Reaching into the backseat, I grab the large bouquet of wildflowers I picked up on the way. Usually I’d go for roses, but usually I don’t pay enough attention to a woman to try to figure out what might impress her. Savvy definitely didn’t seem like the champagne and roses type, despite how we first met.
Niall is on the sidewalk in front of my car before I even get the door open. “We need to go inside first, check the place out.”
“On the off chance an assassin is waiting for me in the house of a woman I barely know who has no idea that I’m coming?” I brush past him. “I’m pretty sure that’s not going to happen.”
“We need to be sure,” he insists.
“I am sure,” I tell him. And maybe I’m being a douche about this—we’re all on edge after what happened to Garrett. But I actually like this woman and the last thing I want is to have the small chance I’m trying to carve out with her go up in smoke because I invade her home with my cavalcade of guards.
“I’m certain that you are,” Avery says, face grim and voice all business. “But we aren’t. And it’s our job to ensure your safety.”
“Which you can do from right here. I promise to keep my phone on me at all times.” I point to the two open windows at the front of the house. “And I promise to yell really loudly if someone attacks me.”
“I’m sorry, sir, but that’s not good enough.”
“It’s going to have to be,” I tell him, with a clap on the back.
I start toward the house, my faithful detail at my heels. When I’m two steps away from the front door, I turn and give Lucas a beseeching look. He’s been my guard the longest and knows—despite my reputation—that I don’t play fast and loose with my detail. He also knows that I rarely (and by rarely, I mean never) go through this much effort for a woman.
“What if I promise to stay in view of the windows the whole time?” I tell them. “I’ll park myself right there in front of that one and you can make sure I’m safe.”
Lucas looks like he wants to argue, but I cut him off before he can even start. “Come on, man. You’ve got to give me something. I like this woman.”
He sighs, but in the end—above the very vocal protests of the very serious Avery—he nods. “In sight the whole time,” he orders and for a moment I feel like a junior high kid on his first date.
But beggars can’t be choosers and I know, better than most, what a disaster it would be if something happened to the spare three months after the heir disappeared. Wildemar would be in absolute chaos. There’s no way I’d put my country through that, girl or no girl.
“I promise. And if I disappear from sight for more than five seconds, you have my permission to come crashing in after me.”
“I think you’re forgetting,” Niall says with a narrow-eyed look, “we don’t need your permission.”
“Geez. Way to be a killjoy.”
“Yeah, well, someone in this relationship has to be.”
“Aww, Niall.” I slap his ass with my free hand on my way by. “Don’t you know it’s more fun when everyone’s having a good time?”
Lucas snorts and Avery sounds like he’s strangling on his own tongue. I can’t help grinning as I make my way to Savvy’s front door. Maybe it won’t take as long to break in my new bodyguard as I was afraid of.
I can hear music through the open windows, Shakira’s “Hips Don’t Lie,” and I can’t help thinking about the way Savvy’s hips looked in her black work pants. Can’t help wondering about what she’s wearing now—and whether or not she’ll let me get another good look at her luscious, heart-shaped bum.
At least she’s home, I tell myself as I knock. While I knew she wasn’t scheduled to work, I was afraid she might be running errands or something.
She’s at the front door in seconds, her big brown eyes wide and inquiring . . . at least until her gaze meets mine. “What are you doing here?” she demands.
“Wow, way to make a guy feel welcome.” I hold the flowers out to her. “These are for you.”
“Thanks, but I’m allergic.” She starts to close the door in my face, but I get a foot wedged in before she can shut it completely.
“Are you seriously allergic?” I ask, still holding out the flowers. What I really want to ask is Are you seriously going to slam the door in my face?
“No.” She studies the blooms for a couple of seconds before snatching them out of my hand. Then she really does close the door and I’m so surprised I don’t do anything to stop her.
Behind me Lucas, Niall and even Avery are full-on laughing now. In fact, I’m pretty sure the only thing keeping them from absolutely annihilating me is the fact that I am still their prince. That somehow only makes it worse.
Gritting my teeth, I ignore them (and try not to remember the good old days when I could have had them banished to the dungeon) as I lift my hand to knock again. But before my knuckles can even meet the wood, the door flies open again and Savvy is standing there, smiling hugely at me.
“I’m just messing with you,” she says as she pulls me inside. “But I have to say, your expression was priceless. Is that the first time a woman’s ever shut the door in your face?”
I think about. “I’m pretty sure it is.”
“I figured. But hey, now you can cross it off your bucket list. Every guy needs to have the experience at least once, don’t you think?”
“I think I was good without it ever happening, actually. Definitely didn’t feel like I was missing anything.”
“Maybe not,” she concedes. But then she grins and it’s so wicked, so wild, that I can feel it all the way to my bones. “You’ve got to admit it was funny, though. God, if you could have seen your face.”
“I’d rather look at yours.” The cheesy line pops out of nowhere and I’m not sure which one of us is more shocked. Shit. What the hell is happening to me? Savvy throws me off balance just by breathing, and I don’t have a clue what I’m supposed to do to stop it.
Or even if I want to stop it. God knows, every time she opens her mouth—or closes a door in my face or spills a glass of champagne on me—it only makes me hotter. Only makes me want her more. There’s something about how she’s always doing the unexpected, always surprising me, always challenging me, that turns me on in a big way.
The little white shorts and tiny red camisole don’t hurt, either.
And I know I’m not the only one, know the heat isn’t only on my side. I’ve been with enough women in my life to know when one’s attracted to me, and Savvy is, even if she doesn’t want to be.
Half of me wants to push on that a little bit, wants to see where it’ll take me if I get in her space right now. But the other half doesn’t want to risk it, not yet. Not with this woman who is a lot of things, but definitely not predictable.
Besides, I’m pretty sure my time allotment is reaching its upper limits, and I don’t doubt that Avery will come crashing through the front door in about thirty seconds if I don’t get where he can see me.
“Do you want some lemonade?” Savvy asks as she starts walking toward the kitchen.
“I’d love some. But do you mind if I hang out here while you get it?” I take a few steps to the left, making sure to line myself up directly in front of the window.
She turns to me, eyebrows raised, and I figure I might as well own up to the problem. “My babysitters like to keep an eye on me at all times,” I tell her as I point out the window.
She glances from me to where Niall, Lucas and Avery are standing on the sidewalk in their suits, eyes trained on me—and her.
I expect her to be a little annoyed—most women who aren’t crown chasers usually are—but Savvy just laughs and waves. “I’ll pour five glasses of lemonade,” she tosses over her shoulder as she makes her way to the kitchen. “Get comfortable and I’ll be right back.”
From another woman, the invitation to get comfortable would mean she’s down to screw, but I’m pretty sure Savvy just wants me to take a seat. More’s the pity.