“I’d say we’ve got potential.” With extreme gentleness, he held her by the waist. “The idea of another man touching you enrages me. This isn’t any fancy social-worker term, Willow. It’s raw. It’s real.” He stroked her hipbones with his thumbs. “I’m exposing my heart knowing I could get hurt badly. It’s a risk I’ve never taken with anyone else.”

“You’ve swept me up in some sort of storm.”

“I’ll keep you safe from them.” He leaned toward her, his eyes vibrant, intent on her. Now she knew how he’d built his empire. When he focused on something, he was relentless in its pursuit. Yet his words weren’t grandiose—they were filled with sincerity.

Maybe he wasn’t all bad. Maybe.

“I’d like to kiss you.”

A sensation rocked her, that of standing on the edge of a cliff and wanting to jump. “If you do, it doesn’t mean we have to get married.”

“Of course not.”

She looked at his face, trying to decipher his words. “I’m not sure I believe you.”

“Oh Willow. Do you ever give up?”

“Do you?” she countered.

“See there? And you thought we had nothing in common.” He smiled, draining away her tension. “Now, as for that kiss.”

“Yes.” She cradled his face and rose on her tiptoes to meet him.

Jax wrapped his arms around her and claimed her mouth with tenderness and a heartfelt promise.

Once he recognized her surrender, he deepened the kiss, his tongue plundering her, asking for more than he’d taken before.

Lost, she clung to him and gave him what he demanded.

He groaned from deep inside, and his cock pressed into her. Boldly, she reached between them to cup his balls, then stroke his shaft. Jax broke off the kiss and pulled back to grab her hand and force her to stop. “God, no, princess. I don’t have another condom in my wallet.”

“I could just do this.” She’d never jacked off a man before, but with the way his body went rigid, she guessed she was doing something he liked.

“No. I mean, yes. You’re amazing, but I want to be inside you.” He moved her hand away from his cock.