Ryder Rodgers had a plan.
He was going to stride into the conference room, do the required song and dance over the next five days, and win the biggest contract of his career. But when he walked in and heard the voice of one of his competitors, all his plans were shot to hell.
Harper Denton. She was always on top. In college. First in their class. Always using every advantage to edge him out to win the coveted positions. The only one who could beat him. His academic rival. More like a constant thorn in his side. And his ego’s.
When he heard her voice, he was brought back to years before. To the bitter taste of being second best. But the woman who meets his gaze is nothing like the drab wallflower he used to know. Hell no. She was all woman now: curves, confidence, and staggering sex appeal. And no doubt, still brilliant.
The fact that she’s gorgeous and bright won’t distract him. This time, Ryder’s determined to be the one on top. But not if Harper can help it.
He takes a step toward me then hesitates, but before I can process anything else, his lips are on mine. And not just on mine––not just a brush of lips against lips—but I’m talking all in. Hands on my cheeks, tongue licking between my lips, body pressed against mine, groan in the back of his throat, type of all in. I don’t react at first. I’m stunned. Flabbergasted, my mind reeling from the anger to the surprise to now this without any warning at all. This is Ryder. My rival. My supporter. My crush. The thoughts flicker that this is what I’ve wanted. But they soon shift to panic. To insecurity I don’t kiss well enough. That this is all a joke and I’m the butt of it. But then I feel. Everything. All at once. And I know this is real. It’s like I can’t catch my breath and have too much air all at the same time. My body is on fire. And not just from his touch but from that burn deep inside that feels like it’s exploding and imploding all at once. So this is what it feels like to really be kissed. It’s a fleeting thought before the sensations, the moment, the emotions, consume me whole. His hands move my face to change the angle of the kiss. His fingertips on the line of my jaw singe my skin. His lips move expertly against mine, and all I can do is feel. All I can do is want. Thinking isn’t an option. The anger from before has morphed to want. The adrenaline has recharged with desire. There is no rivalry. There is no graduation ceremony tomorrow I’m missing to catch my flight. There is no panic over if I’ll ever see him again. It’s just him. And me. The scent of his cologne in my nose. The heat of his body against mine. The taste of hunger in his kiss.