I Love How You Love Me (The Sullivans #13)(7)


by Bella Andre

Just that one small touch scorched through her entire body like a wildfire.

How was she going to make it through a private interview focused on sailing and boat-making, when all she could think about around him was sex?

“Your house is lovely, Claudia.”

Grace was surprised, in fact, by how much the Sullivans’ house reminded her of the one she’d grown up in. The pretty flowers in vases throughout, the family photos, and even the old dog sleeping on a pillow beneath the piano made it feel cozy. Well loved. Like home.

Seeing several pots on the stove and a large array of fruit and vegetables laid out by the cutting board, she said, “I should have realized you’d still be cooking. You don’t have to watch Mason.” Sure, it would be more difficult to conduct the interview with her son crawling around at their feet wanting to play and be entertained, but she’d find a way to make it work. Plus, she already knew it would be better if she and Dylan weren’t alone for too many long stretches, considering it had been hard enough to think straight in the car on the drive over with him sitting so close, even with Mason in the backseat.

But Claudia smiled and said, “I once put on a seven-course dinner while all five kids were running riot through the backyard and the kitchen. I’ve got this.”

And as Grace watched Dylan’s mother get down on the floor with Mason to show him how to use the little toy xylophone to make music and he gleefully started banging at the instrument while Dylan’s mother laughed delightedly at his antics, she had no doubt whatsoever that Claudia had things covered.

“Can I get you a glass of wine or a beer?” Dylan asked her.

She would kill for a glass of wine right now to calm her nerves. But alcohol was the last thing she needed when it was going to take every ounce of self-control she had to keep her walls sturdy and high. “Water would be perfect.”

Taking two bottles of water out of the fridge, he said, “There’s a covered porch out back where we can talk.”

“If you need me for anything, Claudia—”

His mother waved them away. “Go do your interview. Mason and I are going to be just fine, aren’t we, cutie?”

His gummy grin was all the answer Grace needed. At least to the question of whether her son would be safe and sound for the next hour or two without her.

As for herself, however—the truth was that as Dylan led her outside toward two seats on the back porch that were set up more with lovers in mind than an interview between strangers, Grace felt anything but safe. Wary, yes. But also undeniably attracted.

And more intrigued by Dylan than she’d been about anyone in a very, very long time.

CHAPTER FOUR

Though it was cool out from the rain still coming down, as Grace got her recorder and notepad out of her bag, her skin was flushed a beautiful rose color that made it nearly impossible for Dylan to keep his hands to himself.

He had spent the past three days ferrying a new boat to a friend in Portland, Oregon, and all the while he’d thought about her. Mason, too. Seventy-two hours of looking at the situation from every angle and he was still in the same place he’d started.

He could easily see himself with both mother and child.

And Grace was still the prettiest woman he’d ever set eyes on.

Dylan had always loved women. The way they smelled. The way they moved. The sweet little sounds they made. But though he’d had as much female companionship as he’d wanted during the fifteen years since he’d hit puberty, he’d never wanted anyone the way he wanted Grace.

And he hadn’t even kissed her yet.

His mouth curved up into a grin just thinking about how hot that was going to be.

Today Grace would ask him her questions. But soon, he’d want answers from her. Where had she come from? What had her childhood been like? Why was she single instead of married to Mason’s father? And who the hell could have been stupid enough to walk away from her and her amazing kid?

If they had been out on his boat right now—the cockpit had always been a damned good confessional and he’d never met anyone who could hold back their true thoughts and feelings at sea—he could have had the answers out of her by the time they got back to the dock. But on land, he’d have to bide his time a little longer. Hopefully not too long, though, given that even the way she tucked her silky hair behind her ear—an ear he very much wanted to nibble on—was incredibly sexy.

She clicked the Record button on the small device on the table between them. “You’ve told me that sailing is all you ever wanted to do. Sailing and making boats.” He loved the sound of her voice, the slightly husky tone that, when combined with her obvious intelligence, made his synapses nearly short out. “I’d love to know why.”

He’d expected her to begin with the usual factual or technical questions that journalists had always tried to ask him before: At what age did you start sailing? What was the first boat you made? Why don’t you race professionally when you were a superstar at a very young age and could have been at the helm of your own World Cup contender by now?

Instead, she’d just cut straight to the heart of what made him who he was. And he could guess at the reason: This story wasn’t just about his heart…it was about hers, too.

“You’ve sailed before, haven’t you?” he asked.

“I’ve been out on a boat once, but there was hardly time to raise the sails.”

“Doesn’t matter if it’s got paddles or a motor or a jib. Did you like being out on the water?”

She smiled then, dazzling him with her answer before she’d even said it aloud. “I loved it.”

“What did you love about it?”

“Everything. The seagulls flying overhead right before we pulled away from the dock, as if they were excited that we were about to join them in their favorite playground. The dark water churning beneath the hull, flexible enough to let us through, yet strong enough to hold us up. The wind against my face, smelling like salt and fish and life. The fact that the way the waves rose was utterly unpredictable and yet somehow I felt safer than I ever had before.”

“Sometimes,” he told her, “when I’m out there hurtling before the wind, and the sky is full of stars, I swear I can hear the mermaids flirting with me.”

“I wouldn’t be surprised to find out they really were,” she said with another smile. One that confirmed that she, too, was tempted to flirt with him. “But what about when it’s not so smooth? I know from my research that you’ve crossed the Atlantic and have sailed thousands of miles in the Pacific, encountering gales and storms, even a couple of hurricanes. How do you keep loving sailing after you’ve been out there fighting for your boat…and even your life?”