Jax Cohen is a force to be reckoned with.
His face is still swollen some days later, and his poor lip is stitched up like some kind of horror film, angry and raw. His eyes are visible through the swirls of black and purple that surround them, but they stand out like beacons in the night as they fix on me.
“Hey,” he whispers, reaching over to stroke my face.
I close my eyes under his touch, my stomach twisting with desire despite his battered state. I can’t deny how I feel about Jax now, after seeing the beating he took for us. For me. Rad is always unpredictable, but he has outdone himself this time.
Setting Jax’s car on fire was not only dangerous, but it was terrifying.Jax didn’t care though, when I told him he’d looked at me and shrugged. The feelings that I had at that moment were something else entirely—his possessions meant nothing to him without me.
“I’m so sorry,” I say for the millionth time. “I feel so bad.”
My head dips in shame, and Jax grimaces as he leans forward on his bed, cupping my face in his hands. I’d slept beside him every night since it had happened, being careful not to catch any of his wounds. Of which there are plenty, thanks to fucking Rad.
“Stone will deal with him,” Jax says, gazing at me. “I wish I could kiss you.”
“I wish you could too,” I whisper, as our foreheads rest against one another.
The doorbell rings out through the house, and my eyes fly up to Jax in a panic.
“It’s probably Larah, it’s okay,” he soothes, swinging his legs from the bed.
His movements, usually so fluid and easy, are now hindered with him sucking in sharp breaths, clutching his ribs as he moves.
“Jax, I’ll get it, stay in bed,” I command, racing to the bedroom door.
Jax lifts his eyes to mine, and I swallow down the lump that forms in my throat at the relief in his eyes.
“Are you sure?” He checks, already moving back to the bed.
“Yes,” I lie, my heart thundering at the thought of meeting Imogen’s mum, and Jax’s ex for the first time whilst wearing my pyjamas. I’d known she was coming today, but I didn’t expect it to be so early. “Can't have you hobbling down those twisty ass stairs,” I joke, as Jax eases himself back down onto the bed, sighing with relief.
I make my way to the door, checking through the crack in the door before I open it wide.
A petite blonde with a wide smile peers back at me, and I step back, allowing her to walk in. Her perfume is rich and expensive, and as she hugs me, I can’t help but recognise her shampoo scent too.
“You must be Jolie,” she murmurs, holding me at arms length. “Fuck, you’re pretty.”
I colour instantly at her unexpected kindness, and she gazes upstairs, biting her bottom lip which is slick with gloss. I’m trying not to stare, but this woman was ridiculously attractive. She’s wearing tight white jeans and an oversized jumper, her soft, blonde fringe sweeping over her forehead as the rest frames her exquisite jawline. Her eyes are a deep blue, accentuated with a chestnut coloured eye liner and thick, dark lashes. But it’s her skin I envy the most. Olive skin, brushed with gold highlighter that makes her cheekbones even more prominent.
My predecessor, ladies and gentleman.
“Thank you, you’re beautiful,” I gush, as she sighs.
“How is he?”
“He’s okay. The doctor gave him strong painkillers, which seem to just knock him out. Other than broken ribs and a severely split lip, he’s perfect,” I smile, and Larah nods.
“You look tired, if you don’t mind me saying. I can look after him today if you want to get yourself sorted? Maybe a nice bath and an early night might help?”
“I’m not leaving Jax,” I say stubbornly, as her eyes widen with surprise.
“Oh, I was just trying to help,” she rubs her neck awkwardly with her slender fingers, and I feel a stab of guilt.
“Sorry,” I breathe, closing my eyes. “Maybe you’re right. I haven’t slept properly for fear of hurting him.”
Larah nods sympathetically, her eyes moving to my stomach. “Congratulations. Quite the cute bump you’ve got there,” she chuckles. “Are you feeling okay?”
“Yeah, I’m alright.”
She moves towards the stairs, clearly eager to see Jax. I follow her up, hating how pert her butt is. Her tanned back is revealed as her top rides up, and I can’t help but imagine her with Jax.
No wonder he loves her.
“Alright, big man?” Larah chuckles, leaning over Jax to kiss his forehead. Jax gazes at her with a sigh, and I stand awkwardly at the foot of the bed.
Jax moves his eyes to me, patting the spot beside him as I move as though upon command.
“He won, I take it?” Larah grins, examining Jax with a critical eye.
“He did,” Jax admits. “But the man is a psycho, so I didn’t have much hope did I?”
Larah meets my eyes, and I drop them guiltily. Rad is my ex, and this happened to Jax because of me.
“But he is also supposed to be your friend,” Larah points out, folding her arms beneath her ample cleavage.
Fuck, even I fancy her.
“He’s not my friend, nor my brother, or anything else,” Jax snaps, wincing.
“Calm down, sugar,” Larah makes a face at me, and we both laugh.
“Great, so now you’re both laughing at me?” Jax grumbles, leaning his head back on the pillow.
“I suggested to your girlfriend here that she goes home and rests,” Larah sweeps a critical eye over me, as Jax’s hand moves to my thigh.
“But she’s my nurse,” he protests, and I can’t help but smile.
“I can make your tea, sweetheart. I can be here until I pick Imogen up, if you need me to.”
“No,” I say, shaking my head as Jax’s mouth twitches with what would normally be a smile. “I can’t leave him.”
“Well,” Larah says, nodding at me. “She’s head over heels for you, big man. You’re one lucky papa.”
“Hey, you’re with someone,” Jax chuckles, as Larah throws her head back laughing.
“I am indeed, wait till you meet June, Jolie. She’s a fucking goddess.”
“Like you,” Jax directs at me, his thumb making circles on my thigh.
“So, what’s happened to the psycho? In jail I hope?” Larah asks, scooting onto the bed. She crosses her legs and gazes at us both expectantly.
“Uh...Jax didn’t want to call the police,” I say, glancing at Jax as he nods.
“Are you insane?” Larah barks, sitting up straight. “He torched your fucking car, beat you to a pulp—”
“I know that, Lar,” Jax interrupts, his foot stroking her leg as she shakes her head.
“What if he comes back? What if he comes back and Immie is here?” Larah demands, her eyes shifting to mine. “Then what?”
“Stone won’t let him come back,” Jax rasps, wincing as he sits up.
Larah looks like she’s going to breathe fire. “You’re putting everyone that’s important to you in the hands of some ageing biker?”
“He has morals, you know that,” Jax says quietly. “He won’t let him come near my family again.”
“But the police would do a better job of that, Jax!” Larah argues, shaking her head. “I also think it’s best that Immie doesn’t come here for a while.”
Jax stiffens then, and I grab his hand, holding it in both of mine.
“What the fuck, Larah?” Jax demands, his jaw clenching.
“Until you’re better, and fighting fit, I mean,” Larah says quickly, her tongue darting over her lips. “I won’t rest knowing he’s out there.”
“You think I couldn’t protect Immie?” Jax asks, his eyes flashing with anger.
Larah looks unperturbed, shaking her head as she stares into his eyes. She leans forward, grasping his free hand in hers.
“No, that’s not what I said. But you need to heal, and I don’t want Immie seeing you like this. Also, he knows Immie is your world, I don’t trust him.”
“I think Larah has a point, Jax,” I whisper, as Jax deflates beside me.
“I know,” Jax mutters, closing his eyes. “I’ll call her every day.”
“Just until this has died down,” Lara repeats, and Jax nods.
“Yeah. I get it, Lar.”
Larah nods, relaxing back against the bottom of the bed, her eyes sending me a grateful look. I nod back, allowing my head to rest on Jax’s shoulder as he kisses my head, sighing heavily.
Larah scoots up from the bed, dragging the blanket over us both as she kisses Jax on the cheek carefully.
“Get better, alright? I love you.”
Her voice is almost erotic, and I look up expecting to see her gazing at Jax lustfully. Instead it’s almost sisterly, the way she looks at him with anxiety in her eyes. She smiles at me, and moves back off the bed as Jax calls back to her.
“Thanks Lar. I love you, too.”
Larah smiles, her eyes moving to mine.
“Take care of each other. Love heals everything.”
She walks away, and we sit in silence, listening to her lock the door and post the keys back through.
“Wow, she’s gorgeous,” I mumble, as Jax chuckles, turning towards me with difficulty.
“Inside and out. Yet she couldn’t take her eyes off you, my Queen.”
His lips brush against mine, every so softly as the roughness of his stitches make me move back.
“Not yet, you need to heal,” I remind him, as he pulls me close to him, hooking my leg over his waist.
“Mmm, so apparently I’m going to need some love…”
I close my eyes, smiling stupidly once again.
“Get some rest, Cohen.”