Nor was this.
“But now the two of you will be working closely on this project, won’t you?” she asked.
“Yes,” he answered and hated that he felt guilty. She knew this was what he’d been working toward. None of it was a surprise. The only unexpected part was how empty his success now felt.
“I’m happy for you,” she said, her voice thick with emotion. “You did it, Jeremy. You fought for what you wanted and you got it.”
Jeisa continued, “I guess now is as good a time as any to tell you that I won’t be going to Thanksgiving with you. In fact, I’ve already resigned my position, effective immediately.”
Whatever Jeisa had expected, it wasn’t for Jeremy to surge out of his seat and corner her against the counter. He said, “What are you talking about? You can’t quit.”
His nearness had an instant effect on her ability to concentrate. She tried to slide away, but he blocked her retreat by placing a hand on the counter beside her. She licked her suddenly dry lips. “I already did. Marie understands my reasons.”
“Well, I don’t,” he boomed with an emotion she hadn’t seen from him before, “and you work for me.”
Jeisa shook her head. “Technically I work for—or rather I did work for—Corisi Enterprises.”
He ran a frustrated hand through his hair. “You can’t quit. I need you.”
Oh, how I wish that were true.
Just as her heart started to soften a bit, opening ever so slightly to allow a ray of hope in, Jeremy said, “You said you would come with me to Thanksgiving next week. I can’t go to the Andrades’ alone.”
Of course, he needs me to choose his suits, prepare him with topics for light discussion. What next, pick up the condoms in case Alethea joins them? No way. I’m done. “I never agreed to go with you.”
His frown deepened. “Why are you doing this Jeisa? I don’t get it.”
Something in her snapped. She raised herself onto her tiptoes, yanked his head down and settled her lips on his, using a kiss to tell him what she couldn’t yet put into words.
Like a match to dry kindling, heat burst from the kiss on both sides. His hands were instantly on her waist, pulling her against his bulging erection. His mouth welcomed her as if this were their hundredth kiss instead of their first. She rubbed herself boldly against him and was rewarded by feeling him shudder with pleasure against her.
Easily, he lifted her onto the counter behind her and she leaned back, making no effort to stop one of his hands from sliding beneath the hem of her shirt and settling on her breast. Gently, almost reverently, teasing and exploring her excited tips. Standing between her open legs, he eased his other hand inside the loose material of her shorts, sliding it beneath her silk panties and claiming one side of her bottom, rubbing it deliciously and easing her forward on the counter until his hardness was straining against her moistness.
Her head fell back with the pleasure of it, and his lips began to worship her neck. His hot breath tickled her ear. He tasted her as if she were an addiction he’d long fought to deny but had finally given in to.
With one hand, he lifted her shirt; when his mouth claimed one of her breasts she was lost to the intensity of it. For just a moment, it didn’t matter that his heart belonged to another woman. Time and reason fell away, leaving only a raging need within both of them.
His phone rang in the pocket of his jacket, jarring Jeisa back to reality.
What am I doing?
She placed a hand on Jeremy’s shoulder and pushed against it. He raised his head, those blue eyes burning with the same desire she still felt pulsing within her. Still, sanity was creeping in. “Stop, Jeremy. We can’t do this.”
His hands stilled, not yet withdrawing. His ragged breathing was testament enough to how mutual the encounter had been. Yet, he stopped when she asked. Many men would have been resentful or angry. Jeremy was neither. He rested his forehead on her shoulder and took a calming breath. His hands returned to her waist, maintaining a contact but easing the intimacy of their embrace.
The ringing stopped as his phone likely went to voice mail.
A question nagged at her. She had to ask. “Who called?”
His head straightened. “Who cares?”
She didn’t want to, but she did. “I do.”
He stepped away from her and checked his phone. He didn’t have to say who had called. She knew. When he said nothing, Jeisa hopped off the counter, straightened her clothing, and said, “You should go, Jeremy.”
Before I make an even bigger fool of myself.
His face flushed and suddenly he looked a bit defensive. “I didn’t know until just now that you liked me. You never said anything.”
“Some men aren’t as oblivious as you are,” Jeisa said, knowing she was really angry at herself.
Jaw tight with anger, he said, “You should have said something.”
His words cut through her like a dull knife ripping her heart into frayed pieces. “Why? You’ve made your choice abundantly clear,” her voice broke a bit as she spoke.
Jeisa watched his face as confusion replaced his anger. He raised a hand to touch her, but she moved away from him and toward the door. He followed her. At the door he said, “I never meant to hurt you. I care about you.”
Care about—not love.
“Please go, Jeremy.” She opened the door for him.
He took a step through it, but stopped just in front of her. “I want to tell you that she means nothing to me, but I won’t lie to you.”
Marie’s theory on honesty doesn’t hold water when tested.
There is definitely a wrong time for the truth.