The Way Home

The Way Home by Irene Hannon Read Free Book Online

Book: The Way Home by Irene Hannon Read Free Book Online
Authors: Irene Hannon
raised his brows quizzically. “Are you calling it off?”
    She looked at him in surprise. “Aren’t you? I mean, you were just mugged! You can’t possibly feel like going out.”
    He shrugged. “I’ll admit those two thugs hurt my pride. And my pocketbook. But not my appetite. And I still have my credit cards. I’m willing to give it a shot, as long as you don’t mind being seen with a guy who has a shiner. Besides, this way I can get all the unpleasantness out of the way in one night—a mugging and this date.” His teasing tone and crooked grin softened his words.
    Amy stared at him. He was actually smiling at her! Genuinely smiling! And suddenly her pulse did the oddest thing. It started to race. Not the way it did when she was nervous about confronting a hostile source for a story. No, this was altogether different. This was almost a pleasant sensation. And why onearth had a thrilling little tingle just run up her spine? Good heavens, if she didn’t know better, she’d think she was attracted to the man! Which was ridiculous. After all, this wasn’t even a real date. It was a strategy. And she would do well to remember that, she admonished herself.
    Amy swallowed and tried for a flippant tone. “Putting my date on par with a mugging isn’t the most flattering comparison I’ve ever heard.”
    He smiled again. “You must admit there is a similarity. The muggers wanted money, you want information. But I guarantee they were more successful than you’ll be.”
    â€œMaybe I should resort to strong-arming, like they did,” she replied pertly, getting into the teasing spirit.
    He eyed her speculatively, the quick sweep of his gaze lingering just a bit too long on her shapely, crossed legs. “Unless you’re a black belt, I don’t think that will work. Or maybe you’re referring to something besides physical force,” he countered with a lazy smile.
    Amy stared at him. The man was actually flirting with her! The buttoned-up, stuffed-shirt, play-by-the-rules assistant prosecuting attorney was letting his hair down! The transformation in his demeanor was amazing! Apparently he had a sense of humor after all.
    Or did he? she wondered, her eyes suddenly growing troubled. Maybe he wasn’t teasing. Maybe he was hinting that he might be willing to answer her questions if she cooperated in other ways. He had made it clear that he thought she was attractive. He hadn’tstruck her as the type to even think along those lines, but, after all, she hardly knew him. And it wouldn’t be the first time someone had suggested such a thing. She just hadn’t expected it from him, she admitted, oddly disappointed. He seemed somehow to radiate integrity and honor and…well, goodness, corny as that might sound.
    Amy hoped her first impression was right, that his last remark had just been innocent flirting, but in case she was wrong, she needed to clarify the parameters of this date right now. She rose, tilted her chin up and gazed at him levelly.
    â€œLook, Mr. Richards, don’t get the wrong idea. I—”
    â€œI thought we were past the ‘Mr.’ stage.”
    â€œMaybe. Maybe not. I don’t know what you’re thinking right now, and I might be jumping to conclusions, but let me make something very clear. I want to find a way to make my coverage on the Jamie Johnson story stand out. I want that very much. Enough to go to some pretty extreme lengths, including spending five hundred dollars for a date with a man who dislikes me on the slim chance that I might get some piece of information I can use. But I don’t intend to make a…personal…investment in this story. That’s not my style. It never has been, and it never will be.”
    Now it was Cal’s turn to stare. Good heavens, did she really think he was insinuating that for the right “personal investment,” as she put it,

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