A Riverton Romance, Book 2
Published 2016 by Book Boutiques.
Copyright © 2016, Melanie James.
All rights reserved.
Jenny couldn't believe the nerve of that man. “Have lunch on me,” he says—did he really think she was that credulous and destitute? Sure, she'd like to have lunch on him. She'd like to throw her lunch on him! She should have kicked him in the balls before fleeing from her brother, Adam's hospital room. That’s what she should have done. How dare he even think he has the right to talk to me, let alone joke with me?
Jake could piss her off quicker than anyone else in the world, and he did it with amazing speed and efficiency. He drove her absolutely insane. The pain probably wouldn't have been so bad, but with unconditional love came the risk of heartbreak. Jenny had it bad for Jake. She always had. It was a problem she wanted desperately to remedy. She needed to find a way to move on and never look back.
For as long as Jenny could remember, Jake had always been there. He was her brother’s best friend and partner on the police force. When they were on patrol, it doubled her anxiety. Not only did she have to worry about Adam getting hurt at work, she had to worry about Jake’s safety as well. After all, Jenny couldn't remember a time when she didn't love Jake.
She recalled her teenage years, some of Adam's friends used to tease her and make fun of her. But not Jake. Never Jake. He always came to her rescue. If she could count on anyone over the years, it was her Jake.
Jenny wondered where things went wrong between them, but deep down she knew. She just didn't understand his reaction to her, or the situation they ended up in. She had no doubt that Jake wanted her just as badly as she wanted him. So how did we end up like this?
* * * *
2 months prior
“I can't wait to let my hair down and blow off some steam,” Jenny said to her roommates, who were busy primping for their night out.
“Oh God, I know. My brain is fried. I can’t think about anything right now.” Lizzy agreed.
Finals had kicked her ass. Luckily, she only had one semester left and she would graduate from college. She would be on her way with a life and career of her own. She had always dreamed of being a teacher. It was a sweet memory from her childhood that inspired her to follow through with her dream. Before her parents died, she would play dress up and summon her family into her room. They would sit on the floor in front of her small chalkboard as she carefully taught the subjects she had learned in school the previous day. Jenny smiled at the memory. Now she was so close to making that dream a reality, she could taste it.
“Can you believe we are almost done? We have one semester left and that’s it,” Jenny said as she popped a French fry into her mouth.
“Thank God! I know I couldn’t do this for another year. Not that I don’t love you girls, but I’m ready to start my life,” Lizzy replied.
“I know. It feels like we’re stuck in a holding pattern and in between. I just want to move on, find a job, and figure things out from there.”
“You are preaching to the choir. I am so over this whole college experience. Let’s just forget about it for now, finals are done. We have a month off before the new semester starts. Girl, it’s time to unwind,” Lizzy offered before attacking her sandwich.
“Are they just about ready to go? What is taking them so long?” Jenny wondered out loud. She was ready to head out for the night and let go of the exam induced stressed. A girls night out was just the way to do it. Her body was tight and tense, her mind ready to explode from being crammed full of information. She felt like she needed a reset button for her brain to dump all of the course material in one fell swoop.
Jenny was thankful for the amazing group of friends she met over the course of her time in college. The four girls were all in the same teaching program and had all started at the same time. Sharing an apartment was a quick decision made for convenience, but it cemented a bond between them. No longer just classmates, they were practically sisters. The tiny apartment was not far from where she had lived with Adam. Jenny could have stayed with her big brother to save money, but she desperately wanted to be out on her own. It wasn't that she didn't love Adam, she did. And with all of her heart. He was a great big brother, but she just didn't want to live with him anymore. She wanted her own life on her own terms.
Jenny and her three best friends set out on the ultimate adventure when they decided to squeeze into the microscopic two bedroom, one bath apartment. And just like sisters living together, it could be a real challenge to maintain a semblance of patience. Or sanity.
“Would you hurry your skinny ass up in there? The rest of us need to get ready, too!” Zoe shouted to Becca who always took forever to get ready.
The bathroom door suddenly flung open. “Seriously, I've been in here ten minutes. Some of us were not blessed with shiny, soft natural curls, and amazing good looks. Those of us less fortunate have to work hard in order to achieve this quality of beauty,” Becca said before slamming the door.
“I think she starts the clock over each time she comes out here to bitch.” Lizzy rolled her eyes at the standard roommate drama. Why they ever thought that four twenty-two year old females could peacefully exist in a two bedroom, one bath apartment was beyond her. It wasn't so bad until they all had to be somewhere at the same time, then it was a mad dash for the shower before the hot water ran out. Running out of hot water in the middle of shampooing was not fun, no matter who you are.
One hour and fifty two minutes later, they were finally heading out to enjoy the night. They walked arm in arm a few short blocks to the club, laughing and squealing in delight as their heels clicked in unison against the frozen pavement. Jenny opted to walk because she would never drink and drive, and her best friends respected her wishes. It wasn't just because her brother was a cop, but because her parents had been brutally ripped from her life by a drunk driver. She never understood what caused someone to get liquored up and then get behind the wheel of a car. The damage done was irreparable. She was forced to live with it every day of her life. There wasn’t a day that passed where she didn’t think about her parents and the empty space that remained where they should still be.
Jenny could hear the bass thumping from the music as they descended on the club. Her nose was assaulted with the smell of stale beer, cigarettes, and women who marinated in cheap perfume. A multitude of lights danced over the patrons, spotlighting the public forum of foreplay. These types of clubs always felt like meat markets to her, and she usually avoided them for that very reason. She had zero interest in lame pick-up lines, games, and one night stands. Jenny was there to let off some steam and enjoy the night with her friends, nothing more.
As they worked their way through the throngs of gyrating patrons, Jenny started to lose patience. If one more guy grabbed her ass, she was likely to turn around and deck them. Her first order of business—acquire a drink. She needed to loosen up, shed the finals induced anxiety, and let go for a night.
Her small group worked their way to the bar to kick off their celebration. They quickly ordered their drinks and headed for a table in the corner. It was private and secluded, just the way they liked it. Jenny was glad none of her roommates were on the prowl tonight. It didn't mean they wouldn't date, just that all of the girls had sworn off serious relationships until after college.
They had refused to make a commitment to anyone when their lives were far from settled. To do anything other than that wouldn't be fair to either party. She felt bad for the girls who jumped from one relationship to the next for fear of being alone. Jenny certainly understood their reasoning. After all, she knew all too well about the fear of being left alone in life. Thanks to the memories of her parents, she also knew what real love could be, what it should be. Jenny was a firm believer that it was better to be single than saddled with a bad and unhealthy relationship. She had watched too many friends fall victim to the never ending cycle.
As the night passed, the girls laughed and danced as they fended off unwanted advances with ease. Jenny was happy and the smile on her face could not be denied. She let go and laughed with her friends.
Jenny danced with a freedom that she hadn't felt in a long time. She twisted and turned to the music, shaking her head, hips, and ass. She was laughing with abandon when she felt a hard body slide in behind her. Solid, thick arms held her in a punishing grip. She tried in vain to pry herself from the man that was holding her so tightly, she was sure to bruise.
“Let me go!” she hissed at the creep.
“You think it’s okay to shake that hot little ass and tease every man in here, sweet thing—you better be prepared to follow through.”
She shook with anger. What gave this stranger the right to put his hands on her and demand anything? She struggled against him, trying desperately to break free from him, but his grip was impenetrable. He meant business, and it was a business that she wanted none of. She felt a panic snake its ugly head through her body. There were people all around her, but they were caught up in their own alcohol induced haze. They didn't seem to notice what was going on around them as the stranger pulled her away from her friends. She didn't want to go anywhere with the creep.
Zoe saw the look of panic on Jenny's face as she tried to fight off the brute that was dragging her away from the group. “Get your hands off of her, asshole!”
“Stay out of this, bitch!” he roared at Zoe, pushing her away.
Jenny was stunned. She slammed her elbows against him. She kicked at his shins. She had to get away from him, or the situation would turn from bad to worse as soon as he got her alone. Obviously this guy had never learned the meaning of the word “no” and it appeared he wasn’t going to learn anytime soon.
The savage stranger grabbed her by the hair, twisting her face to his and planting a demanding kiss on her lips. He was so much bigger than her, he effortlessly held her in a crushing embrace. His breath reeked of a garlic loaded dinner, booze, and cigarettes. The smell alone made her want to vomit in his mouth. She grabbed at his hair, yanking with all of her might to release the punishing assault on her mouth, but it did no good. The harder she fought, the more excited he became. She clawed at his eyes, trying to gouge them out with her nails. She knew it was extreme, but she had tried everything else and failed. With each second that passed, he dragged her closer to the door. She pressed harder and he finally relented with a scream.
“You fucking whore!” The rage rolled off of him in waves. His hand curled into a fist as Jenny fought harder to break free. She had just started to think she was in serious shit when confusion swept over the scene. The man was torn away from her, his body flung to the ground.
Zoe quickly grabbed Jenny and pulled her away from the scuffle. Jenny was terrified by what had happened. She didn't understand it. One minute she was dancing with her friends, the next minute she was accosted by a feral drunk with brutal force. She knew she did nothing to lead him on. She had never seen the guy before.
Jake watched from afar as Jenny wantonly twisted to the rhythm that pounded through the club. He knew he should turn his head, but he couldn't keep his eyes off of her. His desire for her became more demanding each day, but it was a want he couldn’t give into. There were simply too many repercussions. The sight of her made his heart race and his body burn with a nearly uncontrollable yearning. Jake shook his head and took a breath as he tried to look away. He thought he would be able to have a drink and relax after work, now his body was tight and tense. This was the last place he expected to see her tonight. It wasn’t her usual hang out. It seemed that somehow there was no escaping Jenny. He was continually on edge because of one woman.
He wasn't sure what to do with the want or need he had for her. His mind told him to ignore the desires he had for her. That was easier said than done. His mind wrestled with his heart. She was his best friend’s little sister, but it didn’t seem to matter. His body responded to her in a way he had never responded to another woman. It went far beyond a physical attraction. He knew his feelings for her were something much more, much stronger than he had ever felt. They were getting stronger by the day. He tried in vain to keep her at arm's length, but when she moved like a seductress, he wanted nothing more than to scoop her up and drag her to the nearest cave. Foolish? Fuck yes—but true none the less.
The scene changed in an instant and Jake couldn't believe the events unfolding before his eyes. What made that guy think it was acceptable to manhandle any woman, let alone his Jenny? His anger instantly unleashed and he saw red. Jake would kill the bastard if he harmed so much as a hair on her head. He saw the man's fist clench as he raised it to swing at Jenny. “MOVE!” he shouted as he shoved hordes of dancers out of the way in a frenzy to reach her. There was no way he was going to let that fucker hit her.
He was grateful for Zoe's nearness when she pulled Jenny away. The quick action allowed Jake to focus on the assailant. His hand wrapped around the guy's throat in a choke hold. Using the momentum from his sprint across the dance floor, he slammed the guy to the floor, hard. Jake seethed with hatred. How dare he force himself upon his woman? He wanted to squeeze the life out of the guy for what he had done, but he painstakingly dialed back the anger.
It wasn't hard for Jake to pin the guy down by his throat and dig his knee into his chest. Years of training taught him the most effective way to take a person down, and keep them down. He may have used a little more force than necessary, but what the hell, the piece of shit deserved it. The guy fought for all he was worth, which in Jake's opinion wasn't much.
“Riverton Police! Don't move!” Jake shouted, causing the man's struggles to slow.
“Jenny, call the station, tell them to send backup now!” Jake was off duty and that meant the most he could do was cuff the guy. However, he still needed assistance and a vehicle to transport the scumbag.
Jenny didn't hesitate. She quickly hit the speed dial button on her phone. When her call was answered, she explained that she had been attacked at the club. The years her brother spent on the force proved useful in this situation. Everyone at the police station knew Jenny. She grew up with all of them looking after her. The close knit family would do anything and everything in their power to protect one of their own.
Once the other officers arrived on the scene, Jake moved as fast as he could to get the situation wrapped up. He knew that Jenny didn’t like to be the center of attention. When the guy was in custody, Jake headed straight for Jenny to make sure she was unharmed.
“Let's go. I'll give you a lift home.” Jake guided her swiftly towards the exit.
He watched as she nodded a slight goodbye to her roommates. He knew the night's events had shaken her. He’d watched her avoid conflict for years. She wasn’t the type of girl to go looking for drama.
“Are you okay?” Jake held the door for Jenny as she made her way into the cool night air.
“Yeah, thanks. I’m not sure what happened back there.” She wrapped her arms tight around her waist, trying to stave off the shivers that coursed through her body.
Jake knew she was in shock by the listless expression masking her face. Jenny was sweet, kind, and usually very reserved. It was a surprise to see her on the dance floor when she normally stayed tucked in a corner with her friends, chatting the night away. When the cool air hit her, her body started to tremble. Jake quickly wrapped her up in his arms and walked the short distance to his truck.
Always the gentleman, he opened his truck door and lifted her into the raised cab, her slinky dress and heels were not made for climbing. Jake quickly rounded the truck and jumped in. He reached over and fastened her seatbelt as she stared off, lost in her own thoughts. He drove to her apartment, but he knew that he couldn't leave her alone in this condition. Taking her to Adam's apartment wasn't an option because he was at Amanda’s house. He had stopped the assault, but she was still traumatized, and Adam would have his head for allowing any of it to happen to his baby sister.
Zoe had given Jake the key to the apartment before they left the club. “Let’s get you inside and warmed up.” He lifted Jenny out of the truck, carrying her with ease up the stairs to her apartment. He set her down long enough to open the door before scooping her up in his arms once again.
Jake placed her gently on the couch before turning on a few of the overhead lights. His eyes scanned the room, searching for a blanket to cover her with. He quickly found one that had been folded over the side of the loveseat and placed it around her shoulders. With a deep sigh, he lay back on the couch and pulled her on top of him. This was one spot he knew he shouldn’t be in. Her body soft and pliant against his was pure heaven. “Shhh, it’s okay now. I’m here,” he whispered into her ear.
Slowly, he caressed her back, shoulders, and neck, trying to warm her. He needed to get a response from her. Within minutes, Jenny’s mind started to process all that had happened. She began to shake again, sobs escaped her. Her tears soaked Jake's shirt. He did all he could by holding her tight, letting her know that he was there for her.
Jenny’s eyes fluttered open a little while later. The fear from the night's events had invaded her dreams. The one person she didn't want to see tonight was Jake. She was thankful he intervened when he did, but at the same time, she was trying to distance herself from him. And now, here she was, wrapped up tight in his arms and it felt oh so good.
It wasn’t that she didn't appreciate the feel of his hard body next to hers, she adored it. Craved it. She was ready to cry out in bliss when she felt the familiar pulses of energy surging from his body to hers. His woodsy scent was like a drug that she would do anything for. She didn't even try to deny how he made her feel.
Jake was the only man she ever wanted to be with. She found herself comparing all other guys she had met to him, and they all failed miserably in every department. None of her would-be suitors measured up to the impossible standards Jake had set. Jenny knew it was crazy and she needed to move on with her life. She had no chance with Jake. He was six years older than her and he still looked at her as if she were a kid, even though she was twenty-two and almost finished with college. The day she turned eighteen she tried like hell to get and keep his attention in an adult manner, but he always found a way to squash her attempts before her plans got under way.
She pushed the dismal thoughts away for another day, comforted by the knowledge that Jake was there with her now. She couldn't get her hopes up that he would ever see her as anything more than Adam's little sister. What he did to comfort her was done out of loyalty to her brother and nothing more. She hoped that one day he would comfort her because he truly loved her, just as she had always loved him. Not out of some twisted sense of duty, or even worse…pity.
She had no idea that Jake had been at the club, if she would have, she probably would have been a bit more reserved. The last thing she wanted was Adam getting a full report when she was enjoying a rare, yet much needed night out with her friends.
Now she found herself snuggled next to Jake on the couch. She barely remembered getting into the apartment, but she did remember him pulling her on top of him in an effort to warm her up and calm her down. Had she not been so shaken, she would have thought snuggling on top of him was a dream come true.
They must have dozed off together. His chest rose and fell with each breath he took. She couldn't help but watch him. She had never been presented with an opportunity to study him at length without the fear of getting caught. Though she knew every feature of his face by heart, he looked so much different without the cynicism that commonly concealed his boyish charm. His face was relaxed and calm. His normally smooth face was covered in light stubble and there was a slight darkness under his eyes. She wondered if he had been working too hard or not getting enough rest. She drank in the sight of him, imagining how soft and warm his full lips would feel pressed against hers. It was a thought that passed through her mind at least a million times each day.
* * * *
Jake woke as Jenny shifted beside him. He never expected her to feel so good next to him. She was the perfect fit. It was a scenario he had imagined regularly. It seemed as if he fought the desire to claim her each time he found himself in her presence.
“Hey you, we must have dozed off. Are you feeling any better?” Jake spoke no louder than a whisper.
“Yeah, I am. Thanks.”
He could feel the heat of her gaze on him. When he glanced upon her, the need and want in her soft blue eyes left him undone. The heat of her soft body pressed against him, he had to find out if she tasted as good as he had always imagined. Any hope of maintaining logic and reason fled his mind when he leaned forward, slowly placing his lips to hers.
She wrapped her arms around his neck and let out a soft moan as his tongue swept over hers. Their tongues searched each other out before retreating again. He pulled her close and rolled on top of her, letting her feel the hardness of his body pressed against hers. He felt thousands of tiny pleasure pulses explode over his body with each caress.
His kiss traveled from her mouth to the silky skin of her neck and ear before making his way down to her chest. He leaned back on his heels and pulled her up to meet him. Wanting to feel her bare skin next to his, he tugged the dress over her head. A loud exhale escaped his mouth at the sight of her creamy white skin. “You are more beautiful than I imagined.”
“Shut up and kiss me, Jake.” Jenny demanded.
Jake didn’t give in, instead, he made quick work of the lacy bra that offended him by covering her spectacular breasts. His fingers danced with delight over her sides. Her tiny rose colored buds called to him, already peaked in anticipation of his touch. She sucked in a sharp breath as his head dipped and his tongue teased each one before sucking them into his mouth. His fingers worked their way down to the tiny fabric that covered the soft triangle of curls between her legs. His tongue left a scorching trail of desire over her smooth stomach.
“Oh God, yes, Jake.” Jenny could feel the desire building in her with each electrifying touch. She dreamed of this moment for what felt like a lifetime. Her inexperienced body needed all he had to give. Truly alive for the first time ever, she trembled with pleasure when his tongue glided across her silken wet folds. She felt like she was going to come apart at the seams when he sucked her nub into his mouth while his fingertips massaged her breasts. Jenny moaned loudly, never knowing such pleasure. She cried out for him again when his finger penetrated her tightness for the very first time.
“God woman, you're so wet, so tight, and you taste so fucking good.”
“Jake, please. I need more! I—I.” Her moans of delight became more frequent as he continued to work her over with a skill that she could easily become addicted to.
His tongue danced around her opening, harder and faster, making her grind her hips up to meet his mouth. He could feel her inner muscles begin to tighten around his finger. Knowing she was close to climaxing, he picked up his pace a tiny bit. He had fantasized about this very scenario many times and now that it was a reality, he planned on enjoying every second of it. He liked hearing his name coming from her lips. He sucked her swollen bud into his mouth, hard. His reward came when she screamed his name, her body quaking from the aftershocks of her orgasm.
Jake sat up and looked down at her with a smug smirk of satisfaction. He did this to her. He had given her the greatest pleasure and he was nowhere near done. She was wicked and wanton beneath him. Her fingers quickly covered her soaked center. She teased her throbbing bud while Jake watched on. He thanked his lucky stars as yet another of his fantasies came true.
She teased him by spreading her legs wider and begging him to fuck her. The sight was more than Jake could handle, and he slowly slid one of his fingers back into her tight channel. She cried out for him, her hips undulating against his hand. He started to work a second finger into her tightness. She cried out again, this time in pain. Tears gathered at the corners of her eyes as his fingers hit a barrier firmly blocking his path. It was like a bucket of ice cold water had been tossed over his sleeping body, forcing his eyes to open. Jake's desire was instantly replaced by shock.
“Jenny, please tell me you aren't,” he groaned.
She couldn't look at him when he asked. She knew she had nothing to feel guilty about, so why did she? Was being a virgin a bad thing? She couldn't understand why it mattered that much to him. She wanted nothing more than to share this experience with him and only him. She couldn't imagine being intimate with anyone other than Jake. Ever.
Jake quickly removed his fingers and covered her with a blanket. He realized she was innocent and untouched. Fuck, how could I have been such an idiot? I should have known better. She deserves somebody better than me, he thought. She deserves her first time to be with someone who's not going to jump her when she's been through so much in one night.
He was disgusted with himself for what almost happened. He should have had better control when it came to Jenny. She was the one woman in the entire fucking world that he had no business touching.
He fought the aching in his chest and the desire in his mind as he stood up and grabbed his coat. He headed for the door and left without another word. Never pausing to look back at her, because if he did, honor be damned, he would take her then and there without a second thought. What he had done was bad enough. He didn't know how he would face Adam ever again. He promised himself that he would look after his partner's sister, not take advantage of her. He felt like the biggest asshole on the planet.