All of you jax and sky a.., p.1
All of You: Jax & Sky (All In Book 3), page 1
All of You
Jax & Sky
Callie Harper Books
All of You
Callie Harper’s Books
About the Author
All of You
(Jax & Sky)
By Callie Harper
Copyright 2017 Callie Harper
Cover Design by Perfect Pear Creative
All rights reserved. This book is a work of fiction. Any similarity to real events, people, or places is entirely coincidental. All rights reserved. This book may not be reproduced or distributed in any format without the permission of the author except in the case of brief quotations used for review. If you have not purchased this book or received a copy from the author, you are reading a pirated book.
The author acknowledges the trademarked status of products referred to in this book and acknowledges that trademarks have been used without permission.
This book contains mature content, including graphic sex. Please do not continue reading if you are under the age of 18 or if this type of content is disturbing to you.
Callie Harper’s Books
All In Novels
In Deep (Chase & Emma)
All of Me (Liam & Sophie)
All of You (Jax & Sky)
All I Need (Liam & Annie), coming July 2017
Beg For It Novels
Unleashed (Declan & Kara)
Undone (Ash & Ana)
Untamed (Heath & Violet)
Unbelievable (Colt & Caroline)
Undeniable (Dom & Gigi)
Unwrapped ( Jack & Hannah)
The second I walked into the dining hall, I knew he was there. As I made my way around, stopping to chat and smile with all the residents, I could sense his presence. I resisted looking over, but still I flushed with an electric thrill.
I took my time, asking after people’s days, talking about their pets. They were allowed to have small cats and dogs at the Cavallo Canyon Retirement Community, and those little guys got spoiled. Sometimes I brought in treats and toys for them, making the animals and their owners happy. As a nurse’s aide, plenty of things kept me busy, but brightening up peoples’ days made it all worthwhile.
Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed him stand. I couldn’t help but watch him move. With his huge, muscular body, he had all the edge of a motorcycle bad boy straight out of my fantasies. And what was he doing? He was helping Mrs. DeMarco. She’d come to the dining hall without her walker and needed assistance. Slower than a snail’s pace, hand to her elbow, Jax ushered her to a chair. Be still my beating heart.
I’d figured I might see him today. Over the past year, since his grandfather, Ace, had moved in, Jax usually visited every Monday. Not that I was paying attention. OK, I was paying attention. But I shouldn’t be paying that much attention. I was married.
“There’s my girl!” Ace called out. I turned and smiled, making my way to his table. “I was wondering when I was going to get to see you today.” Ace rose from his chair, as a gentleman always stands to greet a lady. He’d explained that to me more than once.
But it didn’t stop me from trying to get him to sit back down again. “Ace! Don’t you get up on my account.” I tried to shoo him back into his seat.
“You look gorgeous today, as always.” He was such a flatterer. I wore my schlumpy scrubs as usual. But Ace sported a tweed hat, the kind of flat cap with a brim I could picture men wearing in an Irish pub.
“You’re rocking that hat.” I tapped the brim and gave him a thumbs up.
“You want to try it on?” He offered it to me with a twinkle in his eye. I laughed and shook my head no.
“Hey, Sky.” As he rejoined the table, Jax’s voice rolled out, deep and sexy.
I cleared my throat. “Hi.” I didn’t meet his eyes. I knew it was adolescent, but I couldn’t help myself. The way he said my name, even in the middle of the dining hall with his grandfather standing right there, somehow he made it sound like it was late at night and just the two of us.
“You know what today is?” Ace sounded like he had a big, exciting secret.
“January 23rd?” I smiled at him, knowing he liked it when I was a little bit sassy.
“Smarty-pants. Yes, it is, which just happens to be my one year anniversary here.”
“Congratulations.” I actually had known that already. He’d told me last week, and what was more I had a surprise for him waiting in the staff room. But I didn’t want to ruin it by seeming like I had anything planned.
“I did not want to move here, let me tell you.” He went on to repeat what he’d explained several times before, and what I’d heard from so many residents. No one wanted to lose their independence. But then, once they were at Cavallo Canyon, they realized it wasn’t such a bad place.
“It’s because of my grandson that I’m here, you know. Jax. You’ve met him before.” I nodded, cursing the ridiculous blush that flamed my cheeks. Yes, I’d met Hercules.
“How you doing today?” Jax asked me with heavy-lidded eyes and a slow smile.
“Mmph.” All that sparkling chitchat I’d managed with the rest of the people in the dining hall? Gone. I flushed. I stammered. It was completely absurd, especially given the fact that Jax never said or did anything inappropriate. No matter how much I thought about it.
“He’s all right, this one.” Ace bragged on his grandson. “This kid didn’t grow up with a silver spoon, let me tell you. But he turned out good as gold.”
“O.K., Ace.” Jax chuckled good-naturedly, rubbing his hand over his closely-cropped head. I wanted to do that myself, feel the rough stubble of his hair, the smooth nape of his neck, the broad slope of his shoulders.
“Kid, I got an idea for you.” Morty ambled over to us in his signature plaid jacket. I wondered if any stores sold sportcoats like that anymore. Hipsters would probably fight themselves in a mosh pit over it.
“Hey, Morty.” Jax offered his father’s friend a chair, but he waved it off.
“Got an idea for your bar.” Jax owned a place downtown, Ace Bar and Grill. I’d been there once, with my husband Mike when I’d first moved to Cavallo. Back then, Mike had taken me out all over town, introducing me to every brother in his motorcycle club, the Sacrificial Skulls. That was when we used to go out a lot together. Not so much anymore.
I didn’t think Jax remembered our having met back then, though. He never mentioned it. Just like he never mentioned Mike.
“We watched a movie last night,” Morty continued. “Have you seen it? School for the Old.”
“Don’t think I’ve heard of that.” Jax shook his head.
“I think you mean Old School.” I stifled a laugh. Ace had recommended it for movie night. It had been a big hit.
“Yeah, I’ve seen Old School.” Now Jax was smiling, too. Law enforcement officers might need to think about making that illegal. “Ma’am, why were you driving 90 in a 30 mile-an-hour zone?” “I was remembering ho
“So here’s what you do at your bar. There was a scene about it in the movie.” Morty pointed again at Jax for emphasis. “KY wrestling.” I was glad I wasn’t drinking anything or I might have spit it out. Jax’s place wasn’t exactly an upscale wine bar, but KY wrestling would take it to a whole new level.
“That’s the ticket,” Morty insisted.
“I’ll give it some thought.” Jax answered him, but glanced at me, one eyebrow raised, clearly also fighting a laugh.
“Say, you got anything for me today?” Ace looked at me expectantly.
“I might.” I placed my finger to my lips, signaling to him to keep the secret.
“Excellent!” He clapped his hands together and started licking his chops. So, my surprise for him might not be that much of a surprise. But I couldn’t tell him no when he asked me so directly.
I liked to bake pies. Fruit pies, mostly, though I thought about expanding into savory pies, too. But apple, cherry, blueberry, strawberry, those were my mainstays. I’d gotten into it as a teenager, my version of defiance. When your parents were the ones out partying, as a teen you rebelled by staying home and baking. At least I had.
I baked for fun, but Romi’s Diner, a local mom-and-pop place, had started buying pies from me, as many as I could make, whenever I could make them. If I had more time, or access to a larger kitchen, I thought maybe I could grow it into a business. Maybe even open my own shop one day. But for now, I contented myself with the small-scale, experimenting with new recipes whenever I could.
“Let me go check and see if the coast is clear. I have to do my rounds, but I’ll see if I can bring it up to your room later.” I winked at Ace, exaggerating the stealthy creep of my movements toward the hallway.
Sweets weren’t exactly verboten in the retirement community, but they were seriously frowned upon by some of the stricter nurses and doctors. I understood the harm of sugar, especially for diabetic residents, but I also understood the joy that my pies could bring. And from my perspective, there was SUGARTM and there was sugar. Candy bars manufactured in some factory that would survive a nuclear holocaust did not belong in the same category as my homemade pies. Yes, I baked with sugar, but I also used real ingredients and a whole lot of love. That had to make a difference.
My wrist ached. Stepping out into the hallway, I snuck a moment to gently massage it. Pushing back my sleeve, I could see bruising, angry purple and blackish-blue. Damn it. I was so pale I’d have to wear long sleeves for the next two weeks. It was late January, but that didn’t mean much in Southern California. Where I lived, people ran around in tank tops all year round. Unless they were trying to hide bruises.
“Hey, girl!” My friend and fellow nurses’ aide Maria rounded the corner, smiling at me. Quickly, I dropped my hand, sleeve down again, but not before she’d noticed. Scowling now, she shook her head. “Why you with that Pendejo?”
I laughed as if she’d made a joke. We both knew she wasn’t kidding. I also couldn’t pretend like I didn’t know what she was talking about. I didn’t speak Spanish, but I’d grown up with and now worked with enough Mexicans to know all the best swear words. And I knew exactly who she thought was a dumbass idiot: my husband.
“I haven’t gotten to Carl yet.” I pointed down three doors to his room. “But he needs his meds if you’re heading that way.” See how skillful I could be with a subject change?
She glanced down again at my wrist, all covered up. Then she looked straight into my eyes. “You know you’re better than this, right?”
“I’m fine. Are you—?” I gestured again at Carl’s room.
“Yeah, I got it.” She exhaled heavily, disappointed in me. Then she headed away.
I walked in the opposite direction, relieved, upset, confused and indignant all at once. Maria meant well, I knew that. She’d been in an abusive marriage at my age. One day last summer, she’d told me everything. Her ex had beaten her so bad she had permanent hearing loss in her left ear. The night he’d smacked around their four-year-old son had been the last straw. She’d packed her and her son up and filed for a restraining order and a divorce all in one. She’d moved back in with her mom and never looked back.
That wasn’t my situation, though. Sure, my husband Mike was a rough and tough guy, but he wasn’t that bad. He was a big brute, but you could say that about any of the Skulls. When I’d first met him at 21, I’d been star-struck. He’d shown up at a county fair near my hometown outside Bakersfield. I’d been there with my friends, kicking around, bored. He’d ridden up on his chopper, looking so badass, talking about how he lived down in L.A., telling me I looked so pretty I should be a movie star. He told me everyone called him Griller because he was so good at getting people’s secrets. If he grilled a guy, the poor SOB didn’t stand a chance.
When he’d asked if I wanted to ride off on his chopper with him to Vegas, how could I have answered anything other than “hell yeah!” What did I have going for me back in my sleepy, rundown hometown? Nothing. What did he offer? I couldn’t wait to find out.
Three years later, there I was, with one of my co-workers implying that my husband abused me. Personally, I thought that description went too far. Mike got physical from time to time, especially if he’d been drinking, but he had almost a hundred pounds on me. It didn’t take much to leave a mark. And he always felt bad about it afterwards, telling me how much he loved me, how he never meant to hurt me. Sometimes he even cried he felt so bad. Would a truly bad guy do that?
I grabbed an extra blanket from the supply cabinet and brought it to Mrs. Grover in room nine. She was always complaining of being cold. She had mountains of blankets and throw pillows, but her dementia left her feeling like she was in a bare hospital room. I’d learned over time that one of the few things that made her smile was me walking in holding a blanket.
“Finally, someone’s listening to me!” She welcomed me with relief as I tucked the blanket around her in her chair, telling her about the sunshine outside and my bus ride that morning and any other silly thing I could think of to connect her to the reality of day-to-day life. Then I folded up the extra blanket I’d brought her the last time I’d visited and took it with me when I left.
Smiling, tidying, helping a man do some physical therapy, fixing a woman’s hair so she’d look pretty for her daughter’s visit, I bustled around, never stopping for a moment. I honestly loved my job. I’d never felt so useful, so appreciated. Some of the residents were cranky, of course, but I had to empathize. They were in pain. They were lonely. I was only 24, and pain and loneliness made me cranky, too.
Finally catching a moment, I retrieved my pie from the staff room. As I headed over to Ace’s, I told myself I wasn’t wondering if Jax would still be visiting. But I was.
“There’s my girl!” Ace welcomed me after my knock.
“Don’t get up.” I tried, to no avail. He had a buttery-soft leather reclining armchair and if he was in his room he was almost certain to be in it, positioned so he could keep one eye on the TV and the other on the sliding glass door to his front patio and the community courtyard. But both he and Jax stood as I entered. The two of them made quite a pair, Ace with a mischievous twinkle in his eyes and Jax, six-foot-three inches of dark, magnetic sin. I could see some resemblance in their faces, but Jax stood a full head taller and had to have at least 80 extra pounds of muscle.
“Hey there.” I set the pie down on the counter, wishing I could control my leaping, skittering pulse. Anyone paying attention might think I was about to go into cardiac arrest.
“Let’s take a look.” Ace puttered over, rubbing his hands together like a little kid as I took the pie out of the bag. “Apple!”
“Your favorite, right?” I smiled at his reaction. That was what I loved most about baking pies, how happy they made people.
“You made Ace a pie?” Jax started over to us in that slow, controlled wa
“It’s apple!” Ace proclaimed it like he couldn’t believe his luck.
“That’s going be good.” Jax stood a mere foot or two away. “I had one of your apple pies last week, you know.”
“Really?” Surprised, I looked straight up into his eyes. Mistake. He looked at me as if he were drinking me in. Sometimes, I had to wonder if he was having exactly the same insane reaction to me as I was to him. Even though nothing had ever happened, and nothing ever would. We’d never even been alone together, always just saying a few friendly words to each other with his granddad as our chaperone.
“I bought one of your pies at Romi’s,” Jax explained.
“How did you know I sold them there?”
“Ace told me a couple months ago. I’ve been buying them ever since. They’re all good.”
“When did you cut your hair?” Jax didn’t ask if I had, he asked when, as if he remembered clearly how long I usually wore it. His hand moved, as if he were about to reach out and touch it. But then he dropped it again to his side.
“A few days ago.” Self-conscious, I raked my fingers through, knowing I must look awfully plain in my scrubs with the front of my hair back in a clip. I barely had on any make up. I’d been in his bar. I knew the kind of women he usually had all around him. Compared to them, I must look like a nun.
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