My hands come down on her hips. “Believe it, baby.” I lean in and kiss her belly, a tremble sliding through her as my gaze lifts and collides with hers. And holy hell, there it is again. That punch I feel when I look at her. And holy hell again, there goes my phone ringing for a second time. I grimace and fight the urge to throw it across the damn room. I lean in to lick Emma, and she catches my shoulders. “Before you do what you’re about to do and make me not care anymore, answer the call, Jax. What if it’s Savage or your brother, and they show up here?”
My jaw clenches with how damn right she is, and I squeeze my eyes shut. My phone stops ringing, but this time, it starts all over again immediately. I lean in and lick Emma’s clit, making damn sure she knows where my mouth plans to be and soon. She sucks in a breath, and it about kills me to leave her like that. Forcing myself to stand up, I kiss her hard and fast, my legs shackling her legs. “That was to make sure you stay ready for me.” My phone has stopped ringing and started yet again, and with a curse, I reach in my pocket and pull out my phone to find Savage’s number. “You were right,” I say, glancing at Emma. “It’s Savage.” I punch the Answer button. “This better be good.”
“Your fucktard of a brother parked down the road at some giant ass tree and got out. He’s standing there doing nothing. For like half an hour now.”
My jaw clenches, and I push away from Emma, giving her my back, emotion punching at me. The tree my mother took us to when we were kids. Damn it to hell. I know what that spot means to him. I know what it means to me. What it meant to Hunter before he ended up in the damn ground.
“Just make sure he doesn’t get back into the castle,” I bite out. “And don’t call me unless he shows back up here.” I hang up and shove my phone back inside my pocket.
I place my hands on my hips and suck in a breath, looking skyward and forcing back the clawing sensation that doesn’t want to let go.
“What just happened?” Emma asks from behind me, and I turn to find her grabbing her skirt.
That’s all it takes to jolt me back to the here and now. “Oh no,” I say, closing the small space between us, and in a quick move, I pull her close and throw her skirt to die on the floor with my jacket. “You aren’t getting dressed. In fact, you still have on too many damn clothes.”
“What just happened?” she repeats.
I’m not about to tell her that my brother is lurking nearby, not after he pulled that crap tonight. My fingers slide under her hair, and I lean in close. “We were interrupted needlessly,” I say. “That’s what happened.”
“Talk to me,” she says. “I mean if you want to. I feel—”
“Good. Really fucking good, which is why I’m doing this.” I pick her up and throw her over my shoulder. She yelps again, so I smack her bare butt once more.
“Jax! My God, what are you doing?”
“Making sure you don’t get dressed,” I say, starting up the stairs, my fingers flexing on her backside. “I may never give you your skirt back.”
She laughs, a sweet, beautiful laugh that I feel in my groin and chest. “You’re crazy, Jax.”
For her, I think, which is why I don’t stop walking. I keep climbing until we enter the kitchen, a room with low beams, and a long stone island that my mother loved like she loved that damn tree. The pans dangling above it, hers. They’re still her damn pans. Why haven’t I replaced the pans? But I know why. They represent memories. So many fucking memories. Memories tearing me apart right now. And memories are all I have left of her, but Emma, Emma is here now, and I want her to stay here, so I walk under a stone archway and up another set of stairs, toward my bedroom.
We’re both laughing when Jax sets me down at the end of a bed, on top of a soft rug in the middle of a dimly lit bedroom, his hands at my waist steadying me; a narrow fireplace that covers most of a wall glows to life. Beyond that, I see nothing else about my surroundings. My eyes are on Jax—on this man who seems to consume me as easily as he draws a breath. Our eyes collide, and just that easily, our laughter fades, something hotter and far more turbulent brewing between us.
I press my hand to his chest. “What happened down there?”