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Gunning the engine, he weaved over and pulled into the Cheesecake Factory parking lot. He parked in the first available spot he saw, and as soon as he cut the engine, he turned to face her.

“I’m not scared of you.”

She leaned over the seat until she was mere inches from him.

“Prove it.”

DANI KNEW SHE should not have had those two shots before Tyler picked her up, but she’d been a nervous wreck. After hauling ass to the mall to find something to wear and then speeding back to get ready, she was shaking. She’d actually cut her leg shaving. So, while she was drying her hair, she’d had one tiny shot of vodka and chased it twenty minutes later with a second one while she waited for him in the living room. It had warmed her up and eased the tension in her muscles.

Maybe a little too much. Because right now, she knew she was asking for it—every delicious, forbidden thing Tyler had to offer. From the moment she’d opened that door and caught his appreciative stare, she’d felt her old, wild self coursing through her body. She wanted to have fun and be daring, and most of all, she wanted Tyler to t

ouch her.

Yet each time she was sure he was about to break, he backed away. Granted, the night had only just begun, but she didn’t want to admit that beneath all the bravado and slight liquid courage, she was still a nervous wreck. Was afraid that once the adrenaline and alcohol wore off, she’d revert back to who she was now—cautious and scared.

As Tyler leaned closer, her eyes shut, and she waited for his lips to touch hers, but they never did. Instead, he kissed her forehead, and before her eyes even opened, he was out of the car and heading around to her door.

As she stepped out, slightly disgruntled, she asked, “What was that?”

“I’m not going to be goaded into kissing you, Dani.” He shut the door at her back and advanced, pressing into her as he stared down at her with heat in his gaze. “I know that you’re used to being in control, worrying about everything that could happen. But tonight, I want you to let go and let me lead you.” He ran his thumb across her lower lip, and she was tempted to bite the tip. “I guarantee you, once you let me, you’re going to have fun.”

Tyler took a step away from her, placing his hand at the small of her back as he guided her toward the restaurant door. Dani was still a little dazed by his forceful tone and embarrassed she’d come on so strong.

“If you wanted to lead the whole night, then why ask what I wanted to eat?”

“Because I don’t care about where we are or what we do. I just want to be with you, but at my pace.” He held the door open for her. “And I want to take things slow.”

“You’d be the first,” Dani muttered as she passed through into the crowded, noisy lobby.

“What was that?”


Chapter Twelve

TYLER SAT BACK as the waiter set down two plates, each with a beautifully dressed slice of cheesecake. Since they’d been seated, Dani had actually seemed to relax a little, less on guard and aggressive. He had recognized her attitude earlier for what it was: a defense mechanism. He had the same one, although his was set to indifferent asshole instead of sexual dynamo.

Still, he wouldn’t be human if he said he wasn’t tempted, but this was him, Tyler Wyatt Best, trying to be the good guy. To do the right thing.

Man, this shit was hard.

He watched Dani take a bite of her cheesecake, some kind of Oreo creation, and her eyes appeared to roll back in her head. “This is amazing. You have to try it.”

Picking up his own fork, he scooped up a hefty chunk and slipped it past his lips. “Oh man. Maybe I ordered the wrong thing.”

“Let’s see.” Without asking, she took a small bite of his peanut butter cup one and licked her lips. “Mmm, yours is pretty good, too.”

“Maybe we should split them down the middle and share.”

“Hell no, you just about took half of mine with that bite of yours. The rest is mine.”

“Wow, I never knew anyone could get so possessive over a slice of cheesecake,” he teased.

She licked her fork. “Then they did not appreciate the scrumptious goodness.”

Taking a bite of his cheesecake, he moaned. “Keep your cookie crap. Mine’s better, hands down.”

“To each their own.” She took another bite as she picked up her phone and started tapping the screen. “Do you know what you want to go see?”