This mini-scene from chapter two didn’t make the final cut, but I still like it, so I’m adding it to Free Reads for those who want more about Cat
When Cat met Kyle’s dark eyes, they positively smoldered, making her blush. She darted peeks at him while pretending to listen to Tom going on and on about the plans he had for expanding the clinic once Paul retired.
A well-cut tuxedo usually did a lot for a man. In Kyle’s case he made the suit as he would anything he wore. Doubtless he would look good naked, perhaps even better. Her cheeks heated a little more at the wicked thought. She made herself refocus on Tom. He was pressing much too close.
“The Issaquah veterinary center has a thriving small animal practice, if we partnered with them both sides would benefit.” Tom edged nearer.
“You’re crowding me,” she’d said sharply, taking a step back.
“We could be so good together.” He ignored her hint, pressing.
Kate centered herself and pushed back with enough energy to knock him into the wall four feet behind him. Thanks to years of tai chi practice the light push she’d delivered carried enough power to make him back off.
“What in the hell was that?” He rubbed his chest.
“Me asking you not to crowd me again,” she said coolly.
“Jesus, Kate all you had to do was say something.” He peered at her through his tortoise shell glasses.
“I did, but you didn’t listen.”
“Whatever.” He turned on his heel and left.
She scanned the room and found Teddy.
Sensing her eyes, he looked a question from his place in line for the buffet. She shook her head, just wanting to be certain he was okay before she returned to casually studying Kyle.
Finally there’d been a lull between arrivals. Her stomach fluttered with hope, expecting him to come over and talk to her. Instead Teddy gave him an envelope. He opened it, read the card inside scowling, dismissed Grant, and prowled around the entry like he was searching for surveillance devices.
Naturally she imagined he’d received a cryptic message from terrorists—perhaps a bomb threat. After all he’d been a member of the Special Forces and they did say once a marine always a marine. Okay, her imagination went into overdrive for a minute or two, but he’d definitely gotten some kind of upsetting communication. Suspiciously conveyed from an anonymous waiter via Teddy.
Kate gave herself a mental pinch. No criminal conspiracies or evil masterminds are involved. The man lost interest or else had a more appealing offer. After all I’m not exactly a hot date.
After Liam and Tiana relieved him from greeting duty, when Kyle next glanced in her direction, his eyes were a cold as a winter midnight.
Did I imagine the earlier heat in his gaze or did something so horrible that it knocked me out of his head just happen and for some bizarre reason he can’t tell anyone? Her head threatened to explode from trying to decipher his erratic mood swings.
To make matters worse, she wasn’t the only one who’d noticed his strange behavior. Snippets of conversation buzzed around her.
“I can’t believe how he snubbed her. He was always such a gentleman.”
“I don’t blame him. She’s pretty enough, but broad as horse.”
“Strange that he shuns her now when he stuck his neck way out for her when she was such an awkward, homely thing.”
“No, I didn’t attend the trial, but Mavis said…”
“He went out of his way to put those boys behind bars and now he can’t take a minute to say hello to her?”
She straightened her spine, making the most of her height and pretended deafness. The crowd’s comments still stung, but not as much as Kyle’s icy stare.
Looking straight through her as if she didn’t exist only added fuel to the gossip blaze.
He seemed clueless to the fact his hot and cold act kept the crowd speculating. Worse, he was terse to the point of rudeness with Erica when she tried to apologize for her grandmother’s heavy-handed match making.
Saving her from a slip on the ice and seeing her safely home wasn’t in the same class with rescuing her from a gang of bullies determined to make her pay for interrupting their cat torture. She’d always owe him for that.