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Published by Sheda P. Kalbi
Reese Winter hit her proverbial “hot spot” in a wicked way.
Not many men got that rating in her book. Of course, she wasn’t alone in her assessment. Reese made a
lot of women hot. The high-priced defense attorney drew plenty of attention. For one thing, he had a knack for
getting really bad people off some pretty nasty charges. It gave him a sense of power. An air of success and
confidence. He smiled and women swooned. No one really considered what kind of ethical lines he crossed to
win his cases. Not with his movie star good looks and suave way with words.
Reese Winter hit her proverbial “hot spot” in a wicked way.
Not many men got that rating in her book. Of course, she wasn’t alone in her assessment. Reese made a
lot of women hot. The high-priced defense attorney drew plenty of attention. For one thing, he had a knack for
getting really bad people off some pretty nasty charges. It gave him a sense of power. An air of success and
confidence. He smiled and women swooned. No one really considered what kind of ethical lines he crossed to
win his cases. Not with his movie star good looks and suave way with words.

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Published by: Sheda P. Kalbi on Feb 07, 2013
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Chapter One Reese Winter hit her proverbial “hot spot” in a wicked way. Not many men got that rating in her book. Of course, she wasn’t alone in her assessment. Reese made a lot of women hot. The high-priced defense attorney drew plenty of attention. For one thing, he had a knack for getting really bad people off some pretty nasty charges. It gave him a sense of power. An air of success and confidence. He smiled and women swooned. No one really considered what kind of ethical lines he crossed to win his cases. Not with his movie star good looks and suave way with words. Catherine Maxwell knew the type well. After all, her father was both CEO and founder of Maxwell Beverages. In other words, one of the corporate types who bent the rules to meet his needs. Someone like Reese. What she hadn’t learned from that venue, she’d learned from her hound-dog brothers who were too good-looking for their own good. They’d taught her much about the psyche of men. Then, of course, her job as entertainment reporter for The New York Review had added even more clarity to the world of the down and dirties. Money. Power. They corrupted and controlled the world. And then there was sex….. Sex was a weapon. She’d seen others use it and she had learned how to profit from its rewards as well. From across the bar, Catherine let her gaze roam toward the object of this evening’s obsession and found him looking at her as well. For a good hour, and the better part of an extra large frozen margarita, they’d been doing a sultry exchange of heated glances. She, killing time before an interview with a new Broadway sensation. He, having some meeting with an older, stuffy-looking man in a suit. Her eyes locked with Reese’s and awareness charged the air. Her attraction to him was crazy, considering he wasn’t her kind of man. Not at all. She liked artists and creative types who had no agenda but feeling good. Yet with each contact, the looks grew less subtle. More charged. Damn the man was sexy. His dark hair fell over his brow with a bit of wildness. It begged for her fingers. And his eyes….. she couldn’t see the color now, but she’d seen them on television and in photos. They were blue. A vivid color that made people do a double take. And, finally, his full bottom lip. Oh yeah. She could already imagine kissing him. If only she didn’t have this interview….. Truth be told, her extreme reaction to Reese could be a result of her lack of a sex life. It had been months since she’d found a good diversion. Since her best friend announced her engagement and then married. Somehow a little fling here or there had lost its appeal. Until tonight. Tonight Reese, and a little privacy, sounded mighty good. Catherine knew watching her best friend play house had gotten to her. It had messed with her head in ways she didn’t quite understand. She’d never admit it, but she even felt a pinch of jealousy. Happy jealousy. If anyone deserved good things it was Lauren. Her best friend shared one of those unique bonds with her man that few had. This was one of the few times Catherine thought maybe, just maybe, a couple had a real shot at happilyever-after. But in her real world, Catherine knew there would be none of that for her. She also knew a good dose of the human touch would get her past her weird mood. The one she slipped into on occasion when she felt….. alone. What made her feel that way she didn’t know? It just happened every now and then. And over time she’d found what chocolate didn’t cure, sex did. She’d tried chocolate in many forms. Ice cream. Candy. Cake. If she ate much more she’d have to hit the gym. So sex seemed the better option. And judging from the way Reese was staring at her, he needed a little under the covers action himself. After another sizzling moment, he looked away, obviously drawn by something the man he was meeting with had said. She watched as they stood and shook hands. Catherine knew what to do next. A man like Reese had to be handled just right. In other words, Catherine knew she needed him to come to her. With a hint of a smile on her lips, she turned away from him, ensuring no further eye contact. With her bare legs crossed, black silky dress hiked just above the knee, she took

a sip from the straw sitting in her strawberry margarita. And she waited. Knowing it was only a matter of time. “Hello.” The sultry male voice made Catherine smile to herself. She looked up to find him leaning on the bar, facing her. The dim lighting of the trendy club nestled inside the Manhattan hotel set a perfect stage for seduction. If only she had the time to see it through to completion. With a deep breath she inhaled his warm, masculine scent. There was a spicy quality to his cologne that made her all warm inside. “Hello,” she said finally, having made him wait for her response with intent. It was all part of a game. The one she controlled, not him. He would have to work for what she wanted. She loved that. He worked. She wanted. The prize was hers. “I’ve seen you here before,” he said. “Have you now?” she asked, one dark blonde brow inching upward. Interesting. He ’d noticed her before this night. He smiled. A sexy, one-sided smile she’d seen him use for the camera. “I’m Reese Winter.” She gave him a tiny nod and then reached up and slid her long blonde hair over her shoulder, exposing her neck. Testing him to see if he would follow the action. And he did. “Catherine,” she said. Life had taught her to leave her last name out of things. Maxwell made men get a hard-on and it had nothing to do with her and everything to do with money. “But call me Cat.” “Okay, Cat it is. I’d buy you a drink,” he said, “but it looks like you have that covered. Perhaps your next one?” “Buy you one,” she said. “This is my last. Everything is better in color. By drink three it’s a blur for me.” He laughed. “Lightweight, huh?” Reese raised a hand at the bartender. “Only when it comes to alcohol.” After ordering a scotch on the rocks, he studied her a moment. “What does a beautiful woman like you do for a living?” She tilted her head slightly. “Compliments will get you everywhere, Reese Winter.” He laughed. “Good to know. I’ll keep that in mind.” “As for what I do for a living, are you sure you want to know?” His eyes narrowed. “I’m brave man. Tell me.” “Brave,” she said. “Hmm. I guess we’re about to find out just how brave.” She paused and then dropped her bomb. “I’m a reporter.” A slow nod of his head. “Ah,” he said, and stepped closer rather than distance himself as she half expected. So close, his hand went to the back of her chair and she could feel the warmth of his body. A slight lean forward and their legs would touch. She tilted her head upward to make eye contact. If he was trying to scare her off, it wasn’t working. She wanted him. Sexual intimacy didn’t frighten her. There was no little girl waiting to run, hidden beneath her shell. “Thinking you might seduce me for a story, are you?” he whispered, his voice soft and husky. Seductive. He leaned down near her ear so that his breath tickled her lobe. “You came to me, not the opposite,” she reminded him. “Who’s seducing who?” For a long moment, he said nothing, leaning back to study her expression. Then he laughed. “I guess that’s still up for debate.” His drink appeared, and he turned away to deal with the bartender. Then, attention back on Cat, he lifted his glass in a mock toast before taking a sip. He set his drink back down and casually leaned against the railing, elbow on the surface. “So what game are we playing, Cat?” “Game?” she asked, brow inching upward. “If this were a game I wouldn’t have told you I’m a reporter.” “Maybe,” he said, his tone said he wasn’t so sure. “Disappointed? Maybe you’d prefer a little Cat and mouse action?” He laughed and leaned toward her again. “We both know I’m no mouse.” “You wouldn’t be interesting if you were.”

Age had smartened her up. His eyes held disappointment. Checking her out might be a good idea. letting him see what was there. decision made. That’s right. Forcing himself to turn away from Cat. “My interview should be here any minute. “Sorry. Promises of love did nothing for her. Normally. Women didn’t often get to him. It wasn’t a question.” And then he was gone.” The touch sent a shiver down her spine. She’d long ago found most men wanted her father’s money more than they gave a damn about her. If someone leaked anything to the press before he was ready. Even her nipples tightened and tingled. She wasn’t wild and crazy or anything. That should have been the reason she interested him. She looked into his eyes.. and that had value. “So what do you want from me?” Reese asked. amusement in his eyes. standing in the entranceway. Cat didn’t do serious relationships.” A shiver raced down her spine as his hand slid to her neck. “is better timing. glancing at her watch. attentive to the man she interviewed.” she said. Gone was the seductress. And right now. Watching her now. Cat’s job would bother him. “Is there a difference?” She nodded. he had to turn back to the bar.” “It ends here then. Cat waved him forward. Lord only knew he was subjected to hell in a black tie far too often. “Of course. she was taking notes. his voice monotonous. “Too bad. One of the many political obligations of his world he didn’t like.” “Is that right?” he challenged. “Are we talking professional or personal?” He studied her. Cat didn’t strike him as looking for more. I do entertainment. but not his eyes. A hit-and-run fuck was all he had time for. She was enjoying this. enjoying the flex of muscle beneath her palm. her body was screaming for Reese Winter. He had too crazy a life to deal with complications. silky blonde hair bouncing with the action. She’d been honest about it. One-night stands weren’t her habit. “Not for a story. head’s would roll. Something about her….” She paused. “He’s here. On the news or in the paper. For some unknown reason. but she liked a hot night here or there. the actor she was meeting.” She glanced toward the door to find Marcus Alexander. He preferred making the news on his own terms. “Yes.” he commented. “But not from you. Still. She could imagine him touching her.” She smiled. However. he nodded at the hostess and exited the bar. Reese. “Yeah.” Reese reached for his drink and drank it down in one long swallow before discarding it. He watched her nod. Now she was all business. A pad of paper in hand. “I know my exit cue. He needed a newsstand. Or even at some big event. a month-long fling once in a while did her right. it couldn’t hurt to be safe. Too bad. Just not me.” Reese reached forward and brushed his fingers down her cheek. She slid her hand to his thigh. There was something familiar about her. .” Cat looked at him. Her teeth found her bottom lip.” “So you don’t want to seduce me for a story?” There was amusement not irritation in his voice. Trying to find out if she was all talk. You aren’t on everyone’s headline news. He was about to plead a huge case that would have the press hounding him. he’d seen her because of her job. unable to stop the next words from slipping from her lips. He was testing her.” His eyes darkened. He smiled. “I suppose it does. “But you want a story?” “Absolutely. she was a different woman than the one who’d flirted with him the past hour. “What I want.” she said reaching for her drink. taking a sip before finishing. “There’s a difference. some might call your courtroom adventures entertainment. Almost feel his palm caress her skin. ***** Reese reached the exit of the bar and stopped. That should at least tell him if she really wrote for the entertainment section.“Unless I was a mouse who could make headlines. Had to get one last look at Cat.” he said. Perhaps. but it wasn’t. Grew hotter.

Her body melting into his. Leaning on the counter. “Never found one I liked. The paper was sold out. his eyes darkening.A few minutes later he searched the street vendor truck to find himself out of luck. Time seemed to stand still.” His mouth had somehow gotten dangerously close to hers. No. He deepened the kiss . No one called her Catherine but her mother. She was going through some sort of funk. he leaned against the wall and crossed his legs and arms. His breath playing a soft caress on her lips. he found himself more than a little irritated to exit with no paper in hand. What was it about this man’s smell? It made her feel like she was melting. he started back to the hotel. Still. he wasn’t sure. His voice softer now.” He glanced around as if confirming they were alone. Though Cat didn’t believe in happily-ever-after. Men did not make her feel like this. Cat was gone. A stop by the store for a pint of ice cream sounded like the best remedy. with a gentle whisper of his tongue. The way she wanted him was beyond logic. the others were no matches. “A little play never hurt anyone. Fortunately. being a Monday night. She loved Lauren like a sister and if anyone deserved happiness. But like his efforts to find a newspaper. His eyes dark pools of seduction. lavishing in that damn scent of his. With at least something to look forward to. Then his attention was back on her.” “You know why. He turned to face her. wasn’t as busy as usual. Cat slid her briefcase strap over her shoulder and headed for the door. He flagged the hostess and found Cat had left only minutes before. But she didn’t want him to leave.” She wasn’t sure what to think about his presence. He wanted Cat. and he was going to have her. “Reese?” He laughed. Or maybe she’d eat the ice cream while she waited on the pizza. Three stores later. he wasn’t willing to dismiss Cat as a fun but over flirtation. certain he must be a figment of her imagination. Catherine. There was something so sensual about the way he seemed to absorb her. For some reason.” Cat said. his hand going to her waist as he stepped closer. Going home alone wasn’t appealing.” he said.” he mumbled. And then slowly. From one moment to the next they turned more heated. he slid into her mouth. “Tell me why. Lauren. Cat walked toward him and leaned her shoulder against the wall. Cat had never experienced anything so erotic. she studied him. A smile on his face. and willing her heart to leave her stomach and go back to her chest where it belonged. Once again his spicy scent rushed over her. That was certain. Why. “Don’t worry. so why the hell did Reese’s deep voice saying it turn her on? Her hand went to the rock-solid wall of his chest and she inhaled. So maybe she was a bit jealous. With a healthy tip offered to the woman. before I decide. She’d order in pizza and then eat the ice cream. Cat inhaled. There was only one cure for her mood. he reached the bar only to find himself without luck. she thought that Lauren had something unique and rare. Hell. “I guess I need to know why you’re here. She’d rather go without than settle. Tell me to leave and I’m gone. waiting. A phone call and her loneliness would be cured. “Games can be fun. Several men came to mind. had impacted her some. Lauren did. Briefcase deposited on the floor. unable to stop herself. Fitting of his personality he wasn’t willing to give up. and it hadn’t been like this. Cat moaned ever so softly. she’d had sex in a public place. Tonight. at least this evening. Her best friend. This was crazy. “Well. Without giving himself time to change his mind. He reached for her. tilting her head to study him. blinking at the sexy man leaning against the wall. Taunting and teasing. Then her mind went to Reese and she knew. ***** Cat stood in front of the bathroom mirror and sighed. She made it to the hallway and stopped. The first touch of his lips was soft. now happily married. Alone really didn’t sound good.” he half whispered. trying to hide the way she felt. she was no less happy for Lauren. he was directed to the bathroom just down the hallway. and found her hand moving up that rock-hard chest to his neck. the hotel. “Damn. I don’t make it a habit to stalk people. I already told you I don’t like games.” And then he kissed her. Making her want to taste him. which served as a gathering spot for executives.

Interesting…. her palms brushing his face.or maybe she did. Breathing hard they stared at each other. thinking of having her naked in only a few minutes. moist heat of her body surrounded him. He watched as she tossed her keys on a table and flipped on the lights. He knew what reporters made and it wasn’t enough to afford her place. It was as if she had invaded not just his body. and he knew Cat was hiding something. he liked to prove his manliness. Problems. “Am I going too fast for you. or do you need some time before opening statements?” God. Hard-core sex. Somehow they managed to continue kissing. Hungrily. She nodded. or maybe it was the dry spell called her sex life. To remind him this was sex. Heat danced along her skin and invaded her senses. do you?” Her brow lifted. Reese needed no further urging. Things he needed no part of. That was how he felt. The warm. settling her on the mattress and following. He hardly knew this woman. But then.” ***** Reese followed Cat into her apartment. like most. All he could think ‘bout was burying his cock deep in her body and fucking her. Next time would be slow.” She began unbuttoning his shirt. gave him an instant hard-on. counselor. And then he sank deep. They had all night. It pushed him to act. they stilled. breathing together. He wanted. he kissed her. That didn’t change their mutual attraction.” He would have laughed. Cat laughed. Maybe it was her loneliness she’d been experiencing. Cat sucked in a breath. As if neither of them could bear a moment of separation. Wild. “Let’s get out of here. Crazy. his hand found her panties—damp from arousal—and shoved them aside.” Reese said. taking him by storm. His forehead settled against hers and for long moments. His neck. His hands slid to her skirt and up her legs as he pushed her knees apart to sink between them. Nothing more. A moment later. Not the norm for a journalist. Her teeth scraped his lips and then tugged. She wanted. sex. but his soul. the absolute complete way she drew him to her. The overwhelming intensity of their yearning for one another. The room was dark but the full moon shone through the blinds just enough to give the feel of intimacy. his body on top of hers. Emotions. But something about Cat made him forget the normal. tasting her like a starving man would food. and…. A man with an ego. Fast and hard. The instant his cock was freed. We’ll go to my place. she took his hand.” “You really don’t play games. To please his conquest and make her beg for more. More meant complications. It wasn’t his normal style. The sound of voices made them break away. he knew that. but her words meant he was free and clear to take what he wanted.” she said. The sound told him she felt the same thing he did. Burning hot. He made a living seeing beyond people’s guises. After all. At the same moment. astounded him. as if answering his need. He stepped forward and picked her up. Her fingers slid into his hair. this woman was something else. The chances she really wanted a story were high. some of my best opening statements have been born of spontaneity. but she needed Reese in a big way. yet the fire she lit.. She had that “come fuck me” look in her eyes. “Fuck me. The ache of arousal burned in her thighs. “This way to the bedroom. All fire. And he knew he had to have her now. He’d take. Reaching for his pants.” Reese started for the door he assumed to be the bedroom. She didn’t want to end this. It’s the closing that I prefer happen with a bang. Do it now. It bothered him when it shouldn’t. he knew what she was after. . His heart pounded against the wall of his chest like a drum. “Actually. wit. Holding her in his arms. having already noted her pricey location. He made his way to the bed with ease. he lifted his weight off her long enough to work them down his hips.. And hot. Proof there was more to Cat than met the eye. “Good plan. “I can’t wait. The thought was a crazy one he didn’t like. “Now. so out of her nature. His shoulders.

“A smartass. amusement in her voice. Reese. I—” She made a sound of pleasure. As amazing as his orgasm had been. “You get right down to business. Damn. clothing forgotten as he thrust his hips. Resting his weight on his elbows he stared down at her thinking of all the ways he could do just that. back to the simple place of pleasure. she was different. a dangerous thought occurred. and a few minutes later she sat on the edge of the bed taking off her shoes. aren’t you? Fitting. He told himself to ignore the questions coming to mind. now. he ground into her again.” And right when Reese was sure he had things back on track. he lifted his head and arched his back as he drew his cock upward and then thrust hard into her body. So intense it stole his breath and left him shaken with the potency. He’d acted like some teenager. Maybe that’s what appealed to him.. he loved it when she said that. Pounding with a force that should have hurt. “I’m on the Pill and I don’t have any nasty germs. twice. He wanted to reach forward and rip her dress off her body. Everyone in his world was so serious. well. Still…. Cat’s fingers laced behind his neck. “Harder. Her bottom lip was swollen from his kisses. “I’m not on the Pill. Her fingers dug into his shoulders just before her legs lifted. An escape long overdue. and found he couldn’t get enough. She wanted sex and he imagined she’d indulge his every fantasy. intensifying the connection.. staring into her eyes as he lifted the next. To do what she said.Driven by the need to get things back to the real world.. Arching at the waist.” she ordered. Feel…. he realized he’d been holding his breath. soaking in the sweet floral scent she wore. He wanted to stay buried deep inside her. How about grabbing some tissue from the nightstand?” He did as she asked. He lifted her other leg. Her blue eyes dark with passion.” Cat seemed to have a knack for reading his mind. Once.. sweetheart. but instead he found himself questioning her. Yes. unable to resist returning a little humor.” Panic rose hard and fast. feeling it like a charge of energy. “Fuck me. he reminded himself he’d been working a lot of hours. “I don’t have any nasty germs. this felt like more than simply lust.” he said. funny personality also seemed contagious. Cat was a walking wet dream. Yes. Lifting her hips she met his next lunge. He’d just fuck her out of his system. and then a rush of release in the form of a burst of intense pleasure. She gasped with the impact.” “Is that right?” Cat asked. His blood heated. Of the deep. Of her body. Cat…. he pulled one of her legs over his shoulder. don’t you?” He smiled. to make love to her all night long. But maybe it wasn’t Maybe. Hope you can say the same. Go deeper. Of her.” Cat laughed. “Oh God. he felt the primal calling to act. feet finding his ass. he lowered his head and then drove into her. “Shit. What was it about Cat that made him so hot? Somewhere in the back of his mind. “Deeper. That had to be it. He moaned with the pleasure of it. An indulgence he’d fuck out of his system. Over and over. It had been a good month since he’d had a woman. And then he heard those sweet words that told him how close she was. He let it out and eased downward. letting her slip from his shoulders. When the moment was gone. And as he nuzzled her neck. he wondered what made her so different. but I’m sorry. but before she could even finish the sound. Hit harder. it was her boldness getting to him. he hit her core. her body jerked. The urge ate at him with such force he found it hard to resist. A journalist didn’t seem likely to be around a lot of legal people. her fingernails biting into his flesh as spasms milked his cock with ripples of absolute heaven. pulse pulsing with urgency. dark burn she turned into a roaring fire. Pleasurable ways to make this night a damn hot one. “We didn’t—” Her hand slid to his cheek. “So what makes you an expert on attorneys?” . With a shift of his body. ” But she didn’t have to finish the sentence. Never knew an attorney that wasn’t one. The only thing missing was the absence of barriers. never giving safety or birth control a thought. “Can’t wait to see what comes next.” she murmured and moaned. he didn’t feel even slightly done with this woman. “I…..” Like a beast being awakened. no. She spoke of attorneys like someone with a lot of exposure. Instead she cried out for more. “That was just for starters. Her light. am…. driving his cock to a deep spot. more.

but he knew better.” Oh. . “I never said I was. Just like that the subject was over. Cat might say she didn’t like or play games. Join me if you want. Stopping in the doorway. he wanted all right. the sway of her hips almost as sultry as the curves of her perfect ass. But he didn’t get off the bed. And he was going to make damn sure he didn’t show his hand until the time was right. “I’m running a bath. and tiny strap of lace for a bra. She walked toward the bathroom. Because with Cat wearing a barely there thong. And then he would fuck her out of his system. he couldn’t even remember what his question had been. He waited. she looked over his shoulder.” Then she stood up and pulled her dress over her head.Cat eyed Reese.

He sank down into the water and leaned his back against the wall.. “You just gonna stand there?” she asked. Part of her hated that he’d proven her right. “Stand up? No I—” “Thought you didn’t have control issues?” he challenged. his strength. her father still would if he could. she’d be living in luxury. All the men in her youth had always tried to take it. She hadn’t paid for it. The guys she normally slept with were . But more than anything. she’d learned this growing up. Another found his personality. “No?” he asked. he had another think coming. “Stand up. damn it. like her younger brother. Well. Out of control. From his broad shoulders and well-defined chest to his tapered waist and rock-hard abs. Was he as power hungry as she thought he was? And of course he was. Yet.” She stared down at him. His eyes dared her to say no. she’d meant it as a test. now. Truth be told.” Cat stood up. It made no sense. And she wanted to touch it. Not a stitch of clothing. The thing was. Maybe that was why she valued her independence so much. She had a huge garden tub which had cost plenty in Manhattan. Reese appeared in the doorway. But then. It didn’t compute. For him to have immediately followed her to the bathroom with no delay would have given her too much power.” “Then stand up.” This time the words came out sharper. “You have a real control issue. her wrists were shackled. and then laughed. Especially the alpha types like Reese. Reese would be arriving any minute. this heat and fire Reese ignited. Had she agreed to work for Maxwell like her older brothers Mike and Rick. long legs stretching out on either side of her body. The need to experience all he could offer. she understood the male mind. “Me?” Another laugh only this time it held disbelief. don’t you?” That shocked her. she studied him. “Happy?” “Getting there. He liked when she looked at him. The high water now covered his body all the way to his pecs.Chapter Two Cat slipped into the full tub of water and bubbles. He wore nothing. making no effort to hide her inspection. “Hands on the wall behind me. she wanted to do what he said. as a sexy. her father had given her the apartment as a graduation present.” One dark brow inched upward. try to prove they had control. and it was an order. But he didn’t have to worry. rather large man stepped inside the water. “I don’t. a smile finding her lips. He wasn’t her type. She gave him a frustrated look. In truth. Because if Reese thought he had control. She had said that so many times in her head over the course of the evening. Instead. “What?” she asked. As if on cue. She frowned. Suddenly. thinking about this fact. So out of…. Chris. but she could see his cock.” he said. And as she let her gaze drift to his hips she watched his cock harden. waiting on him to walk through that door.” he said. It just felt so…. So why did he turn her on so much? In the past. Cat rose onto her knees. he walked toward her. Taking advantage of her first opportunity to visually explore his body. allowing him a full view of her naked upper body.” “I don’t have control issues. Her hands went to his knees and slowly started a slide up his thighs.. “I don’t have control issues. As an adult. “Prove it. “What?” she asked again. she felt the heat of his hot gaze. She could feel the water and bubbles running off her skin. A man who craved winning and being on top. she felt the yearning for his touch. He was an attorney. and she felt the tingling of arousal between her thighs. hard and ready. Her nipples puckered into tight balls in reaction. Cat devoured him with her eyes. He was doing what most men with a macho complex did. so something. “Or are you going to join me?” Without a word. At this moment. oddly arousing. she paid her way in life off her own salary. he would like what came next a whole lot more. Life had proven it to be true. his “type” had gotten her nothing but icy cold. She’d made the taming of the beast enjoyable. Lord only knew. Someone an awful lot like her father. she was more grateful for her tub than ever before.

it was really. His cock slid into the slick folds of her sensitive flesh. lingering with a long slide. turning her to lean on the counter. really sexy. She inhaled. His breath brushed her lobe just before his teeth. Don’t stop. She was tired and he felt so….” He didn’t move. “Hands against the wall. caressing it in a whisper-light way. and tasting in a way that had her knees ready to buckle. She’d make him leave in a minute.” he repeated.easygoing in bed. She felt drained in a really good way. His palms went to one of her ankles urging it to the other side of his hip. he pounded her core. Once he hit her core. And then in one hot moment. ***** Cat blinked into the darkness and reality slowly eased into her mind. No. feeling the impact of the contact in every nerve ending of her body. By the time he touched her ass. Then he did the same with her other foot. holding her up with a firm grip on her butt. she knew she should tell him to leave. “No. Vulnerability spelled trouble with a capital T. The fact that she’d fallen asleep with him amazed her. “Damn you. All the while. warm. With her legs spread. determined to gain her resolve and get the hell out of his arms. Cat?” he half grunted as he again thrust.” she murmured. storming her senses. ripples of ecstasy taking over her body and leaving her limp and mindless. Instead. her orgasm came within only minutes. past her knees. This was different. she found his scent. “No. unwilling to admit differently. Cat made a loud sound of pleasure. One glance at the clock and she . feeling the shudder of his body as he spilled himself inside her.” A bark of laugher later. When he used a towel to dry them off. But his strong arms surrounded her and pulled her close. he half smacked her ass as he claimed her sensitive clit between his lips. She had junk going on in her life and having a fling had been a dumb idea. Reese leaned back and ground into her again. his hands moved upward. “What about this? Does it feel good?” She moaned at sweet sensation of his fingers plucking her hardened peak.” “No. he scooped her up in his arms. Each contact bringing more satisfaction until she shattered. he caressed her nub with his mouth. He had managed to manipulate her and make her submissive. no. he didn’t hesitate to comply. Don’t stop. No man had ever carried her.” she said.. “Yes. Something she didn’t ever want to be. Much to Cat’s disbelief. “Is giving me control so bad?” he asked. Again. Then he opened her cheeks and positioned his cock.” Cat lied. she was ready to beg. “So what do I do. With a slide of his fingers he teased her inner wall. She didn’t allow guys to stay the night. A hard chest beneath her palm and a warm leg wrapped with hers were the first things she brought into focus. She gasped from the shock of the actions. Yet. They did her bidding and she liked it. Seconds later she faced the bathroom mirror. “It sure sounds like it feels good. She bit her bottom lip and did what he said. And as he slid into the bed with her and pulled her close. sinking deep. masculine and natural. It alarmed her. his fingers played on her calves before his palms flattened on her legs. Inch by inch. let alone done it three times in one night. Making her want to stay in his arms. Each hit felt like heaven. but he flattened his hand on her stomach and pulled her hips against his as he thrust hard into her. Reese maneuvered their bodies and stood. Her limbs felt relaxed. lifting Cat with him. To touch him again. his arm around her waist. Slowly. the vee of her body now lingered directly in front of him. Anticipation made her shiver as his warm breath blew across her nub. he leaned forward. Reese. And before she fully recovered he was licking. “You’re sure?” She looked over her shoulder at him. chest pressed to her back. No. With one hard lunge after another. touching. Reese. She said the word in her head and forced herself to sit up. he stilled and she felt the loss of movement as if her breath had been stolen. “Should I stop?” With the words. He palmed her breast and pinched her nipple. she didn’t fight him. with a gentle touch. mouth against her ear. this time louder.

” “And you will. Naked. kissing her.. she headed to her boss’s door. his associate. She shouldn’t be finding out like this.” she announced. She hated Cat and took every jab she could get in. Hell. Damn him. and incredibly intuitive. you don’t. Cat eased into her chair feeling a rush of sickness take over. Mike.” He considered her words. naked and not caring. he said. She grabbed his shirt from the floor and put it on. heavy with their caress. he was holding her. Frank sat behind his desk with some new guy reporter she vaguely remembered being introduced to sitting across from him.” After a murmured dismissal of the visitor.. Her father and Ray were pointing the finger at each other. “I—” .” It was a simply statement rather than a question.” “I didn’t say you didn’t.” Without meaning to.” Looking down and then back up. but I’d appreciate some warning. “It’s five in the morning. She shut the door. Lena. feeling embarrassed and betrayed.scrambled. “I think that might be difficult at the moment. “In other words. she leaned against to wooden surface and pinned him in a hard stare. “You look shocked. “I think you do. Anybody. One that said he’d been sure she already knew. “Get lost. “No. It couldn’t be. She was also the reporter who had turned the front page into a Maxwell bashing. and making her forget why she wanted him to leave. You’ve never missed a deadline. a brassy redhead with a personality to match. I would have thought Daddy would have told you he was in trouble. A firm thud that said she meant business. I have to…. “He didn’t tell me. She’d give it back in a minute. “No.” Frank studied her a minute.” Laughing. She skimmed the words on the page. Ray Ryder. standing now.” His eyes drifted down her body. “Go see him. and he worked with her father. I have an interview to write and turn in.” Lena said. “Why the hell do I not know about the front page before the rest of the world?” “I have to report the news. she and her father didn’t talk a lot. She’d told him that a million times. covering herself. Reese ignored her words. ***** Midmorning. Her father was the main event. Somebody. Frank had been her boss for three years. her father should have talked to her. The next thing she knew he was in front of her. was also involved. Turning to face him.” Frank said. “We need to talk. That doesn’t mean you don’t need some time. “He didn’t tell you. you want me to leave. Denial raced through her mind. She let out a breath.” Cat looked up to find Lena Henderson.” Short.” Frank looked out for her when he didn’t have to. “You need to leave.” Cat said and pushed to her feet. “Come back to bed.” Patting the bed. but she was close to her oldest brother. She ignored the new guy. He’d been accused of securities fraud.” He rose up on one elbow.” Cat said. True.” “Put on your pants first. “I’ll need my shirt. “Guess not. ignoring the fact that it was shut as she pushed it open and entered his office. “No. Cat’s gaze slid below his waist to his now erect cock. He could be a bastard but he wasn’t a thief. to be early to cover a story. With shock.” “I don’t need time. he shoved aside the blanket and stood.” Was she not clear? “Yes. Right now she was desperate to keep control. Cat stood at her desk in the midst of a bullpen setup and stared down at the paper’s headlines.” She didn’t want time. And before she could form a better answer. Maybe he could stay….” “Right. a little longer.” she said. Worse. focusing on Frank. Not a brilliant statement but all that came to mind. “Go to hell. kicking the sheets aside. I have another hour. a man Cat knew so well she called him Uncle Ray. Deal with this how you need to. “He probably hoped he’d make it go away before the press got hold of it.” Then softer. “Oh. bald. Frank gave his attention to Cat. Not her father. Without another glance at the other woman. Mike should have talked to her.

And for just a few minutes. but Cat really needed to talk. Cat laughed and forced her feet to walk the direction of the Maxwell offices. Something he’d dealt with the entire damn day. Women were not distractions. Fine. One she didn’t want to feel. Her suit pressed and perfect.” Lauren said. something about the way Reese had not only demanded her submission but also made her free to give it. At ten a. If only her mother was still alive. That thought lasted until she hit the street corner at which time she flagged a cab and gave them the address of Carlson Advertising to see her best friend Lauren. Having Lena gloating over her shoulder wasn’t the way. she knew sex meant nothing. his father fought the need to take on less. had felt like more than just physical intimacy and she didn’t know why. ***** Reese sat behind his desk staring down at a file he wasn’t really seeing.“You do. She started pacing. needy. after sitting at the same red light ten minutes. she reminded herself sex was not a date. Seductive and soft. Get out of here. had really gotten to her.” Without another word. but then so did she. dealt with the press. No talk of another date. She could just let it all out. Her thoughts were jumbled. and then don’t miss deadline. really was messing with her head. but still. Of all people. Cat managed to make it to the Carlson lobby. He couldn’t afford to be distracted. Cat lingered in the back of his mind. This was so unlike him. The sun was fast disappearing into the horizon. Yet. To come to work already feeling out of sorts. and out of control. It had begun even before the news over her father. Reese had really gotten to her. distracting him. They were fun and they were trouble. but neither would talk. Now as her feet scraped the pavement. and the humidity was already thick. Cat didn’t have to be strong. which matched her skirt. Her father hated to be bothered at work. It didn’t help that he’d stayed at Cat’s until after seven. As it was. her encounter with Reese. Her long brown hair was pulled back in a French twist. he was taking over more and more of the leadership of the firm. Without saying the words. Teasing him with its presence. It was in her voice as well as her face. I’ll go. Reese hoped to prove he could handle things so his father would rest. kissed her at her door and left. who prided herself in looking her best. No way would she have allowed Cat to be surprised like this. Her navy silk blouse. he’d said goodbye. and made a quick escape. when Lauren appeared in the lobby with a newspaper in her hand. Instead. But productivity had been elusive. Yet. Cat. And as hard as it would be. she had to get answers. rumpled mess in comparison. Fifteen minutes later. she’d seemed pretty withdrawn about his father and Reese wondered if there was trouble. Go home? Go see her father? She almost turned around and went back to work. And she felt almost…. . He’d questioned both of them. Because Lauren wouldn’t judge her or call her weak. He’d slam dunked his plea bargain that morning. murmured a few replies to questions from various people. Cat turned and walked to her desk. She didn’t know what to do. and then planned to move on to the next case.m. unable to sit.. But by the time Cat found herself on the street walking. and he’d struggled with focus from the moment he’d arrived. Then again. It was a horrible thought. But walking felt like an outlet. “Okay. He would have to fit her into his schedule. he still could swear he smelled her scent on his skin. that Cat cried for the first time in years. She ignored Lena’s questioning gaze. a needed release. Lately. maybe her mother would have been just as shocked as Cat was that her father could be charged with anything illegal. Who was she kidding? But it. Lauren had already extended her support. with the door shut. And though he’d had to make a mad rush home to shower and change. Consider it an order. and then find this out about her father. And it was there. Lauren hugged her and told her everything was going to be okay. Made her want to see him again. “I just read the headlines. deal with this. she didn’t know what to do next. Cat followed Lauren to her office. Without another word. She was in a bad place and she needed to find a way to get out of it. Cat felt the instant comfort of her friend’s understanding.” Cat took in his so-called “order” and decided he was right. With his father’s health failing. One that might destroy her high heels. felt like a sticky. It would be good for his mom to see his dad more too. wouldn’t endure much heat. She knew Lauren was working.

not justice. He’d learned that the hard way. Michael would do anything to win.” “And what does Ryder say?” “That he’s innocent. “but I thought Maxwell already hired the competition?” “He did. Attorney-client privilege tends to make people feel free to share the truth. Now. It wasn’t worth letting killers walk free.” “True.” Reese said.” Michael gave him a bright white smile. In reality.” “What?” Reese asked. But a bad case had turned him to the truth. he had a nasty way of winning all his cases. That left him in a hell of a spot. “Actually. Maxwell. “Not a clue. Or maybe it echoed his own feelings about who and what he’d become. he’d been more interested than he felt at this particular moment. It had been six months. They wanted him to produce money.. Reese had mixed feelings about Michael. To some degree Reese believed this as well.” “I know. Ray Ryder. Perhaps it hit a sore spot.” “If we take the case. No way he’d come to us. Fame. Michael dismissed Reese’s words. as his father eased toward retirement. his father wouldn’t retire. Maybe because Michael reminded him a little too much of himself in his early days in law.” Michael said. Reese forced his attention back to Marcus. Just not always before you get them off. Seeing Cat’s contempt for attorneys had bothered him. Choices his father condoned and Reese didn’t. “Isn’t that what they all say?” Michael still has a lot to learn. He made choices that got him attention. Reese’s condition was that he got to choose his own cases. A bad case that still burned him inside out had made him see the light. who Maxwell says is the true guilty party. “No way. Reese should have liked him for that. he’d almost left the years he’d invested in law behind. he might not be able to look in the mirror. the partners were taking a closer look at Reese.” Michael laughed as he spoke. There are no guarantees until we size things up. Leaning back in his chair. I’m second chair. Normally. He and my father had that political dispute years back. Reese had too. Are you with me?” Snapping out of his reverie. He justified everything as supporting the system. After he’d gotten a killer off. right?” Reese heard Marcus’s proclamation and snapped back to reality. Nor was it worth his self-respect.” Reese didn’t immediately respond. “Well?” Michael snapped his fingers.“Guess who just called wanting our services?” Reese looked up to see Michael Wright entering the room. Success. Nicknamed “Pretty Boy” by the press for his classical good looks. “You’re supposed to be guessing about the new case. The nature of the crimes still clung to Reese’s sleep in the form of guilt and nightmares. “We always win. Reese had to decide what to do. a sly smile on his face. It’s not Maxwell who wants to hire us.” “How’s that?” “Maxwell says Ryder managed his holdings and did the trades without his knowledge. Reese thought through the most high-profile headlines in the news. For years. but the words lingered in the air like a taunt. Money. Right. It’s his attorney and close ex-friend. plain and simple. and Reese still couldn’t let it go.” “That’s old news for two weathered businessmen. hard dollars. “Don’t get ahead of the game. “What?” . of course. Michael settled into a visitor’s chair. There’d been a lot as of late. There would have been a time when he would have. Still. Hell. It came down to the cold. His father lived by those words. Something about phony books. “One hint…. But his father had convinced him to stay. With a shrug. If he did.” Reese said. and that was the hard part to swallow. making himself at home. Ones he believed in. no. the man had confessed.” Lord knew Reese had learned that the hard way. That part about his father was hard to swallow. The system protects the people. too. “We only play the game when we know we can win. We only play the game when we know we can win. “Your dad is letting me sit in on the meeting tomorrow. If he didn’t take over.

And deep down. “How much?” “Expecting someone else. Mr. he had a case he was trying to plead that he needed to deal with so he didn’t have to go to court. he knew Cat was special. Exactly why she fucked them and sent them away. A few moments later. which did nothing for her bad mood. “About time. “What are you doing here?” she asked. perhaps. Cat knew nothing but talking to her father was going to make her feel better. she eyed the clock as the icy sweetness soothed her tongue. Reese refocused on Marcus. Normally. “Right. I guess?” Cat’s mouth dropped open.” Michael repeated. Not if you planned to run the firm and run it well. and his dark blue tie was loosened at the neck. she tried to hide the shock and excitement she felt at his presence. She would never have bought it for herself. His hair had a rumpled look as if he’d been running his hand through it. who lived in Texas.” She turned and rushed toward the other . she figured she’d spill stuff all over it. Besides. she’d be so full on ice cream she wouldn’t want it.” Cat said to the television. even though logic said he should walk away. Reese wondered why he couldn’t apply it to Cat. A present from her oldest brother for her thirty-second birthday. “I have to get that. Taking a big bite. At present. Fate had thrown him bad timing.” In the background her phone rang. Big was filling the screen with one of his messed-up excuses to leave Carrie single. “To tell you the truth. still on Cat. in truth. Here he was about to take over the control of the firm so his father could retire. “What does that mean?” He gave her a steady stare. He needed to decide what to do about her. when she had bad junk happen. Big always walked away from the woman who loved him. That thought irritated her. though she had to admit she liked it. One thing life had taught her. ***** Cat sat in her living room floor in pair of worn jean shorts and a tank top with a pint of cookie dough ice cream in front of her.” Her brows dipped. What the hell was wrong with him? Why wouldn’t he get Cat out of his head? His parents were proof that relationships and running a law firm didn’t mix. Only. If it didn’t hurry and arrive. By the time she finished this pint and a pizza. but with today’s luck. Sex in the City played on her new flat-screen television. Only Reese wasn’t gone from her mind. he wasn’t so sure he could. Chris.” he said. He probably knew more than she did and he was in another state. Fretting. Why was he contemplating going by her apartment when he knew damn well he didn’t have the time or inclination to deal with a woman in his life? Shoving away the thought. “Invite me in. Reese. Convenient. Damn. irritated that Mr. more followed. Knowing this. Cat didn’t want to pull her friend into hell when she should be enjoying life. She shoved the spoon back into the ice cream and took another bite. having it drilled into his head all his life. Lauren had a hot husband who needed her attention. and hopefully make his mother happy. Deep down he’d known that client was guilty. The objective was to win. as had her brothers. but his gut had been right. Typical rich. Besides. With her heart in her stomach. And Cat. forcing a slight lift to his lips. “When’s the meeting?” “Tomorrow morning.” she mumbled and pushed to her feet. Her pizza was late.” “Let me know how it goes. He wore a button-down shirt. He’d convinced himself it wasn’t the case. Even then. she would be in the middle of her midnight blue oversized couch. But he’d been in meetings when she’d stopped by his office. “Asshole. She had calls in to all of them. He’d clearly come straight from work. in a tone she hoped sounded unaffected. Even her youngest one. she wasn’t so sure. A knock sounded. maybe she would feel better.” Reese said. I don’t know. Pizza with best friends had always been their way of killing the blues. arrogant male. and he chose now to let a woman invade his thoughts. So. get healthy. He looked tired but sexy. Lauren had offered to come over and pig out with her. Nobody wanted to talk to her. It wasn’t his case and his mind was elsewhere. He’d learned a long time ago never to ignore his gut. yet he couldn’t get Cat out of his mind. but he really didn’t care. wallet in hand she opened the door.“We always win. which added to her foul mood.

” “There’s nothing to tell.” A few more words of goodbye and they disconnected. I’m sure he has his hands full. “Hmm. Not with Reese. Normally she loved the power of a little flirtation.” . her friend’s concern had a calming effect and Cat relaxed a little. Right now. “I hope you like cheese. When she returned to the living room.” She ignored his comment. “Even after the ice cream?” he asked popping the top of his drink. sweetie. she gave him her back. I was waiting to see if I heard anything this evening. “I’ll share. directly in front of him with the nice. Bending down she put the lid on her ice cream that was melting at a rapid pace. Because with Reese. Cat? What’s wrong? You sound out of breath. pizza man’s at the door. It seemed a smart idea to keep her wits about her. Cat cut the call short. “I know you would have. He wouldn’t see me. Cat just wanted something to do so she wouldn’t think about how intimate she’d just been with this man only twelve hours before. Cat turned to see Reese sitting down on her couch. the pizza now on the coffee table. popping the top. Turning away. “I wonder why.” “I would have come over and had pizza with you.” “So.” Unwilling to say more with Reese present.” Cat swallowed hard. I see. He’ll call.” she said. nothing yet?” she asked. he said.” Lauren said. she had plates and two colas.” “He should have seen you. I just had to make a mad dash for the phone. “I wondered when I didn’t hear from you. That meant keep her clothes on. Sitting next to him seemed like trouble.room leaving the door open and Reese standing in the hall. His laugher drew her attention. but only because I’m not as hungry as I thought I was.” He smiled. Not now.” He picked up a piece and took a bite. “Yes I went. Take good care of him.” Cat said into the phone. “Keeping your distance.” His eyes locked with hers. I’m fine. Reese made her feel something she didn’t quite understand. “What?” she asked setting down her drink and acting innocent. Listen.” “The open door seemed an invitation but I bought the pizza for good measure. You said you’d call after you went by Maxwell. she walked to the kitchen. “Come here. The cordless was on the floor by her ice cream. “but you belong with your man. but she wasn’t.” With a laugh. I like my pizza straight up. “I woke up starving.” “I know. I couldn’t go home until I came here first.” Cat said. “I should have called.” Reese laughed and eyed the container in her hand. He eyed her half-eaten pint of ice cream with interest. solid coffee table between them. Reese studied her as she opened the pizza box. is there?” he asked. Regardless. tired as hell. “Hello. I haven’t talked to anyone. “I was at the door.” Cat said. “I love cheese. She grabbed it and punched “receive”.” She straightened. “All that did was take the edge off. A soft. I was hoping for some news. “Then come sit beside me and help me figure out why.” she said. It would be so easy to let physical adventure be her escape. a twinkle in his eye as he patted the couch next to him. shooting questions at her with rocket speed. That’s my price.” “So am I.” “There’s not. Are you crying?” It was Lauren. She chose the floor again. “I see you let yourself in.” she said abruptly. He laughed and reached across the table and took her hand. she wasn’t herself. and taking a long drink.” “No. Gotta run. I’ll let you know. “Not that it did me any good. “I hope so. “But you have to share it. I didn’t eat all day.” Lauren said. teasing rumble of pure male sexuality. Neither her eating habits nor her phone call were his business. She reached for her drink. “You tell me.” With a mean look directed his way. But for some reason.” “But you went by Maxwell?” Lauren asked. she hesitated. sex felt a bit too intense. “I’m hungry. “But then. frustration in her voice.

and she melted. he was on his knees beside her.” he said. Damn it.” “I will. And lost wasn’t a good place to be…. One stroke of his tongue against hers. she wanted to. and as she had feared. she was lost. pulling her close. moving with briskness she didn’t expect. Before she knew what happened. . And then he kissed her. her body had other ideas.. Her arms went around his neck. no matter how damn good it felt.” But she wanted to. “Figure it out for yourself. Though her mind told her to resist.“No.

What the hell is going on?” An architect for an up-and-coming firm. but no telling what time he’ll be home. She hated this thing with her father was happening smack in the middle of negotiations. “He’s an ass not a thief. Chris. more vulnerable. “why the hell don’t I know about it before the rest of the world?” “Hey. But she had to know what Chris thought. Beyond the physical. Normally.” Cat said.Chapter Three The sound of the phone ringing again jerked Cat out of the seductive spell Reese had so easily pulled her under. it seemed dangerous. Like always.. they disconnected. Stepping onto the balcony she struggled with the door and it jammed half open. Sis. I work for the damn newspaper. But he now knew that wasn’t the case. full of dark colors and overstuffed furniture. “I’m in the same city as Daddy. Abandoning her efforts to shut the door she went to the far corner of the tiny balcony and tried to keep her voice low. “Hello. but then we’ve known that a long time. but then he nodded and released her.” “I will. Cat headed for her sliding glass door and pulled it open. leave me a message and I’ll call back as soon as I can. the words barely there as she forced them from her lips. I’m headed to a dinner meeting with that building investor I told you about last week. “I was hoping you called with information. ***** He’d come here tonight hoping to convince himself that his distraction over Cat came down to great sex.” And with his harsh words of clarity and truth between them. She intrigued him in some deeper way.” “Call whoever it is back. There’s a difference. to the sexy sway of her nicely curved hips. Good luck in your meeting.” Chris said. punching the button on her phone. And when she’d seemed almost nervous with him.” It wasn’t a question.” Chris continued. do you?” she asked. “Damn.” “You think it’s bad and they don’t want to tell us. The new. From her cozy little apartment. but I got your message. She wasn’t about to have this particular conversation in front of Reese. I also just flipped on my car radio.” He tried to claim her mouth again.” Then. it ’s important. He was the youngest of her brothers but the wisest in her book.” “Chris?” “Yeah?” Just thinking about the question in her mind made Cat’s stomach flip-flop.” “We aren’t in the ‘club’. It’s Chris. Cat took the instant of freedom to scramble to her feet and grab the phone. but she also needed to get a grip on herself. She tore her lips from his. Proof he wasn’t interested in just sex. Her hands gripped his shoulders and she leaned away from him. “And. a hot guy and a pizza would be a damn good combination. “You don’t think he’s guilty. “Call me. I can’t reach anyone. Gotta run. Other men didn’t impact her the way he seemed to. with so much junk going on in her life and in her head. Chris’s team was close to landing the design of a high-rise in Houston. I’d go by Daddy’s house. though. breathing heavily from the effort it took to stop kissing him. “I have to get that. feeling the heaviness of the hot night slide along her skin.” He paused. I hate this. but I should have known better. She needed to get her call. don’t feel bad. If you find out anything. Everything about her.” “Thanks.” She paused. Cat of this night held no less appeal than the sensual kitten of their last meeting.” For a moment he looked like he would argue. “I’m worried. “I need it with this on my mind. I have to go. A moment of silence. I’m mad as hell for being left in the dark. I even went by the office and they were all in meetings.” Chris said. I’m sorry. Tonight. he found himself wanting to comfort her. It was Reese that was dangerous. and not at all the bold. Sensing she was bothered. hungry woman who had led their . You know what kind of pressure having my family in the headlines puts on me?” “I can imagine. No. It would make his career.” she said. “I’m expecting…. Not at all. “Hey.” “Damn. the two who chose a path outside of Maxwell are excluded. “I don’t know. and I know nothing.

Reese considered feigning interest in the pizza. “I’m not talking about sex. Come sit down and eat with me. He’d learned that she said what was on her mind. It’s safer for you to eat with some distance. turning back to him. and if that meant he needed to keep his hands to himself. I couldn’t stop thinking about you today. A family scandal of some sort.” She laughed but without humor and then pulled her knees to her chest.” she said. her need didn’t bother him. She was troubled. As she took a bite of pizza. “Everything okay?” “Oh yeah.” He smiled.” Reese patted the couch beside him. the moment had slipped away. “It’s what I expected. In his line of business everyone had unspoken agendas.” “Is that what you wanted? To never see me again?” She hesitated and then said. Why are you here?” “Since we’re being honest…. “Ready for pizza?” she asked. Reese hadn’t intentionally eavesdropped on the call but nevertheless.. right now. tilting her head as if to study him. he reached for a slice and did the same. “I’m messy. and eyeing the coffee table where the box sat. “It’s probably cold. “What’s so funny?” he asked. He sensed that she needed to feel in control. “I—” Her brow inched upward. That he had managed to pull her out of the stress she felt. letting a full minute pass without words.” “That’s not how it seemed last night. “Just family drama.” “Is that so?” she asked. “You what?” “I think sharing pizza and conversation will do just fine. I didn’t. Cat’s resistance had started to fade.” Her eyes narrowed. if only for a short time. In silence. “You thought you’d never see me again?” “Well. “How long have you been a reporter?” he asked. Just like that. But one look at Cat when she appeared in the doorway made him throw out the idea. He suspected the action was meant to give her a moment of reprieve from his probing gaze. not only to make conversation but because he wanted to know about her. he’d wanted to know why. Cat hesitated a minute and then moved forward sitting down on the floor across from him. “Why are you here?” Her bluntness didn’t surprise him. Judging from the bits he’d picked up. Cat didn’t hide what she wanted.” . a little too quickly as she stepped inside the apartment and shut the sliding glass. he’d heard part of the conversation. His best guess was the caller was a sibling. She eyed him and put her pizza on her plate. And he’d heard enough to confirm she had something serious going on in her life. it was a brother she had spoken to. seemed to confirm their connection. It hit him that it was this trait that was partly responsible for her appeal.” she said. He could see she was trying to act unaffected.” She gave him her back and set the phone on top of the television. she’d slammed the door on her emotions and blocked him out. but the worry in her eyes told the real truth.” “It’s fine. Knowing the phone call had ended.lovemaking just hours before.” Reese knew she simply wanted an excuse for putting distance between them. Yet.” “You didn’t answer mine. I can heat it up. When the phone had rung. “We are so not right for each other. “That doesn’t answer the question. so be it. “You thought you’d return for a repeat of last night?” He took in a breath and let it out. It wasn’t likely they would be repeating the wicked romp of their first encounter but that didn’t discourage his interest in her at all. “to be honest. He’d felt her relax and start letting go of whatever had her so concerned. When he’d kissed her. they ate.

“We both like pizza. You don’t want to. She ignored him. He gave her a probing look. “My mother doesn’t. There’s one thing we share in common. “How is that when your clients are the accused?” “The system protects us. “When a client is innocent you certainly want to win their case. his voice low as passion rose and swirled in the air between them. “I’m so going to regret this.” “I…. “And you don’t know me.” he finally said.” “But does she like it?” she asked. his voice low with the rush of desire taking hold. You have an answer for everything. You know how attorneys are. he decided this was important.” “Then why even try?” “Just say yes. Cat.” Their eyes locked in a silent challenge between them that turned to a simmering heat. but her eyes said she wanted to say yes. ” Her voice trailed off. Besides.” “The cases you see in the headlines are the high-profile ones. giving him a sideways look.” “Is that a yes?” he asked. He laughed.. “Sounds like you’re trying to make your own case. “Yes it is.” “I just meant…. With a chuckle. No one is guilty until proven so. He wasn’t going to let it drop. where should I start? How about the way they twist the facts to win.” “I didn’t say it does. “I believe you like me.” “And you don’t know me well enough to judge me either.“Who says I am?” he challenged. opting to focus on a big bite of pizza. yet you judge me because of my job. dismissing his words.” she whispered. don’t know. You even said so back at the bar. “Now eat your pizza. Her judging him as some sort of scum bothered him.” “That doesn’t mean she doesn’t like it. “You expect me to believe you only take cases where the client is innocent?” “Why do you think I win so often? I fight for victims.” she said.” She took several seconds to answer. “For victims?” she asked her voice disbelieving. if an innocent person is convicted then the guilty person is still free.” She looked away. but you do. You won’t convince me you think they’re all innocent.” he said. not winning. “Yes.” “Just say yes.” .” he said. “I guess that’s true.” she said. “Have dinner with me Friday night. Tempting and teasing. “Because we’re good in bed together doesn’t mean we are good in life together.” “She doesn’t eat it. “I like you. “What is it about attorneys that bug you so much?” She sat down her food and brushed her hands together. right?” “It’s about justice.” “Everyone loves pizza. I take plenty of others. letting her tongue dart out across her full bottom lip. Making him want to kiss her.” “Then get to know me. winning is everything.” “Like you?” she asked accusation in her voice.” she said.” “I don’t know you well enough to say I like you.” This time he meant his words.. She says it’s too fattening. “Let’s see.” She shoved her plate away. “You don’t even know me. too.” she said. “That’s not true.” He smiled. You defend the rich and famous. After all.” She rolled her eyes.” She snorted. trying to hold back a smile. “Yes?” he asked. “You should be the attorney.” He paused. but felt a pang of guilt with his words that made him add. Reese reached for his pizza. “Think of it that way.” Her face registered shock. After several seconds. “Just eat the pizza. “We were supposed to be a one-night stand. reaching for hers.

Eyes he loved. Tomorrow starts early for me. it was a fact. At least for tonight. Still.. He found out she really loved the arts as well as the theater and hoped to write a book someday. He could just imagine pulling down her shorts and sliding inside her. Eyes the color of a perfect sea.” The phone rang.” She turned toward him. he needed to stay hands-off. “I know. It was Tuesday. Friday seemed a long ways away.” And he turned and left. . The softness of her voice as he listened to her world coming to life seduced him and pulled him further under her spell.He grinned and did as ordered. If he was going to get anywhere with Cat. But he did. and he knew this. Cat was a challenge. “I have to—” Reese grabbed her hand and kissed her. Cat followed. Quick. “Goodnight. well…. Her place was decorated with high-end art that didn’t come cheap.” he supplied for her. he fought the urge to grab Cat and kiss her. Lord help him if he was as distracted the rest of the week as he had been today. it made no sense. He also saw a safe opening to kiss her. As she bent to stick the pizza box in the fridge.” he finished for her. “Interesting. “Goodnight. To do just as she’d accused him—and rightfully so—of trying to repeat the night before. “Get the phone.” She laughed. As he stood in the doorway of the kitchen. Even the Oriental rug that ran from the living room to the kitchen was top dollar. With his cock stirring to life. “I guess I should head home. Logically. Of course. he hesitated. she faced him. Reese helped Cat gather the trash and followed her to the kitchen. Why he felt such a sense of satisfaction he didn’t know.” He turned and walked the short distance to the door. He wanted to ask more details about her life. Since the kitchen was by the front door it made sense to simply leave. and touched her cheek. hand going to the counter. One day he wanted her to see that each case he took felt as important to him as her dreams did to her. Her desire to believe the worst of him made him want her all the more. When they finished eating. He saw urgency in her eyes. he avoided tough subjects and asked about Cat’s job. He had to leave. ” His brow inched upward in question. When he stood outside her apartment. “Oh. Making small talk. It was hmm. No. his will to stay hands-off started to slip away. Friday night he ’d find out more. “Exactly. surprise registering in her beautiful blue eyes. but he was afraid to push and spook her. he received a nice view of her shapely ass. hard and full on the lips. Nevertheless.

” She pulled out a chair and sat down at the deep mahogany table. he looked tall and distinguished. except for one thing. The only one of the siblings who’d inherited that trait.” Cat said. but he was quick to defend his honor. Five years younger than Mike. No. “Hello there. The fact that she hadn’t heard from him or her brothers gave her a bad feeling. “It’s been a madhouse. The ride up to the twentieth floor felt like an eternity.” Cat rotated to find her father standing near the dining room table just past the entryway. but he had a softer side that the corporate world had never quite destroyed.” Cat let out a breath. Cat waved to the doorman. We—” “I don’t want your excuses.” he said. she was revved up for action. “I meant to call. And older. the similarities between the two brothers were remarkable. Cat reached up and touched Rick’s hand before walking toward the table. Cat woke up frustrated with knots in her stomach.” Rick said. Ms. Cat could walk miles of Manhattan sidewalk and never feel pain. Her stomach twisted into a tighter knot with every ding of a passing level.” “If it isn’t my lovely daughter.” Cat felt Rick’s hand on her shoulder. Just like her father. “It’s been hell. And with the turbulence of her thoughts. with gray hair and a glowing smile. little one. as she slid past them both. “I’m sorry you have to deal with all of this. pausing beside the desk to study him. A second later. His brow inched upward. Today he looked his age. Father. irritation evident in his face. Mike was happily married to his job. he had a coffee habit. not yet. “I’ll live. Like her.” he said. An act of comfort Cat found calming. Cat headed for the elevator. Reporters everywhere. Seven o’clock. “Why don’t you join me for coffee. When the door opened to reveal her oldest brother Mike. Rick worked for Maxwell and even looked like Mike on the exterior. Dressed in a silk robe. How her mother had lived with his ways Cat would never know. It was part of being a New Yorker. at thirty-six he was single and handsome. Setting her empty cup in the sink. she glanced at the clock over the stove. Her father might not be the most thoughtful person. Catherine. she barely remembered entering the subway and riding across town.” “Thanks for letting me find out about all of this from the press.” “Sorry. “Just talk. scrubbing his hand across a recently shaven jaw. Somehow. he’d been around for years. “Hello. I’d think the whole lot of them were bloodsuckers with no care for anything but the story. Mike pulled the door back and motioned her forward. If I didn’t know you. “Meant to call? Is that the best excuse you can come up with?” Mike shut the door and turned to Cat. with blond hair and blue eyes.” He winked. She’d get to her father’s by seven-thirty and get answers before he slid into his corporate world and out of reach. Tall.” Cat spat.Chapter Four Morning light brought no news. At least. Cat wasn’t surprised. Elderly. most guessed him to be fifty. luxury apartment.” Mike said from behind her. Even from a distance she could see he looked tired. By the time she finished two cups of coffee. Rick appeared. Cat.” With a nod and an attempt at a smile. Not true. “We’ll chat about current events. You just go see that daddy of yours and work though all this mess. At sixty. reaching for the delicate china filled . “We had a feeling you’d be around. Rick had dark black hair like his father.” Cat whirled and shoved her fists into her hips. She didn’t bother with a cab. At the front door to her father’s high-rise. “Come on in. Despite wearing high-heeled sandals. cup in hand. “Come to protect your pops from your fellow reporters?” “That bad?” Cat asked. “A great surprise for a reporter.

” she said. He’d left his office early. conversation ended. “You don’t really think Ray would do anything unethical. she was tired of being on the outside looking in. He didn’t want to explain himself because she wouldn’t like what he had to say. Damn it. “It looks like this might get nasty. it was all over the papers.with coffee her father sat in front of her. “It’s illegal. This date had been a long time coming. The company hasn’t done well. as usual. All she wanted was honesty. On her sixteenth birthday he’d taken her to the theater. he still lived the Maxwell corporate life. setting her coffee on the tabletop.” “It’ll work out. Cat didn’t want to be like them either. I won’t hold the control at Maxwell. He ran his hand over his thin. No matter how she pushed. In other words. took his spot at the head of the table. and I had fireballs being thrown at me left and right.” Mike said.” Mike agreed. Sleep had been slow in coming and had been restless. He was like family. We think he might have owed someone money and needed the cash. Though he had more compassion than the others did. Caffeine sounded damn good. She eyed her brothers and then stared at her father. True. tight. sincere honesty.” His explanation seemed weak and Cat made a mental note to find out more from Mike later. gray hair. stood alone. leaning against the bar that separated the dining area from the kitchen. while her father. He did what success demanded. She needed out of here. Mike. “You didn’t think I had the right to know before the rest of the world?” “I meant to talk to you before the news got out. and I’ve made some bad investments. Now Cat wondered how far her entire family would go to protect their world. looking at her father. in his normal fashion. Her father spoke before she could finish her first sip of coffee.” he said.” he said with a heavy voice. Cat almost choked on the hot liquid. thinking of the times Ray had been there for her. “Each man for himself. do you?” “It’s beyond unethical. I did what he advised me. “You against Ray?” “Do you want me to go to jail?” “I don’t want either of you to go to jail. something her mother would have done had she been alive. stunned by the hard reality of the truth. shaking her head as she saw the blankness of their expressions. “Sometimes there isn’t a way around it.” Cat sank back against her chair. “As you know your Uncle Ray does my financial management. Rick chose a seat next to her. eager to get to Cat’s place and begin their Friday night out. Would they break the law? She cringed at the idea. Was that so much to ask for? ***** Reese unlocked his apartment with a smile playing on his lips. “And why is that?” she asked. honey. she wasn’t going to hear the entire truth. Even Rick wouldn’t tell her. And that’s what we’re trying to find out. Cat pushed to her feet. All of them had cut her off. Cat studied him. “Things have been….. Cat shook her head rejecting the idea that Ray would do this. But then again. “So beating this means convicting Ray?” she half whispered. “We think he was trying to make the cash back for both Father and himself.” Rick corrected.” Swallowing. We started slowly diversifying my portfolio and the next thing I knew the authorities came knocking. Ray was family.” This made no sense. Selling off my stock seemed a natural step toward the future. She’d heard all she was going to hear. With my upcoming retirement.” “Ray made bad investments. “What happened?” she asked.” Cat narrowed her gaze on her father. Answers sounded better. “He’d come to you for money.” her father said.” Grasping her fingers together in front of her. The tension in the room was palpable. He couldn’t remember the . “Mike and Rick didn’t call because I forbade them to. “The next thing I knew.

last time he’d looked forward to something as much as he did seeing Cat.” she said. the slightest tremble in her voice. ” He motioned her forward. “I know this is going to be hard for you.” Reese’s eyes went wide. Anyone who knew his mother knew how strong she was. “You’re what?” “That’s right. “You’ve been married for thirty-seven years. tipping her chin up as if trying to be strong. “Mom?” he asked. What that meant he wasn’t sure but he knew he had to find out. Surely you could talk—” “I’ve talked for thirty-seven years. As he picked up the phone.” The words hit Reese like a two-by-four. “What are you going to do?” “I moved my things today. with a damn hard-on. ” He swallowed. Just as he headed for the front door. Let it out. We just need to talk. When he opened the door. He might be an adult. “What’s going on. This was killing him. Worried. The need to see Cat had him charged with an adrenaline high.. To find comfort in her arms. Reese. Reese reached for her. he braced himself for bad news. Mom. “Are you okay? Is everyone okay?” She shook her head and drew her spine straight. She looked as if she’d lost weight. “Yes. but Reese…. Reese shut the door and followed his mother down the stairs to the living room. Your father lives his job. anticipating the sound of her voice. He won’t even know I’m gone. Reese found a private moment to call Cat. Normally. “Does Dad know?” “I left him a note. A half-hour after arriving home. For once. Maybe he’d work her out of his system. As he took the stairs leading from the entryway to his lower level flat. which she kept a dark brown. What? Please. then maybe he wasn’t meant to. He never does. She wasn’t just talking. he realized this thing with his parents made him wish for time with her all the more. Reese had learned that there were times to talk and times to listen. Fine. Reese realized. feeling his heart squeeze painfully. her hands on her knees. but her objections had lacked true resistance. You’re worrying me. and he rested his chin on her head. recalling their brief phone call the prior day. quickly noting her tear-streaked cheeks. She sat on the edge of his black leather couch. he started unbuttoning his shirt. Cat had tried to back out of their dinner. He’d never been like this about a woman. he found his mother. but the thought of his parents breaking up made him feel incredibly unsettled. Reese was showered and clean-shaven. Mom?” She turned to angle her body his direction. I’m finished. In short. Reese.” “I’m leaving your father. He won’t get home until late.” Finality laced her words. had a wispy windblown look. Life had suddenly gotten a hell of a lot more complicated than it had been only minutes before. Not that I do. “I doubt he notices it until bedtime. His brows dipped as he reached for the knob. He hung his jacket on the coat rack just inside his doorway and placed his briefcase on the floor. “What…. Whatever had her upset had to be big.” She walked past him. This was for real. he wouldn’t mind spending the next forty-eight hours lost in Cat.” His hand stroked her back. she looked like a delicate flower that needed some special care. he might just take a weekend off. He’d hung up from that call.” “Mom—” He didn’t finish. “Just say it. Hell. entering the apartment with a tissue in hand. the bell rang. after listening to the soft. This wasn’t a talk time. He didn’t know why he’d bothered to bring it home. “It’s okay. one fist balled around her tissue. Her long hair. No woman had ever given him a damn hard-on over the phone. his words cut off as she burst into tears. He hated to break their date. distance did nothing to contain it. the heat between them held such a charge. I took an apartment off West Fifth. sexy play of her voice. And if he didn’t. It was a crazy thought considering he barely knew her. She wore a light floral silk dress that accented her slim figure. I’ve had enough. . Not one bit.” He didn’t even know what to say. In fact. He’d dressed in black pants and a thin matching sweater.. Long minutes later with a promise to take his mother to dinner. the doorman would have called to alert him of a visitor. Too slim. I’m tired of living it with him. Sitting down beside her.

she finished off the last of the warm. It shouldn’t. She’d been uncharacteristically nervous so she’d decided a few sips of alcohol might calm her nerves.But then. But it did. but her stupidity over Reese made her want to scream. she discarded her high-heeled sandals and reached for the bottle she’d sat on top of her television. red liquid and headed for the door. she contemplated a third glass. She glanced at the clock clenching her teeth as she noted the tardiness of communication. She wasn’t much of a drinker. His no-show. A call forty minutes after he was due to arrive was simply too late. no-call act hurt. A few seconds later. it was worse than that. Reese Walker could go to hell. Maybe because it reminded her of all the times her father promised to be places that he wasn’t. . Instantly. Okay. shutting the door and with it blocking out the sound of the ringing. thirty minutes after he was supposed to arrive. ***** Cat stood on her balcony with a glass of wine in her hand. Just as she filled her glass the phone rang. he probably didn’t even realize the time. Cat took her wine and went back to the balcony. her stomach clenched with apprehension. everything about Cat seemed to make him crazy. It was her second. She barely knew him. The first had been an hour ago when she thought Reese would soon arrive. Figured. Now. Tipping back her glass. Like her father. Work probably had Reese detained.

Or maybe about men in general. fluffy slippers. a scowl on his face. she waved him forward. chain in place. Whatever she’d made him feel that night they’d shared. I don’t need a detailed playback of events. “How I got here isn’t important. she left him and…. relieved to hear her voice. dressed in silk boxers. are you?” “You said you’re sorry. and he knew it. Maybe because he was raw inside over his parents. forgetting anything but what he came here to say. Reese couldn’t remember ever thinking fluffy slippers to be sexy. He had to explain. “Never mind. “No?” “No. If she would just hear him out.” he said. “It’s Reese.” “Even if I have a good reason?” “I’m sure you do. “Go away. Lost even. Reese. Cat hadn’t taken his calls.” “I’m sorry. He needed her.” she said in a voice that said she really didn’t. He knew that missing their date and calling far too late had set him up to look bad. Why had he been late? Why had he come here? Or maybe why had he called so late? Without turning. In all his life. Reese didn’t have this battle in him. He wanted to grab her and kiss her or get the hell out of here. man. shifting her weight from one foot to the other. a T-shirt and pink.” Silence. he could explain. We weren’t meant to go beyond one night. I know how. Or maybe it was the long slender legs attached. No forgiveness. he turned and headed to the door.Chapter Five At midnight. and allowing him back into her world. And knocked again. For some reason.” “No. mattered in ways beyond the moment. “Not until you hear what I have to say. Go away. Money.” Silence. “My mother showed up at my door as I was leaving. he went back after his objective. she stared at him. Reese looked his direction and waved.” He shook his head. He wasn’t sure what she was asking. “Who is it?” Flattening his palms on the door. Then. Reese let his forehead rest against the wood panel.” Cat made a frustrated sound and shoved the door shut.” he said. Why her contempt hurt so badly he didn’t understand. “You’re not even going to listen to what happened. How’d you even get past the doorman?” Pause. he wanted to wrap himself in it and forget. waking up your neighbors.” She cracked the door.” The snide remark didn’t escape Reese’s attention. Of what he didn’t know. The fact that I’m here. but he couldn’t seem to help himself. “I appreciate that.” “Go away. Seconds later. but on Cat they somehow managed to shoot fire through his veins. thinking about the moment he’d opened the door and found her there.” he said softly. Reese stood outside Cat’s door. he answered. With a deep breath he knocked. “Sorry. After thirty-seven years. his eyes finding her hard ones. Cat accepting his words. Finally. Not only was she pissed. .” she said. “Talk and leave.” “No. she was still judging him by some preconceived notion about attorneys. feeling his stomach clench. I get that. making it clear that he wasn’t getting past the hallway. “Why?” she asked. The chain jangled against the surface as she unlocked it. should be your concern. “I have neighbors. “She left my father.” A door opened as if on cue and a man poked his head into the hall. Suddenly.” Several seconds passed and Reese squeezed the knob. “Not until you hear me out. There was no give to her look. he heard sounds from inside. “but let’s just take this as a sign. he let out a breath. He reached for the doorknob when he heard her voice. Crossing her arms in front of her chest. Everything felt like it was crashing to the ground.. Coming here at this time had been insane. Before he could talk himself out of it. so she’d left him no choice. Shoving aside the subject.” He paused. She’d already decided he was guilty. I didn’t even know anything was wrong.

To get lost in Cat and what she made him feel. To forget everything else. The soft touch of her hand on his arm made his heart kick up a beat and his breath lodge in his throat. Without words, he felt her understanding. Slowly, he turned to face her, looking down into her forgiving eyes, not even trying to hide the pain in his. He didn’t care if she saw. Maybe he should but he didn’t. “I’m sorry,” she said. “I should have listened.” “It’s okay,” he said. “I should have called sooner but—” She pushed up on her toes and pressed a finger to his lips. “Shh. I understand.” For a beat, then two, they stared at each other. Slowly, he relaxed, taking the comfort she meant to offer and letting it ease into his mind and body. “Come,” she said, sliding her hand around his. Reese followed her into the living room. It was clear she’d been awake. The television played on low. A glass of wine sat on the coffee table. Beside it sat a half-eaten bag of popcorn. They settled onto the couch side by side, bodies turned toward each other. “Do you want to talk about it?” she asked, her voice low, and without any sign of probing. It was an offer not a demand. “What if I said I don’t?” he asked. She smiled. “That’s okay, too.” Tilting her head, she studied him. “Are you hungry?” He thought of the uneaten food he and his mother had left at the restaurant. “I took my mother to dinner but neither of us ate.” “Where is she now?” “I tried to get her to stay with me, but she insisted on going to her new apartment.” “Wow. She has an apartment already. That sounds pretty serious. She’s given this some thought.” A pause. “Sorry. I don’t mean to push. You said you didn’t want to talk.” He gave her a weak smile. “It’s okay.” Leaning back against the couch, Reese straightened his legs. Suddenly, he felt exhausted. A minute later, Cat snuggled under his arm, and draped her leg over his. The soft scent of her floral scent tickled his nose. He inhaled and pulled her closer. Warm and perfect, her body fit his like a glove, and his eyes drifted shut. For the first time in hours he felt at peace….. ***** Cat blinked into the sunlight wishing it would go away. Sleep had felt so good. Wait. Memories flooded her mind. Her palm curled on a hard chest. Reese….. Slowly, she rose upward, and looked down at him. Unbelievable. They’d fallen asleep on her couch. A glance at the window, where the sun burned through the hole in the curtains, confirmed morning had arrived. She barely remembered lying down. And technically Reese never had. He was basically sleeping in a sitting position. She stared at him feeling awareness stir inside. Clearly, he’d been emotionally drained to slide into slumber so quickly. Truth be told, she had been too. This past week had been hell. Her brothers had dodged her questions much like her father. In turn, she’d dodged reporters from every place known to man. The worst of the bunch worked right by her side. In slumber, he looked younger. She’d guessed him around thirty-seven, but perhaps not. With his guard down in slumber, he didn’t look the shark who handled a courtroom with vicious manipulation. He looked masculine. Sexy. Overwhelming in his appeal. What was it this man did to her? Her hand moved of its own accord, palm settling on the new growth shadowing Reese’s square jaw. Reese’s eyes opened and she smiled. “Morning.” For several blinks, he didn’t speak. Then his hand went to hers, covering it, and then bringing it to his lips. “Morning.” He let go of her hand and sat up, stretching a bit. “I’m sorry I crashed on your couch.” She laughed. “I’m sorry I crashed on your chest.” He chuckled. “I’m not. I slept like a baby.” “I guess we were both tired,” she said, smiling. “I could use some coffee. Want some?” “Love some,” he said. “Great.” Cat pushed to her feet wondering why her mood was lighter than the night before. Nothing had really changed, yet somehow she felt….. better. “I’ll go get it started.” She made a quick stop by the bathroom, brushing her teeth, and trying to understand why Reese being

here didn’t bother her. Men and mornings didn’t mix. Of course, they hadn’t slept together, so the morning after wasn’t quite the same as if they had. She laughed as she dried her hands on a towel. Cat knew damn well she’d broken out the toothpaste in preparation for a little one-on-one action. She had every intention of making up for the lack of physical play from the night before. This thing with her and Reese bordered on dangerous territory. One night should have been all it ever was or would be. Instead, they’d both felt compelled to make it more. And now, she had all kinds of emotional baggage and so did he. Of course, he wouldn’t be finding out about hers. It had to be what was pulling them together because Reese was not her type. She bit her bottom lip. Not in an intellectual kind of way. On a physical level, the man made her ache just thinking about him. He was hot. And now, so was she. She reached for the bathroom door, ready to venture into the risky seduction of Reese. It wasn’t like she was going at this blindly, she told herself as she headed for the kitchen and found Reese pouring water into the coffeepot. Her eyes lingered on his nice, tight ass and she sighed. This was definitely an eyes open kind of job. ***** Reese flipped the coffeepot to on and turned to face Cat. “Hope you don’t mind. I kind of made myself at home.” Leaning an elbow against the counter, he studied her. With her long blonde hair falling a bit wildly around her makeup-free face, she looked both natural and beautiful. He’d seen women first thing in the morning, and few looked as radiant and sensual as Cat. And judging from the sparkle in her deep blue eyes, she was feeling a bit feisty and full of challenge. One he was more than ready to answer. Cat rested a shoulder against the door jamb. “Who am I to complain?” she said, smiling. “A man who both makes coffee and acts as a pillow. What more could a girl ask for?” Her fast comeback didn’t surprise him. “I’m sure you can think of something.” He let his eyes do a slow slide down her body, over her curvy hips and long, lean legs. When his gaze returned to hers, the look they shared sizzled. Pushing off the wall, she straightened and closed the space between them. He watched her walk the short distance, feeling his cock stir with anticipation. Damn, this woman got to him. She stopped in front of him and he felt a rush of adrenaline as he anticipated her touch. He’d come here last night wanting to get lost in her appeal. In that soft, full mouth. In those lush curves. He’d found comfort in her arms. Not the wild, crazy lust he’ d thought to bury his worries in. She’d made him feel he wasn’t alone. Maybe it was a shared pain. He’d seen it in her the other night, when she’d talked to her brother on the phone. And though he didn’t know what it was all about, even now, with a smile playing on her lips, he sensed it still existed. Perhaps her own ache had allowed her to reach to him, and make him feel support, even without words. Last night, there had been a connection. She’d known what he felt. It made him wonder about her parents and what they were all about. But now, feeling her palm slide up his arm, he felt aroused beyond a simple touch. Like a starving man who yearned for fulfillment, he absorbed each brush of her fingers. “I thought of something,” she said. “What?” he asked, watching her teeth make a tantalizing scrape across her plump bottom lip. He had no clue what she was talking about. She touched his chin with her finger. “Pay attention. I thought of something else a girl could ask for.” “Ah,” he said, glad for the recap because right now all he could think about was pulling down those silk boxers and fucking her. “What would that be?” “You,” she whispered, pushing to her tiptoes, and pressing her mouth to his. It was all the invitation Reese needed. He grabbed her and pulled her close, kissing her hard and long. There was nothing gentle about the way his tongue stroked hers, or how his fingers followed the curve of her hip until he palmed her nice, full ass. No. Not gentle at all. Animalistic. Wild. Burning up from the inside out. Cat moaned into his mouth and wrapped her leg around his calf. He lifted her and sat her on a nearby counter, shoving her knees apart and stepping into the vee of her body. “God, woman, you drive me crazy,” Reese said, as her hands framed his face.

“Prove it,” she returned, her eyes dark with passion. Her words, simple and direct, packed with the ultimate invitation to take what he wanted….. all of her.

he kept himself in check. beneath the silk of her shorts. Lost in all that she was. Just let me look at you for a minute. wide and glistening with arousal. it disappeared making him wonder if it ever existed. but then maybe. and for an instant. eagerness in her actions. Cat’s hand circled his cock and made a slow glide from the base to the tip where her fingers lingered at the head where dampness had gathered. “Get rid of your pants. When she didn’t object to his demand. But as fast as it was there. His gaze lingered on the fullness of her high breasts. too. using it to shove his sweater toward his shoulders. This forced him to keep his desire in check. He pulled it over his head and tossed it across the room. She didn’t hesitate to take advantage of her newfound freedom. inching them upward. he resisted. Reese took what Cat had offered.” he murmured against her lips. forcing himself to lower his hands to her knees. it just took the right woman’s touch to bring sensation alive. “she said. But he had no time to linger. “Not yet. Still. With Cat. needed skin-toskin contact. made his heart race and his body pulse. The touch she used was gentle. pushing the cloth upward. but seeing Cat made his heart skip a beat. The counter was high.” she whispered. red buds grew tighter beneath his inspection. Before he’d even finished the act. He pressed her knees farther apart. and slid one hand into the silky stands of her hair. he got the feeling that she could easily make each encounter their last. Demanding all that she was. even as her other hand stroked his hard body beneath the zipper. “Take them off. she stared up at him. “You’re beautiful. Absorbing. he thought he saw a flicker of insecurity in her eyes. She kicked the final barrier away and his eyes feasted on the sweet sight of the blonde curls at the vee of her body. begging for his fingers. Seeing her open for him. For his mouth. taking his underwear along for the ride down his thighs. Cat grabbed the waistband of his slacks with a low growl escaping her lips. . or almost so. Demanding more than her response. With her dark. Touching. Cat came off confident and clear about her wants and needs. which was inside her. back to her lush curves. The scrape of fingernails over his nipple came with a surprising rush of heat.” Her voice came low and husky. but her shirt kept him from feeling the soft heat of her skin. doing so would end this experience much too fast. and kissing her the moment he found the full sweetness of her mouth. Somehow. In a frenzied rush. he let his gaze slide down her body. “Cat. He’d seen many a woman without her clothes. he wanted that much and more. But he didn’t. tugging at her lip with his teeth and then caressing her mouth with his. He palmed her breasts. damn it. “Kiss me.” Their eyes locked in a hot stare. Too high for what he wanted. His fingers found the hem and worked beneath it. her breath warm as it mingled with his. When she tried to reach for him to pull him close. kissing her with wildness to the strokes of his tongue he couldn’t contain. as if she. He bit back a moan. he grabbed her hands and pushed them to her legs and then settled his on top of them. Seeing her naked. eager to find his way to a more intimate moment. spreading it.” he said. made him want to tease and please her. he claimed her mouth. almost primal way. More than happy to comply. Cat helped him. How he didn’t know considering he simply wanted to rip her remaining clothes off and drive his cock deep to her core. That particular part of his body had never been overly sensitive. passion filled eyes. he shoved them down. Hands traveled each other’s bodies. Hungrily. Insecurity seemed unlikely. Instead. guiding her to look at him. Cat’s hands and mouth were all over his body. and he watched as her rosy. Because. she pushed her boxers down her hips and he stepped back to allow her room to discard them. but the impact surged through his limbs like rocket fuel. She aroused him in a deep. and thumbed the hard peaks at the center. he wanted no barriers. fumbling with the button.Chapter Six Ravishing her with both his mouth and his hands. he slid his hands away from hers and to the sides of her legs. He wanted to enjoy every second he had with her. The zipper slid down and she shoved at his pants. Yet.

One hand on her hip. he used his fingers on his other hand to test her readiness. sliding them along her dripping-wet core. as she tried to get closer. looking over her shoulder at him. in and out. harder. he settled his hands on her waist. He didn’t remember ever feeling such a thing with a woman before. “This won’t work. “Looks like the coffee is ready. Reese didn’t need further encouragement. and pulling him into the bliss of release. her orgasm milking him. utter satisfaction. Cat had done the same. he handed it to her and then pulled away from her. and then entered the warm wetness he’d been starving for. He palmed her breast with his free hand. he wanted. Pounding into her even as she pushed against each push of his hips against hers. reality sliding back into focus. hearing the slap of her skin against his. with one hard thrust he drove into her. he felt the separation like a loss. And when he thought he couldn’t stand the pace anymore. “I want you now. Want some?” Yes. and filling his palms with her breasts. A rush of pure pleasure surged through his body. Faster. She laughed. loving the way her palms felt against his face and in his hair. Reese. He covered it with his own. Like this was a joining of mind and body. He’d heard his name in the realm of passion before but never before had it made his chest tighten. as if she wanted to find a way to grip him and pull him closer. All sense of reason left. Her teeth found her bottom lip just as his fingers brushed the slick fold of her center. pinching her nipples and then rolling them. yes.” she agreed. He moved with pure instinct. Cat was under his skin and he didn’t know what to do about it. nipples puckered and high.” His arm went around her waist and he eased her down to the ground. “Reese. presenting him with a view of her nice. With a low growl.” Grabbing a towel nearby. “You’re amazing. Everything she did burned him with heat and sensuality. Nor had it ever made him feel a swell of unbelievable possessiveness. He squeezed his eyes shut as he sank deeper.” One of her hands covered his and encouraged him to continue. soft. hands on her hips.” she whispered. and a smile played on his lips. sweetheart. Leaning forward.” “Oh. He wanted Cat. he realized Cat had draped her upper body across the counter. “so let’s move. bringing his mouth to her ear. and then steadied himself. “Well. and nuzzled her ear. Arching her back. Oddly. and reached behind her with desperation. There was no logic to what he felt. “You like?” he asked.” Cat said.” he said.He inched his way toward her core.” Nodding. But before he could examine what it meant. throbbing with the need to take this to the next level. “Oh God. yet it lived inside him. Exploring her body. “I can’t wait anymore. as if she was afraid he might stop. His cock pulsed.” “I know. and pure heat exploded from the inside out. she made soft. and demanded to be heard. “sorry. Then. shaking with the intensity of what could only be described as complete. Inch by inch. trying to decide the best location to take her to. Smiling at her eagerness. unable to stop himself from moving against the tightness of her muscles. But that choice was made for him when she turned around and faced the counter. He tweaked her nipples one last time. her hands gathering behind his neck. “I could say the same of you. Her anticipation turned him on. He felt like he could never get enough of her.” he whispered. sexy sounds of pleasure. Reese ground his hips against hers. It felt potent and raw and full of explosive possibilities still to unfold. but right now. he guided his cock to her body. By the time Reese has his clothes intact. her body contracted around him. he swallowed the gasp of pleasure his act drew from Cat. A woman he hardly knew. my legs are about to buckle. watching her breasts rise. he tilted his head back and drove into her one last time.” Cat said with a smile. .” Cat spat. When he finally caught his breath. He leaned into her. but not coffee. he eased back until just the head of his erection remained. Like this was more than sex. that he had to slow or risk exploding before he ensured her pleasure. round ass. “Yes. A woman who hated his career. She gasped. savoring the urgency of her tongue against his. he used her moans as a guide to her pleasure and then slipped a finger into her warm recesses. she cried out his name. and teasing them both in the process.

made Reese smile. and studied the worry that had formed deep in his eyes. and Reese wanted to call her on it. “Three chocolate croissants. And until now. but they sell pizza too. and he found himself wanting to forget it even happened. For a woman who could be an absolute sex goddess.” he said. in that moment. Damn. As a reporter she was used to asking the same thing several different ways so she simply rephrased. “Did you buy those cookies for your mother?” . “I’ll throw on some jeans. “Right. But everything about Cat felt different. Reese felt the relief of Cat’s agreement.” Cat confirmed.” he told the man. pointing at the glass surrounding all kinds of freshly made goodies. no interest. She smiled and rushed from the kitchen. eyeing him.” she responded playfully. Eyeing the bakery trays he found his mother’s favorite black-and-white iced sugar cookies and ordered two. “I want both. but try as he might. A little sweet tooth. Cat knew it when she saw it. “Then chocolate croissants it is. Yet. Reese knew damn well he was falling for Cat. “Okay. she looked as cute as kitten. “Me too.” Cat said. “Three?” Cat teased. He was officially in deep shit. the crowds had yet to form. Now.Maybe some quality time with her would allow him the chance to figure out what it was about Cat that made him like this. His mother…. he should go see her. he had no time for a relationship. “Must be hungry. “That’s an odd question. “What made you buy that cinnamon roll?” Avoidance. Which should be a bad thing but it felt too good to be anything but exciting. I take it?” Cat nodded. Cat waited until Reese turned to look at her. When was the last time he’d spent Saturday morning relaxing? But just as soon as he had the thought. with a lift of excitement to her voice. “Why don’t we walk to the corner bakery and get some croissants to eat with it?” he suggested.” The way she said the statement. It sounds really good. “I haven’t had a chocolate croissant in forever. “First the ice cream and now this.” “Hmm. I live in a whirlwind of crisis management and these little bakeries have kept me fed many a night. Reese narrowed his gaze on her. And right. he laughed. Her response held just a hint of bite. his job occupied his life and demanded his time and energy. that looks good. to call her on it. yummiest-looking one near the front so the man behind the counter would know she’d claimed it.” “Actually. “What made you buy those cookies?” Cat asked. ***** They made it to the sidewalk outside the bakery and Cat couldn’t hold back her question any longer. guilt washed over him. he just had to figure out why. and winked.” As much as he didn’t want to let her escape her comment. It’s one of the things I love about living in the city. We have bakeries where you can not only get your sugar fix. he didn’t.” Cat finally responded. He would take them to her in a little while and pray for good news. Reese couldn’t figure out what she was thinking.” He laughed but it wasn’t quite real. loving how lighthearted he felt at that moment. Letting out a breath. “I want one of those big cinnamon rolls with extra icing. “I thought you wanted a chocolate croissant?” “I do. but the store attendant had turned expectant eyes on him. In other words. Inside sat everything from donuts to cookies and cakes. I do. “I do like my sweets.” She turned away to accept a bag from the man serving her. Instead. “But wasn’t it fun?” Any sign of the negativity her little comment had held were gone. She studied him without speaking. “I seem to have worked up an appetite. and clear the air. Gotta love that.” he teased. Beside her Reese smiled. Planning those opening statements and tangled webs of courtroom storytelling. Why did her walking to the damn corner with him matter so much? But he knew the answer without even asking the question. Just a little before nine on a Saturday.” She motioned toward the biggest. ***** “Oh.” Cat said.” He laughed.. Now wasn’t the time.” Her eyes lit.

I’m worried. She hoped. As much as she knew Reese to be a bastard who got killers off for cash. “Come with me. I’m sure you’re worried.” She didn’t want him to worry about her when he needed to take care of his mom. “Yes. It didn’t fit what she was learning about him.” He let the words linger a moment. “my mother would be thrilled I brought a woman with me.” After several long moments. It also brought back memories of how alone her mother must have felt. “It’s really nice of you to think of her. Cat’s dad acted married to his job not his wife.” That he cared so much for his mother defied what she thought she knew of this man. reaching for her and pulling her close.” he said.” A pause. without hesitation.” And with those words. Okay.” One corner of his mouth lifted in an attempted smile. Unable to immediately find her voice. “I can put on a fresh pot of coffee later if you like. Then. No.” She touched his hand. The two didn’t mix. She’d keep things in proper perspective. “They’re for my mother. A ball of panic had lodged in her throat. she was having a hard time making it compute. Cat knew she was in trouble. And both her older brothers were no better. She wasn’t falling for Reese.” “Which would be what?” she asked.” he said. “No. “How could you know that?” Her heart squeezed tightly. I didn’t ask you to marry me. “I’ll go on one condition. “Cat?” he prodded gently.” He seemed to hesitate. She thinks I work too much and play too little. I plan to go by later. but…. . Cat. “I know we don’t know each other all that well. I hate the idea of leaving you.” A tormented look flashed across his face. It’s okay. “Go check on her. “I think I probably do. Lord only knew.Silence. “Your mother would probably find my presence uncomfortable. That plan made her feel better. Good. This man was everything she thought she didn’t like in men. Reese let out a breath. What can I say?” He lifted the bag by his side. He laughed.” The depth of emotion in his voice and eyes gave Cat true pause. I’d really like it if you came. Reese and the real world meant trouble.. “Yes. stunned. Feeling needy and alone because of this thing with her father had her acting stupid and forgetting that Reese and sex made for a good escape. “Please. Yes. one brow lifting. Cat wasn’t quite sure how to respond. Then everything would be just fine. So. “I really need to check on her but for some reason I can’t explain.” “Do you?” Cat asked. “She loves these things. “We have coffee waiting on us. she nodded. “Reese—” “Come with me.” “No. she’d go with him to his mother’s and then bring him back to her place and fuck him. “You look like I just asked you to commit a crime. “You were worried about her last night and I saw the look on your face right before you ordered them. It went deeper than that. You’re right.” Cat had to work to swallow. He touched her in ways she didn’t understand.” Reese said.” She’d expected denial. unable to stop the words from falling out of her mouth. I just asked you to come with me to take my mother a few cookies. yet he aroused her beyond belief.” “What?” she asked.

It was bad enough she had on no makeup and basically looked like a bum. her smile seemed to brighten. “Your favorites. Cat felt like an intruder. for all practical purposes. . the door swung open. “Smart woman.Chapter Seven The fancy high-rise building Reese’s mother had taken as her new home didn’t surprise Cat. Money has a nasty way of taking control of life. “You two come in.” Reese put his hand on Cat’s back. “But it can’t buy happiness. “And call me Mary. She watched as he punched the doorbell. A few moments later.” he said. standing beside Reese in front of his mother’s new apartment.” she said. “Looks like you brought more than cookies. “Let’s just say I have been around. Cat wasn’t sure what to expect. she wasn’t here as his girlfriend. looking like she might bolt at any moment. Simple black slacks and a white silk shell looked casual but somehow elegant at the same time. No doubt from crying. Sharon sat her cookie on the long. They were having a sex thing not a love connection. she waved a hand through the air. Her perfectly applied makeup had been meant to hide the emotional side effects of leaving her husband. indicting the room. She didn’t need to be linked to a scandal too. Both Reese and his father handled high-dollar legal cases. She wasn’t stupid enough to fall in love with a man like Reese. she had no intention of filling in the blank spot he’d noted. Cat let out a silent sigh of relief. “A voice of experience?” Sharon asked. In truth. The room. She looked almost too neat and together. thank God.” She stepped back and waved them in. “This is Catherine…. Besides. Not at all the way Cat would picture a home Sharon decorated. “Nice to meet you.” She kept her eyes on Sharon when she said the words but she felt Reese’s attention. She swallowed hard and balled her fists so tight the nails of one hand dug into her palm.” Accepting Cat’s hand. As if she’d worked really hard at it. Last name avoided. eyeing Cat curiously before returning her attention to Reese. so she knew they had money. “It came furnished. After an uncomfortable moment of silence. ” He paused as if he suddenly realized he didn’t know her last name. had a masculine flare. A closer inspection of Sharon’s eyes exposed puffiness. Her stomach dropped as if she were on a roller coaster slope. Reese. Mike had even stood her up for lunch the day before. remained a stranger. Cat sat next to Reese on a leather couch. but she’d opened the door for questions and she knew it.” The words held a distinct bitterness and they hit a nerve for Cat. Perhaps she’d hoped it was her husband visiting. And she didn’t need more complications than necessary. He’d been worried about her and she happened to be around at the time. Especially one her family continued to avoid being straight with her about. decorated in rich browns and expensive art. When the doorknob jiggled. How could Sharon talk to her son and express her pain with a stranger present? She watched Reese’s mother turn and walk down a narrow hallway. marble coffee table and then settled on the edge of a wingback chair. Cat held out her hand. It becomes the replacement for other things that have no price tag. Cat thought she saw a flash of disappointment cross the other woman’s features. Reese took her bakery bag and motioned for Cat to enter the apartment. That thought made her all the more determined to turn the conversation away from the name Maxwell. Cat didn’t want to talk about herself. Cat had been so ticked she could have chewed nails. But aside from that. “About time you bring a woman around. Reese held up the bag. not her son. Everyone does. Call me Cat. But why? There lay the question.” Sharon stared at Cat a moment and then turned her gaze on her son..” Inwardly.” She smiled but it didn’t quite make it to her eyes. Both of her brothers and her father had dodged her at every turn and she ’d had about all she could take. Considering “Maxwell” had become headline news these days. “I brought cookies. Cat knew she’d felt compelled to offer moral support. Meeting Reese’s mom seemed big though she knew it meant nothing. Amazing what convenience money can buy. A slight woman with dark hair and delicate features appeared in the entryway. Cat felt the sound in every nerve ending of her body. Cat noted Reese’s mother’s attire. What made her feel she should be here? Before she could analyze what her inner motivations might be.

We left a pot on back at Cat’s apartment. It’s why he forgot anniversaries and birthdays and every special occasion I remember since he opened that firm. mattered to him.” Sharon said. um. You know that. I can’t believe I’m blowing it with emotional nonsense. It’s all about justice and the law.” What had she gotten herself into? Cat felt the words like a shock wave. Besides.” A few minutes later Cat sat with Reese and his mother at a long cherry dining table. “Please stay. I really am. “I’ll go make the coffee. “Listen. dear.” she said. The implications of Sharon’s words were just way. I’ve heard it all from your father.” Cat smiled. “I’m going to step into the hall and make a call. Reese’s hand settled on her back.” Reese said. She didn’t dare look at Reese. More than it should and she knew it. True.” Reese eyed them both. She pushed to her feet. I’d hoped my hard work would let Dad retire and you two could enjoy life a little. Cat could see her face lighten at her son’s playful nature. I guess I get a little intense about my food. sorry. I don’t want to hear your reasons.I hope you’ll let her influence you.” Cat didn’t know what to do. “Cat. “No.” “So if he retired tomorrow you’d be different?” “Mother—” Sharon held up her hand in stop sign fashion. “I can make the call later. Watching Sharon. I know. Slowly. One she should have found easy to ignore.” He took a bite and then did an exceptional job of imitating her sigh of pleasure. I have dishes. “I’ve been rude. This place thought of everything. “You work like a dog by your father’s side and for what.” Reese said. Hell. she hadn’t looked at him since they’d walked into his mother’s apartment.” Reese reached over and took Cat’s hand.” “Money doesn’t control me. Reese hasn’t brought a woman to meet me since high school. giving it a gentle squeeze meant as a silent thank you. As the delicate pieces of sugary sweetness touched her tongue. This little distraction had done Reese’s mom good.” “All I can say.” his mother responded. it made her stomach flutter.” He took another bite as if he had to eat it before it was stolen.” Sharon and Reese both stood. “What kind of gentleman keeps pastry from a woman?” Cat teased. too. “So you have to go?” The disappointment in Sharon’s face was instantaneous. Sharon pushed to her feet. “Don’t explain. “the chocolate croissant in my bag is calling me. Instead. I believe it is. but you can forget it. “That reminds me.” Sharon said. I take it?” “Not a chance. and her staying when he asked. I love these things. Cat lowered herself onto the couch. I’ve heard thirty-seven years of excuses that played out like a well-plotted closing statement. how about some coffee?” “Actually. Turning her attention to Reese. pans and even a toothbrush. way too intense. “You really should hand over the croissant. “Yep. Mother. “is I hope mine is as good as yours.” she added. Reese had brought her out of convenience but he had to have known how his mother would respond. “So I can’t have yours. “Coffee would be wonderful. Cat blushed. “Oh. her voice quivering.” “Oh. “God.” “I’m young. Maybe because she got the impression that her being here. “I’m sorry. “Exactly. It’s why he didn’t come home until all hours of the night.” Reese replied. Please sit and talk to me. her eyes still locked with Reese’s. he mattered to Cat.” She turned to look at him and found a plea in his eyes.” Sharon said. Cat studied him. if not money?” She laughed.” The look he gave her said thank you and for some unknown reason. They went all-out. Cat sighed with pleasure.” Cat said quickly.” Reese and Sharon laughed. “I know. Instinct made her act. steaming coffee coming from her cup as she took a big bite of her pastry. She felt like she was in the middle of something never meant for her ears. “No.” “Do I?” she asked. “You women think you can team up on me. It was hard to put the tough attorney’s .

“Clearly.” Amusement danced in Sharon’s eyes. So good and honest. “He thinks I’d give up my own family for a damn story?” . It took some pushing. Cat smiled.” Reese inserted. The muffled sound of her phone ringing gave her a much-needed reprieve. What do you do for a living? What’s your family like?” Sharon’s question snapped Cat out of her reverie and into a panic. not bothering with a greeting. He planned to make the money back and fix everything. “Why would he do that?” “Apparently.” Sharon and Cat said in unison and then smiled at their same words.” Okay. “Hello.” She gave Cat an approving nod.” Shoving back the chair.” “Do you get to meet many movie stars?” Sharon asked Cat. “So. this shell hid something darker. and then sighed. just tell me. As expected. “Some. she forced herself to lower her voice. “Really?” She let out a short bark of laugher. She knew Reese’s courtroom track record. Attorneys are trouble. She should.” Cat felt a wave of nausea and leaned against the wall. a wistful look slipped into her eyes. he seemed so…. caller ID indicated her brother Chris was calling. The last thing she wanted to do was talk about herself or her family. I’m afraid it’s been quite a long time since I’ve been.. I’ll just step outside. real. I expect you’re just what he needs. sincere man sitting at the table laughing. Cat avoided eye contact with Reese. “Do you like the theatre? Next time I get free passes I can send you some. reaching for her cell as she scurried to the door.” Reese said.” One of Sharon’s brows inched upward. Mind racing.” Emotions rolled over Cat. “Chris?” A sigh. “Why didn’t Mike just tell me this?” Silence. Reese rolled his eyes. Ray has a gambling problem and he’d borrowed from Dad’s accounts. I’m an entertainment reporter for The New York Review. She didn’t know what upset her most. “Reese’s father never had time to take me. I am outnumbered. Taking a deep breath. But this Reese. “Cat here hates attorneys. He says Ray overstated financial reports that went to shareholders and pushed the stock price up. Reese and his father have always hated reporters. As for my career. Cat responded in avoidance mode. Something she didn’t dare forget existed. Both versions were handsome. “Maybe I should just eat and shut up. In fact. “Clearly. leaning back in his chair. the sadness lingering but deeper below the surface.exterior she’d seen in the media with the lighthearted.” “Damn it. neither of you has heard innocent until proven guilty. That Ray might just be guilty or that she felt like such an outsider from her family.” “What!” Cat could barely believe her ears. Cat.” she said. “I’m expecting a call. so Cat had opened another can of worms. the smoothness of the way he hid that part of himself made him worse rather than better in her book. but I got him to talk. Chris. The idea of her father or Ray being guilty scared the hell out of her.” She stepped into the exterior hallway outside the apartment and pulled the door shut behind her.” “I love it. He got murderers off. “My mother passed away several years ago and my father is a stuffy businessman who works too much.” An idea occurred. Confident.” “This isn’t a court of law. Then Ray sold both his stock and Dad’s. They ’d promised to touch base sometime that morning. Helped criminals to make a big paycheck. “You won’t like the answer. “This is ironic and actually quite funny.” “He said that with you working at the paper the less you know the less you could slip and leak. A nice dose of new perspective. “Not on my end. Beyond sexy. No matter how wonderful he seemed. Any luck for you?” “Yeah. Cat inwardly shook herself and reached for her coffee. I talked to Mike. tell me about yourself. but it backfired.” “Hey now. “Anything new?” he asked. “Smart girl.

Where the word came from she didn’t know. his fists resting against the wall by her head. About that time. that’s not it. trying to control the need to cry. worked along her nerve endings. When his palm went to her cheek. Reese equaled another power-hungry man with his own agenda.” . his body enclosed hers. She wanted to call the feeling that danced along her nerve endings sexual arousal. “No. Let it go. She knew without opening her eyes. Suddenly. Cat. He told you not to tell me. “Take me home and fuck me.. thinking. all masculine and sexy and….” “Cat—” She punched the “end” button and let her head fall back against the wall. she didn’t move. no doubt. “And he’s being an ass. yet now.” His brow lifted.” The word came out abrupt. Because she was so afraid of crying.” “But I did. Made her fear more pain. so I won’t push.” he said. His comfort scared her. He needed to be kept in his place. “Okay.” “Need to talk?” “No. She could smell and feel him.” Chris said quickly. she opened her eyes and met his probing stare. He said everyone will be after a story and you’ll be a major target. This was too much. He’s worried someone will pump you for info. safe. It wasn’t her style. “You okay?” he asked. for the second time in a week she felt like bawling.” She paused. soft and gentle.” “Good. She didn’t get all emotional.” “Stop defending him. The phone started to ring again and she punched the off button. It just found its way into her head. A burning sensation formed in her eyes and she squeezed them shut. “What’s that?” Her arms slid around his neck. but it was more than that and she knew it. Of Reese. She wasn ’t sure she could do it this time. “You don’t want to tell me what’s wrong. “There is one thing you can do for me. but this isn’t the time for a family fight.“No. the creak of the door opening alerted her of company.” Chris said.” Cat was getting damn tired of letting things slide by to appease the family. “I’m fine. She knew it and didn’t care. “I’ll talk to you later. His voice.

pressing against his zipper. not wanting it to work. It touched him deep inside and made him yearn to know her dreams. But she rejected the emotional content of their bond. “Don’t you?” he demanded.” she said. he motioned toward the apartment. With each passing moment. and then changed his mind. and Reese and Cat walked side by side. Even knowing this. Two. The soft scent of flowers and woman inched into his nostrils.. I don’t like conditions. felt the unique dynamic of their attraction. he was only half surprised when she grabbed his forearm.” He stepped closer. He could be convincing when he put his mind to it…. Not to express the desire and attraction between them. One. forced Reese to retreat. damn you.” The sound of a neighbor’s door opening. She wanted it to be all physical. Avoidance seemed his best option. He wanted to kiss her. when they were alone. Reese decided she was doing the same.” he murmured. Brushing his lips over hers. There was no doubt she wanted him. his tone a bit rougher. And seeing the vulnerability in her eyes. Aren’t you even going to ask what it is?” “No.Chapter Eight Cat’s words replayed in Reese’s head. That she. he released her. “I know what you had in mind and believe me.” Seconds passed. Giving her a sideways glance. awareness charging the air around them. But he resisted. A ‘ but’ is a condition. clouding his mind with the screams of his body. He turned to her. Taking the subway stairs. to taste the sweetness of those perfect lips. Take me home and fuck me. Make me forget but don’t make me talk. Knowing when people hid things. “There you go again. he had a feeling she’d recoil. he caressed the soft skin of her cheek. Neither spoke. yet words weren’t needed. “Maybe one. “Talking isn’t what I had in mind. pressing them to his chest. She didn’t like attorneys and he wanted to know why. He couldn’t remember the last time he’d held a woman’s hand. Still. his brow inching upward in question. What hurt her and made this pain? With the back of his knuckles.” Cat started to slide her hands away from his neck. “Let’s say our goodbyes and then we’ll talk. Reaching for her hand. his tone more forceful.” With that said. Hell. Did their silence bother her? It didn’t him. “I want you. Fuck me and don’t ask questions. How to push him away without saying goodbye. and in this case. He had thinking to do.” he assured her. though quite a distance away. but it felt right with Cat. Her eyes narrowed. he wanted to know the cause. He wasn’t promising what he couldn’t deliver. They were going to talk. he opened his mother’s door and successfully stopped any further debate. his cock pressing into her stomach. he wondered what she was thinking. “Okay. “Don’t you?” he said. Her desires. he didn’t know why he even cared. Later. Heat swirled between them. “I don’t want to know. too.” he promised. ***** The streets were busier now. “No. If he was going to get her to open up. “Yes you do.” Heading for the door. arms touching. “I like it. But her allure held more than physical lust. “Convicting me without a trial. Her lashes fluttered. “Why do I sense ‘a but’?” “No but. he’d find away to make her open up to him. More enticing. his cock hardened. He reached up and caught her hands. Cat became more interesting.” he said. But what she had meant was. he had to handle himself just right. their feet moving in unison. Planning. You want to know. Reese reached deep for control. perhaps his body. All about sex. . Their breath mingled.” she said in a clipped tone. No doubt her guard was up.” The fingers of one of his hands found her hair and he brought her mouth just within reach of his. Cat’s declaration had been meant to distract him from pain lurking in the depths of her deep blue eyes. Yes. Reese made a living seeing below the surface. Only she was trying to figure out how to keep him at bay. their bodies too intimate for a private building well monitored but he didn’t care. Reese had the most intense desire to reach over and entwine his fingers with hers.

anchoring them both to a pole. to send him away. she shoved at his pants. Her hands went to his sweater. came off. I do. She’ d make darn sure he knew he wasn’t in charge. A rush of people surrounded them. So knowing all of this. her shirt. The fire. the ache of arousal throbbing between her legs. desperate to let him break the freedom of the physical. pushing her to remove all barriers. it felt good. Slowly. In the woman. Touching. Feeling. His hips. She kicked off her shoes and slid her pants down her legs. she kissed him. She fingered his button loose and then went for his zipper. she started undressing. Mouths joined. as she turned the doorknob and felt Reese’s hand at her waist. God. he did. and so she did. you’re beautiful. slowly taking root. some entering and some exiting. A world that had taken her father and held him prisoner. Her nipples puckered. thighs pressed together. His waist. fingers feeling the flex of his delicious muscle.. His sweater went flying across the room and Cat shoved him against the wall. No time like the present to put his plan in action. he lowered his head. The minute they were inside the apartment. they were all over each other. Her hand shook as she unlocked her door and she prayed he didn’t notice. yes?” “You know. taste him…. In the anticipation. Cat next to him. in the moment. his hands sliding to the sides of her face. And in the end. Reese watched her with a heavy-lidded stare. He reached for her. The need for more. “You talk too much. With her teeth. he cupped her ass. She just wanted to feel….But he did. The lady had instructed him to fuck her and fuck her he would. did she shiver with anticipation of more? But she never had time to answer any of her questions. why the hell did Cat want Reese with a burning need so hot it consumed? So intense it demanded that said she touch him. He wouldn’t push her to talk the minute they walked into her apartment. her chin tilting upward as her eyes locked with his. Her. She went to him then. Then slow and easy. and took his boxers with them. Before this weekend ended. A world that had made him miss school functions and dismiss special events.” he responded hoarsely. Cat believed the pain of loneliness had brought on her mother’s heart attack. caressing the hard length of his cock with her fingers. pulling her tight against his hips. “Cat—” Cutting off his words. sliding her tongue along his in a seductive dance of passion. mouths hungrily exploring. Fast and hard. bodies clinging. beneath his . She tugged his lower lip with her teeth. He was everything she despised. she scraped at his nipple. A hard-core businessman who lived in a corrupt corporate world which had caused Cat nothing but pain. she’d even the playing field. He felt good. hands roaming. Because with all of her being. he would get Cat to open up to him.. ***** Cat couldn’t get enough of Reese and it scared the hell out of her. And as he stepped onto the subway. pressing her body against his and letting her breasts settle against the sprinkle of hair on his pecs. Then his gaze dropped. Making her burn with the connection.” Taking a step back. he smiled. Reese.” he whispered. sliding her hand past all barriers and caressing his cock.. He’d make her so hot she burned and leave her soft with satisfaction. “You like that. a world that had killed her mother. Plain and simple. Her fingers melted into his chest. “God. Reese kicked the door shut with a loud bang. Logic told her to send Reese home. Reese sucked in a breath and her eyes lifted to his. And then down his zipper. He reached for her hand and with a gentle tug. The look they shared smoldered with heat. lost…. exploring her lacy bra as she unhooked it and tossed it aside. pushed it up his body. Somehow the keys landed on the floor. With her hands she molded his biceps. No man had ever taken her to such extreme desire. If Reese was under her skin. his eyes locked with hers until the first layer of clothing. Gliding down his body. Nothing mattered right now but this. Reese pulled her close.” she said. as did her purse. Reaching to his waist. kissing. Didn’t even want to try. “Then you’ll love this. allowing his breath to mingle with hers. A thought formed. feel his body next to hers? Why. controlling her with desire. she settled at his feet. It did nothing to break their silence and everything to press their desire.

Then. Impatiently he kicked one off while she worked on the other. letting her breath tease him with the possibility of what might come next. She pressed him to the edge. “Is this what you want?” “That’s a start. “It’s not time. “Cat. pushing to her feet and turning to walk toward the living room. she licked his length from top to bottom.” he said. drawing a breath as she cupped his balls with her free hand. She began moving.” he hissed. Inch by inch. . Cat could feel him pulsing in her hand and mouth. Teasing him. Maybe because she knew he had the will to resist but didn’t. When at last all clothing had been discarded. Using her tongue. looking up at him as she did. tight ass. woman. She loved this. She loved the power of being on her knees. And taking the lead with the artistic types came easy. One hand still circled his width while the other found the back of his thigh and slid to his nice. she drew him deeper. “You’re killing me. she drew back. A man with a hard-on forgot all else. Cat centered herself between his calves. A smile tugged on Cat’s lips. she touched the tip of her tongue to his cock and then slowly did a twirl around the ridge. toying with him as she ran her index fingers up his calves.erection. but withdrawing the pleasure of her mouth. She lingered at the tip. urging him to thrust. she lowered herself further and unlaced his shoes. a rhythm to the way her mouth worked with his body. Taste the salty proof of his arousal. still gripping him with her palm. she stroked the underside of his shaft. applying slight pressure as if he feared she might stop. gently at first. Reese looked down at her.” A slow smile turned up the corners of her mouth and she circled his cock with one hand. She did it well and she liked what that did for her. relaxing her throat and suckling. His hips rocked with her and his fingers slid into her hair. Knowing he’d follow. Something about running the show with a man like Reese really turned her on. In response. she sucked it into her mouth. with a slight jerk of his body. Drawing him deep into her throat. when she was certain he was completely on edge. Maybe because she knew at any moment he might turn the tables and try to bring her into submission. past his knees. Focused on the swollen head of his penis. She could see his desire. Reese stared at her with eyes like dark pools of passion. she took him to the absolute edge. pumping back and forth. A start that she knew just how to finish.” she said. Slow and sultry. Up and down. He moaned and the sound ignited her hunger. Sex was her thing. See the way watching got him off. With the heat of her thoughts. Loved being the one who delivered the pleasure. yet. then becoming firmer.

As he closed the distance between them. He pressed her hands to the arms of the chair and molded his form to hers. His mouth neared her ear. he didn’t rush forward. dipping one inside her body.” Before she could resist.” she whispered. “Did you really think you could refuse?” He nipped her lobe. easy moves he inched deeper.” “N-no. To lay Cat down on the floor and gently show her what she did to him. Like fine wine.. her submission. His cock slid between her legs and her warm.” “No. And there had never been a lady so worth enjoying. wicked thoughts flashed through his mind. Besides. her voice quivering with pleasure. Not yet. he used his knees to spread her legs farther apart. giving her a slight slap. “Why?” “Stand up. she didn’t hesitate to do his bidding. She said no but her response defied the truth her body revealed. For Cat. but she had so much to learn. “Make me. The seductive look she cast his direction saying she enjoyed forcing him to come to her. he tasted her. A slow smile turned up the corners of his mouth as he watched her nicely rounded ass depart. “You’re so wet you’re dripping. Her confidence worked for her. predatory-type steps. Feeling it in his body and somehow beyond.” She looked over her shoulder at him. This was about getting inside her head. With slow. Reese reached down and gave it a hard stroke. So many ways he could turn her position into pleasure. how he wanted to sink deep and take her. Reese smiled. Though she wouldn’t admit her desire. “Stay where you are. But that wasn’t going to happen. it was his turn. Easing backward just a bit. With slow. He waited a full minute after Cat disappeared from view to start after her. “Enjoying yourself?” This time she sounded breathless.” This time his voice was heavier with command. True.Chapter Nine Cat played the game of who’s on top better than anyone he’d ever known. absorbing her sweet little moan into his mouth. he entered the living room. Not now. “Gladly. “Stand up. She thought she set the pace. Reaching between them he used his hand to guide his hard length back and forth. trying to trap him inside the warm recesses of her core. The control he’d allowed her had been a gift. The readiness. Decision made. Reese pulled her to her feet and kissed her. full lips. Loving the way her soft curves fit just right. He put another step between them. She’d withdraw afterward. a hint of a smile on her sultry. One that couldn’t be soft and tender even if he wanted it to be. She wasn’t the least bit shy about her nudity. Cat tried to stand and he planted his hands on her hips. He could feel the yes in the way her legs were closing. Except him.. Her brow inched upward. Past the barriers. there was a battle to be fought. his voice low and authoritative. It worked for him too. He placed a solid palm on her ass. Instinct told him so.” she said loudly. allowing himself the space to enjoy the view. his hands gliding over her smooth skin. wet core called to him. returning his pulsing shaft to the slick folds of her core. Ah…. He stopped directly in front of her. Waiting on him. but just out of reach. And so the war of wills began. maybe . this was about more than sex. he broke their kiss and turned her to face forward. She yelped but the sound turned to a moan as he slid his fingers along her sensitive flesh.” she dared. With long strokes of his tongue. But as much as Reese wanted her. a woman was meant to be savored and enjoyed. She sat in a wide cushioned chair with high arms. that meant getting all hot and bothered. She needed to know the tide had turned. Now. Say you want me. But this moment wasn’t about the primal joining of man and woman. Not if he was to achieve his goal…. One meant to earn him trust. Taking in the way her waist curved outward to her nicely rounded backside. He wanted to make love to her. “Say you want me. God. growling low in his throat at the warm wetness he found there.” he said. Cock throbbing with need. But she wasn’t ready.

he began lunging in and out of her body.. This wasn’t something he’d ever experienced.” she murmured and her legs started to buckle.even a bit insecure. was like nothing he had ever known. It all compounded and found him in this moment. faster. Reese grabbed her hips. Cat let her head drop a moment as if she fought some internal struggle. He also knew that the fight to win her heart would be a hard. He could see her breasts bouncing as they started short. Why he knew this with such certainty he couldn’ t say. Listening and loving her sexy little gasps and sighs. he knew he had found “the” woman. taking her to the edge and then pulling it away. Her muscles contracted around his shaft. her muscles grabbed him. Reese knew that though he might have won this one battle for control. Then she looked over her shoulder.. and most of all. and what he felt in that moment. The impact roared through his body like an imaginary ball of fire. Cat’s acceptance of his orders told of a secret she didn’t want revealed.” The words were whispered. Satisfied he’d achieved his goal. damn it.” His tongue did one long slide down her core. he spilled himself in the deep depths of her body.. her way of hiding the confession she’d delivered.” Intent on pleasing her. thick with arousal. meeting it with her own push. vicious one. Pushing to his feet. hard thrust. With soft little sounds of pleasure she squirmed here or there. tight strokes. And trust meant building a bridge toward the other side of her wall. As her mouth and tongue had done delicious things to him. He drove into her and again. burying himself as deeply as he could manage. he called her name…. With his thumbs he pulled her wide and used his tongue. Reese. “Say you want me.” he ordered. Together they moved in short. not sure why…. With one. Ever so often he nipped at her clit with his teeth and then suckled the swollen nub. the complete release. feeling wild with his burn for this woman. The warm. With untamed passion. squeezing him with powerful force. In a raspy voice he barely recognized. tight movements. The sight was sexy and made him wish he could touch them. And then Cat cried out. Pounding at her core. lighting him up. Pull a nipple into his mouth. “All about you. Reese flattened his palm on her stomach. it felt right.. sensual swirls of his tongue. Faster…. “Fuck me. squeezing him with such intense pressure he shattered and shook. against her cheeks. In one of the most forceful explosions he’d ever experienced. I want…. He’d held himself in check so long. Harder. Reese began slow. drawing things out. the utter satisfaction. He smiled and dropped to his knees. baby. He took his time giving it to her.” . “Yes…. Being with Cat felt wild and crazy. “Oh God. Back and forth. darling. her body going stiff. knowing his plan was working. And what he’d learned as her trademark challenge. ***** “I need a shower and clean clothes. She had relinquished control and that meant she was offering him trust. she slammed into him. Watching the arch of her slender back and neck. wet confines of her body answered the cries of his need. “I am enjoying myself but this is about you. her eyes glimmering with heat. pressing upward so that she lifted her hips and gave him better access. His fingers tightened around her hips. He could barely think his body burned with such fire. He cried out with the swift delivery of pleasure. curling her back to his chest. that she was ready to admit defeat. he pressed his cock. her back arching. but needing to hear her reply. Side to side. he had a long way to go before he was on top.” She arched into his next thrust. steadying her. Pumping back and forth. wanting more.” He laughed at her command. thrusting deep and pushing her to her limit. he was satisfied he’d achieved his desired goal. he sank deep in the wet heat of her body.. Pleased with her response. But it would be worth it.. A second later. Red-hot need pulsed through his body.” he purred. “Say you want me. he did as she asked. Then while he tasted her sweetness and felt her surrender.” he said again. Explosive and addictive…. you. As he sank to his knees and pulled her to the floor with him. “Easy. “You know I want you. Passion.

“We have to eat. counselor. “By then it will be almost dinnertime and I have to review a show tonight. But only because I really am getting hungry. naked.” His lips turned up in a sexy smile. and she suppressed a shiver. feeling her heart in her throat. “I owe you. Now. way too comfortable. He sighed. The correct answer was “no”.” But she knew he wasn’t different. “Fine. I better just stay here and get cleaned up. She’d seen her brothers and even her father make all kinds of promises about putting family above work. Take it or leave it. begging to get her heart broken.” His hand flattened on her stomach. he pushed to his feet. but she didn’t. “You’re a tough cookie. she added.” he said as he brushed his fingers over her cheek.” Cat said. “I’m up for the challenge. “Which is?” “To prove to you all attorneys aren’t jerks. To refuse to look at him would give away how vulnerable she felt. It never happened. “But I’ll shower here and we can meet in the middle. “We have nothing in common. Let’s have lunch. But you owe me a concession. .” he said. saying.” Then. He was on top and she was….” “I’d rather you come with me. “I admit I have an agenda.” Why was he doing this? Why? They both knew there could be nothing between them. “Then. “All right. “Come with me. “That’ll take a whole lot more than lunch.” Narrowing her eyes on him. This was sex.” Figured. Leave it at that. She didn’t want to respond to him. We missed dinner. I’ll take you to lunch.” He eased her to her back and she wanted to fight him. So why did she feel so horrible knowing he was about to leave? Reese nuzzled her neck.” “Why?” she challenged.” With that said.” He smiled.” He stared at her a long. “That’s my best offer. “We had sex. Lying in his arms in the middle of her living room floor naked. Yet he seemed to resist saying goodbye as much as she did.” “Look.” He brushed his lips over hers.” “I never said we did. she felt—exposed. harsh and full of reality. “I need to shower too. liking it a little too much.” She laughed. It was crazy..” Cat started to get up. wanted to keep her expression from his view. “I never accept a plea bargain. she had felt warm and safe. Lunch it is. he had control. she tried to figure out what he was thinking. narrowing his eyes on her. close.” “Never?” she challenged.” Reese shackled her arm. she found herself. Cat wasn’t sure how to respond. “I want to spend time with you. It was good. she knew. gorgeous. She swallowed. “You don’t owe me anything. hard few moments and then sighed in obvious defeat. because she knew she was getting in some deep shit. It’s what she’d wanted it to be.Reese’s words washed over Cat like ice water. and leaving her to wonder what the hell his comment meant.” He winked. Still. Once again. She knew this. “Why don’t we run to my place and I’ll grab some clothes and we can come back here and shower together.

a popular hangout for all age ranges.” A sexy little smile turned up the corners of his mouth. sitting forward and resting her hands on the table.” They were talking about sex now. dark stare. When Reese held his hand out for Cat to take the seat which placed her back to the door. Staring at the list of food options. Sweet stuff in the morning and nothing since had caught up to her. Dressed in tan slacks and a lacy off-white long-sleeve blouse. Cat’s hand went to her middle. Take a little there. Tall drinks appeared on the table right about the time a tight spasm in her stomach reminded her that eating was becoming critical. she shook her head in refusal and pointed to the other side. then. She grabbed the menu stuffed behind the napkin holder and put it in front of him.Chapter Ten Cat stood in the doorway of the Art’s Café eyeing the rows of red booths and tables with checkered cloths.” “About some things. “Whatever makes the lady happy.” Cat said.” Reese said with a smile.” she retorted.” She gave him a challenging look. surprised by the out-of-nowhere comment. They make the best in Manhattan. too. most of the lunch crowd had cleared.” His brows dipped and then he smiled. “How do you want your burger?” Reese asked. “We better get you fed. They’re huge. Must order food now. “You can’t even sit with your back to the door.” “And you base that assessment on what? I’m not the one who can’t have my back to the door. “Hunger had me half running the last block. I guess. Or were they? Somehow the conversation was cloudy.” He motioned to a waitress and in a snap they were following her lead to a corner booth. “Double cheeseburger and a shake. looking for anyone who resembled Reese.” “Well. I was a bit early. You have to have everything under thumb. was busy but not overpopulated.” With no hesitation. his body close. Before Cat could recover. She felt like a schoolgirl with no experience with men. spicy and a bit woodsy. Cat could feel Reese’s hot stare.” “You might want a single. He meant her. Even her hand felt a little shaky. “I’d rather sit that direction. and the low. The masculine scent she was beginning to know as unique to Reese. “Reese—” He didn’t let her finish.” she reluctantly admitted. “Some things?” “Look who’s talking.” “I know what I want. “Fine. sultry tone of his voice told her he didn’t mean food.” About that time a rumbling sound in her stomach sounded. I’ll have the same.” Cat sat back in her seat. “And I haven’t?” The waitress appeared before Cat could get her answer and inwardly she cursed the timing. At two o’clock in the afternoon. she could feel the coolness of the September day through the thin material. His brow inched upward. You’re a control freak. As she turned to look at him. This was crazy. “You’re not late. Cat claimed her seat and reached for a menu as Reese slid in across from her. . “I’ve worked up quite the appetite. The waitress took their drink orders and disappeared. “Told you. her stomach fluttered. “Choose. Cat reached for her cola hoping it would settle her grumbling stomach. insinuated into her nostrils and made her draw a breath. “I’ve seen your desire for control and you know it. touching her in the most intimate of places.” The piercing directness in his eyes. The Fifties-style diner.” “You’re a control freak. Give a little here. trying to seem unaffected by his presence. “Am I late?” Reese’s softly spoken words vibrated along her nerve endings like a soft breeze on a hot day. her chin tilting upward so she could meet his deep. “I’m willing to take turns.” She shifted in her seat feeling way too on trial. I’m starving. his hands were on her shoulders.” “I’m starved. “You are. “See?” She grinned.” “What?” she said.

His eyes were so damn blue. “It’s not just attorneys. “And that means what?” Cat hated being grouped with the rest of the media. feeling suddenly defensive.” she responded immediately. I do my job and I do it well. huh?” he asked.” “Wrong.” she reminded him. and he pinned her in a stare.” Reese shook his head.” “There are different motivations. maybe. “A huge one. “You’re tough. not me. She blinked. That doesn ’t make me some sort of devil. no matter what. “So there isn’t a difference. Reese had an air of confidence that oozed sex appeal. “Okay.” he said with a chuckle. Then again. “You’re impossible.” Settling back against the cushion.” “Those who will do anything to be on top. “I’m not like the others.” “I agree with that statement. he studied her. should I not? You’ ve done that to me. The kind she imagined he gave a witness on the stand. Bam.” His brow inched upward. she prayed her blouse had enough lace to hide the evidence of such a response.” “And I guess I should be careful about what I say around a reporter. Cat quirked an eyebrow.” “What I want isn’t so much a concession as a favor. What elite group have I become involved with and don’t know it. her body vibrated with the low pulse of newborn arousal. woman.” “But you’re a reporter so I should convict you of being like them. She hadn’t expected that one. “If you don’t have a conscience inside the courtroom. but you’re still wrong. angry that Reese had managed to get her so off balance. You are you. “Do I dare ask why?” “They say you eat your victims alive in the courtroom.“Well done.” Cat said.” “Is there a difference?” No hesitation in his reply. “I would have thought you’d want yours rare. “I’m an entertainment reporter.” His voice was softer now. Even now. “I should know better than to get into verbal banter with an attorney. Only she doubted the witness felt all tingling with awareness. amusement lighting his eyes. his career would always be number one.” He gave her a coolly assessing look. Then reminded herself he was “one of them”. you don’t have one inside the courtroom. “Like you’ll do anything to get a story?” he countered. Struggling to regain her composure.” he conceded. why do you hate attorneys so much?” Blue. trying to clear her head and get back to the conversation. “Tell me. Protecting the legal system that protects the people is a service.” .” “Yet you get them off.” For an instant she considered throwing her drink in his face. Her physical reaction to this man had left her with her proverbial guard down. Slam.” “And you make damn good money doing it. No matter how sexy. how compelling. Cat. Silently. his voice hinting at laughter. She looked down at the table and blinked several times. Find out who I am outside the courtroom. “No. she lashed out again. “Remember when I said I wanted a concession?” She inhaled and then let it out. Cat. Thinking. “Do you deny you’d do anything to win a case?” she asked.” She made a disbelieving sound.” “No more so than you. “Sometimes. “Same for me.” She ground her teeth together. The criminals are the bad guys. knowing he was about to blast her with some hard-to-answer question. The slight movement of her arm and the rub of fabric against her now ultra-sensitive nipples made them ache.” “Victims. I’ll bite. “You’re already calling that trump card? I would have thought you’d hold it longer than a few hours.” “Not just attorneys?” he asked. “Give me a real chance. And it’s not personal.” Reese told the waitress before she disappeared.

And no matter what his attire. I do. In other words. “I take it your father is being protective?” he prodded gently. “You want the truth?” If he told her he hadn’t she’d know he was a liar and she could never trust him.” She paused watching as he took a bite of his burger.” ***** Knowing who her father was explained so much about her personality. Maybe she owed him the benefit of the doubt. “As in the Maxwell being charged with securities fraud?” She nodded. “My own newspaper has been hounding me for a story. The fact that my father might be going to jail or that I have to read the paper to know what’s going on.” “I don’t know which is worse. I don’t live in his world now or ever. The waitress appeared and set their food in front of them. “You’ve never taken a case just for the money or even the public attention?” His eyes cut to the side a moment. they were most likely helping to put her father behind bars.. A prickle of guilt began to form. Inwardly. he had to ask. once I sign on to a case. She laughed but without humor. Most certainly. she swallowed the last of a fry and wiped her hands on a napkin.” She crossed her arms in front of her chest and gave him hard look. she owed him the kind of directness he’d just shown her. After sipping the warm liquid. “Like?” “It’s a long story. he had a sexiness that said “bad boy”. Early in my career. “You were going to ask my last name earlier. “A lot. “No. giving her a direct look.“Sometimes. Decision made. he wasn’t handling this case.” Cat studied Reese. Even dressed casually. Yet…. Yet….” Reese told himself to tell her about his firm’s involvement. She respected his honesty. I feel like I woke up in the middle of someone else’s bad dream.” Curious. He knew he had to. He shouldn’t be with Cat. “Yes. some of the accusation in her tone gone. He felt her distress. fate reared its ugly head. Two. “That would be my father. defending someone I’ve lost faith in is hell. “Maxwell. I wanted to win at all cost. “I have. In most cases. They walk the walk and talk the talk. It would be looked at as if he was sleeping with the enemy.” In other words. Cat set down her cup. Sometimes. His firm was representing her father’s business partner. She liked Reese. My last name is Maxwell. The two older ones work for my father. Nothing that noble.” “What’s different now?” she asked. she waited for his response. he cursed. “You asked about my brothers. She’d decided she could tell him about this and he wanted to be there for her. she needed support and his admission about his past seemed to have opened a door of some sort. For several minutes. I am obligated for the long haul. recognition flashing across his face.” One second. “I can ’t imagine how difficult it’s been. My younger brother is an architect. I get into the case and realize I don’t. they ate without speaking. Just when he thought he’d gotten Cat to see beyond his job. he claimed an air of authority..” “So they work for Maxwell?” The waitress came by with two coffee cups and both Reese and Cat accepted. he wasn’t willing to share any insight. But maybe this “bad boy” had more good in him than she’d given him credit for. But I have to do it. thinking how different he looked in jeans and the black T-shirt he wore today. The tension had become palpable. finding she wanted to believe him.” He stopped chewing. “And these things make you a good guy how?” “I try to pick clients I believe in.” he said. But not anymore. “Yeah. She eyed him. I won’t lie to you. because the system has purpose.” The vulnerability in her voice made him want to hold her. When he finally swallowed.” he nodded. But my two older brothers are. “What made you start talking?” . It has to be used as it’s designed. We are considered the traitors. It also put Reese in a hell of a position.

Or he’d at least try. His mind raced.” He watched her walk away. Yes. “Your honesty. Maybe…. he could. Damn…. he replayed the idea in his head. “Bathroom. And then there would be no conflict of interest. she seemed to assess him a moment. . Maybe he could look at the case file and see if he could influence a quick closure for everyone involved. He’d make this go away so Cat could stop worrying. Over and over.Her hands resting on her cup. Be right back. That was what he’d do. He drew a breath. If you had told me you didn’t ever take a case for money or fame. He had to tell her... But he couldn’t see Cat again until it was over. He opened his mouth to speak just as Cat slid from her seat with her purse in hand.” Crap. How the hell had he gotten himself into such a mess? Cat was the first woman he remembered ever wanting this much and he was about to lose her over someone else’s crimes. unless he could find a way to make this all go away. the sweet sway of her backside bringing back memories having her naked and in his arms. Not telling you my last name felt like a dirty little secret I didn’t want to carry. I’d have known you were lying.

feel sorry for herself. she’d go home and…. feeling a strange need to ensure she didn’t bolt. The only other person who’d ever done that was her best friend Lauren.” The pain in her voice washed over him like it was his own. Straightening. but why.Chapter Eleven Confused and upset. Cat patted at her hair and exhaled. a bite to the words that made him inwardly flinch. “Reese—” “Please. “Only for a minute.” His finger slid from her check to stroke her hair. the money Maxwell represented had been a reason people. His palm went to her cheek.” He’d done something.” God. Instead of interest. Sure. I need to go. but she was so damn upset he was afraid she would bolt. “More than you can imagine. men in particular.” Once she was beside him. She blinked at him several times and sighed.” she said. he kept her hand in his. I don’t want to talk. That was for damn sure. He knew that with certainty. She tossed money down. bitter sound. “You have no idea what it’s like to be my father’s daughter. She’d make up a nice excuse and leave. Reese had been bothered by who her family was too. I don’t know why we are even here today. Her mind raced with thoughts about Reese. He wasn’t her type anyway. “We are more than a fling. He didn’t want to be just a fling. Why wouldn’t you?” She laughed.” She seemed upset.” he urged. “Sit with me. “Talk to me. not believing she’d just given it to him. His finger went to her chin. A damn good bed partner but nothing more. It was time to end this thing. She hadn’t slept well in days and it was showing. In the past. It had gone too far anyway. “And of course you told me about your father. he had money. When she’d told Reese about her father. Cat had darted away from the lunch table and into the tiny restaurant bathroom barely big enough to hold a toilet and sink.” he said. she saw something different in Reese. She didn’t know why this thing with Reese bothered her so much. You know it. wanted to get close to her. A choked. “We were a one-night stand. a low plea in his voice.” Cat said shortly. “What’s wrong?” he asked. however. urging her to look at him. Or perhaps disgust? She wasn’t sure. What the hell was wrong with her? ***** By the time Cat returned to the table.” she said. Maybe because her father was being accused of stealing? That word “stealing” sent Cat’s stomach into a lurch.” His brows dipped. “I have to run. You didn’t have to know. he gently shackled her wrist and urged her to join him. Now he was too. Think about who my . she’d prepared herself to see dollar signs in his eyes. Reese had begun to wonder if she had left. Nothing meant something. I shouldn’t have brought up my father. We are just—” “Just what?” “A fling. Her unwillingness to look him in the eye when she’d replied was a telltale sigh. Her mother must be rolling over in her grave over this. only made her determination to leave clear. he should tell her about his firm and her father. especially when feeling trapped. Cat’s hand shook as she tried to apply lipstick in the mirror. She’d seen dread. The way Reese had reacted to her confession over her family name had taken her off guard. her life and this situation with her father. I don’t know why I tortured myself by telling you. But the money Cat grew up around had intimidated Lauren. He grabbed the cash and handed it to her. Worse. near his hand. the deep pink shade seemed to emphasize her too-pale skin. “I just have to go. I forgot about something I have to do. I know it. but most people never thought they had enough. All her life her last name had impacted how people perceived her. Not the best place to hide out. “What’s wrong?” “Nothing. She hesitated. “Did I do something to upset you?” “No. Then. This time the name brought a negative reaction rather than a positive one.. She’d thought she wasn’t good enough to hang out with Cat. Her arrival. eyes going to his chest. Sliding along the seat. she didn’t know. cutting her eyes to the floor.” “No. “I told you I’d buy you lunch. She inhaled and exhaled and continued.

and then seemed to hesitate. two girls from opposite sides of town. Lauren followed. “I don’t know what to make of you. stopping dead in her tracks. she studied him. “I…. she understood Cat. Pushing open the bathroom door.father is. eyebrows dipped. A soft smile that pleased him. Because just outside the door stood Reese. she began to pace.” Reese paused.” he said.” She looked down again and he wondered what she was thinking. he felt if she bolted he might not ever see her again.” Turning away from the door. trying to dig out her ringing cell phone at the same time.” “I know. “And then I married him!” Then. despite his best judgment.” Cat said.” She looked at Cat and smiled. was under his skin. Reese thought she just might open up. And look at how you react to knowing who I am..” Lauren said. You hated me.” She smiled.” He smiled at her. walking toward the theatre door and laughing with her. lack of—after the show during Cat’s interview. “I never know if people want to be close to me or the money my family has.” . But not impossible ones.” She lowered her voice and leaned toward her friend. And he knew she needed to talk. What else could he do? This was for the best. I know. “Never seen a man have quite an effect on you. For some reason. but the idea of letting her escape bothered him.” She stood up and Reese let her. Fate had brought them together under sticky circumstances. I had a lot of pressure to follow in his footsteps.” “The feeling is mutual. He’d just have to work one that helped Cat’s little nightmare with her father get resolved. brows dipped. But after a quick goodbye. he needed to spend time with his mother. She knew she’d talk when she was ready. “We aren’t as different as you have tried to make us. everyone knows I have money. need to go. “Now. Drinks. “I guess that means we have to do some in-depth exploration. “You had an affair with your boss. Inside. are no good girl.” “That much I got about the time you bounded for the bathroom door. turning to face Cat and letting her eyes drift toward to direction of her friend’s. “Maybe. “This has nothing to do with me and everything to do with that woman. One thing about Lauren. Now. “Ah.” Cat laughed.” Tilting her head to the side. They’d know each other for years.” Lauren’s head jerked toward Cat. And Cat. Someone should tell her that pretty designs on a bra do not make it a shirt. Lauren sniffed and made a comment about the lead actress’s attire—or rather. as Lauren leaned against a sink and silently watched her. If he could get her alone and relaxed.” He should just let this be until he took care of this thing with her father. He had to find out why. He’d worked plenty of legal miracles. “What are you doing later?” “I have to go to the new Night Rangers opening tonight. “Come on now. ***** Cat had called Lauren to go to the show with her. “You. I assure you. Reese. It wasn’t always that way. Besides. Cat walked the other direction as fast as her slim black-skirted dress and high heels would take her. Not anymore.” she argued. It’ll run late with after show interviews. So. “Women like the power the media dishes out to me and let’s face it. just because of how you perceive me.” Cat opened her mouth to speak and then shut it.” Her eyes lifted to his. not sure you still don’t.” She mumbled something low and hung up. answering. “That isn’t just some guy. Another trip across the bathroom and Cat turned to face Lauren. nodding. she was glad she had. without a doubt. Serendipity. my darling friend. making her light brown hair bounce.” she said. I really don’t. “Hello. We’re coming. Cat was relieved to find it empty. “You do?” “Of course. “Yes. he found himself turning to watch Cat’s departure. “What’s wrong.” “People know you’re not your father. Because I did and you didn’t in your father’s doesn’t change the reaction people have when they hear the name. who found soul sisters in each other. he found himself asking.

biting her bottom lip. Or anything but whom he proves himself to be in your eyes.” “But?” Lauren urged. In fact. not liking the way her friend’s words took hold. this guy has gotten more of a reaction from you than I’ve ever seen. disturbed. not show up.” Lauren said. It’s crazy.” She paused. I don’t want to be one of those freaky people who marry a version of their inattentive father and convince themselves it’s not some weird need for approval from someone just like him. clearly he’s here to seek you out. Not directly.. Part of the group of men you consider the enemy. “I’m sure he doesn’t think that. too. “He’d call. her voice softer. “He might be Mr.. “Hello? The attorney who handles all the high-profile cases on the news all the time?” “Still don’t know him. Besides. hands going to her hips. Was she judgmental in an unfair way? Maybe. “I keep thinking about him. “With an attorney. when I finally told him who my father was—” “So he didn’t even know? That’s perfect. “He seemed…. “Will you please let me finish?” Lauren had the good judgment to murmur an apology. “Fine. “He is not Mr. “I know. Right. “I’m really confused right now. didn’t you?” She paused as if expecting a denial. eyes searching Cat’s face.” Cat ground her teeth. My.” “No. I’ll say it. now.” “Then what is?” “I’m trying to get to it if you’ll let me. “Sort of. He is so not right for me. It wasn’t the reaction I expected. “Reese Winter.” Lauren blinked.” “You really like this guy. Or I assume he is. Deep in her gut and in her heart.” Cat gave her a warning look. Right?” “Extreme reactions for extreme feelings. Her hand went to her forehead. You slept with this Reese guy. She sighed.” Lauren’s brows dipped. ” Lauren leaned forward a bit as if hanging on to the words. The fact that he showed up here made my heart beat all wild for all kinds of reason.” Lauren’s eyes went wide.” Her eyes twinkled with the words.” Cat threw her hands in the air and then let them fall to her legs. Now. “Is he involved with this stuff with your father or what?” “No. “That’s not what I said. “It was only supposed to be a one-night stand. “He seemed…. It proves his interest was in you and not your money. hugging herself. “Since when did a man who makes you run and hide become Mr. She didn’t like the thought. ” She hesitated.” She held up a finger.” Lauren held her hands up stop sign fashion. “Oh. Reese probably thinks lying and cheating runs in the family.” She had to be kidding. “Is that supposed to mean something to me?” Cat rolled her eyes. And once he gets to know you he’ll judge you for you. “Disturbed?” she said with confusion in her tone.” Lauren said with a shrug. Or his job. “But what?” Cat demanded. Not one bit. Don’t judge him by his family either. “In fact. That’s not the point.. In fact. yes.“It’s Reese Winter. “He has money.” she said with emphasis.” Cat glared and then continued. “What the heck does that mean?” “I don’t know. excited to see him. he might be just what the doctor ordered. God. I mean.” “Cat. Someone who isn’t your normal artsy type. I don’t think he would do that if he thought such things. But then. I didn’t expect my father to be accused of stealing either. She was on edge and wanting to know what Lauren wasn’t saying.” She gave a decisive nod and crossed her arms in front of the cream silk of her camisole dress. don’t you?” Did she dare admit it out loud? Cat turned to face Lauren. this does have to do with my father.” Lauren said discarding that idea.” “Is he like your father?” . “I know. I was…. I’m begging to get hurt. Right.” “Maybe he feels guilty for how he reacted when I told him. “But….” Cat gave Lauren her back.” She shook her head..” “Wow.

“Crap. and headed for the door. Are you willing to give him a chance? A real one? Because if you are. And she wanted him. .” She was right. but he was hot.” “Then maybe he isn’t. For now. really long time. that poor man has been standing outside for a really. He had. that would just have to be enough. And he was here.” Cat said. Bad. Reese Winter might not be her type.“I don’t want him to be.

and seeing his parents as they were. You left lunch a little abruptly. pulling her close and brushing his mouth across hers.” His fingers trailed her wrist and slowly moved up her arm. Cat?” Reese and Cat both turned toward the female voice. Never before had he responded in such a way to a woman. Reese had been to see his father and found him stubborn and determined to make his wife come home groveling. called her best friend to stay with her and given her some over-the-counter sleeping pills. He gently shackled her wrist.” “Hmmm. Just until he dealt with the complications of her father and his firm. To explain what was going on in that pretty little head of hers. Reese had headed to his mother’s to take her to dinner. he reached for her. Though the news that his wife had taken an apartment seemed to shake him. And in that moment. “Hi. feeling the way she fit perfectly in his arms with a wave of possessiveness. to take his mother away somewhere. She’d been upset and he couldn’t help but wonder if she needed him the way he did her right now. Her lips. wanting to see her. he had the distinct impression that she approved of his presence. The crazy thing was. When she stopped before him. Every inch of his body screamed for her. “I wasn’t so sure. “I know.” he said. What the hell was happening to him? His gaze lifted and he found her walking toward him. this one had fast become important to him. he realized. In fact. Her body lightly touching his made him yearn for more. with certainty.” Cat said to her friend. hard to explain. trying to step away from Reese. waiting outside a theatre. He’d hated the way he and Cat had parted at lunch. Not surprised.. Her hand went to his jaw. With awareness and warmth. But all his pleas had gotten him nowhere. anticipating her touch. had made him realize that alone wasn’t always so wonderful. he couldn’t get it off his mind.” “Why?” he asked. hoping to catch up with her. He felt her eyes on him. “This is Reese Winter.Chapter Twelve Reese had told himself to stay away from Cat. but she didn’t try to escape. upset his father hadn’t called and then she’d started crying. He watched her approach. She glanced at him. “Later. The black dress she wore was short enough to display long. Holding hands in public meant they were having more than sex. He’d begged his father to take time off. Lauren. Needing to see her. lean legs. For a loner who didn’t get close to women. tempting him with a quick flash of her tongue. She wasn’t upset about being forgotten at all.” She wet her lips. The silky fabric hugged her curves displaying the sway of her curvy hips with tantalizing results. But here he was. It would be easy to forget the shuffle of people around them. Lauren.” he said in a gentle voice. He’d barely noticed the woman who’d been walking beside Cat. he’d been on edge. a slight frown on her face. “Nice to meet you. studying her. Even his heart beat faster. Her soft scent. “Try. Lauren gave him a nod. She swallowed. She’d barely touched her food.” Cat said. To devour her with his mouth and pull her tight against his hips. “It’s…. He took her hand. Cat. I’m sorry. Heat swirled in the air charged with the electricity of their connection. “Surprise. By the time Reese had taken her home. “Not an unpleasant one. For some reason. So here he was. Her lashes fluttered and lifted. only hours later. he really didn’t like that idea. Reese hadn’t gotten past “no” and “she’ll be back”. Meeting Cat. Feeling disappointed and more parent than child. Damn. Cat felt like the solution to how he was feeling.” She started to pull her hand away. He felt her presence. This was becoming a relationship. “Oh God.” Reese smiled and noted the twinkle in the brunette’s green eyes. it’s what he wanted. He wanted her to open up and talk to him.” . A feeling of accomplishment hit Reese. No. her expression sultry. He glanced down a moment and then felt a rush of heat. In fact.

“What did you do that for?” Reese laughed. It’s the press that turns certain cases into major news. The look in her eyes said she was sorry for being so hard on him. She needed to hear his point of view. Slowly. “Reese. Reese found yet another glimpse into Cat’s world. Reese found himself enjoying the casual conversation. He liked both Matt and Lauren. a mischievous tease in her voice. “Actually. Reese. he let out a sigh of relief. the conversation was filled with laughter. “I believe in the system and the law. Cat smiled at him and their eyes met.” Matt nuzzled Lauren’s neck.” Her final words were exaggerated as she gave Cat a look that said. clearly trying to tear down his sincerity. waving her hands in animation. It saves lives and protects people. it bothers me.” she said. Cat.” He eyed Lauren. Inwardly. It was a rough time.” Cat hesitated a moment and then squeezed Reese’s hand. Never before had a woman made him feel the need to touch her all the time. Maybe I shouldn’t. Want to join us?” To see Cat in a casual setting. “I take many that are not high dollar.” It was Cat who’d spoken and Reese turned his full attention to her. you do what you are required to do but no more.” Cat said. When Lauren began to tell the story of how she met her husband Matt. “Speaking of news. He slid his fingers along her cheek. I’m not without a conscience. “Cat and I are supposed to meet my husband for drinks at Serendipity. like you had different ones for me?” Cat said. “Knowing a murderer went free because you defended him?” Reese felt Cat stiffen beside him.” Lauren said. “you’ve handled some pretty high-profile cases. I fight for that. “It’s okay. Lauren tried to imitate her. I took a week off of work. glancing at him. “I think it was the love ‘em and leave ‘em comment. Must be tough to defend some of the people you do. For the next hour. He has a table reserved. Progress. Cat made her plans for me quite clear. “Not Cat.” Lauren turned to him with a flash of anger on her face seconds before Matt yelped and reached for his leg. “Lauren’s career desires ruled her world. laughing. I almost quit law because it tore me up so badly. a little charge of electricity zipping through the air between them. Cat bit her bottom lip and seemed to consider a moment. I really did. relaxing and being herself sounded perfect to him. Letting her withdraw wasn’t an option. She evoked all kinds of things he didn’t understand. But Cat did. “So. They were of the corporate world and all the “dog eat dog” that went with it. I’m at a place in my career where I can choose my cases with care. I thought he was innocent. I reevaluated the seven years of school I’d put into my future. I remember my first rude awakening.“She’s my closest friend.” Lauren cleared her throat. In those situations. I fought hard for this guy and I felt like the king of the world when I won. But I’m sure people ask you about that all the time. “yeah right”. “I guess all that matters is the here .” Then. he looked pointedly at Cat. have a fling with the boss but keep it quiet.” Matt said. but he looked at her for approval. Tell me tonight’s show is going to get a bad review. “So Cat said. But then he told me he did it. but surely.” Reese shrugged.” Lauren explained. and nudging her with his arm. “Hell yeah. “It happens all the time.” “Does it bother you?” Lauren said. that’s for sure. “Can you join us?” ***** Sitting beside Cat in Serendipity.” “Oh. There wasn ’t any DNA evidence but the prosecutor wanted him bad. Why Cat didn’t see them in the way she did him he didn’t know. “She was hard to get to. Both were businesspeople like himself. He’d killed that girl.” “But you tend to take ones that make lots of money. He held her hand a bit tighter. a guy accused of brutally raping and killing a woman. “I try to defend people who deserve defending. Cat’s love ‘em and leave ‘em attitude is what almost did me in.” “But you decided to stay and you defend criminals all the time. Someone had to help her get a life. I had this case.” Reese said. There are times when I choose wrong or when I somehow land in the middle of a case I never wanted.

. Cat looked up to find Reese leaning against the wall in the hallway leading to the bathrooms. he said he believed in his clients. Maybe she should just go have another glass of wine and stop thinking so much. Or maybe he was.. “This thing between us makes no sense. He just wanted to see where this was going. She’d bolted like a fool. But then. Crazy. Weren’t they? Reese didn’t seem like the others but she knew he had to be. He acted as if he didn’t morally break the rules. This time she had to pull herself together quick. his spicy male scent sliding into her . feeling her heart pound a rhythm against her chest. That thought make her shiver.” Tilting her head. Maybe that was why she always felt so unsatisfied. The plain and simple truth came down to fear.” “This is just as unexpected to me. She had to move. He simply inferred they were a little more than a sexual fling. Wrong thing to say. Reese sat there a minute contemplating and then stood up. But Reese and men like him were all about money and getting ahead. “Excuse me a minute. He and Cat needed to have a talk. He wasn’t proposing.” he said softly. she straightened. like a smoldering fire.” she said to the group and then she was gone. “And what comes next. “I….” Cat blinked at him and then inhaled deeply. Her concerns about Reese didn’t come from his prior personal life. Her family trouble had her tied up in knots. Funny. Leaning toward her. And warm. It was nuts. With that thought. The restaurant was packed and several women were outside waiting on her. she hugged herself. “Don’t you want to know what this is between us?” he asked.” she answered. He leaned close. his blues eyes seemed dark. He’d dated a couple models and even an actress. his touch. waiting for her. Maybe she secretly wanted a man more…. he intended to whisper as much in her ear. she studied him. “Not from you. no color visible.” she half whispered. “So you admit it’s more than sex?” She swallowed and nodded leaning back to look him in the eyes. She’d seen him get murderers off.” he said to Matt and Lauren. yet he made her feel more than any other man ever had. But….” she said. Could that be true? God. She supposed it should make her feel insecure. Smoothing her dress with her palms. but it didn’t. She had to go back out there. but before he could. How could she fall for a man who helped criminals get off of charges for money? Yet. I do.. his nearness. but until this moment she hadn’t even thought of that. she reached for the door and decided to go face Reese and her own fears. when a strong hand lightly shackled her wrist. made her forget. The press had made him out to be a bit of a playboy. The attraction between them was real. She barely knew him.” He paused. ***** What was it about Reese that sent her to public bathrooms? She seemed to always run and hide. Which was true or he wouldn’t be here with her tonight. Shit. A flash of panic crossed her face. Her life felt out of control and he. He urged her forward and she let him. Only her feet seemed planted in the spot she stood. right now as he leaned toward her again. why did she want it to be so damned bad? Someone knocked on the door and she jumped. She made it all of two steps out the door and just past a couple snooty remarks about how long she was in the bathroom. She let out a shuddered breath. He wasn’t her type. She knew his words were true. Reese scared the hell out of her. “From me. With that thought. “Ladies’ room. his breath warm and sensual on her neck and ear as he whispered. he thought. There was nothing wrong with what Reese had said. Made her feel safe. like Reese than the artsy types she dated.and now. felt like a white knight. she pushed her seat back and stood. Okay. His brow inched upward in question. Without even sharing what was on her mind. So much so that he saw her chest rise. “You’re always running from me. somehow. true. She needed him right now.

Telling Cat about his firm was now mandatory. It scared her. The last thing he needed was his picture in the paper with Maxwell’s daughter.. Reese felt his stomach tighten.” Cat said. “Is your father guilty?” “Will you support him in court?” “Ms. No telling how she was going to react. reporters started cramming microphones at her and asking questions. “Let’s go to my place. Progress lost.” ***** They stepped onto the sidewalk and made it all of a foot before cameras started going off. Before she could answer. She should insist on going to her apartment. “All right. she couldn’t remember what her concerns were. He shoved money at the hostess.” Reese turned her toward the restaurant and shoved her through the door. “I need a back door and a cab. But then. Maxwell…. the chance to see more of his world appealed for some unknown reason. His place? That meant no control for her. “I hate this. Your place it is. Damn it.” He was almost certain he’d avoided the cameras.” Her stomach flip-flopped. . ” “God. Progress made. Shit. Almost.nostrils. “I take it this is about your father?” he asked. He pulled Cat close and lowered his head.

” “Like mine. they tell me as little as possible.” “Why is that?” “You think I’m like my father. “With three brothers. When he turned back to her. I see how she needs my father and he isn’t there. “Like my father. As if it was home. his eyes warm on her skin. of course. not a son. holding two glasses. “I hope this wakes up my father. but it gets more complicated. The large living room sat directly off the entrance. I got her to agree to that. “Hell. I see my mother’s pain. A huge bar framed a large kitchen. I called her best friend to stay instead. at times like this.” “My guess is they’re a lot alike. “Of course.” “I know you don’t want to hear this. facing him as she leaned on the cushion. “I know why you’re afraid of me. but she wouldn’t let me. “They don’t offer much support. There weren’t flashy colors or fancy statues.” He scrubbed the evening shadow now present on his jaw. She accepted her drink and smiled. I wanted to stay the night with her. She wasn’t against it tonight.” “And what exactly did you expect?” he asked. “I thought it would be more bachelor-like. “But I doubt it. but to leave like your mother has is brave. Sitting on an incredibly soft.” She paused. I’m glad she had a close female friend.” “I’m not sure I know what that means. sipping her wine. My father says he’s innocent. He’s your father. I can tell you that sometimes siblings only complicate matters. I didn’t know what else to do. Warm browns helped set the comfortable mood as did dim track lights. How does a bachelor’s place look?” She shrugged. Emotional. I call him Uncle Ray. She died unhappy. “Yes.Chapter Thirteen Reese’s apartment had a comfortable feeling. it’s nice having a larger family. He seemed intent on taking things slow. the men in her life had all been artsy to this point. you do.” Then in a lower voice more to himself than anything. and sat down next to her. He was looking at her.” Reese reached for her wine and deposited both of their glasses on the marble coffee table. It’s not what I expected.” Cat said.” “How is your mother?” His shoulder sank into the couch. it was.” “You have a lot of preconceived notions about me. the silence between them felt okay.” “I would think now would be a time you were happy for your brothers and the strength and support. In fact.” He didn’t respond immediately and seemed to his drift into his thoughts for a moment. Everything she was feeling was foreign and hard to digest. he slid closer and his palm did a soft glide across her cheek before he took her hand. sometimes. It must be hard getting all this press. I do. She turned and slid down on the couch a bit. she needs a daughter around. “I just thought it would be more about bells and whistles than comfort. light brown leather couch.” She turned to her side. It’s made it harder dealing with all of this. It was doing that a lot the past week. At least. The man he’s blaming for all of this is so close to the family.” She expected Reese to respond but he didn’t.” . She knew the artists. My mother wanted to leave but she never did.” Her eyes dropped to her glass and she remembered what Lauren had said about judging Reese unfairly. Still. I mean. leaning into it but still facing Cat. Cat waited on Reese to pour her a glass of wine.” Reese brushed his fingers along her hairline. “I’m trying to be better. Above it a huge picture of a landscape. “I like your place.” She lifted her gaze to his. I mean I did. The thing that struck Cat as odd was that it made her feel that way. to him. resting her head on the cushion and staring up at the ceiling. Which. After all. Somehow I felt she needed another woman. “I’d like to believe he is.” Her stomach knotted. A stairway led to the other rooms.” “Believe me. “You’re right. “Hurt. Directly in front of her was a brick fireplace. Reese appeared. But sometimes it’s not so great. His innocence means someone else’s guilt.

Or the yearning for him beyond the physical. soft and sensual. But it didn’t stop the thrill of his words. he did the same to hers. “Thank you. her nipples settling with tantalizing perfection into the dark hair on his chest. she wasn’t sure she wanted to.” she whispered against his mouth. His hands on his thighs as if he had forbidden them to move. Yet. so ready. his mouth.” Feeling drawn to him. pressing her warm skin to his. “What?” she asked. In a few flicks of her hands and a brush of material. “You know what I want?” he whispered.” he said.” Her lashes fluttered. God. too. he was so hard. Claiming her mouth in a passionate. “Make love to me. he pinched her nipples.” she said softly. her jaw and her ear. That this was more than sex. He always had a smile and a way about him that wasn’t all business. Without another thought. feeling attached emotionally. So instead of speaking. Never. Explored. enjoying the flex of muscle beneath her touch.” Cat absorbed the intimacy of what he said. breath mingling with hers. She stood in front of him and began undressing. A flash of passion and emotion so intense it darkened his eyes crossed his features. Finally. He felt good.” She paused.” He nodded. “To make love to you. a slow slide of his tongue past her lips. the deep meaning. over his arms. scared her. To feel this man beyond the limits she’d placed upon herself and every other who’d ever touched her.” Their eyes locked and held. She couldn’t make this go away. “I need you tonight. struggling to stay focused on the task as he arched his hips upward. but still…. She wanted to believe they weren’t just flowery words spoken in a moment of passion. he lingered. “So I guess that means you’re close to this man?” “I have fond memories of Ray from my youth. onto his lap. “For finding me tonight. a bit breathless. A willingness to be the one without the barrier of clothing. Urgency grew and she slid the shirt over his skin and across his shoulders. he swallowed her moans and palmed her breasts. For there was more than the heat of the . Induced ravishing charges of electric heat that felt as if they would consume her with a cloud of instant desire. she really wanted to make love. ever. “For what?” he asked. To touch. Ever inch of her skin tingled and warmed. ” He seemed to hesitate as if he wasn’t sure what to say. sultry trickle against her skin. his body. Her fingers slid through his dark hair.” He kissed her then. He framed her face with his hands. Make love to me.” “It’ll work out. she kicked off her shoes and pushed to her feet. it’s a fact.. Nice and slow and all night long. To say yes. That he found comfort in her presence felt special. He pulled her to him. She worked the buttons of his shirt. “I love Ray. I needed to see you. When he lifted his mouth from hers. teasing her with the wait of another taste. Then.Reese took a few moments to respond. rolling and tweaking with a technique born of a man who knew how to please a woman. It’s crazy. hungry kiss. Even if she could. and the intensity of the emotion she felt in those few seconds made her shiver. still she didn’t know how to respond to the inferred question. Her lashes fluttered as his lips touched her neck. She straddled him and instantly his hands and mouth traveled. It was meant as a sign of trust. For the first time in her life. pressing his aroused cock against her core. his blue eyes so dark with passion they appeared black. Exposed. her breath lodged in her throat. “I love my father.” she said. she had him partially undressed. He pulled her close. sizzled. in her life had she felt this kind of powerful connection to a man. He was fully dressed.. He was at our family functions. Even at my college graduation. Cat was naked. I don’t want either one of them to be in trouble. He watched her. Every caress of his hand. But even as she explored the fine lines of his body.” “I’m glad you came. She sensed he wanted to comfort her and it felt good.” “Cat…. And when he drew back and stared up at her. “You found me tonight. “This thing with your parents is bothering you. “For some reason you felt like the thing that would make it better. her heart skipped a beat. his eyes smoldering hot. his breath a warm. “In my thoughts. she leaned forward and pressed her lips to his.” “I’m not so sure. It was what it was. I know.

hard body against hers. Though she’d wanted a reaction from him. She clung to him. desire and need were unleashed. wonderful. She wanted to argue the loss until she realized he was undressing. This was an ultimate satisfaction. Reese moved. Baby. An illusion. she sat up.. body arching into her mouth. His hand circled it as if reacting to the heat of her stare. “To come when you come. Reese whispered her name and kissed her.” he half whispered. “Cat. her fingers digging into his back even as she lifted her hips upward. Even tasted as his tongue caressed hers. She found her fingers damp. But there was more to her silence and she knew it. That came later. her eyes lifting to his as she did. Reese flipped her to her back. Abruptly. arousal. She’d felt power from taking a guy over the edge many times. she found one in herself. probing strokes. Dangerous. all merged and made her mind cloud. Maybe not ever. But it wasn’t enough. Wildly. . his breath warm and tantalizing against her cheek. Her fingers brushed his cheek and then his lips before her mouth brushed his for the briefest of moments. She sank into the kiss. To be acted upon. With her own orgasm. And as he watched she bent forward and licked the dampness pooling again on the tip.” She could barely breathe. He pushed her hair away from her face. She lapped at him with her tongue. Reese’s mouth lingered above hers. “I want to make love to you. She touched the tip of his cock and his hand slid away. She wanted to feel him pulse in her hand and she circled his shaft. Not too bulky but not too lean. untangling himself from her body and pushing to his feet. She didn’t just want the feel of his cock hitting her core. The salty taste of his arousal spurred her onward. Like a burst of flames.” he murmured. “I’m crazy about you. No. Time seemed to stand still as they merged into the passion. meeting him halfway. she knew. she didn’t know how to respond. broad. Her absorption. Still. legs wrapping around his calves as she fought to get him closer. her body sizzled.” For some reason. She found herself nipping at his shoulder. His pleasure was hers. She was as scared of what he made her feel as she was pleased. she heard in his voice. Taking everything she could get. Everything felt too soft. love. To feel their bodies in motion as one. Anticipation. love. caressing the sensitive skin of her neck with his fingers and then his mouth. And there he stood. still kissing her with deep. He took a step forward. savoring the seduction of the moment. She wanted every inch of his body touching hers. After several seconds. Cat. They pressed against each other.” Reese eased her back with effort. To know she’d given him that satisfaction. His body was perfection. they kissed. she covered it with her own. “I can’t get close enough. offering proof of just how ready he was for her. But before she could think. Inside you. Drinking his kisses in with a thirst like none before. Cat spread the liquid along the soft skin of his head and along the ridge. allowing her inspection. and feeling impatient. She wanted this. pressing his long. But when her gaze settled on his erection. Back and forth. Taking her time and enjoying. There was…. their bodies beginning to rock together. Too not enough.. Cat sucked him into her mouth. When his hand closed over one of breasts. ever. she watched as he toed off his shoes and then shoved his pants and underwear down in one movement. His cock slid inside her and seemed to melt into her body. biting him even. But never. arms sliding around his neck. and whatever she’d seen in his eyes. Pleasing him became imperative. She wanted him to come. half growled into her ear. Up and down. tall. circling and tasting. Turning him on wasn’t like turning on other men. long and hard. emotion. It made her wish for things she thought she didn’t believe in. He was moaning. It couldn’t be. it sent a shiver from head to toe. Head to toe muscle. fingers in her hair. taking him with long slides back and forth. she just acted instinctively. Not yet. She wanted him. Maybe it was simply because she burned to move with him. Leaning up on her elbows. She didn’t want to stop. she was pressed into the couch cushion and he eased her legs apart. Out of control. Her eyes traveled from his broad shoulders to his tapered waist and defined abs…. There was true yearning. had she felt pleasure from it. urging him to knead harder. When she demanded her turn. With you. and sexy. lingering. At least that’s what if felt like.moment in his gaze. The absolute yearning to feel the steel hardness of his cock buried deep in her core demanding to be heard. The need to have him inside her growing with each passing second.

well. “I’ll stay. they lay there. He reached down and thumbed her nipple and then leaned down and drew it between his lips and teeth. I cooked with her.Cat moaned. Wake up with me. “She trained you well. Eat breakfast with me. She tumbled into the sweet.” . But Reese wasn’t like anyone she had ever known. Sleep with me. It wasn’t what she wanted. “Reese. Staying the night was big to her. she picked up takeout.” She smiled. You know. watching him make omelets in nothing but his boxers.” he chuckled. he rose up on his elbows and looked down at her. Ripple after ripple of absolute heaven lapped at her body as her muscles grabbed at his cock. In and out. She’d never cooked breakfast with a man before. Reese pulled back and thrust again. erupted in release. “Yes. She wanted this to last. She wore his shirt from the night before.” “If you say so. She’d been alone so long she rarely did more than microwave a TV dinner. And maybe it was time to take a risk. With a hard lunge he sank to her depths. which she couldn’t believe Reese actually had.” He studied her for several seconds. I tried my freshman year but it didn’t work out. intimate wearing it. “I just remember time with her being special. Reese leaned up. leaving only the tip inside her. “What are you doing?” she demanded. but before she could fully enjoy the pleasure he offered. as if he meant to torture her with need. He stared down at her bouncing breasts and drew his cock from her body. sipping coffee. “I ’m crazy about you. With a hard thrust of his shaft. The pure animistic look on his face turned her on. “Stay the night. white bliss of orgasm. “I’m crazy about you too.” She moaned again. The spasms actually made her body jerk. “I was all into the theater scene. “I meant what I said. She couldn’t seem to help it. But the build of sensation.” she commented. And this time. Second base. To believe a little in happiness. My dad was gone a lot but my mom. “I didn’t expect you to be a cook. the edge of satisfaction came suddenly. It was huge on her but it smelled of him and it felt…. Her hands went to his head and her back arched. She said it over and over. He gave her what she wanted.” He brushed hair from her eyes with a tender caress of his fingers on her temple. If she wanted something special to eat. She stiffened and cried out something. desperate to get him deep again. I screwed up my knee pretty bad my senior year in high school though.” “Say yes. reaching for him to no avail. She felt the warmth of his seed touch her inside as she began to calm and it drew a smile from her. Reese lunged into her one last time and then began to shake. his eyes probing. he pounded into her. too. Pretty much ended my college ball.” she said. When Reese finally moved. It was long moments later when Reese eased down on top of her. she and I spent a lot of quality time together.” Cat laughed. “Compliments of my mother. Not that she was cooking. his face buried in her neck. She came to my sporting events. reaching beyond the boundaries of the expectations. She didn’t really know. To satisfy her need to have him buried to the hilt. For several minutes. His name.” ***** Cat stood in Reese’s sparkling white kitchen.” Cat laughed. His muscular body defined with exertion. He glanced at her and smiled before turning his attention back to the pan. supporting his weight on one knuckled fist shoved into the couch. She didn’t want it to be here yet. bodies pressed together. Pushed her to new levels. His expression intense as he hit her core over and over.. A loud roar of pleasure slid from his mouth as he. “That’s a long list. hitting her clit with just the right contact from his pelvic bone and she had no choice. But then he stilled again. he didn’t stop.” She refilled her coffee cup and then walking to the fridge for more vanilla creamer. she thought. Cat tried to watch him. But he slammed into her.” “What kind of sports?” “Baseball. Leaving would mean protecting her heart so it’s what she should do. She seems to think a man who can cook is important. She loved the stuff.” She smiled.

It could be my mom. it’s much different in other countries. Reese was Reese. “Yes.” She smiled to herself. Avoiding difficult topics wasn’t hard. “Hold that thought. eating.” “I know. “Your father has come to his senses. Politics. For now on. his dark hair more disorderly than before the call. “Go. wiping his hands on a towel. You’ll get him out of jail. With cream and sugar. “Besides. God. I’m a big girl. Reese sat back down next to her.” He pushed to his feet. “Excuse me if I don’t think my father going to jail is good. You go take care of your parents. I’ll go home. Reese wasn’t like the other guys she’d dated. They sat side by side. He’s outside my mom’s apartment and the neighbors are threatening to call the police. “To your left overhead. Can you grab them?” Cat nodded and set her cup down to help. you’re a damn good attorney.” Cat said. Ignoring it or denying it wasn’t going to get her anywhere.” Cat filled a cup for Reese and then followed him to a long cherry wood table.” His eyes went wide.” he said. he winked. She’d always heard a guy who was good to his mother was a good catch.” Cat smiled.. in what way. Crap. The ironic thing—he made her feel special. Reese.” “I need to write up last night’s review. Books. she was going to approach things with him that way. “I guess that led to your job now?” he asked. “You can count on it. As if he’d been running his hand through it.” . “My father is acting like a lunatic.” She leaned forward and rubbed her hand over his jaw. I’ll be back soon. not some formula of a man she thought was taboo. “Stay. He seemed to be exactly what she did want.” She eyed the plates in his hands. “Have you ever been to Europe?” Reese asked. The truth was. You?” “I have. I’ve always wanted to go.” She paused.“Plates. “I need to go over there. talking and just enjoying their time together. Your parents need you. “You want coffee?” “Coffee would be good.” He hesitated and then bent down and kissed her cheek. “No. Reese sighed. feeling the roughness of his whiskers. She found there were many things to discuss. Sometimes they differed in opinion but debating with Reese actually was enjoyable. “I’ll find my way home. The very thought made her panic a little. “That’s good.. This is a good thing. “You can prove it later. she didn’t even let herself finish the thought. He was basically everything she’d always said she didn’t want.” “You’re not calming me down.” Straightening. All this political stuff we’re talking about. She removed two white porcelain dishes and Reese distributed their food.” Cat was about to ask. That had to be a good sign. The phone being placed back on the receiver drew Cat’s attention. To give them a real shot at…. Movies. or I wouldn’t answer it. “You’re amazing.” She waved him on. when the phone rang.” “No.” he instructed. She didn’t need or want…. Not that she was trying to catch Reese. she was thinking crazy things.” Cat felt a sizzle of awareness and even satisfaction from his words. whatever it was they had going on between them. Cat liked how he worried over his mother.

For a moment he looked as if he might argue then he walked toward the door. when the hurt had torn her insides out. Cat made a frustrated sound and slammed the door shut.” she bit out in a tight. God. she followed Mike’s exit path and flipped her locks in place. She didn’t let herself cry right then. Hold your little meetings and leave me out of it. Cat let it come. Somehow. turning to face her brother.” And then the door opened and closed.” “Representing Ray. “Mike. “What the hell are you doing. Go to Rick. sitting down on the couch and crossing her arms in front of her chest. If she let her emotions take hold she was afraid she would lose it in a big way. “What the hell are you doing?” Pushing passed her he entered her apartment. leave. she kept the words low and cold.” she said. She stepped under the spray of hot water and let it deliver warmth and ease the strange ache that had taken hold of her body. Her hands started to shake as she read it again hoping she’d seen it wrong. “Who is he?” Her brother gave her a hard look. didn’t know. Cat. harsh voice. She kept her back to him.” She didn’t yell or scream though she wanted to. Alone. Go to Dad. And she would never let her guard down again.” He shoved a newspaper at her. Go home. She made it two steps when both phones started to ring and someone knocked on the front door. A part of her had wanted to love him. open up.. She’d been a fool to let down her guard with Reese. Maxwell’s daughter and opposing counsel…. And that was something she preferred doing alone.. Let it take hold. ***** Since he’d arrived at his mother’s apartment. To their conversation about her father and Ray. Betrayal stung hard. About to reach for her cell.. How the hell am I supposed to know what’s going on and with whom?” She glared at him. It hurt. It was then that she cried. really hurt.” He took a step toward her and she did the same. She ran for it just in time to hear a dial tone. “We were wrong. You made me a victim. That thought sent a jolt of pain through her chest and stomach. In the privacy of her shower. Instead. “This is ridiculous. I know he’s an attorney. I mean I do. “Catherine Maxwell. And she felt more alone than she had her entire life.” Her brows dipped as she stomped toward the door and yanked it open to expose her scowling brother. Really. Had to. . mingling with her tears. water trickling over her lips and face. Her eyes lifted to her brother. I’m sorry. Get your things. Reese had succeeded in getting his father out of the hallway and that was about it.” Cat’s mind went back to the night before. how she wanted to. With slow steps she found her way to the shower and stripped off her clothes.” “I am home. She couldn’t seem to read the rest of the page. The words were above a picture of her and Reese coming out of Serendipity. you let me get used. Because when it was done. The doorman told me you were here.” She tossed the paper across the room and it flew in pieces all about.up close and personal. I know you’re there. Her cell was dead so she plugged it up and then headed toward the bedroom to take a shower. “You….Chapter Fourteen Cat walked in her front door and heard the phone ringing. “I….” “You have to be careful—” She cut him off. “You have a lot of nerve—” She stopped mid-sentence as she read the paper’s headlines. You’re coming home. Mike? I have neighbors. Mary. Mike. “Had it. She hugged herself. “How?” “Cat—” “I’ve had it this time. doing her best to keep the tears from falling until she was alone. she stopped when she heard her brother Mike call her name. “You don’t know?” “No. “Careful? You tell me nothing. Right now she felt as if she’d been raped. she would heal.

She jerked it away. Reese and her boss had been calling and calling.Reese watched as his father reached for his mother’s arm.” After a bit of argument. She hadn’t taken either call. Even while watching his parents argue and then make up. He needed a good look at the case file. You look like you might fall down if you don’t. “When this is over and I’m sure it won’t hurt my father. He said his goodbyes and headed for the door.” “Damn it.” Reese issued the order because he really didn’t know what else to do. he kept thinking about her. “You don’t know how to answer your phone?” “You called?” she asked. “You are something. His father started to speak. “Want me to punch his face in for you?” Cat laughed but even to her own ears it sounded forced. He hoped. He ran his hand over his bald head. They’d take a vacation and fall in love again. “Stop.” She smiled. not moving from the archway.” she mumbled under her breath as she grabbed a pen and paper. Maybe he was afraid of her making a scene and then both of them ending up in the papers again. She appeared in Frank’s doorway and found hostility in his round face. Reese managed to get one on each end of the couch. Cat…. “Sit down. Frank. he was ready to leave. she’d thought he’d get the idea…. Reese reached for it.. Thank God Lena wasn’t here yet.” Angry pause. With that thought in mind. By now. You can’t just show up here and demand I jump to your command. Frank?” she teased. meet with Ray and the DA in place of his father and see what he could do to make this go away. A little more resistance and he managed to get them talking. Maybe Reese needed to learn a lesson. We both know what you’re upset about. “You’d do anything for a story. It felt like the weight of the world had decided to plant two feet on his shoulders. “I.” .” “Morning to you too.” Frank said. Frank. um. “Even make the front page yourself. I’ll give Lena a damn good story to write. One minute you’re mad because I didn’t get you the story and the next you are ready to beat someone up for me. “Please just sit. Cat knew what her boss wanted.” She paused. she had nothing to say to him except “go to hell”. Don’t take petty jabs. dropped it and it’s been acting strange. Dinner the night before with Lauren had helped though she’d barely eaten.” Being talked down to really was not high on her list today. Reese agreed to watch over the firm. Reese had even tried to call that morning. Mom?” But he didn’t hear her reply. Tom! You don’t own me. “Are you going to let him curse at me?” Pressing two fingers to the bridge of his nose.” She nodded and pulled his door shut before sitting. A picture of him with Cat stared back at him. now wouldn’t you. She’ d half feared he’d show up at her door but after his attempts Saturday he seemed to give up the in-person attack. He had to fix things. She needed to know about his firm and her father.” “Right. did you?” She shook her head. “Enough.” His eyes narrowed on her face and then his expression softened. Reese prayed for patience.” He leaned forward. she really mattered to him. but even as he made the promise he knew it complicated his life all the more.” she spat.. “My office. A story and a reason why she made the other papers look good. To go see Cat and tell her what he should have last night. his father was on his knee in front of his mother promising he’d change. “Catherine. “You didn’t know who he was. thick forearms resting on the scuffed-up desk. “Both of you sit. Then. Cat. he’d go to work Monday. Talking had done her more good than anything. “You going to read this. “I’m serious. Mary—” “Don’t you curse at me. ***** Monday morning came with dread. interrupting him and then looked at Reese. “And I have some swamp land for sale. Cat pulled open her desk drawer and inserted her purse right about the time she heard her name bellowed across the room. Noting the newspaper on the hall table. Frank mumbled several obscene words. A picture sure to destroy every ounce of trust he’d earned with Cat. An hour into it. unable to find her voice.

in the position of control. “Make a hell of a story for her paper.” Mike said. “you were sleeping with my sister. Reese sized him up. Reese laced his fingers together on the mahogany surface of his desk. “Here’s to luck on both our sides. That Cat and I met during all of this was unfortunate. Now. As the man moved forward to sit. his mind heavy with thoughts of Cat. Ray’s decision came without any effort on my behalf. “If there’s a story to be written.” “I’m willing. It showed in his attire and his carriage. After all.” Mike studied him for several moments and then pushed to his feet. was why. “There’s a Mike Maxwell here to see you. Silver tie. “She’s stubborn. He liked money. expected. Because Maxwell had been sleeping with his wife.” Reese felt the muscle in his jaw jump. Ray had confessed to setting up Maxwell. “I’m surprised about how this turned out. Mike. That all charges against your father be dismissed. Cat feels her last name is a death sentence in a relationship. and extended his hand. Reese stood. but he managed to keep his expression clear. “I assume we owe you a thank you. He was here in his sister’s defense. Ray’s decision to confess his misuse of company funds came with a condition. you don’t.” Reese took his. As far as I know the press hasn’t gotten hold of it. “I’ll see him. “What can I do for you?” “I’m sure you know the charges against my father were dropped this morning. He liked style. “She doesn’t know about the charges being dropped. “I had no idea who she was. He dreaded having to tell Cat the entire story. Ray had given him permission but delivering the news was going to be tough. strong-willed and hard to get along with. Reese sat down behind his desk in his high-back leather chair.” he corrected.” Reese said.” He paused. In exchange for a media silence.” ***** Reese stood at the window in his office. Then. Kelly. She’d want to know though and there was no way he could keep it from her.” Reese smiled and shook Mike’s hand. Black. When the door opened.” Walking across the room. I didn’t. irritated at Mike’s choice of words. nor did he plan to. For some reason. his eyes probing as he watched Reese for a reaction. “Just like I’m going to have to. feeling a little emotional and not wanting it to be noted. “Me too. “Have a seat. “Thank you.” What Reese didn’t say. If I can ever get her to speak to me again. She can write it. Since he touched her and tasted her and felt her body close to his.” he motioned to a chair.” He laughed. You’ll have to fight to get back in her life.” he said to his assistant. “I’ll let you know when I’m ready to talk.” He paused. Not without losing her. if you’d like. she shuts down. It had been over a week since he’d last seen her. That my firm was chosen to defend Ray. “Mr. Accusation laced Mike’s words. Something told him he’d need it. Mike turned and walked toward the . “No. He wore an expensive suit. If he hadn’t already. without another word. Maybe you should tell her.” Ray’s wife had convinced him to tell the truth. It was the kind of nastiness Reese hated being involved with. Maxwell.” “You really expect me to believe it’s a coincidence?” “When a top attorney is needed my firm is often called. After a few days of calling her with no response.” “Did you use her?” The true agenda of this meeting surfaced. I’m crazy about your sister. it was time to talk. you do it. he’d decided to back off. This case pulling on our resources is more likely than the opposite. Tall and broad. “Actually. She also has the biggest heart I’ve ever seen and would do anything for anyone. Once she’s wounded.His brows dipped. his only resemblance to Cat was his blond hair.” Interesting.” “That’s not my kind of story. Says he doesn’t have an appointment. “Dating her. The buzzer on his phone went off.” Mike said. I intend to prove it. If distance was a test of his true feelings. Reese would have been offended if he hadn’t been so damn happy to see her brother show concern. Cat had gotten under his skin in a big way.” Cat pushed to her feet.” “I knew before you did.” Mike said.

No matter what you say.door. he said. I know you had an influence. Leaving Reese to contemplate his words. “Thanks for what you did for my father. . He owed Cat a good story and a whole lot more. Without turning around.” And then he was gone.

Not close enough. but when he had. “Is there somewhere we can talk?” Her eyes narrowed on him. She . She wouldn’t. She couldn’t. She didn’t like it. Yell at him.Chapter Fifteen Cat sat at her desk staring at her blank computer screen. he looked like the Reese seen in the media. Lots of ways. Reese. of course. leaving her to flounder in panic. She’d sworn she wanted Reese to stop calling. thus distance. hand on the doorknob as Reese entered. “Feel free to sit. “Meaning what?” “Reese Winter is up front for your interview. She had three reviews to type and an interview. Whatever Reese’s game. to put formality between them. Too close. Frank was already gone. A bit cocky even. a thing. and her heart.” he said.” Her heart thundered into her chest.” she said. “I hear you have some news for us?” He studied her a few moments. but she decided that made her look upset. The receptionist eyed Cat and a smile played on her lips. “Hello. but somehow his quietness felt like the confirmation she hadn’t really wanted. like the tension she felt at work as everyone gave her funny looks. Cat set the pen and paper on the table. it had hurt. why did she let a deceitful jerk affect her like this? She shouldn’t.. She sighed.” “I’ll sit when you do. She wished that wasn’t the case. The depths of his gaze probed and explored. wearing her down under their scrutiny. the romance with Reese had appealed. “Reese. Everyone knew Cat and Reese had been…. Her first instinct was to call him Mr.. That he couldn’t fake. “Go get ‘em. a lifetime. Sexy. In some way. she thought. Cat stood back. but she gave him a nod. yet nothing filled the page. Sex had been amazing with Reese. Cat. Confident. No. Kiss him. tiger. In some ways. I don’t have the time or energy to go through some invisible battle of control. and he had one—that she was certain of—it had to be shut down at the gate. pad and pen in hand. Cat just sat there. “What?” Frank grinned. She knew he’d used her. expecting him to have taken a seat. How could they not? Their picture had been all over the competition’s paper and the gossip all over the building. She found him standing rather than sitting in one of the many empty chairs.” she said and smiled.” Frozen. His desire for her was still alive and well as was hers for him. Behind her. giving him no option but to follow if he wanted to talk. his blue eyes as bright as a perfect sky.” he said in a low voice that rippled along her nerve endings and forced her to suppress a shiver. which felt like a lifetime. Not with the power trip. Who was she fooling? The only thing real about what had happened with her and Reese had been the sex. When she stepped inside the rectangular-shaped conference room. She hadn’t even noticed him approaching. but from desire and excitement. “Hello. She shut the door and turned. he stood only a few feet away. It would be easier to hate him with her mind and body…. “You weren’t kidding. pinstriped suit. Without another word. do things she shouldn’t. it felt like longer. Instead. Damn it. Cat pushed to her feet. It had been seven days—a week now—since she and Reese had been the headline news. Reese was here? Why? About an interview? God. Nuts. actually. With each step she took down the narrow hallway toward cubicle land and the far corner conference room. she was aware of Reese watching her. Hit him. Cat headed for the front lobby. well. She’d show him the unexpected. He walked by in a cloud of spicy maleness that made her want to grab him and…. what was the man up to now? And why the heck did she have flutters of anticipation in her stomach at the thought of seeing him again? Not from anxiety or anger.” He took a step toward her and she wanted to back up just as much as she wanted to move forward. Cat motioned toward the long wooden table. In a black. The man she’ d met that first night at the bar. “Sit. Or maybe it had just been Reese who had appealed. In others. She’d seen the heat in his eyes in the lobby. Winter. With newfound determination. were you?” Cat looked up to see Frank standing in front of her desk. she turned and walked away.

” But she didn’t want him to.” “What?” Cat could barely believe her ears. “When I met you. Why would Ray do this?” “Cat.” “Do you have a story or not?” He stared at her. She forgot the discomfort between her and Reese.” His nearness made her insides tremble. “What do you want. “Every damn time I called and you wouldn’ t answer. She drew in a breath. “The charges against your father were dropped. not your father. as she would have expected. that wasn’t what she expected. “What?” she asked. damn it.” “Why?” Cat fought the urge to cross her arms in front of her body. not across. “Why would Ray confess if that’s true?” “Clara convinced him to. Then. She wanted him. his voice low.” He leaned forward.” “With Clara?” Cat felt sick. But I also need you to know. He moved the legs of the chair so that he faced her. I didn’t know who you were. I had to get his permission because of client-attorney privilege. Sex. She didn’t want to believe it. “You’ve won that battle many times over in the past week. I wasn’t even handling this case. Cat. rolling his closer so their knees touched. You can have it with anyone.” “It does matter. In fact. “Some of this is off the record. “Cat. How could I? You never told me your last name.. Reese?” “You.” “He claims your father had an affair with his wife. anger creeping into his tone.” Reese said. “Move. “You already had me. fire and challenge in his eyes. Everything about what happened between us matters. both hands on her chair. “Is that all it was to you?” he demanded. Would her father do that? No.” She reached up and shoved at his arms. The words fell from her mouth with a bite of bitterness. I don’t want to hear this. She didn’t want to show a reaction. Reese. “Do my brothers know?” “I don’t know. This is about my father. they were hard. aren’t I?” he asked. “It doesn’t matter.” She made a frustrated sound and turned her chair so she faced him. feeling on edge. “Stop. he seemed to solidify to stone. “Because it didn’t seem like just sex. No.” “It was sex.stood perfectly still.” Her eyes lifted to Reese’s.” “Some out of character guilt has you delusional. I have no clue what is true and you can’t repeat any of this. And this thing with Ray blew her away. “This isn’t about the news. “I can’t believe this. but she didn’t want to get hurt any more than she already had.” he said. My family. Did everyone burn each other? She thought he was like a brother to her father.” But he didn’t. “Does it look like I gave up?” “You should. Ray confessed to setting him up.” Another pause. “Why would he do that?” Reese chose the seat beside her.” “It didn’t take you long to give up. . he masked his expression.” Of all the things he could have said. abruptly. “Ray told me I could explain this to you.” “Just tell me. taking a seat as she suddenly felt weak-kneed. “You have to hear it.” He hesitated. And his eyes….” “Had being the operative word.” he said in a voice as smooth as velvet.” She sank back in her chair. “Tell me. Please do. “Just sex?” Pause. “How? When?” “Late last night. I’ve talked to your father’s attorney but no one else. Taut. What you know as far as he’s concerned should be what your family tells you. now did it?” “I’m here. I am only relaying what I’ve been told.” Cat spat. reeling from the charge of electricity it sent through her body. What you let the paper print has to be discussed between you and me and agreed on. Not to the public and certainly not your father.” Cat held up a hand.

“The sex was good. She wasn’t sure. And here she was handing it over on a silver platter. Cat. He eased her legs apart.. sliding a finger along her now wet. She wanted Reese. And when he pushed aside her panties and slid a finger along her sensitive flesh all reason fled. Knowing he was looking at her served as an aphrodisiac of sorts. Not even caring. She wanted him. Somehow. Everything prior to this moment didn’t matter. sensitized body. . “You want me. the words sounded lame. He slid his other hand into her hair. his fingers managed to make their way to her panties and he brushed the silk. Or maybe she did. But need and the position of the chairs forced her to abandon that strategy quickly. “I see it in your eyes. She could barely think. Touched. “You’re right about that.” he said. “Stop. Reese. If it’s nothing more than that…. “I can feel how much you want me. She cradled his face in her palms. why stop?” He let the question hang in the air. “I want you. Why could she not control her feelings with this man? His fingers inched their way beneath her hem and her hand went to the top of his. Stroked. roaring with demand to be fed. Lord help her. It turned her on and the throb between her thighs intensified.” His hand found its way to her thigh just below her hemline.” But even to her own ears. she didn’t want him to stop. The smoldering heat from moments before rocketed into a burning flame.” he said. He inched the material of her skirt as high as it would go and then his eyes dropped to the vee of her body. Her hand went to his shirt. Completely forgetting she was in the middle of a newsroom where scandal was made if not delivered. Her eyes fluttered with the potency of the moment and her chest tightened. Savoring him. curling around it as she pulled him close.” he said.” Cat felt her nipples tighten.Even cold. pulling his lips to hers and kissing him. the heat of awareness burning her inside and out. Cat sucked in a breath as the touch radiated up her legs to her core.

And he was willing to bet she wasn’t either. A fool. His life wasn’t his own for a few years. He felt like a fool. for years he loved his career more than he did anything. so was he. her walls were back in place. he yearned to take her. He was sliding into the realms of passion and forgetting all else. His way of reminding her how intense what they shared had been and could be again. Take notes. Something he wasn’t ready to let go of. her back arching slightly. He’d make her submit. I expect nothing but what I say now. Her hips thrusting into the slow rhythm he’d begun. He knew she was scared. His mouth found her ear. to be printed. “Oh….” The word came out a hiss and her head fell back. there were other options. He’d spent over a week worried over this. Her head came forward and found his neck.” she whispered. “Let go.” She stared at him. confirming her completion. But now. He turned to face her and motioned to the paper. unmoving. breathing together. He’d only meant to prove his point. he’d make it his offense. He’d spent years focused on his career. she raised her head and looked at him. He nipped her earlobe and then trailed kisses along her jaw until his mouth lingered just above hers. I….. To make her admit what was between them. But Cat had tried to hide behind sex and he couldn’t let her. Don’t shut me out. His actions were backfiring.” She tried to push away from him. To push her up on the conference table. “This changes nothing. Cat claimed from day one this was all about sex. He knew the situation was strange. He pushed to his feet. her legs spreading wider with the sound. So.” he purred. And though he didn’t dare take her right here in the newsroom. Feeling burned. Reese straightened. loving the soft moans she made. but not with humor. Low and sensual. ” He felt her stiffen. and removing his fingers only when he heard her sigh. It’s one of the reasons he hadn’t been quick to jump into a relationship. “Don’t do this... “I…. as he drank her in like a fine wine. If you want the exclusive here it is. but damn it.” Damn it. His father had now taken off on vacation with his mother and he hoped like hell it was the first step to his retirement. He had no room for a relationship no matter how bad he’d wanted one with Cat. “I can’t…. Wanting to. “Imagine if I was inside you right now.” She looked at one of her arms and back up at him. Buried deep. Her release would be his path to the other side of her resistance. None of this changed the fact that there was something between them beyond the physical. That the sex felt like it did because they were connected somehow. maturity and a few bad cases had taught him some lessons. Do you want the story or not?” .. His cheek pressed against hers even as he continued to play along the wet folds of her sensitive flesh. He slid a finger inside her body. slowing as the orgasm slowed. And then Cat came along and she had him believing he could find a balance between work and a personal life. as his tongue slid along Cat’s. With easy strokes. he’d decided if sex was her defense. it pissed him off the way she tried to downplay what was between them. he had a law firm to run. We had a good time and it’s over. Not a good idea. Time. desperate to make things right and she didn’t even give a crap. letting go of her arms. Rich with wanting. Reese had known his father neglected his mother. Pushing her toward release. Meeting the way they had and then finding out they had a link they didn’t know about. and for long moments they just sat there. She collapsed against him. He’d put himself on the line and she just kept slapping him down. ” She started to shake and then he felt her spasm around his fingers.” “I didn’t know who you were. stroking her inner wall. With the snap of a finger. I don’t…. “I can almost feel what it would like to be inside you. And the truth was. Cat.Chapter Sixteen This wasn’t how Reese had planned his meeting with Cat. not moving. felt her fingers sink deeper into his arms. To claim her as his. Hell. “Yes. spread her legs and sink deep inside her body. on the record. Hell. That they couldn’t just walk away from each other. shaking his head and laughing. Desperation laced the word or maybe a plea. Then abruptly. your warmth surrounding me. “The story. I need to go. Maybe she meant it. but Reese grabbed her arms.” “Yes. He hated this. Her fingers dug into his shoulders and she tore her mouth from his with a gasp. ” She shut her eyes and drew a breath before fixing him in a hard look.” “It doesn’t matter. he eased her through the pleasure.. was more like it. “Cat.

Of course. “I’m empty.” . He’s the best margarita maker in all of Manhattan.” The man turned. Mike had asked her to meet him over an hour ago. while she sat and waited. and in a big way. “And you’re an attractive woman with lots of money. She sighed. Which was nuts. “He wants a beer. then it’s true. No problem. She took another sip. When Joe appeared before Mike and slid a napkin on the mahogany bar. To think he would or could be different than the rest would be nuts. in years. “But there’s a difference between you and me. “What are you waiting on?” she asked. but walk away wasn’t it. “Damn. nothing’s more important than work.” Cat said.” Impatient. she’ d tried to convince herself the opposite was true. Whatever you have on tap that’s light. “Oh. She’d lost that with Reese and that meant she had to distance herself. Mike meet Joe. God. “If the lady says so. dirty game and the easiest way to deal seemed to keep the play in perspective. This thing with her father cheating with Ray’s wife had slapped her with the cold. Light beer on tap then?” Mike gave him a nod. holding up a finger. “How many have you had. The kind who pulled her into the hell of her mother’s world. “Sorry I’m late.” He chuckled.” She motioned to Mike. Reese. frowning. Joe. A lot more than usual. “This is my brother Mike. She didn’t. Wanting to forget. her oldest brother fit the same formula. she flagged the bartender who didn’t see her.” Cat turned to find Mike looking his normal handsome self. she felt the tequila seemed to dull the knot in her chest. Joe. After all.” The bartender. that was the case with Reese. If she didn’t. It took a certain breed to be an attorney. Got it. he would hurt her. Nice of him to tell her after it was already going to hit tomorrow’s papers.” With Joe’s departure. And of course. her new bartender. but she knew already. Joe. “You’re a good-looking guy with lots of money. but she was pretty sure he’ d made her drinks stronger than he might have otherwise. she drank. I know the way it goes.” She realized her oversight. She didn’t want Joe. It just so happened. She slapped the bar. That counted for something.” She scooted her glass toward him. Already. So. shirt sleeves rolled up to the elbows. as he’d told her one drink back. “So. Can I get more salt?” “Anything you want. little sis?” “Not enough. Reese had ruined her. But today she’d turned Reese away and he’d let her. she knew he wanted to tell her about the charges being dropped. Mike. Joe?” Joe laughed. She was okay with that.***** Cat sat at the bar of the Blue Lagoon Restaurant and sipped her third margarita. He was the type of man a woman should never fall for. Damn. Just thinking about her stupidity made her take another long draw off her straw. She wanted him. Cat lingered on Reese. In fact. Cat. More salt and a beer on tap coming up. He’d been flirting. Deep blue eyes. “I expected it. Wanting a man who would never find you more important than his work. It was an emotional thought. The world was a big. Tonight she wanted strong. He flagged the bartender.” “Ah.” She took another really long drink. hard reality that happily-ever-after was a fairy tale. He had long brown hair tied at the back in a ponytail. not caring. “I like the salt. but not as blue as Reese’s. He was a poison. well. Her head felt light. For a little window of time. Mike gave her a probing look as he adjusted the barstool next to her so it angled toward her seat.” she said. Drinks please. Not that it would get him anywhere. she hadn’t had this much to drink in.” She shoved her glass away.” She looked at Joe and patted the bar. He had eyes that would melt a woman in the middle of a snowstorm. smiled at her. Cat eyed Joe. Aren’t you. tie loosened. “Over here. “Order me another. at least a little. “Order. A square jaw. Mike kept his gaze on Cat. Why would the man not get out of her head? Maybe she should take Joe home and fuck Reese out of her system. Just like a man to be so distracted. She should stop drinking. He was a sexy guy. She wasn’t sure what she’d wanted him to do.

Cat.” He grinned. “When we were kids. “See? Isn’t smiling better than all that frowning?” He shook his head as if he was at a loss for words. “So nice of you to inform me after I already know. “I hope it’s good.” The light. I don’t care anymore. It’s okay to be frank. Rick. It felt rather good. “You and I think different. “It’s true. I’d hoped it might not even be true. “Not just you. right?” she asked. “Will you keep your voice down?” She giggled. something she couldn’t remember doing in a very long time. I hate the way people want me for my money. “You offer a woman no more than a good fuck.” Then. I’m done thinking about it.” He cursed and reached for his beer. Dad had done that too many times over the years. I know I haven’t handled this well. Short.” Mike said.” She touched his arm and added with concern.” He reached for her glass and she grabbed it. No secrets. Dad. I am not. “What?” she asked. I wanted to spare you as much as I could. “When you were little.” Her brows dipped and he laughed again.” She waved him off with a hard flick of her wrist. reaching in his pocket and obeying. “Catherine. A long. Whatever.” In mock distress she said. “You’re so funny.” “Okay. bad businessman.” She crinkled her nose. “Don’t call me that.” “Cat!” Mike barked his disapproval. “Don’t mean to embarrass the big. This is New York. You’re good at buying happiness. Mike. I handled this wrong. “Cat. None of you. I know how smart you are.” Mike said. Finding out Ray stole from Dad was a blow to all of us. Mike.” She paused for a sip off her straw and to give Mike time to lift his jaw off the bar. Cat laughed. Cat pinched the dimple. feeling good. Mikey. Without humor. She giggled some more. We’re brother and sister. “No. “Whatever. “He’s loaded. She pointed a finger at her temple. Let’s just get down to business. I know. “The difference in you and me—” “Is that I’m a man and you’re a woman?” “Ha ha.” He grabbed her arm. eyes narrowed with warning.” Silence. Joe..” He drew a deep breath. “Not that I’m drunk. “Not. “You think I want to be wanted for my money. “Thank you. I am merely feeling…. The charges were dropped.” She held up another finger. Sorry meant nothing. Where the hell did you get a crazy idea like that?” Her hands fluttered in the air. It’s not like I’m driving or something.The bartender set her drink in front of her. Mike.” She didn’t want his apology. Time has just muddied the water.” “We’re still the same two people. When he’d missed a school function. “Give Joe a big tip with all that cash you have. in a sarcastic tone. A moment later he tilted back his beer and took a long slug. and you know damn well they aren’t sticking around for love. Mom is the only person who called me that.” He hesitated and ran a hand through his hair.” “All righty then. “Oh come on.” There was a “give-me-a-break” tone to her voice. It’s tomorrow’s front page.” . Hell.” “It’s called public intoxication and it is a law. “Sorry.” She turned to look at him. nor could she help herself. Mikey.” “Whatever you say. You’re fast. “Business? It’s always business. Not a good trait in the bedroom but a damn good one for the bar. fun feeling started to turn more gray and sullen.” “I know. “You’re cut off. “Then you give her a nice gift here and there. running a finger over her salt-rimmed glass and sucking it off. That is why you’re here. I regret it. There is no walking while drunk law. a deep frown on his handsome face. “As I was saying.” Cat said. when he’d been late to her high school graduation and missed her walk across the stage. long time ago. “I do know.” She looked at Joe.” “I used to.” he said in a low voice.” Pause. Let me make it simple for you so you can get on with your all-consuming life. eyeing him with a sideways look.

I’m a pretty good judge of people. went to talk to him about you. Cat…. I hate you feel these things. It’s all about his needs. I don’t know how this thing with Clara happened but Mom’s been gone a long time. Standing on her own two feet kept her sane. she cursed the alcohol. Damn alcohol.” “It’s not that easy. A part of her wanted the days when her big brother was her friend. Especially not you.” Mike turned her to face him.” She turned away and faced the bar. Cat. doesn’t it? Seems everybody is using everybody in some way.“Ray acted out of pain. Who knows? Maybe Mom knew.” She turned away from Mike.” Cat said. “I seem to be much worse at the whole ‘keep my mouth shut’ thing than you are. And I don’t want it to happen to you. “Do you think he really did it? Slept with Clara?” Remorse flashed in Mike’s expression.” “What is it with you men and making deals? No.. he doesn’t. “What? No. But then again. He used me just like…. “Maybe Ray is lying. Yes. I’ve thought a lot about this. He was a fool for treating her like he did. She didn’t want to be needy.” She dropped her face to her hand. and Dad. Sour almost. but mostly seen the way he’ s changed. “I’ve met him. You live that life. “What do I need to change?” “Stop judging everyone by your asshole brothers and I promise to stop being one. I know the real story. Heard him talk about it. The truth behind the fiction. Still. I don’t want to let that happen to me. “I will make a damn hard effort to change my ways.” That her father talked to Mike and never to her only enhanced to ache of being an outsider. she’d idolized him. “Sweetie. “I can’t believe this. I was pissed. “I want to make a deal with you. surprised. brushing her hair from her eyes. needing a place to settle. No deal.. I thought he used you. I…. I don’t believe he would have told you if he wasn’t certain. His everything. I’ve heard him talk about it.” “What?” Cat half gasped.” Mike turned to face the bar. Then again. Along with Rick. “No. but he regrets it. “Kind of changes this situation. Now. she didn’t shove him away.” he said. ” Her voice caught in her throat. he doesn’t. I don’t believe it happened when she was alive. The touch of Mike’s hand on her shoulder brought a surprising bit of comfort. fixing her gaze on him. “How can you be sure?” “I’ve seen the pain of his regret. That turned her mood darker. There had been a time when she and Mike were close. “How do you know this?” “Reese Winter told me. She hadn’t felt the need to have her big brother rescue her in too many years to count.” Mike’s face had turned pale. I’m realistic. He swore me to secrecy. What gave you that crazy idea?” Cat squeezed her eyes shut and with a shaky hand shoved hair out of her eyes. I won’t be dumb enough to…. Dad loved Mom.” “Me?” she asked. Maybe that’s what did her heart in.” Cat looked at him. All her brothers would. Clara is the one who convinced Ray to tell all and clear Dad. “But according to Reese. Cat continued. you showed me the light. “And darling. “Reese told you this and that counts for something.” He ignored her words. He would protect her from all. he was her big brother. One minute it had you laughing.” Mike turned a scrutinizing look on her.” His words sent a shock wave through her system. “I wasn’t supposed to tell. His desires. . He cares for you. “I had to. hands going to the stem of her glass. if you will. I should thank you.. this affair. Daddy screwed his wife.” She made a sound of disbelief.” Deep breath and then she forced herself to look at him. silent. Maybe it went back that far. She missed those days too much. too. Mike. In her youth. But it bugs the hell out of me. The man has no heart. “When did you get this bitter?” “I’m not bitter. “He didn’t know.” “Maybe. “Be Mom.” “What? Dad and Clara?” He shook his head.. He screwed Clara. Mike responded. the next emotional.” Several mumbled curse words and a drink of his beer later. Again. Mike scooted his chair closer. it might not bother you. he knew nothing of who or what she was.” Cat said.

shock registering in her expression. Mike had convinced him Cat needed him.” He grabbed her arm and turned her to face him. The coffee cups in front of them seemed to indicate he was good to his word. “Fine. That is what it came down to. Cat. “I don’t deserve this. I don’t know.” He let the words linger in the air. “I’m not stupid. Promise. She frowned. like a low hum along his nerve endings. Reese approached the bar. With a deep breath.” He paused. Mike eased from his chair and murmured something about a phone call. Amazing how you can come together in your time of need. You won’t regret it. And then things would be different. My career does not make me a jerk. “Don’t get all happy. Mike. ready to put himself on the line. I really am. her taste. If there was a chance to start fresh. “Hello. well. “Reese?” She blinked as if she thought he was an alcohol-induced illusion. Cat would have to understand his crazy schedule and even a few cases he preferred to avoid becoming a part of his future. Cat? Please. it doesn’t matter. There’s a difference. Your brother called me because he cares about you. a contrast to the black pants and blouse she wore.” “I’ve seen a lot of people who don’t so much as blink at other people’s pain. Next thing he knew she took off walking. But he needed to know. her touch.” She turned toward him. you know. .” ***** Reese stood in the bar entrance and stared across the room at Cat. to explore what could be. Your brother called me.” “He feels guilty. Cat. “What are you doing here?” “Giving us one last shot. His heart. No. Why he called. I’ll try when you give me reason.” “I got that. I want proof.” It wasn’t a question. She’d made it all the way to the street by the time he caught up.” Her chest tightened with emotion. Reese knew he and Cat had the potential to share something special.” He waited a moment but she didn’t respond. “Will you try for me. he was here. She hated his job and he was locked into the firm for at least a year after his father’s retirement. She so wanted to believe him. “Two guilty men trying to make up. When the time was right. I’m going to make pulling our family back together my pet project. I thought….” She gave him a sideways look. I didn’t know who you were. That’s all I ask. And just like that he was left with Cat. It’s why he’d allowed himself to be talked into showing up. I put two and two together and figured out that’s the only way you knew I was at that bar. “Then it’s a deal. To have his heart stomped on and beaten. “Unless you tell me it’s a worthless cause. “I’m taking this as a get-lost. Until then. he wanted it. Reese would leave and start his own practice. He was falling in love with Cat. It had taken him an hour to get to the bar and Mike had promised to try and sober her up before his arrival. Shit! “Wait!” Reese tossed money on the bar not knowing if the tab was paid and took off after her. With a discreet wave of his hand he motioned him forward. She sat with Mike.” He smiled.“Try.” “He cares. Long enough to convince his dad to stay gone. Reese claimed the chair Mike had just left. It would be tough.” she said walking faster. He wasn’t sure she was willing to deal with it all.” He smiled.” “And I’ll deliver it. in which case I will walk you home and you’ll never see me again. When he stood behind her. All you have to do is give us and everyone a chance.” “I don’t need to be walked home.” She turned away and grabbed her purse. once again.. The anticipation of her scent. “I’m sorry I came. And foolish as it might be. Cat faced the bar. her long blonde hair like silk down her back. Mike glanced over his shoulder and spotted Reese. resisting the demanding urge to touch her.” “The proof is in actions. “So he called you.

Us. I mean. Forcing her gaze back to his. I have to take over the firm or my father won’t retire. She couldn’t remember the last meal she’d eaten. I’ll leave and open my own practice.” Her hand went to his cheek. He and my mom are trying to work things out. not saying anything. his voice low. his expression indiscernible. it should have reminded her of their similarities. the tension and emotion between them so thick it could be cut with a knife. “That’s what I told myself at first. Her eyes were wide with vulnerability. And I won’t lie. I do. And potent.” It wasn’t a question. But it’s not about that. Reese. I think….. without a word. She was scared of being hurt. His touch felt like an electric charge. That means a lot of demands the next year. Food had made a huge difference. It was hard to think when he looked at her like that. When he raised his head. we talk. I’ve never felt like this. She closed her eyes a moment. I didn’t mean what I said…. I understand. it’s more than that. “I want to talk. “Same goes for my office. I feel all the same things. A lot. I need to know if you can deal with what I have going on in my life. she stared at him and then. And Reese could hurt her with the snap of his fingers. To kiss him and tell him she was sorry. I’ll work long hours and I’ll take some cases I won’t love. Side by side they traveled toward her apartment. that is. “I need to tell you some things. Stress tended to either make her eat a lot or not at all. Reese. she responded. and even in Mike. but Mike had forced coffee down her and the fuzziness was fast fading. Besides. there is truth there. I have to give them that chance. soft and sensual. You know I do. Nothing more. She wanted to blame the alcohol for how she’d acted in the bar. turned and started walking. I want you. I shouldn’t have acted that way. You’ve been drinking and I wish like hell I had been. well. she could only think of how much she wanted to touch Reese. Never. Instead. but not with humor. She wanted to believe in Reese. but oh-so tender. I think the physical part is so good because there is more to it than just sex. Drinking on an empty stomach never turned out well. “I knew you were scared. He’d managed to steal her heart. you know.” He stared at her. Tonight. terrified about what she was about to admit.” His eyes met hers.” “If this is about your job—” He stopped her words with a brush of his lips. that it’s all been about sex. Her chest tightened as she tried to draw in a breath. When they reached her building she turned to him. and when we were walking.” Reese slid across the couch and took her hand. “And you’re telling me this why?” “It will impact you.” Reese let his hands drop. If any man was the man.. Say something!” “Is this about sex?” “No. The things she didn’t want in her life about their career and lives. Deep down she’d known this from the moment she’d met him. feeling burned by her words and actions. so very blue.” “You do?” His hand slid down her hair in a gentle caress. He joined her. Only. Challenging. I feel things with you I have never felt and you have no idea how hard this is to admit. “Don’t just sit there. Cat led Reese into the living room and sat down on one side of the couch. “Of course. Yes. tie loose. Cat. “It is.” ***** Reese’s words back on the sidewalk had been like ice water in her face. “You scare the hell out of me.” She laughed.. She didn’t want to lose him. damn it. Blue. “Will you come up?” “This isn’t about sex.I’ll walk you home and then that’s it. “Then why did you say it was?” he asked. for that matter. If I come up.” She nodded. “Because I’m an attorney and a part of a world you don’t want to be in. But when it’s over. “There is probably just enough alcohol left in me to give me the courage to admit all this. leaving a huge space between them. the alcohol wasn’t what had made her act so poorly. For several seconds. “I was wrong back there at the bar….” She watched his chest rise and fall for several seconds. To some degree. I want you to know there’s an end in sight. If you’re willing to ride it . Dressed much like her brother. he stared into her eyes.” She paused. shirtsleeves rolled up. it was him. she had to admit it for the first time. I’m gone. Fear had. stroking the stubble on his square jaw.” He kissed her then. What you make me feel and think and want.

“And I might even let you be on top sometimes. On the bottom. sealing the promise inside the words with a hot. For confirmation of the meaning behind her words.out with me. I’m not going to bail because you’re trying to take care of your parents. searching for the truth. Reese. . “What I’m saying is I want to know where this is going.” She repeated the words. His eyes were hot and demanding. and moved. sensual claiming of her mouth. pushing him against the couch and straddling him. And you’re worth a little pain for the pleasure. you and me.” she purred. “I need to know too. “Make love to me. sensing he needed to hear them. And then he kissed her.” He laughed and she nipped his earlobe. I find the fact that you would sacrifice for their happiness incredibly sexy. she smiled. But making love. It really didn’t matter. Reese. And as he moved.” She smiled. That mattered. “Make love to me. In fact.” she whispered. Her hands went to his. Reese framed her face with his hands and looked at her. “Hmmm. On top.” His brow lifted and a smile played on his deliciously sensual mouth. Reese. I need to know.” He paused and drew her hand to his mouth. claiming her position on top and laying her down on the couch. “Is that so?” he asked.

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