Cade slowly moved a finger on the inside of my wrist.
I sucked in a breath at the contact. The warmth spread up my arm to my heart. “Why did you come?”
“I wanted to talk to you—”
My eyes moved to his, which were brimming with emotion. I sensed he was here to talk about something personal. “Explain why you seem sad sometimes?”
He smiled sadly. “Is it that obvious? I thought I’d been better lately, but I guess not.”
“You don’t have to tell me.” But I wanted him to open up to me like I had with him.
“I was married before.” His words hung in the air between us.
I had a sense of foreboding that something had happened to his wife. His face was ashen and his eyes filled with sadness.
“We’d been married for two years and we were just starting to talk about the possibility of kids when she started getting headaches. We spent a few months bouncing around from doctor to doctor until we discovered it was cancer. It was an aggressive form. She accepted that quicker than I did.”
“God, I’m so sorry, Cade. I had no idea.” I turned my hand under his so that our fingers were interlaced. I wanted to take the raw pain in his eyes that seemed to weigh him down.
He dropped my hand, leaned forward so that his elbows rested on his knees, and dropped his head into his hands. I couldn’t take the sheer pain etched in the tense set of his shoulders, his back. I moved closer, put my arm around his back, and rested my head on his shoulder.
“You loved her.”
“She was my future and when she died—it was like—”
“Your future was gone.” I tried to put myself in his shoes. What would it feel like if your spouse died? All of your hopes and dreams died with them.
“Exactly.” He lifted his head and our lips were inches apart.
I wanted to ask why he’d confided in me, but when his eyes lowered to my lips, I had a pretty good idea.
My arm dropped from his back when he’d shifted upright, but I wanted to touch his thigh. I longed to lean into his body and feel the warmth. I should pull away and create some distance between us, but I couldn’t.
“I don’t know why I feel compelled to tell you, but I do. You opened up to me last night and I wanted to do the same.”
It was honest. It was real, but I wanted a declaration that I was different. I had an ex-boyfriend causing trouble in my life and Cade was my client. We couldn’t be any more wrong.
“Since I met you, I started to feel things again. I’m not in this never-ending cycle of surviving minute-to-minute and day-to-day. I looked forward to seeing you. I don’t know what that means, and I can’t promise you anything, but I’d like to see where it goes.”
The words spread like liquid through my chest and down my limbs until my body throbbed with the need to reduce the small distance between us. This was my moment to remind him we couldn’t be anything, but if this was the only moment I got with him, I’d take it. My mind was at war with my body because I leaned in closer, erasing the few inches that separated our lips. The touch was tentative as if he was still unsure of himself. Then his hand cupped the back of my head, holding me to his mouth and sending heat to my core.
I moaned and angled my head to explore his mouth. I wanted to tangle my fingers in his hair and tug him closer, but I was scared that any movement would break this moment. His grip in my hair tightened and he shifted to face me. Our legs were in between us on the couch—in the way. I wanted him on top of me and between my legs. “Cade, please.”
But instead of bringing him closer, my words had the opposite effect. He pulled away and shifted away from me on the couch. I felt the loss of his touch and warmth immediately. “What’s wrong?”
The regret on his face was almost too much to bear. He was right to pull away. I was breaking one of the most important ethical rules of my job—the one I’d scoffed at in law school. Who would sleep with their client? It was so unprofessional—so wrong. So entirely unlike me.
“I want to see what this is.” He gestured between us. “But I’m scared. I have all of this baggage you don’t need. You deserve everything. You deserve more than that douchebag who was just here and more than me. I’m not sure I have anything to offer you.”
“Let me decide what I need.” Everything he said was true, but I’d never been drawn to another person. I wanted to erase his pain. It was idealistic. It was beyond the scope of my relationship with him, but I didn’t care.
“Is it that simple?” His expression was hopeful.
Of course, it wasn’t, but I didn’t want to admit that. I dreaded having to tell him the reality. “Technically, nothing can happen between us as long as we have an attorney-client relationship.”
His eyes searched mine for a confirmation that what I was saying was true. “You’re serious.”
My stomach churned because I was torn between what I wanted and what was possible between us. “It’s an ethical violation for us to date while I represent you.”
“Because of that agreement I signed?”
“Then I’ll rip it up.” The doubt from a minute ago was replaced with his determination.
As much as I loved to hear that, I wanted to make sure he wasn’t making a rash decision. I didn’t want him to keep operating his business without someone following up on overdue payments. “It’s not that simple. You came to me for help and I wanted to help you.”
His hand cupped my face. “You have. You have no idea. For the first time in a long time—I have hope.”
“I’m supposed to help you legally.” My mind had turned to mush as his thumb caressed the sensitive skin on my throat.
“Legally?” His lips touched the spot his fingers were a second ago, spreading soft kisses down my neck.
“Uh huh.” I nodded, not sure what I agreed to.
“Maybe I need a different sort of help.” He’d lifted his head and cupped my face with both hands.
Goosebumps popped up on my arms from his touch and the intensity in his eyes. “You do?”
He kissed me, surrounding me with his scent and his touch. The reverent way he touched me with his lips and his fingers—I knew he’d be an attentive lover. I’d give anything to find out.
“You’re fired.” He breathed the words across my lips.
A tingle shot through my body. Then his mouth was on mine again, his hands drifted down my back to my ass, as he lifted me into his lap to straddle him. Our lips never moved from each other’s. I wanted to slide into him—I wanted to get so lost in him I’d never find myself again.
I’m perfectly content with my life, until Chloe walks through the door, upending any semblance of balance.
Chloe is one of those fast-talking New Yorkers with an opinion about everything. Never mind that most of them are correct.
She also has the greatest ass on the planet, along with a sex kitten smile that threatens to undo me every time we meet.
But we want different things from life, and neither of us is willing to compromise.
I have to keep my distance, no matter how much my heart wants to make her stay.
Madison is everything. Beautiful. Smart. The baby sister of a friend. One I lost on a covert mission. My stunning bride is glowing with pregnancy, And now … she's missing. They say the Devil always takes his cut. What everyone forgets is Where Madison Taylor is concerned, I'm the Devil.