He watched intently as she was spun across the dance floor. A swift emotion gripped him as he watched the man she was dancing with place his hand on her back as he drew her back into his arms. Jealousy. Pure and simple. He recognized it. Hadn’t felt it in a long time with any other woman but Adrienne Winters. He sighed inwardly. Adrienne. She was the most beautiful woman he had ever laid eyes on. Of course, he’d been involved with some pretty women but she was different. She had a natural beauty that most women envied. Her flawless bronze skin never had a hint of makeup on it. Not that he could see. Hell, she didn’t need it. The only thing she wore was lip gloss that smelled of strawberries. Her hair cascaded down her back in massive waves that he would just love to thread his fingers through if given the chance. Her dress, a little black number, that fit too snug on every curve of her body was driving him insane. Everything she wore drove him mad with need but tonight that need threaten to boil over. He’d been pursuing this woman for a full year and each time he’d asked her to dinner, she’d declined. He wasn’t in the habit of pushing himself on any woman so he laid low, even though it was the last thing he’d wanted to do. He’d wanted to come on strong but decided not to. Every now and again he’d catch her alone in the cafeteria at work and would have coffee with her or breakfast but things still remained strained between them. He knew damn well she was attracted to him. When she thought he wasn’t looking, he saw her gaze travel over his entire body and that small smile of appreciation. She was fighting it and he could not understand why. He was seriously considering giving up.
His eyes finally landed on the person next to him. “Hey, Becca.” Becca was his ex girlfriend and best friend. They’d tried the dating thing but it didn’t work out so they decided to keep their friendship instead which worked out better.
She tilted her head and smiled. “So, are you going to ask her to dance or frown all night?” She prodded.
“I think I’m just going to go, Becca. She doesn’t want me near her. At least that’s the way it seems.”
Rebecca’s eyebrow arched. “Are you actually going to give up on her? Am I hearing defeat?” She asked, surprised that his confidence had waned.
He sighed. He should have known she wouldn’t let this go. Becca knew he loved a challenge. He had to admit that Adrienne was the biggest personal challenge he’d had in a while but his ego was being bruised over and over again. Each time she declined to go to dinner or a movie or just whatever, it hurt him, which was surprising because he never let things get under his skin. “Maybe I am. I’ll see you on Monday.” He handed her his wine glass and walked away from her with his heart in his throat.
Adrienne watched with wide eyes as Luke left the ballroom. She had been too aware of him watching her as he often did. Normally, she would just pretend she didn’t notice but not tonight. She’d wanted to dance with him and talk to him about their relationship or lack thereof but some other guy whose name she could not recall scooped her into his arms and she didn’t want to be rude to him. But now she could care less. She cared about Luke, even though she hadn’t told him that. She hadn’t been willing to admit it to herself until a few days ago. Every chance she could, she’d avoided him. Not because she didn’t like him but because if she got close, she could fall for him. Hard. And that was something she could not have backfire. Mixing business with pleasure was something she cared not to be apart of again but…Luke was so different from Jason and she couldn’t really hold him accountable for what Jason had done to her. She pushed the thoughts aside. She had to go after him before he got too far and she lost her nerve. She abruptly stopped dancing.
“Excuse me, but I have to go.” She quickly disentangled herself from the man’s arms and avoided his puzzled look. She ran in the same direction that Luke had gone. She just hoped she wasn’t too late.
Luke chided himself all the way to his car. He shouldn’t have left like that. He could have at least talked to her. Dammit. He turned sharply to go back inside but his breath caught before he could take another step. Was that Adrienne running toward him? He wondered. Yep, it was her. He’d know that dress anywhere. His heart-rate increased and he was pretty sure his pulse jumped vigorously beneath his shirt. Damn. She slowed down as she got closer to him.
“Luke. I’m glad I caught you.” She pressed her hand to her stomach as she tried to control her erratic breathing .
“Oh? Why is that Adrienne?”
“I needed to talk to you.”
An eyebrow rose. “About?”
She swallowed hard. “About us, Luke.”
Did she just say “us?” “Is there an “us?” She stepped forward and he took a step back. He tried not to look at the hurt expression on her face but failed.
“I guess I deserved that. I haven’t been very receptive to you and I apologize from the bottom of my heart. I hope you can forgive me.”
She said the last part so softly and it tugged at his heart. He had such a soft spot for this woman. He closed the space between them in two strides. He placed his hands on her face and caressed her soft face. “Why wouldn’t I forgive you, Adrienne? Hmm?”
Damn, she was having hard time forming words now that he was near her. She inhaled his aftershave and cologne and found that she liked it. Instinctively, she slid her hands up his chiseled chest. She could feel it through his shirt. The man was so sexy and absolutely gorgeous. Not that she didn’t know that already, but being so close to him, she could see more of him. His mocha skin in contrast to her bronze skin was intoxicating. His skin offset his blue-gray eyes. She rarely saw this particular eye color on any man. “Oh, I don’t know. Maybe you’re tired of trying to pursue me.”
His hands moved down to her throat and he caressed her there. A low moan escaped her throat and he found himself moving closer to her lips. He’d wondered for a long time how they would feel against his. “I could never give up on you. I wanted to but I was on my way back when you came running to me.” He whispered. His head lowered to her neck and he placed a soft kiss there. He smiled when he heard her suck in a breath. He raised his head slowly until he was eye level with her. He watched as she lifted a shaky hand to trace his bottom lip with her finger. At the last minute, he flicked his tongue against her finger. She gasped and her eyes darkened.
“Luke” She whispered feverishly. Heat consumed her entire body. She felt his lips touch hers, waiting for her to respond. She slid her arms around his neck and returned the kiss. She felt his fingers thread through her hair and he pulled her against his body. She kissed him back and opened for him. She was helpless to stop the moan that came from her lips when his tongue plunged into her mouth. Mercy. The man had a wonderful mouth. She slid her tongue over his and then sucked. She felt him jerk in surprise but recovered quickly when he began doing the same in return. How could she have been this oblivious to this powerful man who had her wrapped in his arms? She questioned. She whimpered when he broke the kiss.
Luke drew in a ragged breath and let it out. “Adrienne” He breathed
She held her arms loosely around his waist. “Is there something wrong?”
He smiled. “Of course not. It’s just…if I don’t stop kissing you now, you’re going home with me.”
She had to smile at that. “Always the gentlemen, aren’t you?” She leaned into his embrace more and kissed him lightly on the lips.
“I suppose so, but right now I’m having a hard time being one. Considering, how long I’ve waited for this moment…”
She looked down,feeling awful. He reached down and tilted her chin to look at him. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to make you feel bad.”
She shook her head. “Its okay. I just let my past get in the way of the present, which was the reason for my hesitancy. Well, one of the reasons.”
He kissed her softly. “And the other?”
The moment of truth, she concluded. She gulped. “I was, um, afraid of falling for you, Luke. Afraid that if I fell in love with you, that it wouldn’t work out between us and things would be awkward between us at work.”
Okay, she hadn’t meant to say that much but she couldn’t take it back now.
“I’m guessing you’ve been down this road before?” He knew she’d been hurt but to what extent, he wasn’t sure.
She nodded. “Yeah, I have.”
“Trust me, I wouldn’t have pursued you this long if I planned on having a fling. I would never hurt you. Believe me.”
Surprisingly, she did believe him. “Thank you for not giving up.”
He kissed her forehead and chuckled softly. “I wanted to so many times but there’s just something about you that tugs at my heart. I look forward to finding out what that is.”
She stood on tiptoe to nibble on his lower lip. “We’ll do it together, Luke. Now are you going to take me to your home or are we going to stay here all night?”
“If I take you to my home, you know whats likely to happen right?”
“I’m counting on it, Luke.”She purred. Now let’s go.”
He grinned. “Whatever my good thing wants, she gets.” She squealed has he lifted her off her feet into his arms. No doubt about it, she was looking forward to her life with Luke.