Building Tension – Excerpt

Never had the ride home from Annapolis felt so long. Seth sped through the night, holding Lucy's hand and stroking her palm, her wrist, with the pad of his thumb, sending charges of excitement spiraling through her. Their eyes would meet and they would smile and look away, like teenagers caught necking.

Lucy had to resist the urge to text Ari, asking what she should do. Do I ask him in? Of course I ask him in. Do I let him stay?

She glanced at Seth's profile, so strong, sexy, and masculine, and at his hard thighs, encased in denim, and she knew what Ari would say. Of course you let him stay!

The highway gave way to winding back roads. Boldly, Lucy slid a hand onto Seth's thigh and gave a little squeeze. The hitch in his breath made her braver. She stroked his leg, starting at his knee and moving higher.

With no warning, Seth jerked the car to the shoulder with a crunch of gravel and jammed it into park. He turned toward Lucy and hungrily, ravenously, captured her mouth with his. His hand slid from her jaw, past her collarbone, down until his fingertips brushed her breast.

She leaned into him, pressing the ripe fullness against his palm.

Seth moaned raggedly and tore himself away from her again. "I need to get you home," he rasped, guiding the car back onto the road. "Talk to me about something else. I need to get my mind off of—"

"Off of what?" she flirted.

"Off of tearing your dress off," Seth replied.

Lucy swallowed a smile and folded her hands primly in her lap. A few more miles, a few more minutes.

"You never told me exactly why you're back in town," she said. "Tell me again, how long do I get to enjoy the pleasure of your company?"

"Not sure," Seth replied, his gaze flicking toward the rearview mirror as his foot pressed harder on the gas. "At minimum, two or three weeks. It could be a little longer."

"Hmm." She lightly ran her finger up and down his thigh again, teasing. "And everything is cool back in Texas? Your ranch can survive without you that long?"

He placed a hand on top of hers and stilled it. "The ranch is fine," he said in a rusty voice. "And you are making it very difficult to concentrate."

She leaned over, her lips a hair's breadth away from his ear. "I kind of like this game," she whispered.

The look Seth gave her promised that the game wasn't over, not by a long shot.

Shelby was dark and quiet when Seth's car zipped through the empty streets to Lucy's house.

"I'd love for you to come in for a drink," Lucy said innocently as they turned into her driveway. "You can tell me more about the project you're involved in." She slipped off her seat belt and out the car door as Seth killed the engine.

As she made her way up the front walk, she glanced back over her shoulder, and a tiny thrill sped through her. Seth was stalking toward her, not hurrying, but moving very deliberately, his eyes hot and dark, with a single-minded focus that made Lucy's breath catch. And here I thought I was the cat and he was the mouse, she thought as she fumbled for her keys.

Seth's hand closed around hers and helped guide the key into its hole. "So you want to…talk," he murmured in her ear, his free hand gliding down the curve of her back.

"Of course," Lucy replied lightly as they entered her living room. She flipped on a light, then twisted the dimmer switch. "Tell me what you're working on."

Seth took her keys and purse out of her hands and laid them on a table near the door. Slowly, he backed her against the wall. Gently, he cupped her face and lowered his mouth to hers. Not an onslaught this time, but a tease, a brush, a promise of more to come.