Authors: Gina Watson
Tags: #Fiction, #Romance, #Collections & Anthologies, #New Adult, #Contemporary, #Sagas, #General, #Suspense, #Family & Relationships, #Love & Romance
St. Martin Family Saga
Emergency Responders Series
Copyright © 2014 by Gina Watson
All Rights Reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system without the written permission of the author, except where permitted by law.
Whiskey Cove Publishing
Where are you?
As Clara read the text she thought about how extremely testy her man had been lately. She knew completing his hospital residency, along with his fulltime job as a paramedic, took its toll on Jackson, but she couldn’t convince him to slow down. She’d have to see what she could do to soothe him. It was Saturday and he had a rare day off. Today was a big day, Clay was marrying Eve—Augie was marrying Mia, again.
She typed a reply text using just her thumbs.
Be there in a bit. Had to get brides b-fast trays.
She’d told him to sleep in. Figured she’d be busy as wedding coordinator extraordinaire—she added the flair to her title.
Hurry, I need you.
She whispered, “Oh Cracker Jack, I need you more.” She smiled at the use of his nickname. He gorged on bags of the stuff while he completed endless mountains of paperwork and reports for med school.
She’d known he wouldn’t stay in bed without her, but he had been behind on sleep and so she’d hoped. She grabbed two mimosas from the kitchen and made her way out to the pool house where the men were staying. She’d done her hair and makeup, but hadn’t put on her bridesmaid dress yet. So that she could move about freely she wore khaki shorts and a white tank top. Surely there’d be a decoration to tape up or some toile to adjust and she wanted the freedom shorts could afford.
She opened the door to the pool house and found him slouched on the couch, a frown on his face.
“Hey.” She smiled, walked over to him, and straddled him on the couch. “I brought mimosas.” She teased him with the orange drink holding the glasses up, but just out of reach. She kissed his lips and his pout started to turn. “But you can only have it if you promise not to be such an Oscar the Grouch.” She offered an exaggerated pout of her own.
His frown was back. “Come on Cracker Jack, it’s a most glorious day.”
“I’m on call. I can’t have it.”
Big bottom lip protruding pout
“I told you to sleep in. You look tired.”
He traced a hair back behind her ear. “I missed my Bug.”
She giggled. “I think we were apart for about an hour.”
“I don’t care. I don’t like waking without you.” His eyes tightened. “And I’m not happy about today either. It’s been two years, we should be the ones getting married.”
She took a large sip of the champagne and orange juice before setting the glasses on the couch-side table. She kissed him and smiled against his lips. “We will be baby. Soon. But we can’t move forward until we tell my brother and we can’t do that until you finish your residency.”
“Because that’s what we decided.”
“I want to revise the decision. Anyway, I’m almost done.”
“How about I kiss you here,” she nipped at his lips, “and when we’re done with that I’ll kiss you down here.” She fisted between his legs. “See if we can’t turn that frown upside down.”
Slowly and passionately he kissed her and a moan from deep in his throat vibrated his tongue and hers. One of his hands slid up the back of her neck to grip her hair while the other cupped her jaw. His kiss was demanding and needy. He explored her deeply and alternated rough and soft strokes. She loved his kiss, his touch, his everything—even his brooding.
He was ten years her senior, but that didn’t matter so much because she’d loved him since she was seven years old.
Her Jackson. As the seasons changed and the years passed their connection grew into friendship and then into something more. They’d started getting intimate when she was sixteen and he was twenty-six. It was part of the reason they hadn’t told her family.
Her hand fiddled with the hardware on his jeans as she made a production of slowly undoing each button. She knew how it sounded—their admission wouldn’t paint a nice likeness of Jackson. She knew Clay had suspicions and had even alluded to their relationship, but they’d thrown him off the hunt numerous times. Luckily, Eve had kept him exceedingly distracted.
She pulled his cock free and gasped at the readiness of it. He chuckled. His deep blue eyes shimmered like sunlight on the sea. She shimmied down his legs to kneel on the floor. He grabbed a pillow, “Here bug don’t kneel on the hard floor.” She rose up and he slid the cushion under her knees.
Grasping his weight in her hands she licked the head and then took him between her lips. She pumped the root while applying light pressure with the suction of her mouth. He palmed her head and aided her efforts. “God, Bug, I love being in your mouth.” She loved it too. Their connection had always been powerful. Their energy had been too potent to ignore. That’s what had happened when she was sixteen. And once they’d connected on a physical level they couldn’t stop. It was as if one could not exist without the other. She took him deep, loving the feel of him and the groans he made for her.
“Christ. Your brother’s coming.” Her mind was disoriented, but Jackson pulled her from the floor, the momentum throwing her forward and onto him. His hands at her waist moved her onto the couch. While he fastened his jeans she lifted the pillow from the floor. He’d barely finished containing himself when they heard the snick of the door opening
Clay’s wide ice blue eyes met her own before they narrowed to slits. His gaze migrated to Jackson and back to her.
“Clara.” He frowned. “Just what are you doing out here?” His deep baritone reverberated around the room.
“I was looking for you.” Jackson’s hand started to rub against his denim-clad thigh. She knew he hated the lies they sometimes had to tell to hide their relationship.
“I saw you walking out here fifteen minutes ago. What have you been doing?” His eyes darted between her and Jackson.
“Been talking with Jackson.” His hand rubbed faster against his thigh. “I brought mimosas, but he told me about being on call at the hospital.” She jumped up and skipped to Clay throwing her arms around his neck and kissing him square on the lips. “Such a wonderful day. I love you. I’m so happy my big brother is getting married to his one and only love.”
He squeezed her tight. “Love you too baby girl.”
“Are you being a good boy?” She smiled up at his six-foot-five frame.
“Augie’s the one you should be worried about. He’s in Mia’s room.”
“Are you serious? That’s not allowed.”
“She was crying.”
She gasped. “Why was she crying?”
Clay shrugged. “Augie made her cry.”
“Bug—err—Clara, you better go check on her.” She turned to Jackson on the couch and couldn’t help the slight smile that was forming at the corner of her mouth.
She kissed Clay’s cheek. “Text me if you need anything.”
She looked back at Jackson. He was always so serious. She’d seen him laugh just a few times and it was usually at something she’d done or said. She wished she could think of something now that would bring him relief. His downturned eyes and stiff body held so much pain it made her stomach ache. Clay’s head was turned away from her so she held up the universal hand sign for
I love you
and then she blew him a kiss. The right side of his mouth lifted ever so slightly.
Jackson loved the entire clan of St. Martins, but was closest with Clay. He didn’t want to think about what would happen if Clay turned on him once he knew about his romance with Clara. And it was a romance—a huge whirlwind romance. God he loved her with everything he had. He was a man possessed. It wasn’t just her beauty, but everything about her. Her laugh, and there was more than one. There was the cute half-committed chuckle she made when she was tired. There was the short burst of laughter that bubbled out when she got tickled at something she’d read or heard on television. There was the sexy breathless half moan, half giggle she made when he nuzzled behind her ear, her ticklish spot. And she was immensely kind to everyone. He loved her spirit. When the door closed behind her it was like someone shut off the oxygen that was keeping him alive. Slowly he would suffocate without her.
“You okay?” Clay took the chair across from him.
“You need to take better care of yourself. Given your full days at the hospital and the amount of hours you work at the station, you’re gonna run out of steam.”
He wouldn’t. Plus, he had big plans for his future with Clara. Plans that required money. “I’ll be okay.”
They lived together, though no one knew. Clara had tried to buy things for their apartment using her father’s credit card, but Jackson wasn’t about to let that happen, and so he’d had to work overtime to provide for the few things she’d wanted to buy to make the apartment a home—their home. He would provide for her, wanted to provide for her. He knew she’d sensed his limited budget and lived much more frugally than she had done in the past.
Sure, things would have been easier if they’d waited until he’d graduated, but it was about survival. He couldn’t exist without her and he knew she felt the same about him.
Clay cocked his head. “Still, if you need some vacation time or if you need money let me know.”
Jackson nodded. Clay had offered this before. He’d even tried to sneak money into Jackson’s possession, but there was no way in hell he’d accept it. He wanted the world to know that he loved Clara for who she was not for her family name and money.
“Big day, huh? I can’t imagine how ecstatic I’d be on the day I marry my soul mate.”
“Have you met your soul mate?” Clay’s brow hitched.
He’d met her and he wouldn’t deny it. “I have secrets you’ve never heard.” He smiled and Clay’s loud rumbling laughter filled the small space. “Have you been exiled to the pool house for the entire day?”
“Yeah, Augie too, but he’s breaking all the rules.”
“And you’re following them. You’ve always been a rule follower.” Clay nodded.
Jackson’s eyes grew heavy. It was true, he’d been behind on sleep for several weeks. He’d worked last night and didn’t return home until around six in the morning, but when he slid into bed he didn’t sleep. He and Clara couldn’t be next to each other without touching, and touching led to kissing, kissing led to sex. Totally worth it. He’d rather make love to her than get a wink of sleep. If it killed him he thought it’d be a sweet way to go.
“Jackson. You’re so exhausted you’re not even aware when I call your name. Stay here, get a nap in. I’ll see that no one disturbs you.”
“Thanks Clay. And hey, I’m happy for you.”
“Thanks. You know I couldn’t imagine this day without you here. You’re family.”
Jackson’s throat burned with emotion. “Thanks. That means everything.” His voice cracked before he could say all of the words.
Clay left Jackson in the pool house. The silence was maddening—the room so quiet he could hear the blood rush through his veins as he thought of his deceased parents. If only his dad hadn’t taken up flying—but Dad had logged the requisite number of hours so his parents had embarked on his inaugural flight. The plane had crashed to the ground before they’d made it out of Louisiana.
Seventeen years old, Jackson had been at school. The counselor had brought him into the library where he usually spent lunch period. He and librarian, Mrs. St. Martin, would share talk about new and upcoming book releases. He remembered thinking it had been strange to be in the library when everyone else was in class, but he’d chalked it up to good fortune and pulled a Harry Potter book off the shelf.
Mrs. St. Martin’s hand had grasped his wrist. “Jackson, come sit with me.” He’d known instantly something was wrong—had read it in her odd, board stiff demeanor that was so unlike her usual warm and inviting nature.
“Something’s happened. Your dad’s plane went down. Your parents were killed on impact.” She had sobbed and wheezed, clutching him to her bosom. “Don’t you worry Jackson, you’re going to come home with me. You’ll be my son now. You will always have family.”
Seventeen is a hell of a time to lose your parents.
He’d lived with Mrs. St. Martin and her husband and four of their six children for a year and a half before he’d graduated high school and moved into the dorms at Louisiana State University. They’d had six children, but Cash, the gambler, rarely came home during the time he’d spent there. Jackson had grown closest with Clay because Clay would just let him be. Most of the children talked quite a bit, but not Clay. They could spend an entire afternoon fishing or hunting and not speak. Clay had been older and owned his own home. Jackson had spent a lot of time at Clay’s house.
Clara had been a seven-year-old child when Jackson had moved in and every morning she would come into the room where he stayed to announce that breakfast was ready.
Every single day
. She’d become such a colossal nuisance he’d slipped a chair under the door thinking he’d outsmart her but damn it all if she hadn’t come in through the bathroom door. And her eyes, those enormous luminescent blue pools would blink down at him as he slowly became coherent from sleep. God, he could get lost in their depths even then. That was all she’d said at first—“breakfast is ready.” To which he’d replied, “I’m not hungry,”—and eventually—“stop coming into my room.”