“You could say that.” Oliver held the door open for her, and some of his anger dissolved as his gaze traveled over her white peasant blouse and flowing navy skirt. The top gave him a tantalizing view of her breasts, and the little tie on the front teased him, taunting him to pull it and spread the cotton open, exposing her to his eyes and lips.
“Oh, wow, what happened here?” she asked.
“That fucking dog happened,” he said, shooting that dog a murderous glare.
“What did you do, leave him alone for hours?”
“No,” he said, pointing around the room, “this happened while I was in the shower.”
“Really?” Eve sounded like she didn’t believe him. Without another word, she dropped to her knees and held out her arms to Beast. “Come on, buddy. Come here.”
The dog bounded to her, wiggling and licking wherever he could. She held her hand behind her, and Oliver gave her the leash. Once she had it hooked onto Beast’s collar, she stood up with a mischievous smile. “I don’t know why he gives you so much trouble.”
“Oh, I’m sure Best put him up to it,” Oliver grumbled.
“Ah, and he gets a kick out of messing with you, huh?”
“That’s just because I’ve let it go until now, but the dude owes me a sofa and chair.”
Eve laughed and held the leash out to him. “I wonder if maybe you two just got off on the wrong foot. Perhaps you should open your mind to the possibility that Beast has issues and this is his way of dealing with them.”
Oliver took her advice with a healthy dose of skepticism. “What makes you think he has issues?”
“Well, for starters, he came from the animal shelter, so he’s got to have some baggage. The question is was he turned in because he has behavioral problems and his previous owners just couldn’t deal? Or were the owners jackasses who just didn’t want him anymore?” Her tone was sad as she added, “If he was loved, it’s easy to assume that he is confused and misses it.”
Oliver studied Eve. Her dreamy, sweet expression tugged at his heart, and he wondered who she was thinking about. A loved one she missed? A past lover? A bitter rush of jealousy churned in his stomach. He didn’t want to think about another man having even a sliver of Evelyn’s affections. Not when he wanted them all to himself.
“How is it you seem to know so much about what he’s feeling? Are you an event planner by day and dog psychic by night?” He had been trying to make a joke, but one look at her face told him he’d insulted her.
“I’m just making an observation,” she said curtly.
“Hey.” He reached out and touched her arm, turning her toward him. “I was just teasing you.”
She remained silent, and he took her chin in his hand, tilting her gaze up to meet his. “Why does it always seem like I can never say the right thing to you?”
A small smile played across those bee-stung lips. “Maybe I make you nervous.”
Oliver rubbed his thumb across her bottom lip, and her sharp, warm breath spread over his skin. “Oh, you definitely make me nervous.”
“I do?” Her breathless question stirred his cock to life.
“Yeah, you do. I can’t relax around you, not with the way you make me feel,” he said.
“How is that?” Her tone was soft, and Oliver dipped his head, his mouth hovering over hers.
“Like I’m standing in the sunshine every time I’m near you,” he
Oliver didn’t give her a chance to escape this time and covered her mouth with his, groaning as the sweet taste of her overwhelmed him. His hands slid back to cradle the back of her head, and he buried his fingers in her hair, loosening her ponytail. A tiny sigh escaped her, and he took advantage, slipping his tongue between her parted lips, coming undone when her tongue tangled with his. He felt her hands grip his waist, pulling him tighter against her body, and he wanted more. Never had he gotten so caught up in one kiss. And never had he ignored every warning bell for a woman, but with Evelyn, it was like common sense went out the window and was replaced by uncontrolled passion.
Oliver felt something pushing between them and opened his eyes to look down at Beast, who was trying to use his giant head to separate them. Ignoring him, Oliver maneuvered them toward the couch, propelling Eve down onto the mangled leather.
The kiss broke long enough for Eve’s eyes to pop open, and she giggled. “Somehow, I never imagined making out on a cloud of couch stuffing.”
Oliver grinned down at her. “What can I say? I’m an original.”