Prom Queen - Page 14

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“Screw the massage.”

A knock on the door interrupted them.

“Just a minute,” Jake’s voice was so rough, his words were nearly indecipherable.

Warmth flowed through her at the realization that she was causing this reaction. She wasn’t nearly as aloof as she wanted to be, because she stared as he pulled his shirt over his head and stripped out of his jeans.

Jake was…

Jake was magnificent.

He’d always had a great body, but the body she’d known so well was the body of a boy. This Jake was a man, through and through. His muscles roped along his frame, no tan lines to be seen. The only break in the color were the scars on his shoulder and arm. A smattering of dark hair created a triangle designed to draw her gaze south, ever south, to where his cock was standing at attention. She pressed her thighs together, but there was no hiding her reaction any more than he could hide his. Her breasts felt larger and her nipples pebbled under his gaze. “Jake—”

“Massage.” He pointed at her table and then waited for her to obey before he carefully laid face down on the other. “This was the worst fucking idea I’ve ever had.”

Jessica was inclined to agree. All of her earlier pep talks about keeping her hands off him went up in smoke. They should have just rented a hotel room far enough out of town that no one would care that they didn’t stay the night. They could have lost themselves in each other’s bodies for hours.

Sarah and Charles entered and lowered the lights even further. A bright citrus scent wafted through the room. Jake must have chosen it—it was her favorite.

She’d thought that relaxation would be impossible, but as Sarah got to work on her neck and shoulders, each breath took her deeper and deeper, until her mind was a still pool without a single ripple. At some point, she was maneuvered onto her back so Sarah could work her front, but she was half asleep by then.

The next thing she knew, a soft touch on her jaw brought her to awareness. Jessica opened her eyes, instantly focusing on Jake. “It’s over?”

“The massage is. We have an hour to spend how we’d like. They have a private steam room, sauna, and spot to shower and change once we’re done.” The heat in his gaze melted away the last of her tiredness. “I think the steam room would do us both some good.”

She sat up, relaxation the last thing on her mind.

Jessica was going to have sex with Jake in that steam room.

Chapter Eight

Jake had chosen this spa because it was the same place he sent his guys in between jobs. Even without having to wrangle sex, just acting as a date was a high stress situation. Burnout was a very real possibility if they didn’t take care of themselves, so he stepped in as needed to ensure they did.

Kind of like he’d stepped in with Jessie.

She looked better already, her walk less controlled, her expression peaceful. Or it had been until he mentioned the steam room. Now she was looking at him like he was a tree she wanted to climb. He wasn’t sure what to think about that.

No, that was a goddamn lie.

He was fucking thrilled that Jessie wanted him.

She licked her lips, her gaze glued to his chest. “Where’s that steam room?”

He led the way back to the tiny hallway that had three doors. The spa was set up for the ultimate private experience. The steam room and sauna had two doors so that they could be accessed by massage rooms on either side, but Sarah had already mentioned that there was no one in the neighboring room. They had the whole place to themselves.

The room was barely the size of a closet, a low tiled bench seat taking up the right half and a drain in the middle. Steam wisped around him as he opened the door and held it for Jessie. She gave him another long look that was a blatant invitation if he ever saw one, and then slid past him into the room. “Jake, I’m sorry.”

He froze. “What are you talking about?”

“I don’t think I ever said it.” She swept her hair over one shoulder and combed her fingers through it nervously. “I was a right bitch to you, and we were talking about marriage—at least eventually. What kind of wife would I have been if I couldn’t even stick it out through you getting hurt? I just… No, there’s no excuse. Leaving you like that was terrible, and I’m sorry.”

A tension he had carried so long that he was barely aware of it sprang to life. Jake sank onto the bench about six inches from her and stared at the wall across from them. He didn’t want to talk about this. He’d fought long and hard to get over his bitterness about how things had fallen out with them, and he’d mostly succeeded.

Or at least he’d thought he had.

Being with her again, falling back into the motions that he knew better than his own heartbeat, knowing she was in pain and he was partially the cause…it was doing a number on his head. He scrubbed a hand through his hair. Now was the time to tell her that she was forgiven. That it didn’t matter anymore, and her hanging onto it was only hurting herself.

That wasn’t what came out of his mouth. “Why?”

Her combing motions went faster. “I told you I don’t have an excuse.”

“I want to know what went through your head when you left that hospital room the last time. What you were thinking when you bought the ticket to California. All of it, Jessie. If you want to put this behind us once and for all, that’s what it’s going to take.”

Her breath shuddered out, the sound so tiny and painful that he almost relented. Jessie started talking before he could say anything else. “I was going to stay. UCLA was as much your dream as it was mine, and the thought of going there without you scared the hell out of me. You were always so big and strong and larger than life, and you were in that hospital bed with your arm and shoulder immobile, pale and weak and scared shitless. I sat in the chair next to your bed and thought I could be strong enough for both of us.”

Her fingers stilled. “And as soon as I got into my car, the doubts started pouring in. My mom set all her hopes and dreams on my dad and look how that turned out. They can barely stand each other, and she seriously messed up me and Drew by trying to fill that void. I sat in my car, and looked into the future, and all I could think was that I would turn into her if I stayed. I’d always wonder if I’d given up everything for a guy when we were barely more than kids. It was like a movie in my head. It wouldn’t start out so bad, but a couple years down the road—probably after our first kid—we’d start fighting more than we joked. I’d resent you for hobbling me, and you’d hate me for resenting you. One of us would cheat, and that would be that. Divorce. Single mom. No college education to speak of. I’d end up working at the bank with my dad as a pity job, and then I wouldn’t be able to pretend he wasn’t screwing his secretary.”

Jake couldn’t catch his breath. “You should have talked to me.”

“I know.” She finally lifted her head, and her eyes shone with unshed tears. “But I was a coward, and it was easier to just leave than to face the fact that I might be wrong. Every time I wavered—and there were like eleven times I almost called the whole thing off between leaving your hospital room and getting on that plane—all I could think of was that, yeah, I might be wrong. But what if I was right?”

“You weren’t. I could never hate you, love.” He tugged on her arm until she let him lift her onto his lap. The steam dampened their skin and her arm slid against his chest. He held her close despite everything. “It wouldn’t have come to that—any of it.”

“Are you sure?”

It was the damnedest thing. He wanted to tell her that, fuck yes, he was sure. That they never would have stooped so low, no matter how things started out after he recovered from that injury.

The words wouldn’t come.

They felt too much like a lie. He’d been so goddamn angry at the world when he woke up and realized that his future had been stolen from him. Then Jessie left,

and it was easier to be angry at her than to deal with the true source of his rage.

Jake had failed. The entire world had been within his grasp, only to be snatched away right when he’d started to believe it was a sure thing.

If she’d stayed, would he have taken out that anger on her and their relationship? He couldn’t say for sure one way or another.

He rested his chin on her shoulder. “No, love. I’m not sure.” That knot of tension between his shoulder blades dissipated between one breath and the next. Like it had been waiting a full decade for him to admit it. He dragged his mouth over her shoulder and to her neck. “There’s nothing to forgive, Jessie. I can’t promise you weren’t right. I’d like to say it’s total bullshit and we’d never have gotten to that point, but I can’t because I don’t fucking know.” He nipped her earlobe. “You made the right call. The method was kind of cruel, but we were teenagers.”


“Really.” He glanced at the door, but the tiny windowpane was fully fogged. No one would interrupt them in the next hour. He shifted her so that she straddled him, and then unknotted the front of her towel. The fluffy white cloth slid down her body to pool at his hips. Fuck, she’s something else. The steam had her hair curling slightly, and her entire body had the finest sheen of sweat.

It made him want to eat her up.

“If you could see the way you’re looking at me.” She bit her lip and carefully set her hands on his shoulders. “Jake, what are we doing? Maybe there’s nothing left for you anymore but physical attraction, but it’s not like that for me. I don’t… What are we doing?”

He couldn’t say that he didn’t know. Not anymore. The thing he’d been working hard to avoid since he saw her across the airport was lingering on the tip of his tongue, just waiting for him to acknowledge it. I never stopped loving you, Jessie.

There were a thousand reasons a future wouldn’t work between them.

They only needed one reason that it would work.

He slid his hands up her thighs and back down again. “It’s not just physical for me, love. It never has been.”

Tags: Katee Robert Romance