“With pleasure,” he says and then adds, “After you get those drugs out of your system.”
Sitting here next to him, in the intimate room, his arms around me, I have that coming home feeling again and a suggestion. “I’m pretty sure an adrenaline rush will help get the drugs out of my system, too.”
He gives a low, sexy laugh. “As much as I want to go with your way of thinking, it could also be the reason you crash. Eat, baby. Like I said, we have a lifetime if I get my way. Get comfortable.” He shifts and drags my foot over his lap, pulling off my shoe.
I laugh. “Are you really taking off my shoes so that I can eat?”
“You bet I am.” He pulls off the second as well. “Making room for the calories.”
I crinkle my nose. “In my feet?”
“The best place to wear them, right?” he teases. “Stuff your face, baby, and fall asleep.”
“Take your shoes off, stuff your face, and fall asleep with me.”
“Deal,” he says, winking, and moving away to the side of the bed to remove his boots.
I’m smiling when he returns and starts pulling the lids off a ridiculous amount of food. “You know I can’t even begin to eat a tiny portion of any of this.”
“I can,” he assures me, which has me laughing. Laughing feels good. We feel good, and I need this and him, right now, more than I think I realized. Beneath the surface, contained but clawing, are my emotions and the distinct imprint of fear. Someone could come for me again, and I’m not sure how to deal with that.
“You okay?” Jax asks, his finger brushing my cheek. “What just happened?”
I blink. “Happened? Nothing. Nothing. I’m just glad you’re here.” I kiss his cheek. “Really glad you’re here.”
He cups my face and kisses me. “I’m not going anywhere and neither are you.”
“With all that I am.” He smooths my hair behind my ear. “Eat, baby.”
I nod and soon that clawing feeling is smothered in cheese, pasta, and all kinds of yummy food, all made better by conversation and more laughter. We talk, but we don’t talk about the hell around us. We talk about our Thanksgiving feast. We talk about a tree the size of a house. For just a tiny little moment in time, we share a meal and leave everything else in another place, a dark hole, where we don’t dare travel.
Turns out, my stomach approves of the chocolate cake Jax ordered over my mac and cheese, while Jax approves of his burger in a big way, downing it quickly. “I have one bite of cake left,” I say. “You want it?”
“Since it was my cake, yes.” He leans in and takes the cake off my fork, and when he looks at me, the heat between us has turned chocolate cake into an aphrodisiac. Or maybe, it’s just Jax. A man who now owns more than my body. He owns my heart.
“Time to sleep,” he says, pulling me down on the mattress, stroking hair from my face. “And we’re keeping our clothes on or I can’t be responsible for my actions.”
“Let me be responsible for your actions.” My hand slides under his shirt and hot, taut skin and flexing muscle is my reward for my boldness.
“Oh no, baby. Not until you rest.” He shifts us, and suddenly, my back is to his front, and he’s wrapped around me.
“This is so not fair,” I whisper, though the feel of his big body hugging mine isn’t exactly a bad thing.
“Punish me later,” he murmurs.
“Challenge accepted,” I say, but even as I do, I nuzzle in closer to him, the safe cubby hole he’s created for me offering welcomed warmth on a day filled with cold reality.
“I love you, Emma,” he whispers near my ear, his warm breath mixed with his words, lifting goosebumps on my skin.
I catch his hand and lace my fingers with his. “I love you, too, Jax,” I say, a tiny smile on my lips as I lower my lashes and drift into a blessed slumber.
The hotel phone on the nightstand wakes me from a deep slumber, but Emma literally doesn’t move. I quickly shift and disconnect the call, pulling a blanket over Emma and checking the time to find it’s now six pm. Easing slowly off the bed, as not to wake Emma, I grab my boots and walk into the living room and pick up the phone on the desk.
“You called?” I ask when the front desk answers.
“You have a package, sir.”
“I’ll pay a healthy tip to have it brought to me,” I say, unwilling to allow Emma to wake up alone.
I text Savage while I wait: You up?
He calls me. “Up like a hurricane,” he says, whatever the hell that means. I sit down on the couch, and he launches into an update. “No electronic proof that Emma’s mother contracted a hit out on Hunter. No electronic proof of York, or anyone who visited or communicates with York, hiring a pro to kidnap Emma. Though I have to add that, in prison, there are ways to reach those pros and avoid a fingerprint.”