As You Turn Away (The Walker Boys) (23 page)

BOOK: As You Turn Away (The Walker Boys)
5.28Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

“Jonah, Jonah.” Tears welled in her eyes, and she took a deep breath as the orgasm rolled through her and finally calmed.

Jonah let out another growl, and his lips found her throat as he came. He ground out her name, a strangled sound, and surged forward a final time. He made to pull out of her, but Quinn rose up on her elbows, kissing him and holding him in place. “Not yet.”

He rested on top of her for a long moment before he finally moved away, and turned so he could dispose of the condom. Then he came back to her, and wrapped his arms around her. Quinn spooned into him, her back against his stomach. Jonah’s lips drifted across her shoulders, his nose pressed lightly against her skin. It was such a peaceful sensation, and Quinn felt drowsy, warm, and heavy. She knew she was drifting toward sleep, but she couldn’t stay awake.

“I love you.” Jonah whispered the words, and they were the last thing Quinn heard as she fell asleep.




Quinn woke to the disorienting feel of an arm curled around her bare stomach, and then her eyes flew open. Soft, muted sunlight filtered through the windows, and a body—Jonah’s—was pressed against hers, keeping her warm. She rolled over, careful not to disturb him, so that they were face to face. The sheet he must have pulled over them fluttered as she looked at Jonah. He was still sleeping, chest rising and falling evenly, and he seemed peaceful. His features were smooth and still, the beautiful eyes she adored closed, his thick hair mussed. He was

As she stared at him, something in her ached violently.

Four years and some odd months had led them here, this graceful building between them. Quinn wasn’t sure she deserved to be here with him, or to feel this happy, but she knew she wanted to hold on to this moment for as long as it lasted. She’d dreamed of Jonah’s kiss last night, and she could hardly believe the way he made love to her, the way he touched her, or what he invoked within her. She wasn’t normally a bold lover, but she felt so different with Jonah.

He made her feel alive.

Quinn traced her fingers across his face, a smile fluttering at her lips. After so much heartache between them, and so much turmoil the last months, she and he both needed this bliss. And that’s what it was—no rising panic at the thought of waking up beside him, like with other men—no reason to hurry. Darren and her father knew where she was; Dare hugged her and told her just to be sure this was what she wanted, and her dad had smiled at her and told her to be happy.

There was just Quinn, and Jonah, and this moment. She didn’t know what this meant for the future, or for her, but she knew that at least for today, she was exactly where she wanted to be. She didn’t want to over think them, or the situation, or make promises she couldn’t keep. She just wanted to be here, now. This woman, with this man. She liked who she felt strong enough to be with Jonah, and she wanted to learn how to be that person all the time.

“Morning, lovely girl.” Jonah’s voice was roughened by sleep, but to her, it was the most beautiful sound in the world. His lips curved into a smile just before his eyes opened.

“Good morning, Jonah.” Her answering smile was instantaneous, pulled into being just by watching him. Seeing the happiness spreading across his face, just like a sunrise, was all she needed to feel light.

“Did you sleep well?” He stretched, and the sheet fell away from his chest.

Quinn tried not to stare at the well-defined muscles, but with them on display, it was difficult not to. Jonah wasn’t wiry, and he wasn’t huge. What he
, was muscular, and she wanted her hands all over him in ways she hadn’t gotten to experience last night. She wanted her mouth on his tattoos—including the music notes on his hip.

“Oh,” she said, realizing he was still waiting for an answer. She raised her gaze to his, and mock-glared at him as his expression dissolved into amusement. “I did. Your bed is comfortable.”

“Mmmm.” His voice lowered as his hands wandered under the sheet. “That’s good.” His tone didn’t give anything away, but when one of his hands found her breast, he grinned at her. She let out a sigh, and batted his hand away from her skin.

“Jonah Walker, what are you trying to do?” Quinn raised her eyebrows at him, but her body was already curving toward him. “I don’t think I’ll let you get away with any funny business this morning.”

“You won’t?” He leaned in and kissed her, a quick but searing kiss. “When will you let me get away with it, then?”

Quinn stifled a giggle and wrapped a hand around his length. He hardened immediately, and his eyes snapped to hers. “Maybe after I’m done with you, if there’s anything of you left.”

Jonah leaned his forehead against hers, emerald-green eyes narrowing. “Prove it, sweetheart.” His voice was low, rough.

She ran her hand down his erection, shocking herself again. Usually with her it was quick, unemotional sex, but Jonah brought out so much: her confidence, her impulse to be playful, and sweet. And lasting. Which terrified her, but she wanted to be different with him.

“Is that a challenge?” She kept her eyes leveled on him as she moved up and down, deliberately taking her time. She tightened her grip by a fraction, loving the way he felt against her. “’Cause if it is…”

Jonah hissed out a breath. “Sure is.”

Quinn paused, calculating. She moved down his body until she was straddling him, and before she could lose her nerve, she took him in her mouth. Quinn circled his tip with her tongue, Jonah’s taste engulfing her senses. Jonah let out an impressive string of curses, but went silent as she took him in all the way. She adjusted to the feel of him, and moved in the way she knew he remembered. And enjoyed.

“Damn,” Jonah muttered. “You’re amazing, Quinn.”

She stroked his balls as she continued what she was doing, and she heard his breathing go shallow. When Jonah pumped his hips once, she flicked her fingers at him, hoping he knew to continue. With each thrust, she could tell he was closer, and it elated her to know she could do this for him.

With a sudden roar, Jonah pulled away from her, and Quinn smiled in satisfaction. Knowing she’d made him orgasm was better than any pleasure he could give her. And when he reached for her, pulling her in close with a dazed but still decidedly mischievous smile, Quinn shook her head. “So did I win or lose the challenge?”

“Hmm.” Jonah pretended to think. “Well you certainly made my morning, and I’m not sure there’s much left of me just this minute.” He paused, eying her. “But you
I’m fairly competitive, so I think I ought to get a chance before we pick a winner.”

Quinn snickered. “You’re trying to avoid admitting defeat.”

“I’m just trying to even the odds,” he countered, pulling the sheet back over them.




“Are you sure about this?” Quinn hesitated after she got out of Jonah’s car, one hand on the door handle. She gazed toward his house, more familiar to her in some ways than her own. “I know your brothers are okay with this, but what about your parents?” She hadn’t forgotten she’d hurt them, too.

Jonah squinted at the house, then grinned at her, eyes crinkling at the corners. “They’ll be fine. Above anything else, they want me to be happy.”

“But your mother—”

“Ma is protective,” Jonah said softly. “You know how she gets. Once she sees how good we are together, she’ll be fine, Quinn. I promise.”

He came around to her side of the car and linked his hand with hers. At the touch of his skin, Quinn felt some of her uneasiness melt away. She wasn’t quite as hopeful as Jonah was about this meeting; after all, not even their reunion could alter their history. She remembered Sam as a big teddy bear, and Jenny as welcoming. But what would Jonah’s parents think of her now?

“I just…” Quinn sighed. “I know how much I hurt you.” Her heart thudded, trying to shove its way out of her chest. “I can’t imagine that won’t matter to them.”

Jonah tugged her closer, and tucked her hair behind her ear. He kissed her cheek, then the corner of her mouth, his breath warm on her lips. “I swear to you,” he said, pulling back to look into her eyes, “that this time? We’ll do everything right, no matter what it takes. I’ll make sure my parents see how happy we are, and everything
be okay.”

Quinn inhaled shakily; in the back of her mind, she found his earnest words hard to believe. Was it as simple as leaving the past where it belonged and moving on, toward a new, better future? Was such a thing really possible? Everyone around her thought it was, but she’d been running for so long, afraid to stop and let herself believe in something good. Ever since she left Georgia the first time, she’d hidden away her anguish, and her guilt, and kept good things at arm’s length.

Was it finally safe to change that?

She fit herself into Jonah’s side, and he released her hand to put his arm around her shoulder. She rested her head on his shoulder, and frowned. “I just want to be better, this time—for you, and for myself.”

“You will be.” Jonah’s voice was firm, no trace of uncertainty present. He believed in her so fully, it was hard to doubt herself.

But Quinn knew what she was capable of, and all of this was so amazing—too perfect for her skeptical side to believe in, just yet. She raised her head, her mouth finding Jonah’s. His kiss was penetrating, but it was more than that; in his kiss, she finally felt hope. And that was enough for her to go on for now.



Quinn stared after Jonah’s car until his taillights disappeared. Until she realized he wasn’t coming back.

Until she sank into the chair beside the pool, and gave in to the tears. She let them fall, knowing it was useless to try to hold them back any longer. His words hammered at her thoughts, the disappointment in his eyes when she told him about her mom’s plans for her future, and how she didn’t know what to do. How trapped she felt. The fear welling within her as he walked away. How she’d called his name, but he hadn’t looked back at her.

She picked up her cell phone, and pressed the speed dial for his number. She listened to it ring, tears falling faster, but just as his voicemail clicked over, headlights washed across her driveway.

“Quinn!” Jonah raced around the corner.

She gasped, and stood on watery legs. Quinn took a step toward Jonah, and then he was at her side. She felt his arms close around her, and then they were in a chaise lounge, and she was in his lap. He buried his face in her neck.

“I’m sorry, darlin’, I’m so sorry. I don’t know what got into me.”

Quinn put a hand in his hair, gripping the silken strands. His scent washed away anything else. His voice dulled her mother’s insults.

“I—it’s all overwhelming. The future, trying to decide what to do. I didn’t mean for you to think I’d ever, ever let her win though.” Quinn forced herself to stop crying so she could talk legibly, knowing she had to make this right. She couldn’t lose Jonah.

He was her touchstone, her heart, and her sanity. In an increasingly hostile environment, he was the only thing that made sense. She lived for her time with him, and her friends. She clung to the moments she could just be a teenager in love, or a high school kid cheering on the football team to a win. She wouldn’t know what to do if she couldn’t escape to the Walker’s house, to Jenny and her homey kitchen, Sam and his cowboy hats.

“Shhh, we’ll figure it all out somehow.” Jonah raised his head, and kissed the corner of her mouth. “We’re us, and we’re stronger than anything.”

Quinn ignored the pull in her heart that said otherwise.


Chapter Sixteen


The lemonade was just the right amount of tart and sweet tangled around one another; Jonah took a second swallow and then lowered his cup. Over the rim, he caught sight of various friends and family members scattered throughout Main Street. It was blocked off today for the town’s annual Summer Festival. In the years he’d been gone the event hadn’t really changed, but being able to look around and see familiar vendors, games, and folks wasn’t a bad thing. It put a smile on his face, noting that Mary Parker was still giving away her homemade loaf bread, and her husband was still leading little kids around for pony rides. Happy giggles resounded throughout the street, along with the hum of conversations.

The town was starting to feel like home again. From the Sanders brothers manning the dunking tank, to Reece organizing a pick-up softball game, it was…comfortable. Jonah knew what to expect from these people, day after day. And instead of the small-town peculiarities making him feel like running, now they made him want to
. He liked where his feet were planted, liked having crops to look forward to, neighbors to count on, and family around him.

“Uncle Jonah!” A small body hurtled toward him, and Jonah bent down to sweep Jamie into his arms. The little boy leaned in and kissed his cheek, smiling widely. Jonah hoisted his nephew onto his shoulders, and Jamie’s small arms twined around his neck.

“Giddy-up,” Jamie commanded, giggling.

Jonah reached a hand up to brace against Jamie’s back and made his way over to the park, where Reece was holding court. It was impossible to think that three months ago, he hadn’t known this amazing child existed. Now, he couldn’t begin to imagine Sunday morning brunches without Jamie present, chattering away at them, or horse rides with his nephew cuddled in close to him. Jamie was an indelible part of his life, just as the rest of his family was.

BOOK: As You Turn Away (The Walker Boys)
5.28Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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