Deceptions(4)

By: Cynthia Eden

“I—”

“He was turning in a book,” Elizabeth said quickly. “And I am so very glad that he was.”

Mac shrugged. “It was overdue.” A total lie. He’d just wanted to see her.

“I’ll waive that fine,” Elizabeth said, for some reason choosing to go along with his story as her fingers brushed his shoulder. Mac couldn’t help it—he tensed at her touch. It seemed as if an electric current shot right through him. There was just something about Elizabeth...

Her hand dropped.

She backed away.

Something about her, but the woman is not interested in me. He’d tried to ask her out before. A time or two. Or four. She’d shot him down every time.

He guessed that a rough and ready ex-Delta Force member wasn’t her idea of proper date material. Too bad. She should know that opposites could definitely attract.

“I called the library’s director,” Elizabeth said. “She’s coming to make sure the window is secured. She said the alarm team would be here soon, too.”

He glanced to the left. As if on cue, a blue SUV was pulling up. When the interior lights flashed on, he recognized the woman inside—Cathy Waite, the director.

“I have to talk with her,” Elizabeth said as she hurried off.

Mac didn’t follow her. Instead, he stepped closer to the cops. “When a man stalks a woman in a building like this, with a knife at the ready, that’s serious damn trouble.”

“W-we’ll run that knife—”

“He only fled when he heard me. That jerk had plans tonight. He was going to hurt her.” His hands clenched into fists. “You need to find that guy before he strikes again.” Before I get to him first.

Mac glanced over his shoulder at Elizabeth. She and Cathy were talking as a service truck pulled up.

“They can’t start working on that window yet,” one of the cops said when he spied the truck. “We’re not done with our investigation!” Then he was rushing forward.

Mac’s gaze slid to Elizabeth. She was rubbing her arms again, as if she was cold. He shrugged out of his jacket and headed toward her. When he put the jacket around her shoulders, she jumped a bit. Hell, he had to stop scaring her. Mac was used to moving silently, and sometimes he forgot how disconcerting that could be for people.

Her fingers curled around the jacket. “Thank you.” The damn thing swallowed her delicate frame. He glanced down and saw that she’d put her shoes back on. Earlier, she’d kicked them off and he’d seen her toes, painted a bright fire-engine red. The cops had returned the shoes to her.

“You should go,” Elizabeth said with a little nod. “The cops are here, Cathy’s here...we have to get things secured. You just... You’ve already gone above and beyond in your library-patron duty.”

“I don’t mind hanging around,” Mac said, trying to sound casual.

The flashing lights swirled around them. Elizabeth stepped a bit closer to him. Sweet cinnamon wrapped around him. “You don’t have to stay,” Elizabeth said softly. “But thank you for playing hero.” Then she started to take off his jacket.

He lifted his hand, stopping her. “Keep it. I’ve got others.” And he didn’t want her cold.

She flashed him a smile. “Like I said, I owe you, Mac.”

“Then maybe you can repay that debt by having a drink with me.” The words hung between them.

She bit her lip. A bad move because he found it sexy. He wanted to touch that lip, lick it. Maybe bite it. Not too hard, of course. What would his sweet librarian do then?

“I don’t think we’d be a good idea,” Elizabeth said.

Shot down for the fifth time. He was a man who could take a hint. “Why not?” He touched her cheek and saw the quick breath that she took. Saw the tremble that shook her. “I know you feel it, too.” It. That heady awareness between them. The connection that said they’d pretty much ignite together.

“I do.” She tipped back her head to stare up at him. “But I don’t think I can handle what you’d want from me.”

“I bet you could.”

“I heard the stories about you.” Her voice had dropped to a whisper. “You’re all about danger. Adrenaline.” Elizabeth shook her head. “That life isn’t for me. I can’t do that.”