Tessa's Temptation(10)

By: Ella Jade

“Tessa and I were going to watch a movie...” He ran his fingers through his hair. There was no way he was sitting in the movie room with the both of them on either side of him.

“I’ll take a rain check,” Tessa said. “I can head over to campus to meet some friends.”

“Now?” Chase didn’t want her to go.

“Yeah, it’s Friday night.” She loaded the last plate into the dishwasher. “There’s always people on campus.”

“Sounds like fun,” Audra said. “We’ll just be going over boring business.”

“Lucky you.” Tessa dried her hands on a paper towel. “Can I take the car?”

“Sure.” Chase’s gaze followed her to the hall. “You’re going now? Dressed like that?”

“Chase,” Audra said, “that’s how teenagers dress.”

“She’s twenty,” Chase mumbled. “I just meant the temperature is going to drop. You might get cold.”

“I’ll be fine.” Tessa giggled as she walked toward him. “I won’t be late.” She leaned up and kissed his cheek. “Have fun working.”

“It was nice meeting you, Tessa,” Audra said in a cold, clipped tone.

“You too,” Tessa called over her shoulder. “I’m sure I’ll see you around.”

Chase watched, still feeling the warmth of her lips on his skin, as she bounced out of the kitchen and down the hall. He hadn’t expected her to kiss him. She’d never done that before.

“Seriously?” Audra asked as she popped open a beer and grabbed a slice of pizza.

“What?” He sat down at the island, reaching for a beer. He wasn’t in the mood for a game of twenty questions.

“Why didn’t you tell me about her?” She sat across from him.

“I did.”

“You omitted a lot,” she said. “I didn’t expect her to be so vivacious.”

“I hadn’t noticed.”

“You’re such a liar.” She sipped her beer. “That’s why you’ve been spending so much time at the office. You can’t be around her.”

“That’s ridiculous.” But so true.

“You’re not fooling me.” She shook her head. “I know what you like.”

“Here we go.”

“You like sex and you like it often.”

“Why don’t you be blunt about it?”

“I could be. I know you, you know.” She smirked. “Remember?”

How could he forget? She reminded him of their brief tryst every chance she got. Ten months ago she’d accompanied him on a business trip. One thing led to another and they came back as a couple. Chase liked her, but she was needy. The affair only lasted two months. She was still hung up on her ex and trying to forget. He had been single and up for some fun. They had a good time but when he figured out she wanted to pick up with him where she and her ex left off, Chase decided she wanted way more than he was willing to give. They both agreed to end the physical relationship. She even left the firm for a few months. It was a mutual decision. She said she needed to get away but Chase knew she was in the middle of a breakdown and paid for her to stay in the Caribbean at one of those spas that catered to mental well-being. She’d been seeing a therapist ever since.

When he’d landed a huge new account, he asked her to come back as his attorney. He was a smart businessman and she was one hell of a lawyer. While she remained professional at work, she did have a habit of showing up when she was lonely. Given their history, he told her there would be no friends with benefits. He didn’t think she could handle that.

“So, what’s the deal with the two of you?” she asked.

“I told you, I’m helping her father. Tessa is welcome to stay with me as long as she needs to. This place is big enough for the two of us.”

“You’re not interested in her?”

“No.” He finished his beer, trying to swallow his lie.

“Does she always kiss you goodbye?”

“I’m usually not here when she leaves. We’re friends. She was just saying good night.”

“Oh, so that’s how she tells you good night? Or was the kiss for my benefit? Smart girl, marking her territory.”

“That’s not what she was doing.” Was she?

“Who could blame her?” Audra said. “She’s hit the jackpot here. A beautiful house, a fancy car, you.”

“It’s not like that.”

“I hope not but she’s only been here a month. You know you have to be the adult, right? Of course she’s going to fall for you. She’s living a fairytale but you can’t act on your impulses.”