His Southern Temptation(7)

By: Robin Covington






Chapter Three

Taylor wanted her gun back.

Glaring at Lucky’s back as he trudged up the stairs, duffel bag slung over his shoulder and her gun peeking out of his waistband, her brain whirled with all the reasons why shooting him would make her feel better. It was bad enough she was back in this podunk, backwater excuse for a town, but now she was stuck in this house with the man who made her lose her mind. And not always in the good way. Although he did that plenty.

Knowing he’d resent her scrutiny, she took the opportunity to check him out—same broad shoulders, long, lanky legs, and delectable ass. His hair was longer than his usual military cut, now lying in unruly waves on his head, the curls catching the light. Her fingers itched to tangle in the corn-silk blond strands and pull his mouth back to hers to finish what they’d started. But in spite of the scorching kiss downstairs less than an hour ago, Lucky was determined to act as if it hadn’t happened.

Once they’d managed to get Sheriff Burke out of the house without calling Teague and waking him, Lucky had confiscated her gun. He hadn’t asked her, hadn’t consulted her on whether she wanted to be unarmed in this big old house with multiple entrances and exits. Nope. All he’d done was empty out the bullets, place them in her hand, and stick the gun in the waistband of his jeans.

Curiosity forced the question out of her mouth. “Hey, why are you keeping my gun? You afraid I might still shoot you?”

“Nope, but I might want to shoot myself later,” he huffed out on a laugh that didn’t quite erase the tension in his voice or loosen the rigid set in his shoulders.

Drama queen.

She wasn’t surprised at his reaction, though. Things were always complicated between them. Timing. Teague. Her family. His family. His job and her great escape to the other side of the world had never put them in a place where they could settle it once and for all. They’d had fun together over the years, in and out of bed, but the last time had been different, and it had left a loose end that made her itchy.

Maybe now was the time. Fate. Karma. The Almighty. Whoever. Something had put them here to hash this out and get the hell over whatever was between them.

She was all for that plan.

She could lay Lucky—pun entirely intended—and a few other demons to rest before heading back to Hawaii and her future.

“So, where were you out so late at night? Hot date?”

He chuckled. “No. I was at the Jolly Gent trying to get a stripper to tell me about a missing girl. I’m working a case for Jack Cantrell and getting nowhere. Sarah Morgan has been missing for two weeks and I can’t find a trace of her.”

“Well, that explains the body glitter.” She laughed when he flipped her the bird, a grumpy look twisting his handsome features. “Must be tough having to get all up close and personal with a girl in a G-string.”

“You’d be surprised.”

“Did you get what you needed?”

“No. The girls won’t talk to me or Jack.” He glanced over at her as they made their way upstairs, his smile a little self-conscious. “We decided the case needs a woman’s touch.”

“You mean a woman to make nice with the strippers and get them to talk?”

“Exactly.”

“I can do that.” She punched him on the arm when he made a face. He didn’t know everything about her, and her secret skills would blow his mind. “I’ve worked at a strip club before. No full frontal, but we did shimmy down to a G-string bikini. I could definitely pass as one of the girls.”

“No way. The Gent is a pit, Bodean Taggert is a scumbag, and I wouldn’t let him in the same zip code with you.”

“I’m just saying I could do it. I could get you the information you need.”

“No. Forget it. Not gonna happen.”

“You’re being a stubborn ass.” She didn’t even try to hide the irritation in her voice. He was being unreasonable and overprotective. This job sounded simple enough.

“You always said my ass was one of my better qualities.” Lucky nudged her with his shoulder, his sweeter tone clearly calculated to try to coax her out of any fight they were hurtling toward.

“Whatever.” Taylor took a breath and decided to let it go for now.

They reached the top of the stairs, the landing as big as the downstairs parlor and dimly lit by one solitary lamp on a side table. The house was old—built before the Civil War—and everything was fashioned on a large, gracious scale, and the low lighting gave it a romantic and intimate feel. As a kid, she loved to curl up on one of the comfortable sofas and listen to the endless stream of guests her parents hosted for parties. Occasionally, she would have to take off when a couple would wander up from the party to sneak in a make-out session in one of the secluded alcoves.

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