He was beginning to think he’d be better off with her in his bed every night. At least then he wouldn’t be constantly questioning his one-night-only rule.

Brow bunched in doubt, Blake paid for his sandwich and headed for a table. When the pretty, blond attorney from the civil division sent him a tentative smile, a welcoming look in her eye, and he felt absolutely no inclination to even chat with her, he knew he was in more trouble than he’d thought.

Because the sleek, polished beauty paled in comparison to the wild, reckless charm of Jax.

Blake carried his sandwich past the blonde’s table, pretending he was interested in one of several TV monitors blasting the midday news. But he didn’t care about the current footage of a chanting, discontented crowd, too distracted by the possibility of renegotiating his initial plan. Maybe he could do his job and still spend a little time with Jax? Maybe he would be more efficient if he wasn’t constantly wondering when he’d see the little hellion on heels again? And he was perfectly capable of—

“Hey, Blake,” one of the boys from the narcotics division called out. “Isn’t that your sister on the TV?”

Heart plummeting like a dropped concrete block, Blake shifted his eyes back to one of the flat-screens.

And there, in the middle of a well-attended protest—under the watchful eye of a line of police—stood his sister holding a poster, her arms resting on her crutches. The dragon on her cast now elaborately breathed out a whoosh of fire that extended to her toes.

And standing beside Nikki, mouth clearly cheering along with the crowd, was Jax.

Blake’s jaw clenched and his grip on his sandwich grew tight, sending blobs of chicken salad plopping to his plate. His heart picked up speed as he stood, his chair scraping loudly against the tile, and tried to decide who he was going to kill first.

Nikki...or Jax?

EIGHT

Jax had been summoned to appear before a judge before and had handled that with a bit of composure, so why was she letting her upcoming meeting with Blake get to her? Regardless, her heart picked up speed as she drew nearer to his home office. Hoping for the best.

Expecting the worst.

They had just been winding up their day at the protest when Blake had shown up, his disapproving expression hard, his grim, lawyerly attitude firmly in place. He’d said little as he’d calmly, coolly, but with the deadliest voice imaginable, informed them that it was time to go home. Not wishing to tire out Nikki, Jax had been ready to take his sister back to the house anyway. But based on the general principles of freedom and democracy—and all those other truly elusive

ideals—Jax had considered telling him no. Something in his gaze made her, for once, hold her tongue.

His gray eyes had resembled the color of steel, the memory distracting as she’d come home and assisted Nikki with her technically challenging daily bath, helping to shampoo the morning’s road dust from the brunette’s hair. As she’d settled Nikki by the pool with her ereader, Blake had passed by, shooting Jax a curt “Meet me in my office when you’re done,” his tone sending anxious ants crawling up her spine. Nikki’s whispered words—“I’ll give you an hour and then come search for your dead body”—had hardly helped Jax’s confidence, either.

So Jax had returned to her guesthouse for a quick shower and change of clothes. Because no way was she going to go toe-to-toe with power-suit-wearing Blake while sporting a T-shirt sticky with dried sweat and reeking of car fumes.

Needing the courage of a good butt-kicking country tune, but knowing a soundtrack wasn’t an option for the upcoming scene with Blake, she’d pulled on her cowboy boots instead. Now, in clean cutoffs, every step brought Jax closer to Blake’s office, making her heart thump harder as her heels clomped down the hallway. She took comfort in her cotton T-shirt with the reassuring image of the original queen of the divas, Aretha Franklin. When she reached the doorway, she paused to take in the room. The Italian tile was a soothing mocha color, and that, combined with the hunter-green walls and rich leather furniture, created a very masculine atmosphere. Pristine and immaculate and oh-so-Blake.

And Jax was growing tired of waiting for the man to decide he wanted her again.

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