Get a Clue(10)

By: Jill Shalvis



Her glare practically lit up the dark.

“Let me give you a helpful hint,” he said. “Knocking on a closed door is a good thing.”

“And let me give you a hint.” She punctuated this with a poke to his chest. The contact of her finger with his bare flesh shocked him, and given the funny hitch to her breath, it startled her, too. “Stay out of other people’s honeymoon suites.”

“What?”

Jerking to her feet, she jammed her Palm Pilot in the bag strung over her shoulder. “You were showering in my honeymoon suite.”

“No. I rented this house. Well, my brother did, but it’s mine for the week.”

She crossed her arms over her chest, plumping her full breasts up and out. She wasn’t tall, maybe up to his shoulder, but her jeans and sweater clung to her body, revealing she was quite the package. “Wrong again,” she said indignantly. “The place is mine, bucko.”

“Bucko?”

“I forgot your name.”

He stared at her, wondering how it was he felt both annoyed and . . . alive, extremely alive, a feeling he hadn’t experienced in too long. He had no idea what she’d look like in the light of day. He had no idea what she really looked like in the dark, either, other than a nice set of curves with sparks of temper coming from her general direction, but it didn’t matter. She was as annoying as hell, even if she did think he looked good naked.

She was also shaking like a drowning poodle. Fact was, he was damned cold himself, with no shirt and no socks. “Cooper,” he said with a sigh. “My name is Cooper. And you’re . . .”

“B-Breanne,” she said through her chattering teeth.

“Look, Breanne, the fire is crackling now. Move closer to it.”

“Why?”

He sighed again at her wariness. Had he done that, or was she just defensive and cranky all on her own? “Because you’re turning into a popsicle.” He put his hand on her arm, shocked at how chilled she really was. Her sweater was thin, wet, and nearly iced over, her skin beneath just as bad. “Didn’t anyone ever tell you that you need to wear a coat in a snowstorm?”

“It wasn’t snowing in San Francisco. Or on the plane. Or in the airport.”

Another violent shiver wracked her and he ran his hand up and down her arm, trying to give her some of his body heat. “What about when you left the airport?”

She stared at his bare chest, though he figured that was just her way of avoiding eye contact. “Lost my luggage.”

“You’ve lost your groom and your luggage?”

“Yes.” Behind her temper was a sadness that got to him. “And I hate the dark, too.”

He looked at her for a moment, wondering at the urge to touch her, to open his hand, spread his fingers and stroke her skin. “You’re having a hell of a bad day all around, aren’t you?” he murmured.

“You have no idea.”

“Come here.”

She went absolutely still, only her eyes cutting once again to his bare chest. “Why?”

Besides being wary and cold, she was a suspicious thing. And looking as she did, all disheveled and shockingly sexy for it, he could understand she had a good reason to feel that way. He could practically see her heart pounding at her ribs, and her belly rose and fell too quickly. She was afraid of him. That cut deep, as he’d spent most of his life helping people not to be afraid. “I’m not going to hurt you. I promise.”

“Like I’d take your word,” she said bravely, but then let him tug her out of the foyer and into the great room. The flames were roaring now, lighting the place with a soft glow, showing off the inviting leather couches.

But the woman just stood there stiffly, arms still wrapped around herself, shuddering with her chill. Her long, wavy hair was the same color as her eyes—expensive whiskey. She had a light smattering of freckles across her nose and cheeks, and lips that were soft and full. Made for kissing came the inane thought.

“You’re staring,” she said.

And for smart-mouthing. “You’re cold. Come warm up.”

She just shivered again, continuing to hug herself. He knew those clothes had to be damned uncomfortable against her skin, molding her figure, which happened to be a nice one. Not chunky, but not thin, either.

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