He could feel his frustration simmering. At her tight, acidic smile, it bubbled and spilled over into anger. “What is that supposed to mean? Damn it, Gus. In one breath, you tell me you’re over everything that happened between us, then the next you throw our past back in my face. Which is it? What do you want from me?”
“The truth would be nice,” she shot back. “If Zack only cares about Liz professionally, why won’t he let her quit? Maybe she has other opportunities she’d like to explore.”
“That’s between the two of them.”
She stepped in his path again, ready to fight. “No, it isn’t. That play has Roman Calder written all over it. You think I don’t know your moves?”
“I get blamed for everything, don’t I? Everything that goes wrong, every nasty political move, you lay all that at my feet. In your eyes, no one else could possibly be as bad as me. But you’re totally over what happened between us.”
“I am. I don’t care about you. I don’t think about you.”
She was a liar. The stubborn tilt of her head all but shouted that her bravado was an act—one he’d believed for years. “Is that right?”
“Not unless it’s work, and then I’m usually trying to get through it so I don’t have to deal with you.”
He moved closer, knowing damn well she wouldn’t back up. That wasn’t how Augustine operated. No retreats for her. She would hold her ground until the bitter end.
Awareness flared through him at the light in her eyes. “Never? You haven’t once stopped to remember how good we were together?”
“I’m good with a lot of men,” she shot back.
No one ever challenged him the way she did. She got his blood pumping in a way it hadn’t in well over a decade. In the past, this kind of anticipation had been reserved for election night, but fighting with Gus right before he shoved her on the bed to begin the real battle ranked right up there. He remembered.
Roman loomed over her. “Oh, I think you forget how I could make you scream my name, baby.”
“I don’t forget anything, Calder. It’s just that nothing between us was particularly worth remembering,” she replied, her head tilting back to maintain their eye contact. Her shoulders squared and he could practically hear her growl. “In fact, neither were you.”
The barb hurt, but that was her anger talking. Roman let it go. “Then let me show you all over again.”
He slid a hand behind her neck, giving her precious seconds to oppose him. If she said no, he might be able to walk away. It would kill him, but he’d do it.
“This won’t change a thing,” she whispered, her face guarded.
But he saw the anticipation gleaming in her eyes.
Roman held in his shock. Her reply was not a no. She didn’t hate the thought of him touching her.
That was all he’d needed to hear. The time for talk was done. Not recognizing those moments in the past had been his mistake. Talking had never been their strong suit, but this… Oh, this had been everything. He could feel her body pressing against his as though she couldn’t quite help herself. As though she felt the same magnetic pull.
Breath held, he lowered his mouth to hers, ready to taste her for the first time in well over a decade.