the way you look tonight - Page 23

“Friday night, I know the boundaries of our relationship got a little fuzzy—” Particularly when she’d been begging him for one more kiss. “—but you were right to leave when you did.”

“It was a hell of a weekend without you,” he said in his disarmingly direct way. “The only consolation was that I knew I’d get to work with you today.” He shook his head, his eyes dark and intense again. “I wish just working with you would be enough.”

Lord, the things this man did to her with nothing but a look and a few simple words. She was tingling head to toe, inside and out, as she made herself take a step away from him.

“It has to be enough, at least until the campaign is over.”

“Tell me why we have to wait. Make me understand why I can’t kiss you again right now when we both know how good it will be?”

She went to take another step back from him, before looking up into his eyes and realizing she had done the exact opposite. Instead of moving further away, she’d gotten closer.

“I made a mistake a few years ago. A big one.” A chill moved over her just thinking about Romain. “And what I learned from my mistake is that we should wait until our relationship isn’t wrapped up in the ad campaign, or tracking how many units are being ordered. Then we’ll both be able to think clearly about things.”

Seeing her shiver, he slid his hands over her arms to warm her. “What I’m feeling for you has absolutely nothing to do with units or ad campaigns.”

She wanted so badly to believe him, especially since her own feelings for him were growing at an exponential rate. His hands on her felt so good, so comforting and arousing at the same time, that her body instinctively shifted closer yet again.

“You’ve worked toward fulfilling your dream for ten years,” she reminded him. “You shouldn’t even consider putting anything or anyone else first right now.”

“Whoever it was that hurt you,” he said in a low voice that rumbled through her, “was an idiot.”

They were just inches apart as she agreed, “Yes, he was.”

“Rumor has it,” he said with a small smile that drew her in closer for the kiss she was trying not to give him, “that my IQ is quite high.”

How could she possibly fight her feelings for him when he didn’t just make her burn but made her laugh, too?

“Is that so?”

“One hundred sixty, and my mother still has the test results to prove it,” he said with a grin. “Although I’ll confess that sometimes I get an idea in the shower and forget to shave because I’m hurrying to get it down on paper.”

She almost sighed out loud at how sweet and cute and sexy it was that his brain worked so fast he could hardly keep on top of normal, everyday things like shaving. Did his socks match, she wondered? But worse even than mulling over his socks was the fact that she wanted to nuzzle against the dark bristles he’d forgotten to shave away that morning.

Trying to keep things light between them—even if she knew she was only delaying the inevitable—she dropped her gaze to his beard-in-the-making. “You look good scruffy.”

“Now that I know you think that, I’ll never shave again.”

She laughed again. “Remind me to look you up in two years to see how long your beard is.”

“All you’ll have to do is roll over in our bed to see that.”

She’d never been with a man this confident—so sure they were meant to be together. And she’d never wanted to kiss anyone this much, either.

In order to distract her lips from the kiss they were dying for, she said his name instead, meaning it as a warning. “Jack.”

He distracted her right back, not with her name, but by saying, “Angel.”

It was an endearment that made her knees wobble every single time.

So when he slid one hand into her hair and another around the curve of her hip to pull her closer, she didn’t have the strength of will to keep fighting this kiss any longer. All it took was the press of his lips against hers to dissolve the fierce reminders of how she’d been hurt before. All her intelligent thoughts vanished, as well.

“Mary, I know you said you were cutting back on caffeine, but I brought you—”

Gerry was halfway into the room by the time he realized she was wrapped around Jack like a teenage girl stealing a kiss from her secret boyfriend when she thought no one was looking.

“Sorry about that, folks,” he said in his easy, seen-it-all way. “I’ll just go take care of that film that needs changing.”

The second Mary heard Gerry’s voice, she should have jumped out of Jack’s arms. Especially given that she shouldn’t have been in them in the first place. But his kiss had made her limbs feel too loose and rubbery to do anything but stay right where she was.

Finally, she gathered up enough self-control to make herself shift away, one inch at a time until Jack had no choice but to let her go. “I can’t believe we were doing that…and that Gerry caught us. Thank God, it was him and not your partners.”

“What if they had seen us? We’re not hurting anyone, or anything, by kissing each other.”

But what if you do end up hurting me?

Mixed into her fear of being hurt again by someone she worked with was the lingering memory of how humiliated she’d been by the knowledge that everyone in her circle knew just how foolishly she’d given her heart…and then been tossed aside. She couldn’t stand for that to happen again, not when she was supposed to be older and wiser.