Into the Deep Page 75

“It’ll have to—”

He cut me off but I didn’t care when he did it with such skill. His kiss was lush and earthy and so addictive. I held onto him for dear life as he kissed me breathless. When he eventually came up for air, I panted hard against his mouth. “Mind-blowing could definitely work for me.”

Jake gave me a cocky smile and grabbed my hand, leading me back down the hall toward my bedroom. “Don’t get too comfortable,” he told me smoothly. “Sex first. Issues and answers later.”

My grip tightened in his at his announcement and despite my fear of Jake discovering just how fragile my grasp on our relationship was, I followed him bravely inside.

I may not be ready to let Jake lead me back into the deep, but that didn’t mean I wasn’t willing to let him try …

Sitting in the Library Bar, picking nervously at the soft wood of the table he was leaning on, Jake glanced at the clock above the bar and wondered for the fifteenth time if Charley was actually going to turn up, or if this was a deliberate stand-up. A form of revenge.

For the first time in a very long time, his stomach churned with nerves.

He’d always hoped that he might come across Charley at Edinburgh University, that he’d finally get a chance to apologize for the shitty things he’d said and done, but to actually see her for the first time since Lanton was so much more overwhelming than he’d expected.

The sight of her across the room at Denver’s party had knocked the breath right out of him, and everyone else, including his girlfriend, had disappeared. When Charley had run from him without even saying a word … well, that stung. More than stung.

He’d been a moody bastard for the last couple of days, something that was not lost on Melissa, and she was smart enough to know why. It wasn’t fair to her. He needed to talk this out with Charley, needed the closure so he could move on like she probably had and then make it up to Mel for being such a dick.

All thoughts of moving on were shoved forcefully out of his mind as Charley Redford finally stepped into the Library Bar. The first thing she did was share a flirtatious smile with the bartender. Jake felt a spike of possessive jealousy simmer in his blood. Scowling at the guy, it felt like it was three and a half years ago again—as though Charley was his and he was pissed off because she’d smiled at that idiot Alex Roster, who made it so obvious he was dying to get into her pants.

Jake mentally shook himself.

It wasn’t three and a half years ago. It was now. She wasn’t his to care who the f**k she smiled at.


Swallowing hard, Jake watched her cross the room, a slight, natural swing in her hips that he didn’t think she was even aware of. That was the thing about Charley. The girl knew she was smart, she was confident, and she was capable, but she had no f**king clue she was sexy. It only made all those things about her sexier.

What the hell was she wearing? Was she trying to kill him?

Her long, blond hair fell down her back in a riot of pale waves, dyed platinum now instead of her natural ash blond, still a constant reminder of amazing sex. She had bed hair. He’d loved her bed hair. Every day the sight of her hair had been a reminder that he had the distinct honor of knowing more about her than anyone else in the world.

Right now that hair was swinging against her back, leaving her perfect br**sts unobstructed from all male view in her snug green Harley top that showed off a sliver of her flat stomach. Jake wasn’t even going to get started on the tight black jeans and ankle boots.

His dick stirred in his jeans and he shifted uncomfortably, longing and guilt warring for control within him.

Guilt won and he focused on her face, reminding himself he was there to move on.

“Jake,” she greeted him, her voice emotionless.

A sharp pang radiated in his chest at her indifference, and he had to stop himself from physically rubbing the pain away.

Finding his voice, he replied just as calmly, “Charley,” then raised his hand for the ogling ass**le of a bartender to serve them. They gave their orders to him as the guy focused on Charley like he wanted to eat her up. It took a lot of effort not to tell the guy to piss off.

A silence Jake didn’t like fell between them as they waited for their drinks. They’d never had awkward silences between them. Never. He’d been able to sit in the most perfect quiet with Charley, neither of them saying a word because they didn’t need to fill every minute with conversation. They’d never felt the need to prove to the other that they were interesting. They’d always just … fit.

Fuck. It suddenly occurred to Jake that being around Charley might be a bad idea, if only for his and Melissa’s relationship, but when their coffees arrived and she glanced up at him with those spectacular hazel eyes, the same eyes that had drawn him in from the moment his had collided with them at a bonfire, Jake was a goner.

A contentment he hadn’t felt in a long time began to settle over him and he relaxed in his seat, sipping his coffee. “Your hair is much lighter. It looks good.”

She stared blankly back at him and he felt his chest tighten again.

When he first met Charley, it was her eyes he noticed, not just because they were physically striking but because of the way she looked right into you. If Charley caught your eye, you’d find it difficult to look away.

He’d never seen her eyes shut him out before. Not once.

When she wasn’t smiling or laughing with him, her eyes were. If they weren’t laughing, they were silently telling him she adored him, she’d do anything for him, he was everything to her. Even when they were arguing about something and there was a whole lot of fire in those eyes, the adoration never went away. An adoration and vulnerability made only more special because she didn’t look at anyone else that way. Not ever. For her family, there was affection and love. For her friends, an easy loyalty. For Jake, all her doors were wide open.

To have that be gone and to know he was responsible hurt more than he was prepared for.

Jake cleared his throat, needing to apologize and explain. “I know I f**ked up hugely.”

Appearing instantly bored, Charley sighed. “Is that why I came here, Jake? To listen to you state the obvious?”

A panic clawed at Jake’s throat as his worst fears and pained prediction were confirmed. She’d moved on. Wanted nothing to do with him. It’s what he should’ve wanted. What he was sure he wanted for the both of them, and for him and Melissa, but now that Charley was sitting in front of him, he admitted to himself that he’d kill for her to smile at him. Absolutely kill for it. “I’m trying here. You used to admire honesty. Have you changed?”

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