“Well, I’ll be. Damn, girl, you look good.”
Dani felt Tyler stiffen next to her as Angel’s gaze slid over her from top to bottom.
“Thanks. I wish I could say the same.”
His eyes narrowed as understanding dawned. “Now, why you gotta be like that? You still mad at me?”
With a heavy sigh, Dani shook her head. “No, Angel, I’m not mad at you, but we need to be going—”
“Did you have my kid? Was it a girl or a boy?”
Dani scowled at her former lover, who was watching Tyler with a sly grin.
“It’s really none of your business. You were the one who told me you wanted nothing to do with us. A couple hundred bucks, and you were done, right?”
“Hey, I was just curious—”
“Well, stop being curious, because it’s not going to happen. You stay away from us.” With a light tug on Tyler’s hand, she started to lead him toward the exits.
Angel’s hand gripped her arm. “I’m not done talking, bitch—ow, fuck!”
In a move she hadn’t even seen coming, Tyler had released her hand and grabbed Angel’s arm, twisting it up his back until he was bent over in pain.
“Do. Not. Touch. Her.”
Tyler shoved him away, and as Angel stumbled forward, barely catching his balance, Dani realized that Tyler was standing in front of her like a shield, protecting her.
Placing her hands on his biceps, she squeezed them as she kissed his shoulder. “Let’s just go, okay?”
Tyler put his arm around her, still positioning himself between her and Angel. Dani saw a security guard headed their way when Angel said loudly, “This isn’t over.”
They kept walking silently until they reached Tyler’s car. He helped her inside, and after he’d pulled back onto Watt Avenue, heading toward her house, he still hadn’t said a word.
“He wasn’t like that when I was with him.” Why the hell had she said that? Was she defending her choices or Angel?
She saw him nod, yet still he didn’t speak.
“I’m really sorry that you had to get dragged into that tonight. I never expected he’d come back from LA, so I didn’t think about this being his old stomping ground. I wasn’t always the Queen of Common Sense, you know? I liked bad boys and parties, but when I found out I was pregnant with Noah, everything changed. I knew I had to do better, to be better.” She couldn’t seem to stop talking, just kept filling the deafening silence. “It’s why I haven’t dated; I couldn’t trust myself to make smart decisions. Was afraid I’d end up falling for a guy who was bad for me . . . bad for Noah.” He made the left turn onto her street, and finally, fed up with his stoicism, she cried, “Will you please just say something?”
After what felt like a lifetime, he spoke softly. “Is that why you asked me out? Because you think I’m a nice guy?” He parked in her drive and, shutting off the car, turned to face her. “That I’m not your usual type?”
Her heart slammed against her chest. “I asked you out . . . because I wanted to. I mean, you’re so good with Noah, and I thought—”
“Forget about Noah, and tell me, how do you feel about me?”
Dani’s heart lodged in her throat, and she tried to say something, but no words came out.
A bitter laugh escaped Tyler. “I am such an idiot.”
“Tyler, you don’t understand—”
“I’m not a good guy, Dani. In fact, I am the last guy you should want your kid to model after. Tonight was essentially the first time I’ve ever just taken a woman out with no intention of sleeping with her. I don’t go to dinner and the movies with women I am not related to. I’m an asshole who is only looking for one thing, and once I’ve got it, I don’t call and I don’t write. That’s who you asked out tonight.”
Tyler was breathing hard, and the windows started to fog up around them. As Dani absorbed everything he’d said, she was even more confused about his behavior tonight.
“Then why did you go out with me? Why the big show of being a gentleman and not making a move?”