Stepping into the ballroom, she searched the crowd, needing to get this over with as soon as possible. So what if her body had been consumed with heat when she and Jake had made eye contact? She wasn't a horny teenager anymore. She controlled her hormones now, not the other way around.
Sighing, she weaved through the throng of people, then came to a standstill when she caught sight of Jake by the refreshment table.
God, he looked good. Really, really good. A white dress shirt clung to his broad chest, black trousers encasing his long, trim legs. And his face--man, he'd grown even sexier with age. Ruggedly gorgeous features, gray eyes smoldering with seductive heat. The man oozed sex and masculinity. He always had, and probably always would.
When their eyes locked, that same surge of desire she'd experienced on stage made a reappearance. Steeling herself against his potent maleness, she strode over to the drink table and managed a faint smile. "Hey, Jake," she said, keeping her tone light.
"Bree," he said in that husky voice of his. His stormy silver eyes swept over her. "You look good."
She swallowed. "So do you." So good that her nipples were already hardening against the front of her lacy bra.
Damn it. Twelve freaking years later, and her libido still kicked up a notch in the presence of this man.
"It's been a long time," he added.
"Yeah," she agreed. "How's military life?"
Something indecipherable flashed across his chiseled face. "Same as always. How's lawyer life?"
"It's great," she admitted. "I love my job."
"I'm glad to hear it."
Was he? Because as she recalled, he hadn't seemed too concerned when he'd persuaded her to skip the SATs so they could spend the day in bed.
Your fault, not his.
Fine, there was some truth to that. Jake hadn't forced her to miss the test. She'd done that all by herself. So wrapped up in his sexual spell that she'd been willing to drop everything for just one more second with him.
God, back then she would've done anything for Jake Bishop. He was the guy who'd shown her how much fun life could be, that under the surface she was a good girl just waiting to be bad. And lord, she'd been bad. Not just in exploring her sexuality with Jake, but neglecting school, rebelling against her parents.
But she was older now. Wiser. A successful lawyer, the proud new owner of a beautiful bungalow in Denver's Cherry Creek neighborhood, a woman who was completely happy with her life.
Yet as she looked into Jake's hypnotic gray eyes, she realized that no matter how happy she was, her life still lacked one thing: Passion. She'd slept with other men since Jake, but she couldn't remember the last time a man's mere proximity made her heart gallop like a racehorse. Or when the simple sound of a man's voice brought such a delicious ache to her core.
Only Jake managed to evoke that response in her, which was really freaking annoying.
"So..." She cleared her throat. "You didn't have to spend a thousand bucks to have dinner with me, you know. If you wanted to catch up, we could have done it over breakfast at the diner, free of charge."
"Is that what you want to do tonight? Catch up?" His voice held a mocking note.
Bree's heart did a little flip, but she caught herself before her pulse sped off into oblivion. "It would be nice," she said noncommittally. "I'd like to hear what you've been up to all these years."
"Really?" He edged closer and his masculine scent grabbed hold of her senses. Soap and spice and something woodsy. "So you want to listen to my anecdotes and share life stories?"
The sound sent a shiver up her spine.
"Come on, Bree, we both know conversation isn't on the agenda for tonight."
Indignation hardened her jaw. "We haven't seen each other since high school, Jake. Did you honestly think I'd take one look at you and fall into bed with you again?"
But damn if her thighs didn't quiver at the thought.
You're not a bad girl anymore. You never were.
She lifted her chin, gathering up her resolve. No matter how gorgeous Jake was, no matter how much her body responded to him, she wouldn't sleep with him tonight. That ship had sailed a long time ago, and falling back into old habits--bad habits--wasn't something she could afford to do right now. She had an important lawsuit about to go to trial, a house she was still in the process of decorating, a life that didn't include Jake Bishop.
Or sex with Jake Bishop.
"Sorry to disappoint, but the only thing that's on the table is dinner," she said firmly.
The sultry heat of his silver eyes penetrated her body. "What happened to the Bree Lockhart who used to be up for anything?"
"She grew up." Bree rolled her eyes. "Evidently, you haven't."
He flashed her a grin, that crooked badass grin that never failed in making her melt. "Growing up is overrated, sweetheart."
"If you say so." She slanted her head. "So, dinner?"
He shrugged. "Dinner it is." He looked around the crowded ballroom, focusing on the auction in progress. The bachelors were taking their turns on the stage, but Jake didn't seem the slightest bit interested in the festivities. "Wanna get out of here now?"
Her heart skipped another beat and she had to chastise herself for getting excited. This was nothing more than dinner. Dinner between old friends. Old lovers. Just because Jake was eyeing her like he wanted to get her naked didn't mean she'd let him. She was thirty years old, for Pete's sake. A strong, resilient woman who could surely fight off the advances of one Jake Bishop.
"Sure," she agreed. "But I'm serious, Jake, this is dinner."
He reached for her arm, and the warmth of his touch seared her skin and sent shockwaves of desire through her body. "Of course," he assured her. The wolfish twinkle in his eyes totally betrayed his casual tone.
"I mean it," she insisted.
Bree gulped and followed him out of the ballroom.