The thought of spending two whole days with Jax without worrying about the prying eyes of the world was thrilling. The thought of his future weighed heavily on his heart. For some reason he couldn’t explain, after years of working and planning and sacrificing for this very moment, he didn’t want to think about the promotion. Which made no sense, but he pushed the restless feelings aside. Right now he just wanted to enjoy today’s hard-earned verdict and the presence of the beautiful, amazing woman by his side.

Now was a time for celebration, and he wasn’t going to miss this opportunity with Jax.

“But, as this is my mother, her help comes with a cost, of course,” Blake continued. “We have to attend her friend’s fundraiser next week. A silent art auction.”

“Sounds simple enough.”

“Yeah,” he said skeptically. “That’s what has me worried. But I’ve decided not to look the gift horse in the mouth.”

“Good plan,” she said with a smile. “So what did you have in mind for this weekend?”

“A boat trip to the Keys,” he said. “There’s a beautiful little barrier island where I used to dive for lobster,” he said. “Very private. Gorgeous little bay. You game?”

The sound of Abigail’s voice from down the hall filled the air, and Jax sent him a small grin. “Will there be baked goods?”

The laugh that escaped Blake’s mouth was loud. “No baked goods.”

Her grin grew bigger. “Then count me in.”

* * *

Sprawled on her stomach next to Blake, Jax rested her cheek on her hands, the heat from the sun drying the salt water clinging to her body as she stared out at where aquamarine waters met cornflower-blue sky. The trampoline making up the rear of the catamaran doubled as a comfortable place to rest, the soothing sound of lapping waves lulling her into an almost blissful state of complacency. But despite their idyllic setting, which included a view of the white sandy beach of the tiny barrier island, Blake’s eyes and that beautifully sensual mouth showed signs of underlying strain.

Jax worried her lower lip, lost in thought.

In some ways, Blake was the most relaxed she’d ever seen him. Not a suit in sight, just bathing trunks or a breathtaking nakedness as he’d made love to her. And with his recent run of good news, not to mention all of the great sex, why was he looking so pensive?

Was he wondering how he’d wound up in a sexual relationship with a woman who didn’t fit his requirements? She’d never be considered sensible or practical. As a matter of fact, Jack had callously called her unstable. And she’d coerced Blake into defending her in court, so law-abiding was a bit of stretch, as well.

Jax let out a quiet sigh, hating the self-doubt. With each passing day, she knew she was at risk of falling too hard for him, the thought more than a little disconcerting. Perhaps now was the time for a little sleuthing.

She pushed aside the beach bag between them and scooted closer to Blake, propping her elbow on the trampoline, head on her hand. “What are you thinking about?”

Lying on his back, he looked up at her, and, after a brief moment, he reached out to brush back a wet strand of hair that clung to her cheek. A lazy grin spread across his lips, doing wonderful things to his handsome face.

But she could tell the smile didn’t quite reach his eyes....

“I’m wondering how long I have to wait before I get you naked again,” he said, eyeing the cleavage of her one-piece suit.

Predictably, heat flushed through her body in an oh-yes response, but she ignored it. “Nice try, Bathing Suit,” she said drolly. “I’m talking about the thoughts that are creating the tension around that skillful mouth of yours.”

“Maybe it’s just fatigue from making love to you.”

Her lips quirked, but she pushed harder. “Liar,” she said, because stamina wasn’t his problem. Something else was. And she needed to know that it wasn’t about her. “Try again.”

She met his cool gray gaze with a determined one of her own.

As if sensing there was no escape, he heaved out a small breath and turned his head to stare up at the sky. “I’m thinking about the promotion.”

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