For too long Tessa has seen herself as plain and dowdy, just an ordinary suburban housewife. With her confidence eroded after being married to a bully who humiliated her at every opportunity, why wouldn’t she presume she was unattractive, and someone no man would find the least bit worth bothering with?
But now Tessa is a widow, and relishing her new state of independence. Her world is turned upside down by Jack Delaney, a man she spent hours fantasizing over when he worked for her husband. A man who gave her a deliciously secret outlet from her miserable marriage. When Jack enters her life again, professing he finds her attractive, why would she believe him? Especially as he is now wealthy, successful, still extremely handsome, and to add to that, years younger than her.
“All I’m doing, Tessa Browning, is being truthful. One thing you’ll find out about me is that I’m blunt, and as honest as a high court judge.” Jack stood, and moving to stand behind her placed his hands on her shoulders. A quiver ran through her, while his body shook with the restraint he was putting on it.
“Don’t,” she whispered, turning the tap off. As his fingers pressed onto her shoulders she hunched them slightly.
“Don’t what? Don’t warn you I’m to be trusted? Don’t touch you? Turn around, Tessa,” he asked softly. “I want you to look at me while I tell you something.”
She didn’t turn, and with gentleness, belying the flare of something animalistic roaring through him, Jack turned her, sliding his hands down until they rested lightly on her waist.
“I fancied you like crazy when I was a raw twenty year old, Tessa,” he said softly.
“No!” Her mouth parted. He almost groaned with his need to smother it with his own when her pink tongue darted out to moisten her lips.
“Why do you deny it? You must have seen how I looked at you. Des knew. The old bastard took delight in taunting me.”
Had he ever? And warned him off on one occasion. “Touch my wife,” he’d said savagely. “And, let me tell you fella, you’ll not get a job in this trade in the next thirty years.” And he had been capable of following through on the threat. But this hadn’t been the reason Jack didn’t try to seduce her. His honor wouldn’t let him touch another man’s wife. It was one of the rules his father instilled in him. And there was also the added moralistic dilemma of a wife of his own—albeit one he didn’t love.
Her head was going from side to side—her lips still parted. “Yes. Anyway, Des is gone. I don’t know how deep your grief is, Tessa, but I have to warn you about this. As soon as you feel you’re ready, I’m going after you. I’m not twenty anymore; I’m a mature man with all the usual needs. It’s no good looking at me as if I’m stark raving mad. I never did anything about it while you were a married woman, but now you’re as free as me and I’m going to make you want me as much as I want you.”
“You are mad,” she spluttered, pushing at his arms as they tightened about her waist until their bodies met. The spiral of need shooting through him sent messages through to his soul.
“Mad about you.” She plucked at his sleeves as his lips hovered above hers.
“Don’t be daft!” With a kind of frantic appeal, she tilted her head to put more space between their mouths. “I’d have to be at least fifteen years older than you. I have grown up children. My hair has gray in it, and you are good looking enough to get anyone you want.” In agitation she pushed at his forearms. Every muscle tensed at the feel of her hands on him, burning through the fabric of his sleeves.
Jack grinned. “I’m glad you think I’m good looking. We’ve made a start. It would be awful if you reckoned I was as ugly as an old boot.”
“Stop it. This is no joking matter, Jack, and take your hands off me!” She struggled to get free, slapping where she had just gripped his arms. But Jack held fast. He’d seen the telltale signs of her arousal through the soft fabric of her sweater, and wasn’t about to lose any advantage.
“Okay, I’ll take my hands off you if you tell me bluntly you haven’t the slightest desire to taste me. If you tell me you aren’t in the least bit aroused by having my body this close to yours. If you admit knowing I’ve never been as hot and hard in my life from holding a woman as I am right now doesn’t turn you on, I’ll release you.”
Her head went back further, showing him the perfect arch of her throat, the shadowed valley between her breasts, and Jack groaned. It sounded loud in the short silence after his announcement.
“I have no desire to... to... taste you,” she said through her teeth.
“Liar!” Gently he shook her. “Come now, Tessa, I’ve been honest with you. Isn’t it about time you were honest with yourself?”
“As a romance hero, Jack is one of the best! …expect to spend a few sleepless nights reading this page–turner and enjoying the scorching love scenes between Tessa and Jack! Once started, this book is impossible to put down. Ms. McGill has conjured up a cast of characters that will stay in your mind and a story that will warm your heart.”
Jennifer Macaire for A Romance Review
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