He was in the living room when he sensed someone coming down the stairs. He slid into the foyer shadows and waited, listening, nerves itching as he felt more than heard a presence enter the darkness around him. By the time he’d made his move, he’d figured out who it was, but he couldn’t seem to help himself.
His hands closed over Layla’s wrists. To her credit, she didn’t scream, but gasped; he heard the sound get stuck in her throat as he steered her backward into a pale rectangle of light coming in through the drawing room window. A white glow fell over her face, gilding her hair, skimming down the little slope of her nose, painting sparks in her giant green eyes. He watched her gaze dart to his face, and felt the tension leave her arms, though her pulse still hammered against his palms.
She took a breath. “Oh my God,” she murmured. “What are you – ”
“What are you doing?” he countered.
She swallowed, and his eyes followed the movement of her throat all the way down to the collar of the shapeless white t-shirt she wearing…and then he realized he could see through the shirt. Moonlight struck the thin white cotton and turned it translucent, the hourglass shape of her vivid beneath it. The curve of her hip, tight inward flare of her waist, soft round breasts and their dark centers.
Sly forced his eyes back up to hers. “Don’t go wandering around in the dark,” he said, tone more caustic than he’d intended. He gave her a little shake. “That’s a good way to get your neck snapped.”
“My…” Her brows lowered. “I’m going to get my neck snapped in my aunt and uncle’s house?” Anger brought a shadow of color to her cheeks.
“You never know.”
Her hands curled into fists. “Let go of me, please.” Her frown deepened. “Or am I supposed to wait for the neck-snapping?”
He turned loose of her like she’d burned him. What in the hell? He hadn’t had this kind of reaction – this misplaced response to a threat – in years. He could have hurt her. He’d wanted, once he realized who she was, to do something very different to her.
“Do you do this often?” she asked, rubbing the circulation back into her wrists. Her voice was tight and quivering around the edges. Shaken.
Walk away, he told himself. Leave her alone. Instead, he asked, “Scare little girls?”
Her chin kicked up, arms rigid at her sides. She had no idea he could see all of her, down to the Victoria’s Secret logo printed on her panties. “I might be little, and I might be a girl, but I’m not a ‘little girl.’”
Sly wanted to smile. “How old are you?”
He leaned in closer, her head tilting back so she could maintain eye contact, her green irises moon-silvered and a little bit afraid. “Like I said,” he told her. “Little girl.”
And then he did leave her, before he did something dumber than threaten to kill her.
~God Love Her