But the disappointment she was feeling was a heck of a long way from relief.

“Good,” she made herself say. “I’m glad we both—”


“Want each other.” He moved closer, and even though he wasn’t touching her, her body came as alive as if he’d pulled her into his arms.

No one had ever spoken to her like this. Totally straightforward and honest. So honest that it made her head spin almost as much as breathing in his clean, masculine scent did.

“What are we going to do about how much we want each other, Kerry?”

A dozen naughty visions ran through her head of the two of them tangled up in each other, his hands in her hair, his mouth on hers.

Still, her reply was, “Nothing.”

“Really?” He let his question hang between them, right alongside all the sparks and heady desire that they were generating from nothing more than a conversation in his office. “Do you really think nothing is an option?”

There were few things Kerry appreciated in a person more than honesty. So maybe that was why his question made her stop and think instead of blurting out another automatic refusal. Really think for a few moments about everything he was suggesting.

If he had pushed her in any other way—if he had tried to pin her against his desk and kiss her into changing her mind—then she would have been able to reject him again outright. But the truth was that her body was humming just from being this close to him.

And, if she was being completely honest with herself, as much as she wished it were otherwise, he was right: Not going out on a date with him wasn’t going to make this intense, if irrational, desire go away.

But could she do it? Could she take what she was fairly certain he was offering? Sex with no emotional strings. The option to scratch the itch with no expectations of anything more. No future. No forever.

Nothing more than pleasure.

Excitement fluttered within her belly at the shocking thought. Excitement that she could no longer deny had been building more and more within her since the moment their eyes had met in her office.

Kerry had never let herself entertain the idea of a sex-only relationship with anyone, not when she’d always been sure that someone would make the mistake of falling and that at least one heart would end up broken. Probably hers.

Any way she looked at things, though, she couldn’t see herself ever falling in love with Adam.

Yes, he had a knack for sending the perfect gift. And he was also clearly devoted to his family. His brain was impressive, too. But she was looking for a life partner. For the one person she could trust no matter what. For the man who not only meant everything to her, but for whom she meant everything, too.

And Kerry couldn’t imagine a world where Adam Sullivan would ever look at any woman like that.

Which meant, she was shocked to realize, that he was actually the safest possible man for her to enjoy a purely physical relationship with. Just long enough to scratch this itch that had been driving her a little crazy for the past three days. And then, when they both decided to go their separate ways, no harm would have been done to either of them.

All because love was absolutely out of the question.

In the span of several heartbeats, excitement shifted to heady anticipation. She’d come here to turn him down once and for all, and the truth was that she had done that. They weren’t going out on a date. No romance. No expectations barring having a really good time getting naked with the sexiest man she’d ever met.



Adam continued to wait patiently for her response, even though she was certain he could hear her careening thoughts as loudly as if she were yelling them. And Kerry decided that if she was going to make this decision, she was going to do it with total confidence.


The knowledge that there would be no tears shed for Adam Sullivan at any point in the future made it easy to push back her shoulders and tilt up her chin so that she was nearly eye to eye with him in her heels.

“One night.” She liked the sound of the two forbidden words more than she ever thought she could. “One night of just s—”

She halted on the word as her brain finally caught up with her mouth. But even though this conversation was unlike any she thought she’d ever have, she couldn’t stop there. Not now. Not when the biggest, craziest leap of her life was suddenly—and desperately—calling to her.

“Just sex,” she finally finished in a steady voice. “With no expectations of more.”

“What if we both want more than one night?”

Her eyebrows went up. Was he actually negotiating with her?

Although the truth was that his endless nerve had her body heating up just as much as everything else about him did. Her smile grew a little bigger as she said, “As long as we both always know it’s just sex.” She was pleased by the way the words just sex rolled from her lips so much more easily that time.

His own smile came slow and hot then, and she was as close to swooning as she had ever been as he said, “Not just a nice surprise. The best damned one I’ve ever had.”

The things he could do to her with words had her wondering just what he was going to be capable of once mouth and hands and naked skin were involved. And oh, wasn’t it lovely to know that she was actually going to find out?

Still, their negotiations weren’t over yet. “Your brother and Brooke can’t know. None of your family can know, either.”

Now his eyebrows were going up. “You want me to be your secret?”

“Rafe and Brooke are very important clients. I won’t jeopardize their wedding for any reason.”

“Not even for hot sex with me?”

Honestly, by now she didn’t want to walk away, not when her body was already humming and buzzing with desire. But if he couldn’t even agree to this? “If you won’t keep it a secret, then it looks like you and I won’t—”

“How many siblings do you have?”

Frowning at the sudden change of subject, she said, “One. A sister.”

“Then you’ve got to know just how good family is at getting up into your business and sniffing out anything even remotely secret. Fortunately, I have a few tricks of my own.” He grinned, more than a little wickedly. “You want us to keep each other a secret, then that’s what we’ll do.”

“Good.” She was pleased, turned on...and out of her depth all at the same time. Which meant that she needed to turn back to what she knew better than anything else—putting together meetings and calendars. “Are you free Friday night?”

His nod was so easy that she had to wonder how many times he’d done this before. Then again, it didn’t matter, did it? Because there was no place for jealousy in one night of sex.

Instinctively knowing they shouldn’t bring anything personal into it, she said, “The Four Seasons is halfway between our offices.” She’d been meaning to check out the recent renovations they’d made to the location for her clients. Her night with Adam could also double as research for her business. Perfect.

“I’ll make the reservation,” he said.

“Thank you.” This was good, their being so businesslike and efficient. It was as far from setting up a date as she could imagine. “I should be able to get there by seven.”

But businesslike and efficient went out of the window as he took another step closer to her, reaching out to brush away a lock of hair from her shoulder. Even through the layers of wool and silk, she could feel the heat of his touch, and barely fought back a shiver of need.

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