They both stared at me with wide eyes. Then Jaxon reached down, scooped me up, and started walking toward the bathroom before I had a chance to protest.

“Jaxon, you can’t just pick me up whenever you want anymore, put me down,” I said angrily.

He ignored me and continued into the bathroom. He sat me down onto the counter and turned toward the linen cabinet. I watched as he grabbed a clean washcloth and brought it to the sink to run water over it. When he seemed pleased with the temperature of the water, he twisted the cloth to ring out the excess. I just sat there watching him, having no idea what he was doing. He finally looked up into my eyes and my stomach dropped; I missed those eyes. He brought the washcloth up to my lip and gently pressed down. I winced at the pain. He lifted it up and with another corner, he wiped my chin. I looked down at the cloth in his hand and noticed it was covered in blood. My blood. I had no idea I was even bleeding.

“Are you okay?” he asked, too much concern in his eyes.

I took the cloth from his hand and hopped off the counter, holding it against my lip. “I’m fine, Jaxon. Next time, try not to eavesdrop and maybe I won’t fall over you.” I know my tone was filled with ice, but I hated how he was trying to be friendly now all of a sudden.

I reached for the doorknob and he slammed his palm against the wooden door to keep it shut. I didn’t even bother trying to pull it open since he was a thousand times stronger than me. I just stared at the door, waiting for him to relent.

He came up close behind me without touching, but I could feel the heat of his body. “What are you doing to me? You’re ruining me. This isn’t me. I don’t drool after women, but I can’t seem to get you out of my f**king head! Worst of all, we aren’t even friends anymore. You were my best friend, Emerson. Now you’ve got me jumping down my own brother’s throat because you’re in his bedroom. You’ve got me taking you out of some other guy’s bed just so I can see you in mine… just one more time.”

“Why can’t we at least be friends? Every time I attempt to talk to you it turns into a yelling match.”

“It’s impossible. I can’t be your friend. It hurts too much. If I’m ruining you, then you’ve destroyed me. I finally trusted someone enough to love and you proved that all along it wasn’t worth it.” Tears were running down my face again. One day I hoped that these tear ducts would just dry up.

“Please, Beautiful, just come to my room and talk to me.” I winced at his term of endearment for me. His arm came down from the door and I jumped at the opportunity by swinging it open.

“Just stop, Jaxon. Stop playing my CD at night, stop hanging up pictures of me in your room, stop taking me out of Cole’s bed, and stop making sure I get my favorite food. You don’t want me anymore; all of this stuff just confuses me!” I continued down the hallway to leave.

“Leave her alone, Jax.” I heard Cole’s harsh voice interrupt from the end of the hall. I walked out of their place and headed straight for my car to get to school.

Everything was almost ready for the auction tomorrow night. Micah had actually been a huge help to me. I was surprised when he signed on for the internship at the beginning of the semester. I had no idea he was interested in this area of Journalism. At least I’ll have a close friend in Africa with me. I was still getting to know the others in the group.

When he saw my lip, he freaked out because it definitely looked like I had been punched. It took a while to explain that I had actually managed to punch myself. After my ridiculous story, he laughed and told me that only I could accomplish that. Surprisingly, he hadn’t hit on me once since Jaxon and I had broken up. Earlier, I had needed to call all of the girls that were going to be auctioned off to make sure they would all be here on time, and Micah volunteered to call all twenty of them. I don’t care if he just wanted twenty hot girls’ numbers; that was a lot of time that he saved me.

While we were finishing up the ballroom, I turned toward him from across a table, “Thanks again, Micah. You’ve helped me out a lot. If it weren’t for you, I’d have had to come up here at three in the morning after I got off work just to have this place done in time.”

“Not a problem, Ems. I know I gave you a hard time last semester about the whole dating thing, but I think of you as a good friend. I realize you would rather have Jax here to help, but I’m glad I could.”

“Right now, I’m glad it’s you,” I smiled at him.

“Hey, I have to head out to work, but you should come by tonight. I’ll give you some free drinks for helping out.”

“I just might take you up on that offer.” He winked at me and walked me out to my car.

Later that night, I was cleaning off the bar top and talking to Micah about the order of events that we needed to make sure happened tomorrow. I watched as Mark checked the IDs of Cole, Jace, Quinn, and Jaxon. They all smiled at me as they walked in, except Jaxon, who just glared at the back of Micah’s head. I pointed them to the pool table closest to the bar that I usually tried to save for friends. Cole and Quinn came in most often, Jace would come every once in a while, but Jaxon hadn’t been here in over a month. I wish he hadn’t come tonight, no matter how much I liked looking at him. The way he was glaring holes into Micah’s head gave me a pretty good idea that all he was going to do was cause me a headache tonight.

“What can I get you guys?” I asked as they approached the bar. Micah spun in his seat to see who was behind him. He tapped knuckles with Cole and Jace but just stared at Jaxon. They all gave me their drink orders. “I’ll bring them out to you.”

When they walked away to their table, I started prepping glasses for their drinks and pulling out bottles to pop the tops. Micah continued talking to me about the lineup for tomorrow, and I laughed out loud when he made a joke about one of the girls in the auction. He even made the annoying high-pitched noise she makes when she’s upset. Then I noticed Jaxon making his way back up to the bar.

“Better watch out, Em. If you’re not careful, you might pass your three-limit rule with him,” he jeered.

“What the fuck’s your problem, man?” Micah spun in his stool to scowl at him.

“Leave dude, before I kick your ass again,” his voice was barely above a whisper, but I knew what he’d just said.

“If I remember correctly, you guys broke up. I’m pretty sure I watched you do it in the middle of the damn courtyard at school for everyone to see,” Micah threw back at him. “If that’s the case, you don’t have any hold over her. She’s my friend and I’ll sit here and talk to her however long I want.”

“Have you raised your limit, Emerson; gone back to your old ways with this guy?” He may as well have called me a whore right here in the middle of my bar.

I turned my cold eyes toward him and I watched his face fall in horror as the weight of his words hit him. “Fuck! I shouldn’t have said that. I didn’t mean that at all, I swear to God.”

“Leave right now before I ask Mark to escort you out.”

I saw that my cold voice was making him panic so I decided to escape into the back room. Before I could get the door closed to lock it, I was being shoved backward. Jaxon’s giant frame took up the entire door as he came into the room behind me. He grabbed me by the hips, lifted me up, and without thinking, my traitorous legs wrapped around his waist as if they had a mind of their own. They knew where they wanted to be, as much as my head didn’t agree. My chest was heaving from my anger at what he had said earlier and he just kept staring into my eyes.

Before I knew what was happening, he pulled the back of my head toward him and his lips were crushing mine, attacking them mercilessly. My body instantly responded to his fiery passion and the heat emanating off his body. I squeezed him tighter with my legs and threaded my fingers through his hair roughly. I needed this. I needed to release my anger and hate out on him the only way I knew how. He walked forward until my back hit the wall of the storage room.

He pulled back too soon and stared into my eyes again. “Talk to me, Emerson.”

“No,” was my only answer. Then I pulled his head back to mine.

“I hate that I hurt your lip, baby.” He pushed back and laid small kisses on my bottom lip. My mouth opened to allow his tenderness.

Not giving him a chance to stop the delicious feel of his body against mine, I reached down for the hem of his shirt. I needed to feel his skin and I needed it against mine. He didn’t resist, instead he helped me by grabbing the back of his collar with one hand and pulling it over his head. My hands were instantly on his chest feeling the bulges of his muscles. His skin was on fire and I instantly flushed from the feel of it. I wanted him and I knew he wanted me just as bad. His thirst was rolling off of him and it would have suffocated me if I hadn’t been feeling the same thing. He may not want me in his heart anymore, but for now, I could deal with the fact that he wanted my body. I could feel his need growing between my legs.

I wanted him to take off all of my clothes and remove his pants. I wanted to forget everything he had done to me that ripped my heart out. I just wanted to enjoy the one body that had ever actually pleased me. He started moving again and this time I felt something hit the back of my thighs. I realized he had moved us to the big deep freezer. He lifted me up a little so I was sitting on the edge.

“Emerson, stop. I’m not going to do this till we talk.”

“There’s nothing to talk about besides the fact that I want you and I need you inside of me.” He groaned at my words. What could he possibly have to tell me? I knew what this was. It was a weak moment. We both knew how well we were together in the bedroom and that just for now, we wanted that back.

I could feel how rock-hard he was now and I couldn’t stop myself from moving back and forth against him. When I looked up at him, his eyes were rolled back in his head and his mouth was open. A short gasp whistled between his teeth. I loved this man with everything I had; this was absolutely going to annihilate me after we were done. There would be nothing left, but then again, I don’t know if there had been anything left in the first place. When he started his own rhythm of torture swaying into me, my back arched and I lifted my chest up toward him. The neckline of my shirt was already low, so he pulled it down further.

“Do you have another shirt here?” he asked roughly.

“Uh… I don’t think I have one like this, but I could probably find a t-shirt. Why?”

“Good, you shouldn’t be wearing this so every dick out there can look at your tits all night anyway.” At that, he ripped the neckline of my shirt until my br**sts were fully exposed. He pushed my bra down as well and took me in his mouth.

He rocked against me faster and I relished the moan that shot out his mouth. I was so close but I didn’t want to end like this. I reached down for his waistband and pulled to let him know what I wanted. He moved back and I almost cried at the loss of his mouth on me. He quickly pulled my shorts and panties down my legs and tossed them to the ground. He unbuttoned his jeans and reached into his wallet for a condom before shoving them down his legs. Clutching my h*ps with his fingertips, he was instantly inside of me. Oh. My. God… yes. How had I forgotten how wonderfully he filled me? How he completed every need that I had.

“Please talk to me,” he said again. Who would want to talk during this moment? I don’t think I could coherently express any thoughts right now.

“I know what this is, Jaxon. I’m not going to expect anything from you after this. I’m a big girl. Please, just go. Harder. I need you.”

“Fuck, baby, don’t say shit like that or I won’t last.”

He ripped the ponytail holder out of my hair, wrapped the length of my hair around his wrist twice and tugged, so that I was forced to look up at him. His mouth came down hard onto mine and his tongue instantly darted inside. I missed his lips on me, anywhere they wanted to be on me, just as long as they were on me. His other hand traveled down my body lightly. The contrast between his rough pulling in one hand and the sweet caress of the other was invigorating. He knew I loved a little of both. When I bit down into his bottom lip, he picked up his pace again, pumping faster inside of me. I released his lip and he moved his mouth down to the spot under my ear.

“It kills me to see you writhing underneath me. I’ve never seen anything so beautiful,” his voice dropped to a tone that I knew would make me come if he continued talking. “I love you so damn much.” With that, my body went off and I cried out his name again. His head ducked into my neck as he quickly followed behind me. We stayed there for a couple of minutes longer, heavily breathing in and out. “For as long as I live, I’ll never forget how your heartbeat feels against my chest,” he whispered.

This statement brought me back to reality. I slid off the freezer, reached down and pulled my shorts back on. I heaved my ruined shirt off over my head and found the shelves that held the extra t-shirts. I found one close to my size and pulled it on quickly.

When I started for the door, he called out, “Emerson, talk to me.”

“I’m probably going to get fired for leaving the bar unattended. I need to get back out there.”

“We aren’t even going to talk about what happened here?”

“There’s nothing to talk about. We got an urge out of our systems.” With that, I walked back out to the bar, leaving my broken heart with him in the storage room.