Ivy felt sick inside. That Jake hated her was apparent, no matter that his gaze moved over her with interest, lingering briefly on her breasts. It was obvious that he still found her attractive, but what was between them was in the past. Although facing him now was bringing it back at an alarming speed. She felt heat envelop her body and knew it probably colored her cheeks. She could barely meet Jake’s quiet gaze.
Can I trust him not to take out his anger with me on my brother? As quick as the thought came to her, Ivy knew the answer. If he took it out on anyone, it would be her. “He’s my only family. I’ll do whatever it takes.”
For the first time Ivy saw emotion flicker in his eyes. If she didn’t know better she’d swear it was humor.
“Really?” This time when Jake’s gaze moved over Ivy her nipples hardened into peaks of awareness. She resisted the urge to run her arm over her breasts to ease the tingle.
Damn him! He’d always had the power to make her body betray her in the most obvious way, letting him know she wanted him, no matter where they were. When they’d been together it had usually led to hot and heavy sex. Now it was the worst betrayal. She watched one brow lift arrogantly.
“Is that why you’re dressed the way you are? Were you prepared to pitch that same remark to my father?”
It didn’t take Ivy long to realize what Jake meant. There was nothing wrong with her silk blouse, short skirt and stilettos. This was how she usually dressed for a day of work at McCaffey’s Jewelry Store. But the way his gaze was running over her, he made her feel as if she were dressed like a hooker or something. She reacted before she could think, raising her hand to respond to his obvious insult. Too late, she saw his sensuous mouth turn up in a smile.
He stopped her hand in midair. “Easy, sweetheart. There’s already one person in your family heading for jail.” His comment took the fire right out of Ivy. She relaxed her arm, although Jake didn’t release his hold. “That’s better. I think we should finish this inside.”
It was obvious he meant his father’s office. Ivy cast a glance at the receptionist, who quickly averted her gaze and pretended to be looking at something on her desktop.
Ivy wanted to get the hell out of there. Being alone with Jake wasn’t a good idea. So why am I letting him drag me inside? She’d always been weak where he was concerned. She wasn’t fooled into thinking anything had changed in three months. The man was too damn sexy. And the worn jeans, boots and work shirt only emphasized his rugged appeal.
It was too late to dig in her heels. Before she knew it they were in the office and Jake was closing the door. Her heart skipped a beat when he reached behind him and locked it, never taking his gaze off her. Something in his eyes and the sudden tautness of his body brought back the memory of the last time they’d been together.
The memory of that night opened the floodgates of emotion. Ivy stepped back nervously, gasping when she came up against the desk. She felt her heart beating out of control. A quiver of intense awareness in her belly released damp heat between her legs. The last time Jake had looked at her like he was now, they’d been naked and fucking like there was no tomorrow. He stepped forward and her eyes widened.
“Why are you so nervous, Ivy?”
She cleared her throat. “I’m not afraid of you, Jake.” He couldn’t hurt her anymore. Could he?
A humorless chuckle passed through his lips. “Have I ever hurt you?”
Not physically. But a few months ago he’d broken her heart. A pain so raw she never wanted to go through it again. Ivy was determined not to rehash the past and decided to get right to the point. She took a calming breath. “I’m here on Wally’s behalf.”
“He’s young, Jake. We’ve all made mistakes when we were his age. He deserves a second chance. He came to me the moment he realized he’d made a big mistake and asked me to help him make it right.”
“Why isn’t he here pleading his case? He’s a man now. When are you going to start letting him run his own life and grow up?”
“You don’t understand.”
“I understand, remember? The last time he got into trouble I heard it all. Has it changed?”
“He’s sorry he borrowed that money!”
Jake snorted. “Borrowed?” Ivy watched him move around the desk and sit. “I don’t want to hear any more. I’m not interested. All I want to hear now is how you’re going to make it right.” He paused before raising his brow and adding, “Twenty-thousand-dollars right.”
Twenty thousand dollars! Oh god, it was worse than she thought. Wally had led her to believe it was significantly less. She took a deep breath, wishing she had the answer. She’d come here with the intention of offering a six-month payment plan but it would take years to pay back that kind of money.
“There must be something I can do.”
She didn’t like the way Jake leaned back and studied her. When he linked his hands behind his head, she couldn’t take her gaze off his muscular biceps and the width of his chest. Then he brought his booted feet up and crossed them on top of the desk. Ivy’s gaze followed the length of his legs and powerful thighs up to the front of his dusty jeans. There was no disguising the growing bulge behind his zipper.
Fire erupted through her. She’d never stopped loving him or wanting him. And she wanted him now. She’d been addicted to him since the moment they’d met four years ago. I wonder what he’d do if I walked around the desk and unzipped his pants. In the old days she would have had the nerve.
His deep voice dragged Ivy back to the present and Wally. Her wayward brother was counting on her one last time. Because she’d made it clear this was it. The next time he screwed up he was on his own. Jake was right. He was a man now.
“Maybe we can work out some kind of a…ah, payment plan?” She chewed on the inside of her lip, realizing how weak and pitiful she sounded.
“I have a better idea, Ivy. Seeing you again has only reminded me of what I’ve been missing. With interest, a payment plan will take years. How about one weekend?”
One weekend? “I don’t understand. You know I can’t come up with that kind of money in one weekend.”
Laughing, Jake slammed his feet to the floor and leaned forward. “Come on, honey, you’re not stupid. But just in case you can’t read between the lines, let me clarify. I want one weekend.”
Her brows furrowed. “One weekend of what?”
There was a long pause. “Of you.”