Burn Me Once - Page 75

His gaze didn’t waver from her, and she returned his stare, matching the intensity, or at least trying to. Brett’s attention was powerful. He might have been compelling in his twenties. But at thirty the man was downright potent.

He smiled at her, looking just as arrogant and smug as ever. The deep breath she took to steady herself shuddered out of her as she exhaled. Even after five years, the pull of him was still as strong as a team of horses.

Everyone moved about them, oblivious to the tension that traveled across the room between her and Brett. Shaking her head, she forced herself to pull it together. Rebecca was a strong, grown woman who had made multimillion-dollar deals and stared down some of the top businessmen and women from Vegas to New York City. If she was going to be living in the same city as Brett, she was bound to run into him again. What could it hurt to talk to her former lover? She had to get it over with, and when she did, she could forget about him and get on with her life. So straightening her posture and flipping her hair behind her shoulders, she strode confidently in the direction of Brett Collins.

* * *

Brett watched Rebecca as she crossed the floor toward him, trying to hide the smile that made the corners of his lips creep upward. She’d come back from New York after five years on the East Coast and had landed squarely back on Brett’s radar. Despite that they had their own long-standing rivalry, he’d been competing with her father, Hiram, in the local real estate industry for years, and the feud had continued when Rebecca took over. They’d been at each other’s throat for months, but this was the first time he’d seen her in person since she’d returned to town, and it was affecting him more than he liked.

He’d spent college neck and neck with her, competing for grades, awards, accolades, top position in the class. By coincidence, they’d earned undergraduate and graduate degrees from the same schools, so that meant that they couldn’t escape one another. And from day one, they had not clicked. He was confident, maybe a bit cocky; she was stubborn and not willing to relent, and neither of them knew what to do with the other. They’d had a frustrating, competitive, downright antagonistic back-and-forth relationship—well, if you would call their enemies with benefits hookups a relationship. They would fight, then fuck, then go back to fighting...for six years.

They’d had major chemistry, and she was still somehow even more infuriatingly sexy than she’d been all those years ago. So maybe he had some memories of the past rumbling below his belt, but there was no reason for his reaction to her now, the pounding in his chest or the way the blood rushed past his ears, heading south, causing a stirring in his dick as she came closer. That was unexpected. He put down his glass and fisted his hands at his sides to hide their shaking, frustrated and unsure if the tremors came from anger or lust.

She moved, almost gliding across the floor in her stiletto heels. The sheen of her black dress caught his attention, reflecting light as it clung to her curves. No doubt, she was still the gorgeous, sexy, glamorous woman she’d always been, but there was something else. She was confident, owning the room, tossing her blond hair behind her shoulders and catching the eyes of men and women as she approached. Outside of sex, they’d never seen eye to eye, no matter how stunning she was or how sexually compatible they’d been. But as she got closer to him with every step, his breaths became shorter and his eyes narrowed further. He tried to act cool, but the line that he could feel forming between his eyebrows betrayed him.

“Hi, Brett,” she said, a smile playing on her red lips. Brett knew people, and while she appeared confident, he wondered if underneath her calm exterior she was trying to rein in her emotions. Just like he was.

“Becca Daniels.” He smirked, calling her the name she’d used when she was younger.

“Rebecca,” she corrected him with a smile.

“Right,” he said, flashing a small smile at her correction. “Sorry. Rebecca Daniels.” He could feel himself becoming rigid, and yet more aroused, as if his body was unsure how to react to her presence. He didn’t know whether he should scream at her, walk away or lift her onto the nearby table and fuck her in the middle of the party. But civility won out and he extended his hand to her for a polite shake. She smiled and took his hand. They shook hands. “It’s been a while since we’ve been in the same room.”

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