Next to him, Izzy’s stomach growled. She met his gaze and a delicious blush spread across her sharp cheekbones. She crinkled her nose in embarrassment and he wanted to do nothing more than lean over and kiss the adorable sprinkling of freckles across her nose.

“Looks like we got here right in time.” He held open the door for her. The place was already filling up, but there were still a few empty booths.

The hostess sat them in a booth next to one of the open windows overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. The sparkling water was crystal clear and tranquil. Izzy didn’t take much time to start questioning him. “So, why are you leaving?”

“My brother’s security company is taking off and he needs me.” It was a lie, but he swallowed the guilt back down. He hadn’t been exactly truthful since they’d met so lying should be easier.

Why did it get harder and harder the more he was around her? He needed to turn the focus back on her so she’d stop asking him personal questions.

They both paused as the server took their drink order. “Why are you living here if your family is in Savannah?” he asked as soon as they were alone.

Shrugging, she glanced down at her open menu. “For the same reason you are I suppose.”

That was doubtful.

“The grits here are to die for,” she said, effectively changing the subject.

Okay, she didn’t want to talk about her family.

He could appreciate that. It also let him off the hook. If she didn’t want to get too personal, she’d steer clear of questioning him.

“Hey Adam, fancy seeing you here.” A female voice he vaguely recognized caused him to look over Izzy’s shoulder at the approaching woman.

Izzy shifted in her seat. When she turned back around to face him, her eyes were narrowed slightly.

The tanned, petite woman had short bleach- blond hair and wore a midriff halter-top over her bikini. She was cute, but her beach shorts were a little too snug around her waist. She placed a haughty hand on her hip. “You never called me last night when you got off work,” she pouted.

Ahh, he must have served her last night. Half a dozen women—all of whom looked pretty much the same as far as clothing and hair went—had given him their phone numbers the night before.

After work, all those scraps of paper had been trashed. If he’d known any better, he’d have gotten a job bartending a decade ago when he was randy enough to be interested.

Now his tastes were a lot more discerning.

Actually his current taste in the opposite sex seemed to consist of one woman in particular. The one woman he couldn’t have. The universe had a screwed up sense of humor. Before he could respond, Izzy did it for him.

“That’s because he was with me.” Her silky smooth voice had an icy edge to it.

The sharp bite to her words surprised him. She was always so easygoing.

The other woman jerked in surprise, as if seeing Izzy for the first time, though Adam knew the blonde was perfectly aware of Izzy’s presence.

The woman had a certain amount of nerve to saunter up to their table when it was obvious he was with someone else.

After mumbling a quick goodbye, she hurried out the door.

“Friend of yours?” Avoiding his gaze, Izzy stirred creamer into one of the coffee mugs placed in front of them.

He grinned. “I don’t know her, but I think she was at the bar last night.”

She looked up and rolled her eyes. “I’m sure she wasn’t the only woman interested in you last night.”

“Jealous?” he asked, not really expecting an answer.

“Maybe I am.” A dark eyebrow lifted before she averted her gaze back to the menu.

Her response gave him pause. Flirting with Izzy was like playing with fire. A fire he couldn’t seem to resist. If he wasn’t careful, he was going to go up in flames. After a moment, she looked at him again and the electricity between them was almost tangible. A thick, sensual haze hovered around them. Why couldn’t he have met her under different circumstances?

The server returned to take their food order, breaking the intimate moment. After she left, he found his voice again. “Do you ever think about moving back to Savannah?”

“Sometimes I do. My family lives there, but I was tired of seeing the same people every day. I don’t plan to put down roots in Coconut Bay or anything, but who knows what the future holds?”

She shrugged and continued. “And my father can be a little overbearing sometimes so I guess I needed a change of pace.”

Like hiring someone to watch out for her without her knowledge? That kind of overbearing? He cleared his throat and pushed down his personal loathing. “Overbearing?”

She shifted uncomfortably in her seat but answered. “He used to run background checks on all my dates and friends.”

If he had a daughter like Izzy he’d probably check out her dates too. “That doesn’t seem so bad.”

Her lips pulled into a thin line, making him imagine what it would be like to cover her mouth with his. When she started talking again, his gaze jerked back up to hers. “I was sixteen when he started with that crap. And I’m not talking basic checks. He did extensive background and credit checks on them, their families, and… Never mind.

I don’t want to talk about my father.”

“Good, because I’d rather talk about you anyway.” Adam wasn’t lying either. He wanted to know everything about the woman.

The rest of breakfast flew by too quickly. He learned that her favorite color was purple, her mother died during childbirth and despite growing up in the South, she despised country music.

Somehow, it wasn’t enough. He wanted to know what she looked like in the morning, how she liked her eggs cooked and more important, what she liked in bed. It was unprofessional to think of her in that capacity but when he was around her, it didn’t matter. He’d had so many fantasies about her it was embarrassing. The only thing he couldn’t picture were her nipples. What color would they be? What size? The need to know was driving him crazy.

After the meal was over and they were walking back to his truck, he fought the foreign feeling of disappointment that coursed through him. He didn’t want today to end. “Have you been to the Laroque Museum since you moved here?” The words were out of his mouth before he could stop himself.

She turned to look at him as he held open the passenger door. “No, I’ve been dying to go, but I haven’t had a chance. Why? Do you want to go?”

She snorted in a very un-Izzy-like manner as she slid into the front seat.

Spending a couple hours at a Victorian museum wasn’t exactly on his list of fun things to do, but he’d taken a guess it would be right up her alley. “What? You think because I’m a guy, I wouldn’t want to go?”

“That’s exactly what I think.” A small smile tugged at the corners of her lips.

He lifted an eyebrow. “That’s sexist.”

“And it’s also true.”

Instead of responding, he shut the door and walked around to the driver side. “So, you want to go now?” he asked as he started the engine.

Her confused expression was priceless.


“Is that a question or an answer?”

She shook her head and swatted his arm. “No, let’s go. Carolyn’s never going to believe you went with me.”

“I’ll deny it if you tell anyone.” He laughed under his breath as he kicked the truck into reverse.

Seconds after he pulled onto the main road she leaned over and switched the radio dial.

“Changing a man’s radio station is just as bad as taking control of the television remote.” He couldn’t hold back a smile.

She grinned and simply pressed the scan button again. Seconds later, some God-awful pop music blared through the speakers.

And she turned the volume up.

“Come on, Izzy. Is this the best you can do?”

Instead of answering, she grabbed a pen from the center console and used it as a fake microphone. When she started lip-synching the words, he found himself fighting a smile.

Something he seemed to be doing more of since meeting her.

The past four years had been stressful trying to get a new business off the ground. His brother and cousin depended on him to keep everything together. He’d brought them together to start Marcellus Security so it was up to him to make sure they succeeded. He couldn’t remember the last time he’d taken a day off. Soon he’d be going back to his real life, but for now he might as well enjoy his limited time with Izzy.

The longer he was around her, the more he liked her. The attraction was almost a given, but that had nothing to do with actually liking her.

Part of him wished she’d been a stuck up bitch.

His life would be so much easier if she was.

A couple hours later as they pulled back into her parking lot he was already missing her.

She frowned when he shut off the ignition.

“You don’t have to walk me to my door again. I don’t think that maniac is striking during the middle of the day.”

Ignoring her, he gritted his teeth and got out.

Criminals didn’t act according to a clock. They took advantage of situations, regardless of time of day. Considering the previous crimes, it was doubtful the man the police were looking for would be out roaming the streets now, but Adam wasn’t taking any chances with Izzy’s well-being.

Regardless of the deal he’d made with her father, her safety was his priority.

When they stood at her front door facing each other, he felt like a nervous kid on his first date.

She clutched her purse against her side.

“Thanks again for breakfast, Adam.”

The way she said his name made him wonder what it would sound like rolling off her tongue under different circumstances. With wide eyes, she looked at him expectantly, her summer dress fluttering with the light breeze. And he lost all common sense. If he’d ever had any.

He didn’t know how it happened. One second she was staring at him with those big doe eyes, and the next second he was kissing her. Rather, they were kissing each other.