Page 24 of Soaring on Love

“Quit complaining,” she said.

A blink later Tressa smashed a handful of snow in his face. He heaved as if she was drowning him.

“Suck…er.”

She tried to make a smooth getaway, but he was too fast. “Oh, no, you don’t.” He snagged the back of her coat, pulled her back and pinned her to the ground. Miraculously, his temperature rose several degrees.

Tressa squirmed and laughed as if Roth was tickling her. “I’m sorry. I’m sorry,” she squealed, her laughter floating in the cold air.

“Sorry is not going to work. You have to pay for that. Do you see my face? My cold, wet face?” He scooped up a mound of snow and held it inches from her. “I’m sorry. This has to be done. It’s going to hurt me more than it hurts you. But every action has an equal or opposite reaction. Any last words?”

Still rolling with laughter, she said, “Yes, yes.”

“Okay. Spit them out before I exact my revenge.”

Tressa laughed some more. “Revenge is best served cold.”

Roth laughed, bringing the snow closer to her face.

“Wait. Wait. My last words.”

His hand continued to close in on her. “You better make it quick.”

Tressa sobered. “Kiss me.”

Damn. He hadn’t expected that. The expression on her face was firm, so he knew she hadn’t said it by accident. “You don’t want that, Tressa. If I kissed you, this time I wouldn’t stop kissing you. Not until one or both of us froze to death out here.”

“Death is inevitable. Wouldn’t you prefer to die happy?”

Roth’s jaw tightened. Did she have any idea how much delicious trouble teasing him could get her in? He tried his damnedest to pull away. Unfortunately, he lost all control. Lowering his head, he allowed his lips to brush hers. The heat that radiated through him burned hot enough to melt the snow off the entire mountain. “Are you sure this is what you want?” he asked against their sparsely touching lips.

“Oh, yeah. Kiss me, Roth Lexington. And kiss me like you mean it.”

“And after the kiss ends?”

“We’re both adults, Roth. It doesn’t have to end at a kiss. One time or a hundred. I just want to be with you.”

Roth growled at the implication, his erection swelling. One time or hundred? The thought was enough to make him shudder. He brushed his lips against hers again. “Do you know what you’re asking for?”

“All of you. Now, enough teasing. Kiss me. With the same intensity you did last night.”

“Okay,” he said in a you’ve-been-warned tone. But before he could capture her mouth in the hellish manner he wanted, that damn cell phone interrupted them again. True, it could have been anyone in the world calling her, but instincts told him it was that rat bastard.

“Just ignore it,” she said against his wanting mouth. “Kiss me.”

The intrusion brought him back to his senses. He couldn’t just ignore it. When he slowly pulled away from her, disappointment danced in her eyes. “You’re not ready for me, Tressa. You have unfinished business. And every time you run from your fiancé—”

“Ex-fiancé,” she corrected with unsubtle irritation in her tone.

“Is he really?” Roth regretted the terse response.

“You were there, Roth. You saw what happened, what he did to me. Do you really think I would still want to be with Cyrus after that? He’s no longer a part of my life.”

“Then you should quit avoiding the opportunity to tell him that, because right now he believes he still has a chance with you. And I’m not sure he doesn’t. I’m not sure I’m not just your way of getting back at the man who wronged you.”

Hurt filled Tressa’s eyes and he knew he’d cut deep. He started to apologize but reconsidered. Yes, he felt horrible for hurting her, but as long as he kept this doubt wedged between them, things couldn’t get out of focus again. He needed twenty-twenty vision to handle this situation.

Roth pushed himself from the ground, dusted the snow from his clothing, then offered Tressa his hand. Surprisingly, she allowed him to help her up. On her feet, her lips parted, then closed as if she reconsidered whatever she was about to say.

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