Soaring on Love(4)

By: Joy Avery



Lost in his manly scent, she mumbled, “You smell fantastic.” Immediately realizing she’d actually said the words out loud, her cheeks burned with awkwardness. “Um, yes. Better. Thank you. W-what about you? Now you’re going to catch your death or at least pneumonia.” She’d been around Roth plenty. Why now was she turning into a bumbling fool?

“I don’t get sick,” he said.

Roth slid his hands into his pockets. The move caused his biceps to flex again, and she imagined wrapping her hands around them as he made slow, sweet love to her. “I see. You muscle—muscle—must,” she spit out. “You must have a strong immune system.” Bumbling fool.

“I guess so. You and your fiancé seem happy together.”

The odd timing of his words took her by surprise. “Thank you.” She shifted away from him before he saw the uncertainty in her eyes and stared out into the darkness. Were she and Cyrus a doting couple? Was that what people saw when they looked at them—happiness?

Roth leaned in slightly. “Are you happy?”

Alarmed by the question, Tressa snapped, “Yes. Why would you ask that?” Then she regretted the sharp bite in her tone.

Roth pulled one hand from his pocket and flashed a palm. “I didn’t mean to upset you. It’s just…” He shrugged. “It’s just that most women seem over the moon when they’re about to walk down the aisle.”

Was he suggesting she wasn’t over the moon? She was plenty over the damn moon. “Yeah, well, I’m not most women.”

“Oh, I definitely know this.”

A glint of something flashed in his demanding brown eyes and it smoothed her ruffled feathers. Again, their gazes held for a long, quiet, intense moment. Were these probing glances power plays between them, or was it that when they looked at each other, they simply became lost in each other’s souls? There was something soothing about the way Roth looked at her, a look that could polish rough edges.

“Well, I’ll let you get back to your fresh air. Congratulations again on your engagement. Good night.”

Tressa’s brow furrowed. “Wait.” The word came too urgently. “You’re not leaving, are you? The party, I mean.” Why did the possibility bother her so much?

“Shortly. I promised two of your aunts dances, and I don’t make promises I can’t keep. Then I need to get on the road before it gets too late.”

Yeah, her aunts—and several other of her female family members—had grown quite fond of Roth. Alonso, too. But Vivian had intervened on that one, crushing all of their dreams about her man. “On the road?”

“I have a cabin in Silver Point. The mountains,” he clarified. “About four hours away.”

“Huh.”

“Don’t look so surprised.”

“It’s not that. I just took you for more of a city dweller.”

“I love being in the mountains. No one near for miles. Absolute peace and quiet. I can go on my deck and play my sax as early or as late as I want without disturbing a soul.” His brow furrowed. “That reminds me. I don’t think I locked my vehicle.” Obviously, he noticed Tressa’s where-did-that-come-from expression. “Juliette’s in there—my saxophone.”

“You call your saxophone Juliette?”

“Yes.”

“Okay.” Tressa recalled the first and last time she’d watched him play his sax. It was the most alluring thing she’d ever witnessed. He’d made absolute love to the instrument. The way he’d held it, caressed it, wrapped his lips around it… Her cheeks heated just thinking about him playing her like a saxophone.

What is wrong with you? You are about to be a married woman. Her mother would be so disappointed in her for lusting over one man while engaged to another. She massaged the side of her neck. “So, the mountains?”

Roth continued, “Mountain air is great for clearing the mind and rejuvenating the soul.”

Sounded like her kind of place. “You sound like a travel brochure. I’ve never been to the mountains.” The declaration sounded as if she was trolling for an invite. She kicked herself.

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