Authoress Zion

I wake up to a pair of strong arms rocking me.

I look up as Jackson peers down at me, concern written all over his striking face.

I don’t even realize that I fell asleep again until I glance at the clock, and it reads 3:45am.

For a moment, I’m nervous that I’ve said something about Ford in my dream state.

I expect him to start questioning me, or ask what I was dreaming about but he doesn’t. Instead, his hand drops down to my cheek and brushes across the wetness gathered there. He looks at his fingers, which are now damp with my tears.


Then he pulls me off of his l ap and ¢rushes me against him in one of the most powerful embraces I’ve ever experienced in my life.

My breath leaves my lungs with a big whoosh, and all I can do is breathe him in and succumb to the warmth I feel.

It’s been so long since I’ve been to uched like this, I almost recoil.

He must sense this because he pulls back slightly, his thumbs graze over my cheekbones again and for a second; I think he’s about to do something ¢razy- like kss me.

I find myself wanting him to do just that. I want him to fix me, make me whole again. I want him to erase the past with his purity and kindness.

I wish our circumstances were different, I wish I was the girl he first thought I was. The girl he briefly fIirted with on that walk from the fight club. The girl who isn’t so damaged she barely even knows how to function anymore.

His lips move closer and my heart stutters in my chest as I close my eyes.

Disappointment hits hard when I feel his lips land on my forehead instead of my mouth.

“Look at me,” he whispers. “I won’t hurt you.”

I’ve heard those words before…by the one person who swore they never would.

“You don’t know that, Jackson. You can’t promise me something like that.”

His eyes bore into mine before he hugs me again. “You’re right. I can’t make that promise.” He holds my chin between his thumb and his fingers. “But I can promise you that I will never intentionally hurt you. No matter what happens between us, just know that I’ll always have your best interest at heart.”

I stay silent taking in his words, wanting so badly to believe them. I’m so lost in my own thoughts, I almost don’t register when he stands up and walks over to his closet.

“Here,” Jackson says. He hands me a clean white t-shirt and a pair of flannel boxers. “Change into these. You’ll be more comfortable.”

I look down at my skin tight jeans and my constricting leopard print tank top and give him a smile. “Thanks.”

He returns my smile before he closes the door behind him.


After I change he walks back into his bedroom, this time; carrying a mug. I look down in confusion when I see its contents.

“Hot chocolate with cinnamon and whipped cream?” I question. It’s not that I’m not grateful for it, I’m just curious; especially because I never asked for it.

He looks uneasy before he clears his throat and sits on the bed beside me.

“I used to make it for Lilly whenever she was upset.” He shrugs. “It was her favorite. It always made her feel better.”

I’m touched that he’s sharing this part of himself with me.

I take a sip of the chocolate goodness before putting the mug down on the nightstand beside the bed.

Before I can talk myself out of it, I reach for his hand. His hand dwarfs mine in size, but I lay it on top of mine anyway and begin tracing the lines of his palm.

He looks away but continues talking. “My mom was a her.oin add!ct. We barely even survived living in that trailer on her check from government assistance. She made a lot of wrong choices due to her addiction, one of them including the men she brought home.” He swallows. “One night, when I was 11, I came home late. I was out playing football in the park with my friends and lost track of time. My mother was passed out on the couch. She didn’t hear Lilly’s screams, but I did.”

I grip his hand tighter, hoping to give him the strength to continue. He turns his head and finally looks at me. “I ran into her bedroom and saw my mother’s poor excuse for a one night stand with his p ants around his ankles while he was standing over her bed.”

“Oh my god.” My hand flies to my mouth. “Please tell me he didn’t.”

He shakes his head. “He didn’t. With strength I didn’t even know I possessed, I charged at him. I threw him right out the door and b eat the sht out of him. Then I told him if I ever saw his face again I would finish him. When I went back into Lilly’s room, she was shaking and refused to speak.


Finally, after an hour or so had passed, she told me she was thirsty. It was around Christmas time and we didn’t have much.”

I look at the mug. “But you had hot chocolate, cinnamon, and whipped cream,” I finish for him

He nods. “Yeah. After that day, it became her favorite. We were all each other had and I promised her that I would always protect her. In addition to taking up mixed martial arts, I slept on the floor in her bedroom at night, every night.” He pauses. “Well, up until my mom died and she didn’t have to fear her dirtbag boyfriends anymore.”

I rest my head against his shoulder, tears prickling my eyes for all that he’s endured. “You were an amazing big brother.”

“I tried to be. I wanted to be. She deserved that. She was an amazing person. She was brilliant, sweet, compassionate- everything that was right in the world. She was going places. She got into Harvard, she wanted to make a difference.” He draws in a shaky breath. “I didn’t tell her often, but I was so proud of her.”

I grab his hand tighter, mustering up the courage to ask the question that I don’t want to ask, but I have to. “What happened to her, Jackson?”

He leans back against the headboard, his face portraying so much grief and agony, I’m about to tell him that he doesn’t have to answer.

“She was murdered.”

His words hang in the silence between us.

“Did her ki ller pay?”

He looks at me and his eyes darken. “Not nearly enough.”

I fight the involuntary shiver that crawls up my spine.

It’s clear that he’s not up to talking about this anymore because he turns and flicks off the light.

I lie on the bed beside him, both of us flat on our backs, not saying a word- our fingertips almost touching.

I never knew how comfortable silence could be until now. But as comfortable as it is between us, I need something else.

I turn and position myself on top of him, my legs on either side of him. His eyes open wide at first, but he visibly relaxes when I slide down until my head is flat against his chest.

I can feel every defined muscle his body encompasses. Every ripple of his abs, how hard and broad his chest is. And I’d be lying to myself if I didn’t admit that it causes a physical reaction to stir in me, but this closeness is different than any other I’ve experienced.

“I hate murderers,” I mumble with a yawn. “I’ll never understand how cruel and inhumane someone’s soul must be in order to take another life. It’s unforgivable.”

His body tenses beneath me and I know it’s because he probably feels the same. “I wish everyone could be good like you, Jackson,” I whisper before I close my eyes.

His hand skims up the length of my back, hesitantly at first, until I nuzzle against him and he begins drawing slow circles along my spine, lulling me to sleep.

I have no more bad dreams that night.

I do, however, dream about Jackson.



Sunlight peeks in from the corner of the curtain covering the window in his bedroom.

I look down. One heavy and muscular leg is tangled between two of mine.

We must have dislodged ourselves from one another in the middle of the night.

Well, somewhat.

His back is partially turned away from me and my eyes practically pop from their sockets when I notice that he’s shirtless, wearing nothing but a pair of boxers.

His broad back is a sight to behold and my breathing hitches in my throat.

When my eyes travel further down, lu$t crashes into me like a dmn tsunami.

A portion of the comforter is draped and bunched up just under that mouthwatering, sculpted V of his, which unfortunately for me…happens to be hiding something that I’m very interested in seeing at the moment.

I fight back and forth with my conscience before deciding that if the roles were reversed, I might not like it if he tore back the covers in order to get a better look at my goods.

But then again, I don’t look like him.

His body is a work of art. When I look at him, I see the hours of training and discipline, I see the strength he possesses, the well-oiled machine he’s molded himself into.

Who am I kidding? I definitely wouldn’t mind Jackson getting a better look at me. I wouldn’t mind Jackson showing any kind of sxual interest in me at all.

The thought surprises me, because although I use sx as a way of coping and punishing myself…the one thing I don’t use sx for is my desire.

It h its me and I realize how much I’ve been missing out on.

The question is…does Jackson want me even half as much as I want him?

Like the saying goes, there’s only one way to find out.

Since his front isn’t facing my back, I’m unable to grind myself against him and feign innocence when he catches on, leaving the ball in his court.

That means I have no choice but to take the initiative and put myself out there.

It’s something I’ve done more times than I care to think about, but for some reason, I’ve never been so nervous about it before.

And that includes that night in the car with Ford, because I knew deep down that he wanted me.

But with Jackson, I really have no idea. He’s so controlled and good at keeping his emotions in check.

I bite my lip and prop myself up on one elbow, my front now pressed up flush against his back. I lift one hand and slowly trail my fingers down his chest. Seeing all those muscles is nothing compared to feeling them.

I expect him to wake then, but when I look up his eyes are still closed, his mouth parted slightly.

My fingers find the waistband of his boxers and hover there for a moment. I plant a gentle open-mouthed kss on his shoulder while I continue tracing the outline of his waistband.

His brows furrow and I think I’m doing something wrong…but then he releases a low and husky groan that goes straight to my core.

Just when I’m about to move the comforter and slip my hand inside the opening of his boxers…I find myself facing the ceiling, with a ginormous weight on top of me.

My wrists are pinned and I’m gasping for air when he settles between my thighs.

The only thought going through my mind is-


When I feel his hardness pressed against my thigh.

“What are you doing, Alyssa?” he asks, his voice raspy with sleep and what I’m hoping is arousal.

I don’t answer him because my brain just isn’t capable of forming complete sentences right now. Instead, I shift myself so he’s exactly where I want him to be and I swear, I die a thousand deaths.

He releases my wrists, grabs a handful of my hair and inhales deeply. “Coconut,” he rasps. I don’t understand why he’s talking about coconuts when all I want to do is lick him from head to toe, but then he groans and flattens his palms against mine. “I love the way you smell.” He closes his eyes, appearing to be fighting a war within himself. “I bet you taste as good as you smell.”

“Jackson,” I whisper. My shorts are bunched up so they resemble underwear and I’m certain that he can feel the we tness between my l egs seeping through the material.

And then he thrusts and I feel every single inch of him. Including something I never expected. Something that pushes my own arou sal into overdrive.

He lifts his h ips and just when I think he’s about to end the slow to rture and fk me, he rolls off of me.

I climb on top of him and st raddle him, but his hands press down on my th ighs rendering me unable to move. “No,” he says firmly.

“Why not?”

Then it h its me. Why the h’ll would Jackson want a girl like me?

I’m used up, washed up and fked up.

“Hey.” He lifts my chin to look at him. “Whatever you’re thinking right now, cut it out. It’s not you, it’s me.”

“Wow,” I scoff. “You won’t even fk me but you’re already hi tting me with the old ‘it’s not you, it’s me.”

I move my face away from his touch. “I’d rather you just be honest and tell me you’d rather not stick your dk in a dirty wh’re.” I laugh. “Trust me, I understand.”

I raise my th ighs and attempt to get off him but he clamps down harder, holding me in place. “And that right there is why this can’t happen, Alyssa.”

I roll my eyes. “Whatever. Don’t bother letting me down easy. I don’t blame you for not wanting a sIut.” He groans and lifts his h ips pushing his thick ere ¢tion into me. “Does this feel like I don’t want you?”

He shifts and pulls us into a sitting position. “But the thing is, you’re not a wh’re. That’s not your identity, no matter what others may say. You’re Alyssa.” His voice drops to a whisper, “But you need to believe it yourself. And I’ll only add to your pain if I let you use me as some kind of weapon in order to punish yourself. I don’t want to be used by you. I don’t want you to put me in the same category as the others. That’s why this can’t happen and I can only offer you friendship.”

I nod my head in understanding. I have absolutely no argument for that. He has every right to think that I would only be using him. And I don’t want to take advantage of him, no matter how much my own heart, mind, and body are in disagreement when it comes to him.

I need to sort out my feelings and make some serious decisions before I pursue anything with him again.

I climb off of him, wishing the disappointment that fills my chest would stop. I wish that everything was different and that I was a normal almost 24-year-old.

We turn in bed and face one another, studying each other’s faces, not sure what to say next.

“Can I ask you something?”


I flush when the thought invades my brain, and before I can stop myself, I utter, “Jackson, do you have a dk piercing?”

He opens his mouth to answer me but starts laughing. My heart constricts because he looks even hotter now. “Wow, that was seriously the last thing I expected you to ask me,” he says between bouts of laughter.

I h it him with a pillow. “Stop laughing and answer the question.”

“Yes, I have an apadravya.”

“How did that happen?”

He raises an eyebrow. “Well, it wasn’t some freak accident if that’s what you’re asking.”

I groan. “No. I mean, what made you want to get your dk pierced.”

He shrugs. “Tyrone.”

It’s my turn to raise an eyebrow at him. “Really? Wow, you turning me down makes even more sense now.”

I swear he flushes when he catches on to what he said. “Fuck. That didn’t come out right.”

“Hey, Tyrone’s sxy. I can’t say that I blame you.”

His nostrils flare and for a moment, I see jealousy flash across his face. “What I meant,” he says through clenched teeth. “Is that Tyrone was the reason behind the piercing.”

I give him a wink. “I bet he was.”

He groans in frustration and pulls me into his arms. “Do you want to hear the story or not?”

I put my finger to my lips. “Hmm, do I want to hear the story about two hot guys getting their dks pierced? Yes, please.”

He rolls his gorgeous eyes and playfully swats my behind. “Now, you’re only getting the cliff notes version. It happened after we both won our first fight at the club. We were at the bar and Tyrone ended up getting drunk when he suddenly announced that he needed to celebrate.”

I can’t stop myself from giggling. “And he thought getting an apadravya would be the way to go about that?”

He gives me a lopsided grin. “It gets better. He leaped on top of the bar and declared that he was going to do something very alpha male. He ended it with a giant ‘I am man, hear me roar’”.

I put my hand to my forehead. “Oh god. He didn’t.”

He shakes his head. “No, he didn’t. Because when we got to the shop, he chickened out on the apadravya. He only has a Prince Albert.” Jackson laughs so hard he begins shaking. “He kept telling the poor piercer to make it look pretty. Crazy thing is, he doesn’t even remember getting it done. He screamed like a girl when he took a piss the next morning.”

I can’t stop myself from joining in his laughter. “That is an awesome story.”

“It is. I’ll never forget the look on Ricardo’s face when he walked into the tattoo shop and saw what we were doing. He was mad that we fell off the grid on our first night, but he ended up getting his own piercing as a sign of solidarity.”

I wipe my eyes and scrunch my face. “Fell off the grid? What is he, your keeper or something?”

Jackson’s face falls, but our moment is quickly interrupted when some woman yells, “Tyrone Isaac Davis. That is no way to greet Momma. Now put some damn clothes on and tell your lady friend good luck and Godspeed,” in a thick Southern accent.

“Sht. Momma’s here.”

“Momma?” I question.

He nods before he throws my jeans at me. “Quick, put these on.”

I do as he says, but can’t help but think- What the h’ll is going on and who the he¢k is Momma?


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