Sunday, March 21, 2010

Chapter Thirty-Two

“Daddyyyyyy,” the waking of the dead shrilled down the hallway as a boisterous four year old connected with leg.

Jon ruffled the sunny cap of hair on his youngest son’s head and scooped down to pick him up, “hey buddy!” He smiled at Chloe, who shut the door the door behind him.

“Now what’s going on?” Romeo hid his face into his shoulder and shook his head.

“What did you do?”

Jon looked and smiled as Dot came into the hallway. “Hey,” he said walking towards her.

“Thanks Jon for coming over to watch them for a couple of hours, Romeo just wouldn’t accept that Chloe would watch them. He wanted you.”

Jon smiled. “It’s ok, you know I can watch them whenever you need me to and I can, I know I haven’t been around as much of late.”

Dot fished her keys from inside her purse. “No doubt your new girlfriend has been keeping you busy.”

Jon raised his eyebrow, “well yes and no.” He could still smell her ginger scented sex on his damn fingers and feel her half naked body writhing beneath him. Fuck.
“It’s ok Jon, she seems nice and the kids liked her.”

Jon hoisted Romeo down and took his hand, “it’s complicated at the moment.”
Dot laughed, “With you it’s always complicated.”

He felt guilty, Dorothea deserved to know what was going on and he was in clear violation of the trust that they’d both set up when they separated. He was protecting his family and he stood by his decision to have not told them at the beginning of all this, but now... he wasn’t so sure.

“Romeo, why don’t you go and find Chloe, ask her if she has any of those cookies we love and I’ll come and play with you guys soon, while Mom’s out, k?”

Romeo swung on the end of Jon’s hand and giggled, “Ok Daddy.” The loud splitting shriek and stampede of feet left him and Dot alone.

“I need to talk to you Dot.”

She raised a brow, “ok, outside?”

Jon followed her outside and took a smoke when she offered, he lit them both and took a deep draw. “I haven’t been honest with you.”


She had the right to know, especially now when he had to rely on the security around the house and his family. “MacKenzie is not my girlfriend, well...kind of.” He scuffed his boot against the edge of the cobblestones.

“Kind of?” Dot pushed her glasses up her nose and flicked her cigarette. “What’s going on Jon?” He deserved the tone she fired at him too.

“A little while ago, I was nearly hit by a car outside Rich’s studio—on purpose.”

She stood from the step, “what?”

He cringed, “I was fine, it just turned out that my rejection to allowing a young boy that had gang connections into the Soul, has backfired and now they’re trying to prove something to me. We’re just not sure what.”

“God Jon, so who is she?”

“She’s my bodyguard. I hired her as a Personal investigator and it turned out she did Personal Security, I needed something discrete and I wasn’t about to have an entourage of people following me around. Christ Dottie, you know I hate that shit. I had to have something for all these Obama stomps I’ve been doing.”

“She’s protecting you? What about us Jon? Ever thought you might need to mention to me that oh, you’re being stalked by some bad guys and I should consider some security for the kids? Or once again you were being too selfish.”

“Dot, wait—I have got security for you guys. You just don’t know it.”
He saw the flash of temper, one he’d known well at the end of their marriage. “You have people following us and you didn’t even think to tell me? Jesus Jon, how could you do that to me? What if I had noticed and called the police that some weird people were following us?”

He raked his hand through his hair, he’d fucked up here. He had no excuse, he should have told her. “I’m sorry, I just didn’t want to freak you out or the kids. Honestly.”

“Have there been any more incidents?”

He blew out a breath, “yes—a few. I’ll tell you if you want me to.”

“Damn right you will be.” She crossed her arms and she could have stared through steel as he talked her through the beach house, the drugging incident and the latest attack on MacKenzie. “I can’t fucking believe this. After everything we’ve been through.”

“Dot, I’m sorry. I’m fucked this up in more ways than one. Believe me but I’m truly sorry. You know I’d never hurt you guys. I did it to not have to disrupt your lives.”
“So all time. MacKenzie has just been pretending to be your girlfriend.”

“Yeah, sort of. As I said, it’s complicated.”

Dot snickered, “oh I’m sure it is.”

“It’s not like that—we’ve not---we’re attracted to each other but she’s tried to keep it all business. If anyone has pushed it, it’s me. You don’t need to hear about it.”

“No I don’t, I don’t care much for your bedroom antics these days—what I do care about is when fucked up arrangements interfere with my children’s lives. What if something had happened to one of them?”

“Fuck, Dottie please believe me that’s the last thing I ever wanted. They mean everything to me—you included.” He took her hand, “honestly I thought I was doing the right thing.” He rubbed his temples, it wasn't the right thing and he knew it. He could have kicked himself for letting it get to this point, he had in under control, well at least he thought he did. The gang thing was his mistake, his problem--he was dealing with it. Why should they have been affected too?

“I’m not happy Jon-“ She stopped when Chloe came out to meet them.

“Sorry guys, I just was looking for Romeo. I thought he might be out here with you both.”

“I told him to go and find you?”

“Nope, not with me---I’ve just searched the entire house.”

Jon whipped his head around to Dot’s and they both took off into the house. He felt his face lose all color as the snakes coiled in his belly. “Romeo!” He dashed up the grand staircase taking two at a time while Dot raced through the hallways on the lower level. Kids disappear all the time. Especially Romeo, he was a little monkey. But with everything that had been going on, Jon didn’t trust this one instinct at all.

“Romeo!” He flung open the guest room wardrobes, he didn’t stop and think he was invading Dot’s privacy.

“Dad!” He spun around to see his teenage daughter standing there in her jeans and a red tee-shirt.

“Stephy,” he tugged her in for a hug, damn he’d missed them all so much.

“Dad, what’s wrong?”

“I can’t find your brother, Romeo—have you seen him?”

“He was coming to find you took too long for the cookies.”

“Oh god,” Jon bolted out of the room and down the stairs, please god not his kids, not his kids. “Dorothea!”

She came flying out of a room, her eyes wide. “He’s not here.” She held up a lonely Bata-bullet.

He clutched his chest. “Ok, stay here---get the kids and stay in the same room together, I’ll call the police.

“Jon—he’s my baby----“

He grabbed her shoulders, “I know...just get the kids and stay here.”

“Mom, Dad, what’s going on?” Steph walked slowly down the staircase.

“Just stay with your mom, I’m going to find your brother. Get the other two boys.” He ran back outside, his hand firmly on his stomach, bent over and emptied the contents of it. This could not be happening, his worst fear out of anything. He took out his iPhone and hovered his thumb over Mackenzie’s name. Things were so awkward but he had no idea what to fucking do—who to fucking call. He closed his eyes and pressed call as he started to walk the grounds, looking for any sign of his son.

“Jon, hey? All done already?”

“MacKenzie—its Romeo he’s gone missing---I’m outside, the kids are inside. I don’t know who to call, he was here one minute and the next he was gone.” Like vomit he spewed it out, hoping to make some sense.

“Ok, Ok---I’ll rein the guys around your place in. We can call the cops, are you sure that he’s not just hiding. That was a big ass place Jon.”

“No he’s not—Kenz. Please---I can’t lose him.”

“You won’t Jon. Just calm down. We’ll sort it out, I’m coming back over now and I’ll call the guys in. I promise, we’ll find him.”

He took a breath and disconnected the call. “Romeo?” He leaned against a tree and grated his hand against the bark. This was a cluster fuck of epic proportions. He would never, never forgive himself if one of them got hurt over all this.


Jon whirled around saw a little boy peek around from behind the bushes. “Romeo!” He leapt over the lawn and scooped him up. “What were you doing in there buddy?” He held him tight, burying his face into the familiar scent of baby-cotton smell.

“Daddyyy, tight.”

Jon chuckled, the relief almost blinding him. He loosened his grip and started to
walk back to the house. “What were you doing? We were very worried.”
Romeo hooked his fingers around the collar of Jon’s tee. “You didn’t come in for cookies, you and mommy yelling.”

Jon sighed, “So you hid because we scared you?” He ruffled his hair. “I’m sorry we were yelling, we’re not anymore though ok?” Hia own eyes mirroed in Romeo's stared back at him and nodded.

“Ok Daddy. Can we have cookies now?”

“Yes, we can. If you promise never to run off and hide again from me or mommy.”
Romeo nodded vigorously. “I promise.”

He was two feet away from the door when it flung open and Dot tore out. “Oh thank god.”

“He was hiding, because we were yelling.” Jon managed a small smile, this was all his own damn fault as well for not telling her and then sending them all into panic meltdown mode.

“Steph, can you take him into the kitchen please, we’ll be there in a minute.” He handed him off to Steph who was standing behind her mom, god and just about meeting her height and his. They were growing up way too quickly for his own liking.

“What’s going on Dad?”

“Its ok baby, Mom and I will talk and then come and talk to you guys.”

Jon rubbed his hands on his face and sank down onto the step. “I thought, god I
don’t know what I thought.”

Dot sat down next to him. “I should flame you for that, but I can see you’re shaking. This is exactly why you should have told me Jon.”

“I know Dot. I know.” His arms shook as he steadied himself and took a couple of deep breaths.

The buzz of the gates had him looking up, “damn that’ll be MacKenzie.” He got to his feet, “I can tell her to wait?”

“No, bring her in. Maybe she’ll tell me what the hell’s been going on.”
Jon cringed, “I deserved that. I’ll go and get her. You better put on the coffee, and use skim creamer she hates the full fat stuff.

Dot opened her mouth and then shut it again. “Alright.”

Jon walked down the drive to meet her car crawling up it. Right now he couldn’t care less about what the hell was or was not between them. She rolled down her window, “hey you ok?”

He leaned over, nothing but care etched across her face. “He was hiding, he’s ok—but you better come in. I’m in all kinds of trouble for not telling Dorothea about all this.”

“Oh thank god, I’ll call the security to stand down and just wait outside.” Her lips curved in a smile. “She wants to see me doesn’t she?”

He nodded, “yeah—sorry. She’s got every right to be pissed off at me.”

“Not a problem. I’ll park and then come save your ass,” she winked. “Again.”

He bumped the top of the car as she drove up to the house, damn if she wasn’t right.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Chapter Thirty-One

MacKenzie rounded into the driveway in Red Bank after a tense drive through the Jersey neighbourhood. None of them had said anything, Christ what was there to say after that? She rubbed in-between her breasts, god, her nipples still burned with his warm mouth and god, she twisted her ankle as the sensation of his hand down her pants nearly careened them off the driveway.

“Shit, sorry.”

Jon raised a brow beneath shaded eyes, “you trying to kill me in my own home?” He chuckled trying to keep the mood light. There wasn’t anything light about what was going on here, between her and the L word, and then watching her helplessly get beaten up, to what they nearly did in his bed. It was a cluster-fuck of light.

“No, sorry I was distracted for a minute. I’ll just stop up here, I won’t come in this time.” She was thankful she would get some breathing space from him to stop her thoughts from swimming around her head so much. She needed to talk to David, god, she needed to come clean with him about everything. She popped the hand brake and pushed her sunglasses up her nose. “There’s an unmarked car just a few yards down the road. It’s the protection, while I’m not here ok? I’ll give you the number, it’s Gary. He does a little surveillance work for us.”

Jon reached back into his jeans pocket for his iPhone and punched in the number as she read it to him. Jon tucked it back in his pocket. “Thanks,” her eyes never quite met his. He had no idea as to where they stood, her scent was still burning on his fingers for fuck’s sake and he was still half hard from nearly having her back there.

“I can get a cab home, if that’s ok?”

“No, I’ll be a couple of hours, so I’ll swing by on the way home and we can always get dinner on the way home?” Maybe her only option was to try and keep things normal between them, if that was even possible at this stage.

He grinned, “Yan’s takeout?” It was becoming their ritual more often than not. God, they had a ritual didn’t they?

“Sure, sounds good. Say hi to the kids for me—“She jammed her belt back into the buckle and started the car. The pleasantries between them were driving her insane, but she wasn’t saying anything. She’d said enough, she’d told him she loved him for goodness sake, and she might as well have got a slap in the face back. Then she pushed him into admitting that there was something between them, and look at how that played out. She just didn’t learn.

Once she cleared the drive she made her way into the city, she wasn’t risking going into her office in case they were being followed so David and her had arranged to meet in Central Park, so it looked like a casual meeting of friends for anyone that could have been watching.

She parked and grabbed her coat, walking in under the trees. The pretty fall leaves were all just about gone but still made a good crunch under her feet as she made her way to the spot they’d chosen. David was already scrunched under a tree on a rug, with his case and a tray of suspiciously looking like Starbucks cups.

“Hey,” she dumped her bag and sat down bringing her knees up to her chest. She dug out her blackberry and rested it on top of her bag in case Jon called.

“Hey gorgeous,” David leaned over and kissed her cheek, and then thrusted a cup into her hand. “Hazelnut, just the way you like it. “Geez Mac, you look a little worse for wear.”

She laughed and leaned back on one hand, “this is perfect. God it’s so good to see you David. I mean that.” She sighed and took a sip of her latte, some kids were chasing a dog that yipped each time they lurched the stick across the grass.

David shifted so they were side by side staring out at the park, the canopy of leaves stretching high above them and the late afternoon autumn sun filtering down around them. “So you ok?”

She flipped her lid and licked the foam off the edges. “Depends what you class as ok?

“You looked a little banged up.”

“I’ll live, I think my cover is blown though. The way I reacted, defended myself, tipped them off to me being a pig.”

David let a low whistle out, “damn ok—well that doesn’t mean that they know for sure. But it does mean we need to step up some security.”

“Yeah I know, I just don’t get what they want with him. The making a statement thing just keeps going through my head. They want to make an example out of him, because he pissed them off. Jon’s a good guy though, he does a lot of charity work and he’s backing our democratic leaders. He’s more than just a rich rock star.” Much more.

“Right, but that won’t matter. He’s not out there doing stuff for gangs so that’s all irrelevant what he’s doing for the community I think when it comes to gangs.”

“Yeah, true. But how far will they go? They drugged me, they’ve attacked me thinking I’m his girlfriend. So are they not interested in going after him, since they’ve known about me?” This was a mess. Usually she could line this up and figure this out, but nothing made sense here.

“Ok—I’ll go downtown and talk to the boys at the station tomorrow, our leads. See if I can dig something else up that we didn’t before. But right now, we need to worry about you and Jon, are you sure you can handle this?”

She paused and sipped her coffee. “I need to tell you something. And you’re not going to like it.”

David turned to face her, “what is it MacKenzie?” He rested his arm on hers, but she winced pulling it back.

“It’s Jon, and well me.”

She glanced up, David raised his brow and shook his head. “Please don’t tell me what I think you’re about to.”

She rubbed her forehead and sighed. “It’s a mess David and it’s my entire fault.”

“Why is it your fault? And what’s happened?”

She closed her eyes and took a deep breath. “This pretending thing worked well with us, actually it worked out really well. So much that we couldn’t tell when we were doing it for show or when it started to mean something, well I thought it did.”

David rubbed the back of his neck, “why didn’t you tell me Mac?”

“I was handling it---we were just flirting and I thought it was just because of the situation. But as time went on, things got more intense...”

“So you’re seeing him---?” he asked carefully.

“No, I haven’t slept with him. It’s come close---more than once but no. I kept telling myself we can explore this after this is all over, and then I went and did something even more retarded.” She picked at the grass by her leg.

“I told him I loved him.”

“You did? And what happened?”

She cringed and forced herself to keep talking. “It was after I was attacked, I told him I loved him and he didn’t say anything. Nothing back, and nothing since. He took me home, patched me up and I pushed him to admit there was something between us, which he did and if it hadn’t been for a phone call, we would have done the deed.”

“Oh man, this is pretty serious. So do you think he feels the same way?”
She shrugged, “everything’s telling me he does. But I’m just not so sure---or now I’m not sure what to even do about it, because of the situation. His life is clearly at risk here.”

“And so is yours Mac.” David picked up her hand. “You should have told me this was happening, that was our deal...that’s always how we roll Mac.”

“Call me stubborn, I wanted to handle it on my own. I didn’t want you to have to intervene because I’m in love with the damn guy.”

“So you really are in love with him?”

MacKenzie looked over at him and nodded, “yea. I’m pretty sure I am. Lucky me.”

“Wow Mac, this is ---like when was the last—ok, that’s not important. What’s important is—can you finish this job, or do I over-rule you and pull you out?”

She rested her chin on her knees. David would if he knew her judgement was being compromised for whatever reason, it was the deal they both had with each other and always had throughout their working relationship. “What do you honestly think I should do here?”

He drummed his fingers against the cup. “I would replace you and have someone else with him. But I think you’re just going to go insane if you can’t be with or around him, to know he’s safe because you’re a control freak.”

She smiled, as irony had it, that’s exactly what she’d feel. If she walked away now, not only would they compromise what they had set up, they’d be sending message to the gang confirming it. She knew she wouldn’t cope being away from him, not being able to finish the job she started. She hated the need to control it, but she knew she’d go crazy passing it over to anyone else. Secondly she wasn’t going to make the same mistake again that she did with Brian and just leave Jon in someone else’s hands. She would never make that mistake again.

“So what do I do?”

“Well, Jamie always tells me that I never talk enough---men don’t in general.”
MacKenzie laughed. “No they don’t---and they don’t need to. Often their actions show enough.”

David raised a brow. “Wow, this coming from a woman as well.”

“Well, I am half woman, half machine remember, “she winked.

“No comment there, but seriously Mac. I will support your decision to stay with him on two conditions.”

She nodded.

“One is that you clear whatever this is with him and tell him it’s off limits until this is over. And two, is that you check in with me twice a day for updates and let me know all of your movements with him. I’m going to probably have someone follow you guys when you’re out and about—ok?”

She knew Jon would hate the idea and secondly hate to talk about whatever the hell that they were.

“Ok, you’ve got a deal.”

“If you can do that, and keep your relationship professional until you don’t have to, then you’ll be free as you guys want to – do whatever you want. You can do that can’t you?”

“Yes, I can...I can do that.” She could right, she had to think about the bigger picture here, Jon and her own lives were at risk. She could do this. She just had to shift the insane feelings she had for the man to one –side and concentrate on the job at hand, then she could address the issues later. It sounded simple right?

“Are you sure Mac? I’m going against our own rules here for know that right.”

“I do, I’ll be fine---I’m so sorry. I should have never let it get this far but honestly, “she rubbed her chest. “I never saw it happening, it just kind of happened.” She wanted to be happy that she found someone she could connect with, but it just didn’t seem right to at this point as much as she wanted it more than anything else right now.

David leaned in and smiled, “I am never going to encourage you—but hell, I couldn’t have ever picked you falling for Jon Bon Jovi.”

She elbowed him and laughed, “Shut up.”

“You know Jamie is going to want to meet him right, hell she’ll probably name the baby after him.”

“Stop it now, how is she anyway?”

“Good, moody, bitchy and then horny, and she cries.”

MacKenzie snorted, “Ahh pregnancy is a wonderful thing. And this is just the beginning, crappy nappies and sleepless nights to look forward to.”
David scooped his arms around her shoulders, “ah but that’s what Auntie MacKenzie is for though.”

“Oh sure, hey kids love me. Remember?” She smiled remembering how much of a hit she was with Jon’s kids. Least they knew her, if the time ever came when she really was in Jon’s life on a more permanent basis. But for now, she had to remember what she was here to do. And that was protect Jon and herself as long as they needed it.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


At a loss, Jon didn't even know what to say. She was in love with him? The tension between them was unreal and yet still so new. He tucked her hair back. "Don't be sorry," he said softly. "I just can't bear to see you hurt."

She backed up and met his gaze and swallowed the lump in her throat. She wished now, she never had said anything. “I’ll be fine,” she’d be bruised tomorrow, both body and heart.

She turned away, her shoulders stiff with embarrassment. The air between them was thick with silence. Fuck. He wasn't ready to put them into words yet. Words were his specialty and yet here, he was at a loss. Placating a woman wasn't his style, but he'd never intentionally hurt one either. Fucking, fuck.

The walk back to his loft was a long one, neither one of them quite sure what to say to the other. He didn't want to bring up the subject again, but he didn't want her to think he was a complete ass either. The words weren't something he took lightly, and if he knew anything at all about Kenzie--it wasn't something she took lightly.

When he opened the door for her, she muttered a thank you and slipped past him, not even a brush of cotton between them. God, he was an ass.

Had she read the signs all wrong? They were so comfortable with each other when they were alone, and the sexual tension at times was thick enough to cut with a knife. Why did he keep trying to get her into his bed? Did he only just want the pay off, the thrill of the hunt and then be done with her? She shook it off as she made her way to the bedroom. He wasn't like that, so she kept telling herself. He had been different. She’d felt it.

She grabbed her oversized hoodie and pulled it over her head, part of her wishing she could just disappear back to the safety of her own apartment. But no, here she was... or was she? Her cover may have just been blown but she still had a duty to protect him even if he didn't lov- No, you got it wrong. Just deal with it and move on. She sat down on her bed and pulled her knees up to her chest. Dammit, if she'd just waited till after the job none of this would have happened, the slip up, the admission. Nothing.

Pacing back and forth through the kitchen to the living room, he peered down the hallway twice before slapping the wall. "Dammit," he hissed and went back to the kitchen. Opening a bottle of water, he glugged half of it down and grabbed another.

Calling himself ten kinds of fool, he pushed open her door. She sat there, her shoulders hunched in as she tucked her chin in tighter into her knees. Crouching in front of her, he offered up the bottle. "Kenz, honey c'mon." He noticed the scrapes down her arm and across her forearm. "Let's get you cleaned up. He did a real number on you."

"I just wasn't paying attention, it was my fault.” My fault for being so fucking stupid. The raw sting was slowly burning across her body, she needed to clean herself up or risk infection from the gravel scrapes.

He stood, holding out a hand to her. When her fingers trembled, he swore and leaned down, swinging her up into his arms. "Let's see what we can do to patch you up." She stiffened in his arms, but he just shushed her. "Relax, I've got you."

She resisted but curled her hands around his neck as he carried her into his ensuite bathroom. She felt a little helpless, and not just because she was injured, her own ego had taken a beating. She was tempted to bring it up, clear the air and laugh it off just so she could go back to relaxing around him. He lowered her onto the counter and pulled her sweatshirt right off her, leaving her just in her sports bra. "I can do this," she insisted as he reached around and plucked the antiseptic from the top shelf of his cabinet. Her eye caught the jumbo size packet of condoms before she looked away again.

His eyes peered up into the cabinet, the unmistakable white block letters on the black box like a beacon. Clearing his throat, he lifted her arm up. Angry finger marks bruised the skin there and he resisted the urge to kiss it. They were in a very grey area right now. The scrapes, he gently patted with a washcloth. She didn't say a word, just stared over his shoulder. "Do you think your cover is blown?"

She blew out her breath, "honestly. I don't know. They'd never really know for sure but I guess they will know that you've got protection..." it could be a bad thing, and it could be a good thing. But she'd become a target and after tonight she doubted they'd stop there. It wasn't how they rolled from experience. "We will be ok, I'll call David later and talk to him." Yeah, and tell him the clusterfuck of a situation I've got myself in.

"Is my family okay? Will they retaliate in a different way?" The sudden thought twisted through his gut like oily snakes. "I'd nearly forgotten about them the last few days, to be honest. Things have been so quiet."

She hissed when he applied the antiseptic on sliced skin. "They will be ok, I'll make sure of it through David. If anything they will want to take us both down now." She followed his slow movements down her arm. "I'd forgotten too, I guess in a way we became so used to just being around each other... it came naturally without a cause."

Her muscles were firm under the silk of her skin. It was obvious that she took care of herself. The tips of his fingers stroked down the inside of her arm, his thumb brushing against her wrist. When her lips parted in reaction, he slowly leaned forward. Her eyes widened as she suddenly pulled back.

There it was, that look in his eyes that she'd taken for granted so many times that it meant something, obviously. "Do your kids get a lot of scrapes and bruises? You look like you've done this before." She swallowed away any urges to lean in closer. That's what got you into trouble last time.

"Well, I'm hope for the summer usually and of course that's the primetime for scrapes," he laughed. He'd practically thrown her words back in her face, like she'd want to kiss him now. Christ. She made him nutty.

"I can just imagine..." Say it, just clear the air with him. What else have you possibly got to lose dammit? But then her eyes fell back to the box in his cabinet. Maybe he did want just a quick fuck, to get it out of his system. But the tension between them? She was no relationship expert but hell, there was only so much you could deny.

Disgusted with himself he stood up. "Why don't you take a shower and we'll talk to all of our people. I want to touch base with my kids." The disappointment on her face was palpable, but he had to get away from her. The mixed messages were epic already. Christ.

"Yeah, a shower." She repeated. She didn't want a fucking shower, she wanted him to admit he felt the same way as her. She didn't just risk her life for nothing, fuck, she wanted to let it go, let him walk away so he could make his calls. But she couldn't. The stubborn streak inside of her couldn't let it. She popped herself off his counter and grabbed his shoulder spinning him around till his back thudded against the wall. "Admit it, just admit to me..." she winced as her body pressed into his. Oh god, she was crazy tempting to be shot down the second time in the night.

Her eyes scanned his, "Admit that you were wrong not to run when I told you." Chicken, Mackenzie.

His jaw clicked shut. Right now he didn't want to think about running. He could only think about her warm, soft body pushing against his. "I don't want to run."

God, if she'd only been paying attention she could have got them the hell out of dodge instead of the gang guys making a number of her. If she hadn't spent countless nights at her laptop peering over at him wondering what he would feel like twisted around her after a session of hard fucking. She lifted her hand to his cheek and brushed her thumb across his jaw. "Admit it Jon, all this, tell me it’s not just me." Her heart thundered against her chest in anticipation, his eyes said it... and the way his body melted into hers showed it.

His fingers tunnelled through her hair, dragging her mouth up to his. "Not just you," he said between kisses. Her arm wrapped around his neck and he hooked her leg around his waist. Lifting her onto the counter, he deepened the kiss.

She groaned, she was still tender but she didn't care. The weight around her shoulders lifted, he did care. She didn't know what that meant for them right now, but she didn't care. She clawed her way up his neck and into his hair pulling herself closer, the smell of sweat and spice consumed her as something snapped inside of her. She wanted him, god she needed him at this moment. Her tongue tasted every corner of his mouth before she pulled back, their breathing both hitched. "Take me in there..." she whispered as she tugged on his bottom lip.

He lifted her into his arms, bumping against the doorjamb as they slowly backed into her bedroom. His fingers moulded around her back, into the cool damp hair at her neck. Rolling them onto her bed, he pressed her into the mattress. His nose bumped across her ribs and along the cotton elastic of her sports bra.

The tip of her nipple burned through the pristine white and he sucked through the material. His fingers raked up her thigh, his thumb digging into the wide leg until he found the elastic edge of her panties. When she arched up at him, he dipped inside, her heat drenching the pad of his thumb.

He groaned against her mouth as he pushed them aside to get deeper inside of her, finding her swollen clit under her hood. Circling it, he matched the rhythm of their kiss to each stroke.

She fisted her fingers into his hair and he flipped her sports bra up with his other hand. His mouth devoured her nipple, sucking it deep into his mouth. He'd been holding back for so long, that each taste had him closer to the edge.

The shrill ring of the phone had him jerking against her, but he didn't stop. Instead, he moved to the other nipple, drawing it deeper into his mouth until the suction made a pop as he let it go.

The click of the answering machine was like ice water, snow and a child's shriek all in one.

"Daddy! Mama said you'd come over, can you?" Jake and Romeo's voices were a cacophony of excitement and garbled fighting. "No! Romeo, it's my turn on the phone!"

He reared back, the quick heaving of her chest, the slick, wetness on her dark pink nipple and the sound of his children crashed into their reality. "Shit," he said and leaned back.

She sank back further into the bed as stood. "You," she panted. "You better get that." He nodded looking back over at the phone and then back at her. "Go, sounds like Dot needs you." Her mouth was dry, as her world came crashing to a halt. Her nipples still buzzing with the touch his mouth left behind. She briefly smiled, as she remembered his words. He loved- or did he just want her? She sat up and twisted her bra back down as she watched Jon talk on the phone, kneading his fingers into his bicep as he did.

Oh god, what was happening. Now she got everything she wanted but couldn't make sense whether it was right or not. She was still his bodyguard and until that changed, they couldn't. No matter what feelings were involved. She stood, as her legs trembled and straightened herself up. If he was going somewhere safe she needed to put some distance between them, just for a little while. She needed her co-worker, she needed David.

When he came back in with a small sheepish smile, she forced one back. "Dot needs you?"

She was already covered up, her eyes not quite meeting his. Fuck. "The kids have been asking about nauseum it seems." He swallowed, crossing his arms over his chest. "Would it be okay if I took a trip out to the old house?" It galled him to ask, but at this point he wasn't taking any chances.

She nodded. "Yeah, I'll drop you there if you like... to make sure that you get there ok, I want to head into see David. That way I can find out what's going on, and see where we stand."

He raked his hands through his hair. They stood on shakey ground is where they stood. The want and the need simmered between them, but there was a wall in the way. One that he'd caused. He nodded slowly. "I'll get ready."

"I'll just get changed." She let him leave and closed the door behind him leaning back against it. One part of her wanted to crawl out of her skin with joy, and the other one wanted to throw up. She didn’t know if what just happened made things better or worse in there. Fuck.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Chapter Twenty-Nine

MacKenzie clipped her blackberry back onto the waistband of her yoga pants and tugged down her cap. “Alright, I’m ready.” She adjusted the holster under her sweat jacket and waited for him to start running. He’d woken her at 6am from the couch where she’d fallen asleep after the movie. They both needed the run after he insisted they had pancakes and maple syrup for breakfast.

Six am in Soho was pretty deserted. The crunch of the fall leaves under their shoes was accompanied by the faint whirring of the street cleaners a few blocks over that were beginning their morning rounds, along with the odd dog walker and jogger dotted around the place. She sucked in her breath which hit her lungs like glass, there was nothing like a crisp November morning in New York.

She relaxed into her stride as they fell into step easily, like they always did. She glanced sideways, his tight grey t-shirt already had formed a v-line of sweat down his back that pointed to that perfect ass. He increased his pace and she did the same once she checked no one was following them. She had him at all angles, at all times.

They’d had a nice evening in, MacKenzie didn’t feel as weird as she thought she might opening up to Jon about Brian. It had actually surprisingly felt quite good. She had been in denial that she’d been falling for him for a while now, but had decided that once whatever this was, was over, she was telling him. That was at least the plan.

They stopped half way at three miles so she stretched herself out against the wall popping out her calf muscles and checked her watch. “Not bad timing for three miles, we’re getting good at this.”

He stretched his back, wincing at the crack. "Well you keep trying to beat me, so I've got to amp up my stride."

She stood and put her hands on her hips. "I do not try and beat you..." she couldn’t stop her lips from twitching, ok so she tried to constantly beat him. It was what made their work out time fun.

Enjoying her light mood and taking advantage of the public display, he dragged her against him. The brick of the building dug into his shoulders as she crashed against him, but it was worth the irritation. She was tight against him and her mouth tasted of salt and coffee. Swiping his tongue inside her mouth, he tasted the hazelnut creamer she indulged in some mornings. Taking it one step further, he slid his fingers through the slick line of sweat on her back. When she moaned into his mouth, he went south, filling his hands with each cheek.

She should have protested, she should have heard the warning bells go off in her head, but she didn't. Instead she crept up onto her toes and leaned into him, her nipples growing hard against the sweaty cotton. Her hands wound up under his t-shirt her thumbs brushing against his hips. His dark flavor was one she was getting all too accustomed too.

She wanted more of him, more of this --all thoughts were lost among the morning coos of the pigeons and the stirrings of daily traffic started to wake. Her hand cupped his jaw and she edged back. "What was that for?"

"I wanted you," he sipped from her mouth again. "I'm still allowed to pretend I can't keep my hands off you in public, right?" He slid his knee between her thighs. "That every," he nipped at her bottom lip, "morning, I get to touch you, to feel you wrapped around me." He groaned, remembering her on the couch and the wild lust he'd seen there just that morning. If there was a medal in sexually frustrated, he was going to earn it with fucking honors

Why did he chose now, choose here to do this? He was using their position of pretend to drive into reality when they got home. She leaned into his body and pressed her palm against his chest, her eyes falling to his lips. “Well you don’t have to pretend—if you don’t want to—“She was torn between duty and lust but dragged her mouth across his anyway. “I want you.”

With God and sunlight to watch in those early hours of the morning he tasted her. When she responded to him without her usual reservations, he took more. The freedom in their touch, if even just for a moment, gave him a rush. Her taste was sweeter, hotter, and even more beguiling. And when her fingers tangled into his hair, he flattened his palms against the scratchy brick beside her head.

He pushed the kiss harder, deeper--wanting more, even as she gave him more. And when she flipped him around, her fingers in his hair, her body pressed against him, he revelled in the softness of her breasts and the smooth muscles of her arms as she held him tighter. He'd been waiting for this for so long.

She took his taste and she swallowed it, her heart raced wildly against her chest. Her fingers slid down to his neck and she scraped her thumb along his jaw. Reluctant to break the kiss, the one she’d been waiting to give him in so long, she finally did. Her eyes fell to his lips as they pulled apart, and she smiled and was about to speak when two strong arms hooked under hers and dragged her backwards.

Her head snapped backwards on instinct, smashing hard against whoever’s face it was, causing a groan and an enough time for her to wrestle out of his grip.

“You’ll pay for that little girl,” her attacker snarled in her ear, he had to be at least two feet taller and a hundred pounds heavier than her.

“Not likely asshole,” she kicked one foot up and connected it with shin.

“Fucking bitch!” He’d backed away giving her the two seconds she needed to take control.

“Run, get outta here!” She screamed at Jon who stood like a statue, frozen to the ground, his eyes wide and his face was white as a sheet.

The street seemed to slow down to a crawl. Foot traffic gave a wide berth as he fought the urge to run. He couldn't leave her. The crack of her elbow into the larger man's windpipe had him wincing as the kid crumpled into the pavement.

"Go!" came her scream of outrage as he stood his ground.

"Not without you!" Fuck, was he stupid now?

She growled, "Stupid Stubborn Man." She twisted and her foot went flying, connecting with the guy’s stomach. His associate made a grab for her but the guy she'd elbowed and kicked in the guts was doubled over and waved him to stop. "Dude, I think she’s a pig.”

"Son of a bitch!" he shoved her, and she lost her footing slamming back first into the concrete below. She closed her eyes as the sound of heavy footsteps running faded. Thank fuck for that.

"Kenzie." His hand shook as he knelt beside her. When she slapped the pavement with her palm, he snatched his fingers back. "Are you all right?"

She heaved her breath and arched, "Fuck! Dammit!" She pulled herself into a sitting position up and winced, Jon finally coming into view. His face was pale, he was probably scared shitless with what just happened but all the willpower in the world couldn't let that melt her anger. "When I tell you to run, you run Jon."

He reared back as if she'd slapped him. She couldn't possibly think he'd have gone without her. "I wouldn't have left you here like that."

She rubbed the back of her head, relieved it was still dry and not cracked open
pouring with blood. "I could handle them Jon, you would not have been able to. Remember this is my job --" she looked back up at him. "Which incidentally I would have been doing if you hadn't been fucking seducing me," she snapped.

He stood, crossing his arms. The woman was beyond the scope of stupid. "Believe me, I won't make the mistake again." His eyebrow rose behind his shades. For the first time, he welcomed the way they hid half his face. "Looks like your covers blown anyway. Maybe I don't need your services any longer."

"Fuck," that was the other thing. Her cover was blown if it hadn’t been already, she had to assume they were gang members or lackies of theirs. She hoisted herself up and looked around, the on lookers had all lost interest and started to mill away. She grabbed his arm and pulled him into an alleyway, sheltered from the public eye.

"Don't get all pissy on me, I know damn well this wasn't all your fault it was mine. Mine for letting myself get so close to you... mine for actually enjoying being with you,” she slapped her hand hard against brick. “Mine for falling in love with you.” This was a complete fucking mess, and she only had herself to blame.

"What?" he grabbed her by her elbow, curling his fingers back into fists away from her when she winced. She was banged up and scratched. She was in harm’s way because he put her in that position. "You love me?" He cupped her face, making sure her eyes met his. His belly bottomed out as he tried to put that into order in his head. "You're in love with me?"

She nodded slowly, the zing up her body started to burn as it came out of shock. She was going to be a sore puppy later. She blinked away the tears, and swallowed her emotion. “I’m sorry. “ She’d let him down, she’d let herself down by putting her feelings first and in the process had nearly got them both killed.