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|Music of the Heart(Runaway Train #1) by Katie Ashley|
My stomach churned, and I fought the urge to throw up. “Oh God…poor Jake…poor Susan,” I murmured, gripping my phone tight as tears burned my eyes.
“Even though he won’t say it or admit it, he needs you. Can you come?”
My mind whirled with the next few days of shows. The logical answer was I couldn’t go, but there was no way in hell I was leaving Jake alone when he needed me most. “Of course I can. I’ll get the next flight out.”
“Good. I’ll come pick you up, okay?”
“Thanks. I appreciate it.”
“See you soon.”
Surprisingly, my brothers and parents didn’t protest about me leaving. They believed my place was with Jake and Susan. I was able to get a flight two hours later, and true to his word, AJ was waiting to pick me up. After he filled me in on everything that was going on, we spent most of the drive in silence.
Cars were parked everywhere along Jake’s driveway. Since it was raining, AJ dropped me off closer to the door and then went back to park. With a shaky hand, I rang the doorbell. I half expected a nurse or one of Jake’s relatives to answer it. Nothing could have prepared me for Jake throwing open the heavy mahogany door. At the sight of me, he did a double take. The color drained from his face before he demanded, “What the f**k are you doing here?”
I jolted back at the harshness of his tone. It took me a moment to find my voice. “AJ called me and told me about Susan. I came as soon as I could to be with you…and her.”
He stood there still staring at me. My heart ached at his appearance. Rough stubble covered his face from where he hadn’t shaved, and his usually styled-to-perfection hair was unkempt. Dark purple circles formed under his eyes. He wore a ratty Runaway Train t-shirt and a pair of holey jeans. While he had yet to ask me in, I threw myself forward, wrapping my arms tight around him. “Oh, baby, I’m so, so sorry. I’m here for you, and I love you.”
He didn’t hug me back. In fact, his arms lay limply at his sides. I pulled away to tenderly kiss his cheek. “Talk to me, Jake,” I implored.
His body shuddered for a moment before he shook his head. Without a word, he pushed out of my embrace. Taking my hand, he jerked me further into the foyer and down the hallway. I thought we might be going to Susan’s room, but instead, he ushered me into his room and slammed the door.
“Jake, what are—” He silenced me by crushing his lips to mine. The kiss was demanding and harsh, nothing like I was used to experiencing with him. Taking my shoulders, he whirled me around and shoved me back against the door with such a force I cried out. His hands raked over my body as I tried getting away from him.
“Stop it!” I cried against his mouth.
When he pulled away, his fingers went to the button on his jeans. When he started to undo them, I shook my head. “What are you doing?”
“I’m gonna f**k you. That’s what you came here for, right?”
My mouth, bruised from his earlier assault, fell open in shock. “No! How could you think such a horrible thing? I came to be with you because I love you and you need me.”
With his blue eyes blazing, his h*ps pinned me against the wall again. His lips curled into an angry smirk. “All anyone ever wants is a piece of me—a way to further themselves through me. That’s what you want too, right? You’re Jake Slater’s girlfriend—the one who finally tamed the notorious womanizer.”
I shook my head wildly back and forth at his accusation. “I’m your girlfriend because I love you—not because of who you are or what anyone thinks.” I brought my hands to cup his cheeks, forcing him to look at me. “I know you, Jake. I see every single imperfection you have, and I still love you. There’s no one else in the world for me but you. And when you’re hurting, I want to be with you. When you’re broken and shattered like you are right now, I’m going to help you pick up the pieces. That’s what love is, baby.” I leaned over to whisper against the coarse stubble on his chin. “Trust me when I say that I’d do anything to be able to take away the terrible hurt you’re feeling right now. But you have to let me in a little.”
He grabbed my wrists in his hands and shoved them above my head. “You’d do anything for me, huh?”
“Yes,” I murmured, fighting the urge to cry out from the pain of his grip.
“That’s a f**king pity. Because all you’ve done is become my whore.”
My head jerked back like he had slapped me. It was as if a total stranger had taken over Jake’s body. I’d never seen him act this way, even his infamous drunken bus escapade paled in comparison. “Jake, please don’t do this! Don’t shut me out now.” Tears burned my eyes. “I know you’re hurting, but I know you love me and you need me.”
With a cruel sneer, his hands left mine to slide down my body and rest on my hips. “I’m sorry, Angel, but that’s where you were mistaken. You were just another piece of ass to conquer—although yours was a little more of a challenge. But I have to admit how surprised I was that some romance and a profession of love had you parting those sweet thighs faster than I ever thought.”
“That’s a lie! I know you loved me then, and you do now. You’re just twisting everything around because you’re mixed up inside.” I gripped his shoulders. “You have to fight this, Jake. You can’t give over to the darkness. That’s not what Susan would want either.”