across her body. She was so cold. And…she needed to get out of this car! She couldn’t breathe in here! It was oppressive…stifling. And it was choking the very air from her lungs.
Cole barked out something to the patrolman standing a few feet from him, and the man nodded before turning and heading inside the house. He turned and walked over to where she sat, his stride so strong and confident that she found herself again wondering why this man didn’t scare the crap out of her. He was intimidating as hell. He was huge, muscular, with a darkness about him that was forceful, yet she found herself not cowering from his touch. There was a part of her that actually wanted it–craved it. When he had held her in his arms, it had been the first time that she’d felt safe in a very long time. And she couldn’t stop herself from wanting more.
“Come on,” he said, opening the door and extending his hand. She took it with fingers that trembled and let him pull her from the car, praying that her legs wouldn’t give out on her as she did. She was just so damn cold.
He began leading her towards his car with a gentle hand to her back. She looked up at him in confusion, and just the tiniest bit of panic. “Wait! What? Where are we going?”
Cole opened his passenger side door and gave her a small smile, although it didn’t quite reach his eyes and there was still that tension in his jaw. “As of right now, you are under twenty-four seven police protection,” he informed her with a quiet authority that had her heart slamming around her chest in stunned surprise. What in the hell was he talking about?
Katherine’s mouth dropped open. “But…where are you taking me? I…I need clothes.” She was in pure panic mode now. All she was wearing was a thin robe. “I can’t go anywhere like this,” she squeaked out, her cheeks blazing.
“Easy, Katherine,” he replied softly, his eyes so damn reassuring as they held hers in their steely grip. “Your house is a crime scene at the moment; we’ll worry about getting you some clothes tomorrow.” He eased her into the seat and closed her door, dashing around the front of the car and sliding in beside her.
“Where are we going,” she choked out after he had started the engine and pulled out of the driveway.
“My house,” he said matter-of-factly, and he heard her startled gasp of surprise. “No, worries,” he said with a grin that just about stopped her heart. “I have an extra room. And…I promise to behave myself.”
Cole ushered Katherine ahead of him through the door of his house and flipped on the lights. She took a shaky breath as she looked around in shock. This was not at all what she would have expected from the Detective. She could picture him living in a rugged cabin, deep in the woods. This house had a beautiful, airy, beach-like feel to it that was so unlike the dark, sexy, Cole McKenzie.
It was done in muted natural tones and exuded warmth that had her wanting to curl up on the large leather sofa and lose herself. There was peace here. A sense of home. And it was throwing everything completely off balance.
“The spare bedroom is right through there,” he said, pointing down a small, narrow hallway.
“You…you don’t need to do this, Detective,” she whispered, wondering why in the hell she felt so strangely comfortable here. It was unsettling. “I can go stay at a hotel tonight and…”
In two short strides he was standing in front of her, his fingers curling over her shoulders as he bent down so that they were eye level with each other. She swore that his touch was searing her skin right through the thin silk that she wore. “That son of a bitch was in your house tonight,” he reminded her, his voice low, firm, “while you were freaking there! I’m sorry, Katherine, but I’m not letting you out of my sight until I catch this bastard.”
Katherine felt butterflies flutter in her belly at his words. Dear Lord! He made her feel so