Joe had been Special Ops and still had most of his skills, skills he used on his job at an investigation and securities firm upstairs, where he was, for the lack of a better term, a professional finder and fixer. He was a calm and impenetrable badass on the job, and a calm, impenetrable smartass off it. On the worst of days, he made her feel like a seesaw. On the best of days, he made her feel things she liked to shove deep, deep down, because going there with him would be like jumping out of a plane—thrilling, exciting...and then certain dismemberment and death.
While she was thinking about this and other things she shouldn't be thinking, Joe was eyeballing the opened box of chocolates on the counter, which a client had brought in earlier. A little card said HELP YOURSELF! and his gaze locked in on the last Bordeaux—her favorite. She'd been saving it as a reward if she made it all day without wanting to strangle anyone.
Mission failed. "It'll go right to your hips," she warned.
He met her eyes, his own amused. "You worried about my body, Kylie?"
She used the excuse to look him over. Not exactly a hardship. He was lean, solid muscle. Rumors were that he'd done some MMA fighting right after his service and she believed it. He was perfect and they both knew it. "I didn't want to mention it," she said, "but I think you're starting to get a spare tire."
"Is that right?" He cocked his head, eyes amused. "A spare tire, huh? Anything else?"
"Welllllll...maybe a little junk in the trunk."
He out-and-out grinned at that, the cocky bastard. "Then maybe we should share the chocolate," he said and offered the Bordeaux to her, bringing it up to her lips.
Against her better judgment, she took a bite, resisting the urge to also sink her teeth into his fingers.
With a soft laugh that told her he'd read her mind, he popped the other half into his own mouth and then licked some melted chocolate off his thumb with a suctioning sound that went straight to her nipples, which was super annoying. It was February and blistery outside but suddenly she was warm. Very warm.
"So," he said when he'd swallowed. "The mirror. I'll take it." Reaching into yet another mystery pocket, he pulled out a credit card. "Wrap it up."
"You can't have it."
At this, he studied her with a hint of surprise, like maybe he'd never been told no before in his life.
And hell, looking like he did, he probably hadn't been. "Okay," he said. "I get it. It's because I never called, right?"
She pushed his hand—and the credit card in it—away. But not before she felt the heat and the easy strength of him, both of which only further annoyed her. "Wrong," she said. "Not everything's about you, Joe."
"True. This is clearly about us," he said. "And that kiss."
Oh hell no. He didn't just bring it up like that, like it was some throwaway event. She pointed to the door. "Get out."
He just smiled. And didn't get out.
Dammit. She'd grounded herself from thinking about that kiss. That one drunken, very stupid kiss that haunted her dreams and way too many waking moments as well. But it all flooded back to her now, releasing a bunch of stupid endorphins and everything. She inhaled a deep breath, locked her knees and her heart, and mentally tossed away the key. "What kiss?"
He gave her a get real look.
"Oh, that kiss." She shrugged nonchalantly as she reached for her water bottle. "I barely remember it."
"Funny," he said in a voice of pure sin. "Cuz it rocked my world."
She choked on her water, coughing and sputtering. "The mirror's still not for sale," she finally managed to wheeze out, wiping her mouth.
I rocked his world?
His warm, amused gaze met hers, going smoky and dangerously charismatic. "I could change your mind."
"On the mirror or the kiss?" she asked before she could stop herself.