Because he wanted her with an ache that couldn’t be appeased by his own hand.

She shot him a concerned look. “But you can’t let that one tragedy ruin your life twice.” Her gaze was earnest. “You have to bounce better than that.”

He bit back a smile, amused by her chastising words, and he was suddenly overcome with the need to touch her...so he shoved his hands in his pockets.

She must have read his mind because, when their gazes met and held, the moment was filled with more than just two people discussing their priorities in life. It was filled with an awareness of the promise in their aborted kiss, and his body tightened in response.

“Your hair is damp at the ends,” she said softly.

Hell, don’t look at me like that, Jax.

His voice sounded too husky. “I ran on the treadmill when I got home and needed a shower.”

But he’d needed the shower for more reasons than just the one....

“And yet you couldn’t throw on a pair of shorts?” she said.

He hoped his tone masked his growing tension. “These were handy.”

Because when he’d heard her guitar, he’d been in too much of a hurry, grabbing the closest items.

“Well, you’re not in the courtroom, Suit,” she said, stepping forward to touch the collar of his shirt, and his heart tripped and landed with a jolt. “If you don’t have time for your boat, you can at least relax and unbutton more than just the top button.”

The tangle of desire, the one that had permanently set up residence in his gut since meeting Jax, unfurled, twining tenaciously around his every cell.

The warm sea breeze carried the scent of strawberries, and her proximity made logic impossible, his chest tight. He wanted the woman who took life by storm. He wanted the woman who planted unvirgin-like kisses on a man who’d passed on every chance to kiss a woman for six months. Until Jax. He wanted Jax and...

That was all. He wanted Jax.

And he wasn’t strong enough to wait.

Decision made, hands still in his pockets, Blake maintained her gaze as the hum of awareness buzzed louder in his head, drowning out any lingering doubts.

His voice was gruffer than he’d planned. “Why don’t you take my shirt off for me?”

The full moon lit the desire that flared in her eyes, sending an explosion of heat ricocheting through his body. It was almost a relief to meet the expectant air head-on. Blake concentrated on the feel of Jax absently rubbing the silk collar, the way she was looking at him melting him from the inside out. Their kiss on the boat hung in the air between them like unfinished business. Everything about their relationship felt like unfinished business. The attraction in the limo. Jax perched on his desk and driving him mad with want. In his car, touching his mouth. And then, of course, there was today by the pool.

And each time had twisted Blake’s need tighter. Despite his earlier efforts, he feared one touch would release the pent-up energy and send him spinning out of control.

Jax lifted a brow with a look that was almost a reprimand. “Is kissing allowed now?” she asked. She took a step closer, and her voice dropped. “Because you need to make up your mind and be consistent. Otherwise I can’t keep up with all of your rules.”

Heart tripping faster than he’d thought possible, he looked down at her, fighting the need to jerk her into his arms. Elbows tight by his sides. Hands burrowed in his pockets. The Rolling Stones logo stretched across the tempting expanse of her left breast, making resistance difficult to maintain.

“Since when do you care about rules?” he said.

“I don’t,” she said, fingers toying with his top button. “I’m just trying to keep up with your ridiculous list.” She stared at him, her eyes scorching. “So why don’t you tell me what’s on your mind.”

The look on her face was all fire and heat, while his libido strained on his self-imposed leash. Every molecule in his body had been preoccupied with thoughts of taking her since his fingers had first closed around her wrist in the limo. And take her he would, but they had a few things to discuss first.

Heart pumping hard in anticipation, he laid out all the internal arguments he’d been wrestling with since the moment they’d met. “I never sleep with women I’m involved with professionally. And before I enter any relationship, I give it careful consideration. I think long and hard about compatibility.” God knew he couldn’t afford another woman in his life that needed bailing out of trouble. He needed someone sensible. Rational. “That usually requires a three-month getting-to-know-you period. And...” He paused for effect and held her gaze, needing to lay out his case very clearly. If he was going to be selfish, he needed her to know where he was coming from. “And I don’t do one-night stands.”

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