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The lovers promise, p.13
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       The Lover's Promise, p.13

           J. C. Reed
 
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  “You better keep it that way,” Brian barked. “I’ve had enough drama this week. I don’t need more of it.”

  Brian gave us another cautionary look and then he turned around and walked out. For a second I considered hurrying after him, if only to escape the clutches of my weak heart and the conversation I suddenly no longer wanted to have.

  Too late.

  The door closed and we were back to being alone, back to where we had started. I stared at the closed door, not daring to turn out of fear of plunging into new depths of despair at the entire situation. Come to think of it, I would have loved to hear some of Brian’s drama. Any distraction would have been better than dealing with my own life.

  All the energy I had saved for this fight was gone, dissipating the moment I realized that if Jett wanted to leave there was nothing I could do to change his mind. He was a free man.

  “Brooke?” His voice had become soft, tender and my skin started to prickle as he stepped behind me again.

  I shook my head in sadness. “Don’t.”

  His hand touched my shoulder. My knees weakened as he turned me around. There was no smile on his lips. Just sadness. He reminded me of an old lonely tree, the leaves scattering in a thousand directions. The withering of a rose. The cold winter brushing away the last leaf. Just sadness and the promise of winter coming, announcing that everything colorful, everything pretty, would fade away—in time.

  “You promised you’d never leave me,” I whispered. My voice shook and a new set of tears began to trickle down my cheeks.

  “I have to,” he whispered. “I explained my reasons, but you chose not to believe me. What does that say about you? You don’t trust me and I feel you never will.”

  “You’re wrong about that.” I tore myself out of his grip. Feeling the meaning of his words, hearing them—it all felt so true, as if the lies I had told myself was a mere blindfold, and his words had the power to remove it.

  He was right, and yet I still didn’t want to admit it.

  “You could still stay, Jett,” I whispered.

  For me. For our baby.

  “Well, I don’t think it’s a good idea to stay. What choice do I have but to go away?”

  “There’s always a choice, Jett. You said so yourself back in Italy.”

  “Trust me, in this one situation there isn’t.” He looked at me hard. His stance was rigid, and his jaw clenched, and for the first time I wondered if he was trying to run away from the law, like I had tried to run away from him in fear of getting hurt.

  Still, I had to hear it from him. If I didn’t get an answer from him, I’d always feel like the truth had eluded me.

  “Why?” I asked and the room grew silent again.

  “Have you forgotten that I am busy trying to kill you?” Jett said eventually, “So I can finally get my hands on your old grand estate that I so desperately seek? That’s a real life inspiration, you know? Siding with my brother. Raping others and killing them…now that’s fun.” His voice was dripping with bitterness and sarcasm. His eyes shimmered with a dangerous glint, and there was just the hint of a sad smile on his lips. Suddenly I knew he wasn’t just being sarcastic; he was genuinely shocked by my assumptions about him and now he was telling me what he thought I wanted to hear. I couldn’t blame him. I had accused him of all of those things and more during our last fight.

  “Is that one of the reasons why you’re moving to Chicago?” I asked breathlessly.

  “No. It’s the only reason, Brooke.” His eyes searched mine. “You made it clear enough that you want me out of your life and that’s exactly what I’m giving you,” he said. “I can’t stay with someone who believes I’m capable of killing a human being for money or power. I love you, Brooke. I really do, but there is no point in staying if you think I’m capable of hurting you. I’d rather kill myself than see you hurt. I’d rather go away than make you feel unsafe around me.”

  “I didn’t really believe that when I said it,” I whispered.

  Somehow it didn’t come out right. It sounded as though I was lying to myself. I probably was.

  At the images of me Googling him, and sneaking around his apartment in a desperate search of proof, I felt shame pouring through me at the way I assumed the worst about him and yet hoped for the best. From the look of it, Jett sensed my earlier doubts about him.

  His disappointment in me was so apparent, my heart lurched.

  “I’m not so sure about that,” he whispered. “You took it into account that I would harm you, and that’s all that matters. You showed me how little trust you had in me. Can you guess how thinking so little of me made me feel?”

  His tone sounded hurt, angry and spiteful. He was hurt and I couldn’t blame him, but how could I explain to his stubborn self that there were reasons why I did everything that I did? That a set of events, not necessarily created by him, smudged my trust in him.

  “Can you guess how seeing you kiss Tiffany made me feel?” I retorted.

  His eyes narrowed on me and the glint of anger increased just a little. I had never seen his eyes ablaze with so much anger—their green color so green it could have poisoned or conquered a soul. Right now he was conquering me with the depth he was regarding me.

  Towering over me, his large size intimidating me, my pulse started to race. As Jett regarded me, his irises darkened, matching his mood that I knew was plummeting to new depths. He stepped toward me—so close I could feel his breath on me.

  “Let’s just be honest, Brooke,” he whispered. “Compared to you, I can control myself. Just because Tiffany and I share a history, I would never have fucked her again. Never. And that applies to all other women out there. And do you know why? I didn’t need my needs fulfilled, because I already had everything with you. But you?” He gave me an accusatory glare that made me flinch. “You couldn’t control yourself when you thought I was Check.”

  Ouch.

  Talk about bitchiness.

  I gaped at him in shock.

  In the silence, he grabbed his gloves that were lying on the floor next to his bottle of water and walked over to the training mats and the rest of the equipment. His face resembled a mask of ice as he pulled on the gloves, then started lifting free weights, his biceps straining from the effort.

  “How dare you!” I said through clenched teeth, feeling anger pouring back into me. “You make it sound like I really slept with another guy.”

  “Correct me if I’m wrong, but you could have,” he muttered, continuing to lift the weights. They looked like they weighed a ton, and yet Jett made it look it was barely a fly.

  I opened my mouth, then closed it again.

  Fuck, he was right.

  My drink had been spiked and it really could have been anyone I brought home. But he still had no right to say that. He had no right to be angry when he was the one who started all the problems. It dawned on me that it was going to be a long day. It might even become our biggest fight yet.

  “Fuck you.” I crossed my arms over my chest as I stared Jett down. “Maybe that’s exactly what I wanted to happen.”

  He stopped in midair, his eyes narrowing at my words, and his face changed into a mask of anger.

  “Say that again?”

  There was just a hint of danger in his voice, the kind of tone that matched his black tribal tattoo—the one symbolizing power and dominance. The kind of tone that brought a smile to my lips.

  Holy mother of pearls.

  He was angry. No, make that fuming. He was like a wild lion, ready to pounce on me and swallow me whole.

  I raised my chin defiantly and shrugged.

  “Fuck you?” I suggested, innocently.

  He put the weights down and turned to face me fully with a glower that made my panties wet.

  “No, the other stuff that you just said. About what you want,” he prodded. “Say that again.”

  I bit my lip at how marvelously sexy he sounded when he was pissed—as if his aura was nothing but the form and power of
a nuclear bomb, able to tear off my clothes and burn me. And I wanted to be burned all right, all the way to my core.

  “You heard me the first time,” I said with just a hint of a smile. “If there were another guy, I would have done him.” I let the words roll slowly over my tongue. “Real good.”

  He cocked his head, his eyes fixed on me. Even from where I stood I could see the waves of jealousy and fury wafting over. It pleased me that I had that effect on him. That he wasn’t so immune to emotions either. That he was as jealous as me. I liked the idea of having the upper hand for a change and being able to pierce through his sturdy armor. That was my last thought before his steps echoed closer, each one of them slow and measured.

  In the silence around us I noticed just how quiet he had become. How my skin reacted to his presence and how my heart hammered against my chest so hard that I was sure everyone in the building would hear it. Finally, his hand touched my hair. With a determined pull, he removed the clip and my hair fell down in a cascade of ringlets. He tangled his hand in them and pulled me close until his hot breath was on my lips.

  “Just to make one thing clear, you’ll never fuck another guy,” Jett whispered low enough for me to hear it, enough to send a tremble down my spine.

  My brows shot up in mock amusement. “And why wouldn’t I do that?”

  “Because you’re mine, Brooke,” he whispered. “And I don’t share.”

  My heart skipped a beat as I peered into his dark green eyes and I shrank back from the intensity. I tried to laugh, but the sound remained trapped in my throat. He sounded so serious it scared me. I wondered what he’d do if I disobeyed.

  “Is that why you were at the club?” I asked breathlessly. “To stalk me? To make sure there wouldn’t be anyone but you?”

  “No, far from it.” His voice sounded hoarse as his eyes bore into mine, penetrating the deepest layers around my being.

  “Then why would you go there?” I narrowed my eyes on him.

  “You know why. The same reason I followed you to Italy.” His gaze brushed my face and settled on my lips. Under his intensive, probing glance, I felt exposed and heat began to radiate through me. Slowly the corners of his lips twitched. He must have known the impact his body had on me, or why else would his cockiness and massive ego begin to resurface?

  “Remind me to finish this conversation later when we’re done,” he whispered.

  “Done with what?”

  My breath hitched when he pulled me to him, crushing my mouth against his. Beneath his clothes, I could feel he was hard—for me. He pressed his bottom lip between mine, forcing me to open my mouth only to run his tongue over mine in a long heated mind-blowing kiss.

  Holy cow.

  The guy knew how to kiss, and kiss good.

  Talk about marvelously good.

  My whole body was on fire, begging him to set me free, urging me to get the closeness I had been missing.

  Screw the fight.

  I wanted him bad. I wanted him now—when he still had that dangerous glint in his eyes and was looking so dangerously handsome, his half-naked body a sinful temptation.

  As his tongue dipped into my mouth, swirling in and out in slow, hard moves, my head began to spin harder and my knees grew weaker. Deep inside of me I could feel something pulsating to life.

  Longing. Desire.

  I need it, needed him. And from the way his hardness kept pressing against me, he needed it, too—in whatever way. There was no doubt about the fact that I was more than willing to sleep with him.

  “Don’t mistake my lust for weakness,” I whispered.

  Or forgiveness, for that matter.

  “Don’t worry. I won’t.” His lips curled into the most stunning smile, flashing his perfect teeth, all straight and white.

  I sucked in my breath as he pushed my hair to one side, only for his lips to hover over my skin. He was so rough and yet so demanding in his movement, his touch perfect, experienced, determined—leaving me in perfect balance of want and need. His touch, warm and soft, sent shivers down my spine. I moaned ever so slightly. It had been so long. Too long.

  The anticipation of touching him, of feeling him inside me was growing bigger by the second. I knew I was about to lose my pathetic self-control. My hands reached for his training shorts, sliding inside the waistband, and then I pulled down. My breath hitched in my throat as his erection jerked out.

  He wasn’t just big.

  He was impressive—like a king among queens. I flicked my tongue over my lips as my fingers tenderly moved over the slick crown and my hands were about to run down his hard shaft when his fingers closed around mine, holding me captive in my movement.

  “You’ve lost that privilege,” he whispered, pulling my wrist behind my back. “From this moment on, I’ll be making all the decisions.”

  “What?” I whispered as his lips crashed on mine again, cutting off my words. I moaned when he circled my tongue, sucking it deep into his mouth like a wild tornado on fire, and he began to unbutton my shirt with one hand, the other holding my wrist. I shuddered at the way his fingers touched my skin whenever a button came loose while his tongue continued to conquer my mouth.

  After what seemed like an eternity, he removed my shirt. The coldness of the room hit my bare skin and I sucked in my breath.

  And then his hand touched the zip of my skirt. Somewhere inside my brain, I could hear that we were about to embark on public make-up-sex, that anyone could enter the hall and catch us in mid-action, but I didn’t care. Jett was the only man who was capable of making me forget the world around me. He was the only person, who was like ecstasy—dangerous and addicting.

  Lowering myself onto the hard mat, I pulled him on top of me, breathing in the scent of his aftershave.

  Before I knew it, I was naked and Jett accommodated his weight on top of me, his knees on either side of my body, pausing, waiting.

  Confused, I looked up, unsure why he was watching me when he grabbed my wrists and leaned into me. I didn’t mind. It was an opportunity for me to stare at his wide shoulders and beautiful, tattooed chest.

  Holy pearls.

  His chest was so broad, his arms so strong they could carry a woman until the end of time.

  “Brooke?” he whispered, drawing my attention back from his muscles and the throbbing between my legs. I couldn’t help but think how much I loved him calling my name. As if I belonged only to him, as if I was the only woman in his world. The only one that mattered now that I was lying beneath his hard body, my entire being turned to liquid.

  “Yeah?”

  He smiled gently as he looked at me. “I’m so pissed off at you.”

  “Me, too.” I returned his smile. “I’m raging.”

  He shook his head and the smile disappeared. “No. You don’t understand.” I narrowed my eyes as his hands slowly moved away from my wrists and started circling my breasts, focusing on my hardening nipples. “I’m so jealous I don’t think I can share you with anyone. Ever.”

  “Then we have something in common.”

  “Do we?” He cocked his eyebrow. “Because I doubt it.”

  My breath hitched in my throat, the words stuck in my throat, as his hands moved up my arms, then alongside my collarbones, one thumb stopping at the sensitive hollow of my neck, the sternal notch. With a soft movement, he tilted my head to one side and then he began to kiss me, sending a tremble through my body as his lips settled on my earlobe.

  “Do you have any idea what I’m going to do to you for all the things you said?” he whispered in my ear. His voice was so deep and low, full of dark promises to unmake and punish me.

  “No.” In spite of my attempt at infusing some much needed confidence into my tone, my voice broke. “But what makes you think I’d let you do that?”

  “You want me to, Miss Stewart,” he whispered, rising up on his knees and his hand moved between my legs. “I can sense your needs.”

  His confidence made me not only nervous, I felt like I w
as having my first time all over again. The hint of a southern accent in his angry tone was even sexier than I could have dreamed of.

  If Jett Mayfield weren’t the owner of a successful company, he would have made his fortune by becoming a narrator. Or judging from his body, he would have been a model. I smiled at the image of him posing, his muscles glorified by the camera.

  And then I remembered that he had no idea that I had tried my hand at posing as a pin-up girl. I had no idea how he’d react if he found out.

  “I have many needs,” I said, pushing the dark thoughts to the back of my mind. “You don’t know half of them.”

  “Then I’d better make sure to find all of them and fulfill them one by one.” He grinned as he dipped one long finger slowly into my wet sex. His eyes locked on me as he spun his finger, pulling it out slowly, the motion making me wetter and hotter before he sucked it into his mouth. “Tasty.” He grinned. “Now don’t even pretend you don’t enjoy this. You’re into this…a lot.”

  Damn. He was good.

  Inside, I was wet and ready for him.

  I wasn’t just into this. I was into him.

  My head was throbbing. My legs were trembling. And my heart was racing at the way he kept looking at me with that dangerous glint in his eyes. As his thumb kept rubbing my clit, my pulse spiked and heat rushed to my cheeks.

  “I’m more than just into this, Jett,” I whispered, thinking of the crime scene evidence I had hidden in the car. Of all the things I had done for him, without having any answers. His face flickered with amusement. I wasn’t sure he heard me or the seriousness in my tone.

  Jett leaned forward and kissed me deeply, so tender that there was no way to say whose air I breathed. Was it mine or his? Was it air intermingled? Or was my passion the product of us two?

  It struck me that I wanted him to leave his mark on me, something I could always treasure. If his kiss could have burned me then I would have wanted him to kiss me harder. More fiercely, until the feeling lasted for all eternity.

  His hands caressed my shoulders, moving lower and between my legs again, brushing them apart. I closed my eyes, savoring his touch, his breath on my face, the warmth of his body.

 
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