"Hum?" She was so comfortable she didn't want to move.
"Have dinner with me tomorrow night?"
She stiffened, yet his warm hand kept smoothing the length of her arm, nudging it away. "Admit there's something really good between us." She leaned back to look at him, arching a brow. "Besides the baby," he whispered, then ducked even closer. "You knew it the instant we kissed. And kissed." He inhaled the wonderful scent of her. "Hell, Tessa, we came unglued." When she simply stared, searching his eyes, he added a safety net. "It's only dinner. No meeting family, no pressure, just talking."
His sincerity touched her in a place she'd sworn he'd never reach, and Tessa warred with the reasons keeping her back. Keeping her from enjoying his company like a normal man and woman and not prospective parents. Each reason was vividly clear when she'd walked in here, but now…
She nodded and he smiled, not one of his big, wide, sappy grins, but a slight tugging of his lips. His gaze raced over her face, absorbing every detail, and Tessa felt a difference in this look. Unspeakably intimate. Possessive. Chase Madison was suddenly more dangerous than ever before.
At the end of the session, he rolled the blanket, stacked the pillows, then helped her with her shoes. As he pulled her to her feet, he settled her against him. Their baby moved and Chase felt something clutch in the vicinity of his heart. The large conference room was rapidly emptying, and without warning, he pushed her arms around his neck and kissed her. She didn't pull away, didn't jolt. Instead she accepted, received, almost as if she'd expected it. Chase stole the advantage, lushly tasting her over and over, a gentle, loving kiss that made her toes slowly curl.
She drew back, breathless, warm. "Chase." She glanced to see if anyone was watching.
He didn't care. "I like kissing you."
Her guard went up and she stepped out of his arms. "You said just dinner."
"Yeah, tomorrow, but today isn't over yet." He gathered their things.
"Great job, Chase," Debbie called as they left the center.
"Teacher's pet," Tessa teased. "I actually think you enjoyed this." She wanted his mind off that kiss and onto anything else.
But he was wise to it. "You didn't?"
She shrugged, then sent him a glance behind loose tendrils of dark hair. "Of course, watching you nearly hyperventilate yourself into a coma was certainly interesting."
His face darkened a bit. "Pinching you had its merits." He stopped beside her Jeep, not ready to end this night with her.
"I didn't notice." It was supposed to be a focal point of pain, but he never did more than squeeze her arm.
"I hardly think anything will be an equal pain setting when the time comes."
She looked down at her stomach, laughing nervously. "I want this so bad, always have, but when I look at this huge belly I think, 'This baby has to come out and there's only one way,' and I get a little scared."
Inwardly he winced, but kept it well-hidden. "You can do it. You're tough, Tessa." Women, he decided, possessed a much higher pain threshold than men to suffer through what Debbie had just described. And without screaming for drugs. Lots of them. Good ones.
She scoffed. "Yeah, right. You should have seen me when I was being inseminated."
That brought him up short. He couldn't imagine the process, but he wanted to know. But what he wanted more than anything was to show sexy Tessa Lightfoot how God intended them to procreate. You're a hopeless mess around her, he thought ruefully. "You'll have to tell me about that tomorrow." He helped her into the Jeep, waiting until she locked herself in. "I'm going to follow you," he hollered beyond the sealed glass.
The window lowered on a buzz. "Chase. I'm perfectly capable."
He nodded and reminded himself that they'd made progress tonight and not to push it. "See ya."
"There's nothing I wouldn't do, angel."
He was right, she thought. There wasn't anything he wouldn't do. For his child.
Chase stood at the entrance to the stockroom of Tessa's Attic, peering over the edge of wooden crates to watch the proprietress attempt to draw something from the bottom of a deep box. Her tummy was in the way. Yet he didn't move to help, not yet. He was busy admiring her long, muscled legs and the sweet bottom wrapped in a pale pink leather miniskirt. Only Tessa could pull that off while pregnant, he decided, grinning when she used a broom handle to drag whatever she wanted up. When that failed, she tried tipping the box. When she resorted to twisting a coat hanger into a hook, he spoke up.
"Can I help?"
She popped upright, shoving hair from her face, her eyes wide as coins. "What are you doing here?"