Now or Never

Now or Never by Jamie Canosa Read Free Book Online

Book: Now or Never by Jamie Canosa Read Free Book Online
Authors: Jamie Canosa
around, Jay was standing in the exact spot she’d left him, unmoving. She walked to him and his arms opened automatically. Em didn’t hesitate to throw herself into them. Jay buried his face in her neck as she brought her arms around his back. Even through his shirt, she could feel the marks that monster had left on his body and the way he trembled from head to toe.
    “It’s okay, baby. It’s okay. He’s gone. He’s gone and we’re here. Together. Everything’s okay.” She knew she was babbling, but she didn’t care. If the words existed to calm him, she would find them, even if she had to go through every word in the English language.
    Jay’s head pulled back and his deep blue eyes focused on her with alarm. “You’re everything to me. You know that, right?”
    Em could only nod and force the words past the lump in her throat. “And you’re my everything. As long as we’re together, everything will be all right.”
    “I love you.” Jay’s warm lips pressed against her temple and she felt his chest expand against her with a deep steadying breath.
    “I love you, too.”
    He allowed her to hold him a short while longer, before extracting himself from her embrace and heading back into the kitchen. Em followed slowly, not entirely sure what was going through his head. He’d found gravy—who knows where—and was heating it on the stove, while biscuit batter sat in a bowl on the counter.
    Her fingers itched to touch him, but she forced herself to stand back and watch him move silently around the room, scooping batter and putting the tray in the oven. When he slammed it shut hard enough to jostle the bowl off the counter, Em jumped.
    “I can’t.” His hand drove forcefully through his hair, tugging at the roots.
    “Jay, everything’s going to be—”
    “I can’t believe this shit.”
    Em felt herself tense at the venom in his tone, though she knew it wasn’t meant for her. She’d rarely seen Jay so angry.
    “It’s okay.”
    “It’s not okay, Em. He was here . Talking to you. Touching you. Son of a bitch!” In a single fluid move, he swooped down, snatched the bowl off the floor and slammed it down in the sink. “I should have seen this coming. I should have known things couldn’t be so simple. That he’d never give up that kind of money without a fight. He never does anything without a fight.”
    Jay had a habit of talking with his hands, especially when he was upset. They were moving a mile a minute now as he paced the small space between the sink and fridge like a caged tiger.
    “ Dammit , why can’t I just keep you safe?”
    “Jay, you—” Em stepped forward to comfort him at the same moment he whirled around to face her and his outstretched palm slammed across her cheek. Pain exploded behind her right eye and she stumbled sideways. Feet twisted, she fell before she could grab a hold of the counter and found herself sprawled across the peeling linoleum of the kitchen floor.
    Em gasped—more out of surprise than anything else—and struggled to right herself. Untangling her legs, she leaned back against the cabinets. That’s when she saw Jay. The anger had completely drained from his face, replaced by a look of horror so tangible it made her heart skip a beat.
    “Jay?” She licked her lower lip and tasted a small amount of blood.
    He blinked down at her, but the horror remained etched into each of his features. “Oh, my God.”
    “Jay, it’s—”
    “Oh, my God!” Instead of offering her a hand, he took a step back. Away . And then another. “What did I do? Oh, my God.”
    “Jay, no. It’s okay.”
    “ Okay? ” Some of the anger was returning. “That is not okay. That is never okay. How can you even say that?”
    “It was an accident.”
    “That’s what she used to say. She said it all the time. Every time.”
    The panic in his voice twisted Em’s stomach to knots. “Who? What are you talking about?”
    “My mother.” His voice was barely above a

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