"I didn't jump you." He'd never live that down...but he'd like the opportunity to try.
"Okay, whatever. I guess I can't lay that at your door." She bunched the material of her shirt in her fists.
Jack narrowed his eyes, a muscle jumping in his jaw. "Did something happen in the morgue?"
"No, no, probably just my overactive imagination."
"I guess a morgue could do that to you." He zipped up his jacket, feeling the weight and comfort of his gun in the pocket.
"Can I give you a ride back to your motel?"
Good thing she hadn't invited him to spend the night. He would've found that offer harder to refuse.
"That's okay. I know my way back and you shouldn't be driving." He held out his hand. "Sorry about my clumsy methods, but thanks for your help tonight."
She placed her hand in his, her smooth, cool skin like a drink of fresh water. "I hope...well, I hope you get better. I wrote my cell number on Emilio's card, if you remember anything else or if you want to talk to my friend, or..."
Jack squeezed her hand, studying her eyes, waiting for the shifting colors to give him some kind of signal. She blinked her dark lashes over the steady hazel, and Jack smirked at his foolish game.
A desperate man took desperate measures.
He allowed her to have her hand back and turned toward the door. "I'll call if I remember anything about your brother."
"And what if I need to get in touch with you?"
Was that the sign he'd been waiting for? The invitation to stay? He clenched his teeth. This isn't a date, Jack.
"I have your number. Maybe I'll pick up one of those prepaid cell phones."
A rosy pink stole across her cheeks, but she plastered a quick smile on her face. "Good luck, then."
Jack slipped out the door and snapped it behind him. Bending forward, he flattened his palm against the door and heard the dead bolt click into place. Without moving an inch, he closed his eyes.
The heat and vitality of Lola's home buzzed through the door. Lola's company had poured warmth into his soul. Her breath, her voice, her touch, had all animated him. Made him feel alive. Made him feel like more than a husk of a person. But she hadn't asked for that role.
He turned and headed for the elevator.
He jabbed at the button, planning to exit through the garage. He'd been intent on getting to Lola's place and hadn't been as concerned as he should've been about someone following them. Maybe the would-be car thief wanted another shot at the silver-blue Mercedes.
The elevator rumbled up the shaft, taking its sweet time, and Jack shifted sideways in case anyone came through the doors. The panel slid open on an empty car and Jack stepped forward.
That was when he heard the scream.
Lola stumbled backward. She banged her hip against the corner of the bathroom sink and yanked her towel from the rack. Her gaze darted from the big, dirty footprint in her tub to the window over the shower that someone--not her--had left open a tiny crack.
Jack. Was he still here? She screamed and flew from the bathroom. She tugged at the front door, clutching the towel around her body with one hand.
Tripping into the hallway, Lola almost sank to her knees in relief when she saw Jack lunging toward her door. She threw out a hand to steady herself, clutching the doorjamb, and choked out his name. "Jack."
His arms wrapped around her, his voice hoarse in her ear. "What happened? What's wrong?"
"Someone broke into my place." She pointed a shaky finger back inside her condo.
He tightened his hold on her. Her fist, still gripping the towel, smashed against her chest, but she felt safe in Jack's arms.
Still embracing her, Jack moved toward the gaping door. "He's not still in there, is he?"
She shivered. "Thank God, no, but I saw how he broke in."
A door opened down the hallway and a man poked his head out. "What's going on? Are you okay, Lola?"
Warmth touched Lola's cheek when she realized she had only a towel clutched around her naked body. "I'm fine, Aaron, but I think someone broke into my place. You didn't notice anything, did you?"
"No, but my wife's car was burglarized a few months ago. This neighborhood is going downhill. Let us know how he got in and if anything's missing. We'll discuss it at the next association meeting."