Soaring on Love(10)

By: Joy Avery



To end his exhausting scrutiny, she said, “Please tell me you have food in this place. I’m starving.”

“Yes, we do. I have someone who looks in on the place for me. When I let her know I’m coming, she always stocks the fridge.”

She?

Jealousy was the last emotion Tressa expected, but a hint of it crept in. Could this have been the mystery woman he’d intended to spend the weekend with before she’d come along and derailed his plans? Was it selfish that she didn’t regret spoiling his rendezvous? Yes.

“Well, let’s just see what she brought, shall we?” If nothing else could, cooking relaxed her. It’d always been her first love, with nursing a close second, of course.

“In a minute. But first—” he captured her hand and angled his head toward the sofa “—let’s sit a second.”

Tressa studied their joined hands as they moved across the room. A simple act of kindness should not have felt so damn good. A soothing sensation tingled in her palm. At the sofa, Roth released her hand and guided her down, taking the spot next to her. The way he eyed her made her feel as if she’d sneaked the last piece of key lime pie, and he was simply waiting for her to confess before he had to accuse her.

Tressa straightened her back to give some semblance of strength. “Is everything okay?”

He leaned forward, rested his elbows on his thighs and intertwined his fingers. “You tell me.”

Tressa arched a brow. “I…don’t…know what you want me to say.” Though she had a good idea he wanted her to mention something about what had taken place at The Underground. She’d hoped to avoid discussing her disastrous engagement party, but it seemed she wouldn’t get off that easily. Couldn’t he have waited until morning when she’d got a decent night’s sleep before he approached the thorny subject?

“You’ve had a rough evening. If you—”

“I’m fine, Roth,” she said, pushing to her feet. Subtlety obviously didn’t work with him.

Before she could stalk away, he captured her hand again. This time he didn’t let it go when she sat. His large hand completely swallowed hers, but she loved the feel of his warm flesh caressing hers.

“You keep saying you’re fine, but I don’t believe you.”

“And I’m not trying to convince you.” Instantly, she regretted being so callous. But dammit, she didn’t want to discuss what had happened between her and Cyrus. Especially with Roth, of all people. She was hurt, embarrassed and still processing it all.

Her cruel tone appeared to have little effect on him. That same sympathetic expression remained on his attractive face. They stared at one another for a long time. Roth refused to turn away, and so did she. It felt as if he were trying to peer into her soul, but it was too dark for him to see inside. Beyond his strict and unwavering gaze lingered compassion. Mounds and mounds of compassion. And a hint of pity.

Tressa bent to the idea and turned away. “Don’t feel sorry for me, Roth.”

“I don’t. I feel sorry for the bastard who didn’t recognize what he had.”

Tressa brought urgent focus back to Roth, her eyes lingering briefly on his mouth before climbing to latch onto his draining gaze again. Was he the reason she wasn’t feeling the all-out dismay Cyrus’s betrayal should have caused her? She was hurt—and angry—but she also felt something else. Relief.

Roth’s cell phone vibrated and she flinched. “You should get that,” she said, seeing her opportunity to escape this overwhelming and confusing moment.

Without even pulling the device from his pocket, he said, “It can wait.”

After a couple more seconds of buzzing, either the call rolled to voice mail or the caller hung up. Tressa couldn’t help but wonder if it was the woman Roth had planned to spend the weekend with. Before she’d dozed off on the drive up, Roth had sent several calls directly to voice mail. A part of her was happy to be here, away from her own problems, but another part of her felt guilty for potentially causing some for Roth, and for ruining his plans. Even if the idea of him making love to someone else bothered her more than it should have.

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