‘You’ve seen me naked before,’ he pointed out. ‘Besides, I fell asleep in the chair a little earlier and it made me a little stiff.’

Her eyes went to his pelvis, her cheeks instantly filling with heat. She wrenched her gaze away and fiddled with the sheet to distract herself from his tempting form.

‘You know something? You never used to be such a little prude,’ he commented. ‘I hope Howard hasn’t given you a whole lot of hang-ups about sex.’

‘I don’t have any hang-ups…’ She chewed her bottom lip for a moment. ‘It’s just that…’ She paused, not sure it was exactly wise to go on.

‘Just what?’ he asked.

She raised her eyes to his. ‘It’s just it’s always been such a very physical thing…for you, I mean.’

‘And it’s not for you?’ he asked, holding her gaze.

‘Yes, yes, of course it is…but…’ She lowered her eyes and began to tug at a loose thread on the sheet, wishing she hadn’t drifted into such deep water.

‘I don’t like the sound of that “but”,’ he said after a short silence. ‘What are you trying to say? That you’re still in love with me after all this time?’

She stared at him for five heavy blood-clogging heartbeats.


There was a discreet tap at the door and their eyes locked for a moment.

‘Room service,’ a young male voice called out.

Jake reached for his jeans where he’d left them hanging over a chair, stepping into them, zipping them up and running a rough hand through his hair before he moved across to open the door.

Ashleigh hitched the sheet right up to her chin and watched as Jake tipped the young man who carried in the tray of food, waiting until he’d gone again before turning back to her.

‘Come on, let’s get some food into you, then we can continue that little discussion we were having on sex,’ he said.

She propped herself up in the bed with pillows as he carried the tray over. He set it across her lap, giving her a little wink as he snitched a French fry and popped it in his mouth.

She gave him a guilt-stricken look as she suddenly recalled how the evening in his room had started. ‘You must have missed dinner…I’m sorry.’

He gave her another one of his wry smiles. ‘To be quite frank with you, sweetheart, I didn’t feel all that much like food after your little bathroom routine.’

She grimaced and speared a chip with her fork. ‘Don’t remind me.’ She gave a little shudder. ‘Yeeuck. I am never going to drink champagne again. Ever.’

He laughed and took another fry. ‘You never could handle alcohol. One drink and you are anybody’s.’

Her fork froze halfway to her mouth, her eyes slowly meeting his.

His smile faded. ‘You know, I didn’t actually mean that quite the way it sounded.’

‘Yes, you did.’ She pushed the food away in disgust.

‘No!’ He rescued the tilting tray and set it to one side before coming back to untie her hands from where she’d crossed them tightly over her breasts.

‘Hey.’ He gave her fists a little squeeze. ‘I didn’t mean to insult you. The truth is, I have never forgotten what it was like that first time…’ His throat moved up and down in a swallow. ‘I’ve tried to, believe me, but it just won’t go away.’

She tossed her head to one side. ‘You’ve probably had hundreds of lovers since then who have imprinted themselves indelibly on your sexual seismic register.’

‘Maybe—’ he gave a shrug of one shoulder ‘—but, as far as I recall, no four point fours.’

Her eyes came back to his, her look indignant. ‘Four point four? Is that all I rated?’

He tapped her on the end of her nose, the edges of his mouth tipping upwards sexily. ‘Thought that would get a rise out of you.’

She reached past him for the tray of food and scooped up a rasher of bacon without the help of cutlery and stuffed it in her mouth, her blue eyes flashing sparks of fire as she chewed resolutely.

‘You know something, Ashleigh,’ he said, spearing a French fry with her abandoned fork. ‘You’re really something when you’re all fired up.’

‘Stop pinching my fries.’ She slapped his hand away. ‘I want them all to myself.’

He laid the fork down and, moving the tray just out of her reach, kissed her hard upon the mouth.

Ashleigh blinked up at him when he lifted his mouth off hers.

‘What was that for?’ she asked.

He picked up a French fry and held it near her tightly clamped lips. ‘Open.’

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