There was a counter between us. A physical boundary I’d be smart to respect. Instead, all rational thought flew out of my head. I was rounding the counter before I could process what the hell I was doing.
“Ben?” she squeaked.
I ate up the distance between us, stopping with mere inches separating us.
It forced her to lift her head slowly to meet my gaze. “What are you doing here?”
“I needed to see you.”
Her cheeks flushed. “I’m sorry—”
I growled. “Never say you’re sorry.”
My hand reached out to cradle the back of her head.
Her eyes widened more.
“It was badass, and you’re hot as hell.” It wasn’t my best prelude to a kiss, but I was incapable of reason or even caution at that point. The blood was pumping in my body like the beat to a good song, urging me on.
Her body gravitated toward mine.
I had to kiss her.
Shock and uncertainty gave way to liquid desire. She wanted it as much as I did. That was all I registered before my mouth slammed down on hers. I turned her, moving her until her ass was pressed against the counter.
I had her exactly where I wanted her.
She trembled against me before she lifted her hand to my face. Her touch was tentative, as if she couldn’t believe I was there, kissing her.
I pressed against her so she felt every dip and angle of my planes against her softer curves. I wanted her to remember the moment.
Still cradling her head, I angled her so I could delve deeper, her lips parting on a gasp. I took advantage, diving my tongue into her mouth. Dipping, tasting, and exploring.
I needed it. I needed her. The reality of her in my arms was heaven. Better than any teenage fantasy I’d ever had. She was worth the chance. She was worth the wait.
The familiar scent of coffee surrounded us, but something lighter was just underneath, flowery and sweet. It was her. All her.
My free hand gripped her hip, holding her against me as I pressed my burgeoning erection into her stomach.
She pulled back slightly, her cheeks flushed and her breathing ragged. “What are we doing?”
More was all I could think.
I easily lifted her onto the counter, stepping between her jean-clad legs before she could react, and kissed her again. I’d never get enough. She was my addiction.
Her fingers tugged on my hair at the base of my neck. She was warm and soft, and her pleas were my undoing.
My hands drifted to her thighs, squeezing. Needing more.
Every muscle in my body was pulled taut with the effort to hold myself back. None of it had been planned or thought out. I was acting on instinct.
Finally, Brooke pulled back, cupping my cheek with her hand. “Ben, what are we doing?”
Something in her expression had me stepping back. Had she not wanted it? Had I overstepped?
I took a second step back and turned my body slightly from hers. Running a hand through my hair, I said, “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have. This was—” I gestured at her helplessly, unable to put it into words.
Amazing. Mind-blowing. The best thing that had ever happened to me. But I couldn’t say what I was thinking, not knowing if she was on the same page. The quiet between us stretched until she sighed.
“The paper is doing a story on us.” Her tone pleaded with me to understand, but most of my brain cells had traveled south to my dick and were not operating.
“I’m sorry?” I turned to face her. I’d expected her to tell me the kiss was a mistake, that I was an idiot, but not whatever it was she’d said.
“I said, the paper is doing a story on us.” She hopped down from the counter, straightening her clothes.
She brushed imaginary lint off her jeans, making me feel like she was erasing any evidence of what we’d just done.
Refocusing on her words, I asked, “On the coffee shops?”
“I don’t think it’s a good idea to be kissing where anyone could see us.” Past dusk, it was dark out, and with the lights on inside, it would be easy for passersby to see us.
“Fuck. You’re right. This was—” A mistake, wrong? None of that sounded right.
It had been perfect. She said we couldn’t kiss where anyone could see us, so was she okay with us kissing in private? I was surprisingly on board for that. Just the thought had my cock stirring again.
Brooke shook her head. “We can’t do this.”
I nodded before registering the meaning of her words. Then they washed over me like a cold shower. I needed to get out of there. Away from her alluring lips, the temptation of a woman I could never have.
I walked down the aisle and said “I do” to the wrong man. Unfortunately, it took me eight years to figure it out. It took me even longer to realize who was in front of me the entire time. You’d think that being a romance author would have helped me to see the signs that I chose wrong the first time and I would have been able to write my own happily-ever-after so easily. But like so many of the books I read and write, it took something dramatic to happen before I opened my eyes and saw Brock as the man he’s been to me my entire life. I get a second chance to do this love thing right and I won’t mess it up again.