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Heat (Deceit and Desire Book 4) by Cassie Wild (1)

Ravenna

Nicco hadn’t argued about my suggestion on where to meet and talk. Part of me had expected him to, but he’d just nodded and smiled.

I had the feeling he knew why I’d wanted to meet at a restaurant instead of just having him come back to my place or meet in his office.

Neutral ground was the best bet, but I didn’t want to come outright and tell him that.

I also didn’t want him getting the wrong idea.

He’d asked if I’d had sex with him so he’d be in the right frame of mind when I asked him about helping me bring in his father. I couldn’t blame him for asking – it was a fair question. But the blunt, honest truth was I’d had sex with him despite what I needed from him, not because of it.

Now I was dealing with all the needs and urges inside of me, trying to fight them back while attempting to deal with things I needed to find out from him.

It was like walking a damned tightrope.

Sitting across from him at the table, I had to admit something else. I was woefully inexperienced at this. I didn’t know which way to go or what to ask or how I was supposed to catch a man for a crime that had been committed years ago.

The statute of limitations had come and gone, and I didn’t know how I was supposed to begin to bring Gabriel Marks down. Unless we were to catch him involved in something else.

But there had to be a way.

As I sat across from Nicco, I kept that thought in the forefront of my mind. Or I tried.

There has to be a way.

“You and your mother left your father when you were seven,” I said, tracing a small pattern on the tablecloth with my finger. “But you said you’ve seen him once since then. When was that?”

His eyes met mine briefly, then he looked away.

“It’s a personal matter. I’d have to think about it before I discussed that with you,” he finally told me.

“What kind of personal business can you have with a man you haven’t seen in over twenty years?” I asked, keeping my tone light.

The server appeared with the ticket tucked inside a leather wallet. “Will you two be having any dessert?”

I was tempted to say yes, and not just because I needed more time to plug away at Nicco over his father. I liked the guy. I liked him in a way I hadn’t liked another guy – ever.

Nicco’s eyes rested on mine. “It’s up to you.”

My belly was so full of the pasta and appetizers, I felt like I’d bust and reluctantly, I shook my head.

She put the ticket down, and before I could reach for it, Nicco had it in his hand, tucking a credit card into it. “My treat.”

“But I’m the one who asked you to come here,” I protested.

“My treat,” he said again.

“Okay.” I smiled at him.

His gaze dropped to my mouth, and the heat I’d been trying to smother for most of the evening exploded into the forefront, obliterating just about everything.

Unwittingly, I licked my lips, and Nicco’s lids drooped low over his eyes, partially shielding his gaze from mine. Partially. Not completely. The heat I saw in that shielded gaze was enough to hit me square in the chest, knocking the breath out of me.

My breathing sped up.

The server appeared quietly to take the ticket and credit card, and Nicco leaned forward. “I guess it’s a night, then.” He brushed his fingers over the back of my hand.

I didn’t plan on doing it, but I turned my palm upward and laced my fingers with his, pressing our palms together. “Does it have to be?”

He blinked, a ridiculously slow, lazy sweep of his lashes drooping over his eyes.

In that brief span where I couldn’t see that beautiful blue, I struggled to calm my breathing, but it was a fruitless effort. When he finally looked back at me, it was like I’d taken a two-fisted punch straight to the solar plexus.

“I guess it doesn’t have to end if you aren’t ready for it,” he said.

Then he lifted my hand and pressed a kiss to the back of it.

Such an innocent, innocuous gesture – romantic even.

But I felt it as if he’d reached out and licked me, right through my panties.

“Come back to my place with me,” I said, forcing the words out of a tight throat.

His only response was a slow smile that was so sexy, my heart skipped another couple of beats in response.

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