Aftershock / Page 8

Page 8

Author: Sylvia Day

Jax undressed me, washed his semen away with a warm washcloth, and arranged me on the bed. I was limp and breathless the whole time, and slightly irritated that he could move and think while I was a brainless mess of postorgasmic endorphins.

“You suck,” I told him when he finally sprawled on the bed beside me, gloriously naked.

He propped his head in his hand and grinned, his fingers running lightly down my cleavage to circle my navel. “Guess you missed the ten minutes it took for me to be able to stand up.”

“I’m taking you down for the count next time,” I grumbled.

“Mmm...” Leaning over me, he pressed his lips to mine. “I’m just happy there’s a next time. Lots of next times. You’ve got two years to make up for.”

My eyes narrowed. “I’m not taking the blame. You walked. Whether or not I followed, you’re the one who bailed.”

“So I have two years to make up for.” He slid over me, kneeing my thighs open and settling between them. “I better get started.”

Reaching up, I brushed his hair back from his forehead. He was even more breathtaking after sex, his face softened and seemingly younger, his eyes bright and his smile boyishly charming. He looked happy and it twisted my heart to think I’d made him that way without even really trying.

Turning his head, he pressed his lips to my palm. “I love you.”

“Jax.” My eyes stung. “I used to dream about you saying that to me.”

“I told you a lot,” he confessed, “while you were sleeping.”

That hurt worse than thinking he’d never felt that way about me at all. “Will I ever understand why you put us through hell?”

The light in his eyes dimmed. His smile faded. “I’m afraid you will.”

Tension gripped his big frame, and I regretted bringing it up. I wrapped my legs around his hips, hugging him close.

“Let’s agree not to bring anything but us into our bed,” he murmured, running his nose along my cheek. “I want us to have someplace where it’s just you and me, a place where we can remember why nothing else really matters but what we’ve got.”

I nodded, my hands stroking up and down his back. Burying my face in his throat, I breathed him in, letting the familiar and beloved scent of his skin ground me in the moment. “I’m game for that. But I’ll warn you right now that if you don’t start including me, we won’t make it as far as this bed to begin with.”

His mouth curved against my skin. “You drive a hard bargain, Miss Rossi.”

“You’re damn right.”

His back tightened beneath my hands. He started pushing inside me with a serrated groan.

“In all fairness,” he said gutturally, “I can, too.”

* * *

Drowning in one of Jax’s robes, I sipped a glass of wine and watched him slice cold cuts and cheese. His massive Sub-Zero refrigerator was bachelor barren.

“You ever live with a woman before?” I asked him.


I nodded, admiring him in loose-fitting pajama pants. “Aren’t you worried it’ll feel like an invasion of your privacy?”

He glanced at me, his dark eyes piercing from beneath the locks of his disheveled hair. “No.”

“This place is pretty...sterile. You don’t think it might drive you a little nuts to see my shoes kicked off here and there, or my purse on the chair, or—”

“Your panties on the rug because I yanked them off to fuck you?” He straightened. “No, I’m not going to mind. You having second thoughts?”

I took another sip of the crisp Riesling before answering. “I’m just worried that you’re thinking about me so much that you’re not thinking about how this is going to affect you.”

He set the knife down and picked up his own glass. Dangerously casual with those assessing eyes. “What are you afraid of, Gia?”

I thought about the best way to say what was on my mind. “I know you’re worried about what we’re going to deal with outside this apartment. But I’m more sketchy about what’s going to happen right here. It’s all fun and games until you start feeling irritated by the day-to-day reality of living with someone.”

Jax leaned back against the counter, crossing his ankles and wrapping one arm around his chest. Holding his wineglass aloft, he looked relaxed and at ease, which wasn’t the case at all. He’d honed in on me, stripping me bare with that jaded gaze.

“Like the way you splash water everywhere when you’re washing your face?” he drawled. “How you leave dishes in the sink because you’re still pulling clean ones out of the dishwasher one at a time as you use them? How you’ve got phone charger cords stuck into outlets in every room, so you don’t have to go far to plug the damn thing in? How I’m going to be tripping over those shoes you kick off all over the place?”

I blinked. “Um...yeah.”

“Just because I like staring at your ass, babe, doesn’t mean I wasn’t paying attention to the rest of you while we were together in Vegas.” His mouth curved. “That said, if you’re really worried about pissing me off, we can establish terms for what you’ll do for me when it happens.”

Rolling my eyes, I muttered, “You’re such a guy.”

“You’re just now noticing that? Gia, your observation skills need some work.”

I had to fight to keep from smiling. “Are we going to eat or what?”

“Are you going to quit worrying?”

“After a while, I hope so.” I ran my fingers up and down the stem of my glass. “We’ve been together six weeks total over the course of our relationship. You wouldn’t be asking me to move in under normal circumstances—it’s too soon. You can tell me that it’s not a big deal to you and you’re ready, but I’m going to have to see it to believe it.”

“Fair enough.” He straightened. “Maybe, under ‘normal’ circumstances, we would’ve bounced back and forth between each other’s places for a few months, keeping up the pretense that we weren’t rushing things along, but we never would’ve spent a night apart. We don’t have that much self-control.”

“Maybe,” I conceded. “But you’re not a guy who likes having his hand forced.”

“I had options.” Setting his glass on the counter, he rounded the breakfast bar, approaching me with a slow, deliberate pace that made my toes curl. “I could’ve walked. I could’ve beefed up the security of your loft, or put you up someplace, or just let you fend for yourself.”

He stopped in front of me, tugging the belt of my robe loose and exposing me. He licked his lips, his eyelids becoming weighted with arousal. He set his hands over my knees, pushing my thighs apart. Cool air caressed my sex as his thumbs slid along the inside of my thighs. “I could’ve taken your offer to be the guy you call when you get lonely for this.”

I wrapped my legs around his hips and lured him closer. “Maybe I wouldn’t have called.”

“Would you be that cruel?” Jax untied the drawstring of his pants and freed his heavy cock. Fisting it, he primed himself for me.

I was riveted, entranced by the sight of his large hand stroking his thickly veined erection. “I would’ve held off as long as I could.”

“I would’ve sexted you, called you, hounded you.... No way I’d suffer alone.” His lips brushed across my forehead and he breathed, “Can you take me again?”

“You really are making up for lost time, aren’t you?”

“Can’t help what you do to me.” He ran the wide crown through the lips of my sex, nudging my clit. “The minute you showed up at that bar in Vegas, I was a dead man walking.”

My hands curled around the seat of the bar stool. “Liar. You were trolling. Half a dozen guys painting the town for a bachelor party. You were out to get laid no matter what.”

“I was,” he concurred, grinning. “So were you.”

“Picked up the hottest guy in the bar,” I said breathlessly, squirming as he teased me with languid strokes of the velvety head of his erection.

“I scored the hottest girl ever.” His tongue licked across my parted lips in a blatantly erotic tease. “You had me so worked up. Embarrassing as hell to be sporting a major hard-on for hours.”

“It was impossible to miss.” I smiled, remembering the rush. “You’re so big.”

“You want it?”

I nodded. “Wanted it then, too. Took you home with me, didn’t I? Figured I was too easy, but I couldn’t resist you.”

Jax notched himself into my wet cleft with a low groan. “I would’ve chased after you for days if that’s what it took. I couldn’t imagine not having you.”

Tightening my legs, I pulled him closer, shivering as he slid inexorably into me. I moaned his name, awed by the vulnerability I felt every time he took me.

“Gia. Baby.” He cupped my nape with one hand and gripped my hip with the other, holding me steady as he rolled his hips, urging slick tissues to let him sink deeper. “Feel that? I’m pushing into you but it feels like you’re sliding into me. Every fucking time, it’s like you’re slipping under my skin.”

“I want to.” My nails dug into his back, my fingers flexing. “I want to own you, Jackson.”

“Witch,” he bit out between clenched teeth, his jaw tight. “I thought I was going to take you to bed, bang the hell out of your insanely sexy body until sunrise, then head home with a smile. But you chewed me up and wrung me out. I couldn’t’ve crawled out of your bed if I’d wanted to and would’ve begged to stay if you’d tried to kick me out.”

“Ha! Tells me what a player you are.” I gasped as he filled me too full, a wild joy spreading through me. “I had no clue. You had me thinking you regularly medaled in marathon fucking.”

His gaze was soft on my flushed face. “I was a starving man, baby, living on junk food and scraps, and you were my first real home-cooked meal. I needed you, Gia, and I haven’t stopped.”

“I need you, too.” So much. Too much. Just being in the same room with him made me feel alive.

Cupping my ass, he lifted me and carried me to the couch. He spread me out, never leaving me, rising above me like a golden god.

“Don’t forget that,” he said hoarsely. Shaky fingertips brushed my hair away from my forehead. “When things get rough, don’t forget I need you.”

I saw the worry in his eyes, the worry he told me not to feel, and my heart twisted in my chest. Then he started moving inside me, riding me with strong smooth thrusts, and I let him sweep me away.


“THERE’S SOMETHING WRONG with your view, man,” Nico said, as he set a box of my stuff onto the breakfast bar and headed toward the windows. “Too much sky, and you can’t spy on your neighbors.”

“I’ve got all the view I need right here,” Jax shot back, catching me around the waist as I entered his apartment—our apartment—behind my brother.

“Gag,” Vincent muttered, walking through the open front door, carrying my suitcase and a duffel bag. “Where do you want this?”

“You can just put it down,” I told him, squirming as Jax nibbled at my neck. It was a gorgeous Saturday afternoon, perfect for being out in the city. Moving didn’t qualify, but I wasn’t complaining. And neither was my family, which I considered a minor miracle.

Jackson Rutledge could sell sand in a desert. He never once said we were heading to a lifetime commitment, yet he’d managed to convey an earnest and passionate desire to be with me when we sat down with my family after Rossi’s closed on Thursday night. I think we both understood that my family heard wedding bells, but he didn’t seem pressured by that expectation. For my part, I was working hard not to get my hopes up.

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