Roth continued, still coveting something he’d never have, “You know if this was back in the day, she’d be mine, right?”
Yes, it was a cocky statement but also a true one. When he was young and dumb, he would not have hesitated to pursue Tressa at full throttle, regardless of her situation. Luckily for Cyrus, he’d become a far better man than he’d once been.
Alonso chuckled. “Trust me, I know. I’m surprised you came. You sounded a little iffy when we talked earlier.”
Roth pulled his attention away from Tressa before he overheated. Taking another swig from his glass, he paused for a moment to savor the rich flavors. “Figured I’d swing by on my way out of town.”
“Out of town?”
“Headed to my place in the mountains.”
Alonso quirked a brow. “Alone?”
“That’s a good question.” Powerless against it, he sought out Tressa again. When their gazes locked, electricity—raw and powerful—slammed through him, causing a puff of air to escape. What in the hell was that? Alarm triggered his defenses, sending flares up like Fourth of July fireworks. He needed rescuing.
“You all right, man?” Alonso asked.
No, he wasn’t. He wouldn’t be all right until he’d got Tressa out of his system.
* * *
As one of the women went on and on about something, Tressa slid an inconspicuous glance to her watch—a flashy piece packed with diamonds—that Cyrus had given her as an engagement gift. He was good at giving expensive gifts. She just wished he were as generous with his time. In the past two weeks, they’d barely seen one another. As an investment banker, he should understand the importance of investing in the future, as well as in the right commodities.
She gave an occasional nod and displaced smile, just to present the illusion of listening. Will this party ever end? It’d only been an hour since her family and friends had all gathered to celebrate what should have been one of the most exciting nights of her life.
There were a number of reasons she could have rattled off as to why, but the most severe one hovered above like a sexy gargoyle watching over the city.
Simply thinking his name made her insides flutter. Then she scolded her body for the defiant act. Plenty of times she warned her system against responding to Roth. And plenty of times it’d disobeyed her.
Don’t look at him. I repeat, do not look at him.
As if her body would choose today of all days to start listening to her. Defiant. Her brain sent her gaze to the balcony. The man was as tempting as the glowing hot-doughnut sign at Krispy Kreme. Who in the hell could resist? Definitely not her. But in this case, she had to. She was getting married.
Roth stood chatting with his best friend, Alonso. The mere sight of him pounded her insides like a sensual jackhammer against stubborn concrete. From any angle, he was gorgeous. Tall, a few inches over six feet, a body that would be the envy of any athletic trainer, skin the tone of the best imported cocoa beans and a gleaming smile that rivaled the sun. That damn smile. In a quiet setting, it could hypnotize a woman into doing reckless things. Trust her, she knew.
When Roth’s attention slid to her, she gasped from the shock of awareness that scorched her soul. He flashed a half smile. She returned the gesture, then yanked her focus away from him before she melted into a puddle of lust in the middle of her own engagement party.
Damn. Why did that man cloud her better judgment and distort her common sense? Stop it, Tressa! You’re getting married in one month. February 18, she reminded herself. But looking was okay, right? As long as she didn’t touch. She gnawed at the corner of her lip. But she had touched. Oh, God, how she wanted to touch again.
She’d never been the unfaithful type, but when Roth had pulled her into his arms and kissed her senseless, she hadn’t done a damn thing to break free. A reel of the kiss in her best friend’s kitchen played in her head. Recalling how good his mouth had felt pressed against hers caused her lips to tingle. She touched two fingers to them.
It’d been the best damn kiss she’d ever experienced in her life. They’d both agreed that what had happened had been a huge mistake and had vowed to never mention it again. But a kiss like that haunted you. It wasn’t something easily purged from your system. But, Lord, had she tried to purge it, along with this ornate desire to… To what? What did she really want from Roth?