Once they were seated at a black wrought-iron table by the window, he dipped his spoon into his gelato, tasted it, and grinned a slow, wide grin as he slipped the clean spoon from his mouth and scooped out more.
“Oh, that’s just ridiculous,” she said. “You look like you’re auditioning for a Häagen-Dazs commercial. No one smiles like that after eating ice cream.”
He laughed. “It really is good.” His grin was out in full force, and, God forbid, did he have a dimple?
“Now, I have to try it.” She lowered her spoon toward his bowl.
“Ah, ah, ah.” Instead of letting her scoop up some herself, he held his spoon to her lips. Her eyes jumped to his, and conflicting thoughts skittered through her mind.
She shouldn’t do it. This was too intimate. It was crossing a line of some kind. It felt too much like dating—which they weren’t.
It was just gelato. Just his spoon. He might take it as rejection if she didn’t do it, and she could never, ever in a thousand years hurt him, not even in a trivial way.
She parted her lips and let him feed her the gelato. Her heart knocked around her chest like a pinball as sweet green tea melted on her tongue. He watched her with expectation, oblivious to his effect on her.
“Okay, it’s good.” She tried to sound casual. This didn’t mean anything. This wasn’t a date. She was just another of his clients. Keep a cool head. She stabbed her spoon into her gelato.
“I told you so.”
“I still like mine best.” She put a spoonful of mint chocolate chip in her mouth. The complex combination of vanilla and mint exploded on her palate. Bits of chocolate crunched between her teeth. Perfection.
“Let me try it.”
She held her bowl out toward him, but he didn’t put his spoon in it. He trailed his fingers over her jaw as he tipped her head back and sealed his lips over hers. His tongue speared into her mouth, and the salt of him mixed with the flavor of the ice cream. She didn’t know if she was mortified, shocked, aroused, or all three.
With a lingering lick on her bottom lip, he pulled away and grinned, his dark eyes intense and hazy.
“I can’t believe you did that.” Flustered, she tried to scoop herself another spoonful. Her white plastic spoon skittered onto the tabletop.
She grabbed for it, but his hands wrapped around hers. In the next instant, he was kissing her again—sweet, closed-mouth kisses that still felt scandalous. And too delicious to resist. The gelato shop dropped away. The people disappeared. In that moment, it was just her and Michael, the taste of ice cream, and their slowly warming lips.