“No, I still need to unpack,” she muttered, reluctantly plopping onto the stool.
“Have a beer, Molls. Unpacking your nightstand contents isn’t like operating heavy machinery,” he said, going to the fridge and pulling out two beers.
“Clearly you don’t know what’s in my nightstand.”
Jackson lifted his eyebrows. “Exactly how big is your vibrator?”
“I meant I have like a zillion books.”
“Which are not breakable,” he said, handing her a beer. “And is that a no on the vibrator?”
She gave him a look as she took the bottle from his hand. “I just want to state for the record that I have moved several times, on my own, without the help of movers, and I could have done it again.”
“Moving yourself is for college kids. You’re an adult. Hire movers.”
“No, moving yourself is for people without extra income,” she said. “Snob.”
“So what was the plan?” he asked, tipping the bottle to his lips. “You were just going to maneuver all those big-ass boxes around with those skinny sticks you call arms?”
“Don’t be silly. I was going to hire some big beefy dudes from campus to help me. Perk of working at a university.”
Jackson was about to set his bottle on the counter but his hand froze, just for a second, and Mollie felt a sting of regret as she realized she’d inadvertently hit a nerve. Not so long ago, Jackson Burke had been absolutely the type of muscled guy friend who’d’ve been really helpful to have around on moving day. Her eyes flitted to his shoulder. Now he was the guy who wouldn’t be doing any heavy lifting for a long time. Maybe ever.
She looked away, her brain scrambling to come up with a quick subject change.
Only maybe that wasn’t what he needed—for people to dance around his injury like it was the elephant in the room. Physically, he was on the road to recovery. He needed to get there mentally as well.
“You said the other night that it didn’t hurt,” she said. “Was that a big macho man moment?”
He stared at the counter. “I’ve told you. It’s fine.”
She rolled her eyes. “Please. Be a little more vague and manly.”
“Well, what do you want me to say, Molls?” he ground out. “That the pain wakes me up at night? That any motion more vigorous than brushing my teeth hurts like hell?”
“Are you going to physical therapy?” she asked, purposely ignoring the wounded-bear routine. That might scare off other people, but she was made of stronger stuff. Knew him better.
He looked away.
He shrugged. “What does it even matter? All the PT in the world isn’t going to help me play football again.”
“Well, gosh,” she said dramatically, “you may as well be dead.”
Jackson was in the process of taking a sip of beer and choked. “Jesus. You are such a smart-ass.”
“I’m just saying, you have a lot going for you,” she said, gentling her tone. “You don’t need a football in your hand or to help a girl move to be an amazing guy.”
“Yeah?” he said as he leaned on his forearms across the counter. “Want to tell me more about how I’m an amazing guy?”
If I did, I might never stop.
I Wish You Were Mine by Lauren Layne
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This is book # 2 in the Oxford series. This book is just fine as a standalone novel to read. I always tell my readers that it is better to read a series book in order as the author intended. This series is so much fun when read in order.
Jackson and Mollie go way back. He used to be married to her sister. The same one who raised her after her mother died. Mollie was in love with him even then.
Mollie gets to know the "after football" Jackson when he moves to New York for work. She is still there for school, and they get together and catch up. He is bowled over with how grown up she is now.
Together, they spark some serious heat! This story is an amazing story of love, loss, and forgiveness. I cried and I laughed and enjoyed every page. Be wise: Pre-order! You will be glad that this book is on your shelf. I intend to re-read my copy when it comes out.
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