Hot Pursuit
she’d picked up onto the bench again and crossed her arms.
“I wouldn’t be very attracted to me right now either.”
    Matt was having trouble keeping up. Okay, so
he was clueless. Totally in the dark here. “You think I’m not
interested because you took too long in the shower?”
    “Oh my God.” Her cheeks were slashed with
red. She waved a hand at him. “Forget it, Matt. Just go so I can
get dressed.”
    It took him another minute of staring at her,
watching her blush spread, before he got it.
    Aw damn, now he had to kiss her. And
he didn’t know if he’d survive the experience.

between them. “I can’t believe you think I don’t want you because
you fell apart a little. I’ve seen grown men lose their lunch,
believe me. Hell, I’ve done it myself.”
    Embarrassment sizzled through Evie’s body.
What the hell was wrong with her? Why had she even touched him in
the first place?
    Because she’d been standing there while he
worked the knot free, and she’d been enveloped in his scent and his
presence. She’d felt so lost and alone in the shower when she’d
started thinking about how helpless she’d been against Jimmy’s
threats. If Matt hadn’t arrived, what might have happened to her?
Would Jimmy have raped her? Cut her?
    But Matt had talked her out of the shower,
and then he’d stood there and calmly worked on the knot in her hair
while her heart pounded hard at his nearness. She’d had a sudden,
powerful urge to lose herself in his arms and forget all about
Jimmy Thibodeaux, David West, and her broken dreams—at least for a
little while.
    So she’d put her hand on his chest. And she’d
liked the feel of all that solid muscle, so she kept touching him.
Considering what he’d said to her earlier, she hadn’t thought for
one moment he would turn her down.
    But of course he had. She’d practically
gotten sick on his shoes. What man wanted a woman so soon after
he’d had to hold her hair and watch her retch? He’d been tough,
disabling Jimmy and calmly dealing with the gun and the police,
while she’d been a mess of nerves. She’d fallen apart in front of
him. Mortifying.
    She looked up into eyes that were deadly
serious. There wasn’t a hint of mockery in them. “You’ve gotten
sick like that before? For no reason?”
    “It’s not for no reason, Evie.” One corner of
his mouth crooked in a soft smile. “And yeah, I’ve gotten sick,
though it’s been a while. You can’t be in my line of work and not
see some serious shit. None of us are immune to it. We’re human.
Now, come here.”
    He put his arms around her, cupped his palm
to the back of her head, and pulled her in close. She closed her
eyes and breathed in the clean scent of him. Willed back tears that
surprised her with their sudden sting.
    She hadn’t broken down once, not when David
ran off with the payroll—and much more than she’d known about that
night—not when the bank called in her loans, not even when she sat
stone-faced in that meeting of lawyers and listened to them carve
up her dream.
    She sucked in a breath that trembled as she
put her arms around Matt’s waist.
    After a long moment, he spoke. “Look at
    She tilted her head up, meeting heated gray
eyes. She suddenly couldn’t breathe, couldn’t think.
    “You’re crazy if you think I don’t want to
kiss you.”
    He cupped her cheeks in both hands. She
closed her eyes as his head dipped, her breath shuddering in her
chest as his mouth pressed gently against hers.
    It wasn’t passionate, this kiss; it wasn’t
anything other than sweet and comforting. Yet something stirred
inside her, that little tingle of excitement, of anticipation. She
wanted more, so much more than she should. This was the man who’d
started it all, who’d taken what she’d given him and thrown it back
in her face as if it were nothing.
    And here she stood, ready to lose herself in
him one more time. Because

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