The Redemption (The Club #3)(14)


by Lauren Rowe

Before I can change my mind, I press send.

Holy crappola. What am I doing? I’m insane. I’m not James Bond. I’m not a superhero. I can call myself Orgasma the All-Powerful all I like, but I’m still just me. A girl made of flesh and bones—and blood, as my body so recently proved in spades. I don’t know what the heck I think I’m doing. Damn. I need help. I need Jonas.

Or maybe I should throw in the towel and just call the FBI already? If that means I won’t pass the ethics review for my law license, then I guess I’ll just have to live with that. But I don’t want to give up on my legal career. Tears rise up in my eyes. I’ve worked too hard to get here. My mother is counting on me and so are the countless women my mom helps. I can’t let them down. I’ve got to figure this out. I wipe my eyes.

I need Jonas.

I have a stomachache.

I need Jonas.

Jonas. Jonas, Jonas, Jonas. Oh my God, Jonas. My heart and body and soul ache for him. He looked so sad when my mom drove me away from the hospital. I wanted to hurl my body out of the car and leap into his arms right then. But I didn’t. I just closed my eyes and cried as the car peeled away, too overwhelmed and in pain and jumbled and depressed and anxious to do anything else.

I need Jonas.

My heart pangs violently. I miss him. I can’t be apart from him for another minute. I thought I needed time away to remind myself who I am when I’m not in his intoxicating presence—to battle my addiction to him and regain my sense of self, to get a handle on my studies and figure things out and let my body heal without distraction. I thought I needed to take a break from the madness for a little while. But I was wrong. Oh God, I was so wrong. I need him. My sweet Jonas. The man I love with all my heart and soul. For better or worse.

I pick up the phone and dial him. He answers immediately.

“Baby,” he says softly. He sounds out of breath, like he gasped when he saw my name come up on his screen.

At the sound of his voice, I lose it. “Jonas,” I bawl.

“What is it, Sarah? Tell me.” He lets out a pained exhale. “Whatever it is, we’ll handle it.” He sounds like he wants to leap through the phone line.

“Come get me, Jonas. I want you. I need you. Please, Jonas. Bring me home.”

Chapter 12

Sarah

“I can walk,” I say. But Jonas ignores me, as usual. He scoops me up from his car and carries me into his house, straight to his bedroom, and lays me down on top of his white sheets like I’m a porcelain doll.

“Welcome home,” he says softly. He’s triumphant—the picture of pure elation.

I smile at him. “It’s good to be home.”

“Say that again,” he says.

“Home.”

“You’re forbidden to leave ever again,” he says. “I’m gonna install bars on the windows and doors.”

“I’m so happy to be here, I’m not even creeped out by that statement.”

He lies down next to me, on his side. “You’re so beautiful,” he says, softly tracing my eyebrow with his finger. “I missed you so much.” He takes my face in his hands. “Never leave me again.”

“I won’t.”

“Never, ever, ever.”

“Got it.”

“Ever.”

“I’ve learned my lesson. It was physically painful being away from you—or, wait, maybe that pain came from the knife in my side.” I smile, but he doesn’t. Clearly, it’s too soon for knock-knock-who’s-there-I-got-stabbed humor.

“I—,” he chokes out. He stuffs down whatever he was about to say. “When I saw you on the bathroom floor, I thought you were dead.”

“Oh, Jonas, I’m so sorry.” I can’t even imagine how that must have affected him.

He kisses me gently. “I thought I’d lost you.” He wraps his arm over me and kisses every inch of my face. His muscles are taut against my body.

I close my eyes. My fingers find his bicep. “I’m sorry.”

“Stop apologizing,” he murmurs. “I’m the one who’s sorry.” He sighs. “Sarah, I need to—”

“Jonas, wait. Listen to me.”

He pulls back and stares at me. He waits.

“I know we have a ton of stuff to talk about. Like, tons and tons. But before we start talking and probably never stop, can I ask a favor?”

“You can have whatever you want, my beautiful, precious baby. Forever and ever and ever and ever, whatever you want.” He strokes my cheek.

I pause. That was a big statement. Wow. He just made my heart leap out of my chest. I clear my throat.

“Name it, baby,” he says, kissing my cheek. “Whatever it is, it’s yours. I’m yours. Forever and ever and ever. Whatever you want, it shall be yours.” He kisses my nose.

Wow, he’s making me giddy. Not to mention turning me on. I can hardly speak.

“Tell me,” he says.

“I want you to kiss all my booboos.”

He smiles. “Your booboos?”

I grin broadly. It’s hilarious hearing that silly word come out of his mouth. “Yeah. I want you to give me besitos on my booboos and make ‘em all better.”

“Besitos?” he repeats. Jonas always loves it when I speak Spanish to him.

“Mmm hmm. Little kisses. On my booboos.”

“Besitos on your booboos, huh?”

“Mmm hmm.”

He bites his lip. “Whatever you say, my precious, pretty baby. My Magnificent Sarah.” His cheeks are flushed.

How did we survive these past three days apart? Why did I feel the need to pull away from him? I can’t even remember why I thought I needed space.

I sit up and raise my arms over my head, and he takes off my tank top.

“Oh,” he says, wincing at the sight of me.

I look down at myself and shrug. The wound on my ribcage looks way better than it did three days ago. But I imagine Jonas doesn’t appreciate all the healing my body has done—all he sees is my current state of disrepair.

I lie back down on the bed, inviting him to kiss my body. “It looks worse than it feels, I assure you.”

He leans down to my torso and softly kisses me. “This booboo right here?”

Goose bumps erupt all over my skin. “That’s the one.”

He runs his fingertip over my stitches and then over the black-and-blue-and-yellowish skin surrounding the gash. “Does it hurt?”