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No, bad idea. Get things back on track.

“Sergeant Martinez, I don’t want to stand here arguing about this. If you so desperately need to eat, then fine, we’ll go elsewhere to work. But we will be working.”

“Yes, ma’am,” he said.

Eve sighed and walked toward the exit, the heavy sound of his boots following behind her. She was weak. That was the only explanation for how easily she’d given into him. But she would keep the focus on the event and nothing else. No personal questions. She could handle sharing a meal with the man.

It wasn’t that Sergeant Martinez made her uncomfortable—far from it. It was her reaction to him, from the moment their eyes had met, that threw her for a loop. The last thing she needed was to get involved with a military man, a lifer like her dad who put his country before everything else, even his family.

She wanted a life with a man who would be home every night. A life in which they’d make dinner together. Those hopes were why she also avoided ER doctors, pilots, lawyers . . . Basically any job with long hours and business trips were crossed off the potential husband list. She just wanted a normal, decent guy with a nine-to-five job who would love every crazy hair on her head.

Sure, she hadn’t found that guy yet, but she was only twenty-five, after all. She had time. All she knew was that she wasn’t going to find the man of her dreams in the military.

They walked through the doors, and a sheen of sweat instantly formed on Eve’s skin as the hot summer air hit her. She was overdressed for June, but the sweater covered up the red halter top, making it more business casual. Once she took it off, she’d be ready to go out for drinks with her best friends tonight.

“I’m parked right there,” he said.

“And I’m parked over here.” She stopped next to her red Mini Cooper with a smirk. “I’ll follow you.”

“There’s no sense in us taking two cars, and besides, we can work on the way.”

“Sorry, cowboy, but I don’t get in the cars of strange men,” she said.

Eve could almost hear the gears in Sergeant Martinez’s head turning, and finally, he shoved his keys back into his pocket. “Fine, I’ll ride with you.”

“Yeah, you probably don’t want to do that,” she said.

Sergeant Martinez had already rounded to the passenger side of her car. “What, are you a bad driver?”

“Scary driver is the term polite people use,” she said.

“Well, if you’re going to kill me, you might as well call me Oliver.”

EVE DROVE TOWARD the café, weaving through the cars like a speed racer and grinning with every grunt from the man next to her. She could tell he was dying to say something about her driving, but instead, he kept his mouth shut and never once told her to slow down.

She liked that. Some guys could be such whiners.

But she still wasn’t sure why she’d agreed to this. It wasn’t just that he was pretty to look at; she’d been attracted to a number of men over the years but had never even been tempted to break her number one rule: no fraternizing with unsuitable men. It was a big deal to her, and yet, here she was, ignoring the little voice screaming at her to turn the car around and go back to the program building.

No, she was pretty sure it was that he’d surprised her. Oliver had completely thrown her off her game and broken down her defenses. She’d thought he was shy and awkward when they met in the office, especially with the way the other men had teased him, but the minute they’d been alone, he’d become charming and funny.

Damn it, why did he have to be funny?

“So, your last name is Reynolds, huh? As in General Reynolds?”

Eve had been waiting for him to make the connection between her and her dad and was surprised it had taken him so long. “Yep, he’s my dad.”

“So, did he actually hire you for this or strong-arm you into helping out?”

It was a valid question that anyone who knew her dad would ask, but she still stiffened, ready to defend him. It was one thing for her to think he was an overbearing ass sometimes, but she didn’t like other people alluding to it.

“He hired me to help me out. I just started my PR company a few months ago, and this event could be great for my career,” she said. “How did you draw the short straw of helping me out?”

“Well, I didn’t volunteer,” he said.

“I didn’t think so.” She swerved into the left lane and hit the gas to pass a minivan going ten miles under the speed limit. “Asshole.”

“I’m assuming you aren’t talking to me?” he asked.