Playing it Safe ...

Sunday, October 25, 2015

In the car, Camille relaxed while Quinn moved to the driver’s side. She'd go home and think about how she made a total idiot of herself. Her mind fast-forwarded to Monday and she prayed Mr. Wright would send the contract back early in the day, duly signed, which would mean the end of any interaction with the disturbing man by her side.

He put the car in gear and drove off. “I’m starving,” he said, “I hope you don’t mind if we stop for something to eat.”

Camille yawned. “Sorry, I’m tired. Maybe next time.”

He pressed his lips together and flicked her with his eyes. “Fine, I’ll take you home.”

She hadn’t fooled him. Guilt made her turn to study the shadows whipping past the window and she sighed inside, counting down the minutes until they said goodbye.

In the apartment parking lot, he switched off the engine, eased the door open, and faced her under the light. “You know, life is a lot more fun if you relax.”

“Why d’you think I’m not relaxed?” She stared at him, maintaining a comfortable pose. “If I’m tense, you might be at fault. That’s why we shouldn’t go out again.”

“That’s just sexual tension. You’re not prepared to go where this is leading. You want to control everything and sometimes, that’s just not possible.”

“Are you calling me a controlling tight-ass?”

“I didn’t say that.”

“But that’s what you meant.” She squared her shoulders. “Remember I told you I liked safe?”

He nodded.

“Well, you’re not it.” She smoothed her dress. “You scream upheaval and sex.”
His eyebrows rose, but his gaze was impassive.

She sank back and folded her arms. “And I’m not having any of that.”

“Upheaval or sex?”

Camille ensured her expression said everything. “I don’t do fast and loose either.”

Quinn laughed, a sound that tickled her insides.

“You know, for someone who’s smooth and controlled on the outside, you have a rich and vivid imagination.”

Camille was nonplussed, but maintained an air of calm.

“A man like you expects certain things from a woman.”

The amusement in his eyes disappeared. “You don’t know me. Stop judging me.”

Heat crept up her neck and she felt firmly put in her place.

He opened the dashboard, and removed a business card holder. At the dull gleam of a handgun, Camille peered at him. Then, she pointed to it. “What d’you need that for?”

“I run a business. I need it for protection.”

“It won’t be much help in there. Besides, it’s careless to leave it lying around like that.”

“What would you have thought if I’d taken you out toting a gun?”

She bit her lip. “You have a point. But still, you should be more careful with it.”

“Agreed, ma’am.”

He maintained a straight face, but Camille suspected he was indulging her.

“I think we should start over.” He handed her a business card, but kept hold of her fingers. 

“Here are my numbers. I’ll try not to think of you as a controlling tight-ass, if you agree to withhold judgment on my character until you know me better.”

“But I don’t want to know you better,” Camille mumbled, palming the card.

“Says Camille, the uptight, or Camille who’s going to be fair until she actually knows a thing or two about Quinn?”

She sighed and reclaimed her hand. “Oh all right, I’ll keep my thoughts to myself.”

He came around to her door let her out of the car, keeping a hand on her elbow. She wanted to pull away from him, but reminded herself the evening was at an end. At most, she had five minutes' worth of torture left to endure. At her door, she edged inside.

“How about dinner tomorrow?” he leaned against the doorway.

Camille stared at his lips. “I never go out on weekdays.”

“I’ll be sure to get you home early. You owe me.”

She folded her arms and frowned. “How d’you figure that?”

“You cut our date short. You were tired, remember?” His laughing eyes said he’d caught her out.

She scanned the corridor, disengaging herself from him.

He advanced on her and spoke close to her ear. “So, what time do I pick you up?”

His breath agitated her tummy, shooting warmth to places that had no business responding in that way.

“Uh, six o’clock.”

He kissed her ear and whispered, “Tomorrow, then.”

She closed the door, leaned against it, and listened. He walked away seconds later. Her eyelids floated down and she hugged herself and lowered her head.

When did her self-control say goodbye? Now she had another date with a man she didn’t have a clue how to handle. Her breathing stuttered and she put a hand to her throat. Maybe he was right. What she felt wasn’t fear, but sexual awareness. Still, she’d find a way to cut him off at the knees tomorrow. The man was definitely making her blood race. She needed that as much as a .357 Magnum. Still, for some reason, after kicking off her shoes, she remained in the same position thinking about him.

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Genre: Romantic Suspense 
Word count: 95,000

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