Just With You

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CHAPTER 7

STELLA

Holy crap.

To say that Jace Miller looks nothing like I expected would be an understatement. At around six feet, he’s got dark blond hair and blue eyes. His hair is brushed back off his face, but I can tell it’s doing its own thing. His navy shirt hugs his body in all the right spots, and his toned biceps cause the material to pull.

He looks like he’s close to my age, and his smile. Jesus, it’s gorgeous.

Taking a sip of my drink, I lean my hip against the bar and brush my hair off my face. Jace lifts his bottle of beer to his lips, and my eyes lock on his mouth. His lips are full, and I bet they’d be the perfect combination of firm and soft.

“So how old did you expect me to be?” he jokes, signaling to the bartender for another drink.

“I don’t know. Definitely closer to fifty,” I tease, and he laughs.

“Well, I certainly didn’t expect you either.”

I watch a guy come over to us, and he slings his arm around Jace’s shoulders. He’s about an inch taller with dark brown hair and dark eyes, but they almost look the same.

“You must be the brother,” I state, holding my hand out to shake his.

“Drew Miller, pleased to meet you.”

“Stella Cole.”

Drew’s eyes light up, and he looks at his brother with a huge grin on his face. “Wait, this is Stella? Shit, bro. She’s beautiful.”

Jace smacks Drew’s shoulder. “Dude, shut the hell up.”

“Whoa, wait. What does ’this is Stella’ mean?” I ask.

Drew grins at me. “It means, sweet thing, that my brother did nothing but talk about you for a week straight.”

“Oh really?”

Even in the dim light of the bar I can see Jace’s cheeks redden, and I find it incredibly endearing. Sounds like our brothers have both been giving us shit.

“Drew, isn’t there some guy you should be looking for in here?” Jace growls at him, but Drew just laughs.

“Hey, you told me no getting drunk and leaving you tonight.”

“I take it back.”

With a flick of his wrist, Drew drains his beer and sets the bottle on the bar. He claps Jace on the shoulder and he’s gone, moving through the crowd of people.

“Sorry about that. He’s a total pain in my ass.” Jace gives me an apologetic smile, but I just wave it off.

Setting my drink down, I brush my hair off my shoulders, letting it fall down my back. The music changes to a slower song, and I take a deep breath.

“Care to dance?” I ask, motioning to the dance floor.

“Sorry, but I don’t like to dance.”

“And yet you’re in a country club, and your foot hasn’t stopped tapping to the beat. Fine, I’ll just be on my way. Nice meeting you, Jace Miller.”

Finishing my drink, I turn from the bar, but I’ve only made it a few feet when I feel a warm hand grab my arm, Jace stepping up alongside me.

“Let’s do this.” Taking me out into the middle of the floor, he finds space for us and pulls me to him, his strong arms curling around my waist. Threading my arms around his neck, I keep a small amount of space between us, not wanting to touch him any more than necessary.

I feel a pull between us, and I have no reason to trust it.

Yet, anyway.

“So, Stella, tell me something about yourself.”

“What do you want to know?” I ask, our bodies swaying in time to the music.

“Anything you wanna tell me.”

“Okay. I’ve lived in Tennessee my whole life. My birthday is February 2, Aquarius. I’m thirty-two. I love being a social worker. My favorite wine is Riesling, and every Christmas Eve, my older brother, Mason, and I have a Santa Claus marathon in our pajamas.”

Jace smiles at me. “I’ve also lived in Tennessee my whole life. My birthday is August 17, so I think I’m a Leo. I’ll be thirty-five. I hate wine, would rather have a beer or some whiskey. And I don’t have any Christmas Eve traditions.”

“I get the feeling that there is way more to you than just that, Jace.”

He smirks. “Wouldn’t you like to know, Ms. Cole?”

One of his hands pulls me tighter against him, his fingers splayed across my lower back. Goose bumps break out over my skin and I hang my head, trying to gain control of myself. No man has ever had such an effect on me, and I can’t let him see.

Jace is this gorgeous Nashville police officer. I’m sure he has women falling at his feet, and with all the cases on my desk, there isn’t possibly any time in my life for a relationship. Then again, he probably also works crazy hours and is busy, so maybe we’re in the same boat.

“Can I ask you something?” Jace looks down at me, rubbing one of his hands up and down my back.

“Sure.”

“How do you do it?”

“Do what?” I question.

“How do you make me like dancing?”

Throwing my head back, I laugh long and loud, aware of the fact that as the song has progressed, he’s pulled me closer to him, our bodies flush against one another. Straightening up, I go to answer him when the song changes, an upbeat Brett Young song pulsing through the club. Jace never misses a beat, pulling me against him as we rock to the music, his hips nestled against mine.

I’m tall at five foot nine, but we fit together perfectly. Jace spins me around and pulls me back to him, my back flush with his chest. I can feel how solid he is, and I test the waters, rolling my hips against his. He groans and bands an arm around my waist, holding me tightly to him as we move. In minutes, I’m sweating and completely worked up, and if the hardness pressing into my ass is any indicator, so is he.

The song ends and another starts up, but he never loses the tempo. I spin around and find his eyes boring right into mine. Taking a leap of faith, I wrap my right arm around his neck and pull his face to mine. His eyes drop to my mouth, and I bite my bottom lip. He grabs the back of my neck and smashes his mouth to mine, capturing the gasp I release.

Standing in the middle of the dance floor, Jace devours my mouth, his large hand still gripping the back of my neck. He tastes like the beer he was drinking and mint.

Pulling away before things get too heated, he drops his sweaty forehead to mine, eyes shut. We stand there in silence, and I try like hell to catch my breath, panting softly.

“Stella.”

“Yeah?”

“You wanna get outta here?” he asks. I hold his gaze while I nod, and that freaking smile of his breaks out over his face. “Just let me go find Drew and let him know.”

“Yeah, I gotta find Ashley. Do you mind driving? She was my ride.”

“Of course. Meet me outside in five?” He gives me another kiss, and then he’s off to find his brother.

Looking around, I don’t see Ash anywhere, so I pull my cell out of my front pocket and shoot her a text.

Stella: Where are you?

Ashley: Bathroom break. I found myself a cowboy for the night.

Stella: Meet me at the front door.

Heading for the main door, I lean my back against the wall, and in minutes I see Ashley come bouncing toward me, her long auburn hair flying wildly behind her.

“Hey, girl!”

“Hey, so listen, I’m gonna get going, if that’s okay?”

Ashley stands on her tiptoes and starts peering around. “Where is he, hussy? Where’s the guy you’re ditching me for?”

Laughing, I reach out to give her a hug. “Says the girl who roped a fella of her own. Don’t worry, I’ll get a ride with him. You have fun, babe.”

“Same. Be safe, okay? Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do,” she says with a wink.

I give her a kiss on the cheek, and she waves. I watch her go rushing back into the crowd, just in time to see her grabbing the hand of a handsome dark-haired guy, a cowboy hat on his head. Shaking my head, I step outside and look around for Jace.

I find him leaning against the building, hands in his pockets, one foot resting up on the building. He turns his head when he hears me coming, and I get another glimpse of that smile. Butterflies dance in my stomach as I bounce over to him.

“Ready to go?” he asks, voice husky with desire. I nod, and he reaches for my hand, squeezing tight. “Your place or mine?”

“Mine. Wait, what about your brother?”

“I found him, he’s taking an Uber home.”

In silence he walks me toward the parking lot, both of us clearly in a hurry to get there. Jace reaches into his front pocket and pulls out a key fob, hitting the button to unlock the black Challenger we’re standing in front of. I start to head to the passenger side when his arm comes around my waist, turning me toward him. He grabs me under my ass and lifts me, setting me down on the hood of the car. My legs open so he can step between them, and he takes my lips again in a passionate kiss, both of us fighting for control.

“Jesus,” he groans, tearing away from me. Looking up at him under the yellow glow of the streetlamp, I run my thumb along his bottom lip. “What do you want, Stella?”

“You,” I tell him, unsure of what exactly that means but knowing it’s the truth. I want him, whether it’s for tonight or just a few hours.

With a jerk of a nod, he helps me off the car and holds the passenger door open for me, shutting it when I get settled. The interior of his car is red leather, and I can’t help looking around. Clearly this car is his baby.

Jace drops into the driver seat and cranks the engine. He gives it a rev, and then we pull out, the radio spitting out the latest Imagine Dragons single. He cranks the music, and wanting to enjoy the early summer air, I roll my window down, laughing when my hair blows everywhere.

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