“I mean it.” I wanted to touch him. Get naked. Show him how much I meant it. “It’s yours.”

He closed his eyes briefly and then said, “There’s just one more thing. I love you, but if you’re going to stay with me, you got to be all in. You got to be with me, Calla. When something happens, you don’t shut down. You come to me. We talk about it. Okay?”

Pressing my lips together, I nodded. “I’m all in.”


“But that doesn’t mean I’m not going to do dumb stuff. That I’m always going to know how to react or that I won’t need time to digest stuff,” I rushed on. “And I do a lot of dumb stuff on a regular basis. Like all the—”

“Hon,” he murmured, smiling. “I get that.”

I cracked a grin. “We’re good?”

Instead of saying we were, he showed me just how good we were. Our clothes went off in record time. Turned out he had protection in his wallet, to which I raised my brows.

“Never leave home without one,” he joked.

I shook my head. “Kiss me already.”

We were na**d and on the bed, our hands and mouths greedy. He paid extra attention to the new scar and then his head was between my legs, my fingers digging into the silky strands. Right before the tension exploded in my body, he climbed up me, settling between my legs.

“I’ll be careful,” he said, nipping at my lip.

“I don’t want you to be careful.”

His mouth kicked up on one corner. “That’s one of those dumb things.”

“Shut up.” I curled my leg around his, bringing him closer.

He chuckled, but then he slid into me and there was nothing to really laugh about. It was as slow and smooth as our first time, him taking extra care and me completely forgetting about my tender side. My back arched and my h*ps rolled, rocked into his.

One of his hands curled around my breast, fingers working the tingling tip as he supported his weight on the arm braced beside my head. I had both legs around him now, my heels digging into his back, urging him to move faster.

“So impatient.” He kissed the corner of my lip and then the other, before deepening the kiss.

And then he moved faster.

His hand left my breast and found mine and he threaded our fingers together as he thrust into me, connecting us in yet another place. He said my name into my ear and it thundered through me. Heat flowed and I was swimming in raw sensations as my chest pressed to his, so close I could feel his pounding heart.

Then he lifted his head, his gaze locking with mine, and the pressure inside me swelled. I tightened all around him.

“That’s it,” he rasped.

My soft moans rose, joining his grunts as the pace became feverish. I moved faster, grinding my h*ps against his. I was mindless, swept away as I cried out his name and came in tight, sensual waves, and he was right behind me, joining me as he buried his head in my shoulder.

“I think you like me,” I said, voice husky and thick, shuddering as a tremor rocked me.

Jax chuckled into my neck and then rolled us so we were both on our sides, facing each other. “You’re a dork.”

“Yeah.” I placed my hand on his cheek. “I am, but you love me.”

He curled his fingers around my wrist and brought my hand to his mouth. He kissed the palm. “I do.”

I’d kept Jax up half the night, talking and kissing, and making us both wish he’d had more condoms stashed in his wallet. We’d drifted off to sleep a few hours before dawn, and when I felt him kissing my cheek in the morning, it felt like minutes had passed instead of hours.

“It’s time to get up, sleepy head,” he said. Curling into a ball, I mumbled something about needing more sleep, but he was relentless, tugging gently on my hair. “We got plans today.”

I pried one eye open. And then my other one opened when I realized he was dressed and sitting on the bed. “Why are you already in clothes?”

“Because if I didn’t get something on me, I’d end up saying f**k being responsible and get inside you with nothing between us.”


He just put that out there like that.

“I need to get on the pill,” I told him, closing my eyes again.

Jax laughed loudly. “I think I can totally get behind that, but you need to get your sweet ass up.”


“We got plans, hon, and we got to check out, get home, shower, and if you get up now, we’ll have enough time to f**k each other’s brains out.”

My eyes opened again. I liked the sound of that. “What plans do we have?”

“Cool plans. I’m taking off from the bar and you and I are going to do something fun. So get up.” He smacked my behind when I didn’t move. “Your friends are waiting, too.”

“They are?” Like an idiot, I glanced around the room and was grateful to find them not sitting in the hotel room.

“We’re going to take care of another one of your firsts.”

I rose onto my elbow, gripping the sheet. “My firsts?”

He grinned and his eyes were a warm, beautiful whiskey color. “Yeah, that whole shit ton of stuff you’ve never experienced? We got to start them today if I have even the slightest hope of scratching some of them off before you head back to Shepherd.”

Oh wow, my heart did something like a cartwheel in my chest. He eased my fingers away from the sheet and it slipped to my waist. I was too busy gazing at him to stop it or care that half of my body was hanging out. He swept his thumb over my pebbled nipple, distracted now.

“Which first?” I asked.

He dipped his head, kissing where his thumb had been. “We’re going to Hershey Park.”

“Hershey Park?”

Lifting his head, he curled that wandering hand behind my neck. “Yeah, honey, it’s an amusement park. You’ve never been. And when I ran into Jase outside, in the lobby, I told him I wanted to take you. They are all on board.”

I took a breath and it sounded funny. “You’re taking me to an amusement park?”

Grinning, he nodded. “Look at you. You’re ready to burst into tears.”

“Shut up,” I whispered, blinking back those tears. “It’s just that—you’re amazing, Jax. You really are.”

“Nah,” he murmured.

“You remembered my list of stupid things.” I sat up fully and he followed. I leaned in, pressing my forehead against him. “That makes you amazing.”

His other arm came around my waist and he drew me into his lap. I hung on to him, squeezing my eyes shut. A thought occurred to me, something Jax had said once. He’d been right then, too. The circumstances sucked and were crazy, but I did have my mom to thank for this—for Jax. Our relationship turned out to be a very bright silver lining in a sad, dark cloud.

“You still with me?” he asked against my mouth.

My lips curved up in a smile as I worked my fingers into the hair at the nape of his neck. As my heart swelled, tears built in my eyes again, but they didn’t fall, and even if they did, they would’ve been happy tears, because no matter where I was, if I was here or back at Shepherd, I’d be with him. I knew that like I knew I’d taken another breath after the last one faded away. “I’m with you.”

Jax grinned as the strong arm around my back tightened. “That’s my girl.”

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