Sucking in a breath, she hastily tossed her pajama top on, ensuring it covered every inch. Her wet skin molded the cloth to her body. As the pounding escalated, she jerked the towel from the bar and wrapped it around her waist.

She opened the door a crack, lifting her chin and meeting Blake’s thunderous expression with as much cool as she could muster. Guilt and a self-directed anger were stamped on his face. He took one look at her, swore and began to pace the hallway. Oddly enough, the vision brought a serenity she hadn’t thought possible.

Because someone needed to remain calm, and, for the first time, it looked as if Blake Bennington wasn’t capable.

And she’d been right. He wore briefs, the fabric stretched tight across a mouthwateringly firm, very taut backside. Her body throbbed with memory, and when he pivoted to pace back, she forced her gaze to his face. This conversation was too important to gawk like a schoolgirl.

Do not look down, Jax. Do not look down.

Shoving a hand through his hair, he stopped short and raked his eyes down her form, as if checking for wounds. But those were well healed, thank you very much, and had nothing to do with the awkwardness now.

“I’m fine,” she said in her most reassuring voice. “I shouldn’t have walked away. I’m sure you could have done without all the melodrama. So I apologize.” She pushed the door open the rest of the way and leaned against the bathroom doorjamb. No man should have to deal with all of her crazy. “You deserved better.”

The height of his eyebrows was almost comical. “What are you talking about?” He threw out his hand, gesturing toward her bedroom door. “For God’s sakes. You should have been made love to in a bed.”

“I liked our circumstances.”

Dark was good. Clothed was perfect.

He ignored her response. “If anyone deserved better, it was you.”

She crossed her arms. “I was getting exactly what I wanted. Why did we have to stop just when we were getting to the good stuff?” She let out a wistful sigh. “I was having a pretty nice time until you decided to freak out on my behalf.”

Blake’s eyes went wide. “A nice time?” he said. “You were wincing with the pain.” He folded his arm across his bare chest, and Jax forced herself not to ogle the man with the well-muscled torso and iron-hard thighs on display.

He enunciated each word clearly as he said, “And I did not freak out.”

“Well, I wasn’t wincing with pain,” she said. He tipped his head and shot her a you’re-lying look. “Okay, I’ll admit I was wincing a little with pain,” she went on with a resigned sigh, stepping closer as she met his gaze. “But it also felt good.”

The pause was heavy, and she knew Blake still wanted her. She could see it in his eyes.

But the overly responsible man couldn’t seem to let go of his guilt. “And it could have felt even better if I’d known you weren’t kidding about being a virgin,” he said. “I would have slowed down.” His voice shifted lower. “I’d have chosen a position that might have been a little easier on a first-timer’s body.”

Ignoring her own throbbing need, she sent him a small smile. “I liked that position,” she said, pleased when a flicker of heat reappeared in his eyes.

“It was too much for you,” he said softly.

Her heart sounded loud in her ears. “Why don’t you let me be the judge of that?”

The four-heartbeat pause lasted forever.

Until he said, “So...what do you want?”

She studiously ignored the masculine cut of his body that had driven her to such a state of distraction that she, for once, had been too caught up in the pleasure to pull away. The sprinkling of dark hair on his chest was the perfect accompaniment to the well-defined abs, tanned skin stretched over the hard plane of chest that tasted as good as it looked.

And, for as long as she lived—no matter what came next—she’d relish the memory of Blake coming unglued and driving into her with a passion that was electrifying.

Her need shifted higher. “I want to finish what we started.”

The fire in his eyes returned with a vengeance, stealing Jax’s breath.