Just To Be With You (Page 4)
For a moment—one split second of temporary madness—he was tempted to show her exactly why. To drag her into his arms and steal a kiss that she’d never forget. To show her the force, the power, that the intense attraction between them had.
And the damage it could do.
Self-control asserted itself just in time for him to curl his hands into fists in his pockets instead of in her silky hair, and he was carefully weighing his words, measuring his response, when his office door flew open.
“Aha! I knew I’d find you here, still working. Ford is waiting in the car downstairs to drag you to Mom and Dad’s house right aw—” His sister, Mia, suddenly realized he wasn’t alone. “Tatiana, I didn’t know you were in Seattle already. It’s so great to see you again!”
As the two women hugged hello, Mia shot Ian a look over Tatiana’s shoulder—one that had him gritting his teeth even harder than he had been before his sister arrived, all because he could read Mia’s mind.
Ian and Tatiana sitting in a tree
When they were children, everything could be boiled down to such simple sentiments. But life wasn’t that simple anymore, and hadn’t been for a very long time. Heck, Mia ought to understand that after how difficult things had been between her and Ford Vincent. The rock star was now her utterly devoted fiancé, but during the previous five years, their relationship had been a radically different story.
As the oldest in their family, Ian had done his best to watch over Mia since the day his parents had brought her home from the hospital—a tiny, innocent bundle wrapped in soft blankets. He’d made sure to take care of her when she skinned her knee, when she fell from the bars in the playground, when she took a tumble on the ski slopes, when she’d needed help staying up all night to study for a test. She’d always been there for him, too, making him laugh with her silly antics, even once he was in college and things had begun to fall apart for them as a family…and there hadn’t been time for much laughter anymore.
Later, when they were both adults, his sister had tried to be there for him again when he’d been going through his divorce. But instead of letting her, he’d left the country. In the years since, he still hadn’t shared the finer details of his divorce with anyone, including his sister, but that didn’t mean she was clueless. She knew he wasn’t interested in love, romance, or marriage again, even if she didn’t know exactly why.
Mia let go of Tatiana to move into the circle of his arms, and as he pressed a kiss to the top of her head, he knew for sure that he’d made the right decision to come back to Seattle. He’d missed his sister a great deal during his years in London.
“I’m glad you’re back, big brother,” she said as she hugged him tighter. Of course, the second she let go of him, she went straight back to poking around in his private business. “It looked like I interrupted a pretty serious discussion between the two of you.” She didn’t even try to be subtle as she asked them, “Did I?”
“I was in the neighborhood,” Tatiana said with an easy smile. “So I decided to drop in and see if I could catch Ian before he headed out for the night. I’ll be playing a heroine who inherits a big company, and I figured watching your brother in action for a little while might provide some helpful research.”
He was amazed at how smoothly she’d told the truth, while also deftly saving him from having to admit to his sister that he was a jerk who had flat-out refused to help her.
“Interesting,” Mia said in a tone that told Ian precisely how interesting she found the whole situation. Far too much for his peace of mind, which was already teetering on the edge of sanity simply from being this close to Tatiana. “Did you learn anything yet that you’ll be able to use for your role?”
Tatiana’s eyes held his for a brief but heated moment before she turned to smile again at his sister. “Only that CEOs are busy. So busy that their sisters have to come and make sure they leave the office at a reasonable hour on a Friday night.”
Mia shot him another pointed look. “You did invite her to dinner at Mom and Dad’s tonight, didn’t you?”
“I’m afraid I didn’t exactly let him get that far,” Tatiana said, saving him from his sister’s wrath yet again. “Besides, I should really spend tonight going over the new changes the screenwriter made.”
“Come to dinner with us, Tatiana.” Even to Ian’s own ears, his request came out sounding like gravel was coating his vocal cords, so he tried again. “Our parents would really love to have you there.”
“We would all love it,” Mia corrected, her disapproval over the way he was handling himself around Tatiana coming through louder and clearer with every passing second. “And I refuse to take no for an answer, so the changes to your script will just have to wait a few more hours.”
With that, his force-of-nature sister linked her arm with Tatiana’s. As they headed toward the elevator, Mia called over her shoulder, “Hurry up, Ian, otherwise people are going to realize their rock-star hero is sitting outside in the car waiting for us and then we’ll be really late to Mom and Dad’s.”
In London, Ian had been in charge of not only one hundred percent of his business, but of his personal life, as well. He’d barely been back in Seattle for a week, and already his family was meddling. But only, he reminded himself as he grabbed the bouquet of flowers he’d bought for his mother, because they loved him.
Which meant he’d better brace himself for a whole lot more meddling tonight at dinner.
Especially if he wasn’t able to hide his reaction to Tatiana any better than he had so far…
Ian’s office had looked just the way Tatiana thought it would. Perfectly ordered, with everything exactly where it should be and, most of all, everyone working hard to please him.
She smiled at that thought, knowing just how easy it was to feel that way. Heck, she didn’t know him very well beyond their one meeting at Marcus and Nicola’s wedding in Napa and what she’d heard about him through her sister and the other Sullivans…and yet she already found herself wanting to do something, anything, that would put a spark of approval into his dark eyes. Eyes that seemed to be full of so many mysteries—and so much barely banked heat—that every time she looked into them she couldn’t help but be completely and utterly drawn in.