“So you think misbehaving is part of my nature?”
Moonlight highlighted the humorous twinkle in her blue eyes. “I don’t think it, I know it. You forget I’ve been around Kyle and Farrah for almost a year. Just about every story Kyle tells about his past misadventures include a certain Joshua Andrew Colby. The evidence is clearly undeniable. You reek of misbehavior, mister.”
Joshua smiled easily. “In that case, have dinner with me tomorrow.” He really didn’t expect her to say yes. The only thing she knew about him was that he was friends with Kyle and Farrah. She didn’t know him. Which, given his line of work, was probably a good thing. No doubt she’d run away screaming if she ever found out.
Instead of a clipped “No,” and a door slammed in his face, Joshua was surprised at the sudden speculation in her gaze. His heart beat a little faster when she asked softly, “Why?”
He picked the light approach. “Because I think the playing field needs to be leveled. You know all about my misspent youth thanks to Kyle, but I don’t know anything about yours. Not to mention, you owe me for the scare your dog gave me. Damn beast almost gave me a heart attack.”
Smiling, not saying a word, she backed up the next step. He raised a brow and followed. “Retreating, Ms. Sheridan?”
“Just a matter of self preservation, Mr. Colby. Things are getting a little deep around here, if you know what I mean.”
“Are you accusing me of exaggerating?”
“More like flat-out lying. I can’t imagine the man who, as a boy, braved his neighbor’s angry dogs to rescue a baby skunk, being afraid of my Bors. What did you name the little thing again? Patches, Patty…?”
Joshua feigned a grimace. “Panda. And Kyle evidently failed to mention the angry dogs were a pair of Yorkie Terriers.”
“Ah, but size is relative. To a five-year-old, two Yorkies in full battle mode should at least equal one Bors today.”
He held up his hands in surrender. “Fair enough. Far be it from me to tarnish my tough-guy image. I take back the part about the heart attack. Everything else is true, however, so I still need an answer. Dinner tomorrow, yes or no?”
She continued to smile and backed up again, planting both feet on her porch.
He tsked. “Don’t know if anyone’s told you, Ms. Sheridan, but it’s not a good idea to run from a predator. It tends to trigger their urge to chase you down.” Slowly, deliberately, he put first one foot, then the other, on the next step up. Instead of backing away this time, she leaned forward, making him wonder who was really doing the chasing.
“A predator, Mr. Colby? I thought you were a—” She broke off, lips suddenly pressed together in a tight line, as if literally holding back her next words.
“A what?” he coaxed.
She blinked, smiled, and looked at him from beneath her lashes in a way that made his blood run hot. “A man who ought to know better than to try using intimidation on a woman he’s just met. Really, I never would have expected you for the Neanderthal type. Chet, yes, but you?” Lips pursed in disapproval, she shook her head back and forth in a slow, playful gesture. The teasing look in her eyes brought to Joshua’s mind a long, steamy night of naughty sex.
Get your mind out of the gutter, Colby. She’s just a job. A target.Targets, whether his or someone else’s, were always off limits. Always. That was the one rule he’d never had any problems following. Until now, damn it. For the first time in his military career, he found his libido more than willing to toss the rule book out the window.