I released her but leaned forward, my hands on the counter so I was staring into her face. I figured it was time to come clean about my feelings. "I care for you. I always have. I want you. But I won't do anything you don't want to do." Unspoken but lying between us was the memory of the near-rape she endured so many years before.

Emily ran a hand down my arm and I shuddered at the contact. "I need to think about all this, Nate. I don't know what I'm feeling."

I pulled her to me in a gentle hug. "Surprise?" I asked.

She laughed. "Yes. And flattered."

I ran a hand down her denim-clad leg and felt a sense of homecoming again. Her face, her voice, her eyes, her touch--they were all so familiar and so erotic but they were new after all this time. I pushed away from the counter and I saw her eyes drift to my jeans. I grinned. "Yeah, you still have that effect on me."

She slid off the counter. "I guess you don't have to worry about any hormone problems."

"No, as long as you're in the vicinity, I don't."

We both heard the cell phone ringing. Emily smiled apologetically. "I'd better get it. I'm close to closing the deal." She grabbed the phone from the coffee table and put it to her ear, walking toward the bedroom. I knew she was happy for the interruption.

I was half-glad myself. I wandered away, my trembling hands jammed into my pockets. If she ever did go to bed with me I'd probably go off like a Roman candle before we even got undressed. It was a long time since I was so aroused. She always had that effect on me, though. My mind shot back to the time we first slept together. Then there was the time when we did it against the door. And the time--

I jerked my thoughts away from those memories as Emily walked back into the room, phone pressed to her ear. "Of course I have you on speed dial, Jonas," she said with a small laugh. "No, I'm not alone, a friend is here."

Friend? I raised an eyebrow and Emily shook her head at me. "An old, very special friend." I perked up at that description. "No, you can't." She listened intently. "Of course. Okay, thanks. Good night, Jonas."

Did her voice linger on his name? It sounded sort of caressing. She folded up the phone. "He just wanted to chat." Emily set the phone on the end table and walked back to the kitchen to pick up her wine glass.

"So, what's a guy got to do to get in your speed dial?" I asked casually.

"I have everything in speed dial. I can't remember a phone number to save my life."

I was relieved. Maybe the guy wasn't special after all. "So you're selling your business?"

"Yep. I figured it was time. I don't seem to enjoy it as much as I used to." She frowned. "Nate, about us."

I didn't want to talk about it. I didn't want to see the confusion and uncertainty on her face. "Don't. I didn't mean to upset you."

"I'm only here for a week." Emily looked around the apartment. "It must just be the memories." She laughed but it sounded fake. "Surely you can't be still thinking about me after all these years."

"Don't worry about it. Please. I didn't mean to upset you." I crossed the room to the chair where I tossed my jacket.

"I'm sorry. I'm just a bit confused."

"That's okay. I want to go out to the resort with you tomorrow morning before the others get here, okay?" I tried to hide the anger I was feeling, but I'm not sure I succeeded. What did I expect? Hearts and flowers? Love and kisses? Gees, I was such a sap.

"Sure. But I need to go for a walk in the morning. I try to get a walk in when I travel if I can't get to the gym. Would you mind waiting?" She was looking anxiously at me.

"Okay. I'll come at seven-thirty or so. We can walk then go out to the resort."

That seemed to ease her mind. "A walk would be good. Thanks. You don't have to go with me unless you want to."

I shrugged. "It's okay."

"Okay." She crossed the room as I opened the outside door. "Nate?"

I turned back to look at her. She came forward and put her arms around my waist. I automatically enfolded her in a hug, resting my chin on her head. "It's good to be back."

I savored the feel of her in my arms before releasing her. "It's good to have you here." I rubbed my thumb against her check then I dashed down the stairs. "See you tomorrow."

I left before I screwed it up even more.