Sabrina has her hands full when the Nephilistic Bill Gannon comes calling and Dante is not quite himself.
“Good morning. A beautiful day,” he said, pulling the sunglasses off to give me the full measure of those emerald-green eyes. “Thought I would come by and ask if you'd like to go have coffee with me?”
“I. Ah. Um.” I glanced down at Dante and, itching my scalp, replied, “I've already had coffee.” I winced apologetically. My fingers went to my gloves to twist the ends. They weren't there. I began twisting my fingers some. If Bill knew me better, he would know I was lying my head off. Besides, the coffee maker chose this moment to make a hiss.
“How about breakfast then?”
Dante growled. My glance went again to the black Lab standing between us, staring at Bill. The hair on his neck was up. Oh, crap.
“I see you've brought your shifter home,” Bill's voice had a cool edge to it. “Why is he a dog?”
Why was everyone calling Dante my shifter?
“Well, first of all, how did you know?”
“How? Those eyes. They're gray, like Dante’s,” he said. “How long has he been like this?”
“Oh, overnight. He was a rat for a while, then a bunny.”
“Must make for interesting conversation.”
Dante growled some more and edged a bit closer, threateningly.
“Now, be good, Dante,” Bill said. “I'm not here to hurt anyone. Go lay down. That's a good boy.”
Amazingly, Dante did exactly that, giving a little whine as he padded into the living room, circled the rug and lay down with his head between his paws, large gray eyes watching us.
I turned back to Bill, feeling both a bit impressed by his ability to command Dante — and frightened that he could.
“How did you do that?”
“Make him go lay down?”
He shrugged. “A gift. I've always been good with animals and lower beings.”
I frowned at that. Like shifters? Or like vampires who commanded lower beings? This was plain old spooking me out.
“He doesn't like you,” I pointed out.
“That's alright. It doesn't matter if Dante likes me or not. What does matter is if you like me.
I paused because it appeared that he was waiting for a definite answer from me.
“The jury is out on that one,” I said finally.
“As long as it isn't a hung jury, I've got a chance. And I like my chances.”
I scrunched my nose up. “Maybe.” I was going with indecisive.
“Perhaps I need to plead my case further?”
I squinted at him suspiciously. “You sound like a lawyer.”
My brows flicked at this. “Prosecution or defense?” I fired back.
“Actually, I'm a lawsuit lawyer.”
My lips crimped into a tight smile, unable to help myself. “How old are you?”
“I'm forty-two on the sixth of December.”
My mouth dropped at that.
He chuckled at my shock. “I'll turn twenty-eight in December.”
“Oh,” I gave a gasp of relief. Why did I care if he were twenty-something, or forty-something?
“Look, Sabrina, all I'm asking is to get to know you a little better, and I'll tell you about myself.”
“You're asking me out?”
“Yes. As far as I know, there isn't a law against asking a woman out on a date in the state of Illinois. Or, is there?”
Now I had to chuckle. He was charming and good-looking. Damn him. I stared at the dimple on his chin. I've never met a man with a cleft chin before. He looked as if he stepped off the cover of a magazine. You just don't see anyone walking around looking so damned handsome — as though they had cornered the market on it or something.
“No,” I said on a sigh. “But, I'm—ah—” I glanced over at Dante who was watching the whole exchange. “I'm sort of involved.”
“With Dante?” he asked, sounding disbelieving.
“You're hedging, Ms. Strong,” he reminded in his most edgy lawyer voice, drilling me with his gaze to deepen my guilt. Sheesh!
“Look, I can't tell you who, but I'm actually seeing someone right now.”
“Fine,” he said, a smile tilting his lips. “I don't give up very easily, Ms. Strong.” He moved toward the door. “The jury may be out, but the prosecution has not rested on this one.” He opened the door. “Have a fine day,” and he was gone.
Dropping my head, I leaned against the chair I hadn't realized I had a hold of, and let out a big sigh of relief.
Dante padded over to me, tail wagging, a little whine escaped him.