What the heck just happened, she wondered as her eyes landed on Nick and widened. He was kneeling in front of the table and it wasn’t until he pulled his arm back that she realized what he was doing.
“Stop!” the guy on the ground cried as Nick pulled back his fist and punched him again.
“Oh no,” Jamie mumbled, scrambling out from behind the table to stop him, but before she could get close enough to stop him the guy’s friends were there trying to pull Nick away. Nick didn’t bother to look back as he shoved them away and focused his attention on the guy on the floor.
“What the hell is wrong with you?” the blonde guy with a buzz cut demanded as he tried to yank Nick back. “It was just for a frat scavenger hunt. Let him go!”
Nick ignored him and focused on the guy throwing wild swings as he tried to fight Nick off. A few connected with Nick’s jaw, but if they hurt it didn’t show.
Having had quite enough of this nonsense, Jamie shoved two of the college kids who were in the way and did the only thing she could think of at the moment.
She launched herself onto Nick’s back.
“Get the hell off of me!” he snapped, trying to gently shrug her off even as he moved to punch the guy again.
“No!” she said, wrapping her legs around his waist in an attempt to use her weight to throw him off.
“Jamie!” he snapped, pausing mid-punch to try and shrug her off again, but she wouldn’t budge.
The guy on the floor took the opportunity to make a run for it with his friends not far behind him. With a growl of frustration, Nick got to his feet to go after them, but apparently he refused to do it with her still on his back.
“Get the hell off my back so that I can go kick his ass!”
“You already did!” she pointed out and then added. “He left bloody and crying! Is that not good enough for you?”
He paused briefly and shook his head as he reached back to pull her off, but she refused to let go. “Jamie,” he growled out in warning. Once upon a time that would have sent her screaming for the hills, but not anymore. He wouldn’t hurt her.
She knew that, but just in case he decided to get even with her for this little stunt she made a mental note to hide all her chocolate.
“Um, excuse me?” the bookstore manager said, grabbing their attention.
With a sigh, Nick turned so that they were both facing the woman, who looked a little freaked out. Not that Jamie could blame her. She just hoped the woman didn’t call the cops on Nick because she had absolutely no idea how to bail someone out of jail and she really had no interest in learning how.
“I’m afraid I’m going to have ask you to leave,” she said much to Jamie’s relief. She really hadn’t liked the idea of Nick becoming some guy’s “special friend”
for the night.
“Go. Away,” Nick bit out tightly, but the damn woman refused to leave. At least she was on the other side of the door, he decided, otherwise he’d be tempted to strangle his little recluse.
“You can’t still be mad!” she said in exasperation. “I eventually got off your back.”
He paused mid-sip of his beer and glared at the door. “You didn’t get the hell off my back until I was in front of your door!” he snapped.
“I had to make sure that you wouldn’t do anything stupid,” she pointed out and he barely stopped himself from storming over to his door, ripping it open and kissing the hell out of her.
Now that would have been stupid.
Perhaps not as stupid as attacking some dumb kid in front of a group of J.L.
Lewis’ fans at a signing, he thought with a groan. What in the hell had he been thinking? He’d never lost it like that and certainly never over a woman. Several of the women he’d taken out over the years received attention from other men and he hadn’t cared at all. He didn’t get jealous, never cared enough to, but today he’d been ready to kill the little bastard.
For any other client he would have simply pulled her away and signaled for either store security to handle the guy or the manager. There was no way he would have taken a chance screwing up his career for anyone. He’d worked too damn hard to get where he was and wasn’t about to let anyone come between him and what he wanted.
Of course all his plans went to hell the moment he saw another man kiss her.
All he could think of at the time was that another man was touching his little recluse. Even as he grabbed the guy he knew what he was doing and that it could very well be the end of his career, but he hadn’t given a damn. All that mattered was taking care of Jamie and if he hadn’t been so furious at the time the realization would have probably worried him like it did now.
“Are you going to let me in?” she asked, sighing heavily with annoyance and sounding so damn cute that he had to stop himself from smiling.
There was a brief pause before she said, “If you do I’ll tell you about the new book I’m writing and the big surprise,” she said brightly, probably hoping to lure him into letting her in and pestering him.
“I don’t care,” he said, surprising even himself. As her editor he should care.
The woman’s books were a goldmine and he’d be an idiot not to find out what she was working on so he could prepare an advertising campaign, but at the moment he simply didn’t care.
The only thing he cared about at the moment was getting his head clear, perhaps getting drunk as he tried to figure out how to explain to this whole thing to Rick in the morning when he called up to chew Nick’s ass out for the pictures that were no doubt already making the rounds on the internet.
“You’re really not coming out of there?” she asked, sounding disappointed.
“Are you sure?”
“Fine,” she said, sighing unhappily. “I guess I’ll just go without you.”
He didn’t bother responding as he took a sip of his beer. She could go out on her own for one night. She’d be more than fine. Besides he doubted that she was doing anything dangerous. Knowing his little recluse she was probably getting around to the little karaoke item on her to do list that had made him want to cry.
Actually if she was hitting a karaoke bar then he definitely wasn’t going with her, he decided, taking another sip of his beer.
“Okay, but if you need me I’ll be at Extreme Tattoo on Elm Street. I’ll be back later,” she said brightly as he choked on his beer.