing myself into work to try to keep myself distracted. It helped a bit.
Hours passed as I worked. We’d been halfway through Nebraska when I started, and by the time I paid any attention to the passing scenery, the flat plains had given way to rolling foothills—we were well into Colorado. The bus had made stops here and there for the band to get legal pot, but I didn’t pay too much attention, since I didn’t intend to smoke on the job.
Cramped from sitting on the second-floor couch all day, I was stretching out my arms and legs when I heard footsteps bounding up the stairwell.
One by one, Chewie, Sky, and Kev filed through, their arms loaded with brown bags. From the Christmas-morning looks on their faces, I could tell they were eager to unwrap their presents.
"Oh man, Riles, you totally missed out," Chewie said, lifting up his shades to look at me. "We’ve got enough stash to last a lifetime."
"Or just a typical day in your life," Sky said, jokingly slapping him across the chest.
I smiled. "Sounds like it was a blast." Returning to the budget tables on my laptop, I couldn’t help but feel a little jealous. I would’ve loved to check out the shops, just to see what they were like and say I’d been in them, but unfortunately work came before fun.
While Kev rummaged around in the fridge grabbing bottles of beers, Sky slid a record from its cover and placed it on the stereo system. She handed the album cover to Chewie, who plopped down on the couch opposite me and immediately went to work breaking up a variety of weed strains on the album cover and then rolling it all up into a blunt.
"Time to hotbox this whole floor with the dankest nugs the fine state of Colorado has to offer," Chewie said as he lit up the blunt and puffed on it.
I reluctantly turned down a beer from Kev since I wasn’t quite done with my work yet, and I scrambled to finish my lingering tasks as the room quickly filled with a murky marijuana haze and the bombastic rock of the Black Keys. I looked up at them. "Can you guys do me a favor and give me any receipts you have if you’re using band funds? It’ll make my job a lot easier."
"No sweat, Riley, consider it done," Sky replied sweetly.
Chewie held up a blunt that was as thick as a magic marker. "You know that smoking some of this sticky icky will make your job a whole lot easier too, right?"
I laughed at the generous offer. "Thanks, but maybe some other time. You guys can roll papers down here, but I gotta unroll spreadsheets upstairs."
"Suit yourself, more for us," Chewie said. He had a big cheesy grin as he puffed away.
I shut my laptop and headed to the sundeck. Opening the door, I was greeted by the shining sun and a cool breeze—just the type of fresh air and silence I was hoping for.
"Just can’t get enough of me, can you?"
The deep, flirtatious voice caught me by surprise. I turned and saw Jax standing where the side-railing met the bar. Wearing a black v-neck and black jeans, he looked unusually relaxed in the middle of the day, slouching against the bar with a drink in one hand. The band had a show tonight and Jax was usually in a serious mood on show nights, while the rest of the band was usually already in party-mode.
"Yeah right," I said coolly, used to deflecting his teasing by now. "You wish."
"Yet you’re here. And I’m here."
"It’s a coincidence. Your bandmates were smoking up a storm and I just came up here to get some fresh air."
"Ah yeah. That sounds like them." He nodded slightly and took a long sip.
"Sure you don’t want to join in the fun with them?" I asked.
He finished his drink, looked down into his ice-filled glass, and shook his head faintly. "Not really in the mood right now."
Jax seemed off his usual game. I wondered if he came up here to be alone.
"Do you want me to leave?" I asked, taking a step toward the door.
He waved away my question and rattled the cubes in his glass. "Want a drink? I’ll fix you one."