“I hear their vanilla is very good, but if I were you, I’d be more adventurous.”
With a bolt of awareness, Christina recognized Bryce Walker’s throaty baritone. As always, his voice sent chills up her legs. When she glanced sideways, the muscles behind her knees weakened.
Eyes like his should be illegal.
Her reaction to Mr. Walker was the exact reason that she’d avoided the man for months. Damn hormones. She could not control her body’s response to him, no matter how hard she tried. Every time they were within ten feet of one another, a shiver started somewhere behind her lower ribs and slithered down, pulsing in her sex and, eventually, forcing her to seek release—either by distraction or, more frequently, in the privacy of her bedroom with the help of her vibrator.
She only had to look at Bryce to know he was not a man to be trifled with. She’d had her fill of overbearing males, thank-you-very-much.
…but if I were you, I’d be more adventurous.
His mischievous, sexy-as-hell smile stopped just beneath his sunglasses.
Christina recognized his double-entendre, but offense would have been an act. Her body drummed the truth: she wanted nothing more than to pick up what he was putting down.
“Why hello, Mr. Walker,” she said, in her best librarian-voice. “I thank you for your advice, but I’d never consider vanilla.” She lifted an eyebrow. Their eyes locked and the pulse in her sex began.
Bells clanged as another customer entered the shop. She turned back to the server.
“Maple walnut, please,” she said, correcting her posture and straightening her skirt.
“Cup or cone?” the teenage clerk droned.
Bryce was standing way too close. His heat radiated through her blouse, contrasting with the cool sensation of the counter against her belly.
“Cone, thank you.” On impulse she added, “and you know what else I want? Jimmies.”
The clerk nodded, not bothering to glance up as he prepared her order.
Bryce cocked his deliciously masculine head to one side. “Feeling reckless, Ms. Welch?”
She shook her head no. “Indulgent, more like. Today is my birthday.”
She wrinkled her nose. Why had she told him?
“In that case―” Bryce turned and spoke to the clerk. “I’ll pay for the lady.”
She thought of refusing, but to tell the truth, his gesture made her feel ridiculously pleased. Giddy even. She couldn’t remember the last time anyone had bought her ice cream.
The clerk handed Christina her maple-walnut. “You want something?” he asked Bryce.
“Yeah,” Bryce smirked, “a single cone of vanilla.”
“Hey,” she laughed. “I wouldn’t have pegged you as a vanilla man. I thought you said to try other flavors...”
“Oh, I’ve tried other flavors,” he replied. “Once I know what I like, though, I stick with it.”
Her breath caught and she swallowed.
“Mr. Walker, you really don’t have to pay for me,” she forced herself to say.
“But I want to,” Bryce purred, taking his own cone and handing the clerk cash. “Besides, it’s your birthday.”
Bryce placed a warm hand on the small of her back and guided her toward one of the shop’s small tables. She missed his touch when she sat. He slid in across from her.
“Happy birthday, Ms. Welch,” he said, his voice low as he leaned forward. “Any birthday wishes I could grant?”
His eyes challenged her to respond.
She swallowed a lick of ice cream and a cold sensation slid into her belly. Bryce was strong, virile, and clearly interested. Why had she kept him at arm’s length?
Work. Michael. Oh yes, and the uncontrollable flame he stokes in my quim.
Just as she was about to slow the whole thing down, her mind rebelled. Too much denial, it screamed, too much restraint. What harm could a little flirtation cause? She practically salivated with the need to seize what he was offering.
“A wish, Ms. Welch?” Bryce prompted.
“Mr. Walker,” she asked as her throat dried, “are you flirting with me?
Bryce winked and lifted his shoulder in a half shrug. Was beer better cold?
“I could be,” he said.
Christina’s even, steady gaze set his pulse racing almost as fast as the sight of her ass at cock-level. If given the chance, he’d lay her down and pound the living daylights out of her sweet, hot pussy. He found every inch of her face kissable—her eyelids, her cheeks, her nose, and the corners of her full, pink lips. But he wanted more than just a good lay.
Perhaps that was the real reason he’d been avoiding her for so long.