The next several hours were quiet ones. Tressa hadn’t said ten words to him since they’d come in from the snow and he hated it. The silence was torture. Mainly because he enjoyed talking to her. It was always like a conversation with an old friend—unforced and effortless. Well, he guessed he could be grateful that she hadn’t retreated upstairs.
Roth couldn’t concentrate on the Walter Mosley novel he’d been reading, so he dog-eared the page and placed the book on the sofa beside them. He slid a glance at Tressa, whose eyes were pinned to the television screen.
Maybe he’d gone too far earlier. Who was he kidding? He’d gone way too far. Attempting to warm the frigid air around them, he said, “What are they saying about the weather?”
And the temperature in the room dropped several more degrees. Deciding not to poke the hornet’s nest, he stood. “I’ll start dinner.” He waited to see if she would offer her assistance. Nothing. Yep, she was pissed at him. And she probably had a right to be. Again, he’d overstepped his boundaries. God knows he was the last person who should tell anyone how to manage their love life.
Tressa stood. “I’m really not all that hungry. I’ll be upstairs if you need me.”
Roth scrubbed a hand over his head and groaned. This woman was going to be the death of him. And judging by the amount of friction between them, something told him he wouldn’t die happy.
Tressa’s eyes slowly peeled open, and she glanced at the clock on the nightstand. Three o’clock? Her brow furrowed. That can’t be right. She’d only closed her eyes for two minutes. How in the hell had she slept for nine hours? This damn mattress. The plush pillow top made her feel as if she were sleeping on a cloud. It sure beat the hell out of that sofa.
The delicious aromas of onions and spices filled her nostrils, and her growling stomach instantly informed her she’d slept through dinner. Why hadn’t Roth woken her to eat? Oh, yeah. She’d told him she wasn’t hungry. She fell back against the cloud—mattress.
Their morning had started out great, then had turned into a damn disaster. She’d got so close to Roth, then just like that he’d pulled away. And why? Because he thought she was using him to get back at Cyrus. Could he honestly believe that? Even thinking he did frustrated her even more.
Being honest with herself, maybe a small part of her had wanted to feel as if she were getting a small amount of revenge against Cyrus. God, was she really this screwed up?
She released a humorless chuckle. Could she actually blame him for not wanting to get involved with her? Her life was a mess right now. Who wanted that kind of…complication?
A smile curled her lips when she closed her eyes and recalled their time in the snow together. They’d been having so much fun. Then Cyrus had ruined it. Disdain flowed through her. Cyrus was getting too good at disrupting her life.
She eyed the ceiling and replayed Roth’s words in her head. You’re not ready for me. If you only knew how ready I am. Why in the hell was he fighting this so hard? Oh, yeah. He believed Cyrus still had a chance with her. He was so far from the truth a compass couldn’t have guided him back. Roth was right, she needed to talk to Cyrus. And she would. But for now, she’d make Cyrus wait for her to decide when she wanted to talk to him.
A thought occurred to her and she sat. One she should have seen before now. Roth wouldn’t be intimidated by Cyrus. A man like Roth would welcome the challenge of claiming her for himself. Maybe a part of him did believe what he’d said. But there was more to it. Some other reason why she couldn’t reach him. Something else he was hiding behind. But what?
A heavy sigh left her lips. Why should she drive herself insane trying to figure it out? He wanted nothing to do with her. She’d honor his wishes.
Just a few more days.
All she had to do was refuse to look into Roth’s eyes, avoid sitting too close to him, quit appreciating his manly scent, stop enjoying the way her skin tingled when his dark eyes raked over her and keep her nipples from beading every time she thought about him caressing her breasts.
Yep, piece of cake. Which was exactly what she wanted now, Roth caressing her breasts and a piece of cake. Too bad she couldn’t have either.