He doesn’t say anything but the pull between us is everything he doesn’t say. This can’t be a lie. How can anything this intense be a lie?
We settle into our seats and he laces his fingers with mine, his eyes locking with my eyes, and I feel this man in every part of me. I feel this man in ways I have never felt any other man, and I’ve only just met him. It’s actually quite terrifying at this point in my life, when I’m raw and vulnerable, even when I don’t want to be these things. He could hurt me. He could hurt my family if I let myself be stupid. I cut my stare and I can feel Jax willing me to look at him again, but I don’t.
In another two minutes at most, we pull into the Fairmont Hotel, one of the most luxurious hotels in the city, with views to kill for, and one of our competing hotels—a detail that draws attention to the divide between us. The car halts and Jax hands the man behind the wheel a large bill. This brings me back to Jax, and in a good way. It’s a reminder that he has money to blow, plenty of money and yet he is nothing like York. Nothing like York. Jax opens the door and steps out of the car, while the driver murmurs about a million thank yous. Jax catches my hand, easing me to my feet, and when I stand directly in front of him, the charge between us is electric.
Fear that I’m allowing my vulnerability to show has my gaze averted. It’s going to be hard enough to be alone in a room with him, and not show vulnerability. I don’t need to show it now. He strokes my hair and leans in close, his lips at my ear. “You don’t have to look at me for me to know you’re hurt and angry. I don’t want either of those things from you.” And with that, he kisses my temple, a tender act that I have never experienced. York was it for me, the one man I let close to me and he was never tender, not even before the money, before the change between us.
I’m melting again and therefore thankful when he steps us away from the door, shuts it, and then wraps his arm around me, walking us into the building.
The lobby is all shiny tiles, high ceilings and gorgeous seating in the center of a square room. The long check-in desk in a dark wood is to the left and we go right through a walkway of furnishings that lead to the elevators, towering ceilings steepling above us. I both dread and anticipate the moment we are inside the elevator, when I am captive and can’t hide what I feel, nor can I mask those emotions with words, for fear of being recorded or overheard.
It’s not a problem that proves a worthy one as we end up at a bank filled with people, the car loaded when it opens and loaded again as we enter with a hoard of people. What this does, though, is cram us against the wall, and Jax pulls me in front of him, his hand on my belly, my backside nestled to his hips. I can’t breathe and heat rushes through me, settling low in my stomach. He’s hard. I can feel the press of his cock against me. He wants me. I want him. But desire proves nothing. In fact, desire can be a product of the forbidden, and to him, wanting the daughter of a man he hated, has to be that and more.
The doors open and Jax catches the fingers of one of my hands with the fingers of his hand. We exit and he immediately pulls me under his arm while we start the walk toward his room. The hallway is narrow, the path long, and my heart is thundering in my chest. I should make him talk here, now, outside of his door, and yet, when we stop, I don’t speak. The truth is, I need that private one-on-one with him. I need to know the truth of how we came together and I need to be free to react how I need to react.
He swipes his key and pushes the door open. I enter and I want distance between him and me. I dart through a living room that is narrow but elite, expensive, a corner room wrapped in half windows with a stunning view of the city. I walk to that window, turning to face him, a telescope by my side meant to view the ocean and the city stretching for miles before us when I just want a view of the man before me, the one I want to know. The one I want to tell me what I need to hear right now when I’m not even sure what that might be.