Alexis Taft fills her days and nights working to pay off her mother’s medical debts and put her sister through college. She doesn’t have time for fun or men. Her life is predictable if boring, that is until she meets Jack. Then life is anything but predictable.
Handsome, wealthy, powerful, Jackson Cole could have any woman he wants and often does, that is until he sets his sights on Alexis.
“You scared me,” Alexis said, slipping her phone into the back pocket of her jeans. “What are you doing here?”
“I couldn’t stand the thought of you driving home alone at two in the morning.”
“I’ve been doing it for two years.”
Alexis walked to her door and inserted the key. “Jack, this is silly. What are you going to do, follow me home every night?”
He prevented her from opening the door by stepping in close to her back. He placed his hands on either side of her and leaned in close to whisper in her ear. “If I have to.” Alexis felt chills race along her spine from his warm breath feathering across her ear and cheek. “Or I can arrange a driver to come pick you up and take you home every night.”
“Absolutely not,” she said, spinning away from the car to face Jack. She tried giving his chest a push to give her more space, but he didn’t budge.
He leaned down farther, so they were eye to eye. “The way I see it, you have three options. I follow you home every night. A driver picks you up. Or you quit working at night.”
Alexis stood staring at him, speechless for a few seconds, before getting angry. “You can’t tell me what to do or give me ultimatums. You’re not the boss of me, Jack.” She pushed at his chest again, this time, harder. He still didn’t move. Frustrated, she yelled, “Step back!” He took a step back to give her space. She took advantage of it by pacing away a few more steps. “And I’m sure as hell not quitting my job.” Not to mention, she wouldn’t be able to pay her bills without it.
She watched as he put one hand on his hip, the other he ran through his hair as he hung his head to look at the floor. His subdued posture deflated some of her anger. “You can’t possibly understand how much that frustrates me. I’m in control of everything in my life.” He looked back up at her. “Everything. Yet there you stand,” he said, holding his arms out to her. “It seems as though everything I say or do, you want to do the opposite. You’re right, I’m not the boss of you, and you have no idea how much that kills me because I want to be. I want to lock you up in my bedroom, so I know you’re safe and protected. I can’t bear the thought of any harm coming to you.”
He put his hands back on his hips, tilting his head back, this time, to look at the ceiling. She watched his throat muscles work as he swallowed, and his chest rise and fall with his breaths. He was still dressed casually in jeans and a T-shirt, his biceps on display, bulging and flexing as he brought himself under control.
Everything he’d just said to her was incredibly scary while at the same time strangely sweet. She sighed. She knew if she gave him an inch he would take a mile, but she was tired and didn’t feel like arguing anymore. And she had to admit at least to herself, that the thought of him being worried about her and wanting to protect her gave her a little thrill that tingled from her head to her toes and all her girly parts in between. She hadn’t had anyone worry about or take care of her since she was fifteen when her mother got sick, and her father bailed, walking out on his three girls and leaving Alexis to take care of everything.
She exhaled a heavy sigh. “You can send a driver. I don’t want you having to drive back and forth.” He brought his head back down and started walking toward her. She put her hand up to keep him from coming any closer. “But don’t think because I gave in on this, you can walk all over me.”
He ignored her hand, walked his body flush up to hers, and cradled her face in his hands. “Thank you,” he said, before brushing his lips against hers.
It was their first kiss. Alexis hadn’t had many kisses in her life, but she’d had a few, and none of them made her feel what she was feeling now. He traced his tongue along the seam of her lips, coaxing them to part and as if they had a will of their own with no thought from her brain, they fell open. His tongue invaded her mouth, swooping in. Claiming her. Alexis didn’t know what to do, so she grabbed fistfuls of his hair and held on, feeling entirely consumed.
He slowly pulled away, nipping her bottom lip then running his tongue over the spot to take away the sting. Jack’s kiss left her in a daze. Her body leaned heavily into his, and her breathing was rough and choppy.
“Open your eyes, sweetheart.”
She did as she was told without hesitation, still befuddled, and stared into his intense, green eyes. He ran his thumb across her bottom lip.
Before closing his own eyes and leaning his forehead against hers. “Let’s get you home.” He led her to her car, opened the door, then angled her behind the wheel. “I parked a few spots down. I’ll follow you.”
Alexis gave him a nod and started her car. As she sat, waiting for it to warm up, she leaned her head against the steering wheel and tried to compose herself. As she got her wits about her, she became certain of three things.
One: Jack could rob her of her senses with only a kiss, leaving her hungry for something she couldn’t even name.
Two: He was bossy, domineering, gentle, kind, and unbelievably attractive.
Three: She was in big trouble.