Before she could respond to that, Jackson touched her arm. “Can I talk to you?” He didn’t wait for an answer. He drew her through the crowd, not stopping until they reached the inn’s lobby.
A few people lingered nearby, but they didn’t pay any attention to either of them.
“You told that woman I was available.”
“You are available,” she pointed out, then shook her head. “Sorry, I was…” She trailed off, waving her hand between them. “This was a bad idea.”
Her eyes narrowed. “I’m trying to clear the air here.”
“And doing a bang-up job of it,” he shot back.
“You’re unbelievable.” She whirled around, wishing she hadn’t bothered apologizing.
His hand snagged her wrist, dragging her back to him. Warm and solid, his chest moved with her, bracing her when she might have used the wall of muscle to push him back. His arms locked around her back, but then there wasn’t time to think about that. Wasn’t time to think about anything.
His mouth covered hers, the kiss exactly like he played the game he loved. Fast, hard and taking her by complete surprise. Smooth, hungry lips teased across hers, pushing deeper the second she dragged in a breath.
And god she needed to breathe—needed something to anchor her or she’d wind up swept away as she had years ago. She’d learned by accident that Jackson Knight knew how to kiss, but even that one time didn’t compare to the present.
Not when he cradled her jaw and slowed the kiss, his tongue sliding across her bottom lip and stroking the length of hers. She wasn’t sure when her fingers found their way to his shirt, but she slipped them beneath his suit jacket to get closer.
So much closer.
Seconds, maybe minutes later—and altogether too soon—he drew back after one more slow, soft pass of his mouth, but didn’t release her. His heart pounded furiously under her palm and he breathed as hard as she did.
“No one has ever kissed me like that,” she whispered. She hadn’t planned on saying it aloud, but once the words left her mouth, she was too caught up in the delicious high to care.
“Hayley,” he murmured.
She nipped his bottom lip, loving the way he said her name. She hadn’t planned on liking a damn thing about him aside from the way he played hockey, but the moment he climbed into that tree without complaint and without dropping a kitten with a vicious streak, she guessed there might be a bit to like after all.
Like the way he set her entire body on fire with just a kiss.
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