Chapter 10

Simone felt his presence long before he spoke. Her stepson always managed to find her when her defenses were down. Like a great hunter tracking his prey, Steven Lars was relentless.

He crossed the room and perched on the edge of her desk. His heady, masculine scent smelled fresh and dangerously sexy. She dug her fingers into the arm of her chair. Her other hand clutched the test results of her newest patient. With everything the premature baby was going through, the last thing Simone needed was to engage in another battle of wits against her stepson.

"It's getting late." Warmth and concern vibrated together in the soothing tones of his voice. "I bet you haven't taken one break."

"Now is not a good time."

"It's usually the best time." He took the papers from her clenched hand.

"Steven Lars," she warned, finally lifting her head to look at him. Damn, blue looks good on him! Worn jeans molded to his massive thighs. The form-fitting shirt accentuated the breadth of his shoulders, his sun-darkened complexion and the light in his eyes. A sudden flash of guilt stabbed her low in the chest. This is Jeff's son for goodness' sakes! She moved to snatch the papers from him.

His hand shot out and caught her wrist. She wasn't sure what registered first. His strength...or the incredible sensation of their connected flesh. She inhaled a harsh breath and tugged hard.

"Stop fighting," he said, angling his hand to lace their fingers together. "I'm not your enemy."

"You're not my friend." Blood pounded her temples. Anticipation stretched across an invisible cord, pulling her and drawing her in.

He shook his head. His voice dropped to a low rumble. "Right now, I'm your only friend. Trust me, Simone."

"You're trying to destroy me."

"No, I want to build you up, lift you onto that pedestal you deserve." His other arm snaked around her waist. He pulled her hard against him and lowered his head. His breath warmed her cheek. His mouth hovered at her ear. "I want to appreciate every inch of you and I'm tired of pretending otherwise."

Then, his mouth swooped over hers. Hungry, deep kisses plundered her mouth. Her thoughts spun. A low burning ache exploded inside her. She squeezed his hand for support. Her fingers sunk into the back of his hand. But the kiss only deepened. Consequences failed to matter. Simone succumbed.

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