She’d crunched his dock, and just like that, she’d been back in her bad marriage…nervous, jumping. Upset.
The truth was, Lucas hadn’t always been a coldhearted dick. Once upon a time he’d been fun. Happy.
Then he’d been hired by a cutthroat law firm, and she’d rarely seen him. He’d felt a lot of stress and pressure on himself and he’d…changed.
Suddenly everything she did irritated him, annoyed him, pissed him off. He’d lost his patience and grown a nasty temper, and she’d…hated it. She’d also allowed herself to feel responsible. Just like she had with her dad, she’d rushed to please him.
An impossible task.
But eventually she’d gotten used to always being wrong, and worse, she’d gotten used to the yelling. It shamed her just how much. She’d withdrawn, retreated inside herself, and she was only now coming back into her own. It was way too soon to think about having feelings for anyone, and yet that’s exactly what she’d done—even though she’d told Jacob she couldn’t have feelings, that she absolutely wouldn’t.
It wasn’t too much later that there came a knock on the door. And then… “Soph.”
She closed her eyes. What was it about his voice that always reached her, even when she was mad, hurt?
And that was the problem, she knew. Not that she was mad or hurt. But afraid, of her own heart, no less.
“Let me in, Soph.”
You’re already in…Not that she planned on admitting any such thing. She stared at the ceiling. “The door’s unlocked.”
“Let me in,” he repeated quietly.
Sophie turned her head and stared at the door. Damn him. He didn’t want to bulldoze his way in. He wanted her to let him in.
If he only knew.
She stood up and went to the door but didn’t open it. “Are you wearing a shirt?” she asked cautiously. She didn’t trust herself if he wasn’t.
There was a beat of silence. “Do you want me to be?”
She banged her head against the wood a few times, sighed, and opened the door.
He’d changed his T-shirt. This one said BOMB SQUAD…IF YOU SEE US RUNNING, YOU’D BEST KEEP UP, and she laughed.
His mouth quirked, like he enjoyed the sound of her laugh. “Come up on deck?” he asked, and without waiting for her, turned and vanished.
She followed, as he knew damn well she would.
Night had fully fallen, but that wasn’t what surprised her. No, it was the candles lit on the hull, shimmering in the dark. The blanket spread out on the floor of the boat.
In the center was a picnic. A bottle of wine, cheese, crackers, salami, grapes.
“My version of cooking,” Jacob said. “Sophie, about before.”
“I’d rather not talk about it.” She kept her back to him as she took in the spread he’d put out for her, needing a moment, needing space, because whenever she got too close to him, their mouths gravitated toward each other like magnets.
“Not that,” he said, voice low. “Before that. I honestly didn’t realize you thought I was lake patrol. I should have, but I’m…”
When he trailed off, she turned to face him.
“I’m people rusty,” he explained, and then grimaced. “Specifically, women rusty.”
She stared at him as that sank in. He’d spent the past nine long years as a soldier, doing and saying God knew what. Of course he was rusty.
Anyone would have been, and she should’ve seen that. She smiled and hoped it conveyed her apology as well. “So your plan was to what, give me orgasms until my brain cells blew so I wouldn’t notice?” she teased.
He flashed a grin. “I blew your brain cells?”
“You know you did.” She gave him a little push and he stepped back.
“Your choice, Soph,” he said. “Always will be.”
He was telling her flat-out that she was in the driver’s seat here, that she had the controls. Too bad she had no idea what to do with that.
Liar, an inner voice said. You want to strip him and ride him like a bronco.
When he laughed softly, it sent a bolt of heat through her that turned into a shudder racing up her spine. “What?”
“I half expected you to shove me overboard. Instead you’re looking like maybe you want to eat me for lunch, dinner, and dessert.”
She closed her eyes. “Well, not all three at the same time.”
He laughed again, and eyes still closed, she shook her head.