Roth lowered the book he’d been reading and peered over the top at Tressa sitting at the opposite side of the couch, engulfed in a Maya Angelou book of poems. He smiled. Man, she was engaged. The only other time he’d seen her this intense was when he’d sent her airplane sailing away the day before.
And speaking of airplanes… What in the hell had she written? Was it something about him? He recalled the way her body had tensed in his arms when he’d mentioned the possibility of her plane reaching town. Yep, it’d been about him.
He laughed to himself. That was presumptuous as hell, but he was rolling with it. “What did you write about me?”
Tressa’s eyes slowly rose to his. “Excuse me?”
“On your plane. What did you write about me?”
Tressa placed the book facedown on her lap and folded her arms across her chest. “That’s awfully presumptuous of you, sir.”
“Well, ma’am, it’s obvious you have a thing for me.”
She tried to suppress a smile that broke through despite her efforts. Sobering, she said, “Oh, really?”
“And how, Mr. Lexington, did you come to this conclusion?”
“Well, Ms. Washington, first, it’s the way you look at me.”
She laughed. “And how do I look at you?”
“Like no woman has ever looked at me before. Like you truly see me.”
Tressa’s expression turned serious and so did his. The tender ways she looked at him revealed she saw something more than a vessel for sex.
“I do see you,” she said. “Even the parts you try to hide.”
And that was what he feared, her seeing the parts he wanted to keep hidden. He didn’t want to scare her away. He also didn’t want to give too much, too soon. Just in case. Throughout the years, he’d been used to far more things not working out than actually working.
Conversation seized, and they gaped at one another.
Tressa was the first to break the silence. “You said first. Does that mean there are more reasons?”
There were, but did he want to list them? What the hell? “The way you touch me.” He interpreted the expression on her face and answered the question before she asked. “Like you’re trying to heal me, despite having no idea how deep my wounds run.”
“You will what?”
“One day I’ll have an idea.”
And she was probably right. Especially if he kept giving her pieces of himself. It was like he couldn’t stop, like Tressa was meant to free him of some of the baggage he lugged around. Now seemed like the perfect time to ask an important question. “Should we talk about what’s happ—”
“No,” Tressa said.
Her tone held its signature levelness. The reply surprised him. He thought for sure she’d jump at the opportunity to discuss or define this beautiful magnetism. He arched a brow. “No?”
“We should just let it happen naturally. Just feel.”
“That’s my line.” And it brought back some damn good memories.
“Is it copyrighted?”
Roth lunged forward, blanketing Tressa’s body with his. “Copyrighted? I’ll show you copyrighted.” He tickled her until she laughed so hard she snorted, which made him laugh just as hard.
Roth couldn’t remember the last time he’d been so amused. He laughed so hard his sides began to hurt. By the time they settled, they both had tears running out the corners of their eyes. Instead of returning to his side of the sofa, he nestled against Tressa. She rested a delicate hand on his cheek.
“I see you, Roth Lexington, and I like the view.”
He shifted his head to kiss her palm. “I’m not finished showing you who I am. Just be patient with me.”
“Okay.” She kissed the tip of his nose. “You’re warm.”
“Being this close to you makes my temperature rise,” he said.
Roth intended to kiss her, but before he made contact, Tressa pinned him with accusing eyes. “I think you’re catching a cold.”
He sighed. “Like I told you before, Nurse Washington, I don’t get sick.”
* * *