Bonus Chapter 1
“My name’s Jackson Wolfe, but you can call me Jack. What’s your name, beautiful?”
I had to be imagining this right? I mean, Jack can’t be sitting here beside me, looking as hot as badass as an action hero, and giving me that panty-melting smile and voice as smooth as silk.
Surely, I’d taken my imagination too far, or I’d had far too much to drink. I sipped on my Sangria. Jack’s smoldering brown eyes assessed me from above the rims of his glass.
Two can play a game.
“I don’t talk to strangers.” I told him.
“Oh, come on. Let me buy you a drink at least.” He continued.
I was acting really tough by not acting desperate but all I wanted to do was curl into his lap and have his mouth over mine. Even thinking about it, made my knees weak.
“I already have a boyfriend.” I informed him and waited for his reaction. To see the surprise on his face or even disappointment, but he just smiled like a sly fox that he was.
“You do, huh?” He asked, grinning. “Lucky guy. Well, it’s too bad because I’m still single.”
“Now that you know that I have a boyfriend, how about you go and bother someone else?” I said taking a sip of my drink.
Instead of feeling insulted like a man normally would, he slid closer towards me. I could smell the overpowering scent of musk and lavender, it was too addicting. That hadn’t changed about him; he wasn’t completely shaved and that was new, it gave him a more mature look. I had an urge to run my fingers through his thick hair and feel those whiskers on my skin.
“I just want to keep bothering you until you finally give in.” He whispered close to my ear and that brought goosebumps on my body. He’d taken off his leather jacket, and now I could see the black t-shirt that he’d been wearing underneath outlining an impressive set of abs.
Neither his delicious abs nor his sexy smile was going to distract me tonight. He’d left me stranded for six months, had he been expecting a ‘welcome home’ party?
“Would you please leave me alone?” I asked.
When in truth I didn’t want him to leave, like ever! But I’d rather eat freshly cut grass from the lawn than admit that.
“I’ll give you five seconds to leave, Cotton-Candy. If you don’t, I’ll carry you off into a private lounge like a caveman and then you can’t say no.”
I took a sip of my drink.
I remained seated right there, not moving a muscle.”
“Two. One.” He laughed. “You’ve made your decision.”
His strong arms went under my knees and the other around my shoulders, he carried me bridal style towards the lounges. Heads turned and some people cheered us as he weaved through the crowd with me in his arms. Finally he brought me to a much more private lounge, a VIP lounge precisely, which was relatively smaller than the one I’d celebrated my party in. This one had a corner curved booth that we could both use to relax and talk.
An unopened bottle of champagne was sitting at the center of the table with two tall flutes. A bouquet of large roses, larger than the ones Paul had given me (I might add), and a gift wrapped box sat there.
I settled down in the middle, marveling everything. “You remembered.” I said.
“Of course I did.” His expressions still held amusement. “Happy Birthday, Cotton-Candy.”
A waitress walked in and placed a muffin sized cake in front of me and left the room. It was decorated to look like Cotton-Candy, vivid colors like violet, blue and pink. I laughed. “Thank you.”
“You’re pretty easy to please.” He commented.
“Oh no, I’m just pleased by your gesture, but that doesn’t mean I’m not mad at you for leaving me.”
“I hadn’t really left, you know.” His eyes weren’t even on my face; he was looking down at the low V cut of the neckline. I would be kidding if I said I wasn’t liking his horny stares.
I picked up the cake and took a bite; it tasted like heaven in my mouth. “So what now? You’re just going to wish me and leave again?”
“Didn’t you hear what I said? I never left.” He moved closer and I felt the heat of his body beside mine.
He didn’t give me a chance to answer as he brought his face close to mine and licked the icing off the side of my lips. “Hmmm...tastes better when I’m licking it off you.” He whispered, his hand that was covered in tattoos was moving towards the dress, he found the slit and moved his fingers beneath the dress. The pressure and the feel of his strong hands was enough to turn me on. “Would it be inappropriate to tell you...” he said huskily. “That I always watched you from the sidelines for the last six months, I saw you, Riley, when you wore that tight red dress and flaunted—” He reached for my breast and gave it a squeeze. “These in that club that night...”
Now I couldn’t even begin to understand what he was saying because his tongue was grazing my ear. I couldn’t hold it any longer; I turned around to face him, caught fistful of his shirt and brought his mouth to mine in a hard kiss, a sensual long kiss that had long been overdue. His tongue moved inside mine in urgent strokes; hot and needy. We kissed like there was no tomorrow, that either of both of us would die, like I wouldn’t survive if I stopped kissing him. He caught my thigh and brought it around himself so I was stranding him.
I didn’t even realize when his fingers had pulled the zipper of the dress down. “I love you.” He murmured. “I waited so long for this. Led a life of celibacy for six fucking months, but it’s worth it. You better let me keep touching you now.”
“Someone would see us.” I said, already feeling giddy with his words.
“No one can. It’s a VIP lounge, one that doesn’t have any cameras installed.” He said and proceeded to kiss me again, his fingers now were dipping in the thong that I was wearing.
I gasped when his fingers found my cleft and he drove his finger inside while kissing me fiercely.
I came up for air, trying to control the moans that were erupting from my throat. “Not here, Jack, let’s go somewhere more private.”
“Let’s go to my place.” He suggested with a devilish smile.
We stopped in front of a slick, white sports BMW i8 that I’d only seen on the roads and on an episode of Top Gear, never dreamed of riding it. Jack grinned as the door opened upward. “What do you think?”
“Are you trying to impress me?” I asked sliding into the passenger side.
“Well, is it working?”
I sighed. “Jack, you already know I’m not impressed by your wealth and money. I don’t want any of it. I wouldn’t care if you lived in a tent.”
He laughed. “Seriously?”
“Um, maybe I would. I mean a tent isn’t really very convenient, is it?”
“It would be really convenient for some things that I had in mind for you.” He pecked my lips. “You know what I like about you...”
“You never ask for more, you just do the best with what you already have and I love you so fucking much for that.”
My heart was beating so wildly. As he drove towards his house, I had to constantly tell Jack to slow down. He looked so happy and my heart soared when I saw the happiness so clear on his face. A year back, he’d been locked up in a room sometimes in strait-jackets, restrained and although he looked like he didn’t care, I’d seen the despair clear in his eyes. The thought that I was even a little bit responsible to take the darkness away from him pleased me.
The car maneuvered near a four story mansion, the letters ‘W’ were marked on the either sides of the gates. He parked the car near a row of other cars and we started walking into the mansion. The courtyard was beautiful, freshly mowed and some areas covered in flowerbeds.
A man of average height, bushy mustache and friendly gray eyes welcomed us. Jack tossed the keys of his car towards the man who caught it in mid-air. It gave me the impression that the two did this often. “How’s it going, Lynn?”
“Everything is fine, sir. Dinner is ready to be served.” He threw me a look and then to Jack he said, “If you wish to dine in your room, I’ll have Lily bring dinner upstairs.”
There was the playful grin again. “Look at her carefully, Lynn. In a month or less, she’s going to be giving you orders in this house so you better learn what she likes and what she doesn’t.”
Lynn looked as shocked as I did. His bushy moustaches twitched. “Congratulations Miss, sir. I will have all the preparations made all at once.” And then he bellowed somewhere at the back, “Georgie, Lily, Dorothy, we have a new mistress of the household.”
“Lynn, please make sure we’re not to be disturbed. If we need dinner or assistance, I will ring for you.”
The maids had stopped doing whatever work they’d been doing and sneaked glances at me now. Every corner had a curious head peering at me like I was a rare species that the gardener had found in the lawn and meant to be marveled.
“What does it mean?” I asked Jack as we started climbing the marble staircase.
“It means what I said.” Jack answered vaguely, he enjoyed teasing me a lot.
The house was probably built in the eighteenth century and had a gothic look. The architectural work done was brilliant, yet had a modern look to it. Classic, lavish and greatly opulent. I’d never been to a house like this, let alone walked into one. I’d only read about them in Romance novels.
This is the house that Jack grew up in.
The house where his mother and his adoptive father had been killed.
I tried not to think of that.
Jack’s room was on the first floor, a spacious room with an open balcony and an attached bathroom. The bathroom was large enough to fit my entire apartment. I’d imagined Jack’s bedroom to be extraordinary, but it was simple. There was a large king-sized bed dominating the center, the walk-in closet and a flat screen on the opposite side of the wall, some gaming consoles. A wide dresser that had some bottles of men’s perfumes sitting on the top. I also noticed another connecting door in the corner and when I asked Jack where that led, he said it was his home office where he usually worked when he brought his work home.
The bedroom was lovely and so cosy.
“Come live with me.” He murmured close to my ear.
“I said come live with me.” He kissed the sensitive part behind my head and drew a path down the back of my neck. “Move into my home, lets live together Cotton-Candy.” Before I could say something, he went on. “There’s a spare room connecting to my office. You could put your stuff there if you want, or decorate this room as per your preference.”
“I can’t be your whore.” I said and then corrected myself, “What I mean is, I can’t live here just because you need me to be close to you when you’re around, I know you’ll leave again and I—”
“Be my wife, Riley.” He smiled. “Mistress of the household, my wife. Not as a kept woman.”
I almost stumbled at his words. I had not expected Jack to walk into my life after six months and propose marriage in such a casual way. I’d known that being with Jack didn’t mean I’d always be presented with flowers, that he was a difficult man who was still haunted by the demons of his past.
“Oh.” I said, surprised how I’d misunderstood. And now the prospect of marriage with Jack excited me, it also made me nervous.
He laughed. “What were you thinking? That’d I’d want you living here just for the sex? Maybe you thought there was a contract laying around somewhere, and a red room of pain down the hallway.”
“Are you sure?” I asked.
“Never been so sure in my life.” He said, his eyes looking at me with desire. He produced a small velvet box from his pocket and that’s when I knew he hadn’t asked me to marry just jokingly, that he was dead serious. The large diamond solitaire ring was proof enough.
“I’ll give you a last chance, Cotton-Candy. If you want, you can walk away from me right now, but know that I want to care for you, love you and make love to you for our entire lives, but it doesn’t change the fact that I may not be an ideal husband. I still need to have my name cleared from a few cases, I’m still difficult. I battle this suffocating darkness that sometimes consumes me, but I can assure you that I’m not the same man you saw trapped in that asylum that day. You set me free, Riley.”
My eyes were brimming with tears. He was holding the ring between his fingers. “I didn’t want to be that asshole that takes advantage of you first and then proposes you. If you say yes, you’re mine and I’m yours. This room, this house, the i8 outside, and the dozen cars, the maids, every little damn thing that I own will be yours. If you say no...” his hands were shaking, his voice wavering and low.
It was the first time that I’d ever seen Jack having a loss of words or lack of confidence.
I laughed, “are you trying to bribe me with your riches?”
“If that’s what it takes.” He said, smiling. “I love you, Riley, please marry me. Let me have the honor of becoming your husband.”
“Yes. Yes. Yes. I’ll marry you even if you decide to take me to live in a tent.” I said going into his arms, wiping my tears. “How long did you rehearse that?”
“Let’s say I had six months of practice.” He said and I laughed.
The laugher died when his lips claimed mine in a rough kiss and he wasted no time as he unzipped my dress and took off his t-shirt. My birthday dress and his clothes were a pile on the floor. It took only a few seconds before the remaining of our cloths joined the pile. We were both naked, exploring each other with a new greediness. Jack’s hands and mouth moved with expertise and it kind of made me wonder how many other women he’d been with before he met me and I realized I didn’t want to know the answer because it didn’t matter. He hadn’t asked them to marry him.
It had been me.
He kissed me with the kind of hunger and savagery that I hadn’t witnessed before. Jack was inside me, and moving with urgency. I matched his rhythm.
“Yes. Yes, sweetheart, come for me.”
My screams were muffled by Jack’s mouth on mine. I could feel how he’d spilled inside me. He laughed, “The maids might hear us.”
After that crazed, frenzied love making, we talked for a while, until Jack told me he wanted to go for the second time and who was I to say no. If I could stay in this fluffy bed forever, and have this man do wicked things to me, I would.
I looked at the moonlight streaming out of the window and wondered how I’d gotten so lucky this birthday, and then a gloomy thought settled within. Ken, my brother. He would be all alone if I married and moved out of our apartment, wouldn’t he? How would he cope living all my himself when he needed me for the smallest things.
I looked at Jack sleeping beside me. His fingers drew lazy circles on my stomach. As if reading my mind, he asked. “What’s wrong, love?”
“It’s Ken. If I married you and moved out of our apartment, he’ll be lonely.”
He cupped my face in his hands. “I have that figured out as well. We have a lot of spare rooms in this house. Ken can move in with us. He’ll stay here with you.”
“Really? You’d let my brother come live with us?”
Jack took my hand in his, the one with the ring on it and kissed it and continued kissing it like he couldn’t believe I was even here. “Of course, Cotton-Candy. He’s your little brother and by marrying me, that’ll make him my brother-in-law. Wouldn’t it be my duty to look after him too?”
“thank you, Jack.” I said. “I’ll talk to Ken about it.”
“Are you hungry?” He asked, his fingers moving downward.
I slapped his hand playfully. “You’re a horndog.”
“Can you blame me? I haven’t been with you for a long time.”
“If I said no to your proposal, you would do what? You never finished the sentence before.”
“I was going to say, if you said no, Riley, I’d...”
“You’d what?” I asked, impatiently.
“I’d find a way to make you say yes.”
I laughed. “You presumptions, asshole.”
We lay there in silence, with Jack it was a comforting silence. I could stay listening to him breathe and I didn’t want anything else from life.
“Jack, can I ask you something?” I asked, even though I was feeling distracted with his touch.
“Does it make you sad that your relationship with Aaron could have been different?” I asked, propping up on my elbows.
Jack looked at me with a carefree, lazy expression. His fingers now playing with my hair. “I regret that if I had known about him sooner, I may have been able to stop some of the killings. He was vindictive, Riley, just pure evil and for someone like him...I don’t know if there’s any way to bring them back on the track. He made it his life mission to destroy Ezra and me. His end was inevitable.”
I gave him a nod. He asked, “do you miss your friend?”
I decided to answer him truthfully. “I actually do. I think of him sometimes. I’d known him for five years, Jack. I wonder if what we had was just an illusion. I guess it was, and it wasn’t.”
“No, Cotton-Candy, don’t think about it.” He whispered. “I’ll make all the bad memories go away.”
I smiled. “I know you will. You make me so happy, Jackson.”
“Sir, I’ve been instructed not to let any visitors disturb him at this hour.” Lynn followed me, hot on his heels.
I knocked on the door of Jack’s room, scratch that, I rapped on the door with angry thumps.
The Jackass better be awake, because if he wasn’t, I would whoop his ass.
I wouldn’t leave without asking him what had been bugging me all this time.
To be continued in Bonus chapter 2 entirely in Ezra’s POV.