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" I don't know why I'm here," I murmur

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" I don't know why I'm here," I murmur.

He rakes his hands through his hair. "Because you're more curious than you are skeptical."

"Or more stupid than I am intelligent." I remove the beanie from my head and clutch it.

"Or maybe," he says, taking the beanie-free hand, "you're far more reckless and wild than you give yourself credit for."

"This coming from someone who claims to know me."

"I do know you. Obviously better than you know yourself."

"Right." I step further into the room and give it the once over. The outside of 33 Beach Avenue implied that the entire thing is grandiose. The inside does not disappoint. When Jax told me he rented a place on the beach, I imagined a shack with torn up couches, mismatched throw pillows, and a rickety wooden veranda overlooking the pacific. I did not expect some beach hideaway better suited for Home and Garden magazine.

The floors shine with cherry wood so pristine and polished, I can see a faint trace of my reflection. A state of the art sound-system frames a larger than life television and I see a gaming console next to a blue ray player. The walls are painted a pale shade of grey, a stark contrast to the deep coloring in the floor. The wall adjacent to the ocean is made entirely from glass, windows that tuck away to one side, opening the house to the elements. Jax has them partially open, allowing a breeze to blow through that makes me shiver.

An overstuffed leather sofa is placed facing the TV and there's a throw slung across the back that looks like cashmere. Behind the living room is a kitchen with the same cherry wood for cabinets and large slabs of granite for the counter tops.

"You deal drugs? Rob banks? Or what?" I ask.

"Or what."


He shakes his head. "Never mind. Nice, isn't it?"

"My Grandma's cabin in the mountains is nice. This is..."

"Pretentious. Ostentatious. Obnoxious."

I make a check mark in the air with the tip of my finger. "All of the above."

His lips curls sideways. "You like it though, don't you, Angel?"

"It's okay I guess." Lies. This place is the Taj Mahal of beachfront property in these parts. I push past him and head to the couch, flopping down and setting my bag beside me.

"You can't lie to me so I don't know why you try. You love this place. I know you do. Want a drink? I've got water, milk, juice, soda, wine, coffee..."

As he speaks, the breeze rips through in an icy blast. Instinctively I wrap my arms around myself as a shiver works its way up my spine.

"Maybe hot chocolate," Jax decides. He takes the throw from the back of the couch and wraps it around my shoulders. It's as soft as it looks and has a faint scent of Jax imbedded into the fibres. I want to keep it.

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