Sandy threw her keys onto the coffee table, and herself onto the couch.
“Wow, that was incredibly not fun,” she said into the soft cushions. “James Vandenberg obviously finds me about as appealing as flat beer.”
“Could be worse,” McCade volunteered, shrugging out of his jacket and sitting down in the rocking chair across from her. “He could find you about as appealing as warm and flat beer.”
She lifted her head to look at him. “Cheer me up, why don’t you, McCade?”
He unfastened his bow tie and began unbuttoning his white tuxedo shirt. “What do you know about body language?” he asked.
Sandy sat up. “And just what is ‘Hmmm’ supposed to mean?”
“Whenever I saw you talking to James, you were giving him ‘go away’ signals with your body,” McCade said, unbuttoning the cuffs of his shirt. “You crossed your arms, you stood with your legs tightly together, your posture and your stance read ‘don’t touch’ loud and clear.”
“I wasn’t doing it intentionally–”
McCade smiled, yanking his shirt free from his pants and taking it off. “That’s the deal with body language. Most of the time it’s done unconsciously,” he said. “Somewhere down the line you’ve forgotten your female courting techniques.”
Sandy shifted in her seat, crossing her arms. “This is all news to me,” she said. “How could I have forgotten something that I was never told?”
“Protective barrier,” McCade said, pointing to her crossed arms before he pulled off his boots. “You just told me with your body that you don’t like what you’re hearing, and you’re not going to listen to me.”
“And exactly which issue of Playboy did you read this in, McCade?” Sandy asked, her arms still firmly crossed.
“Look,” McCade said, moving to sit next to her on the couch, “I’m going to hit you with some male courting techniques, and if you can honestly say that you still think it’s a load of garbage after that, then I’ll shut up, all right?”
With only a white vest undershirt on with his tuxedo pants, he looked like the McCade she knew in high school. He sat comfortably at one end of the couch, facing her, his right leg bent at the knee and angled across the cushion in front of him. He raked his fingers through his short hair, making it look perfectly tousled and very sexy.
Sandy lowered her eyes and shrugged. “Fire away.”
“First of all, don’t sit like that,” McCade said. He pulled her so that she faced him, lifting her left arm up so that it lay along the back of the couch. Her right hand dropped into her lap. Their knees were almost touching now, and he leaned, then inched forward slightly.
“Step one,” he said. “Invade the woman’s personal space. Step two: Direct eye contact.” He smiled into her eyes.
Sandy smiled back. “McCade, this is silly–”
“I’m not finished,” he said. “Without saying a word, a man can let a woman know quite clearly that he’s interested in her. And I mean sexually interested.”
McCade let his eyes drop, focusing for a moment on her full lips, then traveling even lower, lingering on the low neckline of her dress. Slowly, he dragged his gaze back to her eyes. “That’s step number three. And if by now the woman hasn’t run away or threatened physical damage, a man might try step four — a non-sexual touching gesture, something harmless like a handshake…”
He lifted her hand, drawing her fingers into his.
“…but turn that handshake into a caress,” he said, running his thumb lightly over the back of her hand. “This is not just a friendly touch — the message has clear sexual overtones.”
Sandy stared down at her hand as he continued that slight but oh-so sensuous movement of his thumb. She looked up to find his eyes running down the lengths of her legs. He took his time before he met her gaze.
She could see heat in his blue eyes.
This was only a demonstration, Sandy reminded herself. McCade was putting on a show, giving an example. Carefully, she slipped free from his grasp.
“If the touching doesn’t work,” he said, his husky voice soft, “or if the situation doesn’t allow for physical contact, there’s always surrogate touching.” He smiled, a quick flash of teeth. “I know, it sounds terrible, but it’s not.”
As Sandy watched, McCade used one finger to trace the floral pattern on the fabric that covered the couch. He looked up at her and smiled slightly. “It simply sends out a signal that says…I’d really rather be touching you.”