Penni paused as she was about to lie down on the hotel bed. “I’m not going to argue with that. The sooner, the better.” She brushed her fingers through her tousled hair. “I want a shower, but I don’t have any clean clothes to put on. The clothes I washed last night are still damp, and the ones I’m wearing are the only other pair I have.”
“I can go and buy you some clothes while you shower …”
A sharp knock on the door had Jackal opening the door, only to see no one there. Penni watched as he leaned down to pick something up. She almost jumped up and down in excitement when she watched Jackal lay her overnight bag and purse on the bed.
“Hennessy must like you.”
“What?” Penni unzipped her suitcase, pulling clean clothes and underwear into her arms.
“He gave your things back. He would have tossed them in a dumpster if he didn’t like you.”
“He must not like me too much; my purse is practically empty.” Penni searched the purse which now had a busted zipper. “He didn’t even give my wallet back.”
“At least you have your clothes back.”
She was too thrilled to have clothes again to get upset. If anyone tried to use her credit cards, they would be disappointed. Her new home had put a big dent in her checking account and credit limit. She had sacrificed everything but the bare necessities since she had moved in, and then she had found she couldn’t really enjoy the backyard she had been looking forward to because of the damn bees.
“I’m going to take a shower.”
Jackal lay down on the bed, turning on the television. His T-shirt rode up his waist, exposing his tan skin. How could he be that dark when it was still early spring? Penni felt her mouth go dry and unconsciously wet her bottom lip.
When she didn’t move, Jackal turned from the television. “You need something else?”
Penni shook her head, escaping into the bathroom before she did something she would regret.
Leaning back against the closed door, she took several deep breaths, calming her rioting nerves.
It was easy to see why the women who worked at King’s former bar were all at his beck and call. Jackal had a lazy sensuality that drew women in. He wasn’t a man whom women would run over. With Jackal, you knew exactly what you were getting—a male chauvinist who called all the shots in the short-term relationships he had.
Could they even be called relationships? According to her friends, they were nights of sexual excesses that had them begging for repeat performances.
Penni began to question the futility of her virginity. The man she had been saving herself for treated her like a little sister. Shade had told her over and over again she was wasting her time, and Penni had huffily told him that he had waited for Lily and hadn’t given up hope. Her brother was now happily married with a baby boy. Giving up hope wasn’t in their DNA.
She removed her clothes then stepped into the shower. The warm spray didn’t cool the heat that Jackal had built.
“Jesus,” Penni mumbled, shoving positive thoughts through her mind instead of focusing on the picture of Jackal sprawled out body on the bed on the other side of the door.
She hurried through her shower. She needed to find Striker and get the hell out of Dodge before she attacked Jackal and was arrested. He had astonished her by being well-behaved, showing a sense of humor she hadn’t known he possessed. Penni had begun to like his friendly overtures when he would ask about her work with Mouth2Mouth. At first, she had believed he was trying to find out if she had any relationships with the band. The more they had talked, the more he had seemed interested in whether she enjoyed the work she did. Even Lily and Grace became bored when she discussed her work. She found out that he grasped the concept of the huge amount of work and attention to detail it took to pull off a concert with thousands of screaming fans.
Penni dried off then got dressed. Then, using whatever makeup Hennessy had left inside her purse, she made herself feel almost normal again. If she ever got home, she promised herself to pack a larger suitcase and to keep it in her car. Changing her mind, she promised herself to ride the bus from now on. She believed in learning from her mistakes, and not following Kaden’s orders had been a doozy.
It didn’t take long for Jackal to shower. Penni waited patiently, trying not to imagine his naked body on the other side the door. She was all about being friends with the opposite sex, but Jackal was a temptation who was becoming a fasciation she was having difficulty resisting, and the man didn’t even realize she was becoming attracted to him. It was like watching a car wreck in slow motion and knowing it would end in disaster, but you still couldn’t look away.