Tempt Me Like This
Page 21

 Bella Andre

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When he looked at her like that—with such dark, deep intensity—she forgot how to think, how to speak. How to do anything but feel. And in the end, all she was able to say was, “I don’t know.”
But, oh, how a secret part of her wished that there were a love like that waiting out there for all of them...even though her experience with her own parents had left her with a deep core of cynicism.
“Do you have any siblings?” he asked.
“No, it’s just me.”
“That’s what I thought after seeing the pictures in your father’s office. He sure loves you.”
“I know, but I wish he’d get rid of those pictures.”
“Why? You were a cute kid.”
“A cute kid with the world’s biggest glasses and braces. And that perm.” She had to laugh at herself. “It seemed like a good idea at the time. Needless to say, it wasn’t.”
“You’re really close to your dad, aren’t you?”
“We always spent a ton of time together, even when I was really little. I remember doing puzzles with him and reading together.”
“What about your mom?”
Compared to what he’d been through, her situation should have felt like nothing now. But she still tensed up simply from knowing she was going to talk about her mom. “We don’t have much in common. She didn’t have much in common with my dad either. They split up when I was fifteen.”
“That’s rough.”
“It was better that way.”
“Because they are so different. You know my dad—he’s all about lists and plans and seeing things in black and white. But my mom...” She shook her head. “She hates lists and plans. And her world is all color, all the time. My dad once said that if anyone should have known that the odds of their being able to make it work were next to nothing, it should have been a statistics professor.” She’d meant for it to come out sounding like a joke, but it just wasn’t possible for her to find any humor in the situation, even all these years later.
“Did they love each other?”
She’d never known a man who spoke as easily about love as Drew did. Then again, she could see how growing up surrounded by so much of it in his great family would have made a really strong impact. Strong enough that he was asking her the really hard questions.
“While you were wondering if anyone else could have the kind of love your parents shared,” she finally replied, “I was wondering how my parents could have gotten together in the first place—and why they stayed together for so long.” She’d never spoken to anyone else about what went on in her house, but just as Drew had shared so much with her, now she felt the same urge to share herself with him. “They fought all the time, but they even did that differently. My mom fought loud and passionate and hot. My father fought with silences and freezes.”
“And you were stuck in the middle of it all.”
She looked up at him in surprise. “How did you know that?”
“Because you love them both. And you’re also made up of both parts, the passionate and colorful and the cool and analytical.”
“I’m not like both of them,” she said automatically. “I’m just the cool, analytical part like my dad.”
“That’s not true. I’ve seen tons of passion from you already.”
“When?” It wasn’t until the word was out of her mouth that she realized their conversation had just gone way off track.
But before she could tell him he didn’t need to answer her, he stopped and said, “When we were talking about the power of music. When you were standing up to the security guards at the airport. And out here just now, when we were talking about, well, everything.”
Hardly able to believe what he was saying about her—not only that he thought she was full of passion, but also that he had examples—she stumbled over a bump in the sand and would have gone to her knees if he hadn’t caught her in his arms for the second time in one day.
“I’m not...” The feel of his hands on her bare skin where her shirt was riding up slightly over the waistband of her jeans had her breath going and her sentence faltering. “I’m not normally so clumsy. I promise you won’t always have to catch me.”
“I like catching you.”
His simple words stole her breath...and made her heart pound at what felt like a million miles an hour. Rather desperately, she tried to remind herself how charming he was with his fans. And that if one of them had fallen in front of him, he would have reached out to catch her, too. But just then, with his arms still around her, it was hard to pay attention to those reminders. Hard to do anything but wish he would be overcome with the same attraction that was all but devastating her—and kiss her.