But she was lying. She did care. She couldn’t stand the thought of him with another woman. She wanted him for herself and she didn’t know how to stop wanting that.
“You should care,” he said. “You better care.”
“I asked you what you thought of me.”
“And I told you.”
He snapped the magazine from her hands and tossed it on the table. “Use words.”
Her brain stumbled around. With him standing so close, she found she couldn’t lie. “You’re not good for me.”
“Don’t do this, Tuck.”
“You know I’m attracted to you. You know we have chemistry. But we can’t go there again.”
“Why not?” she all but shouted.
Why was he determined to make her say it?
“That’s what I asked,” he said.
“Because it’s not enough.”
“What would be enough?”
“Stop. Just stop.” She wanted him to go away. Her heart was already shredded and he was making it worse.
“Me loving you?” he asked. “Would that be enough?”
His words penetrated and her brain screeched to a halt.
“Would it, Amber?” he asked. “Because I do. I love you. I’m in love with you. I want to work with you. I want to date you. I think I even want to marry you. Scratch that. I know I want to marry you. Now I’m asking again. What do you think of me?”
She worked her jaw, but no sound came out. “I...uh...”
He cocked his head. “I’m really not sure how to take that.”
“You love me?” She couldn’t wrap her head around it.
“I love you.” He reached out and took her hands in his. “But I’m going to have to insist you answer the question. I swear, Amber, I don’t know whether to kiss you or slink out the door.”
“Kiss me,” she said, joy blooming in her chest.
Tuck’s face broke into a broad smile.
“I love you, Tuck. Kiss me, please.”
He didn’t wait another second. He kissed her deeply, wrapping his arms around her, drawing her close against his body.
“I’ll be there for you,” he whispered in her ear. “I promise I’ll be there for you and for Crystal and for Jade. I’ll protect you and fight for you. You can count on me now and forever.”
“This doesn’t seem real.” She let the warmth of his body flow into hers.
“It’s real, sweetheart. And it’s definitely forever.”