“I skipped lunch. So…imminently.”
God, she couldn’t remember smiling this much when it wasn’t for the sake of a performance. The conversation was light and carefree, but there was a weight in her belly that continue to pull down, down, with every word. Like her body knew they might be skimming along the surface of the getting to know you phase, but it was headed somewhere else. Somewhere deeper. And once again, their bodies seem to magnetize and draw them together until Reese’s hip met the outside of Leo’s thigh.
When his arm slowly draped across her shoulders and eased her close, tucking her into his side, Reese’s eyelids fluttered. Oh, this. This was the place to be. Warmth wrapped around her bones, the scent of powdered sugar and cinnamon filling her nose. He was like a walking cup of hot chocolate by the fire.
“That’s nice,” she sighed wistfully into his shoulder.
His chest rumble was even better up close.
They stayed that way for a few minutes, content in the silence, watching the repetition of lights and the honking, cranking, windy sounds of the city. Until Leo nodded at something across the street. “Look. There’s a fight happening in that office.”
Her interested gasp was humiliating, frankly, but she owned it. “Where? Where?” She followed his line of sight and found he was right. In the top right corner of the building across the street, there were two people—a man and a woman—having an obvious shouting match over a desk. The woman waved a sheaf of papers in the air, the man massaged the bridge of his nose. “There are some unknown charges on the company’s expense report,” Reese murmured. “She’s demanding to know what they are. But he can’t tell her.”
Leo’s voice emerged just above her ear. “Why?”
“Because those charges are for a surprise birthday party he’s throwing in her honor, of course. He loves her. Always has. They started this company together, from the ground up, and turned it into an unmitigated success. The more time he let pass without telling her how he feels, the stronger their business partnership became. And now he can’t risk it. So he performs these little gestures, showing her without words how much he cares.”
A long pause ensued. “Did you just come up with that whole thing in your head?”
“I love a good storyline.” She rested her head on his shoulder. “Dancers might not have speaking roles, but…in a way, we have to act with our bodies. Sometimes if the story isn’t inspiring—to me, at least—I make up my own. To bolster performance.”
She could feel his gaze tracing the lines of her face thoughtfully. “Well, you can’t stop now. I’m on the edge of my seat.”
“Okay…” Having more fun than she could remember having in her whole life, Reese chewed her smiling lip a moment. “So it could take a romantic comedy turn. Or a tragic one. In the rom-com version, he announces at the birthday party that he’s transferring to their London office, because secretly, he can’t stand to be around her anymore and pretend he’s not wildly in love. But she goes home after the party and it hits her, she’s loved him all along. Before he can get on the plane, she kisses him. Roll the credits.”
“What happens in the tragic version?”
“He cancels the party, marries her sister and only then does she find out he spent years loving her. But it’s too late.”
“Jesus. That physically hurt to hear. And I don’t even know these people.”
“What can I say?” She huffed a breath onto her fingernails, polishing them on the front of her coat. “I’m just that good.”
“You are.” His thumb brushed up and down her arm. “You know, this is the same skill set that you’re going to employ helping me fulfill the Sweetest Fix orders.”
A laugh whistled out of her. “Oh no.” She shrugged out from beneath his arm, backing toward the center of the roof. “I never agreed to help.”
“Okay…” Following her, he drew the word out. “But it might interest you to know that there’s one guy who can’t figure out what his cross-country skier girlfriend who loves classic movies wants in a cake pop.”
“Coconut, obviously. It’s an old-fashioned flavor. And the little flecks of white will call snowflakes to mind.”
Leo gave her lopsided smile.
She couldn’t help returning it, even as she grumbled under her breath.
“The thing is…” Reese started, knowing she shouldn’t say the rest, but unable to help it. There was a current of acceptance and familiarity—a spark between them that shoved the words right out. “If I spend time with you, Leo…” she said quietly. “I have a feeling that I’m going to want to spend a lot more time with you. Leo.”
He was only a few inches away when his smile dipped, a muscle jumping in his cheek. “You won’t hear me complaining.”
Their breathing had already turned shallow by the time their lips locked, muffled sounds breaking from both of their throats. Reese felt the contact all the way down to her heels. The low voltage of it raising bumps on her legs, her arms. He was warm, his breath racing, matching her pulse beat for beat. Her lie of omission hung between them, guilt sneaking into the space between her shoulder blades, but then his mouth opened over hers and it sailed away on a jet stream of enjoyment.
Just like the other night, Leo’s hands were part of the kiss. They slid inside her coat to mold over her hips, his thumbs brushing her belly. And that hot thrum started between her thighs, the one he’d tickled to life the first time. Little spokes reached out from her core, teasing her nipples into points and making her breath catch.
Were those her fingers sinking so confidently into his hair, pulling him down closer so she could deepen the kiss? A pretty bold move for a girl who wouldn’t agree to a date, but who cared? Because his mouth came when beckoned, his lips pressing hers wider for the invasion of his tongue, his hands drawing her tight to his body, slowly lifting her onto tiptoes. Or maybe she did that herself, there was no way to tell when her thoughts were muddy with pleasure.
Being this close to him, there was no way to miss the rise of his manhood, the length of it settling against her belly, swelling with every stroke of their tongues. And the pace, the tone of the kiss was changing rapidly, going from exploratory to demanding, his hands beneath her shirt now, smoothing over the base of her spine, her lower body moving of its own accord, twisting subtly against his erection. A line inside of him frayed, she felt it in a brief stiffening of his upper lip, and those huge baker’s hands dropped to her bottom, grinding her closer once, just once, before he broke the kiss with a groan.