“Hey,” she said, then sighed. “And true.”
He picked up a small plastic bag with three screws in it. “Here’s problem number one. You’re supposed to use all the screws, Supergirl.”
“Well, now you tell me.”
He laughed, which he realized he did a lot around her, and crouched low to gather the pieces together.
“I didn’t see that baggie of screws. Do you need my tool kit?” she asked.
He looked up at her. Up those long, bare legs to the leather kick-ass costume that made his mouth water. “You don’t have a tool kit.”
“I do now,” she said proudly. “Brand new, too. Got it yesterday at the hardware store.” She went to a closet and pulled out a small toolbox with a variety of dollar-store tools in it. She lifted the cheap battery-operated screw gun. “Look at this baby. It’s what I used to put the shelves together.”
“Cute,” he said, enjoying thinking about her sitting right here on the floor, piecing the shelving unit together. “But let’s use all the screws this time.”
“Good idea.” She revved the screw gun. Annie Oakley meets Xena, Warrior Princess.
“You can direct,” she said, “but I get to do all the screwing.”
He grinned. “A guy’s greatest fantasy.”
But he did indeed direct, and she screwed, her brow furrowed in concentration, lower lip being tortured between her teeth as she worked.
It was sexy as hell.
“You like doing things for yourself,” he said when they’d gotten the shelving unit back together and she stood there, hands on hips, staring proudly at her finished product.
“Always have,” she said. “It’s the city rat in me.”
“I thought you were a country kid.”
She stilled briefly, then turned away. “I’m a hybrid.”
He came around the shelving unit to look at her. She was studying the shelves, her expression faraway, lost in memories. “How did you lose them?” he asked softly.
Her head jerked to his. “Who?”
Her face closed up. Just closed up entirely. “I…don’t like to talk about it.”
He nodded. That was something he could understand all too well. “When my dad died,” he said, “I couldn’t talk about it, either. He was such an important part of my life for so long. It was always him and me against the wave of estrogen in my house growing up. We were a team.”
“But you love them,” she said. “Your sisters.”
“Yeah, of course.” He gave her a small smile. “They’re family, you know?”
She just kept staring at him, and the oddest feeling came over him, the feeling that she really didn’t know. “You’ve been on your own for a long time, haven’t you?” he asked.
Still staring at him, she hesitated and then nodded. She opened her mouth to say something, and he leaned in to hear her over the driving rain slanting against the windows because he didn’t want to miss a word.
But in the next blink, lightning again lit up the shop, and again she jerked.
“One,” she said shakily. “Two—”
The crack of thunder had her taking a quick step closer to him, and then…
The lights flickered and went out.
Her hand slipped into his. He immediately pulled her closer. “It’s okay,” he said. “I’ve got you.”
“I’m not scared,” she said, and then pressed her face into his chest. “I just don’t want you to be.”
He smiled into her hair. “Sweet.”
Her arms slipped around his waist as she pressed even closer. “That’s me. Sweet Olivia.”
She was trembling, and he stroked a hand down her back. “Come on, Supergirl. Let’s lock up and get you home.” He grabbed her coat and held it out for her.
“I need to change.”
He eyed her in that mouthwatering costume and shook his head. “Leave it on,” he said. “You might have to protect me on the way home.”
“Don’t be silly.”
“Okay, then leave it on because it’s the sexiest thing I’ve ever seen.”
She buttoned her coat over the costume without another word. “My truck,” he said. “I’ll drive.” They braved the stormy night together and ran hand in hand to his truck.
Inside her warehouse, her place was dark and the usual frigid temperature. “You have candles?” he asked as they stepped inside. “Or a lantern?”
“Candles.” She moved forward, bumped into something, swore, and was ripped from his hands.
He flicked on a penlight from his pocket and once again found her sprawled on the floor.
“Not a word,” she said as she hopped up and dusted herself off. “I don’t want to hear it.”
“What did you trip over?” He aimed the light at the floor, but there was nothing.
“My own feet, if you must know,” she said. “And I said I don’t want to talk about it.”
He smiled. “Remind me to keep you in the center of the boat when you’re out on the water. I don’t want to lose you overboard.” He continued to direct the light around the place, curious about her. It looked just like her store. “It’s nice in here.”
“So on top of a screwdriver and some duct tape, you also carry a flashlight. What else do you keep in your pants?”