Nobody But You (Cedar Ridge 3) - Page 87

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“That’s what I’m doing. Get your mitts off what’s mine.”

Laughing, Chris brushed a kiss to Sophie’s cheek and walked away.

Good man.

Sophie didn’t move into Jacob’s arms. She stood there, brow arched. “Get your mitts off what’s yours?” she repeated with more than a hint of disbelief.

“We’ve had this talk.” He tugged her in to him. “You are mine.”

Her arms were still crossed. A barrier between them. “And?” she inquired.

He smiled into her chilly features. “And I’m yours.”

She softened at that, letting her arms fall to her sides. “One more question,” she said.

“Go.”

“Were you really upset that I was dancing with Chris?”

“No,” he said, and paused. “You made him smile.”

She stared at him for a moment before she touched him, her hands gliding up to tighten around his neck as she pressed her face to his throat.

As she relaxed in his arms, he let the beat of the music carry them around for a few minutes. It was ridiculous, but he wanted the song to go on forever just so that he didn’t have to lose contact with the feel of her skin.

She wriggled in a little, like maybe she didn’t want it to end either, like she couldn’t get close enough. Tightening his grip on her, he was just about to whisper a naughty nothing in her ear when he felt the wetness of tears against his skin.

And his heart dropped straight out of his chest. “Hey,” he said quietly. “What’s this?”

She shook her head and kept her face buried against him, clearly struggling for composure. He waited her out, holding on to her with a grip he hoped conveyed some of his feelings since his mouth had never been any good at doing that for him.

Finally she gave a last sniff and lifted her head. “You make me smile too.”

“You sure? Because at the moment, it looks like I made you cry.”

Her eyes filled again, but she blinked back the tears. “It’s a good cry,” she whispered.

She killed him. “Soph,” he whispered, swiping a thumb over her cheek.

She shook her head again and looked at him, eyes clear now. “And just so we’re clear, I wouldn’t have been so gracious about you slow dirty dancing with someone else.”

“No?” he asked, finding that kernel of knowledge fascinating. And also a little hot. “What would have happened?”

“Well, for starters, I’d be appropriately grief stricken at your funeral.”

He burst out laughing.

Smiling, she slipped her arms around his neck. “But realistically? I’m happy to have you,” she said. “For the duration.”

It was the second time she’d made the distinction. Definitely time to put that to bed. “How about for as long as it works instead?”

She just looked at him for a long beat, and then without saying a word, set her head on his shoulder and sighed, cuddling in like everything was okay in her world.

And it sure as hell was in his. He opened his mouth to say so, but one of the Wounded Warriors cut in. And after that, Gray cut in. And then the music slowed again and he claimed her back with a scowl that made Gray smirk.

Flipping his brother off, Jacob tugged Sophie out onto the sandy beach for privacy. There he pulled her into his arms, where they swayed to the music drifting over them in tune to the water slapping the shore.

Pressed up against her warm, giving body, he couldn’t think of another place in the entire world he’d rather be, and when she sighed in sheer pleasure, he hoped that meant she felt the same.

She smiled against his throat. “Pretty nice day,” she said.

“Better than nice,” he murmured, and stroked a finger along her jaw, lifting her face to his. Her eyes were deep, dark, and full of things, things she felt for him, he realized, his heart taking a good, hard knock against his ribs. “What you did for me today, getting Chris here—”

“That was all Hud and Aidan,” she said.

“No,” he said with a slow shake of his head. “It started with you, and I can’t even find the words to tell you what it means to me that you did that. I didn’t realize a part of me was broken. Not until I saw Chris looking whole and…okay.”

Her eyes shimmered with emotion. “You found the words just fine,” she whispered, and gave him a soft smile, holding his gaze until it was…too much, and he dropped it to look at her mouth instead.

Her lips curved slowly, and he kissed her. And then again, still moving her to the beat, his body shifting against her in a way that had her letting out a soft moan, which he caught with his mouth.


Tags: Jill Shalvis Cedar Ridge Romance
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