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The lovers promise, p.15
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       The Lover's Promise, p.15

           J. C. Reed
 
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  “What about the girl they said you killed? Or about your car showing traces of you running her over. Or that you’re a murder suspect. Or what about the letter you left me at four in the morning, scaring the hell out of me?” I asked in desperation, feeling like I was going mad.

  He stepped back, eyeing me hard. “Jesus. Where did you get those ideas?” He stared at me furiously. “Tell me who the fuck tells you those lies and I will beat this motherfucker up.”

  I shrank back by the intensity of his words, but then composed myself just as quickly. “It was a detective I met at work.” Seeing Jett’s confused glance, I remembered that Jett didn’t know about the job, and added, “It’s a long story. I got a new job, by the way. Me and two girls I met there went out the same night you picked me up to celebrate my job offer. Anyway, one of the girls was killed, and the detective questioned all of us. He told me about you.”

  God, it all sounded so crazy. Even though it had barely been a few days, my life was slowly beginning to sound more complicated than a soap opera. Maybe I should start recording my everyday occurrences to keep track. I almost expected Jett to start inquiring about the new job when he shook his head in confusion, keeping silent, processing. He looked at me as if I had told him I just had brunch with the devil.

  “Her name was Gina. Maybe you knew her?” I added, hoping the new bit of information would jolt his memory. He didn’t say anything. I waited impatiently, unsure what to make of his silence.

  “Do you know how you sound?” He said at last. The glint in his eyes matched the thick waves of tension wafting from him. I took a step back and surveyed him.

  “Trust me, I know perfectly how I sound. Like someone who lost a screw, right?”

  He stared me down. “That’s about right, Brooke.”

  “But do you know in what kind of situation you are, Jett?” I asked. “Apparently, you killed two people.” I held out my hand. “Not my words. The detective’s. He said you bought immunity, and told me that you had your car reported stolen. He told me that your car was found with plenty of traces.”

  “A detective, huh?” He looked at me as though I had just gone completely crazy. As if I was the one who made up the lies. I remained quiet, watching his reaction, not avoiding his furious glances. “Was Tina one of the girls you were with the night I picked you up at the club?” he asked quietly.

  “Gina,” I corrected, narrowing my eyes. “Yeah, she was. How do you know?”

  Please tell me you know her. Tell me something. Anything at all. Please.

  “It was just a wild guess considering you said a girl died that night and you seem to have known her.”

  My shoulders slumped, disappointment and defeat washing over me. Suddenly, the situation wasn’t just scary, it was overwhelming—a burden on my shoulders, threatening to nail me down, making sure I would never get up. I had come in hope for answers only to find that the whole conversation with Jett—except for Nate—was going nowhere. As though I was stuck in a crazy labyrinth, I had no idea which way to go, what to do, not even sure if there was any sort of escape from the fear that had been following me around all day.

  I didn’t just feel helpless, I felt like there was nothing more I could do. What was worse, I felt like Jett didn’t understand me; as though he’d never share that burden with me, and that I was all alone. For once I wished life weren’t so complicated. If he had just told me what was going on, if he only tried to explain, maybe I would have been able to understand him and start solving what needed to be cleared. But the fact that he kept pretending to have no clue meant that he’d stifle that trepidation inside me, which only managed to make me even more wary of him and the other secrets he might be keeping.

  “I don’t know if I can trust you, Jett.” I almost choked on my voice and cleared my throat. “You can’t even admit that you left me a letter last night?” A tear ran down my cheek. I brushed my hand over my face, hiding from him if only for a moment—my vulnerability so naked I was sure that any cruel word could blast a hole in my skin. “I came here looking for answers and you make everything worse by denying any knowledge. Why can’t you just once tell me the truth and help me understand what’s going on? Why can’t you just tell me the secrets you keep from me and stop…this madness?”

  His soft touch stroked my face and his hand cupped my chin, his thumb wiping away the tears, forcing me to look at him.

  “I am not accused of murder, Brooke,” he said slowly. His voice was calm, but underneath I could hear slight outrage. “My car was not stolen. I didn’t send you any letter. I have absolutely no clue what you’re talking about. I don’t even know a detective. The closest I came to any sort of trouble with the law was through my lawyers. I was never questioned for anything.”

  I swallowed.

  “So your car wasn’t reported stolen?” I asked incredulously.

  “No.”

  “You were not accused of murderer?”

  “Nope,” he said slowly.

  I stared at him in disbelief.

  “What, Brooke? You think I’m some lying sociopath?”

  I raised my brows at him. “Are you?”

  “Jesus, Brooke. Of course, I’m not.” His voice came so low I winced. It made me almost feel bad. If only I had concrete proof that he wasn’t.

  Looking at him, I realized there was no way he could be such a good actor. He looked as shocked as when his father was hurt or when I announced that I was pregnant. Jett wasn’t an open book like me, but today I could see the emotions on his usually unreadable face. And right now I could see one thick vein throbbing on his forehead, and his shoulders were all tense, as if he was ready to punch something.

  “I don’t understand,” I whispered. “If you did none of those things, how come the detective thinks it was you and they found traces of one of the victims on your car?”

  “Are you sure he’s not confusing me with someone else?”

  The possibility had crossed my mind, but the police hardly ever made mistakes. Or did they? I turned to him, taking in his worried face. “Pretty sure. I saw pictures of you, Jett. And the detective knew your name.” Another shiver ran down my spine as I remembered the details of Gina’s gruesome death.

  “And he said my car was reported stolen?” he asked incredulously.

  I nodded. “And that it had traces of the dead girl’s DNA.”

  Without another word, he grabbed my hand, pulling me along. In less than a minute, we reached the basement where the cars were parked. Jett swung the door open and switched on the lights.

  I recognized his car immediately. It was parked in its usual spot, all sparkling and shiny and very expensive, beckoning to me.

  “So, do you believe me now?” he whispered. I shook my head, not because I didn’t believe him, but because what I was seeing didn’t make sense.

  “Tell me, Brooke, did this detective show you his badge?” he asked, not waiting for an answer.

  “No, he didn’t.”

  He let out a sharp breath and shook his head.

  “What?” I asked slowly.

  He took his time answering. “I think someone’s playing a game with you, Brooke. Someone’s trying to mess with your head. I don’t know what his intention is, if it is to separate us, but I’m sure of one thing,” Jett continued, whispering so low my skin began to prickle. “The detective isn’t a detective and I want you to stay away from him. Do you hear me?”

  Words failed me. I always assumed there was an explanation for everything, but never this possibility. Once more sickness washed over me, and I closed my eyes, feeling suddenly faint. When I opened my eyes again, his forehead was creased with worry.

  “Come here.” He pulled me to his chest, and I let him. “I love you and that should count for something,” he whispered. All the anger was gone, leaving behind worry and gentleness. “I know you don’t trust me and I’m fine with that. But make no mistake, I’d never hurt you. I would never kill an innocent. You’re safe with me and that’s
all that matters.”

  “How can I be sure of that?” My chin trembled. “You say I know you and that you love me, but there are still so many questions unanswered, Jett. You didn’t even tell me that you were involved with Tiffany.”

  He blinked once. Twice.

  “You’re right, and I’m sorry about that,” he whispered, his voice dropping so low I had to strain to understand him, his eyes misting over. “I didn’t tell you about Tiffany, because I thought it didn’t matter. She was one of many I had.”

  I looked up. “That’s not exactly helpful in figuring you out.”

  “That might be true, but it doesn’t change the fact that I love you. Or that we’re expecting a child, and I’d do anything for you.”

  The room was so quiet his heartbeat sounded like soft rain in my ears. Come to think of it, as I strained harder to listen, I realized it was the splatter of rain splashing against the windows and the roof. It had started raining again. Loud thunder echoed in the distance and I couldn’t help but inhale Jett’s soothing scent as I recalled the poem about the rain and the tears. Yet I didn’t move. In his embrace, I felt like home. It was only when I remembered the things in my car that I stirred.

  “Jett?” I murmured, my heart suddenly picking up in speed. “Did you remove my things from your apartment?”

  His smile instantly varnished. “No, I wasn’t there since Friday, right before we left for the hotel. Why are you asking?”

  I hugged my body, then looked up at him. Swallowing the thick lump in my throat, I took my time with an answer. “There’s something I have to tell you, Jett,” I whispered. “The girl who was killed, Gina, I found her things at your place. Before I left, I saw two cops talking with the concierge. I think they were there for you.”

  He stared at me for a full minute, his lips tight, his brows furrowed.

  “Are you sure they were there for me?” There was no hint of surprise in his voice. His tone sounded more like he had accepted what I had just told him.

  “I’m not certain, but it doesn’t change the fact that my things are gone, replaced with hers,” I whispered. “Do you understand? Those are the dead girl’s belongings. I packed up everything and stashed it all in my car before the cops arrived.”

  “So, where’s everything now?”

  “Outside. In my car.” My voice broke. “Jett, you’re in trouble. The photos showed a body. If what you say is true, that he isn’t a detective, I think we have a huge problem. Someone’s trying to frame you. And frame you good.”

  He drew a long breath. “Why did you take her things?”

  “I don’t know. I—” My voice broke again. Why did I indeed? “I didn’t want you to get into trouble, I guess. If the police found her stuff at your place, it would have been impounded as evidence.”

  “I’m glad you did,” he said matter-of-factly.

  I watched him grab his towel before leaning in to give me a short kiss on the mouth.

  “Where are you going?” I asked, confused.

  “I have a feeling it’s going to be a long story, so I’m getting us lunch while you go and take a shower. And then you’ll tell me everything from the beginning.”

  “Can I come with you?” I asked.

  “I’d rather you stay here if you don’t mind.” He turned to me with the slightest hint of a smile. “I’ll make it quick, babe. Do you want pistachio ice cream as desert?”

  I returned his smile. Ever since finding out that I was pregnant, I had been craving for ice cream every day. The fact he remembered it together with so many other little things, made my heart flutter. My stomach growled, reminding me that I hadn’t had dinner or breakfast or much of anything, really.

  “That’d be great. Thanks. I’m starving,” I said. “What about Brian and his rules?”

  “Brian?” Jett raised his eyebrows. “I don’t give a shit about rules, but I do care about you. Deeply. And right now it’s my priority to fulfill my pregnant girlfriend’s every wish.”

  His words made me blush.

  In the silence of the room I continued to watch him, my gaze brushing over his sexy back that was now turned to me. Before he opened the door, he hesitated and something heavy settled in the air between us.

  “Brooke, earlier when I asked if you loved me, you said you loved me too much, but…” Jett paused. “There is no right way to love. Only one way to love and it is to love fiercely, to love fully and to love passionately. Don’t get that wrong. Ever. Same about fighting and trusting me. You need those three things to build a strong relationship.”

  “How do you know?” I asked.

  “How don’t you?” His eyes glinted with something else. Amusement. Challenge. Danger.

  “Who says I don’t?” I whispered, feeling an odd pull of happiness inside my heart as I watched him leave, closing the door behind him. My skin tingled. My whole being trembled. Something rose within me. It was joy, I realized. Joy that he wasn’t a killer. That he loved me, wanted me. That Tiffany didn’t matter. Joy that my feelings were reciprocated and he cared enough about me—hearing it from him, feeling it with every fiber of my being, sensing the strong waves of worry emanating from him. In that instant I realized that I had never hated him. That, with no exceptions, love didn’t need reciprocation to exist. That it didn’t matter what he had done, who he had been before meeting me. I would continue to love him unconditionally, no matter what. I had done the right thing.

  ***End of Episode 3***

  Jett and Brooke’s story continues in the sensual last instalment in the No Exceptions series,

  The Lover’s

  Proposal

  Coming Spring 2015

  Never miss a release. Use the chance to get a sneak peek, teasers, or win amazing prizes, such as an e-reader of your choice, gift cards, and ARCs by signing up to my newsletter.

  As a subscriber, you’ll also receive an email reminder on release day:

  http://www.jcreedauthor.blogspot.com/p/mailing-list.html

  To those, who want to learn more about Brooke’s past and the story behind the Lucazzone estate, I welcome you to read the prequel of No Exceptions:

  To My Readers: A thank you note

  Thank you for reading any of my books. I hope you enjoyed reading Brooke and Jett’s story as much as I enjoyed writing it. If you did, please consider leaving a review as those are hard to come by for indie authors without the huge support of an entire editorial and promotions department.

  I also love to hear from my readers. To stay in touch, visit me at the links below. I’m forever grateful and hope you will enjoy my next release.

  J.C. Reed

  Connect with me online:

  My website: http://www.jcreedauthor.blogspot.com

  Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/AuthorJCReed

  Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/jcreedauthor

  ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

  My first and foremost thanks goes out to my readers, wherever you are. This book wouldn’t exist without your support. Thank you.

  Thank you also to my awesome editors, Shannon and Katherine, for always going above and beyond the call of duty.

  Huge thank you to my very talented cover artist. Your covers always make me blush.

  And finally, I thank the Lord for gifting me the opportunity to write my stories and share them with my wonderful readers.

  Other Books By J.C. Reed

  Surrender Your Love (Book 1 in the Surrender Your Love Series)

  Conquer Your Love (Book 2 in the Surrender Your Love Series)

  Treasure Your Love (Book 3 in the Surrender Your Love Series)

  The Lover’s Secret (Book 1 in the No Exceptions Series)

  The Lover’s Game (Book 2 in the No Exceptions Series)

  The Lover’s Promise (Book 3 in the No Exceptions Series)

  The Lover’s Proposal (Book 4 in the No Exceptions Series)…coming soon

 


 

  J.C. Reed, The Lover's Promise

 


 

 
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