This is not what I expect from dominant man like Jax. Do I want to get on a plane and escape with him? Yes. Yes, I do, but Jax still has a connection to York that feels risky to me. So do I want to go to my apartment, in a building where my brother lives and every good memory of my father died with the revelations of his true self? No, but it’s the smart decision, the one that offers me control.
“My place is only four blocks and two monstrous hills away. We can go there.” I don’t offer time for debate. I call out the address to the driver, who lifts his hand in confirmation. “It’s nearby,” I say as if that explains everything. As if I’m saying “I can’t wait to get you naked” and well, I can’t. I don’t want to give him the chance to be another York. I don’t want to give him a chance to be anything, and yet somehow, some part of me knows Jax is not that simple to understand. There is no black and white with this man.
He studies me, something dark and hard in his gaze that feels out of place in this moment, and yet still sexually charged. I want to understand that something dark and hard, but he leans forward to speak to the driver, and I have the distinct impression it’s so that I can’t read him. This bothers me. It bothers me in ways I don’t expect to be bothered. Perhaps it’s paranoia. Perhaps it’s more, but my thoughts are shut down short again as my cellphone rings, my spine stiffening with the sound. I don’t even have to look to know who is calling.
Certainly, it could be my brother, but it won’t be. It’s York. Digging my phone from my purse, I glance down at the screen and confirm York as my caller. Just knowing that he’s back to pursuing me twists me in knots, and I’m not sure my apartment is the right choice. What if he shows up? I decline the call and Jax settles back beside me, and already we’re moving, less than five minutes from my building.
I don’t look at him, my mind racing with the possible ways this could turn on me. My damn phone starts ringing again and I want to turn it off. I do, but I can’t. I really can’t. There are reasons I can’t, even outside of York.
At the soft, but insistent prod in Jax’s voice, I hit the decline button on my phone again and look at him. “Yes?”
“Take the call.”
There is a tight quality to his voice as if he knows who this is, and is not pleased. On one note, I’m certainly happy he isn’t pleased, simply because it lends to the idea that he and York are not aligned. On another, this is awkward. The ringing starts again and I concede to the inevitable, “I’ll be quick. ” I hit the answer button. “Yes?”
“I’m on my way to your apartment.”
I want to shout. I don’t. “Do you like hallways? Because that’s all that’s waiting on you there.”
“Is that really how you want to play this?”
I open my mouth to tell him that I’m not his booty call, but the idea of Jax hearing that doesn’t please me. “I’m hanging up and turning off my phone.”
He snorts. “We both know you won’t turn off your phone.”
I hang up and I block his damn number, which is long past due, before sliding my phone back into my purse. “See?” I ask lightly, if not a bit high-pitched. “Off in one block with a block left to travel.”
“How long has York wanted to fuck you?” Jax asks.
The question, direct and crass, actually delivers relief. If he knew who and what I am to York, he wouldn’t have asked that question. I don’t even care that we have a driver. I whirl around and face him, meeting his now cool blue stare. “He already did. We were engaged.”
His eyes flicker and darken all over again, unmasked displeasure in the depths of his stare. “You were engaged to York Waters?”
“When I was stupid despite being in an elite college. It was years ago. He was—I thought he was the answer to every problem I had at the time. Instead, he now represents every mistake I’ve ever made wrapped up in one human being. So, did he fuck me? In so many ways you can’t even imagine, and I didn’t even have to be naked for about half of them.”
Those words are my confession that I didn’t mean to make, that I hate that I made in front of the driver. The vehicle stops at my building.
Jax doesn’t react, doesn’t move. He’s stone, his eyes searching my face, and I can almost see where his mind is traveling. He knows what happens on those special cruises York charters, he knows what York is all about, and now he thinks he knows me.