She turned, and before Austin could form his next thought, she stepped in front of him. Her hands rested on his chest, and her mouth covered his.
Sweet. Soft. Potent. Her kiss was everything he remembered. All rational thought fled his mind and, as if on autopilot, one of his hands went to the back of her neck, the other to the small of her back. He pulled her against his body and his tongue explored the inner recesses of her mouth, tasting champagne. How many times had he dreamed of touching her, holding her, kissing her?
She moaned into his mouth, spurring him to deepen their kiss. The heady scent of her perfume was even more captivating now that her body was molded against his. Her arms eased around his waist, stoking the fire the kiss had started. She still fit perfectly in his arms.
Some sane part of his mind screamed, Danger! Stop and slowly back away. He couldn’t. He couldn’t stop the heat that soared through his body as their tongues tangled. He couldn’t stop the desire that singed every nerve ending, making him want so much more than a kiss. He couldn’t stop the possessive thought—mine—that floated to the forefront of his mind.
He knew at that moment that he would never really be free of her. She would always hold a part of his heart.
Janna’s heartbeat thumped faster when Austin’s large hands moved from her body and cupped her face. She might have started the kiss, but with the demanding mastery of his lips, he had quickly taken charge. His fresh, clean scent was more potent than the alcohol on his tongue.
That peace she’d always felt in his presence settled over her like a soft silk-wool sweater. God, she had missed him. His closeness, his warmth and his hands on her felt so familiar. Like old times.
She heard herself moan.
His body stiffened.
Her heart lurched, and the wistful murmurs from people nearby penetrated the fog in her head caused by the toe-curling kiss. The last thing she wanted to do was open her eyes, but then she heard what sounded like a camera.
Her eyes flew open.
If Austin had hated her before, the scathing look in his dark eyes now said that he was beyond angry.
“Let’s go,” he growled under his breath and held her elbow, guiding them through the small crowd that had gathered. He pulled her along, using his large body to block their faces from any additional photographs, and didn’t stop moving until they were outside. “What the hell was that all about?”
“Austin, I’m sorry. I’m so sorry. I didn’t think—”
“Yeah, that’s the problem, Janna. You never think about how your actions are going to affect someone else. You’re still the selfish, careless, impulsive person you were years ago.”
Fury rumbled inside her and she placed her hands on her hips, stepping closer to him.
“Now, you wait just a minute! You have every right to be mad at me for kissing you, but I will not stand here and let you call me names. You don’t know me!”
“And whose fault is that?”
Janna stared at him. Hurt flickered in his eyes, but disappeared so quickly she thought she might have imagined it. Guilt churned in her gut. He wasn’t only talking about tonight. Tension bounced off him like heat from a roaring fire as she struggled for the right words to say. So many times she had imagined what she would say to him when she had a chance to apologize. Yet nothing seemed to be good enough.
“No, you listen. I don’t know what that kiss was all about back there, but count me out of any games that you’re playing. You gave up your rights to kiss me on a whim years ago. Now stay the hell away from me.”
Copyright © 2016 by Sharon C. Cooper