Instantly his spine stiffened, his eyes narrowed, and a prickly ball bounced around in his gut.
"Smells good," B--- said easily and sniffed the air. "Would that be crubeens you're doing there? I doubt we'll have such fare in Waterford City."
She was wearing paint, and sparkly things at her ears. And for God's sake a dress - one that didn't leave the matter of curves to a man's imagination and showed a great deal of slim, well muscled leg.
"What are you doing, done up like that?"
"Having dinner with D--- and her Dubliners." She'd rather, much rather pull up a chair at the table, snag a portion and tuck into the crubeens, but she'd given her word. And that was that.
"You're going out with a man you've never laid eyes on."
"D--- has, and I'd best go up and drag her away from her mirror or she'll primp another hour and I'll never get my dinner."
"Just a damn minute."
His tone alone would have stopped her, it was very sharp and un-S---like. But even before she could turn back, he had her arm. "Well, what's lit into you, then?"
"Perfume, too," he said in disgust, as he got a good, heady whiff of her scent. "I should've known it. Well, you can just turn staight around and go back home. I'm not having you go off dressed like this."
Temper would have snapped out, would have bitten him on the neck, but it couldn't get through the thick wall of shock. "You're not having it? Dressed like what?"
"I'm not, no. And you know very well dressed like what. It's surprised I am that your mother let you out of the house this way."
"I'm twenty-four, if you've forgotten. My mother stopped approving my choice of attire some years ago. And it's surely no business of yours what I'm wearing."
"I'm making it my business. Now go home and wash that stuff off your face."
"I'll do nothing of the sort." The fact was, she'd used the lipstick and so forth only because she knew D--- would have slathered twice as much on her if she'd shown up without it. But there was no reason to mention that, especially since that temper was busily gnawing through the shock.
"Fine, then, I'll do for you here and now." He hauled her up under one arm, ignoring her shrieked curse and the fist that swiped at his temple and carted her toward the sink. He had a vision through the black haze of his fury of dumping her in headfirst and turning the water on full and ice cold.
Are you clammoring for more, yet?