She lobbed toffee-brown daggers at him. No woman ever looked at him like that. All he ever saw was adoration and longing.
A whiff of disappointment wafted through him. “You don’t talk much, do you?”
Her brown eyes cooled like an autumn frost. “Wo-would you, if y-you talked like m-me?”
A pang struck his chest, but he ignored it. “I wasn’t complaining. A quiet woman is like a mild winter. Both rare and a welcome relief.”
“Have I d-d-done something to offend you?”
“Not at all.” He leaned against her car. “It’s my job to protect the good citizens of this town from harm. I take my job very seriously.”
“And you think I’m going to hurt someone?”
“The problem is, I don’t know. I have to assume the worst until I’m shown otherwise.”
“You don’t have to,” she muttered.
“I mean, what do I really know about you? You’re five foot three if you’re an inch, thirty-two years old, and you recently bought an insanely large house.” He lowered his sunglasses to peer at her. “Oh, and you’re a Wildcat.”
Her sharp gaze swung to his face. “You’ve been spying on me?”
No, he hadn’t, though the thought had occurred to him. Rather, he’d obtained a wealth of information in a brief conversation with his brother, but she didn’t need to know that.
He shrugged. “I’m a cop.”
“You’re a terrorist.”
It occurred to him then that the more he tormented her, the less she stuttered. “You were one semester shy of graduation when you quit. Why is that?”
She stared up at him with soulful, brown eyes. A sliver of softness sloped through him.
“My mom got sick and I moved home to take care of her.”
He straightened away from the car. “I’m sorry,” he said softly.
Her hand shot out and she plucked the ticket from his grasp. She put the Jetta in gear and whipped out onto the road.
That night, while he sat up with his bottle of whiskey, he contemplated the fact that his encounter with Emily Cole was the best part of his whole day.