Paul put his wine glass down too. Leaning forward in his chair, elbows on jean clad
knees, he challenged her quietly. “Why are we doing this? Why are we talking in circles?”
“Because there’s eighteen years to account for.” Even as she spoke the words, Casey
knew they weren’t true, but she did know the real reason they were talking in circles. She was
afraid of what came next.
“No, there isn’t,” he disagreed. “Although, there is some explaining to do. I want to know
what happened to you, who sucked the joy from you, mistreated you and didn’t treasure what he
She smiled at him, the movement of her lips feeling stiff, as if she barely remembered
how to smile. “It wasn’t a single person, Paul. There’s no one for you to beat into a pulp for
mistreating me. Life has done this to me. Every bad thing that happened to me, every struggle,
every relationship that didn’t work out, every time there wasn’t enough money, every
disappointment, every crisis…they all contributed to the woman you see before you. They all
chipped away at my spirit and wore me down.”
Paul stared hard at her for long moments. Then he said, “I guess that answer never
occurred to me.”
“You know the timing hasn’t been right for us all these years. Even the last time we saw
each other, it didn’t matter how much I yearned to be with you. I was seeing someone and so
were you. And I totally misunderstood what you asked me.” Casey pushed to her feet and walked
over to the window, staring out at the night sky. “And now? I guess I just want to know why you
bought my house, the one I grew up in. You don’t even live here anymore.”
His mobile lips curved up in a sexy smile. “That’s an easy question to answer. I bought it
for you. I wanted you to come home. It’s the only thing I’ve ever wanted. And I needed to feel
connected to you again. I’ve missed you.”
Casey’s heart began to thud painfully as Paul rose from his chair and came toward her.
He stopped with only inches between his chest and her breasts.
“I’m here and you’re here. Neither of us is seeing anyone. Our children don’t even come
into this equation,” he said quietly, lifting a hand to stroke her hair. “Do you remember how we
used to finish each other’s sentences? Even as young as I was at the time, I knew that was not
only significant but rare.”
“I’m still older than you.” Her whisper held the echoes of her old angst.
Paul shook his head disbelievingly at her. “You’re seriously not going to put that stupid
old argument between us.”
He stared hard at her until she drew a shaky breath and said, “No. I guess not.”
“Good. Now, tell me where your heart is.” Paul drew his forefinger along the base of her
neck, caressing the place where a gold chain once lay, half a heart nestled in the hollow of her
A sob rose within her, unexpected, as emotion swelled between them. “In my purse,” she
Paul’s head dipped and as his hand slid into her hair to cup the back of her head, he
murmured, “Mine’s at my house in a chest where it can’t be damaged or lost. I treasure your
heart, my heart and the soul they’ve always shared. I knew the first time we finished each other’s
sentences that you were made for me and I for you. I knew no one would ever love me as you
One tear trickled down her cheek and he kissed it away, making her ache with an
unprecedented mixture of joy and pain. This man had always drawn so much from her. She
didn’t know how she’d survived so many years without him.
He smiled against the skin of her cheek, his lips caressing her as he held her face between
his palms. “Do you know what the most exciting and fulfilling sex of my life has been? The
night I took you from behind, still dressed, my leather jacket pressing into the naked skin of your
back. I’ve never come so hard or so long since.”
She flushed hotly thinking about that night. The sex had been rough and spectacular.
She’d never forgotten it because it had been the best sex of her life. Hearing that it had been the
best sex of Paul’s life too helped ease her fears.
“That was almost twenty years ago. How sad that best sex of our lives was so long ago.”
Paul brushed his lips against hers and Casey felt an electric thrill go through her.
“Oh, I don’t believe it’s the best sex of our lives. I think it was the best to date, but I also
think we can top it. As cliché as it sounds, I know the best is yet to come.” His lips smiled
against hers and he teased the flesh with his tongue.