A billion butterflies battered Lexi’s stomach. She shifted her attention from
Ross to the piano. Sure enough, the music had stopped, and Jake faced her from his
seat on the bench. Man oh man, the heavy stare from those sky blue eyes sent shivers
skittering down her spine. His gaze held the same intensity she remembered from him
as a kid, as if he saw into the heart of people, exposing their deepest secrets. It had
driven her crazy back then, and she’d spent much time teasing him, pulling his hair,
trying to distract him from being so serious all of the damn time. They were
teenagers—partying was supposed to be their sole focus.
With his ice-blue stare locked on her, Jake rose to his feet, all taut muscle and
predatory power. His energy swept over her like a tsunami, forcing all of the moisture
to abandon her mouth while parts much lower wept with want. Her inner Wolf
howled, answering the call of this Alpha, the first Dominant male ever to make her sit
up and take notice. Holy crap. Her muscles shook with the need to bound over to him,
jump in his arms, wrap her legs around his torso and writhe against his hard, hot,
Jake said something to his uncle then stalked straight at her, cutting a path right
through the middle of the tables and the many, too-curious patrons.
A whimper escaped her throat.
Surprise sparked in her brother’s brown eyes. “You’re kidding me. Him?” He
burst out laughing. “Wow, sis, that’s some major, big-time irony right there.”
Darci’s expression conveyed her bewilderment. “Now what are you two talking
Her annoying brother grinned. “See that angry Alpha headed our way? My
sister here rejected him when they were teens and he’s apparently her—”
Lexi socked her brother in the ribs. “Shut it, Ross.”
“Ouch.” Ross rubbed his side and chuckled at her plight. The jerk. “Come on,
Lexi, you have to admit the hilarity of the situation.”
No, she did not. Nor did she have to admit that J-Bird was right all those years
ago. He was her mate. O to the M to the G…. They were mates.
Even so, he didn’t look happy to see her at all. In fact, he looked positively
enraged. Shit, shit and triple shit. What a mess she’d made eight years ago. Well, she
was woman enough to pull on her big-girl panties and fix it. She straightened her
spine and lifted her chin in challenge, meeting Jake’s stormy stare. He halted before
I can do this. “Hey J-Bird. Nice to see you.” Lovely. Her voice sounded like
she’d eaten the gravel from the lot in front of Gee’s bar. Embarrassment heated her
One breath, two breaths, three…. J-Bird glared. Tension coiled between them
in the silence. Lexi bit the inside of her cheek to avoid babbling at him. She’d said
hello. It was his turn. Damn it, J-Bird, say something. He wasn’t making this easy.
“Alexina.” His arctic tone dismissed her and slapped her in the face at the same
time, leaving her disappointed and confused. No one called her by her full name. No
one except her parents when she’d done something wrong as a kid. He might as well
have said, “Screw you,” while slamming a door in her face.
His focus shifted to her brother. “Hello, Ross. Been a while.” His hand shot out
to grasp her brother’s in a cordial shake.
“Good to see you, Jake. Join us for lunch? My treat. We can catch up on old
“No, thank you. I’m done. Nice to see you again, Ross.” Jake nodded at Darci.
“Miss.” He brushed past them and out the door.
“What. Just. Happened?” The, “I’m done,” he uttered in his delicious British
accent seemed aimed more at her than at her brother’s offer. And the fact he hadn’t
even looked at her before stalking out all sexy in his gloom and doom? Yeah, that
“I think you know, sis.” The amusement left her brother’s face and sympathy
glimmered in his gaze. “Question is, what are you going to do about it?”
She’d never run from a fight in her life. She wouldn’t start now. “Grab a table.
I’ll be back in a second. Or not.” She ignored her brother’s knowing grin and hurried
out the door.
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