If they cross this line from friends to lovers, it would change everything.



A sudden, firm knock on her front door had her whirling around. Her breath caught. Her heart stopped.

With her stomach twisting in anticipation, she flipped on the porch light and peeked out the peephole. Today had proven that anyone associated with EM Security in any way needed to be careful. But as she’d suspected—and hoped—Zy stood in the circle of murky light on her porch, in a white tank, a black jacket, and faded jeans.

He looked like a man on a mission.

With her heart thumping, she eased the door open, not caring that her face was bare, that her hair was twisted in a messy bun, or that she was wearing plain green cotton pajamas without a stitch underneath. She was just happy to see him.

“Zy. What are you doing here?” Her question was silly. That wasn’t what she’d meant to ask, but she was so damn nervous. She knew precisely why he was here. Unless something had happened? “It’s getting late. Is everything okay?”

“Did you really think that, after today, I wouldn’t come?”


“Is Hallie asleep?”

“She fought some, but I got her down about thirty minutes ago.”

He nodded. “Good. Can I come in?”

Tessa hesitated. She’d yearned to be with Zy for lonely, seemingly endless months, ever since she’d lost her heart to him. She wanted him so badly right now she could cry. But if they crossed this line from friends to lovers, it would change everything. “I don’t know if that’s a good idea.”

“Did you get a new contract today?”

Slowly, she nodded. “Joaquin emailed it to me.”

“Did you sign?”


“Did you?” He wouldn’t stop, wouldn’t rest, and wouldn’t give up until she answered.

Tessa gave in. “Yes.”

“So did I, first thing this morning. The restrictions keeping us apart are gone.”

“They are, but—”

“There are no more buts, Tessa.”

“How did you know?”

“The bosses told me.”

“Why?” She couldn’t think of a single reason they would have told Zy they’d presented her with a revised agreement that no longer precluded her from having any non-work contact of a sexual nature with him.

“Because when they changed mine, I asked about yours. You know the reason.”

“I do.”

He wanted her every bit as badly as she wanted him. At the thought, heat flashed through her, making her aware of her peaking nipples and the sharpening ache between her legs.

“Can you think of a single reason I can’t come in, strip you down, and make love to you? Tell me right now.”

His demand made the heat clawing up her body rush to her cheeks. Her heart thudded even harder. “Did you mean what you said on Christmas Eve?” Do you love me?

She needed to know. If she didn’t have Hallie to think about, it wouldn’t matter if Zy only wanted to take her to bed for the night to scratch the itch he’d been fighting all these months. She would risk using her body to tempt him into opening his heart to her. But she had too much responsibility to throw caution to the wind now.

“Every word,” he vowed.

Tessa dragged in a shaky breath and studied his face. He meant that.

God, she loved him so much.

She hadn’t told him yet. She’d been afraid the admission would set fire to the powder keg of desire between them. She’d also been terrified he would break her heart.

She stepped back and opened the door wider. “Then there’s no reason at all. Come in.”

Her breathy answer seemed to still the air and stopped time between them.

A visible shudder wracked Zy’s body. “Do you want me?”

“I always have.”

“I’ve wanted you, too, baby.” Something needy and tormented twisted Zy’s face as he stepped over the threshold, kicked the door shut, locked it, then took her shoulders, dragging her against every hard inch of him. “So fucking bad I can’t stand another second of not touching you.”

Zy stood in Tessa’s little foyer, gripping her tight against him. His lungs worked hard, breath sawing in and out, as he searched her face.

“I can’t stand it, either.” She slid her palms up his chest to clutch his shoulders. Her eyes burned hot as she trembled in his arms. “Kiss me.”