Home > Don't Play With Odin (Trouble for Hire #2)

Don't Play With Odin (Trouble for Hire #2)
Author: Cynthia Eden

 

Chapter One


“There’s a killer on the loose.”

At that ever-so-dramatic statement, Odin Shaw slowly lifted his head from the comic book that he’d been reading. A gorgeous woman stood in the doorway, one delicate hand clutching the wooden frame, the other pressed to her chest.

He hadn’t heard her approach. His bad. Unusual. Normally, he was highly aware of his surroundings. It had been one hell of a slow Friday for him, and he’d just been about to head down to the bar that waited below—

“Did you hear me?” She let go of the doorframe and hurried inside. A couple of fast steps in her canvas shoes that didn’t make even a whisper of sound. “There’s a killer hunting, and we need to stop him.”

He eased the comic book into the top drawer. Squared his shoulders and tipped back his head as he studied her.

His mystery lady had a tumble of thick curls. She’d tried to pin them up, but the dark locks had slid free to frame her face. No makeup was on her face, but she didn’t need any. He thought she looked perfect just as she was. Wide, dark eyes. Oval face. Full, unpainted lips.

She was small, maybe around five-foot-four or five-foot-five. Nice curves. Actually, some pretty incredible curves and—

“Hello?” She waved a hand in front of his face. “Are you listening to me at all?”

Right. He should speak. Odin cleared his throat. “I don’t believe you have an appointment,” he rumbled.

Her pretty mouth parted. “I—” She looked back over her shoulder. “No one was in the lobby. I thought I could come on in. Figured no line meant no wait.” Now she peered back at him. “Are you Warren Channing?”

“No.”

She blinked. Her eyes weren’t just brown. They were golden brown. He liked the gold. Liked the warmth in her gaze and he liked the long, long dark lashes that framed her eyes.

“If you’re not Warren, then who are you?” She took another step forward. This step brought her to his desk. Her hands—small, with short nails painted a soft pink—pressed to the wood.

“Odin.” His name came out sounding like a growl.

Her eyebrows rose. “Battle god.”

He stiffened.

“Responsible for the creation—and also the destruction—of the world. At least according to Norse myth.” Her smile was quick, and, holy fuck, she had dimples. Sweet dimples that winked at him before she confessed, “I’m a mythology buff. I actually teach history at the college down the road and I—I am rambling.” She blew out a breath. “Odin.”

He nodded. That’s me.

Her head tilted. “I talk a lot when I’m nervous. You should know that I am very, very nervous right now.”

He thought she was very, very gorgeous.

“Since you are sitting in the office at Trouble for Hire, I take it to mean that you’re a PI?”

“I am.” His license was all new and shiny.

“You…work with Warren?”

“Honeymoon.”

A furrow appeared between those pretty eyes of hers. Hell. Had he just given her a one-word answer? He needed to do better than this.

Odin rose.

And those eyes of hers—they widened.

Damn. He’d forgotten. He’d been sitting. When he stood, he clocked in at past six-foot-four. And with his muscled weight, he could be intimidating.

She backed up a step.

No could be about it. He was scaring the pretty lady. “War is on his honeymoon.”

“War?” She was almost gaping up at him.

“Warren—War. He’s on his honeymoon. I’m running things.”

She licked her lips.

His body instantly jolted. A rather over-the-top reaction to such a simple motion, but it had been a long time since he’d—

“I want you,” she said.

Well, that was blunt. And surprising. But he nodded and figured if his luck was about to turn around this way, then who the hell was he to argue? After the clusterfuck of the last year, maybe he deserved something good.

The lady in front of him definitely qualified as good.

She shoved her hand into the oversized bag that was flung over her left shoulder. When her hand came back up, she tossed a thick—very thick—wad of cash on his desk. “Will that cover it?”

He looked at the cash. Then at her. “What all do you want me doing?”

“I want you to help me stop the killer!” Her breath huffed out. “I need to hire you. That should cover your fee, right?”

He suspected that hunk of cash would cover a dozen PI fees. He pushed the cash back toward her. “Why don’t we start at the beginning?” Because he wasn’t going to take advantage of her. That wasn’t how he’d been raised. The woman was obviously upset about something. He would figure out what it was and try to help.

“The beginning? That’s kinda far back. How about we cut to the current situation?” She squared her delicate shoulders. “I saw on the news that your office stopped that killer a few weeks ago. The man who was strangling those women in Florida.”

Yes, they had stopped him. Odin waited.

“You don’t talk a lot, do you?” She nibbled on her lower lip.

Odin shrugged. When he talked, he had a tendency to sometimes say the wrong shit. Especially where women were concerned. This woman was fucking beautiful, and he was trying to not open his mouth and say something like—

“And you’re really big. Like, scary big.”

He glowered. Then realized his glower probably just made him look even scarier.

“I mean that in the best possible way, of course,” she continued quickly. Perkily. “I bet the bad guys see you and immediately start running.” She nodded and now seemed thrilled. “If they’re smart, they’d run.”

His gaze swept over her. She wasn’t running. Didn’t seem at all put off by him. And damn it all, but he was finding her…intriguing.

The evening was definitely looking up. “Who are you?” He wanted her name.

Her golden brown eyes gleamed even more. “I didn’t tell you? I am so sorry!” She offered her hand to him. Silver rings were on two of her fingers, and a little bracelet jingled around her wrist. “I’m Maisey. Maisey Bright.” Her dimples winked. “And you are the answer to my dreams.”

I would love to hear all about your dreams, lady. He took her hand in his. Made sure to keep his grip easy because his bear-like hand easily swallowed hers. The moment he touched her, a surge of heat zipped through his fingers, down his arm, and straight to his core. Her skin was soft, silky, and her scent reached out to wrap around him. A creamy, decadent scent. Like strawberries and cream. Or strawberries and—

He was leaning toward her. Closing in and his gaze had dropped to her mouth. Okay, sure, it had been a while, but he needed to get himself under control. Odin forced his hand to let her go. “Why don’t you sit down?”

“Okay.” She hopped onto the edge of his desk.

He frowned.

“Oh. You didn’t mean here, did you? But the couch is way over there.” She motioned vaguely as one shoe swung in a quick rhythm. “Look, let’s cut to the chase.”

That sounded like a great idea. He slowly lowered back into his chair. He couldn’t take his gaze off her.

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