WALK THAT LINE
“Of course I care.”
“A lot more than you should,” she pressed.
Calisto’s chest constricted with pain. He’d convinced himself long ago that it was only imaginary where Emma was concerned. He couldn’t possibly feel something for someone that didn’t belong to him and that he could never have. He just couldn’t.
“Thank you, Calisto.”
Those three, seemingly innocent words struck him straight in his blackened, worn heart. She’d spoken them so quietly, but surely. Confident, even, like she knew exactly what they would do to him.
But he liked it.
Calisto liked that she acknowledged him and what he did. He had needed it, and while every part of him screamed how wrong it was, it made him feel like a fucking king.
Before Calisto could think better of his actions, he stepped forward and grabbed the door, shutting it without even looking out to see who might be watching. Emma’s enforcer must have been around somewhere, but was he close enough to see?
Calisto was close enough to Emma that the silk of her dress brushed against his arms. He could smell the hauntingly sweet perfume she wore, and he took another breath, wanting to have more of it soaking into his lungs.
“Where is your driver?”
“Carter is at a table,” Emma told him softly. “He’s ordering for us. I told him I would invite you out to eat with us.”
Calisto watched her mouth move, and the way her two front teeth peeked out through her upper lip. It was still a goddamn tease. He still hadn’t gotten this woman on her knees below him like he’d wanted to.
Why was he walking on this tightrope again with her?
“We can’t do this,” Calisto murmured.
Emma’s bottom lip disappeared beneath her teeth. “We’re not doing anything, Cal.”
It didn’t have to be labeled to be something.
It still was.
“Thank you for reminding me that I wasn’t alone,” she said.
“You’re not, Emmy.”
“Not when I have someone who cares watching out for me, right?”
Calisto knew better, but he snagged Emma’s wrist in his palm and held tight. The heat of her smooth skin siphoned straight into his bloodstream, like a shot of adrenaline right to his heart.
It was bad, but it was right.
It was good, but it was wrong.
“Right?” she asked again.
Her green gaze, jaded with pain and seeking something, watched him with an understanding that he didn’t know how she had gotten. He’d been careful with her, not wanting to bring her too close but never keeping her too far away.
Clearly, Calisto hadn’t been careful enough.
“Right,” he finally said.
Emma took a tiny step closer, her heels clicking on the tile floor. Her warm breath washed over his jaw when she tilted her head upwards so that she could stare at him again.
“We’re not doing anything,” Emma said so quietly that he strained to hear. “Someone has to know we’re doing something for there to be anything, Cal.”
“I’m not sure if I want to walk that line, Emmy.”
Calisto’s jaw ticked. “I—”
“Liar, you do. Because you care.”
He didn’t even get the chance to blink before Emma lifted up on her tiptoes, and pressed her mouth to his. For a quick second, Calisto was stunned. All he could feel were her silken lips covering his, and her hand fisting into his jacket. He couldn’t think beyond the sweet-smelling perfume that reminded him of candied cherries, or the emerald eyes watching him, demanding he deny her what she was asking for.
How could he deny her?
After everything, how was he supposed to do that?
Calisto was far too selfish to stop Emma or to push her away. He cared too much.
When she grabbed his jacket tighter and pulled, making him stumble into her warm body, Calisto was gone. His one hand landed to her waist while his other tangled into the chignon at the nape of her neck. He pushed her backward until they came to stop against the door.
Emma laughed—breathy and low—against his cheek.
It made him fucking ache.
Bethany-Kris is a Canadian author, lover of much, and mother to three young sons, one cat, and two dogs. A small town in Eastern Canada where she was born and raised is where she has always called home. With her boys under her feet, snuggling cat, barking dogs, and a hubby calling over his shoulder, she is nearly always writing something … when she can find the time.
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