Excerpt ~ Maddison & Jaxon
Silence fell over our group, everyone standing stock-still—even the guys’ jaws had dropped—as I followed their gazes to see what the stir was all about.
I didn’t have to look far.
Holy freakin’ hell!
My heart sank to the pit of my stomach, my breath hitched in my lungs.
They may not have known who he was, but I sure as heck did. I knew exactly who he was.
Jesus! He is sex on legs.
My stomach fluttered.
His intent gaze caught mine, those deep, crystalline blue eyes and that smile; that cocky, sexy as hell smirk. Just as when we were kids. Always so damn self-assured. Only things missing were the tattered jeans and vintage rocker T-shirts he’d always liked to wear.
Now he was sporting a suit. A designer suit. Tie missing and collar casually unbuttoned. Yummy. Still a glimpse of the bad boy, peeking out. I was glad to see he hadn’t lost that completely, that cocky edge; he wouldn’t be him without it. Even with his steely-blue suit jacket and red shirt on, I could tell he was ripped beneath; the way the jacket pulled, taut in all the right places, broad in the shoulders and tapered at the waist.
That was new. Jaxon wasn’t quite so filled out as a boy.
I marveled at the red shirt. It was a bold statement, wearing red, and it was an eerie coincidence, being the same red as my dress. It briefly struck me that maybe that wasn’t a coincidence, his shirt perfectly matching my dress. But all that flittered away as I watched him, walking toward me with purpose in his step—suit slacks tugging slightly on his strong thighs with each footfall.
My heart was beating out of my chest, now that it’d leapt back up there.
I knew he was still alive and doing well, Dad had told me that, he’d kept me posted somewhat. But no visits. Not one visit home over the past seven years. Not one call. I’d thought I meant more to him than that. At least as a friend. As a… I sighed heavily.
I was wrong. I meant very little to him if he could leave without a word.
And now he just swaggered in, looking all hot and sexy, grinning like he had not a care in the whole freaking world. Just any other twenty-something-year-old attending their class reunion to catch up with old friends.
Only, he didn’t have any old friends. Really. Except me. I was his friend. I was his best friend. If he’d wanted to catch up, he knew exactly where I was, and exactly how to reach me.
But he hadn’t. Not once. Just left, vanished. Without a single word.
And now here he was, steps from standing before me and my circle of friends. Friends he’d always avoided like the plague. Pretentious social climbers, I think was what he used to call them. Posers. Along with the rest of the cheer squad, and football players; all jock types in general, really.
He stopped in front of me, all cool and calm.
Seriously? I wanted to smack him. And that smug expression behind that sexy smile. As panty dropping as ever.
“Hello, Beautiful,” he spoke in a smooth, velvety tone, taking another step closer and slipping an arm around my waist. His hand touched on the middle of my back as he pulled me to him, his lips brushing a kiss on my cheekbone.
Holy hotness. That hand, touching to the exposed skin on my back, and those lips, touching my cheek, so close, it was hard to breathe. As if a direct current shot through me, a lightning strike, everything inside me coming alive for the first time in seven years. His lips whispered along my cheekbone as he pulled back, blue eyes smoldering, locked on mine.
How was this even possible, that he was standing here before me, when he hadn’t bought a ticket? Not that I’d seen anyway. And I should have seen. That name, it’d have jumped out at me.
I was experiencing one of those surreal, this-can’t-be-happening, moments.
Jaxon Jaimison, in the flesh…as I live and breathe.
Jaxon briefly broke eye contact with me and flashed a quick glance beside me, to our audience. “Ladies,” he offered in greeting, charming each and every one of them with that delicious dimple and smile.
Once I’d recovered, myself, I followed his gaze to the girls, their mouths hanging open, looking all glassy-eyed and swoony. I couldn’t blame them; Jaxon was devastatingly handsome.
Grace’s mouth abruptly snapped shut, her eyebrows furrowing at me. “Thought you said you were without a plus one tonight?” she questioned, sharp and snarky.
“Yeah?” concurred Jennifer, claws out and acting just as catty as Grace was.
It fleetingly flashed into thought that these were the girls I remembered from high school… nasty, bitchy, catty, and competitive. Willing to cut your throat, stab you in the back, and take you down to get whatever it was they wanted. Regardless.
Because they, of course, were entitled to.
Why, had I considered them friends? Stupid!
“My little surprise, for my girl,” Jaxon responded, turning his attention back to me, the picture of charm and innocence. “I was out of town on business, but cut my trip short… I know how you love surprises, baby.”
HA! I glared at him.
What the hell? As my mouth opened to remark, he scooped a hand around the back of my neck and firmly planted a passionate, open-mouthed kiss right smack on my lips, his tongue intimately delving in and caressing mine.
Oh. My. God.