Ignoring her tingling nipples and flip-flopping belly, she threw back her shoulders and rose to full height. “I clearly remember having this same conversation a few weeks ago,” she said, trying not to let her voice wobble. “We agreed to keep it strictly business.”
“We did. But it’s getting harder for me not to touch you.”
Her heart galloped in her chest. Sweat pricked her skin. She remained silent, tangled between her head and her heart.
A rough laugh escaped his lips. “This would be easier on my ego if you’d admit you’re having the same problem.”
She shook her head and pressed her fisted hands against her eyes. “You sure don’t know the art of subtlety, do you?”
He shrugged. “No time for that shit. Well?”
She let out a half laugh, half groan. “I think this is the strangest conversation I’ve had with a man.”
“Are you hot for me, Harper?” His voice was all grit and gravel and sexy as hell.
Lust speared through her, raw and hungry and demanding. “Yeah.”
“Good. I’m obsessed with kissing you. So I have a proposal.”
“Of course you do.”
“One kiss. Let’s try it out. Maybe it’ll bomb once we give ourselves permission,” he said.
“I’m swooning from your romantic intentions.”
His lips kicked up in a grin. She wanted to trace her finger over his mouth to see if it was as soft as it looked. “Sorry. What do you think?”
“I think I’ve stepped into a new dimension. Tell me this, Irish. Do we want the kiss to bomb?”
He nodded. Eased closer. “I think it would be for the best. Neither of us wants a complication in our solid business partnership. We have a long road ahead of us. Sex makes things messy.”
Her brow shot up. Oh, he was good. Pretending to be all rational and cool while he stalked her like a graceful panther. Her blood grew thick and heavy, and the throbbing between her thighs raged. The real problem revolved around one simple, plain fact.
She was dying to kiss Aidan O’Connor.
The tiny voice inside her flared to life and whispered a warning.: One kiss will never be enough. Not from this man. Not with the way you already feel about him.
God, she didn’t want to listen to reason right now.
Harper tilted her head. “True. If the kiss fails, we can get back to work without all this bullshit. Move on and focus on the real relationship here.”
“Phoenix,” he said.
“Exactly. Can you promise one thing?”
He took a few more steps. His scent wrapped around her like a silken cloud, spicy and clean and addicting. The leashed heat from his body practically ripped a purr from her throat. She curled her fingers, digging her nails into her palms to try and hold back from jumping into his arms.
“What do you need me to promise, love?”
A shiver worked down her spine. She imagined that lilting brogue whispering dirty commands in her ear while he thrust deep inside her. “If the kiss sucks, no hurt feelings. We move on and don’t talk about it. I can’t take any weirdness between us.”
“Agreed. I hate weird.”
He was right there, face close, inches from her body. The last time he was this close, he was angry. This time, his eyes crackled with hunger. His powerful thighs braced hers, and when he leaned in, his hard erection pressed against the seam of his jeans so she felt every glorious inch of promise. She licked her lips in anticipation, and slowly raised her arms to hook around his shoulders.
“Just once,” she whispered in warning.
He cupped her cheeks with rough, calloused palms. His amber gaze locked on hers. “Yes.”
“We’ll get it out of our system and move on.”
His mouth closed over hers.