And I’ll turn into a stark raving mad man. “I want to give you everything,” I say, evenly as possible. “Home, comfort, safety. Everything you see behind me.” Deliberately, I let my tone drop way down. “Baby, I want to give you sex. The kind you didn’t even know you needed until I was inside you.”
A flush climbs her throat, her eyelids drifting down slightly. “I know what you can give me, Jack. I’m more worried about what you can’t.” She studies me with a wrinkled brow. “You’re still hiding. Do you want to be found?”
“I don’t know,” I say hoarsely.
After a brief stare down across the table, she nods. “When are you leaving for work?”
“I’m not.” I rear back a little, coffee cup poised near my mouth. “Did you think I would waste my three days?”
Her features register surprise. “What are we doing instead?”
I think back to the arrangements I made last night while she slept and I find myself…nervous about whether or not she’ll approve of my plan. Is this how regular, average men feel before a date? Jesus, am I one of them now? I fucking hope not. “It’s a surprise.”
Spoiling Maisy isn’t the way to her heart.
That doesn’t mean I’m not going to do it.
I just have to remember to carve open my chest and show her the inner workings of Jack Lincoln somewhere along the way…and hope she redeems me.
Jack has to take back-to-back business calls during our drive to the city, but I don’t mind. It gives me the chance to center myself. To replay our conversation from earlier. Jack doesn’t have a mother? Where and how did he grow up? He seemed genuinely perplexed that I didn’t want to put my own mom in the poorhouse—and I find that very telling. Perhaps Jack isn’t as insensitive as he wants to portray. Maybe he is just ignorant of love.
In what world, Maisy, are you not the most fulfilling part of a person’s life?
Words spoken so matter-of-factly that they left me shaken.
But does Jack want to love me? Or possess me?
My body doesn’t seem to care which, so I need to keep my hormones in line. My body thrills to the idea of being his possession, which I think is where a lot of my doubt about Jack’s intentions stem from. I’m discovering this…this kink—and I can’t even believe I’m attributing that word to myself. But these raw needs he’s introducing to my body turn me into a plaything. Afterward, I’m fulfilled. Beyond fulfilled.
I’m also left wondering if it’s affection that drives him to give me such pleasure?
Or pure lust?
And so, the man remains an enigma. At least I know there’s a past that might give me insight into Jack Lincoln, this man who can freak out over me bumping my head, but also fire my mother and strip her income without hesitation…but will he even let me go there? When I asked him to talk about not having a mother, he totally shut down.
Maybe he needs to trust me more first.
I’ve made myself vulnerable to him physically, but what about emotionally? Maybe I can give a little more and hope he responds in kind. Lets me in. Because I find myself genuinely eager to know Jack. Every moment with him is like walking a tightrope, my breath locked in my lungs. And it’s unclear what’s on the other side of the rope…but I continue to put one foot in front of the other anyway.
There is a safety net below, right? My old life is still there. But there’s no such net for my heart if Jack turns out to be exactly who he warned me he is.
Jack’s limousine pulls up in front of a modern office building, the lobby visible through a panel of glass doors. The driver gets out and opens the door for us and I step out onto the curb, watching Jack exit after me and button his gray suit jacket with a practiced movement. The pedestrian foot traffic bottlenecks around us and I notice several women turning their heads to stare at Jack, mouths agape. A little snick of jealousy catches me off guard, but a moment later, Jack obliterates it.
“Come on.” He tucks me into his side, scowling at the passersby. “Every man that walks past us is staring at you.”
I blink at his profile. “I think you’re forgetting how we met.”
With a soft scoff, he guides me toward the entrance, his palm sliding down low and remaining on the curve of my backside. “That was different.”
“When I’m fucking you, you’re mine. There’s no question of it.” He opens the door and we walk side by side into the cool interior. “When I’m not…”
Realizing he isn’t going to answer, I pull him to a stop. “When you’re not…?”
His throat works and he seems to be having difficulty looking at me. “When I’m not inside you, I have to rely on just me. As you’ve pointed out, we don’t know who that is yet. So I feel…I don’t know. Inadequate.” He winks. “Unlike when we’re naked and I’m a sex god.”