Her soft, cajoling tone made Beast pull harder, and Oliver relaxed enough to let the dog nuzzle her fingers. She ran her palm across his broad head, rubbing his floppy ears. With a groan, Beast sank to the floor, leaning into her massaging hand.
Eve let out a husky laugh, and when she looked up, Oliver couldn’t look away from those shiny green eyes.
“He is a serious ham,” she said. “We had a big dorky dog when I was a kid, but after Moose died, my mom wanted a Pomeranian. I want to get a dog, but my apartment doesn’t allow more than one animal and I already have a cat.”
Oliver watched her, transfixed by her relaxed, playful manner. He wasn’t paying attention to Beast, who had managed to climb onto Eve’s lap.
“Shit, I am sorry,” Oliver said. He was about to yank the dog away when she wrapped her arms around Beast and laughed again, kissing the big ugly dog on his head.
The click of a camera drew Oliver’s attention to a lanky guy taking pictures of Eve as she cuddled Beast.
“Okay, come on.” Oliver pulled the dog off her and groaned when he saw the mass of short brown hair covering her clothes. “I’m sorry.”
Eve climbed to her feet and brushed at the hair. “It’s okay, it just means you know my secret.”
“You like dogs?” He couldn’t help staring at her. Her sheer joy made him want to let Beast loose again to draw another one of those full-bodied laughs from her.
“No, that I don’t mind getting dirty,” she said.
Oliver knew Eve had no idea how her words affected him, and he tried to cover up the raw lust heating his body as he thought about all the dirty things he’d love to do with her.
“Caleb, come meet Sergeant Oliver Martinez and his dog . . . ”
“Beast,” Oliver said.
Caleb put the camera back in his bag and held his hand out to Oliver. “Pleased to meet you. Evie said you two are planning this thing together.” Caleb leaned forward and whispered, “My advice is to just smile, nod, and do whatever she wants. She can be a pistol when she doesn’t get her way.”
Evie? Oliver squeezed Caleb’s hand, a niggling of jealousy worming through his brain. Caleb’s advice was too intimate.
“Good to meet you.” Releasing Caleb’s hand, Oliver turned to Eve and said, “Sparks is setting everyone up out back for the pictures. Figured if you wanted some shots of the guys training the dogs, it was the best place to do it,” he said.
“Great. I ordered special jackets for the dogs to wear during the event—with cargo pockets. Easier to carry the money from the raffle tickets. Oh, and I want to talk to Sparks about setting up a demonstration at the event. I’m thinking we could show what the dogs are actually trained to do. It would be exciting. I’ve actually contacted a few of the local high schools to see if we can set up there for everything. I just think it would be easier to use their gym, auditorium, and campus, instead of having to set up fences and rent bleachers.”
“Hey, you’re the boss,” Oliver said.
“Man, do not encourage her,” Caleb said, earning a sour look from Eve that twisted Oliver’s guts up.
“Sounds like you know her pretty well,” Oliver said. Had either of them noticed his sharp tone?
Apparently not, because Caleb just laughed. “Our parents have been friends for a long time, and she used to constantly bug me to play Clueless and go to movies with her. She didn’t give a rip that I was a dude; she still tried to make me play Dion.”
“Oh, come on, you loved it. And if I hadn’t kept you around, you never would have met your wife,” Eve said.
“It’s true. I’m actually married to Evie’s best friend, Jenny, who played Ty,” Caleb said. “I owe Evie everything, so I also tend to say, ‘whatever she wants.’ ”
“That’s because you’re a smart man,” Eve said.
Oliver knew it was stupid to be relieved, but he couldn’t help it. The thought of Eve with anyone else grated on him, even though he knew he was playing with fire thinking about her as anything more than a means to get back in the field. Wrecking his career over a woman would be beyond moronic. And despite his reaction to her, a few hours of hot, world-rocking sex wasn’t worth derailing everything he’d worked for.
Too bad his logic was being overruled by every other cell in his body.
“I’m gonna get some other shots of the place, so I’ll talk to you all later,” Caleb said.
Caleb took off, leaving Oliver alone with Eve, who was rummaging through her purse. When she pulled out a lint roller and started running it along her curves, his mouth dried up.
“Is it all gone?”
Oliver realized Eve was talking to him. “What?”