Authors: Aimee Carson
But Blake hoped to hurry this process along. “Thank yâ”
“Almost as awesome as his mother,” his mom said as she emerged to envelope Jax in a tight embrace, looking as if she'd never let her go.
And with the irksome upgrade of their three's-a-crowd status to four, Blake met Jax's amused eyes over his mother's shoulders. Clearly, she could sense his frustration. Or maybe she was just relieved because she wanted to put off his proposal again. Maybe she could never forgive him for his cowardly behavior.
His apprehension climbed to seriously uncomfortable levels, and, desperate to get an answer, he ushered the band of females toward the exit.
Nikki leaned in close and whispered, “Did she say yes?”
Lungs tight with fear, he whispered back, “I can't get her alone long enough to find out.”
Unfortunately, the situation got worse when they entered the hallway, and Blake's heart sank. The waiting crowd was large, Jax's colleagues and a quite a few teens from the club swarming around her. Obviously excited, Jax stopped to hug each one in turn as Blake fought to keep his dismay from showing.
He shot his sister a desperate look, and she smiled slyly in understanding.
When an empty elevator opened before them, Blake firmly took Jax's arm and led her inside. And Nikki turned and blocked anyone else from entering.
Man, there was nothing better than being blessed with a wonderfully reckless sister.
“Listen up, everybody,” Nikki said with an authority that did him proud. “I'm moving this celebratory party to my brother's house.” Blake ignored the concern her words brought as she went on. “But right now Blake needs to discuss a few lingering legal issues with Jax.”
And then Nikki stepped away from the elevator and turned, shooting Blake a wink before the door closed and cut off the view of her mischievous expression.
Alone at last, the silence weighed heavily, and as the elevator descended, the tension in his muscles climbed. “Jax,” he said, scanning the beautiful hazel eyes and forcing himself to ignore the smooth expanse of legs, “Iâ”
“How did you distract the courtroom staff when you pulled the computer cord?”
He let out a disbelieving scoff and shoved a hand through his hair, struggling for composure. His stunt wasn't the topic he wanted to discuss. He certainly didn't want to remember how, after asking
for help, his mother had taken over and pretended to faint.
And she had milked her dramatic ruse for all it was worth until someone suggested dialing 911.
The doors slid open, and they stepped out into the lobby. Escorting her toward the exit, Blake took her arm again. But it was just an excuse to touch her.
“I told you,” he answered smoothly, his brow bunching with suppressed humor. “I'd never pull a stunt like that. Except, maybeâ” he shot her a hopeful look from the corner of his eye “âto help the woman I love.”
Discouraged by her continued silence, Blake followed Jax through the front door and out into the bright sunshine, and she paused at the top of the courthouse steps to look up at him, her expression thoughtful. He stepped close, seeking comfort in her scent and aching for the woman who'd brought him back to life.
Desperate to be the lucky man who occasionally got to bail her out of trouble.
With an amused smile, Jax gazed up at him, studying him with an emotion he couldn't interpret. “And how did it feel to break the rules?”
Blake hesitated. Ten years of tensionâof striving daily to live up to his promises to his fatherâhad taken a toll on his spirit. But fusing lust and need back with logic and reason was the only way to heal his soul. Jax had known that, and he knew his father would have approved, too.
His brow crinkled in amusement. “It felt good.”
Jax tugged on his tie and pulled him closer, not stopping until they were toe-to-toe. And when her soft body was pressed against his, desire and love and a hope for happiness hit him all at once. With an expectant face, she waited for him to go on, plainly enjoying making him work for her answer.
“I can't think of anyone more qualified to raise the next generation of Benningtons,” he said truthfully. “Who else will be able to handle my family? My mother's baked goods?” His lips twisted wryly. “Not to mention coolly redirect my mixed-up craziness when I freak out?”
“Like when our son gets his driver's license?”
There was no suppressing his groan of fear.
“Or when our daughter moves into a coed dorm at college?” she added.
A muttered curse escaped his mouth, and he didn't bother replying to the petrifying idea.
Instead, he slid his palm to her abdomen, splaying his fingers across her belly and the scars beneath. Touching the bleak teenage years of her past and the beautiful baby in their future. Her gaze smoldered in response, and need kicked him with a vengeance.
His words gruff, he said, “I think it's in the best interests of our baby that you marry me and keep a close eye on my erratic behavior.”
Her return smile was the most beautiful thing he'd ever seen. “I think you're right.”
With a groan of relief, he claimed her mouth for a kiss. And as the bright sun heated them from overhead, he savored her wild flavor, the reckless response of her lips and the damp heat of her sweet mouth. When she tasted his tongue with hers, desire skewered him, and he gripped her hips.
But Jax pulled her mouth away, her eyes shining up at him. “What were you going to do if I had said no?”
His heart still pounding with love and lust, he quirked his lips in humor. “You mean after I freaked out?” Jax let out a laugh and he went on. “Nikki and I asked several of your teens to do a flash-mob singing proposal for me when we arrived on the courthouse lawn,” he said. “Carefully following the letter of the law, of course.”
Her lids slowly stretched wide, her eyes sparkling. “Really? A singing proposal?” she said, obviously charmed by the idea. She looked around, and when the courthouse green clearly held no youth preparing to belt out a tune, her face fell a touch. “Now I'm kinda sorry I said yes already.”
He shot her a scorching look. “So I'll take you home and make you glad you did.”
Her breath caught, and her voice sounded winded. “But Nikki moved our audience back to your house to celebrate.”
“Then we'll sneak back to the guesthouse while they start the celebration without us.”
She pulled back a touch, raising an eyebrow. “You really are turning back into a hell-raiser.”
Blake pulled her closer, savoring his amazing good fortune. “Only around you, Jax,” he murmured, heading in for another kiss. “Only around you.”
* * * * *
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Copyright Â© 2013 by Aimee Carson
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