There’s nothing worse than yearning for your boss after the best one-night stand of your life, or finding yourself homeless at Christmas and having to move in with said irresistible boss… Or is there? Lexi Ryan’s latest instalment in her fabulous The Boys of Jackson Harbor series is out now, and I have a sneak peek for you, as well as a chance to win a signed paperback copy.
I cannot believe she’s actually on a date with that sonofabitch. And I can’t believe he brought her here. Like he wants to rub it in my face.
“You okay, brother?” Jake asks. He’s working at the grill, making burgers and plating up meals.
I only came to Jackson Brews tonight because the house was empty. In truth, I was looking forward to a night at home with Noah and Molly, but they weren’t there. Instead, Molly had left a note saying not to wait up. And now I know why.
“I’m fine,” I growl, not sounding even a little fine.
Jake, wisely, doesn’t call me on that, just nods and plates up his specialty bacon-barbecue donut burgers. If I had to guess, he already saw Molly here with Jason and knows exactly what’s wrong.
Molly bursts through the swinging kitchen door, her eyes blazing, her cheeks bright. She stops in front of me and puts her hands on her hips. “What the hell is your problem?”
“My problem? I don’t have a problem. If you want to date a guy who’s going to try to take advantage of you when you’re trashed, that’s on you.”
Jake clears his throat, and Molly spins on him. “Do you have something you want to say?”
He picks up the plates and shakes his head. “Not a thing,” he mutters before pushing out of the kitchen and leaving Molly and me alone.
“You’re such a freaking hypocrite.”
I fold my arms. “How do you figure?”
“You were all pissed at me for acting like I was your girlfriend to get your ex away from you, but you told Jason to stay away from me.”
Busted.I should be fucking ashamed for acting like that, but I’m not. If she doesn’t want me, fine. But Jason isn’t good for her. “I’m just trying to protect you.”
“You had no right. None. It’s my choice who I date.”
“I know that.”
“I told you he didn’t force himself on me. I told you.” She paces the length of the kitchen, only turning back to me when she reaches the walk-in coolers. She leans against the stainless steel and threads her hands into her blond hair.
“Why are you really so pissed, Molly? Is this about him?” I ask, stalking toward her. She’s in a long-sleeve sweater-material thing that dips low in the front and shows off the swell of her breasts. The hem barely reaches the middle of her thighs. The sight of her in knee-high boots—the idea that she wore that sexy getup for him—fuels my anger as I stop in front of her. “Do you want him so damn much that you can’t stand the idea that I might get in the way? Is he that perfect?”
She drops her hands to her sides. “No, you idiot. It’s about you.” She swallows. “It’s about you thinking you need to protect me.”
I dip my head, bringing my mouth closer to hers. She gasps, but I stop when our lips are inches apart. “You know what you didn’t hear that day I was talking to Ethan? When I told him that I sometimes wish I never hired you? Do you know why I said that?”
“Because you want to protect me from my past,” she says, and I’m so close that her breath brushes across my lips. “You feel guilty that you brought me back here.”
“That’s only part of it.”
“Oh?” Her voice shakes, like she’s afraid of the worst, and I wonder, truly wonder, how she could not know the truth.
I tilt my head and graze my nose along the side of her neck. She arches, pressing her breasts into me. “I wish I hadn’t hired you because I’ve wanted you from the moment you crawled into my bed eight years ago. I wish I hadn’t hired you because if I weren’t your boss, you wouldn’t have run from me in the middle of the night. And if you had, I could have tried to win you back when you pushed me away.” I run my mouth along her neck, a breath away from touching.
Her hand goes to my chest, and when I think she might push me away, her fingers curl into my shirt. “Then . . . why?”
“You made the rules. As long as I’m your boss, I’m not allowed to touch you. I’m not allowed to seduce you.”
“Brayden . . .”
I pull back, finally meeting her wide blue eyes, praying it’s enough, praying she understands. “That’s why I wish I never hired you. Because I’m a selfish asshole when it comes to you, and I want to do all the things you told me I can’t.” I’ve crossed too many lines already, but I rub my thumb over her bottom lip, unable to resist one last touch before stepping out of her grasp. “Enjoy your date. I’ll see you at home.”