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Tyler wasn't the only guy watching her. It was just a shame he didn't want to be there and resented the living hell out of the fact he didn't have a choice.
If things had been different he could enjoy the view.
Pinpricks of sparkling light swirled over the dance floor as she sashayed sideways and made a sexy rotation of her hips. She had a body made for sin: tall, slender, with full breasts and flawless, sun-kissed skin. Raising bared arms above her head lifted the hem of her silver minidress, exposing several more inches of delectably long legs encased in white platform-heeled knee-high boots. Add the sleek bob of a snowy wig, which covered her trademark hair, to darkly made-up eyes and ruby-red lips and she would make a fortune dancing on a dais.
When she bent her knees and shimmied downwardsrising with an effortlessly fluid curve of her spinehe didn't have difficulty picturing her with a spotlight following her every move. Judging by the fun she'd had fending off potential dance partners she would probably get a kick out of it. But despite her obvious comfort in the centre of so much male attention she stood out of the writhing mass of humanity too much for his liking. She was lucky no one had recognized her and if there was one thing Tyler knew, it was luck had a tendency to run out. Even for the Irish.
Without warning her gaze collided into his with a pinpoint accuracy, which made it feel as if she'd known he was there all along. The impact created a sudden flare of heat in his body, like a spark igniting a fuse. Refusing to accept it was anything but the natural biological reaction of red-blooded male to hot female, he held his ground and waited to see what she would do next.
Rolling her shoulders and hips, she ran the tip of her tongue over glossy lips and smiled a slow, sensual smile. The silent come-on might have summoned him to the dance floor if he'd ever danced a day in his life. But even if he had he wasn't the kind of guy who came running when a woman crooked an invisible finger. If she wanted to come talk to him she could slide on over. A corner of his mouth lifted.
He was willing to bet she'd be pleased as punch when she found out who she'd been flirting with.
When something was yelled in her ear by her friend she laughed and turned away. A moment later she flashed another smile over her shoulder and swayed, drawing his gaze to the curve of her rear.
Tyler dragged his gaze away. It didn't take a genius to work out she was going to be trouble. He'd known that before he laid eyes on her.
Lifting the beer bottle in his hand, he took a long pull and frowned at the label in disgust as he swallowed. Light anything had never been his style; when associated with the word beer it was just all kinds of wrong.
As he experienced a visceral demand from his body to watch her again he forced his gaze elsewhere. Even if he was officially on the clock he wasn't paid to watch her every move. He had to focus on his surroundings; survey the room for potential threats and monitor the crowd. Being attracted to her was a problem he didn't need, especially when it felt as if they'd been tumbling down on him like boulders after a landslide of late.
He missed the days when he had more control over his life. How had it got so screwed up?
When it came to why he was standing there the path was easy to track. A guy had a friendly word of warning for one low life too many and suddenly the brass were tossing around phrases like 'desk duty' and 'temporary leave of absence.' Granted, the fact he was unrepentant probably had something to do with it, but what he still didn't get was why his punishment involved babysitting.
Despite his ability to provide what she was looking for, he had better things to do with his time than spend it reining in an entitled rich kid in search of a few thrills to liven up her
A familiar face caught his gaze as the music changed to a faster beat and raised an enthusiastic cheer from the crowd. Immediately on alert, Tyler swiftly scanned the rest of the room, targeting two more likely subjects before he hit another face he recognized.
He had to get her out of there.
Setting the bottle down on the nearest table, he looked at the dance floor and frowned when he discovered she wasn't there. Gripping the brass railing in front of him, he played a short game of Where's Waldo? before locating her on her way to the bar with her friend. After checking the nearest exit point, he headed straight for her.
He was two steps away when the music stopped and voices yelled out, 'NYPD. Everyone stay where you are!'
With her focus on what was happening on the other side of the room, she jumped in surprise as he grabbed her hand. Her eyes widened when she looked up at him. 'What?'
She tugged against his hold as he dragged her towards the exit. 'Let me go!'
'You want to get arrested?' 'No, but'
'Then follow my lead.'
Hauling open the door, he stepped them into a dimly lit hallway and looked from side to side. A lightning-fast inventory revealed restrooms, a payphone, steps to what Tyler assumed was a basement on their left and enough banging from the right to indicate they were about to have company. The basement was the most viable option if it had a loading bay that opened onto the sidewalk, but before he could check he heard a crash. Out of time and in need of a distraction, he backed her into the wall and smashed his lips against hers.
The fuse she'd lit from the dance floor set off the equivalent of an explosive charge. Plumes of fire engulfed him, incinerating rational thought as the invitation of her parted lips was met with the instinctual thrust of his tongue. Need pulsed through his body as an appreciative moan vibrated in her throat. His hand gripped her hip and slid lower. In response she lifted her leg off the ground and hooked it around the back of his knee, allowing him to cradle a silky thigh and lift it higher.
It didn't matter if they were seconds away from being discovered in a highly compromised position. If anything it immediately turned his thoughts to the position his body desperately wanted to be inhis imagination adding fuel to the fire with the suggestion her underwear was as sexy as her dress. Or, better still, non-existent.
'You seeing this?' a voice asked.
'Hey! Break it up over there,' another voice demanded.
Wrenching his mouth free, Tyler hauled in much needed air before squinting at the beams of light aimed their way. Allowing the leg he was holding to lower to the floor he took a step forwards to block her body with his.
'Stay right where you are, buddy,' the first voice said in warning.
Recognizing who it was, Tyler raised his arms at his sides, palms forwards, and waited for the penny to drop with the heavily armed cop. Since silently willing the younger man not to do anything stupid was pointless when saying the words out loud had never had any effect, he added an almost imperceptible shake of his head. When the torch nodded a little he assumed the point had been made and lowered his arms. But when it moved in an attempt to see who was behind him Tyler frowned. 'Problem, Officer?'
'You know there's a raid going on next door?'
'Can't say I'd noticed '
'We can guess why.' The cop cleared his throat before asking, 'Do we need to search you two for narcotics?'
Funny guy. 'What we're high on doesn't have anything to do with drugs.' Tyler smirked.
A fine-boned hand snaked around his arm and flattened on his chest. 'Can we get arrested for not being able to keep our hands off each other?' the woman behind him asked in a passable, not to mention sultry Southern accent.
Tyler made a note of the fact it obviously wasn't the first time she'd acted her way out of a tricky situation. 'If we can I'm willing to do the time.' He glanced over his shoulder. 'How about you?'
'Are there co-ed jails in the state of New York?' She chuckled throatily, the sound strumming across the taut strings of his libido. 'Just think how much fun we could have sharing a room.'
When she gently caught his ear lobe between her teeth and touched it with the wet tip of her tongue, he felt the impact of the contact all the way to his toes.
'Getting a room somewhere sounds like a plan to me,' the officer in front of them said before he lowered his torch. 'Get outta here before I change my mind.'
Grasping hold of the hand on his chest, Tyler headed down the hall and through the busted door. As they entered an alley bathed in flashing red and blue lights one of the cops by a line of vehicles lowered his hand from the radio on his shoulder and waved them through. If he'd been her, he would have had questions about the ease of their escape, but apparently she was too busy jogging on her platform heels to keep up with his determined stride to ask.
'Unless she's carrying drugs she'll be fine.'
When she tripped he simply tugged on her hand and kept walking, the anger he felt directed as much at himself as her. He could still taste her on his lips: a combination of strawberries, spice and liberation. He couldn't remember a time he'd wanted a woman so badly he would have risked everything for a brief moment of mutual release. What he could remember were the days when his timingnot to mention his judgmenthad been better.
'Where are we going?' she asked a little breathlessly as they rounded a corner onto a wide street where they stood a better chance of finding a cab.
If she'd been any other woman who reacted the way she had when he kissed her, they'd be headed straight for his place. But he couldn't use her to make him feel good for a few hours even if he made certain she felt the same way. Until he completed his assignment, went back to where he was supposed to be and handed out some justice, he didn't have the right to live his life as if nothing had happened.
To focus his mind he summoned the memory of another woman's face and the words he'd said to her. I won't let anything happen to you,' he'd lied. 'You can trust me.'
'I'm not taking you anywhere.' When he spotted a flash of yellow he raised an arm in the air to flag down the cab. 'He is.' Digging in his pocket for a handful of bills as the vehicle drew to a halt beside the kerb, he handed them through the window to the driver. 'That should cover it.'
He held open the rear door and waited for her to get inside, his gaze lowered to watch long legs fold gracefully into place before he looked into the shadows of her eyes.
'I don't get a name?' she asked.
'You already have one.'
Her mouth curved into a smile. 'I meant your name.'
Tyler shook his head at the liquid cadence of her voice. Next she'd be asking for a phone number and when she could see him again. It was all just one big game to her. He could have been anyonedrug dealer, kidnapper, serial killershe had no idea how dark the world could be.
But he did.
'You're welcome.' He closed the door and turned away without mentioning she'd be seeing him again real soon. Why ruin the surprise?
Since it was the last one she'd have in a while, he hoped she'd enjoyed her little adventure. Come Monday she would be playing by his rules.
Cross him and he'd make her sorry they ever met.
After checking that Crystal made it out of the nightclub okay and apologizing profusely for abandoning her, Miranda spent the rest of the weekend fantasizing about her rescuer.
She'd felt his gaze on her before she saw him, which was rare for someone who had spent most of her life being watched. Understandably curious she'd sought him out, her breath catching when she laid eyes on him.
He was the most compelling man she'd ever seen.
From what she could tell he was handsome in a rough-edged kind of way, but that wasn't what made him exciting. What did was that even while standing tall and straight he gave the impression of a predator crouched to spring on its prey. Brazenly answering his interest in her with a smile of encouragement had felt like playing with fire, the associated rush of adrenaline addictive.
And when it came to that kiss, oh, my
Smoothing her palms over her elegantly tailored linen dress, she followed the curve from breast to waist to hip. She closed her eyes and allowed herself to imagine the hands touching her body were larger and more masculine; a deep voice was rumbling in her ear, describing everything he was going to do to her in explicit detail.
A sigh of regret left her lips.
If they hadn't been interrupted
None of her small acts of rebellion had ever given her the same rush she got when she thought about doing more than kissing him. But how would she find him again in a city the size of New York when she didn't know his name?
A familiar three-tapped knock on her bedroom door snapped her out of her reverie.
'Come in,' she called as she stepped over to sit on the stool in front of her dressing table.
'Good morning, Miranda.'
'Good morning, Grace,' she answered cheerfully when her father's personal assistant appeared. 'Isn't it a beautiful morning? The park looks lovely from the windows. I don't suppose there's enough of a gap in my schedule today to allow for a leisurely stroll?'
'No.' Grace's reflection smiled apologetically. 'But at least you'll be outside for a while.'
'Well, that's something.'