“Happy holidays, Bess,” he said as he moved closer and tucked a strand of my hair behind my ear.
When did this totally inappropriate flirting and touching start?
“Umm, Mr. Wrigley, I’m not sure I’m understanding you exactly. What are you really doing here? In Pennsylvania? Back at the WildFlower after your deal was closed? On Christmas by yourself? And who let you back here?” The pitch of my voice rose a little with each question until I was practically squeaking as I flailed a bit, waving my hand up and down the staff corridor.
But I wasn’t quite finished because then, boldly and out of left field, I asked, “Why me? Why are you back here talking to me?”
He leaned back on his heels, a tiny glint in his eye as he said, “Let’s see. I came back to Pennsylvania to see my brother for the holiday, except he had plans to go skiing up here. So, I came up with him and his lady friend. We had dinner last night, but today was their day on the slopes, which left me all alone.”
Licking his lips, he ran his hand through his dark hair and leaned close once more. “As for why I’m back here with you, I can’t really say. I only know I haven’t been able to get you out of my head since our unbelievably boring dinner in the tavern, or the coffee we shared in the back room the morning after.”
His expression softened. “There’s just something about you, Bess. You’re sweeter than the aroma of the blueberry muffin I devoured with you, prettier than the sun setting over the ocean back home, and tangier than the lemons you squeeze into your water. Something I can’t put my finger on pulls me in and makes me want to be close to you, probably the same thing that makes you want to run. Hell, it makes me want to flee so fucking fast, but I’m not. So, just don’t.”
He stopped talking and looked intently in my eyes. I stared back, studying the blue of his irises. They were so blue, but more a cornflower shade than ocean. There was something untouched and innocent about them, which was probably misguided to think on my part, considering that standing in front of me was an extremely successful, well-traveled, worldly, and probably well-fucked man.
My throat dry, I choked out, “I’m not sure what to say. Actually, I don’t think any of this is appropriate, and we should probably just part ways.” Completely unnerved, I pinned my lower lip between my teeth, and could almost taste a tinge of coppery blood as I bit down on it.
And then I got lost in his eyes, like blue skies floating above me. My mind drifted, barely registering the arms that reached out and framed me against the door. The sky came closer. It was so, so blue, not a cloud in it. And then he kissed me. Lane’s lips touched mine softly, and I braced myself against the wall. I was falling or floating, I didn’t know which.