She gave him a wide smile and held her arms out. “Would it help if we hugged it out?”
He shook his head with a small smile as he lifted his beer. “Go away, Molls.”
She wiggled her fingers and moved toward him. “Come on. One hug.”
He laughed and tried to push her away. “Don’t be weird. I’m still annoyed at you.”
Ignoring this, Mollie wrapped her arms around him and squeezed, although it was a bit like embracing a redwood trunk. The man was thick and solid and hard.
“I’m sorry,” she said against the lapel of his suit jacket. “I’m really, really sorry.”
He stiffened for a moment before some of the tension finally seemed to seep out of him. She heard the clank of his beer can against the counter, and slowly his big arms came around her, engulfing her in a warm embrace.
She’d meant the hug to be friendly. Heck, it was friendly, in that it was a hug between friends. But as they stood there, lingering perhaps a bit longer than they should have, the hug started to feel different . . .
His head came down to rest on the top of hers, and she felt the slight pull as his stubble rasped against her hair. Mollie suddenly became aware of her hands—aware of the way his hard back felt against her palms, the way his muscles bunched as he pulled her closer against him.
Even the air felt thicker, or maybe it was just that both of their breathing seemed to have quickened.
Jackson’s hands moved just slightly, first upward toward her shoulders and then sliding down until his fingers rested at the small of her back, as though exploring her shape.
And suddenly Mollie wanted him to explore more. Wanted his hands to drift down further, over her butt, and then around to the front.
Mollie’s hands found his broad shoulders as she pushed back abruptly.
Jackson blinked in surprise at the sudden movement before his arms dropped slowly to his sides. Their eyes held for a second too long, as though searching to see if the other had answers for what had just happened.
He shook his head slightly and cleared his throat before he reached for his beer once more.