The curse of those bloody daddy issues.
But she wasn’t a needy little girl anymore, and she wasn’t going to be some guy’s bang and bail ever again.
“You might be a cheater, Professor Hit It and Quit It, but I am not.” She shoved him, and though he could have resisted and remained in place, he moved backward. A scowl marred the rugged beauty of his new face. A scowl . . . and maybe a little hurt.
I am a judgmental bitch.
“Look. I’m sorry I was mean,” she muttered. “Let’s just forget the last five minutes.” She reached into her purse and grabbed the paper she’d stuffed there. “Here. This is your bill for your stay at Chez Black.”
She expected him to comment on her apology. He didn’t. He acted as if he hadn’t heard it, and she wasn’t sure what to think.
As he read over her notes, she moved to his side to make sure she hadn’t left anything out.
Security system, parts and repairs: $8,000.
New window: $2,000.
New sheets: $1,000.
Time and mental anguish: $3,000,000.
No. Nothing left out.
He eyed her with a strange mix of amusement and exasperation. “Do you accept orgasm? Because that’s my preferred method of payment.”
She puckered her lips, knew she looked like she’d just sucked on a lemon and didn’t care. “I’m sure. And no. I do not accept orgasms.” But I’d like to. “Lucky you, I can get you started on a stellar payment plan. Meaning you have one month to pay or I’ll break both of your kneecaps. Now, are we going to search the explosion site or what?”
EVIE APOLOGIZED TO HIM, and she liked having his hands on her soft, sweet body. Blue was having trouble getting past those two little facts.
He gave himself a mental slap. First, she apologized for being mean. Not for what she’d said. Because she thought it was true. Thought he liked screwing anything in a skirt. Or breathing.
Can you blame her? You’ve been acting like Dr. Happy with a life-and-death vitamin Dick injection to impart.
True. Deep down, he knew he deserved her rancor. He’d done horrible things to his women. Things he could have said no to.
And so what that she’d enjoyed his hands on her. He wasn’t going to do anything about it.
He lived his life by one simple rule: Never mess around unless it’s job related.
After his breakup with Noelle, he’d added a second: Always let the girlfriend know there will be others.
He’d kept those rules. Until Evie.
Not that they’d done anything. But the intent was there, and that was just as bad. He was just as guilty.
Michael would kill him.
If you find him.
He would. Soon.
Blue waited in the living room as Evie changed out of her purple scrubs. Did she have any idea how adorable she looked in them? Probably not. The girl seemed utterly unconcerned about her appearance. But then, she didn’t need to be. She was a natural beauty.
Seriously. How had he ever gotten away with telling himself she wasn’t pretty?
Five minutes later she stood in front of him, this time wearing a shirt that read “Dear Math, I’m Not Your Therapist. Solve Your Own Problems.” A pair of tight, hip-hugging jeans encased her lower half. Old tennis shoes covered her feet. Her hair was now anchored in a high ponytail, her face scrubbed clean of makeup. She looked young and fresh—still so freaking gorgeous his chest hurt.
Jaw clenched, he forced himself to look away from her. “I put my stuff in one of your guest rooms.” The one closest to her room, but whatever. Details weren’t important right now. “Since I’m supposedly dead, I can’t stay at my place. I need to stay here.”
“That’s fine.” No change in her demeanor. “You ready to go?”
He nodded, taken aback by the ease of her acceptance. “We have to use one of your cars.” He had a few vehicles the public hadn’t seen, but for what they were about to do, they needed hers. No one would think it strange for Michael Black’s daughter and her grungy friend to dig through the rubble of his home.
She offered no protest as Blue hustled her into the garage. “I know you’re a sports car junkie, but I think we should go with the sedan,” she said.
“Sure.” The sedan had two major wins: it would blend in with all the other cars on the highway, and the windows were smoked glass. With Evie, he never knew what he would do or how he would react to something. Privacy was best.
She let him drive, but as he eased into the driveway she barked an insistent “Stop!”
He did, palming a weapon, and she hopped out. A little boy playing in the front yard of her neighbor’s house spotted her and bounded over.
The sun was a bright little bastard, reaching out with fiery fingers to stroke over Evie, giving her pale skin the same pearlescent glow that had struck him dumb at their first meeting.
You’re staring at her. Don’t be that guy. Look away!
“Hey, Drew,” she said, giving him a hug. “Did you handle that wee problem we discussed?”
Blue returned his weapon to the sheath at his waist.
“I sure did. I waited for you earlier but Momma told me I had to come in and eat and then I cleaned my plate so fast she said her head was spinning and then I rushed back out ’cause I wanted to tell you I popped Bobby so good. I think I broke his nose. There was blood.”
“Oh, that’s wonderful. I’m so proud of you!”
Condoning schoolyard violence? Interesting. And kind of hot.
You think everything about her is hot.
Not everything. When that viper’s tongue called him a whore, he wanted to cut it out.
Drew’s gaze slid past her open door, catching on Blue, and widened.
Blue tensed. Had he just been made by a prepubescent?
“Are you gonna kill me?” the kid asked.
Kid definitely didn’t know who he was. There would be fawning.
Wait. He looked that scary?
Grinning, Evie said, “Nah. You’ve got nothing to worry about, squirt. Mr. Brothario is a lover, not a fighter.”
Blue glared at her.
Drew flipped him off before rushing inside his house, probably to hide.
“Aw, how sweet,” Evie said, settling in her seat. “I think he was trying to warn you against unleashing your dreadful wrath on sweet, innocent me.”
“If the poor kid thinks you’re sweet, I have to fear his home life.”
“Ha-ha. You are hilarious.”