Authors: ML Skye
Tags: #science fiction adventure erotic romance
Marc pounced. "Well, you better wrap your head around the idea because she's got it bad for you, dude."
Jason wanted to kick himself, but asked. "She said that?" Hope sprang, followed by loathing.
God, he really did suck.
Marcus rolled his eyes. "Didn't have to. She's racked with guilt. And we both know Chloe doesn't do guilt unless she's deeply affected."
"By me?" Jason snorted. "Right. You're insane."
"No. I'm not. She had a laundry list of reasons why we needed to step back and think about things. Then spent all her time pacing the apartment like a caged animal." Marc stopped and threw Jason a look. "You know what happens when you back one into a corner, right?"
Jason's eyes closed. "They go into attack mode and lash out."
"You betcha. Handed my ass to me on a daily basis and wouldn't tell me why." He flopped down onto the chair opposite the sofa. "I finally peeled out and went to stay at Winnow's place. Couldn't take it anymore."
Jason dropped down on the couch. "Damn."
"She called me last night. Wanted to talk. I hightailed it… thinking she might've had a wakeup call." He frowned. "Instead, she gave it to me cold. Had to be honest. She couldn't marry me."
Jace questioned. "And you take that to mean she's in love with me?"
Marc shook his head. "Oh, hell no. I figured that out by myself." He leveled his gaze on Jason. "I'm not as stupid as you two think, bro."
Jason couldn't believe it. "No one said you were, Marc. But you're still way off base, here."
"No, I'm not. Contrary to what she thinks, I do know her. She let your name drop one night when we were fighting. You got to her. You may not have meant to, but you did. And if you tell me you don't give a shit about her, I may have to kill you." He gave Jason a sideways glance. "And we both know I could easily dispose of your body, so man up and be honest, Jace."
Jason started with the number one truth. "I'm shit for a brother. Is that honest enough for you?"
Marc shot up and grabbed Jason, hauling him up off the couch.
Jason didn't fight him. "What do you want me to do here, Marc?"
Marc shoved him back down. "I want you to go talk to Chloe."
Jason's mouth dropped open. "You want me to what? Why the hell would you be okay with that?" He didn't believe his brother.
Marc snorted. "Hell, I'm not okay with it. I'm pissed off at both of you." He jabbed his finger into Jason's shoulder. "But I'll be even more cranked if you let Chloe suffer through this alone. You two need to figure shit out." Marc straightened and made his way toward Jason's door. "And do it soon, man. You're both a mess."
Marc jerked the solid wood open and slammed it shut behind him.
Jason sat, staring at nothing, letting Marc's words roll around in his head. Damned grown-up move on his brother's part. Jason wondered when the petulant, immature Marc had disappeared.
Didn't matter. Marc called it. Jason needed to face Chloe and find out where they went from this point on.
Rising, he grabbed a shirt from his bedroom and pulled his boots on. Snagged the keys from the counter and exited his apartment. He stopped outside the door, turned, and went back inside, snagging the ring Marc left behind.
He didn't know why Marc didn't take it, but Jason would use it to get some answers.
He hadn't considered the bruises Marc's punch would leave behind. But he couldn't turn away once the doorknob twisted.
"Jace? When did you get back?" She glanced over her shoulder, then faced him again. "Um, Marc's not here—" Chloe's mouth dropped open when she got a good look at his face. "Geez, Jace. What happened?" She grabbed his arm and tugged him inside the flat.
Jason snorted. "My brother happened. What the flaming fuck, Chloe?" He grasped her shoulder and spun her around. "What are you thinking?"
"Until you tell me what's going on, I don't know what I should be thinking about."
"This." Jason tossed the ring box on the counter. "My brother. Everything." He shot her a nasty look. "I thought we agreed nothing would touch Marc. So again, what the hell, Chloe?"
She licked her lips, then pressed them together, probably biting back a scathing reply. But Jason wanted the gut reaction, not a rational one. They'd never held back before. Why start now?
He needed to know what, if anything, she felt.
He pushed again. "Look, I did what we talked about. Hell, I even left you and Marc alone so I wouldn't muck anything up." He shook his head. "You could've let me know you'd be dumping my brother."
Chloe made a strangled choking noise. "When the hell should I have let you know?" She held up a finger. "You don't call." Raised a second one. "You don't write. You show up unannounced on my doorstep. And you know what? That's fine. But I don't owe
anything." Her voice went quiet. "You already knew I had doubts about getting married. Just because I decide not to be Marc's wife, doesn't mean I have to call you." She crossed her arms over her chest. "The deal between Marc and me has nothing to do with you."
Jason snorted. "According to Marc, it has
to do with me."
Chloe rolled her eyes. "Well, he's wrong. I didn't tell him about the night we spent together. It's over. Done with. Forgotten." She waved her hand. "End of."
Jason growled. "I don't think so, Chlo." He moved forward, and she backed up into the living room, keeping some space between them. "Marc can be very observant when he wants to. He's pretty damned well convinced I'm going to play a primo role in your future."
Chloe dragged a hand through her hair. "Son of a bitch." Her head shook back and forth. "No. This can't happen. You and me. It can't."
Her outright refusal to consider the idea had him pushing for answers again. "Why not?" He crossed his arms, waiting for a response.
Chloe blinked and threw a hand up. "Geez, Jace, I don't know. Because I already feel like the biggest bitch to walk the planet?" She paced back and forth. "No, wait. How about the fact we didn't even have sex, but images of that night consume me? Or, hey, why not go with the whole you'd have to actually give a shit about me in a capacity other than being your brother's girlfriend… which you don't." Her pained eyes met his. "Should I go on, or is that enough?"
Her rapid-fire dialog made his head spin, but he homed in on one particular bit. "Wait, back up. What did you say about that night consuming you?" He wondered if he'd heard that part correctly.
He hoped so… he really did.
Chloe snarled and punched his arm. Hard.
Jace rubbed at the area. "Dammit, if one more person hits me today, I'm going to lose it."
Chloe had zero sympathy. "You're being an ass. Now get out." She moved to walk past him toward the door, but his hand shot out, stopping her progress.
"I don't think so, Chloe." He moved forward again. "Just wait a damned minute and let me get everything straight."
She jerked her arm free and stalked a few steps away.
Jace let her go, focused on getting to the bottom of her issues. "You're a bitch because instead of marrying my brother because he decides it's time, you actually think it through and say no." He glanced in her direction, and she didn't deny the statement. "Okay. Got that part, which probably has to do with the second thing, but we'll skip that for now and get to the third." He moved forward, stepping into her personal space. "The one where I only give a shit about you because you're Marc's girlfriend." He huffed out a harsh breath. "Oh, Chloe, you couldn't be more wrong about that."
She stumbled back, easing away from him. "No, I can't be. You don't have feelings for me." Her head jerked. "You can't."
Jason didn't hesitate. "Too bad. I do." He walked forward again, and she hit the wall, unable to go any farther.
She stood her ground. "So what? Are you
gonna be that guy? The one who bangs his brother's girlfriend?"
Ouch. That one stung. But he
backed her into a corner.
He countered. "You're not his anything anymore, are you?"
Her chin lifted. "Again, so the fuck what?" She squared her shoulders but couldn't quite suppress a shudder from his close proximity. "What do you think is going to happen here, Jace? We get together and live happily ever after?" She snorted. "I don't think so. I kind of hate you right now."
He couldn't blame her. But the way she reacted told a different story. She fought hard against the attraction. He did, too. And why? Maybe it made them shitty people, and they'd have to live with the knowledge, but Jace didn't want to let anything end before it even got started.
He nodded. "Believe me, Chloe, I pretty much hate myself, too. But here's the thing. I can't stop thinking about you. And yeah, I'm shit for a brother, but Marc is the one who sent me here. To make things right." He lifted a hand and placed it on the wall above her shoulder. "I can't do that if you refuse to listen or give me, no us, a chance." His other hand settled against the wall, bracketing her.
He paused and held her gaze, gauging her reaction. Her breathing went shallow, and her mouth opened, her tongue darting out to wet her bottom lip. She didn't move or try to duck away. If she had, he would've backed off.
Instead, he laid it out straight. "Here's exactly what I think is going to happen." He leaned in close, his mouth hovering over hers. "I'm gonna kiss you and see where that goes."
He didn't let her respond. His mouth meshed with hers, and his tongue eased past her lips. She responded and wrapped her arms around him, pushing away from the wall, bringing her body flush with his.
His hunger for her soared. One kiss spun into the next, and he lost the ability to think, taking his time, conducting a slow exploration of her mouth until she moaned and fisted her hands in his shirt. Dragging him forward, she turned and dropped down onto the couch, leaning back and hauling him close.
Jace deepened the embrace. He needed Chloe to want him as much as he craved her. He shifted his position, lying on his side. Chloe turned into his arms, her mouth devouring his. Jason slipped his hand slid under her shirt, skimming along her side to cup a bare breast. It filled his palm, and she moaned, breaking the kiss. Easing up, she dragged her shirt over her head, tossing it across the room. Jason reached behind his head and pulled his off, flinging it aside. His lips met her skin when she shoved her pants down until she could kick them off to land in front of the sofa. Jason kicked his boots off and quickly undid his fatigues. Chloe tugged them down his hips, following their path with a scorching trail of kisses.
Chloe struggled with his pants and finally won the battle, tossing them behind her. She dragged her lips back up his body, stopping to work his boxers down, revealing his erection. She paused to tease the head with her tongue, swirling it around the tip, before removing the underwear. She leaned forward to run her tongue along the length of his cock, then drew the head into her mouth, sinking down slowly until he groaned. Her cheeks hollowed, and she sucked him in deeply, repeating the action until he hooked a hand under her shoulder, tugging her upward to meet his lips in a hot kiss that set his brain on fire.
A low rumble of satisfaction hummed in his throat when she nudged him onto his back and crawled up to settle on top of his thighs, her head lowering so she could slant her mouth over his.
* * * *
Chloe blazed with need. Jason brought his hands up to her face, his fingers threading through her hair, and his mouth tasted so good she wanted to feast for days. But Jace broke the kiss and moved his lips to her shoulder, nibbling a trail of kisses over the curve up to her neck. He skimmed his teeth along the column of her throat, raising goose bumps on her skin. Her thoughts were all jumbled, and when he dragged his lips back to hers, she slid her tongue in his mouth, letting the flame and heat ignite and consume her.
Jason's fingers traced her skin, ghosting over her back, trailing along her legs and over her hip. His hands grasped her thighs, and his thumbs met at the juncture, taking turns circling her clit. Chloe shuddered and moaned. She pressed kisses along his jaw, then flicked her tongue against his ear. A low growl rumbled in his chest when she pulled the lobe between her teeth and bit down. A deep-seated satisfaction spread along her nerve endings, warming her blood to a fever pitch.
Bracing one hand on his shoulder, she trailed the other down his chest, over the sinewy muscle, and skimming his abs before wrapping her fingers around his shaft. His hips flexed, and the hard, heavy length swelled and pulsed in her grasp. When she met his gaze, she got lost in the sea of blue, and a surge of possessiveness washed over her.
She didn't want to let him go.
Releasing her grip, Chloe planted her hands on his chest and slid forward, ready to lift her hips and take him deep.
Jason squeezed her thighs, halting her progress. "You're sure? You have to be sure, Chloe." His arms strained, and his shoulders tensed, his breath rasping out in short bursts.
Chloe nodded. "I don't want to fight whatever this is between us, Jace. I'm sure."
He relaxed his grasp, and she raised her hips, sinking slowly over his cock, savoring the feel of each inch until fully seated.
A hum of pleasure escaped, and Chloe whispered. "Mmmm. So good."
* * * *
Jason's breath whooshed out. Chloe had no idea what her purr of satisfaction sounded like. Or what it did to his waning control. Despite his best effort, he'd done nothing but think about her since the night they shared. He'd thought it would be hard to top the experience. Yet the feel of her taking him in deep, the slick, wet heat surrounding his hard length, and the way her ass seemed to fit so perfectly against his thighs… damn… the depth of his feelings caught him off guard. So much more and better than he expected.
Maybe because he had nothing holding him back. And she didn't either. If the almost sex had been hot… he didn't have a word to describe the temperature level at the moment. A slow burning inferno maybe. Chloe kept her movements relaxed, sensual, no rush. And the way she held his gaze, letting every nuance of what she felt shine through hers… gah! He wanted to grab her hips and thrust hard and fast until he made her scream with ecstasy.