Ready for a tease from ICE COLD SAINT?
His lips twitched. Not a full smile, but definite amusement. For just a fleeting moment. “What makes you think I want you?”
She almost laughed again. Alice realized she hadn’t enjoyed this much fun in…hmm, she couldn’t remember when. Ages. “Seriously? I know lust when I see it in a man’s eyes. When you looked at me inside Abracadabra, let’s just say your gaze was blazing.”
His jaw hardened.
Well, well. Someone didn’t like being called out on his desire. Too bad.
“I guess you’re used to men wanting you,” he said, his voice a deep and dark, utterly delicious rumble that slid over her. “So you just assume we’re all the same.”
She would never make that fatal assumption.
“But I’m not here to seduce you, Alice.”
“No? Then what are you here to do?”
His hand lifted. She tensed automatically, then wanted to curse herself. His fingers reached out and stroked her cheek. The caress was as gentle as a breath of wind on her skin. She could feel the calluses on the edges of his fingertips, but his touch was ever so careful. She even wanted to turn into his touch, as crazy as that—
“I’m here to take you down.” His voice was serious and a bit sad. And utterly, utterly certain.
So she did turn into his touch. She nuzzled a little against his hand and heard the swift inhalation of his breath. But Alice didn’t smile at his reaction. Now wasn’t the time for a smile. However, it was time for a little bit of truth with her mysterious stranger. Testing, she let her lips skim over his hand…
She saw him tense. Felt it.
His hand jerked back from her.
Alice lifted her chin. “You said that wrong.”
His hands were at his sides. The one she’d touched with her mouth? That hand had curled into a fist. So very telling. For a moment, she admired the dark swirls on his fist. His tats were interesting. Something she’d noticed while he’d drank his old fashioned inside. The tats covered the back of his hands. Slid up his wrists. Did they go higher up his arms? Hard to say since he was wearing that ancient-looking jacket.
𝐹𝑜𝑐𝑢𝑠. Right. Because she needed to set this poor man straight. Alice let a little sigh slip from her. “What you meant was that you’re here to fall in love with me.”
“That’s damn well not what I meant.”
Alice stepped toward him. She put her hand on his chest.
“Lady, you are playing with fire,” he warned.
“I’m not playing.” His heart raced beneath her touch. “I don’t play. That’s probably the first thing you should learn about me.”
“I already learned plenty.”
Alice filed that revealing bit away for later. “You bust into my life and say that you’re here to take me down.”
“There is the little matter of three murders tied to you…”
She pressed up on her toes. She liked his mouth. Firm but sculpted lips. She liked his jaw, too. Hard and strong. There was a little cleft in his chin that she found delightful. It didn’t soften his fierce, handsome face, though. If anything, the faint cleft somehow made him seem sexier. His dark, thick hair had been shoved back from his forehead, and faint stubble covered his jaw. “You’re not a cop.”
“No. You don’t look like a cop, and you certainly don’t act like one.”
“You don’t know me. Don’t make assumptions.”
“Ah. I could say the same thing to you.” She was staring at his mouth. Definitely considering kissing him simply for the hell of it. “Damn.” Regretful. She began to ease off her toes and back down. “I know what you are.”
“And what am I?”
Obviously… “The bad guy.” Another sigh. More forlorn this time. “That’s the only kind of guy I’m attracted to.” She was most certainly attracted to him. “Sort of a talent I have. Some women go for men who bring them flowers and treat them to candlelight dinners. Me? I tend to get drawn to the men who are trouble.”
“Are you sure that you aren’t trouble?”
Oh, she was. “The worst kind of trouble,” Alice affirmed without hesitation. “Remember that about me and stay away, would you?”
“Why? If I don’t stay away, will I end up like your last three lovers?”
She didn’t flinch. Didn’t gasp. Didn’t put her hand to her heart dramatically as if those cutting words had just, well, cut ℎ𝑒𝑟. Even though they had.
𝐷𝑒𝑎𝑙 𝑤𝑖𝑡ℎ 𝑖𝑡 “End up like them?” She pondered that. Pretended to ponder it. “You mean enormously satisfied and ruined sexually for everyone else?”
A beat of silence. He cleared his throat. “No.” A rasp. “I meant dead.”