Whisper of Attraction(7)

By: Melanie Shawn

The moment she slid her hand into his and they were skin to skin, it felt like fireworks were exploding in his palm. He wrapped his fingers around hers and he noticed how delicate she felt in his grasp and how soft and supple her skin felt. But before he could truly appreciate the sensation, she jerked her hand out of his as if she’d just touched a hot stove.

Which, if her experience had been anything like his, made perfect sense.

“My mother said that you’re going to be staying in the apartment.” She motioned behind her.

“I am.”

He’d spoken to Brynn’s mother over Skype earlier that day. She was…eccentric. He’d worried that she would be suspicious of him calling out of the blue and asking about renting her property, but within seconds of putting the offer out there, she’d asked if she could “read” him.

Apparently the reading had gone well because she’d given him the green light to move in.

“Okay.” Brynn took a deep breath as she held up a single key that dangled from what looked like a crystal of some sort. “This is the only key I have. I had the locks changed after a particularly creepy renter left. I didn’t think my mother was going to continue renting the place, so I only got one key made. So, I’ll have to make a copy this week.” She opened the front door and walked out onto the porch.

He followed behind, trying to keep his eyes from wandering down her back to the sway of her hips, but he was finding that task to be more difficult than it should be.

Axel had by no means been a saint in his life, especially in his personal life. He may have only had one serious relationship, but that didn’t mean that he spent his nights alone. Izzy liked to compare his dating life to revolving doors. There were some girls that went around the circle a few times, but none that ever stayed.

Most of them left when they realized that he had no interest in getting serious, even though he always disclosed that up front. It was strange to Axel just how many women seemed genuinely shocked three months in that he still felt that way. Sometimes things ended in tears and screaming, other times they just fizzled out naturally. But one thing was for sure, they all ended.

He enjoyed women and had what he considered a healthy sex drive. But he’d never felt this way about any woman he’d ever laid eyes on. Brynn made him feel things he’d never known were in him. Besides the primal, caveman instincts she triggered, he wanted to know everything about her. Not because he was on the job. The feelings he was having were far from professional.

He was here to protect this woman. It was his job. He needed to keep his head clear, his mind focused, and his hormones under control. All things that were perfectly reasonable and had never been an issue for him before. But now they seemed nearly impossible.

Axel had always been observant, and it helped him in his job. However, he was noticing things about Brynn that he’d never observed before in other strangers. The way her damp curls fell in opposite directions against the nape of her neck. The tiny heart-shaped bookmark on the back of her thigh. The way she tilted her head to the side when she took in deep breaths.

As they crossed the small side yard that led to a white wooden staircase, Brynn glanced over her shoulder. “The third step is a little wonky, so be careful.”

Axel nodded as they started up the staircase that had seen better days. Before he reached the top step, his phone buzzed in his pocket. He took it out and wasn’t surprised to see that it was Izzy again. He silenced it and shot her a quick text saying he’d call her right back. But before he could put the phone back in his pocket it was buzzing again.

“You can take that, if you need to,” Brynn offered as she unlocked the door and pushed it open.

“It’s fine.” He tried not to let his worry or irritation keep him from the task at hand as they stepped inside. “It’s just my sister.” Axel heard the words coming out of his mouth, but he couldn’t believe that he was saying them.

Axel had always been a private person. Even at five years old, his kindergarten teacher had said that getting him to talk about himself was like pulling teeth. He never volunteered information to anyone.

He’d served with his boss for four years in the Marines and had worked for him for the past three and he’d bet Seth couldn’t tell you a damn thing about his personal life. He knew that Seth was aware that he had a little sister, that his mother had a proclivity toward matrimony, and that Axel himself had an ex-wife, but that was only because of the background check he’d run before hiring him. He’d never talked about any of that during his years in the service and some of those men had been like brothers to Axel.