Single Man Meets Single Mom(8)

By: Jules Bennett


Those tempting lips curved into a smile. “You’re no fun.”

“I don’t have time for fun, Ian.”

And more than likely he was the proverbial good time back in L.A. She could easily see him hopping from one party to the next, beautiful women draped over his arm, falling into his bed.

Cassie flicked the main switch to light up the pathways between the stalls. The brightness from the antique horseshoe-style chandeliers put a screeching halt to any romantic ambience that had been lurking in the darkening stable.

When she turned back around, Ian had his hands on his narrow hips, his focus still locked on her. There was a hunger in his eyes she’d never seen from any man before.

Without a word, he closed the gap between them. Cassie’s heart had just started to settle, but now it picked back up again. She should’ve known better than to think the intense moment would pass.

Ian framed her face with his hands and brought his mouth to within a fraction of an inch of hers. “A woman who kisses, who responds to my touch without hesitation, has pent-up passion that needs to be released.”

His lips barely brushed hers. “Come find me when you’re ready.”

Ian walked around her, leaving her still surrounded by that masculine scent, his arousing words and the tingling from his touch still on her lips.

She’d known the man twelve hours. There was no way she could handle him being on the grounds for two more months. She was a woman—a woman with needs.

And a part of her wondered just what would happen if she allowed herself to put those needs first for once.





Three

Two days had passed since she’d been up close and personal with Ian, but Cassie was more than aware of his quiet, yet dominating, presence on the estate. She’d seen him from a distance as he talked with Max. She’d found out she’d just missed him on the set of one scene she’d gone to watch, but she refused to admit she was wondering about his schedule, about when she’d see him again. Feel his body against hers.

She refused to fall for another man who set her hormones into overdrive, so where did that leave her? Considering a fling?

Groaning, she made her way from the stables to the main house. The sun was making its descent behind the mountains and Emily was at her weekly sleepover with Tessa and Grant. After witnessing the shooting of the engagement scene over the past couple of days, Cassie was feeling more and more nostalgic.

She missed her mother with each passing day; seeing Rose’s life depicted in the film had Cassie wanting to feel closer to her. And with Emily away for the night, this was the perfect opportunity to reminisce and head up to the attic, where all her mother’s things were stored.

Rose’s unexpected death had shaken up the family in ways they’d never even imagined. As teen girls, Tessa and Cassie had really taken it hard, but they’d all been there for each other, forming an even stronger bond. But Cassie still ached for her mother’s sweet smile, her encouraging words and her patient guidance.

Because right now she truly wanted a mother’s advice. Ian had her completely tied in knots. When he’d left her in the stables two days ago, Cassie had never felt so torn, so conflicted in her life. And he hadn’t approached her since. What was up with that? Had he changed his mind? Had he decided she wasn’t worth the trouble?

Why was she even worried about this anyway? No doubt Ian was used to those flawless women who had been surgically perfected. More than likely Cassie’s extra pounds and shapelier curves were not what Ian was looking for in a...fling? What was he doing exactly with his flirting? Where had he expected this to go?

Never mind. He’d thrown out the word sex like nothing. Cassie knew exactly where he was headed with his flirting.

Leaving the attic door propped open, Cassie headed up the narrow wooden staircase. At the top she flicked on the small light that was so soft, it really only set off a glow on one wall. But that was the wall where her mother’s boxes were stacked.

In the silence of the evening, Cassie was all alone with her thoughts, her memories. She pulled the lid off the first bin and choked back tears.

How could anyone’s life, especially that of her beautiful, loving, vivacious mother, be condensed to a few boxes? All the memories, all the smiles, all the comfort Rose Barrington had offered to the world...all gone. Only tangible items remained stored neatly in plastic bins.

Cassie couldn’t help but smile. Her very organized mother wouldn’t have had it any other way.

After going through pictures from her parents’ simple, elegant wedding day, Cassie knew the wedding dress was around. Tessa actually planned on wearing it for her upcoming vows, and Cassie couldn’t wait to see her baby sister in their mother’s gown. Just that image was enough to have her tearing up again.