Now that she stood so close to him, she could make out his face. And what a face he had. Even with the piss-poor light, she could see the man had strong lines with a square jaw and thin lips—no doubt due to anger. Dark eyes surrounded by darker lashes, with a small scar running through his right brow. From this angle, a shadow cast over a portion of his face, making him all the more mysterious.
Even with her neck-breaking high heels on, he still had a good five inches on her, so he loomed over her with ease. If he thought he could intimidate her, he had another thing coming. With the mood she had been in lately, he’d be better off getting the hell out of her way.
“I’ve been hired to protect you.”
Eve ignored the prickle on the back of her neck. “By who?”
The intriguing stranger showed no emotion. “The person wants to remain anonymous.”
Could this all be a ploy? Did this man really know her true identity and her plans? She sincerely doubted it, seeing as how she’d been so careful not to tell anybody at all her whereabouts and she’d used only her real first name, making up her last.
On the other hand, what if he worked for the man she’d been waiting for? What if this dangerous stranger could lead her to the killer?
Eve eyed him as the questions and possibilities whirled in her head. “Why should I believe you when I don’t even know you?”
“It’s up to you whether you want to believe me or not,” he said with a cockiness to his slow Southern drawl. “I’ve been paid to do a job and I intend to do it.”
Eve’s chin came up in defiance. “Well, you can do what you want, but I have to get back inside before I get fired.”
Eve turned, teetering on one heel, but before she could move away from the irksome yet captivating stranger, a shot sounded through the alley. The deafening pop had her looking back over her shoulder at her “protector”.
The stranger grabbed her arm and hauled her behind an overloaded dumpster. “Stay down. I’m about to save your ass again, honey.”
He pulled a Glock from the leather shoulder holster and fired around the metal garbage bin. Seeing as how she was unarmed, Eve kept her head down, her arms up by her face. She would not die in the back of some dingy alley beside a rank dumpster with a man who looked like a god, acted like Rambo and could very well just be the devil in disguise. She had a job to do and she intended to see it through to the end—just as soon as she got out of this little predicament. Allowing this stranger, who might or might not be on her side, to take control of this situation was all she could do, considering she was half-dressed and without her own gun.
“That should do it.” He shoved his gun back into his holster.
“Did you kill him?”
He extended his hand, reaching for her. “Nah, just nicked him. Amateur wouldn’t have hit us if we stood right in front of him. You’re safe now.”
Eve ignored his outstretched hand and rolled her eyes at his stand-behind-me-little-lady attitude. Damn, she hated being protected, especially by a stranger.
She came to her feet now that the fight seemed to be over. The deep V in her robe had fallen open and before she could cinch it back together, she caught him taking a good, long look at her breasts, still only covered by the sheer black bra.
“I already told you once, I don’t do private parties. I don’t do peep shows either.”
He shrugged. “I don’t do strippers, so we’re on the same page. But that doesn’t mean I’m not a man. If you go around exposed like that, I can’t help but look.”
“Gosh, what was I thinking coming out here in only a robe? I forgot to grab my jeans and T-shirt before you so rudely pulled me from my dressing area.”
He laughed and ran a hand down his face. “Are you really that stupid? I saved you. What don’t you understand about that?”
Fury bubbled up through her and before she knew it, her fist connected with the side of his smooth face. He jerked back as his hand came up to rub the red spot she’d made.
He straightened himself and grinned. “You pack an impressive punch, but I was looking for something a little along the lines of gratitude.”
Eve wouldn’t rub her hand. She refused to give him the satisfaction of knowing how much it hurt when she connected with his stone-like jaw.
“Do you have to repeat everything I say?”
Eve clenched her fists to keep from hitting him again. “You’ve said so many idiotic things, I’m just making sure I get it all right.”
“I don’t lie, sweetheart. Everything I say is the truth.”
Eve didn’t like the shudder that rippled through her when the word sweetheart slipped through his kissable lips.
Whoa! Did she just think his lips were kissable? More like smackable. Why would her mind betray her like that? She didn’t have time for sexual encounters or shenanigans in a back alley with this man. Her mission didn’t involve getting sidetracked even for a second. If he worked for the enemy, he was trying his damnedest to keep her out in this ratty alley.
“You’ve got a pretty eye,” he said, eyes roaming over her face.
“Yeah.” He motioned to her right eye. “The one without all that crap piled on it.”
“I was in the middle of taking it off to redo it when you barged in.” Eve let out a sigh and glanced down the alley. “Look, I’m going back inside.”
“You’re going to go back in there after all that happened? Not too smart, are you?”
Eve didn’t appreciate the way he assumed to know her or her intelligence level. “All my stuff is inside. I need to see what’s going on.” Eve shrugged. “Maybe with all the commotion, I’ll have the rest of the night off.”
“I’ll wait around to make sure you get home okay.”
She resisted the urge to growl. “Actually, it’s not okay, but I can hardly stop you.”
Eve stalked toward the club door on her skinny heels, not giving a damn that with each step her silky robe shifted in the back. She didn’t care what this so called bodyguard thought of her, so it didn’t matter that his last impression would be her derrière.