Or maybe she was planning on refusing. Would Clem allow that? Hank thought not. But she might be working on a way around that.
Something inside him deflated a little at the thought. Why her refusing should bother him, he had no idea.
Either way, they had a lot to talk about. He waited at the entrance to the house until she’d wheeled her bike in, then he closed the garage door and opened the one to the house. She unhitched her saddlebags and carried them, one in each hand. He let her go in first.
She brushed past him. Slowly. It was the closest they’d been since being alone in his office. Even after a night in lockup, she smelled faintly floral with the pleasant earthy undertone of all shifters. She stopped, forcing him to share the doorway with her. “Thanks, by the way.”
Up close, her eyes were the color of good, aged whiskey. The kind of burnt, liquid brown a man could drown in. Her lips had the color and ripe fullness of fresh berries. It wouldn’t take much to taste them. Just lean across a few inches, put his mouth on hers. But he couldn’t. Not after their conversation in his office. He forced his gaze to meet her eyes. “For what?”
“You could have sent me packing the minute you figured out who I was and what I was here for.”
“I’m the son of the alpha. You’re the daughter of one. You know as well as I do the obligations that come with those roles.”
She nodded, her gaze skimming over his chest and shoulders like she was taking his measurements. Then the sad, fearful expression he’d seen in her once before returned for a moment. “I do.”
She went inside, giving him a chance to breathe. There was something about her, something powerful that drew him to her like a dog to a bone. Or a red-blooded man to a hot biker chick. He closed his eyes and leaned against the door. The full moon was three days away.
That’s all it was. Moon fever.
That rush of hormones and endorphins that charged every shifter’s system until they had a chance to run it off. Or find another way to put it to use.
Which they would not be doing.
He closed the door behind him.
She stood in the kitchen, looking very feminine in his very masculine home. She swept a length of hair behind her shoulder. “Your house is amazing. Like something out of a magazine. A men’s magazine, but still.”
“Thank you.” Had that actually been a compliment? He wasn’t sure. “You…need anything?”
She laughed, a light, sweet sound that reminded him of clear water and sunshine. “I need everything. A room, a shower, a meal. Preferably in that order.” She held her hands out. “Sorry, but that’s my current status.”
“Right. I’ll show you your room.”
It was upstairs, next to the room he used as a gym. On the other side of that was his bedroom. The only reason he even had a guest room was because Bridget and his mother had insisted he needed one.
He pushed the door open. “I need to wash the sheets. My parents just stayed and I didn’t know you were going to be here so soon.”
“I can do that.” Ivy smiled as she looked around. “There’s no way you decorated this yourself.”
“My sister did it. Too much?” It was to him. All those extra pillows on the bed seemed pointless. They basically existed to be taken off and put back on the bed. No other purpose.
“No, it’s perfect.”
He watched her walk in. Took note of how nicely shaped her backside was and how long her legs were. Reminded himself again to keep his gaze at eye level. “As for food, I don’t cook much.” Or at all, really.
She put her saddlebags on the bed. “Whatever you’ve got. I’m not picky.” She was still looking around at the room. “And I’m so hungry even a PB&J would be manna right now. Those pancakes were good, but you know how it is when the full moon is near. Hungry all the time.”
He nodded. “I can do better than that.”
Or could he? He scratched his head. He couldn’t remember the last time he’d gotten groceries that weren’t six-packs of beer or PowerBars. He usually ate lunch and dinner at Howler’s if he wasn’t tied up with work, which in Nocturne Falls was rare. Eating there was his way of spending time with Bridget. Didn’t hurt that the food was above and beyond anything he could make for himself. And free, despite the many times he’d tried to pay. “I better check the fridge first. Come down when you’re ready.”
“Okay, thanks.” She nodded, eyes bright, but looking a little bit overwhelmed.
Was that because of him? He left her in the room and went downstairs. When he hit the kitchen, he paused to splay his hands on the granite counter. He leaned in, taking a deep breath of air that didn’t hold her intoxicating perfume. Was he really about to marry this woman? He’d never thought of himself as husband material, even though he’d been born into a position that ensured marriage was in his future.
Problem was, the future he’d done his best to prepare for was not being a husband. It was all about becoming alpha. He’d gone into the Army Rangers, something he knew had made his father proud. After two tours, Hank had had enough and taken on the job of sheriff in this crazy town.
The things he knew about were strategy, leadership, discipline, rules, and teamwork. What he didn’t know about were relationships with women.
He knew what a loving relationship looked like from his parents, but their arranged match was nothing like this one.