Nichole caught the obvious hint. Eric was not about to leave her side any time soon, even if she dared protest his intentions.
Him being here, moving closer and closer toward the privacy of her home was a mistake, plain and simple. Inviting him up to her apartment had started them down an irreversible course of events she feared to tread. Everything about Eric – his mannerisms, his confidence, his overt physical appeal and, most especially, his hot tongue tickling her own – were dangerous to the nth degree. Eric Raven was the makings of an infatuation Nichole preferred to steer clear of at all costs, if possible. The problem was, he was adamant about making sure she arrived home and then back to the office safely under his guard. This would leave too much time alone in his company. Within an office setting, she would be able to control her urges to intertwine herself in his arms. Here, behind closed private doors, Nichole feared she would not be able to demonstrate such willpower.
It had taken some time to build up, but now Nichole was starting to see what it was about this man that had all the ladies in the police force and court offices so stirred up. He was a man driven, and he could drive you – probably very hard – if given the chance. Eric was assertive and handsome; he was one of the sexiest alpha males Nichole had ever encountered. These qualities were beginning to work their way into Nichole’s innermost thoughts.
Despite the fact that he was a born leader, he also had this understated gentleness about him. Nichole was sure this was an attribute many other women had tried to coax out of him, yet had failed. Women had a way of wanting to try to tame the toughest tigers. She wondered how long it would be until she was counted among the dozens who would be trying to rope in this reluctant stallion. Then, a new thought crossed her mind. This sudden sentiment toward her, this hidden piece of his personality, it was almost as though Eric wanted only her to partake of this side of him.
Holding to his earlier promise, Eric never touched her again even as they moved up the tightened space of the staircase leading to her second floor apartment, but he was on her heels the entire time. Eric was so close; Nichole felt the hot wind from his breath down the back of her neck. How he had managed to keep from falling over her or from tripping her steps up during the short walk, she could not guess and honestly did not care. He was like a human barricade behind her, and Nichole loved every moment. Some of her male neighbors, whom she was on a speaking basis with, offered her slight nods as they passed the couple on the stairs and in the hallway, yet none were brave enough to offer the flirty hello’s that she was use to. Nichole could only imagine the intimidating glare that Eric was giving to keep the usually overly friendly males at bay.
“Don’t you have any female neighbors?” he asked in a gruff voice from behind her.
“Why? Are you looking for a date?” She tossed the comment back over her shoulder.
“It looks like I might have a lot of competition for your affection. I counted no less than five guys who looked as though they would be trying to wrestle you to the floor if I weren’t here. I can only imagine what has been happening before I showed up.”
Nichole smirked as she stopped in front of her apartment door.
His lips slipped over the sensitive spot on the tip of her upper ear.
“Maybe,” he whispered.
She had to add extra focus while rummaging through her bag to locate her house key. The simple task was further complicated by Eric digging his solid fingers into her hips while she tried to do so. His breath was heavy on her neck and she was sure she had felt his mouth lightly touch the side of her throat. She was near lightheadedness as her eyes closed from the sensation.
“If you don’t stop, I won’t be able to make it through the door.”
“Then, I guess I will have to claim you right out here for all of your admirers to see that you’re already taken.”
A moan slipped from her lips.