"Jason was great. Timmy and Stephen need to work on their fielding, but I think we'll—"
He glanced up. She was smiling.
"Please tell me you have some faults, Chase Madison."
"My mother would kill to hear you say that."
"I've been known to eat over the sink and drink milk straight from the carton."
She waved that one off. "A guy thing. I want the dirt."
He looked at the sky, thoughtful.
"Oh, come on," she said, shoving him with her foot.
He grinned. "I squeeze the toothpaste from the middle," he said hopefully.
"Not good enough. I do too."
"I rarely sort laundry?"
She shook her head.
"I sleep in the nude?"
Her gaze slid lazily over him. That she'd like to see. "More."
"What do you want to know, Tessa? That I have a temper and it's taken me years to control it? That I'd rather work with my hands than in an office?" Those hands caressed her legs, distracting her. "That I avoid bars and nightclubs because I used to drink too much, hate living alone, and prefer videos to theaters?" Not satisfied, she urged him on. "Or that I plan my winter schedule around a hunting trip Colin and I take to Christian's place every year like clockwork, whether Christian likes it or not?" He leaned over her. "Or that I have one fault you won't believe."
"And that is?" she said, breathless with his nearness.
"I can't stop thinking about you and I want you in my bed, in my life."
A ripple of excitement roared through her. "A crime, I'm sure," she managed.
His brows rose.
"Why?" she finally said, gesturing to her tummy.
His expression softened and he lay beside her, his torso propped on his bent elbow. "I see beyond this, Tessa. Way beyond." He ran his hand familiarly over her belly and she caught it, stopping him. "And right now I'm so hot for you, if we were alone, you wouldn't get away."
"Is that a fact?" Her gaze shifted to his mouth, then back to his eyes. Feminine satisfaction raced through her.
He grasped her hand and beneath the rumpled blanket he pressed her palm to his arousal. "Fact."
Tessa gasped, a soft ragged burst. Her eyes closed. Her fingers flexed. Chase moaned. The image of him bare for her touch, their bodies entwined, bloomed in her mind. She opened her eyes and stared directly into his. His mouth was inches away.
"We definitely need to take this somewhere more private."
She jerked her hand back and sat up suddenly. Her? In his bed? The thought of him seeing her nude, like this, scared her.
"It's late, Chase, and Dana's been left alone too long."
Frowning, he sat up, touching her arm. "Tessa? Look at me."
She wouldn't. She busied herself with folding a blanket. "It's my shop, and neglecting it doesn't pay the bills. I have to restock inventory and there's jewelry to order." She knew she was rambling, but his words were laced with a commitment that was ludicrous to consider now.
But she didn't want to give up this day, not yet. She liked him a lot more than she'd ever anticipated, more than was wise, and she felt a strange pulling in the pit of her stomach when his fingers slid into her hair, tilting her head to look into her eyes.
"I'm a patient man, Tessa." The message was clear. This wasn't over. Not by a long shot. He drew her closer. He was going to kiss her again, give her that seductive energy he radiated. And when he did, she pulled him flush to her body and sank to the blanket with him in her arms. She didn't care that people watched, didn't care that his hands were where they shouldn't be. She wanted him to hold her.
The voice was strident and commanding. They broke apart and sat up to find Dia Lightfoot, in severe black and tall heels, staring down at them. No, not staring, glaring.
"What are you doing to my sister!"
"Has it been that long, Dia, that you can't remember?" Tessa asked before Chase could respond.
Chase's lips twitched to hold back a smile as he helped Tessa to her feet. Tessa motioned to Dia, who was glaring at Chase, and the two sisters spoke privately. Chase would have given his eyeteeth to hear the conversation and decided to make himself scarce with repacking the Jeep.
"Are you crazy?" Tessa's sister demanded.
"Dia. Get a grip."
"This is so unlike you."
"What? Kissing a man."
"No, kissing that man, in the park, in broad daylight, where everyone in town can see!"
Tessa planted her hands on her hips. "So." She didn't have to explain herself to anyone, least of all her kid sister. "God, Dia, what's happened to you? You used to be the one to instigate trouble, be reckless."