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Page 22


What the hell was wrong with her?

She didn’t have time for him or his games. She had a job to do, an insane amount of debt that wasn’t hers to pay off and absolutely no idea how to handle a man like Danny Bradford. She was definitely in over her head here. She knew that much at least.

“What are you doing, Tink?” her tormenter asked as he stopped beside her, looking relaxed, cocky and incredibly handsome.

Yup, definitely in over her head.

“Looking for my keys,” she said, doubling her efforts to find them.

“Do you want some help?” he drawled lazily as he leaned back against the wall.

“No, thank you,” she said, wondering when she was going to catch a break.

Five minutes later, after she’d finished searching her desk and her bag for the third time, she’d decided that today definitely was not that day. That opinion was only confirmed a minute later when she grabbed her bag, gave Danny a muttered, “Have a good night,” and headed to the front doors only to discover that sometime during her mad search for her keys it had started to rain. Well, downpour really was a much more fitting description, she decided as she stepped back inside and pulled out her phone.

Ten phone calls and twenty texts later and she was cursing all of her friends to hell and back. They were all either at work or trying to get to work and couldn’t swing by and pick her up. For a moment she stared down at her phone, wondering if she should call her father and then decided against it. With the way things were going right now it would probably only take one of her father’s warm smiles to get her to breakdown and admit that she wasn’t doing so well. She didn’t want her father to have to shoulder her responsibilities for her. He’d been through enough over the past few years without having to add her problems into the mess.

“Need a ride?” the man that she really wished she could stop thinking about asked.

She glanced outside, looking for any sign that the rain would let up soon so that she could make the five-mile walk home without the risk of drowning, but it didn’t look good. As she stood there, absently watching as a trash barrel was swept down the street with the rain, she realized that she had to make a decision. She could either stay here searching for her keys and waiting for the rain to stop, call a taxi and hope that he’d accept a smile and a thank you as payment enough since she was broke, call her father, or she could accept a ride from the man that was driving her crazy.

In the end it was the library suddenly losing power and her phone dying that had her closing her eyes, sighing in defeat and accepting his offer with a mumbled, “I could definitely use a ride,” that sealed her fate.

*-*-*-*

“Any luck?” he asked, biting back a smile as he watched Tinkerbelle try to pick the lock.

For a minute he considered mentioning the set of keys collecting dust on his bureau that Trevor had left with him just in case someone got locked out of their apartment, but decided against it when Tink started to mutter the cutest little threats of violence to her apartment door. The way her ass swayed enticingly as she tried to pick the lock might have influenced his decision to stand there and keep his mouth shut.

“Are you sure that you don’t know how to pick a lock?” she asked, squishing her face up in concentration as she wiggled the paperclip he’d given her in the lock.

“Yes,” he lied, watching as her round bottom swayed back and forth….back and forth…..

“This isn’t working,” she grumbled sourly as she stood up and propped her hands on her hips, looking like a sexy little General.

“Do you want to try the phone again?” he asked, since he knew that it wouldn’t make a damn bit of difference.

For the night, Tinkerbelle was all his and he was going to use every minute of it to help convince her to take a chance on him, despite the fact that he was an asshole. First though, he was going to have to sit back and wait for Tinkerbelle to come to the conclusion that there was nothing and no one coming to save her from her fate.

She was his.

“No, I’ve already left everyone about a million messages. They’ll call soon,” she said, folding her arms over her chest as she sent the front door a considering look.

“I’m sure you’re right,” he drawled, doing his best to keep a straight face.

Her expression became determined as she turned to face him. “I’m going to go see if I can get in through one of the windows,” she said, nodding to herself as though the idea was solid as she turned right back around to do just that.

“That sounds like a good plan,” he said, not bothering to point out that it was still down pouring or that his cousin had spared no expense to make sure that all the doors and windows in this building were made out of solid construction with theft deterrent locks that should be able to hold out one determined, sexy little librarian.

Turning his back on her and going inside his apartment felt wrong, but he forced himself to do it, knowing that it was the only way to get her undivided attention for the night. If she thought for even one second that there was a possibility that she’d overlooked some other way to escape her fate, she’d be preoccupied for the rest of the night and that just wouldn’t work for him. He wanted her undivided attention tonight as he did what no other Bradford had ever done before him, at least not on purpose.

He was going to woo a woman.

Chapter 14

“Son of a bitch!”

Maybe this wasn’t such a good idea, she thought as she dropped her raised fist by her side and took a hesitant step back away from Danny’s door. Perhaps she’d overlooked something? she wondered, glancing back at the front door as she contemplated the pros and cons of going back outside.

After a minute she came to the conclusion that standing outside in the middle of a thunderstorm probably wasn’t the best idea. That left her with two choices, sit in the hallway and catch a cold or ask Danny for help and a dry towel and risk losing what was left of her sanity.

“Oh, you son of a bitch!” came Danny’s shout, making the decision for her.

It took a minute, but she managed to find a rather comfy spot on the floor by her door. She drew her knees up to her chest, wrapped her trembling arms around them as she ignored the squishy sounds her clothes made against the rough carpet and tried to get comfortable as she closed her eyes. It had been a long day, a very long day, and all she wanted to do was go inside her warm, dry apartment, soak in a hot bath, pull on her favorite tee shirt, watch a movie and get good and fat on a few pints of Ben and Jerry’s, but it didn’t look as though that was going to happen any time soon.

So instead, she resigned herself to sitting there in the hall, wondering how this day could possibly get any worse. Her answer came from an unexpected source, letting her know that yes, yes her day could get much worse than being stranded with an incredibly sexy man.

A lot worse………

*-*-*-*

Danny glared down at the burnt mess simmering in the kitchen sink, wondering exactly where he’d gone wrong.

“So much for a romantic dinner,” he said, sighing in disgust as he returned to the refrigerator and grabbed a pound of butter and tossed it on the counter along with a loaf of bread. “Grilled cheese it is then.”

That was fine. He still had a few other cards up his sleeve. He walked into his living room and-

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