“Woke up without you,” he said. “Didn’t like it.”
“Yeah, well, you’re going to have to get used to that,” she said, and stuffed the last of the bear claw into her mouth so she could cross her arms. It wasn’t easy to maintain her pissy dignity with her mouth full, but she gave it her best shot.
Jacob nodded slowly. “I’m getting that. We need to talk, Sophie.”
She had to ignore how the sound of her name on his lips always made her ache. Needing something to do with herself, she grabbed the last donut. “I’ll go first,” she said. “Were you laughing at me this whole time? Was it all just one big joke between you and Lucas?”
He studied her face a moment and then set down his coffee. He started to take the donut from her hand, stopping when she let out a sound that might have been construed as a growl. Changing tactics, he reached for her free hand instead.
She pulled it back, which she realized made her look like a three-year-old, but she was furious. And upset. And…shamefully embarrassed—a bad combination for her, always had been.
“Soph,” he said in that low, gruff morning voice, the one that until fifteen minutes ago would have made her melt.
Well, okay, so she was still melting, but that only made her angrier. God, she’d been such a fool, a complete idiot, and the worst part was, she should’ve seen it coming.
Nothing good came of falling for someone.
“I gotta go,” she whispered.
“After we talk.”
“Can’t,” she said. “I’m working now and then I’m gone.”
He froze. “You’re leaving Cedar Ridge?”
“No, just you.” She turned to walk off, but he caught her and turned her around to face him.
“Hear me out. You owe me that much, Sophie. And then, if you still want to dump my sorry ass, have at it.”
She gave him a push. “Fine. But hands off.” She couldn’t think when he touched her.
He lifted his hands but didn’t back away. “I can see you’ve decided some things on your own about me,” he said, “but you’re wrong. Very wrong.”
She just stared at him, doing her best to remain composed. She’d signed on to work the breakfast, help with cleanup, and get the beach cleared by noon. That meant two more hours of having to keep it together.
Or at least the pretense of.
She could do that. Hell, she’d held it together for much longer, under far worse circumstances—such as her entire childhood. And her marriage to Lucas…
She was a master at holding it together. So this, with Jacob, should be easy. Totally easy.
Now, if only she believed that… “Please move,” she said. “I have work to do.”
“In a minute.” He lowered his voice. “We have an audience. Come back home with me and—”
“No.” Hugging herself with one arm, still clenching the rest of her donut, she shook her head. “I’m on the clock.”
“Fine. Shift over.” He wrapped his fingers around her wrist, and not giving her much of a choice, pulled her from beneath the canopy and toward his cabin.
“Don’t even think about it,” she said, digging her heels in. She wasn’t going to his place, no way in hell. He’d talk and she’d melt, and she’d end up in his amazing bed beneath his luscious bod, and she’d hate herself.
He quickly and easily redirected without argument, taking them down the beach instead, far past the event, until the sounds from it faded away.
Now all she could hear was the occasional squawk of a bird, the chatter of a frantic squirrel. Insects humming. The water gently sloshing onto the rocky shore.
Oh, and the sound of her own heart breaking.
When they got to a secluded little spot Jacob presumably felt was a good enough place, he turned to face her and gestured for her to sit on a fallen log at the water’s edge.
She shook her head. She’d eaten the rest of her donut on the walk here and now it sat in her gut like a heavy rock.
“Please sit,” he said, sounding so weary that she took a look at him, her first real look since seeing Lucas.
He was too good to show his mood in his body posture. He stood there like he always did, calm, watchful, a little dangerous, like he was locked and loaded and ready for anything. And she knew that was probably true. But a closer look showed her that his mouth was set to grim, and he had shadows beneath his eyes, suggesting he was beyond tired.
That’s what happens when you are a sex fiend, she thought, and then had a brief hot flash because she was one, too, with him. For him…