Lovers of my book The Carrero Effect book 1 will love this brand new alternate chapter.
This is chapter 13 ( half of it anyway) re-written from Jake Carrero's perspective as per requested by you, the lovely fans.
Please note there is swearing and sexual references and this is not suitable for those under 18 years of age.
Read at your own risk!!
The holiday - Jakes perspective (split parts for next couple of days)
Jake strolled into his apartment and threw his bag down on the couch, it had been a long trip and a longer week but he suddenly felt restless at being back. Normally getting home brought him all kinds of joy, but this time it felt slightly empty and he actually wished they had stayed at that damn dance, just so he could still be with her right now. Pacing to the window and looking out across the New York skyline he ran his hand through his hair and cracked his neck in a bid to release some tension that was building up his spine. Flexing his arms over his head and straining the jacket holding him tight, he needed to get out of this monkey suit they called a tux and get comfy, maybe he just needed to feel less business like and properly relax. Maybe he needed a drink.
He needed to stop fixating on Emma, it wasn't healthy and the constant stream of thoughts he had about her were getting harder to control. She had been too alluring tonight, that dress had drove him crazy and dancing up close no longer felt safe, he'd made them leave for her sake as much as his own. It was getting to the point he could no longer trust himself not to try kissing her again whenever he was drunk. He wished he had a memory of Chicago, the night she said they had kissed. He wanted to know what it felt like to kiss that sexy pouted mouth fully, not just a second of brushed lips but a real, deep and meaningful kiss. He already knew that was an awful idea, she had this much of an effect on him now, a kiss would seal his fate.
Picking up the remote from his coffee table he hit the stereo control and his iTunes playlist came to life, turning it up to consume the entire apartment he headed for his shower. Peeling off the bow tie and Jacket as he walked into his room. Smiling as lyrics from a song Emma had sent him followed through and he couldn't help thinking of those blue eyes and quick smile and feeling a hint of longing to have her here right now.
God, he missed her already.
The thought hit him in the stomach and he tried to ignore it. They had literally separated less than an hour ago to come home and he was being unbelievably pathetic. He knew he was becoming too attached to her in ways that would make working impossible, always wanting her around and it bothered him because he could tell she didn't feel the same way. He had tried to convince himself a million times that it was because they were more than work colleagues, they were friends. Real friends, maybe even best friends. He was pretty sure he told her more than anyone he knew and that counted for something and he needed to realise what they had was already special. She was too special to him to fuck this up with sex or one sided emotions.
That first kiss in the hotel had thrown him, had started all of this. He didn't fully understand all the feelings related to it at the time but he sure as hell knew that it wasn't as platonic as he tried to tell himself. Emma had been shocked, non-responsive and even scared if he was being honest, and as shit as it made him feel he couldn't get the feel of her mouth out of his head. For a brief moment he had kissed her and it felt like nothing he had ever known, his stomach had tingled, his heart rate accelerated and he had just become zoned in on everything about her as though time had stood still. He had imprinted every single detail of that night to memory. Her smell, her hair, the way she felt, that god damn nightdress that plagued him and how it clung to the perfect body. Underneath all her tailored suits and precise clothing was a body made for seduction and she had him with one look.
Since then things had only gotten worse, every touch, every look, every smile, only served to torture him. It was long past sex, even he could admit that to himself, right now just having a chance at another night wrapped up together in a bed would be enough. He never wanted to forget what sleeping beside her had felt like, he had done something he never did with a woman. He had wrapped her in his arms and kept her close all night, unable to set her free even if she wanted too. He had thought that fucker Vanquis had been the cause but that was a lie, he would always hold her that way given the opportunity. She brought something out of him that he couldn't explain, the eternal need to shield her.
He tried to shake her out of his head, something he was getting good at since employing her but tonight she wouldn't budge. He was falling hard and he had no way to stop it. Emma was everything he needed and he hadn't even seen it coming, that perfect angelic face and soft voice. The tiny perfect body that made him want to protect her always. Everything he learned about her as time went by only made him all the more fiercely protective of her. She wasn't the girl she showed the world, she was so much more. A vulnerable beautiful perfection that men had tried to destroy, men he would kill with his bare hands given half a chance and wouldn't regret doing it. She was strong in a quiet, gentle way but she was also vulnerable and made him feel a hundred feet tall.
He could still smell her perfume on his shirt from dancing with her tonight and still feel the way her body moulded to his effortlessly. Looking down he realised he had still not pulled any of his clothes off despite turning the shower on. Suddenly unwilling to be parted from the smell of her.
Get a grip man, you need to stop this shit.
He stalked back to his bedroom from the en-suite and sat down on the bed, his hand automatically swiping his phone out before his brain even connected with the dots. He wanted to talk to her, despite only leaving her, he just needed to reach out. Maybe if he did then this feeling would shift and he could go back to enjoying time home. Go back to trying to accept that this was never going to happen and actually get his life back. He hated how little control he had anymore, how much she had changed him and how much he had let her.
He didn't even drink or party as much anymore, each time he got drunk he would call her with some lame ass excuse for drunkenly waking her at stupid o'clock. Even before he knew what was happening to him his drunk self had always wanted to speak to her at the most inappropriate times. He had calmed down so much of his lifestyle just so he could be around her more, work more, no hangovers invading time spent around her. A part of him wanted to show her he was capable of being so much more than the reputation that always clouded over him. He liked being around her way more than he liked hanging out in a nightclub with Daniel nowadays. Jake Carrero, playboy billionaire heartbreaker was fast losing that title.
'What are you doing?'
He rubbed his face and once again tried to evaluate what the hell he was doing. He had tried to play off the lack of dates tonight but the truth was he didn't want to see anyone else right now. Women had stopped any appeal the more he knew her and casual sex had lost its sparkle. He got more from spending a day with her at work than hours fucking some pointless girl and it was messing his head up badly. He should go out, get drunk with Danny and fuck someone. Get rid of all this tension building up in him, he knew a lot of it was lack of sex.
'Staring at a sea of pointless clothes and wondering how I'm going to wrestle Donna's gold card away from those itchy fingers.'
She replied quickly, a smile hitting him as soon as he saw her name on screen and that goofy sense of elation that made him snarl at himself. He sighed and frowned at the phone. All thoughts of sex with someone else dispersing.
Jesus he had no handle on this at all.
'Can I come stare with you?''
He sent it before thinking and then cursed himself loudly, he was acting like some desperate teen with a girl crush. Breaking every rule known to mankind on the etiquette of 'platonic' friendships but he just wanted to be back with her.
Jake, back off....Leave her be.
'What's the matter Mr Carrero are you lonely in your ivory tower without me?'
Her face swam in his minds eye, that sexy little smile she gave when she was being playful. The innocent flirting she probably wasn't even aware she did, in fact he guaranteed she didn't. To her he was just Jake, good old boss and friend and everything between them was light hearted and fun. Every warning alarm in his brain was going off, telling him that for his own sanity he needed to just leave well alone but his fingers were replying without any permission from him.
He could hardly admit that he was missing her crazily, pining like some love sick fool over being apart for an hour. He knew that he should be putting down the phone, turning it off and heading straight out that door to the nearest bar with any of the guys he hung out with. He should be concentrating on finding a woman, fuck it twins, and fucking Emma out of his head.
'If you're that bored, how can I deny you my sparkling company?''
Walk away Jake, stop!
He knew this was stupid, working beside her was one thing. Sharing hotels borderline but actually going to hers socially after hours like this. Completely fucking stupid. He was blurring the lines of what they were more and more, the holiday idea was even more stupid but part of him couldn't let it go. He wanted to see her have fun, kick back with him around to look after her. He wanted to take her away, to the boat, to sun and sea and he had to admit the thought of seeing her in a bikini had his blood pulsing.
'Are you home alone?'
If others were home then it would be better, not just the two of them. He had never been into her apartment before, couldn't believe he was even considering it but he was sure they would be in a smaller space than a hotel suite and most likely near her bed. He was trying so hard to tell himself that this is what friends did, hung out after work but he already knew it was a lame excuse. He wanted her.
'Aren't I always?''
'I'll be there in 20 minutes.'
Why Jake why?
He stared at his own reply for a moment and sighed. His mind and body always at war with how he was supposed to treat her nowadays. How could he be rational when his own head was acting like an idiot and throwing caution to the wind? He ran his hands through his hair, dropping his head between his knees and scratching his scalp slowly. He rolled his shoulders and tried to rationalize.
His feet pulled him to his wardrobe while his head was still telling him to cancel, not just this but the boat trip. Emma had never shown any hint of wanting more, not even a one time fling. He wouldn't have done it even if she had. The one night thing that was, he would happily give her more even if it scared him shitless. She was a girl you gave all too, nothing less and one night would never be enough for him.
* * *
He floored the pedal to the metal as he hit queens, getting closer to her apartment made him impatient and his car liked being opened up on the straights. The thrill of a car with this much power meant it demanded a little release every so often. He loved his car almost as much as he loved the girl he was driving towards.
Wait! What? Fuck....Did he just think that? Love?
Getting to the apartment he remembered from bringing her here a year ago he raced up the internal stairs two at a time, heart a little erratic still from the adrenalin of flooring his sports car and getting here in record time. Trying not to think too hard about the love thing, he just pushed it back down. It was dumb and impulsive and he hadn't really thought about that whole love thing, sure he knew he had feelings for her but love? He had no god damn clue. He couldn't love Emma, she had never asked that of him and he had been pretty sure he was incapable of feeling that way given the amount of women who had tried to get it from him..
The asshole boyfriend of her flatmates let him in and he couldn't help himself glaring a little. He knew Emma didn't rate him highly for whatever reason and that was enough reason for him to dislike him too. He didn't say much, just a shrug and nodded towards a room down the hall which he assumed was Emma's and they both sort of grunted instead of conversed. Returning to caveman behaviour was fine with him, if this guy ever laid a finger on his girl he would happily caveman style smash his skull in. Jake walked past him, towering over the guy by a few inches in height and most definitely out muscling him. Jake was already sizing him up in his head for possible outcomes if he ever needed to get heavy handed on this one, heading towards Emma's room and still keeping an eye on the retreating guy.
The door was sitting open, all thoughts of her pushing away the asshole and he slid into the space. Instantly assaulted with her enticing perfume and the girlishness of her bedroom. It was like suddenly stepping into Emma's head, a secret part of her and he couldn't help but look around a little overwhelmed.
All soft greys and silvers, a cosy stylish boudoir of sorts, cuddly bears on the bed and a million cushions. Pictures on the wall of scenery, mainly New York skyline and some more tranquil black and white stills. The room had a matureness to it but the small soft touches, candles, trinkets and sparkly things hinted at a girly girl that she kept hidden from view. Jake felt like he was intruding all of a sudden and it was like seeing a part of her that even he hadn't seen. The romance book on the night stand surprised him.
'Hey.' He smiled and threw a thumb over his shoulder, indicating assholes presence, he wanted to know if he had bothered her. She shook her head but he could tell she wasn't relaxed and it made him frown, if that dickhead had done or said anything he would literally kill him. Her face softening and that pretty smile calmed his aggression almost immediately, his eyes slid to the floor, the Everest of girls things in a bid to avoid the way he instantly wanted to stare at her mouth. He had never really gotten control of the staring thing when it came to her face, he had to stop himself doing it a hundred times a day.
'You weren't wrong ... I think Donna has dressed you for a year.' He tried to turn his attention anywhere but Emma in jeans and a t-shirt, she looked college student and cuter than hell. He had seen her in various casual attire on long trips but being here surrounded by her things made it different somehow. Like she was letting him in on her completely unguarded and relaxed Emma, seeing her in a new setting. She didn't even seem to find it weird that he was here at all, another hint at the fact she thought all of this was harmless. Friends. That's all she saw in this. He sat down on the floor in front of the huge mountain of clothes a little guiltily. Jake sighed under his breath.
He knew this and he had to stop ignoring it.
'Whose fault is that? Mr Oh, buy her an outfit for this, that and the next thing every time you see her.' Emma poked him playfully in the ribs and he curbed the urge to grab her hand and haul her into his lap. Lately his hands on approach was becoming a little too hands on. He had practically molested her out jogging in Seattle, too much of a pull to always touch her. He leaned back in a bid to stop himself from initiating playful pushes, she brought it out in him just by being near.
'Maybe I should tell her to ask you from now on, when you need something?' He held his hands up trying to appear apologetic but Emma didn't need to know how many times a week he sent Donna pictures of dresses or clothes or even requests and told her Emma needed them. He had no idea what that was all about, women's fashion didn't interest him but seeing Emma wearing expensive clothes made him happy. He didn't care if she never wore half of them, he just liked making sure she always had what she needed and she always looked too beautiful for words. It was worth abusing the company credit accounts.
'That would be an idea.' Emma smirked and he couldn't help but smile back, he loved when she tried to sass him. The girl who had once been so closed off and reserved had come out of her shell in the past few months, he had loved watching her bloom. He liked this version of her a lot more.
'Get rid of what you don't want.' He shrugged, he didn't care if she threw what she didn't like away. He pulled a dress from the pile that caught his interest in a pale pink and held it up to admire it, something else caught his eye before he really examined it.
Lingerie. Much more interesting.
He leaned in for it and winked Emma's way impulsively, damn sure he was getting an eyeful of that baby. He held up a corset type thing all lace and structure and really wanted to not be picturing it on her right now but his mind was making a good go of it. She whipped it out of his hands almost immediately and threw it off behind him towards a tall glass set of drawers with a hint of a blush. Not that he minded, his thoughts had definitely gone down the route of gutter and was not a good thing.
'Most of it still has tags, Jake, she should return them.' She sounded childlike and almost hopeless. Lifting clothes up in frustration at him. Jake raised an eyebrow her way at the cuteness of that statement, the money he had Donna spend on clothes for Emma was nothing in the grand scheme of things.
'Just give them away Emma, they're already paid for.' He shrugged nonchalantly, sometimes he forgot that she didn't come from his world. She fitted in so effortlessly, so graceful and never baulked around grandeur. She really was fucking perfect.
'Jake, there's thousands of pounds worth of stuff here.' She sounded frustrated with him but it only made him smile. She had no idea how cute she could be, one second all seductive and irresistible and the next childish, so much so it gave him the urge to squish her. Adorable is the only word that he could conjure up for her sometimes, he had never been one to think any girl was that, but Emma sure was.
'And?' He just shrugged, he honestly didn't care. It was just money.
'So I should just donate it? ... What I don't need?' She asked sardonically, eyeing him up in her haughty PA way. She tried this look on him a hundred times a day but it had zero effect. He found it entertaining that she could close down anyone in the building with a glare yet to him it was just amusingly cute as fuck.
'They're your clothes, Mio Amore.' He shifted on the floor picking up another dress, this time having a closer look at it and looking at her as he tried to picture her in it. She threw him a disdainful look and started throwing items to the door for donating, a look on her face that almost said it was painful for her. Emma would need to get used to money if she was going to stick with him, he had no intention of seeing her live a life without it even if she never saw him as anything more than a friend. He would always take care of her.
'You've never worn this?' He raised an eyebrow at her questioningly, it was pretty. Somehow her. He wanted to see her wear it, red and floaty and short. Not too clingy yet romantic and something he had never seen her try.
'Nope.' Blunt and to the point, she barely looked it's way but he was determined now. She would look good in red, she had the fair hair and porcelain skin to pull it off. Her blue eyes would make it perfection.
'Why not? It's nice, kind of cute yet sexy.' He held it up to get a better idea of the style and really tried to picture her in it.
'Where would I wear it?' She smiled his way a little unsurely.
'Take it with us on our trip. Parade around on deck for me in it.' He put the dress on the bed to make sure it got kept with the clothes she was keeping, he wanted to see her in it more than anything. He wanted to see Emma dressed all girly and floaty and carefree. More than he wanted to see her in her underwear which completely confused him.
Was Carrero losing his edge? Libido wavering? Turning into a fucking woman?
'Just the two of us?' She asked nervously and distracted him, he couldn't help but feel the sunken weight he felt at how nervous she seemed to be with that thought.
'Not if that makes you uncomfortable...I've friends we could invite, my father's boat has six double cabins if you want a crowd.' He tried to focus on the clothes on the floor rather than let her see that it disappointed him, he wanted her alone. Just the two of them but he knew how disastrous that would be.
'Who would you invite?' She looked his way with a little furrowed brow, cuteness personified and he had to fight the urge to smooth it out with his thumb.
'Daniel, a couple of the guys I sometimes take trips with and whoever they want with them..... I was thinking Leila Huntsberger, that way you could meet Sophie's new sister.' He tried for nonchalant and seemed to pull it off, picking names right from the top of his head. Leila would like her, he could see them gelling and that made him happy. He wanted his friends to like her, Daniel had finally stopped leering her way whenever they crossed paths after more than a dozen threats from him.
'So, they're going to be couples?' She looked scared suddenly and that familiar gut kick hit him.
Fuck. Always a reminder of what they would never be.
'Really Emma?' He sighed in irritation at the reality of this situation, annoyed and being an asshole. She hadn't done anything wrong. 'What do you think I'm going to do? Try and seduce my PA because we're surrounded by couples and I'm incapable of abstaining from sex? I may always be trying to chat you up but I'm not an idiot. I know where the boundaries are, Bambino.'
Yeah sure he did...He just chose to fucking forget them frequently.
'No, it's just....it will be awkward.' She looked at the clothes and started pulling through them, obviously avoiding his eye. He sighed at making her feel this way. Softening his tone and trying to stop being a dickhead.
'Why?' He said softly.
'They might think we're......' She hesitated and caught his eye. Jake tried to relax back and look completely blank. More than anything in the world he wanted her trust but that spike of irritation still lingered inside of him though, peeking out.
'Who cares what they think?...I don't give a shit what anyone thinks Emma....I need a break and so do you. Stop overthinking and just agree. Besides, they're my friends, they'll know right away that we're not screwing.' He slid his hands behind his head, frowning at his own snarkiness and tried to shrug it off. It wasn't fair on her, his little mood swings because of his feelings for her. She never asked him to get hung up on her and she sure as hell hadn't encouraged it in anyway. He needed to just stop and take a step back. Be friends, because if that's all she was offering then he wanted it. It was better than not knowing her at all. Life without Emma wasn't a life worth knowing anymore.
'Okay, for god's sake.' She put her hands up in defeat, then looked shyly his way with the hint of a smile. 'Don't laugh Jake but I don't own anything I could wear on a beach or a boat.'
He couldn't help but smile back at her. She really was beautiful.
* * *
Jake had pulled out all the stops to get the trip together in record time, once he had the idea in his head and knew she wanted it to happen he was all over it. A few calls here and there and a few nudges and everything was set. He had steam rolled over her doubts refusing to let her back down and they had gotten there without anymore arguments. His mind was set to seeing her in a bikini, not that he would be able to do anything about it but still. It was a sight he wasn't passing up. That tense ache in his groin had only reminded him how badly he needed sex lately. He wasn't a guy who had ever gone long period without and now he was here he was starting to doubt his ability to relax. She would be walking around semi naked and he was almost spring loaded like this.
Fuck, he should have gone out in a glory of drink and fucking before this trip.
She seemed completely in awe of his dads cruiser, Jake had seen it a million times so to him it was nothing special. A long yacht, white like every other and sat in an idyllic port surrounded by blue sea's and white sands. Just being surrounded by sun, friends and her was enough to make his mood up the gear tenfold. If he could push the lustful thoughts aside they could have a really good time here.
The crew were under orders to keep out of the way, he didn't want her feeling intimidated by them. He knew she wasn't someone who liked wealth being a showy thing and he was damned if he was going to make her uncomfortable with anything while here. She had been forewarned that he was taking care of anything and everything, including shopping trips if she wanted them. He had felt like an ass as she had blinked at him aching to argue but in this his word was final. Date or not he was old fashioned, he paid for his girl. Even if he wasn't sleeping with her.
His friends had all been forewarned to behave, no jokes about being his secretary or any of the men trying their luck. He would literally beat them to death with their own shoes if they tried. He hadn't exactly been happy to see Marissa in tow with Vincent. He had no idea what her fucking game was being on this boat but he sure as hell wasn't being drawn into any little Marissa games. Vincent was an idiot, he should have known she would sucker one of the twins, they both had always trawled along after her in hopes of a date. He hadn't seen her since the night he had stupidly gotten drunk and fucked her. Not that he could remember, he had no clue how he had even ended up with her that night, he must have been royally messed up and if she thought there would ever be a repeat she was wrong. He would throw her overboard personally if she got in his way. He was happy to ignore her presence knowing it would annoy her more than having her escorted off. Emma need never know anything about her or who she ever was to him. It was old history and nothing he would ever rehash.
Daniel was keeping his distance just like Jake had told him too, Emma wasn't one of his playthings and he knew better than to cross Jake. There were six of them with Jake and Emma. Daniel and the twins, Vincent and Richard, white blonde hair and grey eyes, all American good looks and square shoulders.
Leila was wandering about on deck having some sort of bitchy glaring competition with Marissa and Miracle, Daniels porn star and this was last thing he needed, Leila at least wasn't being viperous to Hunter for once. Seemed things had finally cooled down with them after months of frosty glares. Being in the same place again without toxic warfare was pretty great. He would have to warn her about starting anything with either girl, not that he worried Leila couldn't handle them, the exact opposite in fact. If Leila flew off the handle it would be another airlift to the coast ER for two females and Leila wouldn't be one. He had bad memories of Leila taking on some of Daniels dates in the past and flying bottles.
Jake had already had to deflect advances from the leggy porn star, she had tried to grapple him alone in the lower hall from the bedrooms topless. Hands a little too quickly going for his groin. He wasn't immune, he was horny as hell and she had managed to get her hand into his shorts while he had dodged her mouth. She was fuckable but as soon as her hands had been on him all he could think about was Emma. He knew Daniel wouldn't care if he fucked Miracle down here, they had shared in the past and all he needed to do was open a door and bend her over a bed, she was obviously game. He had pushed her off and told her to stay the fuck away, she wasn't what he wanted by a long shot.
* * *
Emma was up on deck when Jake came up from his room, he had been taking a shower. His heart almost stopped when he saw her silhouetted against the railing in a coral bikini and some flimsy wrap around her hips that kept flapping open to reveal long sexy legs. Even for a small girl her legs looked endless. She was the most perfect sight on and off this boat and everything else paled in comparison. Jake was oblivious to Miracle and Marissa's topless breasts lounging on deck, didn't see anything except her and that completely intoxicating body, much more appealing even covered than either of the brunettes. Creamy skin and curves of perfection. He was definitely horny as hell now, just looking at her made his insides want to explode. He wasn't one for self pleasuring to get sexual gratification but right now with her in mind he would happily go back to his room for some sort of release. It had only been a couple of days here and already his constant hard on was painful. He had been taking cold showers a little too frequently. Why he had ever thought he could handle Emma in bikinis was beyond him. He should've known it would be hell on earth to be around her and not want to fuck her badly.
'Here.' He handed her a bottle of cold, flavoured water with a smile, his eyes shielded from view by his ray-bans and trying to control every ounce of his body like the expert he was. Years of self control finally having a use. He was watching that make up free face and wondering why she ever wore it, she never needed it. Emma was a natural beauty by all standards, flawless perfection.
'Thanks.' She opened the bottle with a smile and took a long drink, he had to look away from the way her lips cupped the rim. A groan in his head and trying not to picture that mouth doing anything else.
Breathe Carrero.... You're like a horny fifteen year old virgin right now.
'You look nice.' He focused on her loose hair, his glasses shielding what he was really thinking and trying not to skim that body visually. He needed to disrupt this view somehow and get his head back in the game.
'Thanks.' She blushed and he felt himself frowning, suddenly conscious of the fact she had glanced at his naked upper torso, he was wearing shorts and nothing else and despite never having an issue stripping off in public he suddenly realised why this might be awkward for her. He was still her boss and he had never been topless in front of her. Not that he was self conscious in the slightest. He spent enough time in the gym to make sure he was underwear model ready at all times and his tattoos were always placed in places that just enhanced what he had. He was never uncomfortable being naked, especially not in front of women. He felt like an ass for not even thinking that this whole thing might make her uneasy, especially with her background and the way men had treated her. Jake felt like a complete dick head all of a sudden for not realising.
'We're going to the shore tonight for dinner... You want to come?' He looked over her head across the water to try and reel in his thoughts, his mood plummeting a little. He had never wanted her to be nervous around him, especially not in this way. He had never thought that maybe Emma's lack of dates this past year had something to do with sex making her uneasy, her childhood had scarred her. Of course men made her uneasy. He made a mental note at wearing a shirt while walking about on deck, he would make all of them wear one if it made her feel better.
'Sure.' She smiled shielding her eyes from the sun, Jake swiped his shades from his head automatically and placed them on her dainty face.
'I really should carry a pair of these.' She laughed, that natural carefree laugh that lifted his mood back up a little, he just shrugged in response. Still mulling over the effect he was obviously having on her. It was like a punch in the stomach, a dull ache that wouldn't shift.
'They look better on you than they do on me. Your cuteness just goes with my shades.' Truth be told he never ever thought about putting them on her face, from the first time it had been a natural movement, like breathing. She had shielded her eyes and he had done it. Something he had done to his kid brother his whole life and somehow she raised that same protective impulse.
'Where are we going for dinner?' Emma seemed to be evasively looking anywhere but his body and he only frowned harder. He wanted her to be able to stand here with no effect. Well he wanted him to affect her in a good way but not like this. He wanted to wrap his arms around her right now and just tell her it was always going to be okay. He would never let another man touch her, hurt her. He would protect her for an eternity. She didn't need to be afraid ever again, it killed him knowing she still carried the burden of those memories.
'Some little seafood place Marissa knows.' He tried to keep his tone even at saying her name, he usually avoided any use of the cursed word.
'I want to get my haircut while we're here....Do you think there are any hairdressers on the mainland?' Jake felt the instant urge to tell her she didn't need to change her hair, he liked it the way it was and looked away towards Leila in hopes of hiding the frown on his face. He didn't like the thought of her changing anything about how she was. You couldn't improve on perfection.
'Leila will know... She comes here a lot.' Jake nodded towards his childhood friend, hoping to god Leila wouldn't push Emma into some radical hairdo, he knew her only too well. She was wandering around wearing a top, first time he noticed the other two were not. Completely topless and he suddenly felt pissed. If topless men could make Emma uneasy then that sure as hell would do it too, he wanted to throw towels over both of them.
'You know Marissa well?' Her voice broke into his thoughts and he felt himself freeze. He had never expected this question to come from her and the last thing he wanted her to know was anything about his past with Marissa. How the hell she had even picked up on anything was beyond him, he sure as hell wasn't putting out any signals where that harpy was concerned.
'Once!' He felt his pulse quicken and his head going into evasive mode, he didn't want to dreg up the past and admit he had been too blind to realise his teen girlfriend and best mate had been fucking behind his back and sent him into a spiral few years of booze, drugs, idiot behaviour and woman. He didn't want Emma knowing that part of him or tying him to the bitch on deck. He wanted her to see him as he was now, the person he was with her anyway, the better version of himself. He found himself scowling Marissa's way with his back to Emma, Marissa catching his eye and licking her lips seductively, she squirmed suggestively. Even from here he could pick up her fuck me signals and he just scowled back.
Not a chance princess.
'Want to come for a swim with me?' He threw back at Emma, he wanted to get as far away from the slag eyeing him up and away from the topic about her. He needed time alone to just help his girl relax. Away from all this naked skin. He turned back to that open expression and felt the urge to stroke her hair back from her face. His sunglasses did look good on her, a little big but in a cute way.
'Now?' She sounded apprehensive.
'Why not?' Jake smiled at her , hoping to make her feel more at ease. He needed to get her to unwind a little and he couldn't do that here, tense with a pair of eyes on the back of his head trying to mentally undress him. They needed to leave the past on the deck on her lounger and go find a secluded beach to roam.
'Sure.' She smiled brightly and he could hear Daniel kicking the tunes into a higher gear, looking back he could see the telltale signs of cocaine coming out and growled internally. He had fucking warned him against this shit while she was here. He didn't do this crap anymore and he wasn't going to subject her to it either. He was glad to see Leila wander off deck, knowing she too was out of that whole scene. They had had their young wild and reckless days and left them far behind. Daniel needed to catch up. He noted that the twins and their dates seemed into it and put an arm around Emma's shoulders. Guiding her to the side he waited till she undid her sarong and hung it up before diving in first to make sure he would be in the sea to help her if she needed him when she dove in.
* * *
Being away from them and in the water instantly lightened his mood, her being in here seemed to make her forget about being self conscious or his naked torso and that made him happier. She smiled and relaxed as they swam and before long he started playfully splashing and pulling her with him. She tried to dunk him under but he was faster and got her first every time. She seemed to be a pretty competent swimmer so Jake decided to have a little fun with her before swimming ashore. He had pulled her under with him a few times, enjoying the fact that in the water he could touch her freely without feeling like he was doing something wrong.
'Stop...it.' She spluttered to the surface, pleading with him and pushing back her wet hair from her her eyes. She looked too cute like this to listen.
'Only if you ask me nicely, tiny tots.' He wiped the water from his face , pleased to feel his hair wax was withstanding the sea test. The new lab improvements he had requested were obviously working and Carrero hair wax was now waterproof. He swam closer to her to close the gap, aware just how naked she really was when he was inches from moulding to her.
'Will you please stop trying to drown me, Mr Carrero.' She begged, it only made him feel more playful. That cute little soft voice asking so sweetly, she had no chance.
'Seeing as you ask so sweetly, Miss Anderson.' He pushed her under again, this time catching her under the water and pulled her back up against him hard. Nose to nose and it didn't seem so right anymore, it was closer than he intended, her body skimming against him in ways that got an immediate hard reaction and he released her quickly. He wasn't sure which part of her body had just rubbed up his groin but it didn't matter, he was definitely battling down an erection with the efforts of a sumo wrestler right now. He hated that despite all his sexual prowess and years of being a man whore he couldn't control this shit around her. It was fucking embarrassing.
He swam away from her in an effort to get this under control and put distance between them, he hoped to god she could manage the half mile swim as holding onto her in anyway right now would end in impalement he didn't want to have to explain. The beach wasn't that far but it would be exhausting for someone as tiny as her. Jake slowed his pace to make sure he stayed close incase she struggled. He would never let her drown even if he did have to ram a hard on against her back while rescuing her.
He was glad to find that by the time they hit the beach he had it back under control and mentally chastised himself about getting that close to her again while she was wearing practically nothing. He wandered ahead to let the water drip off and the sun warm and dry his skin in hopes her bikini wasn't showing more than he could handle right now.