Capture Me Slowly(6)

By: Joya Ryan

Only problem was, I wasn’t intimidated. I was turned on. Like I always was the moment he stepped into my space.

Mentally slapping myself, I chalked up my overly revved hormones to the fact that I had been “on the run” and permanently stressed out for the past several months.

“Stuff to do, huh?” He laughed. “Attempted theft can be taxing.”

“Why do you assume I was going to break in to rob you?”

He smiled. Yeah, I’d just admitted it, but I was caught long before so it didn’t really matter.

“So you weren’t breaking in to rob me. Then maybe to surprise me? Because you enjoyed my company so much the last time we met?” The obvious mockery in his voice said he was playing along for my sake.

Did I have it bad for Rhys? Did I wish I had spent the last several weeks with him instead of alone in a small apartment, coming out of hiding just to go to work at a job that didn’t end up paying me? Yes and yes. But knowledge was power and admitting to Rhys that I wanted him was not smart. I had bigger things to worry about. Time to take the power back and check his ego.

“Did you enjoy my company the last time we met?”

His gaze was hot as it skated down the length of my body. Very different than how any other man had ever looked at me. Like I was exotic. Sexy. Worthwhile.

“I did. Of course, you were either devouring my mouth or smarting off with yours, so it was hard not to enjoy it.”

“You kissed me,” I said, correcting him.

“And you liked it.” All that male confidence and swagger was hypnotic. He merely stated facts. And yes, I did like it. And that was a fact.

“Let’s not argue semantics. You shot me down, I shot you down. We’re even now.”

His blond brows sliced down. “I shot you down? How did you come up with that notion?”

“Because I was there. I offered to take you and that kiss home for the night and — ”

“I offered you dinner first. That’s not shooting you down.”

It was to me. Dinner meant a date and dating was something I didn’t do. Mostly because a couple meals and weeks into “seeing” a guy, he turns out to be a total tool or still lives in his mother’s basement. And the kind of men that held any ounce of self-respect or ambition were from a different world than me. They were the kind that came with a promise of picket fences and two point four kids. Which was an even scarier concept.

Not that Rhys put that out there, but based on the limited details I had learned about him over our few run-ins, he and I weren’t long-term compatible. Judging by his football scholarship, small-town upbringing and insistence on buying a woman a meal before seeing her naked, I already knew he was in a different league. And if I were honest, it was a better league.

“Sex is simple,” I said honestly. “I wasn’t interested in more than that.”

“And you think dinner is — ”

“More. Than. That,” I said. Now was not the time to explain why I felt lacking. I stuck with, “So like I said, we’re even.”

“Then why do I feel like I’m the one who lost?” The way his eyes bore down on me, like he was seeing my very soul, made a violent shiver race up my spine and every nerve ending turned on as if he had verbally flicked a switch in me. “And you said wasn’t.”

“What?” I eyed him and he merely grinned.

“You said you weren’t interested in more than sex, then. Does that mean you’ve changed your mind now?”

“Maybe . . .” My eyes shot wide because I had just admitted that out loud and hadn’t meant to.

Rhys stood there, looking like he’d just won some kind of victory.

Taking a deep breath, I forced myself to get a grip. This man was disarming me in a single conversation and I couldn’t allow that. I was at my most vulnerable when my guard was down. And after the last few weeks my guard was obliterated. Not a good place to be, when Rhys Striker affected me. Deeply.

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