“I’ve been to this restaurant before.”

“No. I mean, do you send your daughter to her grandfather’s so you can offer girls fine wine?”

Brent looked down at her sternly.

“Oh, don’t be that way.” Before she could stop herself, her fingers were in the back of his soft blond hair. “I didn’t mean anything by it.”

“Cara doesn’t have a lot of family. That’s really the main reason I allow my father in her life.” Brent let his head fall back a little, and Jessica massaged his scalp gently. “As for the girls, I hope you know that I’m not taking women out to dinner every weekend. I’ve had maybe four dates since LeeAnne passed. Two of those were ambushes from my father.”

“Those must’ve been awkward.”

“Intensely.” Brent shifted in his seat and looked into her eyes. “Are you finding out about your competition?”

“No.” Jessica dipped her head and rubbed her lips.

“Well, if you were, you should know that the two women I actually chose to date have happily settled with husbands by now, and one of the women my father set me up with has a very nice wife.”

Jessica laughed in surprise.

“I can’t speak to my father’s taste in women. Mine is much better.” Brent took Jessica’s hands and rubbed his thumb over the back of her right hand. “Even if you aren’t interested in a relationship, I do enjoy time with you, Jessica. You’re very important to me.”

“I…” Jessica looked at their hands. Both of his engulfed her own. “I’m running out of reasons not to want this. It’s not… I shouldn’t…”

She lifted her head and kissed him. His hand moved to cup her cheek, and he leaned in to deepen the kiss. She pressed one hand against his firm chest and felt the muscles under his shirt. He was so strong. She wondered what he would look like with his shirt off.

His other hand started moving up her thigh. For a split second, she considered stopping it, but instead, she scooted closer. The heat between them rose as they kissed and let their hands roam over one another.

There was no going back now. Not that Jessica wanted to.

She heard the panel that blocked sound as well as the driver’s view roll up. Brent had mentioned earlier that it was a complete barrier between them and the chauffeur. For poor Alex’s sake, she hoped that was true. She didn’t want to stop, not now. They’d danced around each other so much since they’d met, and her dreams had never abated. If anything, they were coming more ferociously and more feverishly every night. She slid across the soft leather of the back seat of the limo.

The red silk of her dress was flowing, and when she settled in her place, it had managed to ride over her thighs. Normally, even as flushed as she was from the bottles of wine, Jessica would have pulled the unruly fabric back in place.

Not tonight.

His eyes were roaming hungrily over the pale expanse of her thigh. For once, she didn’t feel unattractive or insufficient. Most Southern California girls were always sun-kissed, tanned from summers at the beach. She liked spending time with Ashley and some of her other sisters out there. It was just more that the operative word in the middle of everything was time. She was so busy studying in the bowels of the school library or trying to do everything her father might need on the side, a few extra gofer hours here or there to make the production company work. Extra time spent entering data on spreadsheets because she believed in what her father and Brent were doing.

It left her paler, wanner than most.

Something she’d been teased about before she found the sorority that had fit her. Rush was such a bitch.

Now, though, Brent was eyeing her legs with the same hunger of a starving man who’d just wandered into an all-you-can-eat buffet. He licked his lips and slid a strong hand up her thigh. The hint of cinnamon and cloves hit her nose strongly, mixed with some designer cologne that complemented his own musk nicely. His hands were strong, callused in a way she hadn’t expected, and she wondered if that bastard father of his had been into physical punishments. Some character-building crap like doing hard labor around the home.


It seemed everything was possible with that ass.

Still, his hands were strong as they needed the flesh of her thigh. Man’s hands that were both strong and controlled.

“You’re beautiful.”

Jessica swallowed hard and chased away all her own insecurities. Her experience with men was basically non-existent, and she’d never felt like she stuck out in the right ways before. But here was Brent, a man who could have anyone, and who was charming and worldly and kind. He was the one saying how amazing she was. It was hard to believe that when she tried to reassure herself. When Brent said it? Well, he knew everything from the ins and outs of wine to how to make amazing, beautiful films that touched her soul.

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