by Chelsea Fine
Jenna Lacombe needs complete control, whether it’s in the streets . . . or between the sheets. So when she sets out on a solo road trip to visit her family in New Orleans, she’s beyond annoyed that the infuriatingly sexy Jack Oliver wants to hitch a ride with her. Ever since they shared a wild night together last year, he’s been trying to strip away her defenses one by one. He claims he’s just coming along to keep her safe-but what’s not safe for her is prolonged exposure to the tattooed hottie.
Jack can’t get Jenna out from under his skin. She makes him feel alive again after his old life nearly destroyed him-and losing her is not an option. Now Jack’s troubles are catching up to him, and he’s forced to return to his hometown in Louisiana. But when his secrets put them both in harm’s way, Jenna will have to figure out how far she’s willing to let love in . . . and how much she already has
“You wait here,” Jack says, getting out of the car. “I’ll be right back.”
“Uh-uh.” I open my door and climb out as well. “I need to pee.”
He pauses with a furrowed brow. “Can’t you hold it until we get Samson back to my place?”
I prop a hand on my hip. “Hold it? No, Dad. I’ve been holding it for three hundred miles.”
“Jenna, you don’t want to use the bathroom in this place. Trust me.”
I scrunch my face in confusion. “What’s your deal right now? Let a girl pee, okay?” I start marching for the front doors of the seedy-looking bar.
In three quick strides, Jack’s beside me and talking in a hushed tone. “If you go in here with me, I need you to stay by my side. Do you understand?”
I snort. “In the bathroom? Yeah, I don’t think so.”
“I’m being serious.” He pulls my arm and I spin to face him in annoyance.
But my irritation quickly dissolves into bafflement when I see his expression. He looks worried. Really worried. Almost…scared.
“This isn’t a bar like the Thirsty Coyote,” he says. “Hell, this isn’t really a public bar at all. And you…” He glances over my tight tank top and red shorts. “Well, you’re going to draw attention.” He meets my eyes. “I need you to stay right by me when we go inside.” He lowers his voice. “Please.”
I shift my jaw back and forth, not sure what to think. I get it. This isn’t a girly bar and he doesn’t want guys to mess with me and blah blah blah, but come on. Stay by my side? I’m an adult with an overstuffed bladder, not a toddler wandering around Disneyland.
This is so out of character for Jack. Ever since we arrived in this town he’s been acting weird. Shady, even.
I scoff. “Fine. Whatever. But so help me, if you try to follow me into the bathroom stall I will yank off your balls and flush them. Understood?”
He moves forward, eyes narrowed. “You’re a violent little thing, you know that?”
He opens the door to the bar, but unlike usual, he doesn’t hold it open for me. Instead, he steps inside and pulls me in behind him, keeping me hidden behind his massive shoulders as the door closes at my back.
Okay, not cool.
I start to move around him, curse words ready to leap from my tongue, but stop in my tracks when I realize the loud chatter inside the bar has significantly quieted. Peeking out from behind the big shoulder in front of me, I watch people, one by one, turn their heads to the door and park their eyes on Jack.
An odd tension fills the air, almost dangerous and definitely careful, but curious as well as more of the crowd turns our way.
These people know Jack, apparently, and they all look…hard. Like, motorcycle-gang hard. Even the women look like they could slice my head off with a single swipe of their excessively long, acrylic fingernails. I look at Jack and frown.
His playful smile is gone, replaced by a hard scowl, and his chest is puffed out more than usual. I’m suddenly not as desperate to pee anymore. I can hold it for another few minutes. Hell, I can hold it for another few hours, if need be.
And need might very well be.
A hefty man stands behind the bar, staring Jack down in a confrontational way. He looks to be in his fifties, with leathery skin and fat knuckles, and his shoulder-length gray hair is pulled back into a neat knot, matching the gray handlebar mustache curving out beneath his nose.
One second passes. Then two. Three.
“So the prodigal son has returned,” the hefty bartender says, and the quieting chatter fades even more as ears perk up in every corner.
“I hate to disappoint you, Jonesy,” Jack says in a rough voice I’ve never heard him use before, “but I’m only here for Samson.”
This is clearly some kind of standoff. I’m not sure if I should be worried, scared, or on my way to getting the hell out of Dodge. But one thing’s for certain: Everyone in this bar knows Jack. And not in a friendly way.
I look up at the tall, dark, and hunky guy I’ve been traveling cross-country with and bite my lip. I thought I knew Jack inside and out, but maybe I was wrong. His jaw is tight, his eyebrows are knitted in fury, and his white-knuckled fists are clenched and ready to rumble. And everyone in the room seems to be afraid of him.
I don’t know this Jack at all.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I love this series!
It's been a while since I read the first two books - but I remember Pixie and Levi well :)
Janna and Jack - I can't remember them from the other books - well a little of Jenna since she's Pixie's roommate, but I don't remember much else.
In this story - jack and Jenna are friends - their friendship is a little hard to see because Jenna keeps Jack at a distance though. In the book they talk about knowing each other inside and out - they hooked up once last year, but the connection they shared scared Jenna so bad, she refused to let Jack get any closer.
But Jack felt the connection as well, and he wanted more of it. He knew Jenna was afraid and gave her the space she needed.
In this story, they both needed to get back home to Louisiana. The drive there was full of tension - both lost in thought and anger about letting each other in.
When they get there, Jenna learns there is more to Jack's past than she knew - what scared her the most was how accepting she was of it, where most people would run away screaming.
Really cute story - I enjoyed this one a lot - it was different than the other two books since Jenna and Jack already had the connection :)
Chelsea lives in Phoenix, Arizona where she spends most of her time writing stories, painting murals, and avoiding housework at all costs. She’s ridiculously bad at doing dishes and claims to be allergic to laundry. Her obsessions include: superheroes, coffee, sleeping-in, and crazy socks. She lives with her husband and two children, who graciously tolerate her inability to resist teenage drama on TV and her complete lack of skill in the kitchen