That I didn’t—know before.
I know things that I didn’t know when I read my father’s journal in the past. My mind jolts with realization. There was a passage that is in my mind now about a woman. Was that Jax’s mother?
I walk to my suitcase, go down on my knees beside it and pull out the journal from the side pocket. Opening it, I flip through the pages, but I’m struggling to find the spot. “Damn it,” I murmur because this feels important. What am I missing?
At the rich, deep timbre of Jax’s voice, I glance up to find him in the doorway, looking deliciously male in sweats that hug his powerful thighs and a T-shirt that sculps his perfect chest, his hair a blond mussed up, sexy mess; his blue eyes piercing. And as always, it seems, my heart skips a beat just seeing him. That’s the power of this man. That’s what he does to me.
“Hi,” I say, pushing to my feet, my cheeks heating with memories of last night.
“Hi,” he says, his eyes warm, the same memories inked in their depths, but then they lower to the journal and quickly lift, just a hint of that warmth fading. “And here I thought I’d get you for coffee before they did.”
I don’t have to ask who he means by “they.” He means our families. “I remembered something. I wanted to find a passage, but I can’t. There was something about a woman who meant nothing when I read it, but I thought now that I know what I know—what if that was your mother?”
He sucks in a breath and looks skyward, a muscle ticking in his jaw, and I am instantly living with regret again. We fucked away his immediate reaction to that DNA test, but we never really talked about how he feels. I should have talked to him about what he feels. I toss the journal back into the suitcase and cross to stand in front of him, wrapping my arms around him. “I’m sorry. I would love nothing more than to have coffee with you and to just forget all of this for as long as the Harvest lets you.”
His gaze lowers, and his hands come down on my waist. “Whatever you think he wrote about my mother, I don’t want to know.”
My heart squeezes. “Okay. Yes. I get it. Jax, I—”
He cups my head and kisses me, a deep tormented kiss that torments me right along with him, before he says, “I know you want this over and so do I. I get that, too, Emma. I do.”
“I know. I know you do. The thing with your mom—”
“The part where she most likely had an affair with your father? Or the part where my brother seems to have known and tried to shut the family out of the family business?”
“We don’t know that’s what was happening. My father blackmailed your clients. He probably blackmailed your brother, too.”
“Or not.” He takes my hand and kisses it. “Coffee.”
He’s done talking about his mother, and I don’t push him. Not now, not before he goes to the Harvest. He needs a break from this. I see that now. “Coffee,” I agree.
He surprises me then by adding, “Bring the journal and forget I said I don’t want to know. I need to know.”
He kisses me hard and fast. “I need to know.” He turns me around to face the suitcase and steps behind me, his big body framing mine, leaning in close to murmur, “Don’t make me spank you.”
My cheeks heat with the reminder of our erotic encounter last night, and I’m not so sure his threat is working. I think I liked it a little too much because yes, please. Spank me. “Emma,” he prods softly.
“Yes?” I ask, smiling but not looking at him.
“What are you thinking right now?”
“I plead the fifth.” I laugh and hurry forward to grab the journal.
He laughs low and sexy, and when I face him again, the look we share is scorching. “Careful, baby, or you might not get that coffee.”
I close the small space between us and push to my toes to kiss him. “For the record, I’m crazy about you, too, Jax North.”
He catches my lower back and molds me close. “Last night.”
“Last night.” His voice is low, rough, affected.
Heat radiates between us, and we say nothing more. We laugh. We laugh together. It’s one of those moments with Jax where everything is just so right. He catches my hand and kisses it again. “Coffee, baby.”
“Yes, please.” And with that, and what feels like a deepening intimacy between us, we head to the kitchen. It’s one of those moments when Jax feels like the answer to every question in my life that has ever needed answered. And yet, that clawing foreboding sensation roars to life once again.