He ignores me, but aims his finger at Louis. “You. Get the fuck out of here.”

Louis’s eyes dart sideways—not to me so much as to the car. Then he sort of crab-walks backward before stumbling to his feet and holding his hands up in supplication. “Hey, man, she—”

“Go,” Jackson says.

Louis obeys, racing across to the far side of the parking lot.

As soon as he disappears into the shadows, Jackson grabs my arms. He yanks me toward him, so close we are breathing each other’s air. He is vibrating with fury, and for a moment I can’t tell if he wants to kiss me or hit me.

He does neither.

I see the struggle play out on his face, and then he slams me backward against Louis’s car. “What the fuck are you doing?” he demands. “You want danger? Try me, Sylvia, because you have no idea how dangerous I can be.” He tightens his grip on my arms. “Or maybe you want anonymous? Me again—because if you think you know me, princess, I promise you don’t.”


“No.” He releases one hand long enough to run his fingers through his hair, then pushes roughly back from me, breaking our connection completely. I press my hands against the side of the car, forcing myself to stay put, to stay still. Because goddamn me all to hell, in that moment I truly don’t know if I want to slap the shit out of him or wrap myself in his arms.

“You really think you can come back after all this time and bat your lashes and have me fall backward over myself to help you out?”

“It’s not like that. I—”

“And for him—for Damien Fucking Stark? We’re done, princess,” he says, lifting a finger toward my face. “You told me to leave, sweetheart. And five years later you fall back into my life. And pretty goddamn dramatically, too.”

I lick my lips. “It’s just business.”

“The hell it is.” I hear the sharp edge of emotion in his voice, as dangerous as a well-honed blade. The fight is obvious on his face, as well, and I press back against the car, wishing I could disappear through the metal. He’s fire and fury, and I have no idea what he is going to do. All I know is that all that passion is directed toward me, and that no matter what happens, I won’t leave this parking lot unscathed.

I see it in his eyes first—a quick flash of wildness before his hand lashes out and his palm slams hard against the Lexus. Then he pulls me close, and I don’t even have time to think before his mouth closes over mine.

The kiss is violent. Wild and desperate. And when I gasp, he takes advantage, thrusting his tongue into my mouth as one hand holds my head and the other slides up my chest to cup my breast. He deepens the kiss, claiming me with such intensity that I know I would not be standing were it not for his hands upon me.

The thin material of my dress does little to hide the heat of his hand, and even less to hide my arousal. My breast is heavy and with every stroke of his thumb against my painfully erect nipple, I want to beg him to just pull the damn dress down and let me feel skin on skin.

He pinches my nipple even as he bites down on my lower lip, swallowing my cry of pain and longing. Then his hand slides lower and lower. He cups my sex, and I cannot help the whimper that escapes me. Jackson hears it, too, and breaks the kiss long enough to meet my eyes, his hot and hard.

Then his mouth finds mine again, and goddamn me, I don’t even protest for show. I take him, welcome him. I revel in the taste of him even as his hand urges my skirt up. Even as he finds my sex, hot and wet and throbbing with need.

There is no romance. There’s no tenderness. He roughly shoves my lace panties to the side, exposing my flesh to his fingers. He thrusts his fingers inside me, and I moan as my body clenches tight around him, wanting him deeper, wanting more. Wanting to get lost in this moment and cling hard to everything I am feeling, but know that I cannot have.

His fingers are slick when he teases my clit, playing and stroking, teasing me to the edge and back. My body is alive with electricity, sparks dancing over me, my lips tingling, my nipples hard and tight and so painfully aroused. I want his touch, I want him inside me.

I simply want.

“Now,” he growls, making me forget both fear and reality. “Dammit, Sylvia, you come for me now.”

I do. And when I shatter in his arms—when I spin out and explode into the light-splattered night—I can only wish that I could stay like this, lost in pleasure with this man. But I know better than to believe in wishes, and when reason returns to me, I lean back, once again relying on the car and not Jackson to keep me steady.

His eyes stay on me for an instant longer, but I cannot read his expression. Then he takes a single step back. “Goddamn you, Sylvia,” he whispers, holding his hands up as if in shock. “Goddamn you all to hell.”

Tags: J. Kenner Stark International Trilogy Romance
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