“I’m hoping we can be friends. Maybe if we focused on doing friend things, the…uh, the attraction between us might fade.” He nearly laughed at how stupid that sounded.
She arched a brow at him, and her expression seemed to echo his thoughts. “You really think that will work?”
“Hey, it’s worth trying.” He cocked his head to the side. “What do you suggest?”
She hesitated a moment before saying, “Finding someone else at Columbia to take your account.”
So they could pursue a romantic relationship? The rampant desire he was trying so hard to rein in pulsed through him.
She dropped her arms, and her brow furrowed. “But I hate to do that. This is a good account.”
He didn’t really want her to do that either. She was great, and the business part of his brain didn’t want to lose her. “So back to my friend idea, then.” Which sounded even more unappealing than it had two minutes ago.
She laid her palm flat on the counter and seemed to study the granite. “It’s not a no. I just don’t know how it will work.” She darted him a glance. “I do like you. As a friend.”
He edged closer and uncrossed his arms. He mimicked her, putting his hand on the counter so that their fingers were maybe a foot apart. “I like you too. A little more than as a friend, but I’ll take what I can get.”
She straightened and looked at him, her blue-green eyes sharp and beautiful. “Maybe we should just get this out of our systems. I know you’re worried about us working together, but it’s sort of not going all that great right now anyway, is it?”
Their communication had become stilted, and even though she was still doing a great job, things were awkward. All in all, she had a fair point. But was she serious about the getting-it-out-of-their-systems part? He couldn’t tell.
He offered a self-deprecating smile. “I was trying to be a gentleman. And look where that got me.”
She laughed softly, and her eyes lit. She was so pretty. He ached to touch her.
“I appreciate you trying to do that—really. Even if I was pissed at first. But it’s good. You’ve actually encouraged me to get back out there. My mom and sister are setting me up on a blind date.”
She could’ve kicked him square in the balls, and it might’ve had less of an impact. His chest tightened, and his insides swirled with turmoil. Apparently, she hadn’t been serious about getting their mutual attraction out of their systems. “Well, that’s progress, I guess,” he said tightly. He stalled the incremental movement of his hand—which he’d been only partially aware of—on the counter.
Her eyes narrowed slightly and only for a second, as if she’d caught the nuance of his reaction. Shit, maybe it wasn’t that nuanced. Maybe his face screamed his envy. Time to get the hell out of there. “So let’s try the friend thing, then. I’m confident we can do it. You can even tell me all about your date when I see you next.” He forced a smile before turning and starting from the kitchen toward the door.
“Hey, you seem mad.” She caught his hand. “Don’t leave mad. Friends don’t do that.”
He turned, his fingers twining through hers. “Friends don’t do a lot of things. Like think about how they want to toss the other one on the counter and screw them senseless.”
Her eyes widened and immediately darkened with desire. “See, I told you we should just get it out of our systems. I bet that’s all it would take.”
She was serious. “That’s a line I would use. You’re killing me with it.”
She lifted a shoulder and ran her thumb along his palm. “Maybe it’s fun to play the player.”
The sexy lilt of her voice and the seductive glint in her gaze completely destroyed whatever willpower he’d been clinging to. He clasped her waist and spun her around so that her back was up against the fridge. She gasped softly, but her eyes slitted as he pushed his body into hers.
He massaged her waist and brought her hand up, pinning it against the stainless steel. He leaned in close and inhaled her spicy, floral scent. She stared at him, her eyes daring him to take the next step. He shouldn’t…he couldn’t…
Darcy Burke is the USA Today Bestselling Author of hot, action-packed historical and sexy, emotional contemporary romance. A native Oregonian, Darcy lives on the edge of wine country with her guitar-strumming husband, their two hilarious kids who seem to have inherited the writing gene, and three Bengal cats. Visit Darcy online at www.darcyburke.com and sign up for her newsletter, follow her on Twitter at twitter.com/darcyburke, or like her Facebook page, www.facebook.com/DarcyBurkeFans.
About the Book:
Following a bitter divorce, Brooke Ellis relocated to Ribbon Ridge to rebuild her life. Things will never be the same for her, and she’s coming to terms with that reality when she meets charming, persistent Cam. She can’t imagine a happy ever after given his reputation, but he makes her feel so good.
As the sparks between them intensify, they’re both hesitant to commit for very different reasons. Or are they really just sabotaging their own futures? If they can trust each other—and themselves—they may realize that what they share is too good to let slip away.
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