“Handle me?” she repeated. “What makes you think you can handle me?”

Somehow Renner dragged his eyes up to hers. Christ. Her eyes were potent, a rich cherry brown. But when she was angry, which frankly was all the time around him, the reddish tint gave her a demonic look. And damn if that didn’t make him crazy hot for her too. “I was only trying to help.”


In his peripheral vision, he noticed the glass clutched in her hand. He curled his fingers around her wrist and squeezed, forcing her to let go. “Tossing another drink in my face, sweetheart, is a big no-no.”

“Too bad I’m not armed like the rest of the people in Wyoming. I’d just shoot you and put you out of my misery.”

He laughed and dropped a ten on the bar. Then he grabbed her coat off the barstool and headed for the door.

Tierney didn’t catch Renner until they reached the end of the entryway. She jerked her coat from him. “Give me that.”

“Put it on. Then we’re out of here. This is not the place for someone like you.”

“Someone like me? Meaning what?”

Renner’s gaze tracked her body as she covered it with her long wool coat. “Look at yourself. All tarted up to troll for losers.”

“Tarted up? Who even uses that archaic phrase? My God. You are such a Neanderthal.”

“Where are your glasses? Could you even see them low-class yahoos were tryin’ to feel you up?”

“Did you ever consider I wanted those yahoos to feel me up?”

That retort got a surprised look from him.

“But no, you didn’t care what I wanted. You bulled your way in, scaring them off with the macho bullshit about me being your boss—as if anybody could ever tell the almighty Renner Jackson what to do—and then you announced what a total ballbuster I am . . .” Tierney froze as something occurred to her.

Renner pointed at her. “See? You know I’m right.”

“First, you’re never right. Second, I finally get it.”

“Get what? Why I’m dragging you outta there?”

“No, now I know what that term means.”

“What what term means?” he demanded with exasperation.

“Cock blocker. You were a c**k blocker tonight. I had two potential cocks on the line and you came in swinging your dick to prove yours was bigger.”

Renner’s mouth fell open.

Tierney’s satisfaction at stunning him boosted her courage to punctuate each word with a finger poke to his hard chest. “I. Don’t. Need. Another. Man. In. My. Personal. Business.”

When his eyes narrowed in that familiar way, indicating he was about to lash out, she muttered, “Screw this. And screw you.” She hightailed it out the main bar door. Her boot heels clicked as she crossed the asphalt parking lot.

Before she disengaged the locks, she was spun around. With her back against her car, Renner was in her face, crowding her body with his.

“You have no f**kin’ idea how sexy that bitchy little attitude of yours is, do you?”

Was he drunk?

“No, I’m not drunk. I’m frustrated as hell and the screw you comment was a little out of character for you.”

“Oh, so you can hear me mutter? But you ignore me when I talk directly to you?”

Renner flashed his teeth. “I listen to you when it warrants it.”

“Then listen up. Move.”

“No. Fucking. Way.”

“What is your problem?”

“My problem?” He laughed derisively. “You. I see you every goddamned day in those high-dollar, high-collar professional business suits. Then add those brainy-girl glasses to cement the ‘she’s out of your league’ impression you convey to me at every opportunity.”

Tierney couldn’t believe her ears. Was that a compliment? Or an insult?

“Tell me how I’m supposed to react when the Tierney I see off the clock is not the Tierney I know from work.”

His mouth was so near hers that his every angry breath puffed across her lips. “You don’t know me because you’ve preferred to judge me on the surface.”

“So I should’ve knocked you off your damn high horse to get to this ‘real’ Tierney months ago?”

Tierney rolled her eyes. “Does every phrase you use have to contain a barnyard animal reference?”

“God. You piss me off to no appreciable end.”

“The feeling is mutual.”

“Oh yeah? What about this? Is this mutual too?”

The man was babbling. “Is what mutual?” she demanded.

“This.” Renner crushed his mouth to hers. His rough hands were on her cheeks, holding her in place as he kissed her.

Dear God, did the man know how to kiss. Soft and then hard. Wet and hungry. He took what he wanted. Kissing her with passion laced with provocation. Building one kiss upon another, and another, until they were both short of breath and had to break free in order to suck air into their oxygen-deprived lungs.

But Renner didn’t push away from her. He pressed his damp mouth into the section of skin in front of her ear. Then his lips moved up the side of her face. Slowly. Like he was savoring the moment.

As Tierney felt him vibrating against her, she knew his reaction had shaken him to the core. Because it was so totally unexpected. Or because it was unwanted?

The next thought immediately cooled her libido; Renner hadn’t acted on his supposed attraction to her until she looked nothing like herself. She shoved him away.


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