"Mission accomplished," Shane said, after Bekka finished her report. He gave her a sideways look as they strolled down the street to Stay-a-While. "Feeling pretty good about yourself?"
"I have the magic touch so rarely, you better believe I'm going to enjoy it and gloat when something works out so well." She laughed when Shane just shook his head.
"You have the magic touch all the time."
"Yeah. And I'll prove it."
"How?" Bekka gasped when Shane attacked, grabbing her shoulders and turning her to face him. Then he was kissing her, and that dizzy sensation swirling up through her from her toes to her head had nothing to do with the fact that she was holding her breath.
"Does that prove it?" Shane whispered, with his lips still touching hers.
Bekka felt like she had short-circuited -- or someone had poured a two-liter bottle of seltzer inside her skull. She opened her eyes slowly, and laughed at the satisfied smirk on Shane's face.
The next moment, something hit her shoulder, hard, pushing her away from Shane and she stumbled backwards with Arthur Montgomery's angry voice ringing in her ears. Bekka staggered forward, not sure what she was going to do, but her fists clenched of their own accord.
Shane stopped her, stepping between her and the red-faced man.
"How dare you shame your grandparents like this? Acting like a filthy slut in pub--" His words ended with an audible crack as Shane shoved him hard, fists against his shoulders.
"Shut up," Shane growled, his voice low-pitched, rumbling in the ground under her feet instead of ringing off the surrounding buildings as Mr. Montgomery's voice had been. "You've got no right to talk to her like that."
"I have every right--"
"You have no authority over me," Bekka spat. "You're not my family, and you don't go to my church anymore."
"Didn't give you the right to harass and assault her in public," Shane said. "The police department is just down the street. How about we go there and find out if you have the right to hit her? Bekka, you think you might have a bruise we can use as proof?"
Mr. Montgomery reared back like an affronted cobra. He pressed his lips tight together, glaring at them for a moment longer, then turned sharply on his heel and stalked away, up the street.
"Thanks for killing my buzz," Bekka muttered. "Lisa should have filed charges for what he did to her, stalking her and harassing her like that."
"Hey, hey," Shane said, and wrapped his arms around her.
She was surprised to find herself shuddering. She closed her eyes and let herself soak in his warmth and steadiness.
"You want my cell phone?"
"For what?" She kept her eyes closed and tightened her arms around him.
"To call your grandparents. Head him off, before he calls and gives them a whole bunch of lies."
She thought about it for a moment, then tipped her head back, opened her eyes, and shook her head. A tiny laugh escaped her at the surprised look on his face.
"Don't you care?"
"Nope. Not really."
"Why not? He's gonna try to get your grandparents all riled up about you and me."
"I'm not worried, because we weren't doing anything wrong."
"Yeah?" Slowly, that concerned frown melted into that smirk that always made her want to laugh. "You have no idea what was going through my mind when we were kissing." He laughed more when her face warmed. Then he kissed her again, and Bekka decided she might just be willing to put up with trouble from arrogant, interfering old jerks like Mr. Montgomery if Shane would keep kissing her like that.