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It did. I heaved a breath inward. God, I shouldn’t have drunk all those Cosmos. I felt slightly dizzy and a lot horny. Bad combination around this man. I knew it would only lead to trouble. Trouble I very much wanted. “I’ve missed you, too,” I admitted in a moment of weakness.

“But you’re the one who ended it.” His brows pinched together.

My eyes acknowledged his statement, dropping to the floor briefly, as if to say, I know. Being near him, inhaling him, was a deadly combination. My body was responding to the maleness of his scent, my heartbeat ricocheting off the walls of my chest, making my breath come out in soft pants.

“You’re sending me all kinds of mixed signals, kitten.” His eyes fell to my chest where my ni**les had hardened into pebbles. I dropped my head, but his index finger lifted my chin until I met his eyes once again. “You have no idea how badly I’ve missed you,” he growled, lightly nipping at my neck. “Let me show you. Let me make it up to you . . .” I released a soft groan. “I need to be inside you.”

“Not here,” I moaned.

His eyes rose to mine. “Your place. We’ll grab a cab.”

I nodded my consent and he grabbed my hand to tow me from the office; we weaved our way through the throngs of mingling bodies when I stopped suddenly. “Wait . . .”

He stopped suddenly. “What?”

I looked longingly at the buffet table. “I didn’t get to try any of the yummy things over there. . . .”

He chuckled beside me, his posture immediately relaxing. “Give me one sec.” He kissed my cheek and then rushed over to the tuxedo-clad attendant restocking napkins at the buffet. Within minutes he was handed a large brown paper bag that I could only assume was filled with to-go treats. My hero.

My smile widened as he approached, the bag clutched in his hands. “Now we’re ready. No more stalling.” He grabbed my hand and all but hauled me out the door.

Once we reached my apartment, Braydon gathered the plates and silverware from the kitchen while I unpacked the sack of treats on my small dining table. We ate and laughed and caught up about the past several weeks, avoiding any heavy topics. It was crazy how easily we could fall back into our old routine. I knew there was a big conversation we still needed to have—about where we stood—but even I seemed reluctant to start it. This felt too good and I wasn’t ready to ruin it.

“Are you going to finish that slice of cheesecake?” He looked longingly at my plate.

“Every last bite,” I confirmed, grinning wickedly as I shoved a big piece of the cake into my mouth. “But . . .” I pulled the last container from the bag. “There’s another slice, and I’ll split it with you if you make coffee.”

“Deal.”

I loved that I could be myself with him. I’d forgotten how easy we were together. Like two old friends who taunted and teased each other endlessly, and of course had great sex, too. My stomach flipped at the thought. I wouldn’t be giving in to him tonight. Couldn’t.

After our meal, we washed the dishes and then settled in the living room. The conversation soon died down and a comfortable silence settled in around us. A steaming mug of coffee, a belly full of cheesecake, and Braydon back in my life. Things were good. Maybe we could do this—even if it was just as friends. Things felt too natural, too easy with him, and I didn’t want to lose that.

Braydon pushed my hair back behind my shoulder. “Come here. I don’t bite.”

I glared at him, but moved closer. I knew in fact he did bite.

Although I had removed my killer heels, I hadn’t yet changed out of my dress. And my body suddenly realized that only a thin scrap of fabric was separating Braydon’s skin from mine.

“I’m going to go change out of my dress,” I informed him, hopping up from the couch.

“Need a hand?” he asked, rising.

“No.” I pushed his shoulders so he returned to sitting. “Sit. Stay. Good puppy.” I patted his head.

He lifted a dark sexy brow at me.

“Boys are like puppies,” I explained. “You have to have lots of patience, plenty of discipline, house-train them . . .”

“Is that so?”

I nodded, feeling satisfied.

“Does that mean girls are like kittens? Give them lots of snuggles and give them cream to lick up so they don’t get ornery and claw you?”

I giggled. “Something like that. Be right back.”

Once inside my bedroom, I didn’t bother with closing the door. I heard the television flip on and figured Braydon was making himself comfortable.

I unzipped my dress and stepped out of it, crossing the room in bare feet to hang my dress in the closet. I was humming the tune from the commercial I could hear coming from the living room and spun around to a rich grumble. Braydon was watching me from the doorway. I sucked in a breath as our eyes locked.

He remained motionless in the door, his dark blue eyes possessive and hungry.

“What are you doing?” My voice came in a rush of breath.

“Take off your bra.”

What?

His gaze dropped to the swell of generous cle**age that spilled over my pink push-up bra.

My body obeyed his command, my traitorous hands finding the clasp behind my back and releasing it. I let the straps fall from my shoulders, but palmed the cups of the bra before I was left completely exposed.

Braydon crossed the room and lightly gripped my wrists. “Don’t hide from me. I don’t know where this is headed, but this thing between us is real. I know you feel it, too.”

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