A key scraped in the lock, and Rosa called out while pushing open the front door. "Hola. Are you home?"

"We're in the kitchen, Rosa."

Rosa maneuvered the two steps into the great room, clutching two paper bags to her chest. She peered at them over the tops of the bags as she crossed the room. "I brought a little more food. You never said how long you were staying, Miss Lola."

Lola exchanged a glance with Jack. Too bad they didn't have that island waiting for them. "I'm not sure. I told you, I'm off this week and I'm helping Jack."

Rosa tsked. "You could have been in the Bahamas this week."

Lola pressed her lips together. She hadn't told Rosa the full story about Gabe. Gabe had always been Rosa's favorite, and Lola didn't feel like sending the poor woman into fits. "I--I knew Jack needed my help this week."

That excuse should placate Rosa, since she believed Lola needed to find herself a man...and Rosa seemed to approve of Jack. Of course, seeing him in the buff had cemented that approval.

Had cemented hers, too.

"Maybe you could help Mr. Jack in the Bahamas." Rosa chuckled, dipping her hand into one of the bags and pulling out a package of pasta. She shook the bag. "Do you want me to cook some dinner tonight?"

Lola opened her mouth, but Jack cut in. "No thanks, Rosa. I'm taking Lola out to dinner tonight."

Lola's pulse tripped and she widened her eyes. Dinner? Just like a real date? "Are you sure you're up for it?"

He jabbed a finger into his chest and lowered his voice. "Me? You're the one who had the bad day."

Rosa interrupted her humming to say, "I think that would be nice. Oh, and I have some mail for you, Miss Lola. I'll bring it over later."

"Thanks, Rosa." Jack probably just wanted to discuss business away from nosy Rosa, but she'd take it...she'd take him any way she could. After that truth serum session, they might not have much time left together.

JACK ADJUSTED THE CUFFS on the black dress shirt he'd borrowed from Gabe's closet and tugged at the waistband of the slacks. The pants hit a little high on his ankle, but the outfit beat any of the clothes he'd picked up at the Frankfurt Airport or any of the native garb he'd hauled back from Afghanistan.

He'd surprised himself when he'd blurted out his invitation to dinner. But Rosa's sympathy over Lola's missing her vacation in the Bahamas had sent a shaft of guilt through his body. Even though he knew Lola had canceled her vacation plans before he came onto the scene, he'd dragged her into a mess.

Or had he?

Was his presence in Miami responsible for the escalating threats against Lola, or would someone be coming after her regardless of his proximity to her? He could find out easily enough by leaving her.

His gut churned at the thought. If the danger to Lola had nothing to do with him, he wanted to be here to protect her. That instinct ran deep and true within him.

A light tap at the door coaxed him out of his reverie. "Yeah, I'm decent."

More decent than he'd been in the shower, anyway.

Lola pushed open the door and hovered at the threshold. Long, black lashes framed a pair of green eyes, the color amplified by Lola's emerald-green dress. Leave it to Lola to provide a bold splash of color.

To stop gawking at her legs, Jack held out his arms and turned in a circle. "Is this okay? Your brother's a little shorter than I am."

"And a little narrower through the chest and shoulders." She took two steps into the room, her head tilted to one side.

"Is it ill-fitting?"

"No." She took another step. "Turn around."

He obeyed because her perfume so intoxicated him he couldn't think on his own. If she commanded him to stand on his head, he wouldn't be able to refuse her. A second later, he felt the palms of her hands smoothing the material of the shirt across his shoulders. He tensed his muscles to freeze the lust pounding through his veins.

"That's worse." She nudged his shoulder with the heel of her hand. "I'm trying to smooth down the shirt but it doesn't help when you go all Incredible Hulk on me."

He chuckled. "Me? The Incredible Hulk? No, that's Buzz."

Lola gasped behind him and dug her nails into his back. "Buzz? You recalled that name yesterday."

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