Tam was right. Daniel Mays knew how to kiss. His lips were a study in contrast. Soft and firm. Tender and voracious. Cool and hot. She moaned as his tongue entered her mouth, teasing her own. Her entire being was suddenly awash in sensation.
Her heart beat faster.
Her skin grew hotter.
Her lips clung to his.
Her nipples hardened, and she could feel herself getting wet.
She felt disoriented. And scared. She broke away from him in panic, struggling to catch her breath. “What are you doing here?” she finally asked, embarrassed by the husky alto of her voice.
Daniel’s own voice was raspy. “I offered to take you to your sister’s engagement dinner. Didn’t Tam tell you?”
Uh, no. Embarrassment and anger washed through her. “She didn’t tell me she’d set me up with you. If I’d known…” She shook her head. “I mean…”
Daniel nodded. “You mean you never would have opened the door.” He cocked his head. “Why is that?”
“We work together.”
“So let’s date together.”
“No!” She almost yelled it, startling both of them. She trembled with panic, wanting to accept his invitation yet knowing how weak and pathetic that made her.
He frowned. “Bryn, there’s something between us. That kiss was amazing. I knew it would be. I knew you would be.” He stepped toward her, but she held up her hands.
“Daniel, stop. It’s not going to happen between us. Nothing is going to happen.”
He growled in frustration, shoving his hand through his hair. “Why?”
“You’re a defense—”
“Defense attorney. Yes, Bryn, I know. I’m a defense attorney. Not a pervert. Not a criminal. I just make sure people accused of crimes are afforded their constitutional rights.”
“Criminals like Kyle Winsor, you mean?”
“The jury acquitted him, Justice.”
“I found the police report and the victim’s statement more than sufficient to prove his guilt.”
He let out a short, harsh laugh. “Great. So, what? I should have thrown the trial? Just to get you to go out with me?”
He didn’t look happy, and the lump of regret that formed inside her stomach echoed the sentiment. To fight it, she forced herself to be logical. Analytical. “Why do you want to go out with me, anyway?”
“What?” He looked completely befuddled.
“A week ago you didn’t even know who I was.”
“That is not true.” His statement was emphatic. Even so, she sensed his discomfort with this particular subject.
“Well, you certainly weren’t attracted to me. You probably didn’t even recognize me as a woman, did you?” When he continued to say nothing, she said, “Yeah, that’s what I thought.” She hoped her face didn’t convey the tremor of hurt that ran through her.
“Look, I admit, I was a little slow on the uptake. That has nothing to do with whether I’m attracted to you. I am. Incredibly attracted.” He put his hands on her waist. “And I know you’re attracted to me, too. Right?”
“I…I…” His hands almost spanned her waist. They were strong hands, equally capable of caressing a woman’s soft skin as they were of beating any man who threatened her.
“Right?” he whispered, before lowering his lips to hers once more.
She couldn’t do it. Couldn’t let him kiss her. She wasn’t sure she’d be able to stop again. Not now that she knew what he tasted like. And she had to remember who he was.
Who she’d worked so hard to become.
How those two people could never mix. Not in her world.
She backed away before their lips could connect. “Yes, I’m attracted to you, but I’ve been attracted to a lot of men.” Not true, but he didn’t need to know that. “I don’t always act on it. And I’m not acting on it with you.”
“Final. Goodbye, Daniel. Again, thank you for offering to help me out, but I’ll just go to the dinner alone.”
Daniel dropped his hands from her waist, spun on his heel and paced to the door, then startled her by coming back again. He looked like a big cat prowling around her small living room. And not a fat house cat like her Tikka. No, Daniel Mays was a big, sleek panther, circling his mate, ready to make her his. In turn, she felt not like his prey, but his willing victim. “God, Justice, you are working my last nerve.”
His Southern drawl was slightly more prominent, making her shiver. Down, girl. “Well, hey, that’s the way to win me over,” she drawled sarcastically.
Daniel closed his eyes, as if calling upon a higher power for strength. “All right,” he said after a moment. “What is the way to win you over?”
“Leave,” she said.
Daniel slowly walked toward Bryn, who backed up despite herself. He kept pace with her until she bumped into a wall. He then planted both of his palms above her head and leaned down, staring her in the eyes. He was so close she could see that a gold band encircled his dark pupils. “I’ll go, but this isn’t over yet. Not by a long shot. We’ve tasted each other, Bryn. Just that one taste, and you got me harder than any other woman ever has. Think about how good it was. And how good it’s going to be. Because we’re just getting started.”
Daniel dropped his heated gaze to her lips. She held her breath. Waiting, secretly praying, for him to kiss her. Instead, he pushed himself away from her, walked backward toward the front door, then turned and left the house.
Bryn slowly slid down the wall until she was sitting on the floor. With her heart thumping heavily in her chest, she touched her lips with her fingers, closed her eyes, and, just as he’d commanded, thought of how good it had been.