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Authors: Bijou Hunter

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BOOK: In the Wind
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Chapter 18

Jace

Be the Lake

Bodie and Colbie are beautiful women, but they might as well be dudes in my mind. One is wearing an American flag-style bikini, the other a camouflage design, but my dick doesn't care about all the flesh they're flashing.

Sawyer though makes me painfully hard, and I nearly punch my cock to get it under control. In its defense, her small nipples poke perfectly from her blue bikini.

"Take my picture," Sawyer says, "and send it to Coop. Let him know I'm doing fine."

Snapping the picture of her flipping him off, I don't forward it to my boss. I plan to keep the picture for my personal stash. Sawyer watches me, suspecting I didn't send it. I ignore her for a second before realizing she's too beautiful not to enjoy.

My gaze begins at the top of her curly head and slides down her sexy face to her long neck. Lingering on her small perky tits, I remember the first time she flashed me years ago. Sawyer stated she was fine with smaller breasts and suffered no plans to follow Bailey's example of fake boobs. After she flashed me with those pretty titties, I fully supported her choice to stay au natural.

"What?" she growls when my gaze lingers too long on her chest.

"Just remembering the first time I got to second base."

Ignoring her frowning face, I continue studying her body. Those narrow hips and long legs come from her tall father. When wrapped around my hips, her lean legs are stronger than they look. I let my imagination return to a time when life was simple. I loved Sawyer. She loved me. We were too young to care about much else.

"Dickhead," she mutters, returning me to the now.

"Now your turn!" Colbie cries, looking at me. "Take your shirt off really slowly. Shake your ass a little too."

Standing, I yank off my shirt and throw it at Colbie. Sawyer reaches out and catches the tee.

"No," she growls possessively.

"Yes, ma'am."

Sawyer gives me her double middle finger move and throws my shirt on the ground where Colbie's bloodhound immediately sits on it.

"Feel free to look," I say to Sawyer while flexing my muscles. "There's no harm in it."

"Part of you must know you smell like nut sweat."

"Oh, I know. The girls love it though. Don't they, Sawyer?"

Growling in frustration, she spins around and stomps over to Bodie. My sensei flips off an overhead bird, causing me to laugh. After growing up with many smart people to guide me, I'm taking advice from a chick with a grudge against geese.

"Why name your boat Chimichanga?" I ask when the girls begin shaking their asses for a passing speedboat.

Colbie shrugs. "Why the hell not?"

"Fair enough."

"Ugh, you sound like Cooper," Sawyer mutters. "Get your own fucking shtick."

Crossing my arms tighter, I hold my tongue. Arguing with Sawyer is pointless. Besides, her comment hits home after Bodie's earlier speech.

"I now tempt the horror movie fates by boozing before swimming," Colbie announces before downing a bottle of tequila and falling backwards off the boat.

Frowning, I glance over the side where she disappeared. "Is it worth me asking what the fuck?"

Bodie looks at me with her emotionless eyes, but says nothing.

"There's a lot of love here," I say.

Cracking a smile, Bodie also glances at where her sister now flops around in the water.

"The entire point of our experiment is to see if she'll get attacked by Jason Voorhees. Or piranha or possible a large croc."

"How the hell would piranhas end up in a tiny ass lake like this one?"

"The same way they ended up in that lake in Piranha 3."

Frowning at Bodie, I prepare to ask why she thinks I'd watch such a shitty horror movie. Pausing, I wait for Colbie to climb back in the boat.

"No go," she says, shaking her red hair like a wet dog.

I open my mouth to speak, but pause again when Colbie begins humming with the radio.

"Don't tell me what to do!" she hollers in what I suspect is her version of singing.

"She's awful, I know," Bodie says before grabbing a bottle of tequila. "Let's try this experiment with a non-virgin. Everyone knows virgins don't die until the end of a horror movie."

"Eww, you're a virgin?" Sawyer teases Colbie.

"Yeah. I mean, I got really close once. Like this close," she says, measuring her fingers at about an inch, "but God intervened, and I didn't do the deed."

"Frigid chicks aren't cute," Sawyer mutters, throwing an ice cube at Colbie who shakes her hair again.

"Bodie only did it once."

We look at Bodie finishing her tequila. She shrugs in response to our gazes.

"How was it?" Sawyer asks.

"Disgusting. The guy worried about getting me preggers, so he pulled out and the shit squirted everywhere. I think I still have some of it in my hair."

Laughing despite my better judgment, I watch Bodie jump into the water to tempt the piranha gods.

"So how did the piranha get in the lake?" I ask. "Aliens?"

"Don't be stupid, Jace," Colbie mutters. "It was an earthquake that cracked open an underwater cave thingamajig and freed prehistoric piranhas."

"Duh, right?" Sawyer whispers, giving me a wink.

Relaxing under her warm gaze, I can think of nothing more beautiful than Sawyer's smiles.

Bodie climbs back into the boat. "Nothing."

"How often do you try this experiment?"

"Every month or so."

"What happens if there are piranhas?"

Wrapping a towel around her waist, Bodie glances at the water. "The person gets eaten, and the rest of us laugh."

Laughing again, I focus my gaze on Sawyer downing tequila. Despite her bravado, she's never handled her liquor well. I join her at the back of the boat and take the bottle to finish it.

After slapping me without much effort, Sawyer studies me. Suddenly her hand rests gently on my arm, causing my cock to twitch like a rabid dog.

"Stop," I say to my body, but Sawyer assumes I mean her.

"Don't piss yourself, lush," she grumbles, jumping off the back of the boat.

Colbie leans over and smiles at Sawyer in the water. "If Jason pulls you down, we'll jump in and save you. If it's a super croc, you're on your own."

"I brought the shotgun," Bodie calls out from the grill.

"Oh, cool. I guess we will save you from the super croc, Sawyer."

"Good news. Now is there anything I can do to tempt your horror movie gods?"

"Act slutty."

"Hey, big boy," she says to me. "I want to ride you all night long."

"I'm a little tired for all night. A few hours would be great though."

Sawyer glares at me. "Dickless."

"Oh, it's still attached. Trust me."

Sawyer pretends she's angry, but I see the corners of her mouth curling.

"Hey, in horror movies, don't muscle head guys often die?"

The twins nod in unison. "Jump," they say also in unison, creeping me the hell out.

I do a cannon ball into the lake. The minute I emerge from the water, Sawyer jumps on me, shoving me back down. If she wants to play, I'm game.

Wrestling, we make sure to avoid drowning each other. At some point, I wrap her in my arms, and Sawyer freezes.

"No."

"Your lips say no, but your eyes say hell yeah," I say, laughing as she pushes me off.

Sawyer's laughing too and ends up swallowing water. Her coughing alarms the twins who lean over the side.

"Are you being attacked by a supernatural or horror-like entity?"

"No," Sawyer says in between coughs.

Uninterested now, the twins leave us to splash around. I wrap her again in my arms and kiss her neck. She sighs at my touch before pinching my nipple hard.

"Ow."

"Baby."

"You're so beautiful."

"More beautiful than the twins."

"More than anyone."

"Sure, slut," she mutters, swimming to the boat.

As she climbs up the ladder, I get a great view of her partially bare ass. Yanking up her bikini bottom, she glares down at me.

"Plumber's crack is a great look on you."

"I want to say something right now, but you shouldn't be encouraged."

Grinning up at Sawyer, I finish climbing up before resting on the bench next to her. "Your bikini is the nearly the same blue as your eyes."

Grinning slightly, Sawyer squeezes water from her hair and shakes it out. "I'm going to have a serious afro soon."

Saying nothing, I just watch her. If my entire life is spent doing no more than looking at this sexy woman, I'd die perfectly happy.

Nearby, the twins are thrilled to have survived their horror movie experiment. Their good mood seems infectious. In fact, Sawyer and I spend the rest of the night smiling.

Chapter 19

Sawyer

Blue Hotel

On Saturdays when the rest of Last Dollar is out on date nights and at parties, the McLaughlin bunch watches horror movies at home. The day I arrived, they offered for me to join them in the media room, but I wanted to rest. Tonight, I'm feeling nostalgic since my first official date with Jace was at a horror movie.

Tonight, he's wearing a black tank, revealing a hint of sunburn on the back of his neck and shoulders. I use the burn as an excuse to touch him. His dark gaze studies me until I can't handle the heat rushing over my body. Turning away, I realize I might have bitten off more than I can handle with this teasing thing.

The McLaughlins take their horror movies rules very seriously. Watching the films is no exception. The media room's screen is so massive the zombies look like giants. Jace loves the idea of a horror movie night. Bodie smiles at his enthusiasm, setting off my jealousy. Before I lose my temper, Jace sits in the chair closest to mine rather than hers. This little gesture makes me feel awesome, and screams I've lost all of my self-respect by pining over his every little move.

"Zombies," Jace whispers, leaning over enough for me to smell his recently washed and still damp hair. "It's a very serious problem."

JJ enters the media room in his robe and boxers. Carrying a rifle, he looks us over then frowns at me.

"Where's your gun?"

"In my room."

Colbie removes a gun from her holster and hands it to me. "She's solid."

The lights go down, and the movie begins. I settle back in the comfy chair, setting aside the gun Bodie handed me.

Horror movies never bother me, and I've seen
Night of the Living Dead
a few times over the years. Pop used to say there are too many real monsters in the world to worry about the imaginary kind. Despite my normal enjoyment of horror movies, a dread builds in my gut. I find myself shivering at the lifeless eyes of the zombie attacking Barbara and her idiot brother. My eyes quickly burn with impending tears.

I hurry out of the room, likely convincing the McLaughlins I'm a sissy. I can't stop myself though. A panic gripping, I search for a quiet spot to cry. My bedroom feels too far away in the huge house, and I decide to hide in a sunroom.

Hugging myself, I hear someone approaching. Zane's Pug growls at Jace who gives the dog a dirty look, sending the ugly little thing scurrying.

"Are you okay?" he asks, sitting next to me.

I glare at him. "No. That's what the tears are about."

Only watching me, Jace doesn't speak.

"It's stupid," I say when his silence goes on for too long, "but seeing all those fake dead people made me think of Pop. How empty his body felt once he died. He's just gone, and I still can't accept I'll never see him again."

Jace wraps his arm around me, and I immediately lean into his embrace.

"He lived a great life, doing exactly what he fucking wanted. No man could wish for more than what Kirk had. But I think he'd want you to miss him and know what the world lost. He'd want you to cry over zombies reminding you of him. He wouldn't want to be forgotten, and you'll never forget him."

Jace says all the wrong shit a guy is meant to say to a grieving chick. His words are perfect for me. Feeling lost and unusually fragile, I want to know I'm right, and my way is best.

I also need to know Pop was a great man and deserves to be admired. Many men in his shoes turn into cold, evil fuckers. My pop walked the line between scary fucker to his enemies and warm bastard to those he loved.

"Thanks," I whisper, crying a little more. "I don't want to feel better. Why should I rush to get over a loss so great? People don't like death, so I have to fake shit for their benefit. Fuck that. I refuse to pretend any other day of the week. I'm not doing it over losing Pop."

"No one here wants you to pretend. I don't know that they want you to pretend in Ellsberg either. I think you might be expecting too much from them like you think they're expecting too much from you."

"No. I'm always right."

Jace smiles slightly. His fingers make soft little circles along my spine, calming me until my tears are dry.

"I know Bailey, Tucker, and Cooper loved Pop too. I mean obviously they did, but he was different for me. When they were growing up, he was focused on the club. He made time for them too, sure, but you know how he was for me. I was a kid when he retired, and Cooper took over. Every day, he was there. When he traveled, he took Mom and me with him. I never feared anything because I had him. When he told me there was no bogeyman, I believed him. If he told me the sky was green, I'd have believed that too. He was solid and made life sane. Now it's just a crazy stupid place. That's why the McLaughlins work for me. They don't seem so strange when the rest of the world makes me nervous now."

Jace kisses the top of my head. "Kirk isn't here to take care of you, but he raised you to be strong enough to take care of yourself."

"I know, but I feel tired in a way no amount of sleep can fix."

"Then be tired. Be angry too. Freak out if you want, but know you'll wake up one day without all the bad stuff. You'll only have the happy memories."

"Is that what you did after your family died?" I ask, approaching a sensitive subject for him.

Jace's hand pulls away from my back, hovers a moment, and returns. I see the familiar indecision in his eyes. Finally, he nods.

"I stopped thinking about it so much until I barely thought of them dying at all."

"I didn't mean to make you feel shitty."

"You didn't. I just don't talk about them. Not since therapy and I barely talked about them then."

Setting my hand on his knee, I study his thicker lower lip and remember how it tastes. "You never shared much with me. Maybe I should have seen that as a sign that you weren't a hundred percent with me."

Jace's expression closes off, and his hand leaves me again. He can never handle being on the spot. His response is to freeze and pull away. I feel him doing that now.

"I'm trying to be honest since we're friends now," I say, not backing down, yet wanting him close again.

Jace is unreadable. Whatever he's thinking, I crave to know. Without saying anything, he nods, and his fingers return to my back.

"Talking doesn't really help. I know therapy helps many people. It doesn't heal a person. Not really. It just teaches you how to deal with your shit and hide the fuckup parts. I think I hide better than Harlow and Winnie do. Maybe because I was younger when I came to live with the Todds and started therapy. Hiding my shit makes me safe, but there are downsides."

"Like what?"

"Like getting scared and losing what I want."

Our gazes lock, and I know he's about to kiss me. I nearly smile when his lips touch mine. He sucks gently and pulls away. I want more, but don't demand it.

"Will you stay here with me?" I ask. "I don't want to go back and watch the movie. I also don't want to be alone. Unlike the McLaughins, I don't believe zombies will bust in here, but I'm still creeped out."

When Jace studies my face, I fight the urge to climb into his lap and forget the pain of the last year. This man is so damn beautiful, and he once made me unbearably happy. How the hell is he not mine?

"Of course, I'll stay," he finally says.

His words are loaded with meaning. Staring into his eyes, I repeat the words "I'll stay" in my head. The day he dumped me, I asked him why he wouldn't stay. He never really answered, just saying he couldn't.

That horrible damn day, I screamed and threatened. I cried and begged. I tossed away every shred of my dignity to keep him with me. I'd believe our love was a done deal since the day he first kissed me. Hell, I might have even known on some level as a little girl when we first met.

Despite all my antics, Jace left me and never looked back. Tonight though, he stays at my side. We move to the couch in the big family room and turn on the TV to search their DVR.

"I'm surprised they have anything recorded besides horror movies," he says.

"After you..." Pausing, I shift closer to him. "When I was feeling down, I started watching old TV shows.
Frasier
relaxes me. I like how pompous they are. I also like their dad. He reminds me of Pop."

Jace walks to the DVD collection against the wall. "No
Frasier
, but I see
Cheers
."

"Close enough."

Once the DVD begins, Jace returns to the couch and sits closer than before. I watch the show for ten minutes before working up the courage to lean my head against his chest. The sound of his racing heart makes me smile. I catch him smiling too. Moments later, he slides his muscular arm around me until we're cuddling as if no time has passed.

Stealing kisses all night, Jace doesn't leave me, and I want to keep it that way.

BOOK: In the Wind
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