Maybe it was because he’d saved her. But he didn’t see gratitude right now. Just desire and need. It was like an electric, almost living thing between them. As if he could reach out and touch the heat simmering there. He swallowed hard, hating how out of depth he felt around her, when grease popped in the frying pan as the new strips of bacon he’d put in started sizzling.

Turning away from Belle, he welcomed the distraction of cooking. With the moment broken, she sighed and stepped back. As she started grabbing plates from one of the whitewashed cabinets, he couldn’t help but watch her in his periphery. Just being around her was messing with his head. He couldn’t think of anything but sex.

Raw, no holds barred, naked for hours and hours kind of sex. On the island top. On her couch. The stairs on the way up to her room. Or on that giant bed of hers with the ridiculous frilly throw pillows. But he didn’t just want wild with her. He wanted soft and gentle. The thought of going down on her for hours, of taking his time with her, was mesmerizing. Fuck me. He’d always been a take it or leave it kind of guy when it came to sex. Around her, however, he felt like a maniac.

“Have you thought about going into work? Maybe it’ll keep your mind off everything?” There. He could ask questions like a normal human being. Questions that did not involve asking her what her favorite sexual positions were.

Last night he’d found out that she worked as neonatal nurse but had taken a week off to settle into her house. When he’d been a detective he’d always used work as a distraction so it surprised him when she shook her head.

“No. I’m not giving some asshole control over my life. This is my house and I want to get settled in. I’ve still got a ton of stuff to buy and boxes to unpack. Besides, I need to see about getting an alarm system—”

“I’ve taken care of it. I called my brother Harrison this morning and told him to wire your house today.”

Harrison had seemed strained, but Grant knew it wasn’t directed at him. His brother had been crazy busy at work. Their father had started Red Stone Security years ago after retiring from the CIA. And he almost always hired former military men and women. Considering Harrison had just gotten married, Grant had a feeling his brother was trying to balance married life and a very demanding job.

“What does that mean? I need to shop around, figure out who I want to go with.”

He snorted, knowing she’d end up with a standard three-year contract with a standard security company with a standard system that any decent thief could bypass. Um, no. “You ever heard of Red Stone Security?”

“Uh, yeah. Who hasn’t? Keith Caldwell owns it. I think he used to work for the government but no one really knows for what branch. They guard all the special dignitaries and…Caldwell. Oh. My. God. You said you were a former detective.” Her tone was slightly accusatory.

Grant slid the cooked bacon from the pan to join the others on the plate. “I am. Keith is my dad. You’re correct in that they guard foreign dignitaries and pretty much anyone important who comes to Miami.” And around the globe, but he didn’t go into all that. “They also have a very small division for industrial security systems. You’ll never find anything better.” He opened the carton of eggs and glanced at her.

She sank on to one of the high-backed chairs, her expression pinched. He hated the way her face tightened. “I really appreciate that, but…I can’t afford that. In fact, I think if you even tell me the ballpark range of what it costs I’ll probably die from shock.”

He frowned at her as he realized she’d misunderstood him. “You’re not paying for it.”

Belle blinked once as understanding set in. She slid off the chair, eyes flashing with annoyance. “Well you’re certainly not.”

He grunted. We’ll see about that. “How do you like your eggs? I can do scrambled, fried or even make an omelet.” He’d brought over mushrooms, a pepper and some cheese. Wouldn’t be the best omelet, but it would do.

“Scrambled is fine…but you’re not paying for my security system. That’s just ridiculous!”

“Why? Consider it a welcome to the neighborhood gift.” He didn’t leave any room for argument in his voice. It was happening today. Some primal part of him he didn’t really understand needed this woman safe.

“A plate of freshly baked cookies would be more appropriate.” She sank back on to the seat, some of the steam leaving her, but he knew without a doubt this argument wasn’t over.

He just didn’t care. Yeah, he knew he was being a little bullish about it, but damn, the thought of her injured or attacked by some lunatic made him crazy. “If it makes you feel better I’m getting the family discount and it’s mainly a selfish purchase.”

“How on earth is it selfish?” she snapped, a bit of heat in her words that got him even hotter.

“I wouldn’t be able to sleep at night worrying about you. Knowing you have a system by Red Stone will help me get my beauty sleep. And God knows I need it,” he muttered the last part under his breath.

But she heard him. Sliding off her seat, she covered the small distance between them in a few strides. “What’s that supposed to mean?”

Of course she wouldn’t let it go. This woman was intoxicating, infuriating and too damn gorgeous for her own good. “Do you like cheese in your eggs?” God, he was a total coward but looking at her right now was out of the question. And answering her question? He felt like an ass for having said anything, but damn it, he knew what he looked like. More than anything he fucking wanted her to acknowledge it. Not look at him with wide, welcoming eyes.

Taking him by surprise, she reached up and grabbed his chin. Dropping the spatula in his hand, he had no choice but to turn to her. He could barely react as she practically lunged at him, her lips meeting his in a furious frenzy.

And he froze.

For a fraction of a second before he returned those heated kisses. She might have started it, but he took over. He couldn’t help it. Blindly he reached out and turned off the knob on the stove. Then he slid his hands down her side until he clutched her ass and lifted her up.

His erection was huge and pressing right into the juncture between her thighs and she wasn’t pulling away. Nope, she’d started grinding against him as if she couldn’t get enough.

God, what was wrong with her? Why did she want him? She wrapped her legs around his waist as her fingers dug into his shoulders with an undeniable urgency. And her lips…they met his stroke for stroke, pushing, teasing and taking until finally he had to pull back.

Breathing hard, he looked down at her flushed face. Her lips were swollen, her eyes glazed and he could practically smell the desire coming off her it was so potent.

“Why do you want me?” he rasped out, hating the desperation in his voice but unable to stop it.

“Why wouldn’t I? You have that whole sexy and powerful thing going on and you’re clearly a good person. You came running over when Paulos went all crazy on me and…are you asking because of your scars?”

Unable to answer, he nodded as he took another step toward the island top with her still wrapped around him. He moved so that she was sitting but he stayed in between her legs as she lightly traced circles on his shoulders. She was silent for a long moment then finally one of her hands dropped. Belle drew open her robe then grabbed the middle of her tank top and yanked it down.

For a moment he forgot to breathe until he realized what she was doing. Revealing what all her tight tops had covered before. He frowned at the straight, dark pink scar running down the middle of her chest, the tiny marks showing where the staples had been. It was a perfect line and at least five inches from what he could see, probably longer. He’d seen this type of scar before. Considering the almost angry coloring and the surprising thickness of it, he guessed she’d gotten it when she was a kid. “Heart surgery?”

She nodded. “More than one.”

“Are you—”

She released the material, covering breasts he hadn’t gotten a good enough view of. “I’m fine and I don’t want to talk about me right now. I want to talk about what’s going on in your head. You think because you have some scars you’re not attractive? Or what, that I feel sorry for you?” She snorted as if the thought was so ludicrous he had to be insane. Something warm spread across his chest as she continued. “You practically ooze sexual appeal. It’s ridiculously frustrating being around you because you’re so masculine and abrasive and a little bossy. And…I really like it. All I can seem to think about when I’m around you is kissing you. Well that and other stuff and I know I’m not supposed to just come out and admit that I think you’re hot, but…I’m going to stop talking now before you get a big head.”

Grant couldn’t stop the bark of laughter that escaped. He leaned forward until his forehead was touching hers. Belle had gotten under his skin without trying. She was so energetic and flirty and made him forget everything that had kept him so damn depressed these past six months. Part of him wondered if she had some sort of savior complex for him, but the selfish part of him ignored that thought.

Getting involved with his neighbor was monumentally stupid, but because it was Belle it was hard to care. As he leaned in to kiss her again, his phone buzzed in his pocket. Her leg was draped around his backside and she had to feel it.

They both froze. Groaning, she let her toned legs fall away from him. Her robe fell back into place, covering all that skin as she laid a hand on his chest. Her long fingers flexed once against him. “It could be your partner or someone about the break in.”

He knew that, but it didn’t quell the urge to disregard his phone. Sighing, he stepped away—ignoring his painful erection—and put some distance between them because if he was touching her, he wouldn’t be concentrating on anything else. A quick glance at the caller ID confirmed that it was indeed his former partner. As he snapped open his phone, Belle shot him a look so heated he wanted to drop his cell and take her right there on the counter. But just as quickly she slid from her seat and refilled her coffee cup and the spell was broken.