My breath caught and then I was lost in those words, in how his body moved behind mine, fast and beautiful in its wildness, and soon the room was filled with sounds of our bodies crashing together and our pants and moans. The rhythm between us was lost, as was his iron control, and the tension spiraled tight, and I could feel he was close from the way he spasmed and jerked inside me.
“Never like this,” he growled into my ear.
I spun right over the edge then. My body clamped down on him, my arms, my legs, and every part of me as I kicked my head back and cried out. The pressure inside me exploded, whipping through me as he groaned with each powerful thrust. My arms gave out. My cheek hit the bed, and he followed, his weight mind-blowing, and he continued to take me as he wrapped one arm around my leg, sliding it up and hitting every part of me.
The feeling, the sound of him, of our bodies, set me off again, and this time I screamed his name, and then he pushed in deeper than before, his groan heavy and sensual in my ear as he came.
Only then did he slow down, his body seeming to glide on its own as he worked his way through his release, and the aftershocks of my own still surprising me with each sublime jolt.
I don’t know how much time passed with him still moving in a sway inside me before he eased out, rolled off me, and left to deal with the condom. I didn’t move. I was beyond capable of moving. My muscles were mush. I was where he left me when he returned to bed and I was absolutely no help as he got my body under the covers or when he rolled me onto my side, tucking my body against his.
“You okay?” he asked.
“Mmm-hmm,” I murmured sleepily.
There was a pause. “I didn’t hurt you?”
“No. It was wonderful.”
He kissed the back of my shoulder. “You liked that.”
It wasn’t a question, not the way he said it, but I murmured again, “Mmm-hmm.”
Jax’s chuckle brushed the back of my neck as he pulled me back tighter against him so that there was no space between us at all. “You still with me?”
“I’m still with you.”
Sprawled across the bed on my belly, with one arm shoved under the pillow my cheek rested on and the other arm folded next to my side, I slowly came awake to feel a feather-light touch trailing over my hip and down the curve of my behind.
I shifted restlessly, blinked open my eyes, and was immediately blinded by the bright light streaming into the bedroom. Groaning, I closed my eyes and tried to snuggle down. My bones didn’t feel like they were attached to any muscles and that somehow was a pleasant sensation. So was the hint of pressure tracing idle designs over my skin.
I’d never slept on my stomach before and I honestly didn’t even remember falling asleep. I assumed it was some point after Jax had curved his arms around me and I’d taken my next breath.
My body still felt worked over in the best possible way. So much so that—
Then my eyes popped back open.
All I saw once my vision adjusted to the light was Jax’s closet doors, and I figured he was what was responsible for what felt like a figure eight on my right butt cheek unless some random artist had climbed into bed with me.
My back was bare.
Hell, the sheet and covers were somewhere tangled around my upper thighs and I was sure that Jax could see the mess of skin, just like last time when he’d flipped me around and taken me from behind. My back being visible last night had been . . . somewhat okay because I doubted he was really paying attention.
I tensed and let out a shaky breath, preparing to roll away from him, which would give him an eyeful of boobs. And while I wasn’t so self-conscious about my front as much as my back around him now, I was sure I had weird lines from his wrinkled sheet embedded in my skin, and that, on top of everything else, would not be sexy. Like I was pretty sure I was in the negative realm of sexy right now.
I stared at the closet, considered pretending I was still asleep, and then dismissed that idea because it was dumb, so I went with playing dumb. “Don’t what?”
Jax’s hand curved over my bare hip. “Don’t hide. I know you were getting ready to turn away. Don’t.”
My eyes fell shut and I forced myself to stay still. After a few seconds, he went back to tracing smiley faces on my ass or whatever the hell he was doing. It felt like his eyes were boring holes into the discolored and rough skin, like peeling back the layers with X-ray vision.
“You have a sweet ass.”
“I mean, really. Your ass is f**king sweet, babe,” he went on, and my lashes lifted and my brows pinched. “You are one of those women just born with a nice ass. No amount of workouts can create this ass.”
“That’s correct,” I said after a few seconds. “I think it was Big Macs and tacos that created that ass.”
Jax’s deep laugh pulled at the corners of my lips and then I felt his leg moving over mine, followed by his hot and hard length pressed into said sweet ass. “Then don’t ever stop eating those Big Macs and tacos.”
Immediately, I was wet. Totally. I don’t know if it was the feel of him so close to the softest part of me, or the fact he’d just told me to never stop eating Big Macs and tacos. Either way, I was ready.
“I can do that,” I said, voice throaty. “Eating Big Macs and tacos.”
He dropped a kiss on my shoulder as his knee pushed my thighs apart and his hand slid between his body and mine. “We should be getting up soon.”
I might have grunted something to the negative.
His chuckle danced over my shoulder. “It’s almost ten. I have no idea when your friends are coming over.”
“We have time,” I told him when I had no idea if we did or not.
Jax’s hand made it between my legs, and my h*ps jerked as his fingers brushed across the dampness. “Damn, honey, you’re f**king insatiable. I love it.”
Oh, my heart did a little happy dance at the use of the word love even though it probably meant nothing.
His hand disappeared and I expected him to roll off and grab a condom, but he didn’t move, and after a few seconds I started to feel those whorls again. Pushing myself up on my elbows, I looked over my shoulder at him.
God, only he could look so freaking, ridiculously sexy after getting only a few hours of sleep, with his hair sticking up everywhere and a rough stubble across his jaw. For a moment, I got kind of lost staring at him and then I realized he was staring at my back. For real. Tension crept into my shoulders, and after what felt like a lifetime, his gaze found mine.
And I said what I needed to say. “I don’t like this.”
His expression tightened. “Why, baby?”
I knew from the way he’d asked, the question was genuine, and for some reason, that created that damn ball in my throat. My arms slid out and I rested my cheek back on the pillow. “It’s ugly,” I whispered.
Jax was quiet as he brushed a few strands of my hair back. “Do you know what I see when I see your back?”
“That it kind of looks like the Appalachian Mountains on a map?” I joked, but it fell flat as an iron.
“No, honey.” He took a deep breath. “I’m going to be honest, okay? I’m not going to sit here and tell you that what I see right now is easy to look at.”
Oh God. My heart dropped and I thought I might hurl.
“But it’s not the reasons you think,” he continued, and then I felt it, his hand over the worst part of my back, and my entire body seemed to have a reflexive curl, but I couldn’t go anywhere, because he was practically lying on me. “When I see your back, what I think about is the pain you had to have experienced. I don’t personally know what it feels like, but I had hot shrapnel rip through my skin, and I’m sure that wasn’t even a ball’s hair worth of what you felt. But when the bomb went off in the desert, I saw soldiers—my friends—catch on fire.”
I squeezed my eyes shut, but his words sparked images I didn’t want to see but needed to.
“And I know that there is no amount of pain meds that really dulls these kinds of burns and you lived through that. That’s what I think about when I see them. And I also think about how these f**king scars shaped your life. How they’ve beaten you down when you still are one of the most beautiful girls I’ve ever seen and these scars don’t even touch that. They aren’t anything compared to your smile or your pretty blue eyes or that sweet ass.”
Oh my God.
He wasn’t done. “You know what else I see? A physical reminder of how f**king strong you are, Calla, how f**king brave you are. That’s what I see when I look at your back. A map of how brave you are, your strength and your courage.”
Oh my God.
Tears pricked at my eyes. That ball of emotion was at my throat again, ready to pour forth and flood the earth.
“And that shit isn’t ugly.” His voice dropped to a whisper.
I twisted, pushing up on my elbows, and looked over my shoulder at him again. His face blurred. “Jax . . .”
“That shit is beautiful in its own way, but still f**king beautiful.”
Some of the tears spilled over, and I knew I was really going to start sobbing, because that was the most perfect thing I’d ever heard, and all I could say was a lame “Thank you.”
One side of his lips kicked up.
I wanted to say more and I was so going to cry more, and it was a good thing that his phone started ringing, because I was seconds away from telling him that I loved him and wanted to have his babies. Not have his babies right now, but later, and I figured that might’ve been too soon to say something like that, but oh God, I did love him.
Jax ignored his phone as he rolled me onto my back. “I think you get it.” Leaning onto one arm pressed into the pillow, he brushed away the tears with his other hand. “Finally.”
A little kernel of “getting it” was there, and it was small and fragile, but it was there, pitted in my stomach like a little seed that just started to sprout. It needed love and care, but I was starting to get it.
He grinned and said, “Yeah.” Then he dipped his head, kissing my left cheek just as his phone started ringing again. He pulled back, shooting a glare in the direction of the nightstand.
“You should get that.” My voice was thick.
Jax really didn’t look like he wanted to, but with a curse, he shifted off me and snatched his phone. He answered the call with a “What?”
I’d just settled back against the pillow, about to replay his whole speech over again in a slightly obsessive way, when Jax suddenly sat up. “What?”
The tone of his voice caused a rush of unease, and I reacted to it. Sitting up, I grabbed the sheet and tugged it to my br**sts.
“Yeah, I’m Jackson James. What’s going on?” There was a stretch of silence and then he was on his feet, and I was staring at his firm ass. He glanced over his shoulder at me, his jaw hard. “Yes. Thank you. Yep.”
“What’s going on?” I asked as soon as he lowered the phone.
Jax grabbed his jeans and briefs off the floor. “You got to get up and get dressed, honey.”
The tone of his voice brooked no room for argument and I knew something was up, and I did what I was told. I tossed the covers and stood. Jax already had his jeans on when he was suddenly in front of me.
The air left me when I saw the look in his eyes. Oh no. My heart kicked up. “It’s Mom, isn’t it? They’ve found her bo—”
“No, honey, it’s not your mom.” He cupped my cheeks, his eyes searching mine. “It’s Clyde. And it’s serious. He had a heart attack.”
One of the reasons why I wanted to be a nurse was that I hated hospitals. They were a cesspool of unwelcome memories of grief, pain, and desperation, and in a way, becoming a nurse was a way to overcome that hate and that fear. But for even more obvious reasons, I wasn’t thinking of my future career and I hated them more so today than I had in a long time, because I was on the verge of having another horrific memory attached to a hospital.