Kenny wants Simon back
Trembling, she closed her door and immediately called Simons camp counselor. After waking her from a deep sleep, she made the poor woman do a bed check on her brother and then swear that shed ensure that no one but Grace was allowed to pick him up, during or after camp. She wanted to go get him right now, but Simon had been so excited about the camp, she couldn bear to cut it short.
Calmer now that she knew he was safe, she got out of the robe and into the shirt. It came almost to her knees and she had to fold back the cuffs several times before her hands poked through the sleeves. But, for some reason she didn want to face, it comforted her to be wearing Jacobs shirt.
She crawled into bed, craving sleep.Instead, fear hammered at her temples, creating an excruciating headache. Whimpering in pain, she sat up, aware that her suffering was stress induced. She wanted to ask Jacob for help. Out of the grip of thei llogical terror that had bewildered her after the call, she knew that her fears that hed take Kennys side were groundless. Jacob Wolfe might be dictatorial and dominating, but unlike her tormentor, he had honor.
Life had forced her to be strong, but this time there were so many burdens on her that she felt as if she would collapse. Despite that, her heart rebelled against asking Jacob.
But shed do anything to protect Simon. Including asking the help of a man who made her wish for impossible things.
Afraid that her courage would desert her if she delayed, she jumped out of bed. It was only when she was standing before Jacobs bedroom door that she remembered her only clothing was his shirt. Her knuckles had hit the wood by then and it was too late. The door swung open before she could retreat.
Jacob stood in front of her, wearing just a pair of white boxer shorts. Captivated by the view, she lost her train of thought. His thickly muscled wall of a chest, covered with a sprinkling of black hair, was only the start. His thighs looked like tree trunks.
Shed been right the man was muscled everywhere. He shifted and she jerked her head up, aware that shed been staring. She expected to see amusement in those dark eyes, but something else awaited her.
Hot, rippling desire.
His blue eyes were hooded, heavy lids lowered, making them appear even more impossibly dark. She could feel their weight resting heavily on hers and she suddenly felt very small. A tremor shook her body and she realized that she was
e here, ” he rasped, his tone harsh, rough.
Her fingers flexed around the fabric of her shirt, her palms itching to touch him. She swallowed and tried not to stare.
”Yes. Im sorry to wake you. Ill leave… ”
She started away, hoping that he wouldn stop her.
”Grace. ”Jacksons husky whisper sent shivers racing through her, but she couldn move away.
He tipped up her face with a finger under her chin and then bent down to press his lips gently against hers. Instinctive defense mechanisms kicked into place and she stood still, not fighting but not responding either.
He broke the kiss. ”My apologies. I did not realize that you did not accept my kiss. ”
So formal, she thought, so icy, when his lips had been warm and soft. She felt suddenly bereft but knew it was her own fault.
”I accepted. ”
He braced his right hand on the doorjamb, his face expressionless in a way she hated.
”Like a statue. I won touch you again if that is what you prefer. ”
That option didn sound good to her. Nibbling on her lower lip, she looked down at the lush grey carpet and then backup. ”I don deal well with men wanting me. ” While she didn trust Jacobs desire, she trusted his intellect. He would never judge her for her fear,. ”I… had some bad experiences when I was younger. ”
She hadn meant to admit that much but couldn bring herself to regret the confidence.
Jacobs brow furrowed, and for the first time since they met his voice held concern.
”Did someone hurt you? ”
Closing the distance between them, he put one hand on her hip. Hed expected her to recoil but to his pleased shock, one fine-boned hand fluttered to rest on his bare chest.
Heat engulfed his body but he ruthlessly caged the fire, aware of the fragility of her faith in his goodness.
”I don want to talk about that right now. Her answer didn satisfy him, but then she said,
”I wanted to talk to you about the phone call. ” He was placated by that evidence of her trust. For this night, it was enough.
”Who was on the other end? ”
”Why didn you press for more information before? ”
”I figured I had no right to know. ”
Her face was so solemn, so lovely in the frame of midnight-dark hair.
Dreams of the silky strands spread over his arm as she slept beside him had tormented him since their first meeting.
”Do I? ”
Grace knew what he was really asking.
”I don know if Im ready to let you into my world. ”
He was silent for a moment.
e… ” How could she admit that she was scared of what he made her feel, what he made her ache for?
”You trust me, don you? ”
The answer came easily because hed always been far more than just her boss, no matter what shed tried to convince herself. ”Im here. ” And she wouldn be if she didn trust him on a deep, unshakable level.
That trust was rooted in the knowledge that hed never coerce her to do anything against her will.
Jacob was her protector. And she needed his protection from Kenny. More importantly, Simon needed his protection. ”Simon is the most precious part of my world, ” she whispered, making a decision.
”I know ”.
”Hes returning from camp in a couple of days, she told him. ”Do you want to come pick him up with me? ”
Grace felt something change in their relationship at that moment. With her invitation, shed accepted Jacobs claim over her and made a claim of her own.
”You only ever speak of Simon. ”One big hand stroked her hair. Instead of fear at the intimacy, she felt a shy sense of pleasure because this was annoyingly protective Jacob.
” Do you have no other family? ”
”Not in truth. ”
Tell me what that means, Grace. ” It was a masculine demand disguised as a request.
Grace found that she wanted to tell him. Hed never been given any privacy with his life and it seemed only fair that he should know something of her as well. And the truth was, she needed to tell someone and aside from Jacob, who was there?
The first words took time, but he didn hurry her. Standing in the hallway with her toes digging into the carpet and Jacobs heat surrounding her, shed never felt safer. He might want her, but he would never force her shed stake her life on that.
”My mother brought us up, well, she brought me up anyway. She died when Simon was six. ” Keeping her voice steady was an effort. ”I was twenty and her death wasn a surprise. She was an alcoholic. ”