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Authors: Jasmine Haynes

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Somebody’s Lover

The Jackson
Brothers, Book 1

By Jasmine Haynes

 

Copyright
2012 Jasmine Haynes

Cover
Design by Rae Monet Inc

 

This
is copyrighted material. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may
be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by
any means, electronic, mechanical, recording or otherwise, without the prior
written permission of the author. This is a work of fiction. The characters,
incidents and dialogues in this book are of the author’s imagination and are
not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to actual events or persons,
living or dead, is completely coincidental.

 

Author
Note: this book contains explicit sexual material

Previously
published in 2006 as part of the
Somebody’s Lover
anthology

Summary

 

A
family torn apart by tragedy...

 

Widowed
three years ago and the mother of two, Taylor Jackson is starting to feel that
life as a woman is passing her by. Always somebody’s daughter-in-law,
somebody’s mother, or somebody’s sister-in-law, Taylor longs to be somebody’s
secret lover.

 

Taylor
was his brother’s wife, and now his brother’s widow, untouchable
yet irresistible to Jace Jackson. When he discovers her fantasies, Jace swears
he’ll be the one to make them reality.

 

But
can his family ever accept another man in Taylor’s life, let alone the black
sheep of the family? Or will their grief and pain destroy any chance Jace has
of being more to Taylor than her secret lover?

Acknowledgements

To
Jenn Mason, for saying just the right thing at just the right time. Thanks also
to Rose Lerma, Christine Zika,and Lucienne Diver for their hard work.

Chapter One

 

 

The woman looked like Taylor, his
brother Lou’s wife. But this woman’s lips were painted a deep shade of red,
where Taylor always wore pink. The tight spandex top hugged her full breasts,
and her leather skirt revealed endless, captivating legs encased in shimmering
nylon. Taylor didn’t own a leather skirt, and to her, spandex was for jogging.
Fuck-me high heels rested on the bottom rail of the bar stool. Taylor abhorred
high heels.

The look-alike flipped her auburn
hair over her shoulders, the locks sparkling with golden highlights in the
flash of the strobe on the dance floor.

Jace Jackson cooled himself off
with a slug of beer, his one and only bottle for the night.

Then she laughed. He shouldn’t have
been able to hear it over the voices, the semi-drunken laughter, or the beat of
another country western ballad, but he felt it in his gut, the way he always
felt Taylor’s laugh, hard as he tried to ignore it.

Holy hell.

The woman didn’t just look Taylor.
It
was
Taylor.

Jace slammed his beer down on the
table, ignored his drinking buddies’ raised eyebrows, and rose to his feet when
the guy Taylor was flirting with put his hand on her knee.

 

* * * * *

 

Taylor Jackson knew she’d made a
huge mistake the minute the man put his hand on her knee. She couldn’t remember
his name, Buddy or Bubba or Bucky or something, although Bubba seemed to suit
him best

It didn’t seem right to be planning
to seduce a man whose name she couldn’t remember. Not that Bubba needed much in
the way of a come-on from her.

She hadn’t dated since Lou died. In
fact, she hadn’t been out on a date since she met Lou back in college. Not that
she’d call what she was doing now dating.

Planning a seduction had been the
easy part. Dressing for it even easier. The hour between dropping off the kids
at her mother-in-law’s house and finishing her final primp in her bathroom
mirror had been like playing dress-up with her mom’s makeup when she was a little
girl. Of course, when her mother caught her, she’d blistered her butt. Taylor
had started feeling jumpy on the drive over, out of Willoughby to the outskirts
of Bentonville, the next town over, and home of Saddle-n-Spurs, a rowdy country
western joint.

She’d chosen the bar because she
wouldn’t be recognized. No one she knew would come to a place like this. It
wasn’t a PTA/soccer-mom kind of place.

Jumpy or not, Taylor had climbed
out of her minivan and headed inside. Her head had begun to pound with the din
before she’d even taken a seat at the bar. She’d ordered wine to calm her
full-fledged nerves and probably would have bolted before the bartender poured
it if Bubba hadn’t taken the stool beside her and paid for her drink.

She shouldn’t have let him do that.
Not that she felt like she had to sleep with him because he bought her a glass
of wine. This wasn’t how she’d planned it. In fact, the whole seduction plan
seemed suddenly idiotic. If she hadn’t felt so desperate, so needy, so out of
control, she never would have considered picking up a guy in a bar for a night
of casual sex.

It had seemed like forever since
she’d felt a man’s touch. For months after Lou died, maybe a year, she hadn’t
given sex a thought. She’d been too busy getting out of bed in the mornings,
accepting the monumental changes his death wrought, wondering if she could
handle things on her own, and helping Brian and Jamey cope with the loss of
their dad.

Somewhere along the way, in that
second and third year alone, she’d started remembering she was a woman. With
needs. She didn’t want a new father for the boys or a boyfriend or husband for
herself. She only wanted the embrace of a man for a little while.

Bubba wasn’t her idea of a dream
lover. Reality didn’t match the erotic fantasy she’d spun through-out sleepless
nights. Now, she wasn’t quite sure how she’d get rid of him, or for that
matter, get herself out of the bar.

“Get your damn hand off my wife’s
knee.”

Oh Lord. It couldn’t be. She
glanced up and almost choked on her sip of wine. It was her brother-in-law. And
Jace didn’t look like a happy camper.

In the next moment, she was
terribly glad to see him as the hand on her knee suddenly shot back where it
belonged.

“Your wife?” Bubba sputtered.

Jace’s hand closed around her upper
arm. “Yeah. My wife.”

“But she ain’t wearing no ring?”

How could she have considered that
a man who didn’t have proper command of grammar would know how to bring a woman
fulfillment of her deepest desires?

“Where’s your ring, sweetheart?”
Jace shot her a feral grin.

She smiled sweetly. “On the kitchen
counter, where I left it after I caught you with that hussy in our bed. The
hussy being my dear sister.” What chigger had bitten her bottom? But now that
the immediate Bubba crisis was over, she felt giddy with relief.

Bubba stood and backed away,
holding his hands out in front of him. “I don’t want no part o’ this,” he said,
loud enough to draw attention.

A semicircle suddenly opened up
around them, and the bartender froze, beer mug still tipped beneath the draft
tap.

Jace tugged on her arm. “Why don’t
we talk about this at home...sweetheart?”

She wasn’t mad at Jace. In fact,
he’d saved her from an unpleasant scene.

“I’ll only go if you promise not to
beat me black and blue again. And you have to stop screwing my sister.” She
almost giggled, despite less than half a glass of wine.

Jace merely glowered.

Spoilsport. Still, she climbed off
the stool and let him half pull, half drag her across the bar to the entrance.
The patrons parted like the Red Sea. No one stopped him. What if they hadn’t
been joking? What if he really was a bully who’d beat her once he got her home?
Didn’t anyone care?

Once the door of the bar had
slapped shut behind them, the question didn’t matter.

“You don’t know how glad I was to
see you.”

Jace didn’t answer, nor did he turn
to her as he hauled her down a long aisle of cars and trucks.

“You can stop dragging me now.”

“Get in the truck.”

“The minivan’s there.” She pointed
a couple of rows over.

“I said get in the truck.” He
opened the passenger door and practically shoved her up on the front seat.

He was actually mad. Her
brother-in-law was a pretty easygoing guy. She couldn’t remember ever seeing
him quite so angry. He stomped round the front of the truck, raking both hands
through his short, brown hair and muttering to himself. Climbing in, he slammed
his door.

Then he turned to glower at her.
“What the hell did you think you were doing in there?”

“Well, it’s a tad embarrassing to
explain.” A tad? Who was she kidding? “Maybe we could talk about it tomorrow.”

“We’ll talk about it now.” He
emphasized with a stab of his finger in the air. “Don’t you have any clue what
could have happened to you in there?”

Yeah, she had a clue. She’d made a
mistake. Next time, she’d try looking for someone down at the PTA. Right. “I
thanked you for coming along at the appropriate moment to rescue me.” She
refrained from asking if he was going to tell his mother. Taylor knew Evelyn
wouldn’t understand.

Jace stared her down.

“All I wanted was a little drink.”
Boy, she couldn’t look at him when she fed him that lie.

Which he didn’t buy. “You went for
a drink dressed like that?” He swept her attire with a slash of his hand. “To a
meat-market bar twenty miles away from home?”

She smiled. “Yes.”

“Are you crazy? You’re the mother
of two kids, for Christ’s sake. You’re my brother’s wife.”

Her smile died. “I’m your brother’s
widow. And I wasn’t here looking for a replacement for him.”

He shoved his hands once more
through his hair. He looked a lot like Lou. Brownish hair only slightly longer
than the buzz cut Lou had preferred. Brown eyes, laugh lines, and a killer
smile. That’s what she’d noticed first about Lou. His smile. Even then, back in
college, he’d had laugh lines.

Jace hadn’t laughed much since his
brother died. Except with the boys. He was great with her boys.

He puffed out a loud breath. “You
were here to get laid. Jesus Christ, I can’t believe it.”

“I was here for a drink.”

Jace’s gaze traveled from her
throat to her breasts to the short skirt that barely covered the essentials
when she sat, and finally to her shoes. Earlier, she’d stood in front of the
full-length mirror admiring those shoes. Lou had once forbidden her to wear
them.

Sudden anger spiraled deeply. How
dare Jace judge her? He’d done his share of catting around over the years. One
woman after another, partying up a storm, though he’d calmed down since Lou
died. Still, that didn’t give him the right to castigate her.

“Men go out and get laid all the
time,” she pointed out.

“Dammit, Taylor, you’re not a man.
There’re different rules for women.”

“What are they?” She shook her
head. He was almost laughable, if he wasn’t pissing her off so much. “Lou has
been gone for three years. And what, I’m supposed to go off to a convent?”

He looked straight ahead through the
windshield. “You could try dating, you know.”

“Like who?” Willoughby wasn’t
jumping with candidates.

“How about Joe?”

“He’s ten years older than me and
still lives with his mother.”

“That makes him respectable.”

“I don’t want to date Joe. I don’t
want to date anyone. I’m not looking for Lou’s replacement.” To the family,
Jace included, she was Lou’s wife, not Lou’s widow. Keeping his memory alive
meant never letting her move on. They wouldn’t like her dating a new man, and
God forbid she should ever want to marry again. Which was fine with her, really
it was. She was self-sufficient, and Lou’s family, her family now, meant more
to her than having a man around the house. She didn’t want a husband. Most of
the time. Except in the middle of a dark and lonely night as she climbed into a
cold, empty bed.

“I need...” She stopped. She
couldn’t tell Jace that it wasn’t true what they said about vibrators. They
were not a woman’s best friend. They couldn’t replace a man’s weight, a man’s
body, or his hardness inside her.

He smacked a hand on the steering
wheel. “You’re a mother. With my brother’s two kids at home. You can’t pick up
men in bars.”

If he said that one more time,
she’d reach across the seat and belt him. She was Brian and Jamey’s mom to him.
He couldn’t see anything else. None of the family could. She loved them, she
never wanted to lose them, never wanted to hurt them, but sometimes, she wanted
to scream. Suddenly all those bottled up feelings spilled out over Jace.

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