Damn him. His words, flat and emotionless, took her breath, even though she should have expected them. “Look…” Willow shoved away her drink. “There’s no reason for you to behave this way.”

“Which way?”

“As if…” You own me. He sat close to her. Too close for her comfort. A little more distance would make it easier for her to think. She desperately needed that, because right now, she wanted to be across his lap, pretending to be fighting to get away as he paddled her. And of course, he was so much bigger and stronger. She could struggle all she wanted, and he’d be able to subdue her.

Scandalized by her own thoughts, she inched back in her seat. Instantly she regretted it. The friction shot arousal through her.

“You’re the daughter of my biggest investor. A man who’s a trusted adviser. Someone I consider a friend.”

Pampered and protected. Unspoken, those words hung between them.

When she was at college in Houston, he’d assigned men to watch over her. He’d refused to use the term bodyguards, but that was exactly who they were. Once she’d realized he was having her followed, they’d had the biggest argument ever. Without telling her father, she’d applied for a scholarship to graduate school in New York and found a part-time job working in a crisis center so she didn’t have to touch her trust fund. Even though her mother had cried for days, Willow had remained resolute. She loved her parents dearly, but she needed to escape Houston and find her own place in the world. “Club rules prevent you from telling him. Your membership could be revoked.”

“I respect confidentiality. I would never betray that.”

“Good.” Willow waved a dismissive hand. “I’m here to enjoy myself, and that’s what I plan to do. You’ve done your good deed. I hope you’re happy with yourself.” She slid from the barstool. “I hope you enjoy your evening.” Another lie. “No. That’s not true. After the way you ruined my night, I hope yours sucks.”

“Wait.” Jax’s word was as forceful as any pair of handcuffs, and the command in it rooted her to the spot.

“Sit back down.” The words were lethal. More than ever, she understood how he enthralled audiences.

An internal battle waged in her—obedience to a Dominant who turned her on, and an instinctive urge to flee from an asshole who made her tremble.


Anything but an irresistible entreaty. Willow wrapped her arms around her midriff.

“I want to talk.”