**Mature Content for 18+**
At precisely six fifteen, Jace arrived.
She opened the door and greeted him coldly.
“Hi,” he said, grinning widely. He looked at her face and faltered. “What’s wrong?”
“Nothing’s wrong. Come in.” She turned and headed into the living room.
He strode in behind her. “Seems like something’s wrong.”
“It’s nothing.” She pushed aside some pillows and sat on the sofa.
He sat in a chair opposite her.
“Can I get you anything?”
“Yeah, you can tell me what’s wrong. Earlier today you were excited to see me. What happened between then and now?”
She stared at his handsome face. I’m being unreasonable. Give him a chance to explain. She opened her mouth and closed it, pressing it into a tight line. No. Make him explain.
“What the fuck is wrong, Zoé?” he said, his voice as sharp as an ax.
The intensity of his outburst surprised her. “Excuse me?”
“You heard me. What the fuck is wrong? You’re acting like I did something wrong but you’re the only one who knows what it is.”
“I am not,” she retorted.
“Don’t bullshit me, Zoé. I don’t play that way.”
She looked at him, alarmed. “Someone has a temper.”
“I don’t like to be played with. Now tell me what’s going on. Now.”
Her mouth fell open. No-one’s ever talked this way to me. “You tell me,” she challenged. “I want to hear about your trouble. I want to know who Lila is and why you had to rush home to her,” she said in a sarcastic tone, tiny knives of jealousy stabbing her insides.
“Are you jealous?” he asked, incredulous.
“No!” She crossed her arms over her chest.
“You’re jealous. You’re convinced I’m stepping out on you. You think I demanded exclusive rights while I’m playing around.”
The word hit her with such force, she jerked. “You look like a wrathful god,” she said in a whisper, stunned by his beauty even while enraged.
“That’s because I’m pissed.” He puffed out his cheeks and blew out his breath. “I told you,” he said in clipped tones, “I’m not going to tear open my soul until I’m ready.”
“You’re not reassuring me,” she said, her voice louder than she intended.
“That’s because there’s nothing to reassure you about,” he said, his voice matching hers.
“You have to trust me. I can’t.”
“Can’t or won’t?” She flipped her head, tossing her hair behind her shoulder.
His green gaze crashed into her, making her feel small and stupid with her accusations. “How can I trust you? This you and me thing is going awfully fast.” She gestured back and forth between them.
“And you said you liked it.” He looked almost menacing. His jaw worked back and forth, muscles ticking. “Don’t make this more complicated than it is.”
His words lashed at her, like whips. She pressed back into the sofa.
He inhaled deeply, letting it out slowly through pursed lips. “I’m sorry,” he said in a softer tone. “Please tell me what’s wrong. I’ve had a shitty couple of days and all I wanted to do is be here and forget about them -- with you.”
She let out a deep breath. “I’ve been looking forward to seeing you, too, Jace.”
“I can’t tell. You seem cold as ice.”
“Sounds about right.” She nodded vigorously. “You heard me say I like a good cold one,” she said, in an attempt at levity.
He didn’t smile. Continued to look at her with a hard, stony gaze.
She sighed. “I had a talk with a friend today. She warned me to find out more about you. She convinced me you’re using me. We hardly know each other, remember?”
Jace shook his head slowly. “I see. Your friend wants to vet me, too. Give me her number. I’ll give her a call…not.” He gripped the arms of the chair, the chiseled muscles of his forearms bunching, making the knife blade tattoo writhe across his skin. “Jesus, Zoé. Don’t you trust yourself to know what’s right?”
“I guess I don’t. I ended up with Billy O’Reilly, didn’t I? What does that tell you about the way I make choices?”
His demeanor softened, gazing at her with his heart melting emerald eyes. “It makes you someone looking for something and you made a wrong turn. I think you wanted this.” He pointed to her and him. Then he stood.
She shrank back even further into the cushiony couch.
He took a step toward her. “I think you really like the way I make you feel, yeah?” he said in a low, rich voice.
The sounds stirred her insides, making her feel crazy strange. She gazed at his powerful arms, ripped with muscle.
“I think the way I make you feel scares the shit out of you, am I right?” he said, taking another step. “Because you can’t control it.”
She glanced at his hips, swinging her eyes back up to his face.
“Checking to see if I’m hard for you?” He took another step, until he stood directly in front of her. “Tell me what you see.”
“Yes, what?” He placed his arms on both sides of her.
“Yes, I see you’re hard.”
“And who is this hardness for? Who makes me stiff with desire?”
“Are you wet for me?”
“Yes, I’m wet for you.”
“Are you hungry for anyone else?”
Her heart pounded in her chest. “No-one else. I’m only hungry for you.”
“Exclusive rights, right, baby?” He leaned closer.
Her legs seemed to spread apart of their own accord. “Yes.”
“I think you want me, am I right?”
“I do want you,” she said. She licked her lips nervously, tipping her head back to look at him.
“And I want you. You’re the only thing that’s kept me going the last couple days.” He placed his hands on the back of the sofa, one on each side of her head, brought his mouth close to hers. “The only thing,” he said into her mouth. “That’s kept me going.”