Andrea shook her head and a few more tears escaped. “No, but he kept trying to get me to go with him. I kept saying no but he wouldn’t listen.
He called me a whore and something else I couldn’t understand.” She covered her face with her hands.
Izzy looked at Adam over Andrea’s head with lifted brows. Coconut Bay, Florida, was one of the safest towns in the country. One of the reasons she’d moved here in the first place. Lately however, there had been a string of late-night sexual assaults. And all the women had apparently been taken from various bars. It hadn’t been widely publicized, but the local cops had let their boss know to be on the lookout for anything out of the ordinary. Toby in turn had let the entire staff know. Now none of the female employees were allowed to walk to their cars alone at night.
One look at Adam’s face and she knew he was thinking the same thing. This could have been the guy the cops were looking for. A shudder snaked through her at the thought that she’d scared off some pervert.
“Come on. I’ll drive you home.” Taking the woman’s arm, Izzy guided her to her blue Volkswagen Beetle. The young woman stumbled once in her high heels, but managed to right herself before Izzy helped her into the front seat.
She shut the door then turned to Adam. “Did you happen to catch that guy’s license plate?”
He rubbed a hand over his face. “Damn, no. I’ll follow you to her place, then I’m following you home.”
“That’s not necessary. Once I get—”
In a surprising move, he placed a finger over her lips, quickly silencing her. “It’s not up for discussion.”
Mutely she nodded. The gesture wasn’t supposed to be sensuous, but she couldn’t stop the way her legs automatically clenched together.
What was that all about anyway? A simple touch and she was practically trembling. She slid into the front seat and turned the ignition. Immediately a blast of fresh air hit her face.
March in Florida wasn’t particularly warm, but the humidity was killer so she was thankful that at least her air conditioning worked. She glanced at Andrea, who looked dangerously close to passing out. “What’s your address?”
“Huh?” The girl’s head snapped up and she blinked a few times as she glanced at her surroundings. “Oh, right.” She rattled off an apartment complex close to where Izzy lived, then her head lolled back against the headrest. Izzy was thankful she knew where the place was because she didn’t have a GPS in her vehicle.
When she finally steered into the complex, Adam was right behind her. With his assistance she helped him carry the dozing woman up one flight of stairs.
Izzy knocked once while Adam dug keys out of the girl’s purse. Worry niggled at the back of her brain. The girl was ridiculously intoxicated, but she hadn’t had that much to drink. Toby was a stickler for cutting people off before they got wasted. And she’d paid attention tonight. Neither she nor Adam had over-served anyone.
Before Adam could get out her keys, the door swung open. A blonde whom she guessed to be in her early twenties answered the door wearing a matching blue-and-white pajama set.
“Oh my God! Andrea!” She hooked her arm under her friend’s armpit to steady her. “Give me a sec okay?”
The roommate disappeared back inside, giving them a moment of privacy.
“I called the cops on the way over here,” Adam murmured.
“Yeah. Even though we didn’t get the plate number, I wanted to let them know we might have seen the guy they’re looking for.”
Why hadn’t she thought of that? Before she could reply, the other girl reappeared. “Thank you so much for getting her home. You’re the bartender from Mad Dog’s right?” At Izzy’s nod, the girl continued, “What happened to her?”
“She said her friend left her to hook up with someone,” Izzy answered.
“That bitch.” The girl raked a hand through her sleep-tangled hair. “Sorry. Andrea has been hanging out with this new girl she met in her chemistry class and this isn’t the first time something like this has happened. Although it is the first time I’ve seen her so drunk.”
“She doesn’t drink much?” Adam asked.
The girl shook her head. “No, never. I’ve lived with her for three years and I’ve never seen her like this.”
“You might want to take her to the hospital and have them take a blood sample. Unless she got plastered before coming to Mad Dog’s, someone might have slipped her something because she only had a couple beers. If someone put any sort of drugs in her drink, I don’t know that there’s anything a doctor can do about it, but it can’t hurt to get her checked out,” Adam said.
“I will. And thanks for bringing her home. No telling what might have happened to her.”
As the door shut, Izzy turned to Adam. “What made you suggest taking her to the hospital?”
He shrugged. “My brother-in-law is a cop.”
She fell into step with him as they walked back to her car. “I didn’t know you had any siblings.”
As an only child she’d longed for brothers and sisters growing up. Her mom had died during childbirth so it had always been just her and her dad. Well, except for Edna. Her father’s personal assistant had played a big part in her life too.
She’d helped Izzy buy her first bra and she’d given her the sex talk when she was fifteen even though by then Izzy already knew everything important.
“One brother and one sister.” He rarely gave away personal details about his life unless specifically asked. Something she normally found refreshing.
She hated when people told her their life story within minutes of meeting, probably because everyone wanted to tell bartenders about their problems. It might be a stereotype, but it was one she found to be increasingly true.
“I’m jealous.” A smile tugged at her lips as she glanced at him.
“You’re an only child?”
“Just me.” She pressed the unlock button to her keyless entry as they neared her car. “Listen, Adam, you don’t need to follow me home. I’ll be fine.”
“Humor me okay?”
Pursing her lips, she suppressed a smile and got into her car.
Adam kicked his truck into gear and followed Izzy out of the parking lot. The back of her silhouette was outlined by his headlights. Not that it mattered. He saw her face every time he closed his eyes.
The vision of her interrupted his sleep on a nightly basis. She usually kept her wild curly hair pulled back at work, but the few times he’d seen it down left him imagining what her long hair would look and feel like against his skin as she rode him.
He rolled his shoulders once, trying to alleviate the tension, but nothing worked. With her dark brown eyes and high cheekbones, she had almost exotic features. The smattering of freckles across her nose only added to the innocent quality about her. If it wasn’t for her fair coloring, he would doubt she was even Edward Ballantine’s daughter.
Edward. He cursed the day he’d ever made that ridiculous deal with him. It had seemed so simple at the time. Keep an eye on Isabelle without her knowing his true identity. Five weeks. That was how long his contract was. It was icing on the cake if he could convince the rich daughter to return to Savannah, but as long as he did his job and she was safe, he and his brother would land the Forester deal.
Not so simple once he met her. Watching out for her certainly wasn’t a chore. Unfortunately convincing her to return home was impossible without getting to know her. And he still didn’t understand why she was working in a bar barely making ends meet when she had a father like Edward Ballantine. Her father had been fuzzy on those details, but he planned to find out.
As he steered into the parking lot of her place, he pushed those thoughts away. He needed to focus on the present and convince her that Savannah, Georgia, was a much better option than Coconut Bay.
Parking wasn’t numbered, so he chose a spot next to her. By the time he’d rounded his truck she was still sitting in her car. Leaning against his vehicle, he waited until her door finally opened.
Sinfully long legs emerged first. His breath caught. It seemed no matter how often he saw her, he still fantasized what it would be like to have those slim legs wrapped around his waist…and shoulders. Damn, and she was wearing pants. He hadn’t even seen a hint of skin and his cock was already raring to go.
A shudder racked his body. Now was not the time. Hell, there was never going to be a right time for his thoughts. He’d been hired to protect her, not drool over her.
“Sorry, I was talking to Carolyn.” Izzy shut the door behind her.
“No problem. Is she okay?”
“I guess so. She wouldn’t tell me what was going on, but she apologized for not showing up tonight.” Izzy tucked her phone back in her purse, but kept her keys in hand. “Thanks for making sure I got home safe.”
He ignored the comment and took a few steps toward the three-story building, forcing her to follow. After what had happened tonight, he was walking her to the door. Her place was on the second floor, but technically he wasn’t supposed to know that. He knew a lot about her that she hadn’t told him. Like the fact that she had a bachelor’s in business development, but a master’s in medieval literature.
To say the woman was a mystery would be a sore understatement.
“I’m on the second floor.” She motioned straight ahead with her hand as they walked down the short sidewalk.
“Are you working tomorrow morning?” He already knew the answer, but didn’t want her to know he’d checked her schedule. This had to appear impromptu.
“No. I am tomorrow night though.”
“Do you want to get some breakfast after the staff meeting?” Something primal inside him sparked to life when her eyes flashed with desire.
If she was anyone but Edward’s daughter, he had a feeling they’d already be inside her place and naked by now. Not because that was his style, but because it was obvious she wanted him as much as he wanted her.