When An Alpha Purrs(8)

By: Eve Langlais

Not good. Especially since, at this early hour, the sidewalks were still pretty bare.

Masculine fingers plucked the cup from her hand and tossed it at a nearby garbage bin. Before she could react, her injured appendage was raised, and he pressed his lips against her burning skin.

At the touch, her hand wasn’t the only thing heating up.

Oh my god. She wanted to blame fear at the way her heartrate sped up, and for the slight tremor of her limbs, but she was old enough and experienced enough to recognize attraction.

“What are you doing?”

“Kissing it better.” Except, he didn’t stop at a simple kiss.

Kira tossed Arik a startled glance as he let the tip of his tongue lap at her coffee-burned skin, the touch raspier than expected. Nice. Too nice. She couldn’t help but imagine that frictioning stroke against a more sensitive part of her body.

What the hell is wrong with me? Sanity reasserted itself, and she yanked her hand free.

“I don’t need you making it better, especially since you’re the reason I burned myself in the first place.”

“Did I startle you, mouse?”

Her expression clearly said, duh, what do you think. He didn’t seem repentant at all, judging by the smile curving his lips.

Ack. Look away. He was much too cute when he did that—and distracting. She tried to veer things back onto a less alluring footing. “What are you doing here?” As she asked, she cast a glance around for eye witnesses, anyone who might come to her aid should he decide to murder her for her faux pas of the day before.

Then again, perhaps she overreacted. He didn’t seem angry today. On the contrary, his eyes smoldered with something, but if she wasn’t mistaken, it was more like flirtation than ire.

Given his extreme reaction, and her recollection of his arrogance, she didn’t trust it.

“It occurred to me after our little mishap yesterday that perhaps I might have come off too strong.”

“You mean you behaved like an ass.” She deliberately insulted him, more to regain her sense of equilibrium than anything.

“I admit some of my words might have been ill chosen. I apologize for that.”

He did what? She could feel her eyes widen at his unexpected apology. “Um, thanks. I guess I should probably say sorry for massacring your hair.”

He couldn’t quite hide his wince at the reminder, and it was then that she took note of the fedora he wore. It matched the dove gray of his tailored suit, but still… She bit her lip lest she snicker. While a nice looking hat, it just didn’t suit him.

“About my hair. It occurs to me that I owe you a second chance. A real chance to cut my hair. Albeit, probably shorter than I initially intended, given our misunderstanding.”

“Excuse me? Did I just hear you say you want me to cut it? Now I know you’re screwing with me.”

“No tricks. Once I calmed down yesterday, I had a chance to reflect on what happened. I never truly gave you a chance. I let chauvinism cloud my judgment. But in my defense, my only other haircuts by women were done by my mother and aunts, whose idea of a trim involved a bowl and kitchen scissors.”

Kira’s turn to wince. “Ouch.”

“Indeed. Perhaps that might help you to understand my hesitation. I should also admit I later spoke to your uncle at the barber shop. Initially, I’d planned to return to see him to have the damage blended. However, he assures me you are the best they have after Dominic.”

She couldn’t help but swell with pride at the praise. “I’m in pretty high demand.” Or had been until her old shop got burned down under suspicious circumstances.

“What do you say we start over? Hi, my name is Arik.” He stuck his hand out, and she stared at it.

Was he screwing with her? She shot him a wary glance but saw nothing in his face but sincerity, or a really good fake of it.

Given he was one of her granddad’s clients, and only a bitch would throw his apology in his face, especially after what she’d done, she slipped her fingers into his massive grip.

An electrical tingle of awareness slid through her. Whatever his faults, she certainly couldn’t deny her attraction to him.

“I’m Kira.”

“Kira.” The way he rolled the syllables of her name sent a tingle through her. Good thing he didn’t host late night radio. There’d be a lot of tired women in the morning. “Well, Kira, now that we’ve been properly introduced, would you cut my hair? Please.”

Oh dear god, the way he said it. She almost leaned against the door for support. Her attraction to him was truly insane. But it wasn’t his fault. She obviously had a problem.