Page 34 of The Shy Bride

control. However, he would not give in to the mouth-ravaging his own desires demanded.

Her lips tasted every bit as good as they had that morning, but the knowledge they were his and no one else’s added a sweetness he had never once thought to experience. A sweetness so real, he could taste it as certainly as he did the unique flavor of Cassandra’s delicious mouth.

Of their own volition, his arms slid around her, pulling her so close their body heat mixed. She felt right in his arms. Too right. Like she fit exactly as if she had been made to be held exactly as he held her.

He refused to dwell on that sensation of rightness, choosing instead to enjoy this anomalous moment in time. His tongue swept through her mouth, claiming her as only he had ever done.

His body demanded he claim her in other ways. Thankfully they were in a semipublic setting, or he might not have had the strength to deny himself.

This being friends with a woman was harder than he had ever expected it to be.

Her slender fingers tunneled into his hair, short-circuiting rational thought. Cassandra kissed him back with an unfettered sensuality he knew would be a joy between the sheets.

She had never kissed another man, but she knew exactly how to tease his tongue into her mouth. Her feminine instincts were rock solid as she dueled with his tongue while making whimpering sounds of need that drove his libido through the roof and beyond.

Damn. Damn. Damn.

He was seriously considering pulling her under the piano and away from prying eyes when the sound of a near tortured squawk had him yanking his head back.

He reared up and looked around only to see that the door to their soundproof room stood open. The salesman must have thought to speak to them only to get an eyeful when he opened the door.

Through the doorway, Neo could see a young boy blowing determinedly into a clarinet. The source of the awful noise. The child’s mother was staring at Neo and Cassandra with a sappy expression that had Neo jumping off the piano bench.

That woman’s look screamed, “Romance…isn’t that sweet?” He didn’t do romance. Not even for Cassandra.

He put his hand out. “Come. We’ll be late for lunch.”

“Don’t forget your paperwork,” she said, though her eyes indicated she wanted to say something entirely different.

Lunch was a banquet of Mediterranean cuisine. It had started with fasolada, the bean soup Cass had always associated with Greece. Then there had been a small salad made up of leafy greens, pine nuts and crumbled feta with a dressing unlike anything she’d tasted before.

“This is amazing,” Cass said as she scooped a bite of the main dish, spinach spanakopita, onto her fork. “There’s no way you eat like this every meal.”

“Naturally not. But today I have a guest. My housekeeper was thrilled I told her not to worry about the nutritionist’s directives and to prepare a traditional Greek meal for you. She is from the Old Country and she does not approve of my nutritionist’s directives, to say the least.”

And far from bothering him, Neo seemed to enjoy the Greek woman’s attitude. Cass would bet her new flute music that his housekeeper was an older woman and that what she fed him wasn’t the only thing she fussed about.

Neo had found a way to have a mother without the emotional baggage of a close relationship.

Cass waved toward the table with her fork. “This is a feast.”

“I’m glad you are enjoying it.”

“I fell in love with Greek food when I played in Athens.”

“You played in Athens?”

“Yes. When I was twelve. It’s a beautiful city.”

“I agree, though I couldn’t wait to see the back of it when I was younger.”

“I’m sure it looks different to you now than it did to the orphan boy who left it behind.”

“Very much so.”

“Do you and Zephyr return often to Greece?”

“At least once a year, though always under the guise of business. We have never taken a vacation there.”

That wasn’t saying much. “You don’t vacation at all,” she chided gently.

“Neither does Zephyr.”

“So, you are both workaholics.”

“And you? Are you a composeraholic?”

“Making up words now?”

“Why not? Scientists do it all the time.”

She couldn’t help laughing. “Zephyr said you don’t have a sense of humor, but I think he’s wrong.”

“That is only because his sense of what is amusing borders on the insane.”

“You are lucky to have each other.”

“He is the brother of my heart.”

She stared at Neo for several seconds before saying, “I’m surprised to hear you say something like that.”

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