“That’s excellent. Jessica, I don’t know what we’d do without you. You’re always looking out for Cara and coming up with ways for her to handle things just a little better.”

“I wasn’t that much different than her. And she’s an easy kid. She’s so open to trying everything.”

“I’m so grateful that you feel that way.”

Jessica wiped her cheek and smiled. It hurt a little, what she was about to say, but she had to say it.

“I really do. And that’s why… I mean, I think we need to…” Jessica took a breath. “We need to try to be very careful—”

“I couldn’t agree more. I’ve been a little sloppy, but I will do my very best to keep this under wraps. No more mistakes like the other day. No more calling from the office, definitely.”

“Well, yes, but also…”

Brent took both of her hands and smiled down at her as he squeezed them. Jessica melted at his touch.

You have to tell him.

Brent reached up to brush flour from her cheek. “Jessica, I want you to come away with me for the weekend. It’ll be just like Saturday night, only we’ll have several days all to ourselves.”

“I like having Cara around,” Jessica objected.

“Of course, but I know it concerns you that she might see us together and be upset.” Brent’s fingers carded through her hair. “I love spending time with you. I want to do more of it. This is the most alive I’ve felt since LeeAnne died.”

“Brent, I…” Jessica felt like she couldn’t breathe. She kept thinking about the night in the limo, the way her heart raced when they were on the phone, how it felt to simply try new things with him.

“Please come with me,” Brent pleaded softly.

Jessica wanted to open her mouth and tell him no. She wanted to tell him that this needed to stop before someone got hurt.

Instead, she found herself kissing him passionately. She stumbled back into the kitchen island, and he lifted her up onto it so he could cup her face in both hands and forcefully possess her lips.

The timer rang, and Jessica pulled away. She looked into his eyes merrily and gave his cheek a light smack.

“Save it for this weekend, buddy.”

Chapter Ten


“This is amazing.”

Brent couldn’t help smiling at the expression on Jessica’s face, the way she looked so totally transported, almost enraptured, by the rich flavor of the caviar she was nibbling at. “I’m glad you like it,” he answered, reaching across the table and taking her hand in his. “This weekend, I want to you to enjoy every single moment.”

He knew he was smiling like an idiot, but she didn’t seem to mind. In fact, she smiled back at him, the deep chocolate-brown of her eyes seeming almost to glow with warmth. She was so young and beautiful, so lovely and fresh and perfect that it almost hurt to look at her. He wanted her, more than he’d ever wanted anything.

The strangeness of that thought made pain and confusion bloom inside him. Memories of LeeAnne, thoughts of how very young Jessica was, the painful awareness of how badly making love to her would complicate matters… It all tangled inside him, almost choking him with guilt.

He had no damn business being here with her. No matter how much he wanted her, the simple and terrible truth was that making love to her could smash his career, his family, and his life to smithereens. His friend, his partner, and his daughter could all be hurt badly, not to mention Jessica herself. He was a selfish bastard to even consider taking her to bed.

And yet…

Resolutely, he shoved the guilt and the worry aside. For this one single precious weekend, he intended to grab onto what he wanted with both hands, to live and love and laugh in a way he hadn’t in nearly a decade. He was entitled to a little happiness, damn it. Just a little. Just two days of joy. It wasn’t too much to ask for, was it?

Besides, Jessica deserved this too. She was a wonderful woman, despite her youth, and she deserved to be treated like a princess, fed outrageously expensive caviar and priceless wines, to stay in the most luxurious hotels and to ride in the most elegant cars ever created. And she deserved to be made love to, slowly and thoroughly, until she couldn’t restrain her cries, and her soft, wet body clenched around his cock in long, intense spasms…

He realized that his mind was going places his body didn’t need to go yet and forced his awareness back to the present. After all, there was more than enough to focus on in the here and now.

Seated across the table from him, Jessica was gloriously beautiful, her perfect figure poured into a midnight-blue silk dress that clung to her every curve, her long, dark hair freed from its customary ponytail and rippling in glistening waves halfway down her back. She was absolutely breathtaking, more so than any woman he’d ever seen. In a state full of glamorous movie stars and world-famous models, she sparkled in a way that set her apart.

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