Desire for Three: Winning Back Jesse
(More Desire, Oklahoma 1)
Living in Desire, Oklahoma, and married to two incredible men, Jesse Erickson felt her world was perfect, until she walks through the door of her home one day and has her world turned upside down.
Shocked to the core, and with her world crumbling around her, she runs, too shaken to cope.
Clay and Rio Erickson hate keeping secrets from Jesse, but didn’t have a choice
They certainly hadn’t expected their wife to assume the worst and run.
With the help of a friend, they find her, only to face the horror of almost losing her again.
Scared and shaken, they get her home, still reeling from the thought of losing her. Determined to show her the power of their love won’t be easy, but they know just how to get their wife’s undivided attention.
Allowing their dominant sides to rule, they will plow through her insecurities once and for all.
Clay wanted nothing more than to hold his wife in his arms and comfort her, to feel her soft and warm against him so he knew she was safe. With a warning look at his brother, Rio, to keep his temper to himself, he put the phone on speaker.
“Of course we’re worried about you, baby. Please, just tell us where you are so we can come and get you.”
“No, Clay.” The trembling sob in her voice tore him up inside.
With his heart in his throat, he turned, meeting the cold, hard stare of Lucas Hart, one of the partners in Desire Security Systems—and more than that—a good friend.
Lucas had been giving him dirty looks since they’d arrived a little more than an hour ago, clearly blaming Clay and Rio for hurting Jesse.
Clay blamed himself even more.
He’d hoped, prayed, that Jesse would answer the phone and that Lucas could use some of his vast array of equipment to find her.
Clenching his jaw, Lucas motioned for Clay to keep Jesse talking.
Clay had no intention of letting Jesse hang up, especially after spending the last few hours out of his mind with worry.
“Jesse, what do you mean, no? What happened, honey? We don’t even know what’s wrong. It’s not like you not to talk to us. If you’re mad at us for something, I’d rather you just give us hell like you usually do. It’s not like you to run away.”
“I guess you’re tired of having a woman who stands up for herself.” She said it in such a low voice that Clay almost missed it, but she continued on before he could say anything.
“I’ll be back tomorrow. I just need to be alone tonight.”
“You don’t need to be alone. You need to be with us!” Clay winced inwardly as the knot in his stomach turned to ice.
He kept his voice low, struggling to speak calmly when he was anything but. “You said you’ll be back tomorrow. You didn’t say you were coming home. You’re scaring the hell out of me, Jesse. If you think I’m letting you go, you’re very much mistaken. Just talk to us. Let me explain.”
Her silence scared him, and for several heart-stopping seconds, he feared she’d hung up. When she spoke again, the weariness and distance in her tone frightened him even more.
“Clay, I really don’t want to talk about this tonight. I’ve got to go—”
“No. Don’t you hang up on me, Jesse Erickson!” He scrubbed a hand over his face, praying that Lucas would be able to pinpoint her location before she hung up. Worry for her ate him alive.
“Baby? Are you cold? You left without your coat. Please tell me you’re someplace warm, honey.”
The sob in her sigh tore at him, the effect also apparent on both Rio and Lucas as they listened.
Rio sank into a chair, hanging his head, his hair mussed from running his hands through it countless times in the last few hours.
A muscle worked in Lucas’s jaw, his steely gaze holding Clay’s and his stonelike expression even harder and more intimidating than ever.
Jesse’s voice, so sweet and with a tremble in it that brought another lump to Clay’s throat, came over the speaker, softer now than before.
“I’m fine, Clay. I’m a big girl, remember? I’m not one of those sweet little things that fall all over you. I’m used to taking care of myself, or have you forgotten?”
The reminder of the cold, withdrawn woman he’d met two years earlier, a woman that had thought herself incapable of loving or being loved, nearly took him to his knees.
“I haven’t forgotten a single thing about you.”
The ice in his stomach seemed to spread, making him cold all the way to the bone and stiff with fear.
Her tone, a tone he’d never hoped to hear again, sounded so much like the one she’d used when he’d first met her that his heart skipped a beat and he actually felt dizzy for a moment.
Losing Jesse would kill him.
He didn’t even try to keep his frustration and fear out of his voice, hoping to get through to her.
He had to get through to her.
“Jesse, of course I’m worried about you. You’re my wife. You disappeared into the night without no coat and no dinner. I’m sure you didn’t eat anything. I know you, baby. When you’re upset, Rio and I have to practically force you to eat. That means you’re cold and hungry and I can’t get to you to make you eat, or to keep you warm. You’re hurting and I can’t hold you.”
His arms ached to hold her close.
“Please tell me where you are, Jesse. We need to talk, to straighten this out. I can’t stop thinking about the way you looked at me.” That look of confusion and hurt in her eyes would haunt him forever.
Jesse’s choked sigh cut his heart to shreds. “We’ll talk, Clay. Tomorrow. Look, I’m sorry I acted like a coward and ran off that way, but it was such a shock. I’ve been stupid and never saw it coming. I should have paid more attention. I should have realized that you felt neglected.”
Her voice lowered, so low he had trouble hearing her.
“I’ve always suspected it would end some day. I knew better. I just thought I would see it coming.”