Wicked ties, p.51
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       Wicked Ties, p.51

         Part #1 of Wicked Lovers series by Shayla Black
 
Page 51

 

  “Hmm. He’s not slurring anymore,” Deke commented.

  “Maybe he’s actually semi-sober. ”

  “This is ridiculous. Why am I here expecting answers from a drunk man who only pursued me so he could get back at someone else and get his rocks off at the same time? Take me back to Brandon’s. ”

  “Not yet. Ten minutes. Just give him that much. ” Morgan said nothing.

  “If you don’t, I’ll have to start pleading again. ” She shot him a stare that should have told him that she was totally unmoved. But, as usual, Deke ignored her.

  “I’ll give you extra whine if you don’t cave in…” “Ugh! Fine. Ten minutes, then you’re taking me back or I’m calling a taxi. And a hit man to finish off both of you. Pricks!” “That’s a girl. ” He planted a smacking kiss her on the cheek, then flashed her a million-watt smile.

  Morgan just rolled her eyes. “Let’s get this over with. ” “I’ll come around to get you, but hang tight for just a minute. I don’t think he can see you with the sun in his face and these tinted windows. And I want you to hear something. ” Deke climbed down from the Hummer, then called to Jack, “Yep, it’s delivered. ”

  “You bring me a new bottle?”

  “I brought you something else. Don’t you want to know that I saw Morgan?”

  “So she was there. ” He blew out a breath. Then he swallowed, jaw tensing. “How was she?”

  “In better shape than you since she wasn’t somewhere between drunk and hung over. ”

  “Her shoulder?”

  “Getting better. She was up and walking around. She looked good. ”

  Jack nodded. A simple gesture…but the frown on his face tore at Morgan. Brows furrowed, eyes closed, jaw tight, he looked so damn sad. Regretful. Destroyed.

  The sight took her aback, ripped at her heart. He actually…cared? That’s what it looked like. He couldn’t see her, had no reason to act something he wasn’t or didn’t feel. Morgan swallowed.

  “I’ll bet she looked beautiful. She always did. ” Deke stopped in front of Jack, lingering on the sidewalk in the noontime sun. “Yeah, and she looked pissed. ”

  “I expected that. I made a really stupid fucking choice when I didn’t come clean with her. I had opportunities and I…” He shook his head, a gesture rife with regret. “I didn’t take them. ” “Yeah, that makes you a stupid putz, but that isn’t the main thing she’s pissed about. ”

  “It’s not?” He looked totally confused.

  Jack didn’t get it? How could he not get it? How could he totally not understand? Amazing.

  Pushed by hope and confusion and her temper, she opened the Hummer door and leaped down. “No, you dumb ass, that’s not what I’m pissed about. ”

  “See, I told you I brought you something. ” Deke flashed Jack a smile. “Or someone. ”

  “Morgan,” Jack whispered, taking a step toward her, hands outstretched.

  “Nice of you to remember me. ”

  The barb in her voice stopped him cold. He dropped his hands. “You’re here to chew my ass out. I deserve it. I swear, I never meant to hurt you. I didn’t think we’d really become so emotionally involved. But the minute I laid eyes on you—” “Oh, stop with the romantic drivel. So I was a good lay, nice and submissive and—”

  “Kids, why don’t we take this inside so the nice strangers around the motel can’t hear about your sex lives?” Deke shepherded them into Jack’s room.

  Morgan darted inside, past Jack, shocked that she’d been so stirred up that shouting in a parking lot about their intimate details seemed reasonable. God, that man got under her skin and fried her brain.

  Inside, the white walls and nondescript pressed wood furniture shouted “typical. ” The striped beige and ivory comforter lay strewn with the stiff white sheets across the bed. Brown indoor/outdoor carpet completed the utilitarian look. Thoroughly ugly. So how the hell had she wound up having one of the most emotional discussions of her life here?

  She turned to find Deke shutting the door before he leaned against it. Jack hovered close to her, so close she could smell the mystery of his scent blending with the whiskey he’d been guzzling.

  But he made no move to touch her.

  “You were more than a good lay, Morgan. Way more, and I knew I should come clean. A dozen times I told myself I should but…” Remorse bled into his gaze, tightened his mouth. “I love you, and I knew once I told you the whole story that I’d lose you. I couldn’t bring myself to say it and make you hate me. It was going to come soon enough. ”

  Morgan steeled her heart against the admission. But she wasn’t quick enough. His words were like a surprise attack, and hope, pain, and yearning all joined the shock to wear her resistance down.

  Tears stung her eyes. “You love me so much that when I was shot, you visited the hospital, had a nice cozy chat with Brandon about your ex-wife, then left him to deliver your apologies to me. And you never came back. ”

  Jack sucked in a sharp breath. “You…”

  “Overheard every word at the hospital? Yes. But what I never heard was that, if you supposedly loved me, when you were coming back. It seemed awfully easy for you to write me off. ” He finally breached the distance between them and gripped her uninjured shoulder. His touch slid over her like an electric shock, a jolt of heat, of desire. But more, even. This came with a blast of yearning that exploded from her heart, so strong it nearly brought her to her knees.

  But Jack held her up. “Cher, I fucked up. I didn’t have any right to try to win you back. Would you have believed a word I said? No,” he answered for her. “And why should you take me back? I don’t deserve it. I know that. ”

  Was it really just as Deke said, that Jack felt too guilty to pursue his feelings for her? Was that the only thing that stopped him?

  Maybe the more fundamental question was, did she want him back? Did she want Jack and all he could give her in her life each and every day.

  Even his fingers around her shoulders made her feel more alive than she had in the last week. A wish burst inside her, straining against common sense. They were from different places, led different lives… Pointless rumination. If they were to become a couple, they could compromise, mesh lives, live part-time in Louisiana and part-time in Los Angeles. Something. The more important fact was that inside, they shared something special, connected physically and emotionally.

  Sexually. Without him, Morgan had felt as if she’d been missing something significant.

  No, more than that. She felt like she’d been missing half of herself.

  Risk-taking had never been her forte, and taking the one she contemplated now scared the hell out of her. But if there was a chance, even a remote one, that she and Jack could get beyond this revenge of his and have something significant, even lasting… She’d be a first-class idiot not to find that out.

  “Just answer me one question,” she demanded finally. “If I was able to forgive you for this stupid-ass vendetta you used me for and I said I wanted you to talk to me, what would you say?” Behind Jack, Deke pumped his fist in the air and nodded in approval. Lord, she’d forgotten he was there. Before she could tell him to get his ass out of the room, Jack hauled her against him. “I’d tell you that you’re what I’ve been searching for my whole life. I’d confess that I dreamed about you before I ever met you, and that the first time I got deep inside you I think I knew that you were meant to be mine. I’d tell you I love you. ”

  The swell of emotion behind those choked words undid nearly her, and Morgan felt her resistance crumbling even more.

  The tears rushed back. Her mouth trembled. Her throat tightened.

  Her jaw shook with the effort to hold back the tears. How could the man get to her with a few perfect words? Damn it.

  “Cher, I wish I could just growl a command at you and make you come back. But I can’t just control your emotions. It’s more important than growling at you to take off your little we
t panties. ”

  He was giving her the power. Totally. He might order her around in the bedroom, but he wasn’t coercing her to give anything she wasn’t willing to. He wasn’t going to bully her into surrendering her heart. He wanted her to give it.

  That fact shone from dark, red-rimmed eyes in a hollow,stubble-lined face that looked like he had felt nothing but hell for days.

  The realization that he loved her and wanted her love in return slid over her like one of her mother’s quilts, soft, comforting, warm.

  “I didn’t know what to say or do or how to get out of the mess I’d created. ” His self-deprecating laugh scratched across her senses, igniting her heart.

  “‘I’m sorry’ is a good start,” she whispered.

  “I’m damn sorry. If I had it to do over again…I’d give you your interview, tell you that even though I hated Brandon, I wanted you more than anything in the world. Then I’d seduce you until leaving me was the last thing on your mind. ”

  “Better plan. ”

  “Smarter, that’s for sure. ” Jack shrugged, dropped his hands. “But you’d have to forgive me. ”

  “You’d have to promise not to pull something this brainless again. ”

  “Promising that would be easy. ”

  “You’d have to agree to be nice to Brandon. ”

  Jack tensed. “We’ve made our peace. I don’t respect what he did…but I didn’t do much better. I don’t know that we’re ever going to be great friends again, but we’ll get along. I could make that happen. ”

  Morgan smiled. Insane, complex, drive-her-crazy man and his stunningly honest answer. “You’d have to promise to fulfill all my fantasies. ”

  That perked Jack right up. He crashed into her personal space again and crushed her against his chest. Morgan felt safe, felt like she’d come home.

  “That’s a promise I’ll have no trouble keeping,” he whispered. “You got more fantasies I should know about?” “Just one at the moment. ” She drew in a deep breath, tinged with the scent of Jack, solid and enigmatic all at once, the scent of hope and tomorrow and great sex to come.

  “Yeah?” he murmured against her mouth. “Tell me, mon coeur. ”

  Morgan dropped her gaze, drew in a deep breath, and went for broke. “That everything we’ve been talking about could be real. I want to forgive you—”

  “And I want you to wear my pendant. ” He fished it out of his pocket. “I’ve been keeping it here, close to me…to be close to you. ”

  “Jack. ” Morgan just about dissolved into tears. “I want to keep you, love you, have you with me always,” he whispered.

  In the background, Deke clapped and let loose a stadiumworthy whistle.

  Jack started at the sound. Then he growled something ugly, set Morgan aside, and stomped to the door. He grabbed Deke by the arm. “And some fantasies are meant to be for two. ” He shoved Deke out the door into the harsh midday sun. “Go to your own room. ”

  “And do what? You’re more entertaining than the soap operas on TV right now. ”

  “Fuck off. ” Jack slammed the door in his face, then sidled back to Morgan. “Where were we?”

  She couldn’t stop the smile curling up her lips. “With you having the fantasy that you could keep me and love me forever. ” “Still having that fantasy. ” He cupped her face in his large, warm hands, and stared at her with dark, hungry eyes. “Can you make it come true, cher?”

  “Thanks to you, I know who and what I am now. ” She brushed a solemn kiss across his mouth. “Your wish is my command…sir. ”

 
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