“Emma?”

I jerk my gaze back to his face instead of the rest of him, which works just fine since he’s now wearing his pants. “Yes?”

His lips, those perfect lips, quirk. “Do I pass inspection?”

“I didn’t finish the inspection. You put your pants on.”

His lips quirk. “Another reason to stay.”

“Yes,” I agree. “I do believe I need to finish what I started. Use the bathroom in my bedroom upstairs. The lights burned out in the one down here this morning.”

“Your bedroom it is,” he says, his eyes alight anew and he’s already walking toward the stairs.

I twist around to follow his retreat, watching all that muscle flex and move. The man is gorgeous. He also just had sex with the daughter of a man he hated, which reminds me of that anger in him when we’d first arrived; when we’d talked about the castle, his family castle, the one my father was secretly obsessed with, which still makes no sense to me. Why? I set that question aside with the memory of Jax inviting me to that very castle, almost as if he was baiting me. This unsettles me and I stand up, naked and aware of my nakedness this time, suddenly feeling exposed with Jax, vulnerable, when just a few minutes ago I felt a kind of kismet with this man. This is confusing—he’s confusing—and I find myself seeking out my velvet coat and pulling it around me like a robe, hurrying up the stairs to the loft-style upper level.

I step into the room as Jax exits the bathroom, his phone at to his ear. “What’s the address here, sweetheart?” he asks. “I’m having something delivered to cheer you up.”

Sweetheart.

He’s called me this, and baby, before and I can’t explain why, but this time feels different. It does though, gentler, more tender, and then there is the cheer me up thing. He wants to cheer me up, not just fuck me? The wind of confrontation is officially out of my sail. Confused all over again, I recite the address and walk into the closet, exchanging my coat for a pink silk robe before exiting to find Jax has returned to the bathroom. My gaze catches on my father’s journal where it lies on the floor beside a lounge-style chair, sitting beside my bedroom fireplace. I hurry forward, scoop it up and sit down on the lounger, the fluffy white area rug soft beneath my toes, when everything inside this journal is hard and unfamiliar, and yet somehow the man I both grieve and hate right now.

Jax re-enters the room, disconnects his call and sits down next to me, both of us on the same side of the lounger, our legs now pressed close. “I ordered ice cream from an all-night spot I found when I did my law internship here. A lot of ice cream because I don’t know what you like. Which brings me to my therapy recommendations.”

He ordered ice cream? I’m charmed but I home in on another part of the conversation. “Therapy? Did you go to therapy?”

“I am now. It’s a combination therapy. Ice cream and,” he leans in and kisses me, “you.”

“What about all that hate earlier?”

“I told you. I don’t hate you, Emma.” He kisses me again. “No hate. Just a lot of raw shit from losing my brother. You get that, I know.”

“Yes,” I say softly, my heart hurting for him and his loss. His brother was young and I don’t know that I know how he died, but there’s an edge to Jax that says now isn’t the time to ask. “You went to law school?”

“It felt like the best way to contribute to the business. Middle son and all. I felt a need to prove my worth.”

“I considered law school for the same reason, but for me, it was about being a girl. My father was old school. Men were stronger, better. More worthy.” I cut my stare. “How did we start talking about this? I don’t want to talk about him right now.” The phone on the wall by the door rings. “That’s security. They’re probably trying to clear the ice cream delivery.” I stand up and walk to the phone, answering to give clearance for the delivery. “Ten minutes,” I say. “They called the security desk.” I look down and realize I’m holding the journal. The journal of a man I idolized. The journal of a man Jax hated. The journal that says he might have a good reason.

“I’ll be right back,” I say, walking toward the bathroom before my emotions get the best of me.

I never make it. Jax catches my hand and turns me to face him. “What just happened?”

It’s the same question he’d asked me during sex, and like then, I don’t hold back. I’ve done way too much of that in my life. I’m not doing it now with Jax. “You hate my father.”


Tags: Lisa Renee Jones Naked Trilogy Erotic
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