Seven is an enigma. A motorcycle club princess. The daughter of a notorious gangster. The best friend of the deputy mayor. A coffee shop owner. The single mom of two young, adopted children. She’s colorful, in every way possible—from her attitude to her piercings and bright pink hair—and she’s a woman on a mission with the power to help broker a clean break between a powerful motorcycle club and a South American drug cartel. But not all players are ready for the game to change, including the ones she can’t see like the CIA.
Jax Michaelson has a bad attitude and a good shot. The former Navy SEAL has been on Titan’s problem list for running his mouth since the day he showed up for work, but he does a hell of a job, and they’d never let him go. Call him cocky, that’s fine, because then you’d have to admit he’s the best at anything and everything—except diplomacy.
When Titan is forced into the seedy drug world filled with cartel glitz and Harley-riding MCs, Seven and her family become an unexpected bargaining chip right after she and Jax find a way to stand each other—in bed.
Will friends become lovers? Or are they too far gone to be opposites that attract? Is Jax nothing but a bad boy who leaves her hoping for a military hero when the burden of living as Mayhem royalty backfires and her children disappear.
JAX is a standalone romantic suspense novel by New York Times bestselling author Cristin Harber. It features characters from the Titan, Delta, and Only series, but readers do not have to have read those books to enjoy this one. There's a guaranteed happily ever after and no cliffhanger! Enjoy!
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Jax opened the door, and it jangled with old country-store bells. Inside, the coffee shop was filled with lively decorations and signs, mismatched chairs, and tables combined with clashing coffee cups, glasses, and absurd plates and bowls, partnering with seamless effort. He liked it.
Where was Seven sitting? He scanned the tables, and the Sunday crowd fit no set rule. A young couple with a baby sat in their Sunday best next to a guy who Jax was sure was a Mayhem gang member and his old lady. Tables were filled with every spectrum in between, but Jax didn’t see Seven.
Jax pivoted, surprised to see her behind the counter. “I didn't expect you so fast."
He shoved his hands in his pockets. "You're working?"
Truth was, he had no idea what Seven did for a living. Why hadn't he asked that before? All he knew of her were smiles and attitude, and that had been enough for him. Maybe not enough for her, and that was why he’d gone home alone. But he would've pegged her as… well, hell.
If he'd never spoken to her before and just saw her across the room, Jax would have wagered that Seven would make a terrific art teacher. But knowing the full power of her sass and spark, he could see her as a litigator. Though she would have been fresh out of law school, and he wondered how many law firms in Iowa would hire a magenta-haired, obviously pierced new attorney. But seeing as her best friend was the deputy mayor and her affiliation with Mayhem would likely bring in many clients, maybe she would have been a hot commodity.
He was positive law school hadn't been her calling, especially as she slung a hand towel off her shoulder, mopped the counter, then meticulously folded the towel, avoiding eye contact. "The coffee and crumpets aren’t going to make themselves."
Had he embarrassed her by questioning where she worked? Damn it. “This place reminds me of you.” In addition to the décor, the coffee house smelled like sugar and caffeine. Both were intoxicating like her—vibrant and exciting. He inspected the pastries and muffins behind the glass then turned back to her at the counter. Even the cash register was colorful.
"How do you like your coffee?” She finally met his gaze when she put her hands over the hand towel, pressing it to the counter, and, maybe nervously, awaited his walk back. "It's on the house."
Coffee normally would sound great, but the flare of the hangover he would never admit to made him hesitate. "How about…" What sounded good when he would rather be asleep? Jax ran a hand over his chin, thinking something cold and with sugar would help the small headache and lack of sleep.
"Or not," she said, studying him. "What's wrong with you?"
"Nothing." That he planned on sharing, that is.
"Oh, you feel like crap, don't you?" She turned from the counter toward a blender. "I have a hangover cure."
Jax pulled his poker face on. “I didn't say I have a hangover."
"Oh, you do, Jaxxy, my dear." Playfully, she spun. "I have a killer smoothie that'll cure what ails you, whatever that is.” Seven paused, casting a quick glance over her shoulder. "But you have to trust me. The color of it alone will be enough to trigger your gag reflex."
Seven tossed an amused look over her shoulder, challenging him to say no again, but she did seem to pick up on his thanks. "You're most welcome. 'Cause I'm still making it."
Surrendering, he half-grinned. "On one condition."
"Sure." But that didn’t slow her down any as she scooped powders and poured liquids into the blender. "And what's that?"
"Never say Jaxxy again." He waggled his brows. "Deal?"
The corners of her eyes crinkled. "Deal, so long as you drink the whole thing."
He shook his head, eyeballing the green goopy mess in the blender. “Really. I’m good.”
"This is for me, Jaxxy. I don't want to hear you bitch and moan while I have to talk to you."
The corners of his lips quirked, denying his ability to negotiate. "Sounds selfish, princess."
"You bet your ass, when I have to be." She played with her tongue stud for a second, turned back around, and flipped on the blender. "Since you don't have a hangover, I'll just put this baby on high." She turned the blender on to a louder mode. "Did you say something, Jaxxy? I can't hear you."
Standing with an empty cup in her hand and a blender on high, Seven waited casually. He forced nonchalance as the blender ran out of things to crush and simply whirled and whined. Jax's head throbbed. Really, the girl knew how to torque the hell out of him. Standing there, hand on one hip, glass in the other, torturing him, she was hot as hell. Pin-up girl material. Pouty lips and a come-at-me attitude.
"I'll drink the whole thing for you, babe."
About Cristin Harber
Cristin Harber is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling romance author. She writes sexy, steamy romantic suspense and military romance. Readers voted her onto Amazon’s Top Picks for Debut Romance Authors in 2013, and her debut Titan series was both a #1 romantic suspense and #1 military romance bestseller.