Home > Misbehaving (Sea Breeze #6)(14)

Misbehaving (Sea Breeze #6)(14)
Author: Abbi Glines

My stomach felt sick. How could I have been so stupid? Guys like Jason didn’t take girls like me seriously. Momma had been trying to warn me with her screwed-up Gilmore Girls analogies.

“Sure, I’d love to,” I replied, slipping my hand into Cameron’s.

Cameron pulled me out onto the dance floor as the live band played. Luckily, it wasn’t a slow song. I wasn’t in the mood to get close to anyone at the moment. I felt as cheap as my dress. Thinking about it would make me cry. I wasn’t going to cry. Not here. I blocked it out, all of it, and danced. Forgetting myself, I enjoyed the sound of the music and moved my body to the beat. When Cameron’s hand touched my hip, I didn’t move away. I let him get closer. I might as well. If I was going to get through this night without being destroyed, I would have to deal somehow.

“I’m trying to decide if this is worth getting my ass beat over. I’m thinking it is,” Cameron said, and I opened my eyes to look at him. He was dancing close to me, but his eyes were on my body. I could see the gleam in his eyes, and I knew he was turned on. He lifted his eyes to meet mine, and the lust was there.

“No one will beat your ass for dancing with me,” I replied, hating the bitterness in my voice. A few times spent with Jason and I start expecting more from guys.

Cameron’s other hand rested on my waist. “Yeah, he’s watching us. He’s considering it. I can feel his extremely jealous glare from here,” he said as he pulled me closer.

“You’re imagining it,” I told him. I was pretty sure Jason would be glad to get rid of me for the night. The thought hurt, and I pushed it back. I wasn’t going to think about it.

“If that were true, I’d call him a fool. But I’ve known him since we were thirteen. He’s ready to rip my arms off,” Cameron said close to my ear.

I wouldn’t look for him. He wanted to ignore me? Then I could ignore him, too. I closed my eyes again and started to move to the next song that started up.

“Damn,” Cameron whispered as his hand flexed on my hip.

Normally, knowing I was getting to a guy made me smile. I felt powerful. But not now. I was empty.

“Move.” Jason’s hard tone startled me, and I opened my eyes to see Cameron’s amused grin as he winked at me and held up his hands and backed away.

“Sorry, dude. You looked otherwise occupied, and I figured if I didn’t grab her up, someone else would.”

Jason’s angry snarl as he shot a warning glare at Cameron wasn’t hard to miss. By anyone in the room.

Jason’s hands were on my hips as he pulled me against him hard.

“Oh,” I said, grabbing his arms to steady myself.

“You aren’t wearing f**king panties,” he growled in my ear.

No, I wasn’t, because I couldn’t with this dress. But what did that have to do with anything? “Uh, yeah, so?” I replied, wanting to be mad at him.

“His hands were on your hips. He could tell. He’s f**king you in his head right now, dammit,” he said, tightening his hold on me like someone was trying to pull me away.

“We didn’t talk about my panties,” I told him.

“Every damn guy in this room is watching you. Is that what you wanted? To come out here and make sure they all wanted you? Because moving your body like that—it sure seems like you wanted attention.”

The anger set in, and I stopped moving and shoved away from him. He may have brought me here and he may have been nice and kind before. But I wasn’t going to be talked to that way. I would walk back to the damn hotel and get my purse. I had enough money for a bus ticket. I wasn’t doing this. Turning, I walked away. I knew people were watching.

“If you’re done with Stone, baby, I’m very available as of right now,” a guy said as I walked by.

“Back the f**k off, Myles,” Jason yelled, and I realized he was right behind me.

I was just going to ignore him. Once I was outside, he would come back in here. He just didn’t want me in his world anymore. Asshole.

Jason’s hand wrapped around my arm just before I reached the door, and he pulled me in the other direction. I considered making a scene and screaming, but I bit my tongue and followed him. We walked upstairs and then into a bedroom, and he closed the door.

He was breathing hard when he turned around to look at me. I couldn’t read him. He had me so confused right now. Why hadn’t he just let me leave?

I started to say something, and then I realized Jason was shaking. Oh shit. He was going to hit me. I had seen Hank shake from being so angry before. He always ended up slapping me or throwing me down.

Backing away, I wondered if I could possibly outrun him in these heels.

“They’re looking at you. Cameron was touching you. He was too close to you,” Jason said in a low, scary voice. I gripped the edge of a chair and decided I would use it for protection. I could hide behind it and maybe shove it at him before I ran. It would slow him down.

“Then Hensley points out that you aren’t wearing panties. There’s no line, and the way the dress is hugging your ass, there is no way you could be wearing panties. They were all looking then. And Cameron’s hand was on your hip. His fingertips were brushing your ass. He shouldn’t have touched your ass.”

Okay, so he was upset over the fact that I was commando. I would leave if he would just let me. “I’m sorry. I don’t wear panties with this dress. Didn’t realize it was a big deal. Just let me leave. I’ll get home. If you’ll just let me out of here.”

Jason frowned and stared at me. Why was this a confusing concept to him? He didn’t want me here, and I was going to leave. Very easy.

“What are you talking about?” he asked.

I took that moment to move behind the chair. His gaze flicked to the chair, then back at me. His frown turned to confusion. Good thing was, he wasn’t shaking anymore. That was always a good sign.

“You regretted bringing me, and I should have left. But then Cameron asked me to dance and you were busy with that girl, so I said okay. I didn’t mean to make you mad. I thought you’d be glad to get me out of your hair. I wasn’t aware the panty thing was a big deal. Sorry. Just let me out of here and I’ll go and we’ll be good.”

I had talked down an angry Hank enough to know the tone of voice to use. Jason didn’t have the crazed look in his eyes that Hank got. That was a relief.

Jason’s eyes went wide and he took a step toward me, then stopped. He ran his hand through his hair and cursed while looking at me in horror.

“Did you . . . ? Are you . . . ?” He looked down at the chair again, and then at me. “Why are you behind that chair?” he asked with disbelief in his eyes.

Did the guy have multiple personalities? He had gone from angry to horrified in a split second. “In my experience, getting behind something you can use as protection is the best course of action,” I replied carefully.

Jason put both hands in his hair, and he froze as he stared at me. We just stood there like that. I wasn’t sure what the shocked look was for.

“Motherfucker,” he finally said, dropping his hands and hanging his head. “You thought I was going to hurt you?” he asked incredulously.

Of course I did. “You were shaking. Guys shake from anger before they strike,” I pointed out.

“Strike?” he repeated, still staring at me. “God, Jess.” He sank down on the bed and dropped his head into his hands. What was wrong with him? He looked upset. Like I had hurt him, not the other way around.

I didn’t move, but waited on him to say something. Finally he lifted his head and looked at me. “I would never hurt you. I don’t hit women. I’ve never . . .” He closed his eyes. “I’m sorry. I’m having a hard time dealing with the fact that you’ve obviously been hit by guys enough to assume I would do it. I can’t comprehend the fact that someone would hit you.”

Oh. Yeah, well, that made sense. He’d never seemed like the kind of guy who hit, but then, I tended to make guys so mad they snapped and lost it, so I wasn’t sure if I had done the same to him.

“You were angry,” I explained.

He nodded. “Yeah, I was angry. Cameron was touching you. Guys were watching you like you were their last meal, and I didn’t like it, and I didn’t f**king like the fact that I didn’t like it. This . . . I can’t . . . We can’t have anything more than this. I don’t want to care if other guys look at you.” He stopped and fisted his hands in his lap.

“I know this is just a little fling. I’m not expecting more,” I said, suddenly wanting to reassure him.

He just sat there staring at me. I moved over to sit beside him now that I knew he wasn’t about to take a swing at me. “I wasn’t dancing with Cameron to make you mad. I was trying to get out of your way. You seemed like you regretted bringing me, and I was trying to salvage your night for you by not being a burden.”

Jason closed his eyes and let out a deep sigh. When he opened them, he looked at me. “I’m sorry,” he said. “You felt that way because I made you feel that way. This is my fault.”

I didn’t argue with him. He was right. He had made me feel that way.

“I don’t get possessive. I can’t get possessive. I don’t have time for that. You are making me feel that way, and it doesn’t fit into my world. I was trying to distance myself.”

He didn’t want to share my body. So that was his problem. Well, I didn’t want to share my body either. And I wouldn’t be sharing it with him anymore. He needed to distance himself? Then fine. I needed that too.

“Okay. Then we get through the night. Take me home, and that’s it. You can even send me home tonight if you like. I don’t mind the bus.”

Jason groaned and turned away from me. “I’m not putting you on a bus” was all he said.

“Fine. Then you get me home however you want to.”

Jason reached over and took my hand in his. “I don’t like this,” he said.

And he thought I did? I wasn’t going to admit it, though. I shrugged. “It is what it is. And I’ve had fun.”

Jason wouldn’t look at me. “How do we distance ourselves?”

“We start with very little touching and of course nothing sexual. I won’t dance with anyone else if that bothers you, but you can’t dance with anyone else either. To keep it fair.”

Jason turned his head to finally meet my gaze. “Nothing sexual?”

“Can’t have distance if we’re naked and wrapped around each other,” I replied.

Heat flashed in Jason’s eyes, and I stood up before he could act on that. As much as I loved to be in his arms, I also knew that no matter how many times I offered myself to him, he would be leaving me. I was not someone he would ever have a relationship with, and it was time I protected myself.

“That’s gonna be f**king impossible,” he said.

No, it wasn’t. He wanted distance. He was going to get it. “It’s the only way,” I replied.

JASON

I placed my hand on Jess’s lower back as we walked back into the party. I could feel the eyes on us—or more like, on her. Every damn guy here was looking at her, and I had no right to care. Which sucked. I wasn’t going to think about it.

“You thirsty yet?” I asked her.

“If you go to the bar and get sidetracked, someone may approach me, and I don’t want to be rude to your friends,” she said.

I reached for her hand. “I’m not leaving you alone. They’re all f**king vultures,” I replied, taking her with me.

She went with me willingly. “What do you want to drink?” I asked her.

She glanced at the bartender. “Do you have whiskey?” she asked hopefully.

“Straight?” the guy asked, smiling at her like an idiot.

“Please, I need it,” she replied.

He poured her more than the normal and slid it to her. Even the damn hired help was ogling her. “I can’t believe you’re drinking whiskey,” I said.

She stopped with the rim almost to her mouth and gave me an amused grin. “Yeah, well, I don’t know what else you expect from me. I’m not one of them,” she said, waving her glass out at the crowd. “My momma ain’t a trust-fund baby. She’s a stripper.”

I heard someone choke beside me, no doubt from her statement. She took a much longer drink of whiskey than I’d ever seen anyone take.

“Her momma is a stripper?” Hensley asked as he stared at her in openmouthed amazement. As if Jess hadn’t already drawn attention, this piece of information was going to go through the room like wildfire.

“Shut up,” I replied, and picked up my drink, needing to hover over her and protect her from the horny males who were just going to get worse when they found out her momma’s profession.

“I can’t believe you announced that,” I said to her quietly as I led her away from the bar.

“Why? They’re never going to see me again, and they’ll all talk about you like you’re a badass for bringing a stripper’s daughter commando to one of their uppity parties. And whoever I’m supposed to be making jealous, I assure you, she is fuming. You’ll have her back in your arms in no time. Just get rid of me first.”

What the hell was she talking about? Make who jealous? Had someone told her about me and Johanna? That relationship had only been in Jo’s head. All I had done was have sex with her once, months ago. “What are you talking about?” I asked her.

She took another long drink. “I’m talking about the reason you brought me to this thing. I couldn’t figure out why you’d want me to come as your date when you could do so much better. I get it now. I’m the bad girl from the wrong side of the tracks meant to drive the ex-girlfriend mad with jealousy.”

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