I watched the indecision flash across his pale eyes before he veered off and made his way over to where I was sitting. He stopped by the edge of the table and dipped his chin down in a slight nod. I couldn’t keep my gaze off of the smattering of freckles that dotted the tops of his strong-looking shoulders and that danced along the curve of his toned biceps.
I motioned to Royal, who was looking between the two of us in an almost comical fashion, and introduced them. “Orlando Frederick, this is my best friend, Royal Hastings. She also used to be my partner on the force.”
She stuck out a hand and gave the other man a cheesy grin as he shook it. I wanted to kick her but figured that would be too obvious.
“I’m so happy you agreed to help him. We can’t wait to put him back to work.” She looked at me and blinked too-wide eyes in an overtly obvious manner. “It was so nice to meet you, but I have to run. I’m supposed to meet my man for dinner,” she slipped off the stool and winked at me. “And dessert. Keep up the good work and I’ll be in touch.”
Before I could stop her, she was gone and Lando had slipped into her empty seat. A waitress came by and he ordered a vodka and tonic and another beer for me.
“She’s adorable.” It was pretty safe as far as small talk went and Royal was one of my favorite subjects.
“She is and she knows it. She’s actually the one that got me the referral to get in and meet with you. Her boyfriend works with someone that pulled the strings.”
He crossed his arms and leaned forward a little bit on the table and I told myself not to drool or say anything stupid as I watched his muscles tense and flex with the motion.
“Rome Archer.” His eyebrows pulled down slightly and his denim-colored eyes flashed with something that looked very lost and sad. “There isn’t much I wouldn’t do for the Archers.”
I didn’t know most of the people that Royal had been spending time with since my injury and since getting involved with Asa, but I did know they seemed like a good group of people and they took care of my girl for me when I wasn’t able to.
I shrugged. “I don’t know him, but I’m grateful he put in a good word for me.”
Lando nodded and we lapsed into an awkward silence while we waited for the drinks to arrive. When the waitress put the rocks glass down in front of him, he ran a finger around the rim of it and looked at me from under his eyelashes.
“I’m not really much of a drinker, but it’s been a long week.” I didn’t know him well, but I could distinctly hear a hint of accusation in his tone.
I picked up my beer and narrowed my eyes at him. “Why is that?” I was the one with the sore muscles and burning tendons. I should be the one drinking for the strength to keep going, not him.
He picked his drink up and finished it all in one healthy swallow. He set the rocks glass down and stood up to dig his wallet out of his pocket. He tossed some money on the table and took a few steps so that he was standing at my elbow. I looked up at him as he bent his head down just enough that he could speak directly into my ear. A full body shiver worked its way across my skin as his voice rasped, “You are distractingly good-looking, Dominic, but I don’t date my clients, and I don’t think I could ever get involved with a cop.”
I was too stunned to react for a moment and in those few seconds he managed to push away from the table and make his way towards the door. By the time I managed to fumble my own wallet out of my back pocket and pay for my own drinks, he was out the door, but I was used to chasing down my prey even if I wasn’t as fast as I used to be. I caught up to him in the parking lot of the clinic as he was approaching a sleek-looking sports car.
I put a hand on his shoulder and was already tearing into him before he turned fully around to face me.
“I don’t know what I find more insulting, the fact that you just assume I want to date you or the fact that I’m a cop somehow makes me beneath you. You have a lot of nerve Mr. Fancy-Pants, a lot of nerve and a lot of ego.”
I was pissed and offended. I was also hurt and a little bit embarrassed. I didn’t like anything about it. Sure the guy was ridiculously attractive and I had never been drawn to anyone the way I was instantly drawn to him, but that didn’t mean I was asking him to move in together and get married. A little harmless flirting and some innocent eye-fucking shouldn’t have landed me in the shame corner and I wanted him to know it. I was opening my mouth to finish giving him a piece of my mind when I was cut off by hard hands on either of my shoulders pushing me backwards into the side of the car behind me.
I grunted at the contact and at the surprise of chilly metal against my back while my front was suddenly pressed all along a rigid and hard male body.
He might look distinguished and fancy, but he kissed rough and dirty. His hands were hard on my shoulders as he leaned into me and held me in place while his mouth moved over mine. I put a hand on the lean curve of his waist and met him move for move because I’d kissed plenty of boys in my time but never one that made my head spin to the point that it made me forget where I was.
His lips were soft, but there was hard passion behind them. He kissed me like he was angry that he wanted to kiss me, but I wasn’t going to complain about being handled like that. I liked the abrasion, liked the almost desperate way he held on to me, and I liked that he felt as solid and heavy as I did as we continued to press closer and closer together. I offered zero resistance when the tip of his tongue brushed across the seam of my lips. I let him in, in fact, I couldn’t wait to let him in and get him closer. I tugged on his waist until we were hip to hip and I felt him take in the heated gasp that escaped when I felt his arousal press against my own.