“What do you think?”
“It’s not what I’m looking for.”
“But you like it.” My instincts had been honed over the years. I knew when clients were wasting my time walking through a house that didn’t tick their boxes or when a buyer had fallen head over heels for a place. Nolan was interested but something was holding him back. I wanted to know what.
Nolan gave me a short nod in acknowledgment. “Show me the rest.”
I led him through the spacious kitchen with cracked linoleum, faded Formica, the beautiful wood doors in the butler’s pantry that looked like it had never been used. Dust lined the floor of the formal dining room, making it clear where the hutch stood. I headed up the steps ahead of him. The landing led to four spacious bedrooms and three baths. It was outdated yet spacious, open, with a beautiful view. It had so much potential.
I wished this house was a possibility for me and the girls.
I led the way to the master bedroom, immediately heading for the bay windows with views of the water. A deck ran the whole length of the house. I’d asked Roger if we could move to a place like this, but he preferred living in the larger gated communities.
“It’s too big,” he said at the same time I said, “It’s perfect.”
My face heated. “Sorry, I meant this is my dream home. You know, the one you want but know you’ll never have.”
He tilted his head slightly, considering me. “Why is that?”
Revealing my dreams out loud made me feel vulnerable. “I don’t know. I’m a practical girl. After the divorce, I bought a smaller home in a neighborhood. This” —I turned in a slow circle, letting my arms float around me— “is a dream.”
I came to a stop in front of Nolan, my chest heaving from my twirl. “Don’t you think?”
My words came out breathy as if I’d been running instead of spinning in a small circle. His eyes were darker, his muscles tensed.
“Think about what?” His gaze dropped to my mouth.
“That this is someone’s dream home, so it will be the perfect flip? It will be beautiful when you’re done.”
He stepped closer. All of the air inside the room was sucked out until it was just me and him.
Was he going to kiss me? I should have been a professional and stepped back, asking if he wanted to see the other bedrooms. I didn’t. For once, I wanted to do something reckless, thoughtless even. I wanted to kiss him, to find out his lips held the taste of the water on them. I wanted his calloused hands on my body. I wanted to feel the strength of his arms. I wanted him.
I wasn’t thinking about my girls, my job, our business relationship, or what Roger would say. No one was in the room but us.
He pushed my hair off one shoulder, his hand cupping the back of my head, tilting it. His free hand rested on my waist. Through my silk shirt, I felt the warmth, the strength. He anchored me in place.
A shiver ran down my spine. He was so big, so strong, his mouth lowering to mine.
I could have stepped back. I should have stopped him.
His lips were on mine, firm and confident. He stepped close enough that we touched from knees to chest, my hand curled in the flannel of his shirt, his hands traveling from my waist to cup the back of my head. Sensations rolled through me, his smell, his lips, the pressure of his fingers, the warmth spreading through my body, my core throbbing with need. I opened my lips, his tongue swirled with mine. He angled my head, taking the kiss deeper. Nothing had ever felt like this. As if I was possessed. It was the only word I could think of. He owned my body and soul in that moment. Nothing else existed. Nothing else mattered.
He braced his feet on either side of mine, bending his knees slightly, rubbing his hard cock against the juncture of my thighs. The friction tore a moan from my chest. I ripped my lips from his, trying to draw in a breath, wanting to be closer, knowing it was a bad idea.
His eyes darkened with lust, fixated on my lips.
I wanted him to pick me up, press me against the wall, slide my panties to the side, and take me. No responsibilities. No worries about what came after. Him and me, skin to skin, nothing between us but desire. I wished I could throw aside my practical nature, ignoring all the warning signs.
He dipped his knees a second time. I bit my lip to stifle the moan, reveling in the friction, I wanted more. Desire warred with logic. He wasn’t mine. I couldn’t have him. I shouldn’t want him.
“Nolan.” I should stop this. It was crazy. We were out of control.
I’ve lied to myself for years about being in love with my best friend.
Everly Bowman and I don’t make sense. She’s sunshine personified, and I hate everyone. Well, everyone but her. It’s easy to pretend like she isn’t my whole world. Or it was until she needs a place to stay, and my apartment is her only option.
The man I once loved - and lost - is back. Only this time, there’s more than just my heart on the line, there’s his daughter’s heart too.