Not long after Jessica’s mom was killed in a car accident, her father decided it was time to move on with his life – starting with a new family. Devastated and lonely, she didn’t hesitate when her best friend invited her to spend the summer at her family’s private beach house. Jess hoped it would be just what she needed to get her mind off the troubles that waited for her at home.
Jonah Silver reluctantly agreed to spend two weeks with his family before taking a job that would keep him in Japan for the next year, but because of his tense relationship with his father, he started looking for a way out the moment he arrived at the beach house.
After a chance encounter with his sister’s beautiful curvy friend, Jonah discovered a distraction in Jessica that might make the summer worth it after all. Desperation kept them coming back to each other night after night, but it might not be enough when their family troubles threaten to destroy the fragile, temporary pleasure they’d found in each other.
“You,” he pointed at me over the rim of his glass, “have a very smart mouth. Everything Shannon told me about you was a lie.”
“She told you about me?” I didn’tt know why this surprised me and I wasn’t sure whether I liked that he had secret knowledge of me or if I was angry at Shannon for telling him anything.
“My sister isn’t very good at making close friends.” Jonah frowned. “None of us are, if you can’t tell. The Silvers don’t want to be equal with anyone; they just want to be seen by everyone. That is an important difference.”
“You’re the only one who has treated me that way.” I sounded braver than I felt. My stomach twisted itself up. “You do not have a very good opinion of your family’s money.”
“You are very nosy, little girl. What would you know about money?”
“Stop calling me that.”
My breathing was reacting again, light and quick, like I couldn’t get enough oxygen.
His voice lowered, dark and husky, and my body responded. It was the sound of the ocean, being alone out here with this man who clearly wanted to forget a lot of things, who I understood in a way he couldn’t know about, but I liked the way his voice made me feel. I liked his attention, even as antagonistic as it was. It was better than sitting in my bed alone thinking about the past.
“What would you like me to call you then, little girl?”
“Most people call me Jessica. You could start there.”
“I don’t think so.” He took another drink and when I glanced at him, surprised at his answer, I saw something new in the intensity of his eyes. Be bold, Jessica, I thought, and reached for his glass. He let me take it and our fingers brushed, the first intentional contact I’d made with anyone today. He didn’t startle like I would have, but his eyes opened a fraction and I thought I could detect a change in his breathing, too.
He reached for my face, settled his fingertips against my hairline and stroked his thumb along the contour of my cheek. I pulled away automatically, but his fingertips tugged at my jawline, held me in his thrall.
“I’ve had a very bad night.” His thumb trailed to my lips and traced them, first the top then the bottom. “Open,” he commanded. Be brave, Jessica, and I parted my lips just enough. “Perhaps you could help improve it.”
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