He didn’t agree, and she worried she might have said the wrong thing. Especially considering how new this all was. If she really thought about it, this was only her sixth time meeting him, including that first time at the shelter. It wasn’t as if they had been dating six months and decided to start introducing each other to the people in their lives. No, they’d had a hostile first run-in, three chance meetings, and two dates . . . Yet when she was with him, it felt longer.
Especially when he was kissing her.
But she had to remind herself that as good as it felt to be with him, he could bail at any time. She needed to guard her heart and especially guard Noah’s. Which meant that whatever this was, she had to make sure it stayed between them until she knew it was something more than just a distraction, for both of them.
As Tyler pulled off into a gravel parking lot, he still hadn’t responded to her slip.
“If this is uncomfortable or you want to back out, I completely understand,” she said.
“No, it’s not that. I wanted to spend more time with you.” He reached into the middle console and pulled out two GPS devices. “Only now, I wish I’d just blown them off and taken you geocaching alone, just the two of us.”
“Well, as nice as that sounds, it’s a little late for that, so show me how these work.”
Tyler turned her device on, and when it lit up, she saw a bunch of tiny dots on the mapped screen.
“Whoa, how long are we doing this for?”
“Don’t worry; with Eve along, I doubt we’ll make it three hours before she’ll want to get back in the car.”
Dani grinned. His friend’s beautiful girlfriend, with her dark hair, perfect red nails, and pinup body definitely didn’t look like the outdoorsy type.
“What about Megan? Is she with Blake or Slater?” Dani asked.
“Bryce is not with either of them, as far as I know, and Kline is actually the guy who had me meet you in his place. He’s not ready to date anyone, least of all a ballbuster like Bryce.”
“What makes her a ballbuster?”
Suddenly, Megan banged on the window behind Tyler. “Come on, Best, get the lead out! We got shit to find.”
Tyler held up his hand. “Need I say more?”
“No, you need not.” For the first time, Dani didn’t wait for Tyler to come around and get her door.
The only person in the group who hadn’t been weird around her was Slater Vincent, who, according to Violet, was a new trainer at Alpha Dog. The guy had greeted her warmly, and there had been no loud voice or wide eyes.
Tyler pulled Duke from the back and helped the dog down gently. Violet was holding onto the leash of a black and white stocky pit bull, and Martinez led a dog so big and ugly, Dani almost took a step back. However, when Eve, the girlfriend least likely to get her hands dirty, stepped out in faded jeans and a wool sweater and proceeded to kneel down and give the brute all kinds of hugs and affection, Dani had a feeling that Tyler had misjudged her.
“All right, the first cache we’re looking for is the Gold Nugget. Does everyone have it on their GPS?” Sparks asked.
Tyler leaned over and showed her what to press to bring up the cache’s details, his warm breath on her neck so tantalizing, she leaned back into him without thinking. When he brushed his lips against her cheek, she caught the wide, meaningful glances that Megan, Eve, and Violet shared.
“All right, troops, let’s move out!”
As they headed up the narrow trail two at a time, Dani asked, “So, what exactly am I looking for?”
“This one says it’s a tub. So, you’re going to look under trees, maybe in a stump or in a cluster of rocks. When we get within thirty feet of it, we are usually just about on top of it.”
“What does the person who finds it get?”
“The admiration of the group?” Tyler wrapped his arm around her and squeezed her shoulder. “Do I detect a bit of competitiveness in you?”
“I’m afraid so. If I’m playing a game, I like to win.”
“So do I.”
The GPS started beeping, and the group began fanning out. Dani spotted a cluster of trees in the direction the arrow pointed and made a beeline for them, with Tyler hot on her heels.
“Hey, since this is my first time, shouldn’t you go easy on me?” she asked.