Jaci lifted her eyebrows. “That’s eight days and six hours. I heard you went to LA.”
Ryan glowered at her. “Yeah. Waste of a trip since I spent most of my time thinking of you. Naked.”
Lust, desire, need swirled between them. How was she supposed to respond to that? Should she tell him that she’d spent less time writing and more time fantasizing? He’s still your boss, she reminded herself. Maybe she should keep that to herself.
“I’ve spent most of the evening watching you talk to your ex.” Ryan frowned.
Now, that was an exaggeration. She’d spoken to Clive, sure, but not for that long and not for the whole evening.
“You’re not seriously considering giving him another chance, are you?” Ryan demanded, his eyes and voice hot.
No calls, no text messages, no emails and now stupid questions. Jaci sighed. Going back to Clive after being with Ryan would be like living in a tiny tent after occupying a mansion. In other words, completely horrible. But because he’d been such a moron lately, she was disinclined to give him the assurance his question seemed to demand. Or was she just imagining the thread of concern she heard in his voice?
That was highly possible.
“Talk to me, Jace,” Ryan said when she didn’t answer him.
Jaci’s lips pressed together. “You’re joking, right? Do you honestly think that you can sleep with me and then freeze me out when I ask a personal question? Do you really think it’s okay for you not to call me, to avoid me for the best part of a week?”
Ryan released a curse and rubbed the back of his neck. “I’m sorry about that.”
Jaci didn’t buy his apology. “Sure you are. But I bet that if I suggest that we go back to your B and B you’d be all over that idea.”
“Of course I would be. I’m a man and you’re the best sex I’ve ever had.” Jaci widened her eyes at his statement. The best sex? Ever? Really?
“Dammit, Jace, you tie me up in knots.” Ryan tipped his head back to look at the ceiling of the tent. The main lights had been turned out and only flickering fairy lights illuminated the tent, casting dancing shadows on his tired face. What was she supposed to say to that? Sorry that I’ve complicated your life? Sorry that I’m the best sex you’ve ever had?
She’d apologized for too many things in her life, many of them that weren’t her fault, but she would be damned if she was going to apologize to Ryan. Not about this. She liked the fact that she, at least, had some effect on the man. So Jaci just crossed her legs and didn’t bother to adjust her dress when the fabric parted and exposed her knee and a good portion of her thigh. She watched Ryan’s eyes drop to her legs, saw the tension that skittered through his body and the way his Adam’s apple bobbed in his throat.
Another knot, she thought. Good, let him feel all crazy for a change.
Instead of touching her as she expected, Ryan sat up, took a sip of her coffee and, after putting her cup back in its saucer, tapped his finger on the white damask tablecloth. “I’m not good at sharing my thoughts, at talking.”
That didn’t warrant a response, so Jaci just looked at him.
“I have a messed-up relationship with my family, both dead and alive.” Ryan stared off into the distance. “My mother is dead, my father is a stranger to me, someone who always put his needs above those of his kids. I’m not looking for sympathy, I’m just telling you how it was.” Ryan stopped talking and hauled in another breath. It took a moment for his words to sink in, to realize that he was talking to her. Jaci’s heart stopped momentarily and then it started to pound. He was talking to her? For real?
“I don’t talk to people because I don’t want them getting that deep into my head,” Ryan admitted with a lot of reluctance. He closed his eyes momentarily before speaking again. “That girl in the picture? Well, she died in the same car accident as Ben.”
“Ben’s fiancée? I’m sorry but I don’t remember her name.” And why did he have a photograph of Ben’s fiancée in his bedroom? Facedown, but still...
“Kelly. Everyone thought that she was engaged to Ben because she was wearing an engagement ring,” Ryan said, but something in his voice had Jaci leaning forward, trying to look into his eyes. Judging by his hard expression, and by the muscle jumping in his cheek, talking about Ben and this woman was intensely difficult for Ryan. Of course, they were talking about his brother’s death. It had to be hard, but there was more to this story than she was aware of.