By the time Logan pulled up in front of Tess’s house, she was warm, full, tired, and happy. “I had a great time today.”
“I did too,” he said with a smile. “Thanks again for inviting me.”
“Any chance you’d like to do it again sometime soon?”she asked. “You’re a worthy ski partner, and I had fun with you.”
“Yeah, I’d like that,” he said. “But next time, I pay for my lift ticket.”
“Deal. Sometime next week?”
“Sure. Give me a call, we’ll work out a time.”
“Well, you have a job with a real schedule. Right now, I don’t. I’m free as a bird. So you give me a call.”
His eyes held hers as he said, “Okay. I’ll do that. You’re on. Got yourself a ski buddy.”
God, she wanted to kiss him. Sitting so close in the warmth of his truck, he smelled good and his eyes were intense and his mouth was inviting and she wanted to kiss him so bad. But this new friendship—all the things they’d revealed to each other that day—she didn’t want to cross any lines or mess it up. For now, she’d hold back.
But still couldn’t resist flirting a little bit. “So,” she said boldly. “Are you coming in to soak in my tub or what? The offer stands.”
His gaze turned hot, a full-out smolder that made her belly do a wobbly flip. “The offer is more tempting than you know.” His voice had dropped low and dead sexy, making her shiver. “But I think I’d better head home for tonight.”
They stared at each other for a moment, pure electricity crackling between them. She could feel her blood in her veins, racing now, hot and needing, as his eyes lowered to her mouth for a few seconds before lifting to meet her gaze again. “You sure?” she asked. Her heart thumped in heavy beats.
“Only so much temptation a man can take,” he murmured. “And you’re testing my limits as it is, Tess. You have to know that.”
“I didn’t know that.”
“Well . . .”
She leaned in, her face so close to his that she could feel his hot breath feather against her lips.
“Tess.” He whispered it as a protest, but his eyes gave him away. He wanted her too, she could see it all over his face.
She closed the distance between them, pressing her mouth to his. It was a brush of her lips against his, just the slightest touch. But his hand lifted to cup the back of her neck and hold her there. He took control of the kiss, gently but surely, slanting his mouth over hers to take more of what he wanted. Her mouth opened with a little sigh as their tongues met and swirled slowly. As they leaned into each other, his fingers threaded through her hair and his other hand came up, cradling her head in his hands as his mouth consumed hers.
Her senses reeled. His full beard tickled her face, surprisingly soft against her skin. The feel of his mouth on hers, his hands in her hair, his big, warm body so close . . .her head swam with it all. He deepened the kiss and groaned softly into her mouth, and she was lost. She surrendered willingly, kissing him back with the same slow, sensual pace he’d set, her fingers clutched in his ski jacket. She could have kissed him for days.
He broke away slowly, leaning his forehead against hers, eyes still closed. “Jesus,” he whispered. When his eyes opened to focus on her, they were heavy lidded with lust. “You . . . you better go inside now.”
Still catching her breath, she touched his cheek. “You sure you don’t want to come in?”
“I do want to,” he said, his voice thick. “Too much. So I’m not going to.”
She pulled back, trying to hide her disappointment. “Okay.”
“Tess . . .” He stared at her, his mouth opening and closing as he fought with what he wanted to say. “You’re an amazing woman. I like that we’re . . . kind of friends now. Let’s try to stick with that for now, okay?”
The disappointment sharpened in her gut, but she pasted on a smile. “Fine.”
“Ah crap. No, no, don’t say fine,” Logan demanded gently. “When a woman says fine, it’s never fine. Even a loner lumberjack like me knows that.”
She couldn’t help but giggle.
“Tess, you’re the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen,” he said earnestly. “Don’t think for a second that I wouldn’t love to go inside with you right now, because I would. But you have an agenda, you’re gearing up to go through some medical . . . stuff . . . and I don’t want to get in the way of that.”
She gaped at him in shock. “I . . . I don’t know what one thing has to do with the other.”
“You have big plans,” he murmured, trailing the backs of his fingers along her cheek, eyes locked with hers. “I’d be a distraction. You said it yourself, you don’t want any distractions right now.” His gaze turned wicked and hot as he added, “I promise you, it’d be a fantastic distraction. A sexy, fun, passionate distraction . . . but this friendship we’ve started? Means more.”
“We’re attracted to each other,” she said flatly.
“Can’t deny that.” He touched his mouth to hers again, a light brush of his lips, and her whole body shuddered. “But I shouldn’t go inside with you. Not tonight.”
Her nerves jangled, every nerve ending alight and aware of him. Her heart beat hard and fast as she nuzzled into his palm, stared right into his eyes, and whispered, “If you insist.”
“I do,” he said, not breaking their gaze. “C’mon, you know I’m right. Last thing you need right now is us starting something up like this. Didn’t you tell me your first doctor
appointment is tomorrow?”
She didn’t like it, and wasn’t sure she fully agreed with it, but had to admit she’d thought along those lines herself before his kisses had turned her brain to mush and her insides to jelly. With a heavy sigh, she nodded and pulled back from him. “Pretty early, in fact. I should go inside and get into bed.”
Logan growled, his head falling back against the leather seat. “Had to put an image like that in my head right before you leave. You, climbing into bed . . . not nice, Tess. Not nice.”
She laughed lightly, and he grinned back at her. Their eyes held for a long beat and she took a slow, deep breath, exhaling it before she said, “Good night, Logan. Thanks again for a great day.”
“Back at you,” he said. “Good night, Tess. Sleep well. Good luck tomorrow.”
With a sweet smile, she climbed out of his truck and into the cold night.
Copyright © Jennifer Gracen 2017