Falling For The Ice Queen (Ice Breaker Cold Case #2) - Cynthia Eden Page 0,1

hurt. That she was always safe.

And always trapped in her prison.

Eliza forced a smile for her friend. “I don’t really see any guys here who interest me.”

Bethany rolled her eyes. “Wake up that libido, girl, and get moving.” She turned to survey the crowd again, and as she did, a tall, sandy-haired man in a Polo and gray pants pulled away from a group of guys in the corner. His head tilted as his gaze swept toward the bar—toward Bethany and Eliza. His stare lingered on Eliza.

He smiled.

And started forward.

“Ooh, look at that,” Bethany began, voice humming with excitement. “We have a live one. Closing in fast. Dance with him, and I won’t ask for anything else the rest of the night.”

Eliza’s hands clamped around the edges of her barstool. He was closing in. A friendly grin curved his lips, and his eyes seemed to sparkle as—

Blocked.

A big, powerful figure stepped into the approaching man’s path. The figure of the badass who’d been sitting in the booth just moments before. For someone so big, he’d sure moved fast.

He said something to guy in the Polo, and Eliza’s would-be dance partner turned away. He headed back to his circle of friends.

“What just happened?” Bethany squeaked.

The badass glanced over his shoulder at Eliza. His head moved in a slow, negative motion.

“Oh.” Bethany sucked in a breath. “Hello, hotness. Well, okay, Eliza, you can trade up for him—”

He went back to his booth. Sat down. Tapped his fingers on the tabletop.

Eliza felt heat stain her cheeks. “I don’t think he’s interested in dancing with me.”

“Then what is he doing, other than cock-blocking—”

Eliza pushed off the stool. Lightly touched her friend’s shoulder. “I don’t think I escaped the guards tonight.” Apologetic.

Sympathy flashed on Bethany’s face as understanding dawned.

“I really enjoyed hanging out with you,” Eliza continued gamely. “Thank you for inviting me. But I think I should go home.” She mustered up a smile. “Want to ride with me?”

Bethany shook her head. “No, I’m gonna stay a while. Got some other people who were planning to meet up here later.” Her stare swept over Eliza. She nodded with sudden intent. “I have a different dare for you.”

“Excuse me?” Her stomach seemed to twist.

“Forget the dancing. I want you to walk over to that gorgeous guy in the booth—and I want you to tell him…” Bethany leaned toward Eliza’s ear and whispered, “Fuck off.”

Eliza’s gaze instantly darted to the man in question.

Bethany hugged her. Tight. Then pulled back. “They can’t send guards after you forever. It’s been years, and you can’t live your life by being afraid.”

Bethany was one of the few people who knew all of Eliza’s secrets.

“Go tell him,” Bethany urged. “A big, proud ‘Fuck off.’ Say it like you mean it, and I guarantee you will feel so good that you’ll think you just had an orgasm.”

So, um, Eliza doubted that it would feel that good. But the idea of going over there…of standing up for herself…

Why not?

“Now, my darling, while you handle your dare, I’m off to find a dance partner. If you don’t mind, I think I’ll try my luck with your blond. I like the preppy ones.” With that, she sashayed away, heading for the man in the Polo.

Eliza put some money down on top of the bar. She inclined her head to the bartender, squared her shoulders, and then strode for the door. As she made her way for the exit, she remained hyper-aware of the man in the booth.

When she was halfway to the door, he started to rise.

Because, of course, he will follow me. I’m sure his job is to make certain I get home without any incidents tonight. Nothing that could possibly embarrass the family.

She stopped.

He sat back down.

Eliza turned abruptly on her heel and advanced toward him. The music drummed and had her temples throbbing.

The man in the booth leaned back, tilted his head, and studied her approach with a wry grin on his face. On his ridiculously handsome face. Eliza figured he probably used that grin to get all sorts of things that he wanted in this world. He probably smiled like that and plenty of women dropped at his feet.

I’m not going to drop.

She stopped at the edge of his table. Noted that he had a beer bottle in front of him. Open, but it didn’t appear that he’d actually had any of the beer to drink. That would go along with his cover. Her bodyguards didn’t get to drink while on