“I know you more than you think, blue eyes. I know you’ve had a life so full of privilege that the worst thing in the world that has ever happened to you is you got humiliated on your wedding day.”
“For your information, my life has not been full of privilege. I had a modest upbringing”—I did a one-eighty around his gourmet kitchen, Viking stove and all—“which clearly you did not.”
He chuckled again, and goddamnit, my dander rose.
“Blue eyes, there are some things money can’t buy. Modest upbringing or not, you had a college education. You had a law school education. Once you pass the bar, you’ll be able to get a job that pays decent money. And with your looks and that luscious body of yours, you’ll have no problem attracting another guy in no time. So don’t tell me you don’t have privilege.”
I had to think to understand his last words. I was stuck on the “looks and luscious body” part. Was he attracted to me? This western god? Attracted to me?
I opened my mouth to speak, but before any words came out, he grabbed my arm, pulled me toward him, and crushed his mouth to mine.
The kiss was raw. He forced his tongue between my lips and took, just took.
My legs quivered. Oh, God…
Seven years of kissing Colin…and it had never been like this.
He devoured me, and I melted into him. He grabbed the back of my hair and yanked on it as he continued to plunder my mouth. Electric jolts arrowed straight to my pussy. No man had ever yanked on my hair before, and oh my God… I returned his kiss with greed. Such a soothing salve for my shattered ego. This man…found me attractive… Was kissing me—
He ripped his mouth from mine and sucked on my neck, trailing tiny kisses up to my earlobe.
“God, blue eyes…”
My legs nearly gave way, but he steadied me.
“That guy you almost married,” he whispered into my ear. “Did he ever kiss you like this, blue eyes?”
I opened my mouth, but all that came out was a sigh.
Talon thrust his tongue into my ear canal. I nearly melted into a puddle right there. Take me to your bed, I said in my mind. Take me to your bed and fuck me silly.
“Tell me,” he demanded again. “Did he ever kiss you like this?”
And he clamped his mouth to mine once more. Again our tongues swirled together, and again my legs threatened to give way. I slid my hands up his hard arms, relishing the muscle covered by smooth bronze skin. I gripped his shoulders and then wrapped my arms around his neck, trying to close whatever distance remained between us.
Closer… Wanted to be closer—
But he broke the kiss with a loud smack, releasing my hair so I nearly tumbled backward. I caught myself by grabbing the back of the chair. I whimpered at the loss of his lips, his arms, his need.
He stood, staring at me. No…glaring at me, those black eyes burning two holes in my skin.
Was he going to say anything? What was I supposed to do now? Should I apologize? But I hadn’t kissed him. He had kissed me. Would he apologize?
No. No apology. He walked past me, out of the kitchen, and down the hallway toward his room, the blond mutt loping on his heels.
I plunked down in the chair and wrapped my hands around my warm cup of tea.
His full glass of water still sat, untouched.
* * *
Rita’s Café was a cute little mom-and-pop diner on the main drag of Snow Creek, Colorado. I sat across the table from Marj. She had insisted on taking me out to breakfast my first full day in Snow Creek, treating me to what she called “the best coffee in the universe.” I was skeptical. I liked really strong coffee—really strong, as in it plops when it’s poured. Most restaurant coffee was hot brown water. I raised my cup to my lips and took a sip.
Yup. Brown water. But I didn’t have the heart to say so to Marj.
I drew in a deep breath, gathering my courage. I was going to ask Marj about her brother. I wouldn’t tell her about the stolen kiss last night, at least not yet. But something was up with Talon Steel, and Marj probably knew what it was.
“After we’re done here,” Marjorie said, “I’ll show you around Snow Creek. It’s the most adorable little town. There’s one law firm in town where you might be able to find work. And there’s always the city attorney’s office too.”
“I haven’t passed the bar yet,” I reminded her.
“For a genius like you, that’s just a formality. You know you’ll pass, Jade.”
I had felt pretty confident coming out of the test, but I’d also known people who felt just as confident or more so and hadn’t passed. “I hope so. Otherwise, I’ll have to wait another six months try again. But no worries. I can always get a job waiting tables or something while I study. I’m not going to be a burden on you guys.”
“Who says you’re a burden?”
Ah, good. The opening I was waiting for her. “Well, your brother, for one.”