“When—” She took a deep breath, then started again. “When did you know?”
Roth turned slowly. Asking for no reference, no clarification that they were even talking about the same thing, he closed the distance between them. “When you took my hand at the cabin and placed it over your heart. My heartbeat fell in sync with yours at that very moment. And I knew I would love you for the rest of my life. These past two weeks—” he lowered his head as if to hide shame “—let’s just say my heartbeat has been irregular.”
Tressa thought about her own suffering. She’d contributed her palpitations to sleep deprivation, stress and caffeine. But could it have been from Roth’s absence? Could their hearts truly beat in such harmony?
“I owe you an apology, Roth. I was closed-minded and judgmental. I never gave you the benefit of the doubt or the respect you deserved. I let fear guide me. But that’s no excuse for how I treated you. I’m sorry. I’m so sorry. And I would do anything, anything, to have you back in my life again.” Tressa’s heart pounded against her rib cage and tears rolled down her cheek. “I don’t deserve a second chance, Roth, and I’m not sure I deserve you, but I want—I need—you.” She took a deep breath, then continued, “You are that spark that ignites everything good in me. I should have been the one fighting, Roth. I should have been the one fighting for you, for us. I’m fighting now.”
This time when Roth reached out to touch her, he didn’t pull back and neither did she. When the pads of his thumbs swiped across her skin, she closed her eyes, feeling as if her entire spirit recharged from his touch.
Roth rested his forehead against hers. “I’m lost without you.”
“I love you, Roth Lexington. I love you with every cell in my body. Do you forgive me for hurting you? Can you—”
His mouth crashed against hers, the feel of his lips causing a surge through her entire body. They’d kissed plenty of times before, but this time was unlike anything she’d ever experienced with him. She gladly accepted every urgent swipe of her tongue, meeting his urgency with eagerness of her own.
They kissed long, hard and for what felt like an eternity. Then reality kicked in. Tressa jerked away from his addictive mouth. A look of pure desperation flashed across Roth’s face.
Tressa laughed for the first time in far too long. “Work.” She laughed again, this time at the ridiculous timing of her words.
Roth’s brow furrowed. “What?”
“I have to get to work.”
The pained expression slid from Roth’s face. A second later he scooped her into his arms. “You’re going to be a few minutes late.”
“If I’m late again, I’m going to be in the unemployment line.”
Roth carried her toward the house. “Then you can focus on opening your own culinary studio. Or be a stay-at-home mom.”
Tressa’s jaw fell open, but she couldn’t find her words.
“Keys,” he said, climbing the stairs.
Unscrambling her brain, she said, “Somewhere on the ground.”
A minute later they pushed through the front door. Roth slammed the door shut and pinned her against it. Again, his mouth claimed hers, but only for a short time. With urgency, he snatched her shirt over her head, then her bra came off. Untying the strings of her scrub pants, he pushed them down over her hips. Pressing his body firmly against hers.
“You feel that?” he asked against her mouth.
“Yes. And I want it.”
A sexy sound rumbled in his chest seconds before he snaked a hand down her panties. He massaged her slowly, gently. Intense moans rolled past her lips.
Roth kissed her gently on the lips. “Tell me you love me more than any other man walking the face of the earth and that you always will.”
Did he really expect her to form a sentence? As good as his hand felt between her legs, all she could do was moan.
“Say it, baby. Please. I need to hear it. I desperately need to hear it.”
“I…” The tingling sensations of an orgasm stalled her words. “I love you…more than any…”
“Any other man,” they said in unison.