Jake tried to shift back, extremely aware of the fact that when she pulled him that close, there were no secrets between them—including the secret he’d been trying to keep about the enthusiastic way his body was responding to her nearness.
He tried to make his voice sound casual, conversational. As if he weren’t affected by the sensation of her breasts against his chest, as if he couldn’t feel her heat as she pressed herself against his thigh. “Hey, have you heard from Mitch?”
“Not since he’s been arrested.” Zoe smiled, her hands traveling up his back. “We almost didn’t recognize him when we saw the news report on CNN.”
“Yeah, he’s good with disguises. I looked twice at that little old man sitting at the bar just to be sure it wasn’t him.”
“It’s not. Mitch is still in custody,” Zoe told him. She ran her fingers through the hair at the nape of his neck and it felt impossibly, sinfully good. “He’s being held at the same federal penitentiary where Christopher Vincent’s stepbrother is doing ten to twenty for armed robbery.”
Jake laughed. “Well, jeez, that’s pure genius. I mean, I knew Christopher had a stepbrother who’d been in trouble with the law, but … Whose idea was it to send Mitch to the same prison?”
“I’m a fan of doing just that little extra bit of research,” she told him modestly. “We lucked out that the stepbrother was in a federal jail and—”
“It was your idea. Good job, Lange. So you’re the genius, huh?”
“Whoa,” she said, laughing. Her eyes sparkled and danced with amusement. She was so pretty, so full of life. The longing that hit him was so strong, it took his breath away. “Don’t go overboard. Yes, it was a good idea, but—”
She stopped short, her smile fading at the look he knew was in his eyes. He couldn’t hide it, and he prayed she would think it was only part of the game they were playing.
They’d both stopped moving, and they stood on the dance floor just holding each other. She gazed at him, her beautiful lips slightly parted, and when he didn’t move, she stood on her toes and kissed him.
It was the smallest of kisses, light and delicate, a feathery brushing of her lips across his. She searched his eyes again, then stood on her toes once more. This time she kissed him a little bit harder. This time she tasted him, gently touching the curve of his lips with the very tip of her tongue. And this time he kissed her, too, just as delicately, just as softly.
Jake’s heart was pounding, and he was dizzy from wanting more. But he took his cues from her, letting her lead, refusing to push her into harder, deeper, longer kisses, no matter how badly he wanted just that.
She delicately swept her tongue into his mouth and he groaned aloud. She took him right to the point where he knew they were on the verge of crushing their mouths together and positively inhaling each other, but instead, she pulled back.
“We’re both good actors,” she whispered, “but we’re not this good. Part of this is real, Jake, whether we want to believe it or not. That’s what I was trying to say when I told you I’d make love to you. That I also want to make love to you.”
Jake didn’t know what to say.
She kissed him again, hot and sweet and long. “That’s me kissing you, no games, no pretense. We can have it both ways, you know. We can do our jobs and get naked—if you can get past everything you need to get past, if you can come to the conclusion that you’re not too old for this sort of thing.”
“Ah,” Jake said, finally finding his voice as she pulled free from his arms. “We’ve finally come to the personal stuff.”
“I bet you look good naked,” Zoe told him as she picked up her tray and headed to the bar.
Jake wanted both to laugh and cry. He’d never met anyone as completely in-your-face honest as Zoe Lange. She knew what she wanted, and she wasn’t shy about asking for it.
She wanted him.
And his big problem was that he wanted her, too.
Even though he knew that wanting her was wrong.
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