Jax Chamberlin wanted to kick this backstabbing bitch’s perfect ass all the way to Malibu.
He really, really did.
Even though his patience was worn as thin as air, Jax clasped his hands behind his head and kicked his booted feet up on his scarred desk. Renegades’ on-site work trailer was a piece of shit, and he and every one of his stuntmen preferred it that way. Then it didn’t matter if they came in muddy and bloody, wearing biker boots or spurs, dragging along rigging or a saddle. They knew they had a place to relax between takes.
Jax was not relaxed now. And Veronica was so obviously out of place in all her classic Hollywood perfection.
“We don’t have anything to talk about,” Jax kept his voice even, “and I’m on my way out.”
He didn’t want to know why she was still on set at midnight during the week. Didn’t want to know how she’d been since they’d stopped seeing each other—or, more accurately, fucking each other. Didn’t want to have anything to do with this woman.
Jax lifted one arm and tilted his head back to look at his watch. Typical of Wes to drag his ass when Jax really needed him.
“Have a date?” Veronica crossed her arms. “Who are you seeing now?”
He wasn’t seeing anyone—for the first time in about a decade. Since she’d betrayed his confidence, Jax couldn’t seem to drum up any interest in cultivating another fuck buddy.
He replaced his hand behind his head and massaged the knot in his neck with his thumb. His body still ached from a sixteen-hour day of riding motorcycles in the desert. He’d stood under the hot shower for a full thirty minutes, stretching, but his muscles and head still throbbed.
He’d like nothing better than a beautiful woman with a gorgeous body to distract him from his discomfort. Nothing. The lack of sex after being so sexually active for so long felt a little like what Jax imagined an alcoholic might experience going dry. So the fact that he felt no draw to Veronica standing in front of him in shorts so short the frayed edge barely covered her ass cheeks said something about the state of his psyche.
“I’ve got a hot date with an airline pilot,” he said. “I’m on a red-eye to New York.”
“Oh.” That mouth, Botoxed every three months whether she needed it or not, pouted. She straightened, and her tits stretched the fabric of her hot-pink T-shirt to its limits. “What film?”
“Robin Hood remake.” Then, just because he knew it would make her turn green, he added, “I’m doubling Brad Pitt in the fights, opposite Tyler Manning.”
Her little gasp, the way her lips formed an O, followed by a look of deep disappointment gave Jax a sliver of satisfaction. He’d definitely go to hell now, but he’d been headed that way before this.
“How long will you be gone?”
“At least a week, maybe two.” Probably less, but she didn’t need to know that.
“Why?” Jax laughed, trying to keep this light, but frustration burned beneath his skin. She didn’t deserve the satisfaction of knowing her betrayal had pulled the rug out from under him, or that he was struggling to get back on his feet. “Because a man has to make a living, V. If you hadn’t jumped into Roloff’s bed and spilled our pillow talk, I could have been working right in downtown LA for the next year. Now I’ve gotta go where I’ve gotta go to keep Renegades running. We all do what we gotta do, right?”
Her deep brown eyes flashed with petulance. “You don’t need the money, Jax.”
The sound of his patience cracking had to have been a figment of Jax’s imagination. But the tightness in his chest was not. He dropped his feet to the linoleum floor. The thud echoed through the hollow walls of the trailer, and Veronica startled. Her arms uncrossed, spine straightened, nipples tightened beneath the cotton tee. Jax’s balls didn’t even heat.
He sat forward, anger storming through his gut, but he kept his voice low. “I have five guys working for me. Five. They have responsibilities. They depend on the jobs Renegades attracts to get paid. Whether or not I need the money personally is immaterial. If you stepped outside your shell once in a while, you might realize there are other human beings living in this smog pit.”
He didn’t bother going into what had been eating at him on a personal level—how badly he’d wanted that job for the work, not the money, because she’d known. He’d lain in bed after giving her every damn thing she’d wanted, as many times as she’d wanted it, in exactly the way she’d wanted it, and told her how the stunts that movie called for were ones he’d dreamed of performing.