And in turn, he was ruining her as she stood and breathed, not that she was about to admit it. “So you’re saying I look hot to you right now,” she said.
His gaze slid slowly over her. She was covered—mostly—by the sweatshirt she was holding to her front, but by the flash of heat in his gaze, he had X-ray vision. His expression softened. “You look batshit crazy and frustrated and hot as hell,” he said. “Never doubt it.”
She felt a reluctant smile pull at her mouth. “Turn around.”
“I’ve already seen it all.”
“Only once, and it was dark.”
He smiled. “I have good night vision.”
“Do you want to eat?” she asked and he turned around. She pulled back on her good-ass jeans and picked up a white sweater that was a little tight and gave her some impressionable assets, if she said so herself. “And you usually do too,” she told him. “Look hot as hell.”
He had his back to her, hands on his hips. He had a really great build, and if she was being honest he also had the best ass she’d ever seen, and she spent a few seconds taking in the sight. “Usually?” he asked.
“Well . . .” She eyeballed her room, which looked like a survivor of a category five hurricane. “Sometimes you look hotter than hot,” she admitted. Like now, with those jeans stretched across his buns . . .
He turned to face her, taking in her outfit in a way that told her he appreciated the white sweater very much. “When?” he asked.
“I’m not telling you. It’ll go to your big head.”
“Already did,” he said and looked down at himself.
Her eyes followed suit, landing on his crotch, and at the obvious hard-on there, she snorted. “I meant your other big head, you pervert.”
He grinned at her, charming her effortlessly, damn him. “Now you’re just throwing out the compliments left and right,” he said. “Let’s talk about the big part.”
She laughed. “You know exactly how big you are . . . everywhere. You almost didn’t fit. And why are we even having this conversation?”
“Because I like to talk about sex,” he said.
“Well, you should know . . .” His smile dared her to remember exactly how it’d been between them last night.
But here was the thing—she didn’t have to drum up the memories; they were burned in her brain. Combustible. They’d been—and were—combustible together.
He smiled cockily at her and that was it. She pointed to the door. “Out!”
“Okay, okay!” Laughing, he told Petunia he’d be back for her and left the room, his stomach growling, the sound reaching her across the room.
“Have you really not eaten all day?” she asked.
“It was a crazy-busy day.”
Taking pity on him, she shoved her feet into boots with a three-inch heel so she could pretend to be tall and took a quick peek in the mirror.
Her eyes were bright, her cheeks were flushed.
All thanks to her mad dash, she told herself, and absolutely not the man waiting in her living room.
As to why her heart was racing, she decided it was best not to speculate.
“Mischief managed?” he asked hopefully when she came out, like maybe she was a live hand grenade.
“Mischief managed,” she assured him, and hoped that was true.
They walked. The night was chilly but clear. They headed into the Marina. With the streets lined with restaurants, bars, galleries, and shops, there were a lot of people out walking, threading their way into the eclectic mix of mom-and-pop places mixed in with high-end stores. In a single square city block, you could eat any kind of food from just about anywhere in the world, not to mention buy anything you wanted.
They got pizza and she told him how a customer had walked into the shop earlier with his parrot on his shoulder. The bird had taken one look at Petunia and fallen in instant love. He’d flown to the edge of the bed Petunia had been snoozing on and begun to garble his love song to her but the cranky cat had smacked him in the face with her paw.
The parrot had left brokenhearted.
They talked about his day too. How Mason had stapled his own hand to the ceiling and then super-glued the ensuing slice in his hand rather than go to the doctor.
“Oh my God,” Willa said. “And you were okay with that?”
“Cheaper than an ER trip,” he said and laughed at the horror on her face. “It’s actually what we do. A lot.” He showed her a couple of scars on his hands and arms that had been “treated” by superglue.
She shook her head. “Boys are weird.”
“I’ll give you that,” he said.
She laughed and so did he. And the shadows in his eyes faded away a little bit and she felt about ten feet tall.
After dinner, they walked some more. They stopped to watch through the window of a candy shop as a woman pulled her dough through a complicated machine, turning the red and white lines into candy canes.
A crowd had gathered and Willa wound her way to the front, practically pressing her nose to the window in awe. Smiling, she stood there mesmerized when Keane pressed up close behind her, giving her a different kind of yearning altogether.
“Hey, little girl, want some candy?” he whispered in her ear.
“Ha-ha, but yes,” she said, not looking away from the window. “I really do.”
She felt him smile against her jaw. “Wait here,” he said. “I’ll be right back.”
Not ten seconds later, she felt him brush up behind her again and she laughed. “That was fast.”
“Oh, sorry. I got jostled.”
Not recognizing the male voice, Willa’s smile froze in her throat. She whipped around and faced a guy about her age. Same height, he wore glasses that kept slipping down his nose and an awkward smile.
“Hi,” he said. “You should watch on the nights they make chocolate candy canes. Have you ever had one? They’re better than anything.”
“Sounds delicious,” she said, but couldn’t help thinking I bet it’s not better than sex with Keane Winters . . .
“They’re using chocolate tomorrow night,” he said. “I’ll be here.” He paused and looked at her with a hopefulness that made her want to give him the pupperoni treat in her pocket and pat him on the head. She’d just opened her mouth to let him down gently when she felt a presence at her back. A tall, built, warm, strong presence with testosterone and pheromones pouring off of him, and since her nipples went hard she didn’t have to turn this time.