After Us (Next Generation #6) - J.M. Walker Page 0,2

to close that final distance between us, but I was stuck. Was this even real? Was he finally standing there in front of me? After all of this time? After so many months of being apart, this day had finally come. I wanted to pinch myself to see if it was a dream. I told my daughter earlier that morning that I was bringing her daddy home. Her eyes had lit up. Even though she wasn’t even a year old yet, she knew. God, did she know.

Jaron’s dark eyes searched my face. His big body was stiff, rigid, like he was holding back from doing God only knew what.

With a shaky hand, I placed it against his chest.

His heartbeat thumped beneath my palm and I knew, God did I know, that his heart beat only for me.

I looked up at him, the vision of him blurring in front of me. Gripping his hoodie in my hand, I pulled him closer.

That was the only invitation he needed before he wrapped his arms around me.

A sob escaped me as I latched on to him and tried pulling him even closer. But no matter how close we were, I still felt like he was far away. But it didn’t matter. I would help him. We would get through this and we would move on.


Tears fell down my cheeks, rolling off my chin and onto his black hoodie. I pushed my face into the crook of his thick neck and silently begged for him to take me away. We had so much to work through but first, we needed to work through us.

“I fucking missed you,” he whispered into my hair, his voice thick. “I missed you so damn much, Piper.”

Sobs continued wracking through me. I still couldn’t believe he was back in my arms. After all of this time.

Jaron leaned back, cupping my face and swiping his thumbs under my eyes. He placed a soft peck on my forehead that only made the tears fall harder.

“Are my boys here?” he asked, his voice cracking.

“They parked their bikes over there,” I murmured, nodding toward the end of the parking lot. “They wouldn’t let me come by myself but wanted to give us a moment.”

Jaron gave me a small smirk. “We need lots of moments, baby.”

My breath hitched. “Yeah. We do.” I paused. “They’ve been taking care of us.”

“Good. I’m glad.” Jaron leaned his forehead against mine. “You look good.”

I smiled, wiping away the tears. “I still taste good too,” I told him, using the line I had used so many months ago when I had gone five weeks without seeing him.

A deep chuckle left him, but it wasn’t like before. No. Something inside of him changed. The laugh appeared as if it were forced in a way.

“I bet you do.”

Cupping his nape, I ran my fingers through his dark hair. It had grown in some, especially his beard. And he filled out. A lot. He was big before but now he was outright huge.

I leaned back, cupping his jaw. “I like the beard,” I whispered.

His face was impassive, something flashing behind his eyes. Normally, he would have said something dirty but now the words failed on his tongue.

My stomach twisted, unsure if I was happy about that or not. I didn’t want him to change but I knew that being in jail could affect a person. For better. For worse. Both. I wasn’t sure anymore.

“Did you get everything?” I asked him, taking a step back.

“I did.”

Before I could walk away, he grabbed my hand, pulling me back into his arms. I gasped, slapping my hands against his chest. “Jaron.”

“I need…” He blew out a slow breath. “I just need to touch you. I need you in my arms. I can’t explain it. I’m not even going to try.”

“Okay.” I wrapped my arms around his neck. “Take all the time you need.”

“How have you been?” he asked, brushing his thumb down the length of my jaw.

I shivered at the soft contact. Especially coming from someone like him. He had never been a gentle guy. Not that I ever wanted that side of him anyway. I preferred when he was rough and took from me exactly what he wanted, knowing that I wanted it just the same. “I’ve been alright. I’ve missed you.” I ran my fingers through his beard, a tingle racing down my spine. “I really like this.”

His eyes darkened. “Trust me, Piper. You’ll like it more when it’s between your legs.”

And there it