‘Is that an invitation?’
She felt goosebumps erupt over her skin.
Shocked, she gazed up at him, open-mouthed.
Not in a million years was her first response.
He was tall, and even though she couldn’t see beneath the bulky jacket he was wearing there was a sense of restrained power beneath the almost languid pose. But she liked her men pretty, and this man was not pretty. In fact, his features were strikingly discordant—part-Modigliani, part-Picasso, part-Border Reiver.
He had a too-big mouth, surrounded by a dark, scruffy moustache and beard. His broad nose looked as if it had been broken at some time, maybe several times, in the past, and there was a scar cutting across his left cheek like the cleft in a peach.
Maybe if they had met under other circumstances, when she was feeling more generous, she might have described him as ‘unconventionally handsome’. But, given that he had just broken into the house where she was staying and scared her half to death, she wasn’t feeling generous.
There was something compelling about him—an uncompromising, unapologetic, raw masculinity that felt real in a way that both shocked and excited her. She could almost imagine him standing on the island’s clifftops, his grey eyes narrowed on the foam-flecked sea...
Blinking out of this train of thought, she glared at him hot-cheeked, her fingers tightening around the handle of the cricket bat.
‘Look, I’ve already called the police,’ she lied. ‘So if I were you, I’d just leave.’
His cool, dark gaze made breathing a challenge.
‘But things are just starting to get interesting...’
She tugged the quilt more tightly around her body as he looked down at her.
‘In fact, you should probably give the police a call back. Ask them to bring a ball. Then we can actually make use of that bat you’re waving around so enthusiastically.’
Frankie looked at him in confusion. She could count the number of conversations she’d had with burglars on one finger, but surely this wasn’t how they were supposed to go.
‘Do you think this is funny?’ she snapped.
‘No, I don’t.’ His gaze bored into her. ‘Do you?’
‘Of course not—’
‘In that case...’ He paused, his eyes narrowing on her face with such a mixture of exasperation and hostility that she had to look away. ‘Do you think it would be too much trouble to tell me exactly what you’re doing in my bed?’
Frankie’s head jerked up. She stared at him, her pulse doing some kind of complicated step-ball-change.
Her eyes dropped to the bag by his feet—more specifically to the initials embossed on the leather.
In other words, Arlo Milburn...
She groaned inwardly as a grainy silence filled the room. ‘Wh-what are you doing here?’ she finally stammered. ‘You’re not supposed to be here.’