Willow was quiet for so long he wasn’t sure she was going to answer. “You’re the only man I’ve ever been naked with.” She took a breath. “I lived with a guy for a little while, but… Something wasn’t right.”

He stiffened.

“Feminine intuition, I don’t know. Friends set us up, and we got along well. At first, we went out as a group, and then we became exclusive. After about six months, he invited me to move in, and he said he was okay with not having sex. It wasn’t that I had something against it. I just wanted to be sure. I saw a bunch of my friends fall in love, and it was sex that made things messy. Emotionally, I mean. I wasn’t sure I wanted to get so tangled up that I couldn’t get back out.”

Yet she’d slept with him.

“After a week or so, he made a move on me when he’d been drinking, and it pissed me off. Then little things started to add up. He would come home late, with vague excuses that he’d had to work late or had to stay for a meeting.”

“He was cheating.”

“Yeah. He was annoyed that I wouldn’t put out.”

“He wasn’t good enough for you.”

“That’s one of the reasons I come to the Quarter, Jax.” She sat up to look at him. “I don’t date. And I won’t go to a club in New York, just in case someone I know is there. It’s something I need.”

“I’ll take you as often as you want.” No matter how earnest her pleas were, he wasn’t going to relent. “Sex is complicated for me too.”

“Men don’t have the same feelings about it that women do.”

“That’s a broad stroke. And not true for me. Because I didn’t know my mom, don’t know whether I’m legitimate or the bastard my dad thinks I am, I controlled my impulses. I didn’t want to hurt any kid of mine the way I’d been hurt.”

She steepled her hands in front of her face.

“I channeled all my energy and time into making something of myself and helping others along the way. Maybe you don’t like the way I do it, but I kick the asses of a million people a day, men and women who rely on me for their dose of inspiration. So, Willow, I mean it when I say sex is damn important to me. Which is why I cherish the fact you chose me. You were absolutely right to be wary. Sleeping with a man came with a whole lot of consequences for you.”