She smelled him before she saw him. Him… the one who had such control over her emotions and who even invaded her dreams when her walls were relaxed.
Yet she continued to stare into the flames before her, even as the other end of the sofa sank beneath his weight. When his arm stretched alongside the back of the sofa toward her though not touching, she felt chills dance along her spine. Still she continued to look forward, but she couldn’t keep the corners of her mouth from lifting in a small smile. He did that to her too.
“How ya doing, Linds?”
Linds. She even loved his pet name for her! She inhaled a reinforcing breath. Finally she turned and looked at him, at his wavy hair that her fingers itched to get lost in, at his expressive eyes beneath thick lashes—at his soft lips that she remembered well, and his beautiful bronze skin. Gorgeous!
“I think I’m good. I’m excited that today went well—which of course makes me a bit fearful for tomorrow,” she said as she chuckled.
“I know, right?” Laughter flitted across his eyes before they sobered. “You’ve been avoiding me, Linds.”
Her heart thundered against her chest. “How is that possible? We see each other every day, Chad.”
Chad looked determinedly at her profile as she sipped from her glass, which now trembled within her hand. Was she nervous? Was she afraid of him? He took his finger and gently traced from her shoulder down her arm. He felt the tingle of electricity move between them. She looked at him with a start.
“Whether we talk about it or not, it’s still here between us.”
“Chad…there’s so much about me that you don’t know. So much that…I’m not willing to reveal. And I suspect the same is true for you. How exactly does a conversation begin between us when there’s not enough trust to reveal all that we are?” Her dark eyes pleaded with his as she stated a truth he couldn’t deny.
He sighed and leaned his head against the back of the sofa. He smoothed his hands against his thighs as he contemplated what to say—what to do next. Could he risk it? He slid from the sofa and slowly moved toward her, not stopping until he knelt before her. He placed his hands on her thighs and lifted his gaze to hers.
Slowly, he lifted his hand to remove an escaped tendril of her hair from her face. As his gaze delved into hers, he softly said, “I’m willing to bare all, right here, right now. What about you?”
Lindsay felt as if her breath stalled within her. Could she? Even as she voiced the question within, she knew the answer. She could not. She could not risk losing the him that she already knew—the him that was already available to her. So she dropped her gaze away from his.
“You don’t want more?” he asked.
“The possibility of more…between us, Linds?”
But she didn’t have to respond for him to see the blatant fear in her eyes staring back at him. What could she have possibly done? he wondered. He slowly stood and reached for her hands.
“Well when you’re ready, I’ll be here.” He gently pulled his hands away and walked out of the room.
Lindsay watched the light bounce off her glass as the ice swiveled at the bottom of her glass with the last sip of her scotch. She felt the burn slide down her throat. Fire. It was the opposite of what she wanted to feel anywhere in her body. But her heart simply wouldn’t listen.
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