Tessa's Temptation(7)

By: Ella Jade

“Hi,” she said before he could make his way to the kitchen.

“Hey.” When he turned in her direction, she noticed he’d loosened his tie and unbuttoned the top two buttons of his perfectly starched dress shirt. “I didn’t expect you to be down here still.”

“I wanted something different tonight.” She sat up and put the laptop on the coffee table. “You’re home earlier than usual.”

“I left work a bit earlier to run an errand.” He came into the family room. “I’m glad you’re up.”

“You are?” When she crossed her legs, she noticed his glance lingering on them a bit longer than necessary. “How come?”

His gaze traveled back to her eyes. “I went to a brand new recovery center down in the city and arranged to have your dad moved there early next week. They have much better technology and as far as I’m concerned the staff is better equipped for his therapy. I don’t think he’s making any progress where he is.”

“I checked all of those top notch hospitals downtown. His insurance won’t cover any of those places. We just can’t afford it.” She tried to stay calm but if Chase set this in motion, it could end up costing a fortune and her dad might lose his bed in the place he was in. “Didn’t they tell you that?”

“Sweetheart.” He sat down next to her, taking her hand in his. Shocked, she looked down at their joined hands. “Money isn’t an issue.” He tilted her chin so she had to meet his stare. “I didn’t tell you any of this to worry you.”

“I’m not worried.”

“You’re lying.” His voice was softer. “I can see the panic in your eyes. It’s the same as the day your dad asked me to take you in. You didn’t want to come here, but it all worked out, didn’t it?”

“You’ve been so good to us.” Every morning when she woke up, she expected the past month to be a dream. It wasn’t until she looked out of the bedroom window and found him sitting by the stream did her uncertainty settle down. It was her reality check. And she liked watching him when he didn’t know she was there. “It doesn’t make any sense why you would do any of this for us. We’re practically strangers.”

“I’d like to think I’m no longer a stranger to you.” He moved his hand to gently touch her chin all the way to her cheek, eliciting a shiver from her. “You’ve been here a few weeks now.”

“I still don’t know anything about you,” she admitted. “You’re hardly here.”

“My work keeps me really busy.” He dropped his gaze to her lips. “If there is anything you need, May will get it for you.”

May can’t give me what I need. “She’s great.” Since she had his attention, she took the opportunity to dart her tongue out and run it across her top lip. “But she’s not you.”

“Tessa.” He let go of her and created a bit of space between them. “Is there something else you need? If May can’t provide it, I certainly will. You can have whatever you want.”

I want you. “You’ve been wonderful.” She looked down at her lap. “Thank you.”

“What is it?” He pressed her. “You still don’t look happy.”

“It’s just that, well, I know you’re busy…” She bit her lip as her eyes traveled up his strong chest and chiseled jaw to meet his lust filled eyes. “I was wondering if maybe you could have dinner with me once and a while.”


“This house is so big and it gets lonely. My father and I used to eat together several times a week. When he wasn’t working. I guess I just miss the company. It would give us time to get to know one another.” Eating alone every night was boring. She got the feeling he was avoiding her. Staying late at the office so he didn’t have to see her. No one worked that many hours. “You work late almost every night and on the weekends you go golfing or meet with clients. I just thought if you ever had some free time, you might like to spend it in your house.”

“I’m sorry,” he said. “I was giving you some space to get used to living with me. I guess I went overboard. Tomorrow’s Friday. How about I bring home a pizza and we have dinner together?”

Perfect. “If you’re not too busy.”

“I look forward to it.” He stood. “I need to call your father’s case worker and start the process to get him moved. I want him ready to go once the new facility gives us the green light.”