Ever so slowly, she kissed him again. Teasing and testing, refusing to deepen the kiss.

‘Melody.’ This time her name was torn from his lips and she was satisfied with the response.

She kissed him again, not wanting him to speak for she’d already sensed his slow but sure withdrawal. Even though their bodies were still pressed firmly together, George had already mentally distanced himself. She didn’t want to think about things rationally and if they stopped completely, then they’d have to talk things through.

Melody just wanted to go on feeling exactly as she was feeling now, not caring about her already bruised heart or the fact that the man in her arms would be leaving within forty-eight hours. She breathed slowly against his mouth before tasting him once again. Now that she knew how incredible they were together, it was something she’d probably crave for the rest of her life.

He didn’t break free and he didn’t hurry her. Instead, he took what she was offering but held himself under rigid control, still marvelling at how easily he’d lost his perspective. Perhaps the building resistance they’d been employing for the past four days had increased his drive. Whatever this was between them, George knew he’d never experience anything like it again. This was unique for him.

Knowing the moment had come when she couldn’t hang onto the physical pull any longer, Melody lowered her hands to his shoulders and slowly opened her eyes. His brown eyes were gazing down into hers, the fire still burning but gradually being doused.

Neither of them spoke but the communication was there. As their breathing steadied to a more normal pace, George reluctantly eased himself away from her. For one fleeting instant he thought Melody might overrule him and drag his body back where it belonged. Instead, she let her hands fall limply to her sides, her gaze dipping briefly to his lips before she looked down at the floor.

He felt awful. How could he have kissed her again? He’d already told himself that they would just be friends, colleagues and nothing more. It wasn’t fair, to either of them, to torture themselves as they just had. Their lives were running on two completely different tracks. Despite how much he was attracted to her, he also owed her the respect and common decency he would show to other female colleagues. Guilt started to swamp him and he opened his mouth, an apology on his lips.

‘Don’t.’ Melody held up her hand. ‘Don’t apologise. We both wanted it, we both needed it and we’ll both take responsibility for it.’

‘You’re right, but I was also going to say I never meant it to happen.’

‘Liar.’ She crossed her arms defensively over her body, rubbing her arms, her body still feeling bereft of his touch. She turned and headed into the living room, leaving him to follow her or stay where he was. She needed to sit down.

‘Why am I a liar?’ He followed her into the living room. She was sitting with her legs tucked beneath her skirt on a large wingback chair. Her hands were clenched tightly in her lap and her eyes were momentarily closed.

Melody fought for composure before opening her eyes to look at him. ‘Because you did mean that kiss to happen. We may not have realised it, but it’s been building ever since we met on Monday.’ She shrugged, displaying a nonchalance she didn’t feel. ‘It was…inevitable.’

He registered the truth of her words as he slumped down into the matching chair beside her. ‘When you opened the door, I guess everything became too much to control. I was relieved we could see each other without being surrounded by people. I was still trying to resist you because I knew it was the right thing to do, and I was slightly annoyed because you left last night without saying goodbye.’ George sighed and shifted in his chair, his gaze intently holding hers.

‘Then I had meeting after meeting,’ he continued, ‘talking to people and presenting information, discussing operating techniques, and the entire time all I could think about was you. About seeing you tonight, about being near you, holding you, kissing you.’ His gaze dropped to encompass her mouth as he spoke, another thread of desire running through her at such a look. He cleared his throat and eased back in his chair. ‘I even snapped at Carmel—twice—and it wasn’t even her fault. It was simply because I was behaving like a hormonal, preoccupied teenager.’

‘Wow.’ She cleared her throat. ‘That’s, ah, a lot of information to process.’

‘We need to be open, to not be afraid to ask questions,’ he stated. ‘Or answer them.’ He reached across, holding out his hand to her, which she accepted. ‘Deal?’

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