Ashton didn't take midafternoon coffee breaks in cafés decorated with schmaltzy hearts and Cupids and other ridiculous Valentine’s Day paraphernalia.
Then again, he didn't strip to blues or hold hands or have sex in a garden either, but he'd done all that and more with Kiara.
He knew he shouldn't be doing this: meeting up with her because she'd asked and because she'd sounded so damn upbeat on the phone that his chest had ached.
She made him feel and he didn't want that. Since when had pretend become real?
He barely knew her. They had next to nothing in common besides abhorrence for romance and a penchant for steamy sex.
So what happened in two days when Greg and Alice tied the knot and the promotion Elliott had hinted at several times became a reality? Kiara would revert to a…friend? An acquaintance? Nothing?
She breezed into the coffee shop on the ground floor of his office building, her gaze zeroing in on him instantly. The excitement in her eyes served like a kick in the guts, winding him.
She looked like that every time she laid eyes on him and it only served to make him feel lousy for what he had to do.
He had to lay the groundwork for their impending break-up because he felt more for her in two weeks than he had in two months with Tracee.
He’d vowed after his divorce never to get involved in a long-term relationship and Kiara had him questioning that decision every five minutes. Not good.
"Hey." She greeted him with a kiss on the cheek and he fought the urge to claim her mouth. "Thanks for meeting me."
Liar, his conscience screamed, because sitting across from her, drinking in her glowing skin, her fiery hair, her siren red power suit, meant breaking up with this woman was the last thing he wanted to do.
"I know we're both busy so I'll get straight to the point." Her nose crinkled as she pulled out a folder from her satchel. "The bride's in a panic so she's lumped this duty on us."
Ash flicked open the folder, his eyes bombarded with white tulle, pink hearts and glitter. "What's this?"
"We need to assemble the wedding favours."
He bit back a grin at her audible disgust.
"Isn't that a maid of honour's job?"
Her glare could've scorched the wall behind him. "The best man has to help, too."
"According to whom?"
"Me." She snapped the folder shut. "What are you doing tonight?"
"Helping stuff ridiculously small bags with useless rubbish nobody wants?"
"Bingo." She snapped her fingers and picked up her bag, pushing back her chair to stand.
Confused by her fly-by visit, he said, "You could've asked me over the phone, you know."
"True." She stood and hoisted her satchel onto her shoulder. "But then I wouldn't get to do this."
She bent to brush a kiss over his lips, lingering long enough for her tongue to sweep over his bottom lip in a slow, tantalising tease.
"See you tonight," she whispered in his ear and then she was gone, leaving him lusting and puzzled and more confused than ever about how he could let her walk out of his life in a few days.
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