“Sorry,” was my weak reply. In my defense, having him all up in my space like he was was a little bit unnerving. It also gave me the perfect opportunity to notice things I hadn’t before. Like the fine lines framing his eyes or the light dusting of freckles that spread from one cheek to the other. And then the stubble covering his jaw that seemed to have a mixture of dark brown and golden strands.
I wanted to drag my palm over it and feel if it was as prickly as his personality. My gaze slipped to the scars on his neck. The thick welts covered his left side and disappeared into his shirt. A quick glance confirmed that they spread all the way to his left elbow.
What happened to you?
The question was there on the tip of my tongue. It was a damn miracle I didn’t voice it.
“Did your momma never teach you it’s rude to stare?” His voice boomed, pulling me out of my musings. I blinked once, twice, then two more times. The jaw I’d been studying seconds ago was set, the muscle ticking away like a timer of a bomb.
Then his words registered.
Squaring my shoulders, I tilted my head back and gave him a glare of my own. “No. Just like yours never taught you any manners.”
A thrill danced down my spine when his eyes widened just a smidge at the tone of my voice. I was pretty sure Mr. Big and Intimidating wasn’t used to people calling him on his BS.
Like he’d done the other day, he thrust Sheldon into my arms. Our hands touched for a fraction of a second, but it was enough to set my pulse on fire.
“Next time I see him on my property, he won’t be so lucky,” my grumpy ass neighbor growled.
I hugged my dog closer, feeling a mixture of relief and something else I couldn’t quite put my finger on. “If you hurt him, I’ll hurt you.”
His lips twitched. I wasn’t sure if he was holding back a smile or a snarl. “I’d like to see you try.” Spinning on his heel with grace no man his size should have, he strode to the fence between our properties and hopped right over it with zero effort.
Big, loud sirens went off in my head. That man was trouble with a capital T.