By J.A. Coffey
Shawn tamped down his smoldering irritation as he watched Jojo’s curls bounce angrily through the trees, up the pathway, and onto the gray, wintery city street. No way in hell he was going to let the spicy siren of his dreams get away again, not even for Brittany’s melodramatic tricks.
“Look, Brittany. I’m sorry for your loss. But there’s someplace else I need to be.” He didn’t wait for his ex-wife’s response, just ignored Brittany’s squawk of surprise and hurtled past the low concrete walls and barren trees. He caught up to the woman to whom he had a lifetime of words to speak. The one woman he’d wanted. The woman he’d left alone for far too long.
“Jo…Jojo…” He called out. She didn’t stop. “Joanne, wait!”
His grip on her upper arm was firm enough to stop her in her tracks when his pleas wouldn’t. She whirled to face him, her cheeks reddened, and her eyes snapping angrily.
“An old friend?” She splayed her hands on her hips, just grazing the waistband over skin he desperately wanted to touch. “So much for loving me. Seems like you have more designs in your portfolio than you know what to do with, Mr. Architect.”
“No plans, Jojo. And no games.” Either it was the worst case of coincidental timing, or his ex-wife was following him for some scheme of her own. “If I’ve got any designs, it’s to build something with you. Why else would I track you down after all these years?”
He saw a light kindle in her eyes and closed the space between them. His heart skipped a beat when she didn’t move away. Yeah, there was definitely hope there.
Still her eyes were skeptical. The set of her pert chin jutted in a way that told him she was ready to take another insult to her pride, if not her person. He’d be damned if he’d do either.
“C’mon, Jojo. I know you want me. You want this.” He reached up, brushing her hair back from her pretty pinked cheeks. That scarf she was wearing made her outfit, but it made him think of all kinds of things he could do with it, if she were willing. His king-sized bed had long tapered posts and an iron scrollwork headboard for that very purpose, but he’d rarely found a woman that could match his passions.
“I might.” She glanced at his hand manacled over her puffy jacket sleeve and bit her bottom lip in a way that made his cock surge to full throttle. Something told him she just might be willing. But he’d have to convince her that he was sincere. Joanne Vega wasn’t the one night stand kind of woman. She was the kind you held on to, cherished… “Then again, I might not.”
Damn. She’d need some serious convincing. But from the breathless parting of her lips, he knew he was more than man enough for that job. He cursed his tailored gloves as his hands stole up the length of her elegant neck to cup her chin. More than anything, he’d love the heat and feel of her silken skin beneath his fingertips. He’d save that for another day. In this moment, she was his to claim.
He shifted position, her body following his naturally as the wind gusted. She shivered as his lips captured hers but not, he suspected, from the cold. The connection between them was real and alive, as electric as the strung holiday lights flashing overhead.
Joanne sighed and he deepened the kiss. He willed every lost word and phrase into his actions, letting her sweet, coconut scent fill his nostrils.
“Joanne,” he whispered against her lips. “Don’t go.”