cause.” “But what if I lose?” she asked in a mere whisper. He leaned forward, close to her ear, and said, “You won’t. Didn’t anyone ever tell you that the bad guys never win?” It was then that she turned in his arms and met his gaze. “Never?” She was looking up at him with those big gorgeous dark eyes of hers and there was no way he could tell her anything different. Besides, he actually believed what he’d said. Bad guys never won. “No, never.” She sighed as if she believed him, and when he pulled her closer to the fit of his body, she came willingly and snuggled even closer. His hands moved higher and began gently massaging her back, to ease the tension. This was what she needed, rather than the kiss he desperately wanted to give her. Her face was buried in his shirt but for some reason his chest didn’t feel any pain or discomfort. What he felt at that moment was something a lot more emotional than sensual. It might seem ludicrous but he was mesmerized by the woman in his arms in a different sort of way. Remember, Lucas Garen Madaris III, it’s all about building a friendship and not a relationship. He wanted to push that particular reminder away but it seemed unmovable and he knew why. A relationship wasn’t compatible with his life goals. Friendship was all they could ever share. She lifted her head and met his gaze and he felt his gut clench when he focused on her lips. A part of him wanted to taste them but another part, his common sense, told him not to do it. “Thanks, Luke. I’m fine now,” she said softly. His gaze shifted to her eyes. His voice seemed to have dipped an octave when he asked, “Are you sure?” “Yes.” They stood staring at each other for a few quiet moments longer before she said, “It’s getting late. I’d better go.” Instead of responding, he released her and took a step back. “Good night, Mac.” “Good night, Luke. Make sure you take your medication before you turn in.” He nodded. And then she was gone and he was left there, standing alone, and wondering just how he had managed to get himself in such a fix.
Blade and Slade Madaris, fraternal twins and owners of Madaris Construction Company, were handsome men, Mackenzie concluded as she stood in her doorway watching them get out of the car. She observed Slade offering his hand to his wife, Skye, who swung her legs out of the car to join the brothers. Not for the first time she thought that Slade and Skye made a beautiful couple, and she really liked Skye. She had such class and she was a very friendly and outgoing person. Her gaze then shifted to Blade. To say he enjoyed being a bachelor was an understatement. Over the years she had heard a lot about him and his philandering ways, his long list of affairs. He was a heartbreak just waiting to happen for any woman who thought she could tame his womanizing heart. She bet a number had tried, but so far none had succeeded. Suddenly her heart began throbbing against her rib cage and heat began spreading through her lower extremities, an indication that Luke was near. In fact, she was consciously aware of the moment he came to stand directly beside her. Out of the corner of her eye she saw he had changed into another pair of jeans and shirt. He had that just-showered smell along with his usual masculine scent. The combination was tormenting her senses and reminding her of just what an enticing male specimen he was, something she tried not to dwell on. Especially these past three days sincethe night she had practically made a fool of herself by crying in his arms. The day after that humiliating incident she had left home before he had gotten out of bed, convincing herself she was doing so to be there for the cleaning crew. They’d be coming to clear out the mess in her office from the night before. And she had returned late that night since she had scheduled a meeting with a client. It had been close to ten by the time