Most women have them: those two very distinct, very different voices in their mind. One can usually be chalked up to common sense, the other to mischief, mayhem or just plain morbid curiosity. Both are always there, though, ready with their two cents worth.
Jemma Keith is no exception to the rule. She doesn’t have a problem agreeing to photograph her cheating ex-boyfriend’s wedding. The dilemma, however, is what to do once she gets there. Common sense feels like taking the high road; she can handle being the better person. Mischief wants to slither in, crashing the whole affair down around his worthless ankles.
What’s a woman to do when she can’t make up her mind?
At least both sides are in complete harmony about the bride’s cousin, Anthony Giovanni: he’s hot, handsome, and oh, so tempting.
Join Jemma as she weaves through a web of lust, temptation, revenge, and maybe even love.
They pulled into the outdoor movie park, and Jemma scanned the area, immediately disheartened. People filled all of the benches, cleared ground, and level patches in front of the old building the movie would be projected upon. She’d forgotten to grab a blanket or chairs for just such an emergency.
Tony stood beside her door and helped her from the car. “Too busy for your liking?”
“No, it’s just that all of the good seats are taken.”
He walked away from her, disappearing behind his car. The trunk lid popped up, and she heard rustling before he closed it. “Will these help?” He held out a thick quilt, a picnic basket, and an old radio. “The radio is so we can put the blanket wherever we want. There’s an AM station that plays the movie audio. Am I clever, or what?”
“You are.” She placed her hand on his proffered bicep.
Tony led her toward a small, cleared hilltop away from the crowd of people. With no need to be within hearing distance, the viewing aspect was their only concern. They reached the clearing, and Jemma turned to survey their remote, hidden treasure that offered them everything they needed: privacy, a great view, stars, and moonlight.
“Talk about prime real estate. This is perfect.” Jemma took the blanket from Tony’s arm and spread it on the level, grassy spot next to a huge oak tree. He unloaded the basket of goodies, and she noted he had everything she would have brought: a bottle of wine, two glasses, strawberries, cheese and, of course, chocolate. Tony placed them on the blanket and flipped on the radio, tuning it into the right station just as the movie started.
Patting the ground next to him, he raised the wine and an eyebrow.
“Sure, why not.” Jemma lowered herself to the ground in the most lady-like manner she could manage in her close-fitting dress, trying to retain all of her “secrets” in the process.
He filled both glasses and handed her one as she settled herself on her side. The familiarity of the movie mixed with the wine relaxed her. Before she knew it, the movie completely engrossed her as though she’d never seen it. The tinkling of piano music filled the air, and the raspy voice of Sam broke into the song As Time Goes By.
Tony reached his hand out to Jemma. “Care to dance?”
She glanced around as though he’d asked someone else behind her and blushed when she snapped out of her movie-induced bubble. “Sure.” She slipped her hand into his, and sensual energy flowed into her from his touch.
She struggled to make her jellied legs work and come to a standing position.
This could be dangerous.
The song lilted from the radio about a kiss being just a kiss.
Tony slid his right hand over her shoulder and brushed her loose curls free, trailing his fingers lightly under them until his palm came to rest in the small of her back. Fire branded her skin where his hand touched, but paled in contrast when his body pressed against hers. The warmth smoldered through her, and she became far too aware of every inch of him touching her.
Tony took her right hand within his left, her fingers slowly clasping his; her free hand led a languid trail over his strong bicep and broad shoulder before coming to a rest at the nape of his neck. The silky feel of his hair between her fingers and the intoxicating, beachy smell of cologne on his shirt added to the overload on her senses.
Her legs steadied a bit when he led her onto their makeshift, quilted dance floor. Everything around them disappeared except the music and the moonlight. Jemma released a deep sigh, closed her eyes, and placed her head on his chest, listening to the heady staccato beat of his heart. She felt safe, secure, and right with the world. Even the nervous jelly feeling disappeared. All that remained was the sensual humming of attraction between them. Jemma had never felt a more perfect peace.
No dueling, no fighting. Just peace.
She raised her head and looked up at him.
“What’s that sweet smile all about?” he asked.
“Oh, I just have a gut feeling my parents would probably like you.”
“Okay.” Tony raised a skeptical eyebrow and stopped dancing. “Do I want to know why holding you close brought about that particular gut feeling?”
“I can assure you that it’s nothing weird, if that’s any comfort. It’s just a woman thing, as my brother would so eloquently phrase it.”
“Ah, that’s good to know.”
Tony pulled her close again, his lips brushing her ear, and they swayed to the music. A small sigh escaped as she thought about those lips on hers before she could stop it.
Tony placed two fingers under her chin and lifted her face. “Something wrong?”
Not wanting to push her luck, she blurted the first thing that came to mind. “I just remembered that this song almost got cut from the movie. It would’ve been such a shame. It’s one of my favorites of all time.”
“Yep, if Ingrid Bergman hadn’t already cut her hair for her next film, they would’ve pulled the scene and shot a new one. It’s funny how one little detail can change the course of history like that.”
Jemma cocked her head to one side, impressed that he knew that bit of information. “We are so gonna play Trivial Pursuit sometime.”
Tony spun her away from him and quickly tugged her back into the safety of his embrace, returning her to the now familiar spark as their bodies pressed together again. Their swaying resumed, only this time it seemed primal, rhythmic. Their gazes locked, and the flames inside Jemma burned higher as their lips inched closer.
“As time goes by,” crooned between them.
Tony eased her back into a dip, cradling her upper back with one hand and raising her knee to his hip with the other. His lips grazed hers, a gentle touch at first, which slowly increased in intensity. His tongue slid along the seam of her lips, begging for her to open to him. Without any thought, she answered and allowed him access. Their tongues mingled, and Jemma enjoyed the mix of strawberries and wine she tasted from him. Tony stood her upright without breaking their bond. His arms reached around behind her waist, bunching the material of her dress in his hands, pulling her firmly against him.
Jemma’s arms snaked up around his neck, and she wound her fingers in his silky hair. She released a small moan into his mouth, her body coming close to overload from his kiss alone.
Tony pulled away and stared down at Jemma with a hooded gaze. “Well, that song is incorrect.”
Jemma frowned in confusion.
“A kiss is not just a kiss, at least when it comes to yours. All I can say is, wow!”