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I want to tell her everything will be okay. That I’m just being overly careful. Nothing bad is going to happen. But I don’t want to lie to her.
I lived this life for too damn long and know how dangerous things can get.
“Okay, this place isn’t too bad.” I bounce down on the queen size bed in the motel room.
After seeing where Jax lived, I was expecting a lot worse, but the motel seems to be in the better side of town and could probably pass for at least three stars. Add that to the fact that I just got a text from Nelli saying she actually took my mother to a restaurant for lunch, and I’m feeling pretty okay right now.
Jax shoves the keycard into his wallet. “This is the best place in town.”
My expression plummets as I kneel up on the bed. “I hope you didn’t fork out a lot of money just so I’d feel safe. Please tell me you didn’t.”
“It wasn’t that much.” He empties the spare change from his pocket and dumps it onto the nightstand.
“Jax—” I start to object.
But he talks over me. “So, there’s this drive-in diner place like a mile away from here that has the best hamburgers ever. I was thinking we could stop there then head out to this motel my mother sometimes hangs out at. It’s on the other side of town.”
“Why does she hang out at a motel?” I ask as I put my hair up into a ponytail.
He avoids eye contact with me, staring out the window. “It’s where she goes to make money.”
I climb off the bed. “Doing what?”
His shoulders lift and fall as he exhales heavily. “Whoring herself out basically.” He looks so ashamed about the fact, even though I already knew his mother is a prostitute.
I want to hug the pain away, wrap my arms around him and tell him everything will be okay. I remember, after my father died, how much I wished someone would hug me and assure me everything would turn out all right. No one ever did, though, and it really wouldn’t have mattered in the long run, wouldn’t have changed anything.
I wrap my arms around myself and move up behind him. “Are you going to be okay with this?”
He has asked me the same question like a hundred times, when really he should be worrying about himself more. The agony in his eyes when he entered that home made me want to cry. And the condition of that house… I’d thought my apartment was bad, but that place... No one should have to live under those conditions. And Jax grew up in it.
“I’m fine,” He stares at the greying sky stretching across the town. “We should probably get going, though. We’re running out of daylight.”
“You make us sound like vampires,” I joke in an attempt to make him smile.
“Another fantasy of yours? You want me to bite you tonight?” His lips twitch in amusement.
I want to tell him no but I also don’t want to ruin the moment. “No way. I’m the boss,” I play along, “therefore, the biter.”
“That’s no fair. You always get to be the boss.” He fakes a pout, looking so adorable and sexy it’s ridiculous.
“No way. You were the boss the other night. Remember?”
“How do you figure that?”
“Because you’re the one who,” I motion downward at my thigh area, “you know.”
“No, I don’t know.” He taps his finger against his bottom lip. “Guess you’ll just have to say it aloud.”
I give him a playful shove and laugh.
A second or two ticks by, and then he cocks his brow. “I’m still waiting for you to fill me in on what you’re talking about. What did I do the other night that made me the boss?”
“Oh, my God, you’re such a smartass sometimes.” I collect my purse from the chair and head for the door. “Come on. I’m starving.”
“So am I,” he says, following after me.
Although I’m pretty sure a sexual innuendo is hidden in his comment, I choose to ignore it.
“So, a drive-in diner, huh?” I sling the handle of my bag over my shoulder as we step out of the room. “Does that mean the waitresses are wearing roller skates and short little shorts.”
“Why? Would that turn you on if they did?”
“Jax,” I hiss as the breezy Wyoming air bites at my skin. The sun is descending behind the mountains enclosing the town, and the later it gets, the lower the temperature seems to drop. “Seriously, can we lay off with the dirty talk for like maybe an hour?”
“I could try, but it kind of relaxes me.” He yanks on the door, making sure it’s shut all the way, and then we cross the parking lot toward his Jeep. When I shoot him a doubtful look, he says, “What? It helps distract me, at least it does with you.”
“Aw crap. You can’t give me an answer like that.”
He cocks his head to the side. “Why not?”
“Because now I have to let you.”
His eyes glimmer mischievously. “Did I just get a free pass to say whatever I want?”
“Maybe.” My frown deepens at my response.
He rubs his hands together. “Wow, where to start? There’s so many things running through my head right now…” His gaze darts to a woman strutting toward us. She’s wearing a leopard print dress that leaves hardly anything to the imagination, neon pink stilettoes, and her brown hair has a matching streak down the front strand.