Agent Kevin Herriman wants praise from his boss, who’s also his best friend. He’s working his first case as lead, but things aren’t going well. Not only does he consider it far from exciting, it also comes with a strong-willed female civilian who might be mixed up in exotic animal smuggling.
Carlie Noblett lives determined. Dealt a sight impairment at a young age, she’s fought for what she’s wanted. Now a substitute teacher who works at a pet shop part time, what she wants is romance and a little adventure. Except a run-in with the swaggering agent isn’t what she had in mind.
When the suspected smuggling operation morphs into something more evil, Kevin’s got his hands full trying to solve a case that’s bigger than he imagined. Just like the bright flit of a goldfinch wing, so is love when it makes an appearance and worth the high cost—if it survives.
Her smile tugged at his chest. Was that a dimple in her right cheek? His heartbeat thrummed harder. Damn. That's sexy. It would be too easy to spend time kissing that bit of skin.
"Nice," he finally said instead, because he couldn't think of anything else conversation-wise that didn't involve some sort of lip-lock. Then he cleared his throat. "If you need help with the ties, I'll volunteer my services."
Her smile grew. "Come around, then. I'm having trouble doing the back. One of the strings keeps escaping and I can't see it."
A sliver of relief slid down his spine that she'd accept his offer. He hustled over to her side of the counter. "Turn around." Once she did, he positioned himself behind her, so close her signature scent teased his nostrils. "How tight?" His hands shook as he grasped the rough cotton strings. What the hell? He'd never been as nervous around a woman as he was in his moment.
"Medium, I guess." She glanced over her shoulder. "I mean, it's an apron, not a corset."
How much did he enjoy her wit? Then his mind stalled on the mental picture he conjured of her in a tight-laced black corset, with garters and stockings, all pale skin and satiny soft. Heat swamped him. Need to think about something else ASAP. "Gotcha." When she faced front again, he swiftly tied the strings and finished with a loose bow at the small of her back. He leaned closer than he should and the light scent of honey that came from her hair threatened to pull him under. "I think that'll do you." Yet he let his fingers linger on the curve of her hip. What would she do if he nuzzled his nose into her hair?
"Thanks." Her voice sounded a tad breathless. Was she as affected as he?
Finally, he took a step back as she turned around. "Uh…" What was he supposed to be doing? Think, Herriman, think! He forced a swallow into his dry throat. "Is George here? I need to interview him." The words came out in a rush.
"Oh yeah? Why?" She took a small step toward him and effectively closed the distance between them then she stood with a grin, her eyes sparkling, easily holding his gaze since a bare two inches separated them in height due to her heels.
He resisted the urge to tug at his collar. Was it hot in here or was it only him? How could he think straight when her every breath warmed his chin, every slight movement from her almost had her brushing his chest? "He's, uh, a person of interest in the murder at the other pet store." Just one half-step would bring him flush with her body. "His prints are damning evidence. I need to know if he was there that night or if they're older because he'd visited before due to his being in the business."
"Ah. I see. Unfortunately, George called in sick earlier, so I'm the only one manning the fort, so to speak, until Derek comes in at four."
"That sucks." On many different levels. No chance of scoring a lunch date now. Though they could do an early dinner…
"It's okay." She lifted a hand then traced her fingers over his cheek. He flinched but it wasn't because the wound still hurt. Oh no. Her touch sent fire along his skin and had awareness flaring into every nerve ending. "How are you feeling?"
Like I'm falling and have no idea when the free-fall will stop.