Page 52 of Claimed (For Her 3)

Maybe if I say it enough, it will be true.

Chapter Twenty-Four


Jay

I snuggle deeper into Jordan, my head resting on his shoulder. My hand is on his bare chest, our fingers twined together. One of my legs is thrown over his hip, and I soak up all his warmth.

“I love waking up like this,” he says.

I couldn’t agree more. I’ve never slept better than I do with him. Each night my mind would race with things I needed to get done. Sometimes I’d even wake up in the middle of the night and do the thing I was so worried about. But not when he’s in bed with me. He’s all I can think about, and now when I wake up in the middle of the night, it’s because he’s making love to me.

“Me too.” My voice is still full of sleep.

“Maybe we should paint this room lavender.”

I open one eye at his words and look around a little. “You want to paint your room purple?” I laugh.

“Our room,” he corrects, making me smile. “I want this to feel like your home, too. Your living room was lavender. I want you to love it here.”

“I don’t care where I live, as long as I live with you. And as long as you keep waking me up like you did this morning.” I wiggle, rubbing my naked body against him.

“I’d do anything to keep you here, so you’ve got yourself a deal.” He strokes my ring finger gently, making my heartbeat pick up. Then he rolls us over, positioning himself on top of me.

“I want you again,” he says against my mouth, already sliding into me.

I moan against his lips, wanting him too. I always want him. I will forever.

“Food!” I hear a shout, and it jolts me awake. My eyes fly open, and I look around, shocked. The sight that greets me makes me remember where I am. Not at home in the arms of the man I love, a place I may never be again. I blink a few times, trying to clear my eyes to see better in the darkness. I hear the door to our cell clang shut, and the lock clicks into place.

“I don’t want to eat it,” Summer mumbles, her head still in my lap. I have my back in the corner of the room, and I’m sitting cross-legged. I no longer feel groggy, but the concrete wall is doing a number on my back. At least my head isn’t throbbing anymore.

“Scared it’s not vegan?” I try to tease her. I don’t want her to start crying again. As much as she can drive me crazy, I never want to see her cry.

“Ha ha,” she says, rolling over to her other side, pulling her legs back into her chest and making herself into a ball. It’s a little chilly in here, and she doesn’t have much on but a tank and a pair of shorts. I rub my hand up and down her arm, trying to make sure she stays somewhat warm.

“I love you,” she says, taking me by surprise. “You always took better care of me than Mom and Dad.” I’m taken aback by her words. My eyes water, the emotions of the day weighing heavy on me. “I know I can drive you crazy, I just—”

“I love you, too,” I tell her, cutting her off. Coming from a home where your parents are all about the free love, saying “I love you” to each other isn’t that big. “To be honest, I thought I drove you crazy, too. Especially when we were little,” I admit.

“Remember when Mom got those chickens?” Summer says with a small sad laugh.

“How could I forget? She kept them in the house.” I want to be mad remembering it, but looking back now, I’m about to laugh, too.

“You ran around like crazy trying to clean up after them.”

“God, that was a nightmare.” I couldn’t keep up with those chickens.

“A funny nightmare. You said you were going to cook them.” Her tone is accusatory.

“Sorry about that.” I shake my head. I wasn’t really going to cook them, I was just annoyed. I’d keep putting them outside, and my mom would keep letting them in. “You lost it when I tried to cook their eggs. You ran around screaming and crying, saying, ‘There are baby chickens in those!’”

We both smile for a moment. “Like the adult, you went outside and spent two days turning that old shed into a place for those chickens to stay.”

“I wasn’t going to let us all live in chicken shit,” I say, shrugging.

“Yeah.”

“You painted flowers and rainbows on the outside. You made it look pretty.”

“I should have helped you build it. Not sit outside and doodle when you were doing the hard work. Like always.”

“You were doing what you do, and I was doing what I do.” My own words hit me.

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