As it often does, the bad news comes in the middle of the night.
When attorney Ben Winters’s close friend takes a bad spill and ends up in the hospital, he flies across the country to be there for her. His instant attraction to her brother takes him by surprise.
Wanting Zack Anderson is easy; actually having him is a bad idea. While the two connect over concern for Zack’s sister, there are many reasons to fight the attraction brewing between them. Things heat up as Ben’s friend begins to show improvement, but the reasons not to get involved with the younger man remain the same -- long distance relationships never work, and Ben doesn’t do one-night stands.
But there’s one powerful reason to give in: Ben has never wanted anyone more.
Usually I just used butter and nothing else, but when I saw the maple syrup was the real kind, I couldn’t help adding just a bit into the wells on the waffle. My first bite made me moan. The waffles were perfectly done -- golden on the outside and fluffy on the inside -- and the real maple flavor without all the extra fake sweetness tasted like heaven. Zack made a choked sound behind me, and I turned quickly to make sure he was okay.
His blue eyes were filled with lust, and he leered at me. “That was a good sound.”
I swallowed hard, my bite of waffle sticking in my throat. I took a quick sip of coffee. “Zack,” I chastised.
“You were right last night,” he announced before I could say anything else. Even as disappointment flooded through my veins, he kept talking. “Not about us, mind you. But about how tired I was. I wasn’t thinking clearly. If I was, I wouldn’t have tried to rush you into bed. I would have wooed you first, let you know how serious I am.”
“Wooed?” I repeated, my brain stuck on that.
“It’s a good word.” His shrug was casual. He brought the last waffle over to the table and sat down across from me. His gaze bored into mine. “And you deserve to be shown how special you are. None of those other guys you’ve dated made the time or the effort. So that’s what I’m going to do.”
I choked on air. Zack slid a glass of orange juice in my direction, and I took huge swallows. Once I was breathing normally again, he gave me a smile.
“You’ve been dating for a long time, Ben. And you always seem to find yourself in relationships that aren’t right, with guys who don’t appreciate you and show you how much you mean to them. You think it’s you; that’s the problem. But the truth is, the fault only lies with you because of the guys you’ve been choosing. You’d think at your age you’d be better at that.” He clucked his tongue playfully.
He couldn’t know all that. There was no way. Unless ... “You’ve been talking to Josie.”
Zack’s grin was unrepentant. “She called this morning. We’ll go see her in a little bit, and you can chew her out then for divulging your secrets. But I’m glad she told me, Ben. Because now I know what you need.”
I rubbed a hand over my forehead, not quite sure what to do with that information. Part of me was pissed Josie would put such a spin on things and then tell her brother all about it. I knew she felt that way -- she hadn’t been shy about expressing her opinion over that past couple of years when relationship talk came up -- but no matter who many times she told me, I never believed it. It had to be me. Why else would I make it to forty-six without finding a real and lasting relationship?
Not that it mattered, of course. Zack and I couldn’t have anything real anyway. We lived thousands of miles apart, we each had our respective lives, and I was too set in my ways for that to change. I shook my head and heaved a sigh before I gave Zack my attention.
“I appreciate what you’re trying to do,” I said slowly, feeling my way as I went. “And I’m flattered. But it’s really not a good idea for us to get involved. You know it’s not.”
Zack just grinned and pointed with his fork at my plate. “Okay. Eat your food.”
I squinted at him suspiciously, but he was digging into his breakfast with gusto, like the whole conversation hadn’t happened. It couldn’t be that easy. If Zack was anything like his sister -- and this morning had proved that he was, at least a little bit -- he wouldn’t let it go at that. Well, then, I would leave it for now, and I’d just keep turning him down.