The bells over the door jingled. Jessalyn Banks didn't look up, didn't acknowledge his presence. Even though she had called him over, she needed a minute to steal herself against his appeal. Her best friend and assistant Nancy came up behind her, her spicy perfume heralding her advance, and leaned over the desk, one hand braced on its edge. Her voice was light and teasing when she whispered in Jessalyn's ear.
"Oh, the sexy police chief showed up. You really get service in this town, huh?"
Jessalyn shot her an evil look and stood. Nancy knew it was a sore point. Plastering a fake smile on her face, she turned to face Shane Moore. For a split second, his expression was unguarded and hot eyes clashed with hers. They seemed to promise long wild nights if she would just give in. No way, Jessalyn. Get a grip. He was bossy and arrogant and she didn't like him much, but she couldn't help the way her heart stuttered or the flush that spread up her neck. He crossed his arms over his chest and his gaze was shuttered. "I hear you have a secret admirer."
She snorted. If you could call him that. Jerking her head for him to follow her, she led the way into the small back kitchen. It was filled with roses. Not your garden-variety red or yellow or white roses either. Someone had gone to a great deal of effort to paint these black. She'd checked--there wasn't a florist for ninety miles that sold black roses.
"They were here when you opened the gallery this morning?"
She nodded, anger at the invasion of her space closing her throat.
"Was there are a card?" he asked, a slight tremor in his voice.
"No," she said, her voice sounding gruff to her ears.
He met her gaze and his expression didn't change. She couldn't tell if he was pissed or worried. Knowing how territorial Shane was of "his town" and how seriously he took his job, probably both.
"Anything else going on?"
She shrugged. Was a vague feeling of being watched something going on? Or the rash of hang-ups on her voice mail? Until he asked, she hadn't thought anything of it. She didn't think it meant anything. There was always someone watching her in Banks Crossing and the phone calls... Well, someone obviously had the wrong number. No, she wouldn't give in to paranoia.
Unfortunately, Shane could read her like a book. It was one of his more irritating habits. His eyes narrowed and he took her elbow, leading her back into the hall. Leaning down so they were almost nose-to-nose, he searched her face.
"What else, Jessie?"
Trying to put some distance between them, she stepped away and landed with her back against the wall. She realized her mistake immediately as he pressed closer. For a moment, she was completely distracted. He wore a white polo style shirt with the city logo emblazoned on the pocket, the black of his bulletproof vest visible through the weave. It stretched across wide shoulders and a broad chest her fingers itched to explore. He smelled masculine, aftershave mingled with deodorant and sweat, and was way too close for comfort. Shifting closer, he pressed against her hips and her eyes widened at his erection cradled between her legs.
Her pulse jumped in response and she firmed her resolve. No no no. Not him. Why couldn't she respond to another man like this? She shoved at his chest, and he reluctantly stepped back. Breathing a sigh of relief, she glared up at him.
"What else?" he asked roughly.
"Just some hang-up phone calls. Probably the wrong number." She rolled her eyes. "Happens all the time."
He gave her a hard look. "Maybe. What about the caller ID?"
"Private number," she mumbled.
"I'll check into it. Y'all go ahead and clear out for the day. My crime scene guys will come over and see what they can find."
She nodded and turned to find Nancy.
She looked over her shoulder, ready to blast him for using the nickname but he wasn't even looking at her.
"Get your locks changed tomorrow."
She bit back a sharp retort. Ya think, Shane? Never would have occurred to me.
"I will," she answered instead.
Jesus, now what? Throwing her hands in the air, she turned around to face him again. He moved closer and caught her around the waist.
"Be careful. I'll see you tomorrow."
He pushed her out the door before she could ask why or where.