“…doesn’t bother you she’s on holiday without you?”
“Who’s on holiday?” When Dane and Warren exchanged an odd look, Connor frowned.
Warren cleared his throat. “Anna.”
“Oh so it’s not some modelling job she’s away doing?”
“No,” said Dane. “A last minute booking wasn’t it, Warren?”
Dane folded his arms across his chest. “I’m surprised you didn’t go with her, even if three is a crowd.”
“Another time I will.” Warren sighed internally. He wasn’t going to pull this flippant act off, not while Dane, whatever his game was, seemed like he intended to let it slip to Connor that Jaxxon had gone with her.
“I wouldn’t like it if it was me,” said Dane gravely, shaking his head.
“It’s just a holiday, she’s not relocating.”
“Yeah but still…Just the idea of Niki that far away from me…I think I’d lose my head.”
“How far away are we talking?” asked Connor.
“France.” Warren internally winced as he realised he’d released a detail of the holiday.
Dane tskd. “It’s still a foreign country which means it’d too far away for my liking. Even worse, the French are supposed to be right smoothies. And women love those European accents, don’t they?” He sighed. “Personally, I’d be a paranoid wreck.”
“I trust Anna.” That hadn’t stopped him being worried though.
“Yeah, but do you trust the smoothies around her? That’s the question. You told me Anna loves her drink. One weak moment, one very smooth smoothie…” Dane jiggled his head. “At least she’s not on her own and there’s someone to make sure she’s got her wits about her.”
Connor was starting to feel as though he was missing out on something important.
“What about you, Con?” asked Dane. “If it was Jaxx, would you be alright with it?”
“Did I say you could call her Jaxx? She’s my Jaxx, she’s Jaxxon to you.” Then it occurred to Connor that Dane had spoken in a very odd tone. Suddenly, as snippets of the conversation flicked through his mind, it all came together. He took a deep breath, determined to maintain his composure. Then he slowly swerved his head to look at Warren who was looking awfully nervous and awkward. “Warren, who’s Anna on holiday with?”
“A mate,” he said flippantly.
“Would that mate be Jaxx?” His voice was deceptively patient. Warren’s twist of the lips and hesitation to speak told Connor what he needed to know. “When did they leave?”
“Monday morning? What, and you never thought to tell me?” When he heard Dane giggling quietly he turned on him. “You’ve known all this time as well, haven’t you.” The giggling stopped.
“No need to have a panic attack,” said Dane. “They’ll be back on this Monday coming.”
“Monday.” He couldn’t wait that long to see her. Nor did he want to. What he wanted to do was grab her, yell at her for sodding off like that and then shag her senseless.
Dane kept all amusement from his manner. “Now, see, you haven’t really got a right to go all nuts, have you? Okay so Jaxx – sorry, Jaxxon – didn’t tell you she was going on holiday. Should she have to tell someone who only shows up when he feels like shagging her?”
Connor knew what Dane was getting at and he knew he was right but it still didn’t take the sting away of her buggering off without a word. “Where in France?” he asked Warren.
“Oh I can’t pronounce it.”
Dane laughed. He had to admire Warren for his never-ending loyalty to Anna’s promise.
“Is it in the North, South, what?”
Warren scratched his head. “Um…”
“Is it near Paris?”
“I’m really not comfortable with these questions.”
Connor pinned Dane with his serious gaze. “You know where, don’t you?”
“Come on, mate, don’t get yourself all worked up. She’s probably not into the French accents.” It was killing him not to laugh. “It’s just the tourists you’ve got to worry about. You can’t blame them if they try sniffing around her. I mean, come on, you would have. Even believing she was in some high publicity relationship with an insane twat you’d have still tried your luck. I bet you’re glad you and her made that agreement about not shagging other people. Tell me, though, did you specify if kissing or touching or o*al s*x was allowed?” Connor growled. Dane faked a horrified gasp. “Tell me you definitely specified no anal sex.”
As much as Connor knew that Dane was trying to get a rise out of him, he couldn’t help but give it to him. The idea that she was so far out of reach… “How would you like it if it was Niki, eh? If I knew where she was and wouldn’t tell you?”
Dane smiled. “Ah, but Niki’s my wife. What is Jaxxon to you again?”
Completely exasperated by his two mates Connor dug the heels of his hands into his eyes. “Alright,” he bit out. “You’ve made your point, Dane.”
“And what point’s that?”
It made him ache to have to say this. “I haven’t got any rights over her and I haven’t got the right to know everything that goes on in her life. There. I said it. Now where is she?”
“I’m not so sure I’m comfortable passing on this information.”
“Not until I at least know what you’re going to do with it.”
“Only the same thing that you’d do if it was Niki.”
“Now hang on a minute,” Warren quickly interrupted. “You can’t go over there and butt in on their holiday.” But he saw by the determined expression on Connor’s face that that was exactly what he was planning to do.
“I’ll tell you what,” Dane said to Connor, “I’ll tell you where she is if you admit why it is you want to see her so bad.”
“This isn’t some game,” he retorted.
“If you can’t admit it to me, how are you going to admit it to Jaxxon? She doesn’t strike me as the type of person who’ll be okay with you turning up like that just for a shag or to prove the immature point that you can always find her. If she thinks that’s the kind of crap she’ll have to put up with she’ll end it right there. So, get some practice in, admit why you want to see her so bad.”
As a last ditch effort to finding out her whereabouts without putting himself out there, Connor looked at his other mate.
Warren shook his head. “I happen to agree with Dane.”
“Well?” Dane raised his brows, waiting.
Connor sighed. “Do you have to be such a twat?”
“It’s genetic, sorry. Do you want to know where she is or not?”
He slumped onto the couch and covered his face with his hand, sighing again. When he finally plucked up the nerve, he released his face. “I miss her, alright.”
“And not just shagging her?” Dane wanted Connor to hear himself say it aloud.
“No. Although I do miss that. I miss her. Happy now?”
“She’s gone skiing?”
“I’m not sure where exactly they’re staying, but Warren knows.”
Warren groaned. Why oh why did he mention the holiday to Dane? “Anna’s going to have my balls for this.”
Dane smiled. “Well it seems to me, then, that you should go with him. You’re both going to have a lot of explaining to do. Might be best to have each other to lean on for strength.”
Warren shook his head. “You’re loving all this, aren’t you?”
“I told the pair of you that I would get you back for the shite you pulled at my bachelor bash and my wedding night. Oh and let’s not leave out the stuff you put in the best man’s speech just in case Niki didn’t already know I’d been a bit of a slut in the past. Excuse me for finding some sweetness in revenge.” He smiled, unashamed. “Go on then, get your arses on a plane and go see your girls.”
At the risk of entering the world of stalking, Connor immediately booked a flight to take him to Jaxx.
Crap! Crap! Crap! The word circulated round Anna’s brain as she read the two text messages that Warren had left for her; the first was sent five hours ago with news of his and Connor’s upcoming arrival and the time of their flight. The next was to announce that they had arrived at France ‘safely’ – like she cared about that part – and would be there in something like forty-five minutes. He had sent the last one thirty-five minutes ago. If only she had checked her phone when she first got back instead of now just before they were going back out again!
Crap! Crap! Crap! To think she’d been worried about impressing Warren! It turned out that he was going to be the one having to do the impressing because unless he had some way of getting back in her good books she was going to do a Jaxxon on him: she was going to kick him in the balls.
Not five minutes ago Anna had been thinking about just how great Jaxxon was doing with some space away from Connor. The past few days had been such a laugh. Hitting the slopes. Going dog sledging. Almost getting concussion while ice skating. Drinking until all hours of the morning – well, that was mostly just Anna. Gulping down all that gorgeous French wine and cuisine. Abusing the hot tub and sauna. Trying to talk French and failing miserably. Not once had they mentioned the boys or anything else stress-related since they arrived. And now, thanks to the big gob on her boyfriend, the perfect holiday was going to be tainted.
“Have a guess who has left over a dozen messages on my phone,” said Jaxxon as she entered Anna’s room.
Anna’s eyes widened. “Saying what?”
“Just that he wanted to meet up, completely unaware that I’m not even in the country.” The thought of that made Jaxxon smile.
Anna winced. Crap! Crap! Crap!
“I’ll phone him after we’ve been to the restaurant. Come on or we’ll be late for our table.”
She considered telling Jaxxon about their soon-to-arrive visitors but if she did that then the person getting yelled at would be her rather than the two arses who were truly at fault – all she had done was trust her boyfriend with a secret.
Grudgingly Anna sent a message to Warren strongly advising him and Connor to unload their stuff while she and Jaxxon were out. She contemplated telling them to wait there at the challet but then decided it would be better for Jaxxon to first see Connor while they were out. Anna figured that Jaxxon might very well go ape shit so if things were going to be smashed she would rather it not be anything from their challet. And, who knows, maybe the fact that they were in a public place would make Jaxxon contain herself. Of course it wouldn’t.
Twenty minutes later they were at the front of the queue within the restaurant which was one big posh bugger in Jaxxon’s opinion. The walls and ceiling were covered with oak wooden slats. The floor was tiled in a colour closely resembling oak. It might have made Jaxxon feel like she was in a box if the ceiling hadn’t been so high. The fantastic part was that one side of the two-floored restaurant was all glass.
Anna tried not to fidget and squirm but how the hell was she supposed to remain calm?! Those two idiots would have unpacked their stuff at the challet by now and be here any minute. There could be bloodshed. She saw that while Jaxxon was busy admiring the interior, the maître d' was gaping at her in a way that suggested he knew who she was. Something like twenty seconds later they were seated at one of the best tables near the glass wall. Considering that their booking had been last minute, it was obvious that this table hadn’t been reserved for them. It was a circular table, she noticed. Good, because soon they’d be needing to cram two other people on it.
“I love it when that happens,” said Anna, referring to the special treatment. Even better, they were presented with a complimentary bottle of red wine when handed their menus. Immediately she poured herself a glass. She needed the calming effects of alcohol.
Jaxxon looked at Anna curiously. “Are you alright?” The girl was chugging down that wine like it was the drink of eternal life. Come to think of it, she’d been restless since before they left and had been nibbling on her lip like she did when she was dreading something.
“Of course, why wouldn’t I be?”
“Anna, what’s going on?”
“Just remember that I love the bones of you, I really do.” She poured herself some more wine. Holy Mary Mother of God keep her calm, I’m begging you?!
“Anna, make sense.”
“And don’t forget that violence doesn’t solve anything. Well, it doesn’t solve everything.”
“Why would I be inspired to become violent?” And that was when she felt it; that tingling down her spine as the hairs on the back of her neck stood on end. Ever so slowly she swerved her head. She vaguely registered that Warren was chatting to the maître d'. Most of her attention was taken up by the figure beside him that, as always, had the most overwhelming presence…and was staring right at her. An oppressive sensual hunger struck her and desire instantly began to course through her body, heating her blood and twisting her insides. Even while she was mad as hell at him, she wanted him. What cheesed her off more was that a part of her was glad to see him.
The instant Connor spotted her he felt like he could breathe again. The knot in his stomach untangled and the ache that had been throbbing in his chest for days stopped abruptly. But the throbbing in his pants didn’t ease one bit. In fact, it worsened as need assailed him violently. She was his addiction and going cold turkey had left him a mess. Seeing her eyes alive with fury only served to make his c*ck harder.