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Under Cover (v1.1), Page 2

MaryJanice Davidson

  Best not to think about that.

  He remembered memorizing her file, being struck by her good looks, and thinking that she looked more like Miss Dairy than Miss Terrorist.

  It had been the purest—and sweetest!—of coincidences that she had leaped into the elevator and kissed him. What the poor thing hadn’t realized was there was a law enforcement convention just down the street, to which he’d flown in for networking. Of course, getting an assignment in the same city as the convention had been pure gravy.

  He’d recognized her at once, of course, in that blurred moment before she’d jumped into his arms. The grainy faxed picture didn’t do her justice. And it did nothing to showcase her amazing charisma. He could almost see the energy crackling around her when she spoke, moved. Kissed.

  Every thought had gone out of his head when those soft, sweet lips met his. And when he’d followed her out of the elevator, he’d nearly staggered. Renee Jardin was an amazing woman, and he was a big believer in love at first sight.

  Now, anyway.

  When his head cleared, he realized if Renee had gone one more block, she would have been in the middle of five hundred law enforcement officers, most of whom had heard of her. Anodyne was desperate to get her—and her cargo—back. They were spreading their net as widely as they could. So he had instantly stalled her departure with an invitation to lunch. And when she wept, he wanted to leave the table, find her tormentors, and methodically break their fingers.

  All this flashed through his mind in half a second. “I really don’t work for your boss,” he said through the door. “But I would like to help you. I certainly don’t blame you for being paranoid, because everyone is out to get you. But I’m sure we can discuss this like adults. Won’t you come out?”

  Silence. Then… flush.

  “Now you’re just being childish. If you come out, we can discuss this like rational adults and come up with a plan of action. And—you know, Renee, it’s quite difficult to have this conversation with a bathroom door.”


  “Renee? If you come out, I’ll buy you another steak.”



  Blast the woman! He raised a leg and kicked; the flimsy lock broke at once and the door swung open.

  Into an empty room.

  Chapter Three

  Renee chortled to herself as she opened the sliding doors to the deck. What luck that the suite connected to another room—through the bathroom! And what luck that Eric hadn’t known. It had been child’s play to pick the lock. She’d cut her teeth on bicycle locks as a kid, and this one was only slightly more complicated.

  But now what? She couldn’t go back down to the lobby. Eric might beat her there. The guy looked like he was in pretty good shape. He sure felt like it, anyway. Worse, she didn’t know where the goons had gotten to. For all she knew, they could be waiting in the lobby, too.

  If she could get into the skyway system, she could lose everybody. There were skyways throughout downtown Minneapolis, and she could get some distance away and think—for the first time in hours and hours—really think about her position, and what to do, and where to go.

  OK You need to get to the skyway, and you need to do it fast, because Eric isn’t going to chat with the bathroom door much longer.

  She looked at the street from the suite’s balcony. Yup. There it was.

  Renee, you’re crazy.

  “Quiet, inner voice,” she muttered. Insanity was the word of the day, and that was for sure.

  Silently, she blessed her parents for suggesting she take up gymnastics in addition to karate and aikido, and climbed over the balcony. The skyway was barely fifteen feet down, and only a few feet to the right. She could do dais. She was in good shape, and a fall from that height was totally survivable. People did it all the time.

  Besides, the alternative was unthinkable.

  Eric was gorgeous, Eric was a great kisser, and Eric was the enemy. She wanted to believe in him, trust him, and that made him more dangerous than the Jackal. At least she knew the Jackal was bad news. With Eric, she had absolutely no idea. And she was too busy staring at his mouth to be interested in finding out.

  Why had he left the National Security Agency? Was it on his own, or had he been bounced? He was awfully young—thirty-six, if his license was right—to retire and go into the Pee Eye biz. What was he doing in town? How had he known her so quickly?

  No, best to get clear of him. In particular, his hands and mouth.

  She let her hands slide down the bars of the balcony—thank goodness it was fall, instead of winter! She dangled for a moment and screwed up her courage. Then she started to swing her body to build momentum. At the height of her swing, she let go and lunged sideways.

  And dropped. And dropped. And hit the roof of the sky-way… and skidded over the edge. She made a wild clutch and caught the edge of the roof before she plunged over.

  “Jesus Christ!”

  She looked up, dangling. Her hands were screaming, and her wrists felt like blocks of wood. Eric-the-stalker was staring down at her from the balcony. His eyes were huge.

  Well, I’m not going to scream for help like some loser Mm. I’ll just hang here for a minute and then swing a leg up and be on my way and I’ll be just—


  “Hold on!” he shouted down. Then he disappeared.

  The rat bastard! Trust the NSA to disappear when you need them to do something in this country. So damned typical. So—

  He appeared suddenly, and if she’d blinked she would have missed it. He had obviously backed up to get some room, then bounded up—and over!—the balcony, his momentum carrying him to the skyway. For a moment he was silhouetted against the sky like a suit-wearing bat. Then he landed with a heavy thud, right in the center of the roof.

  The bum made it look easy.

  Her left hand spasmed and let go, and suddenly her right hand was entirely responsible for keeping her hundred-thirty-two-pound frame attached to the skyway, as opposed to splattered all over Second Street. She shrieked—

  —and suddenly his hands were there, locked around her right wrist, and he was crouching in front of her.

  She could hardly see him. Stupid wind, it was making her eyes water. As if she didn’t have enough problems right now! “Don’t let go,” she said. “I’ll be really really pissed if you do.”

  “I’ve got you, sweetheart. But you have to let go of the edge so I can pull you up.”

  She tried. But it was no use… her fingers were spasmed into an unmoving claw. He let go of her with one hand, and gently pried her fingers loose. At least, that’s what she assumed he was doing. She couldn’t feel his touch. Maybe he was trying to get his wallet back.

  After a long moment he stood and lifted her to him as easily as a mother picked up her child.

  “You fucking idiot,” he said, and hugged her so hard she lost all her breath.

  “Whooof! Jeez, let me get my breath.”

  “I ought to throw you right off this roof. Right Off.”

  “Take it easy, you’re gonna crack a rib.”

  “I ought to crack your skull, you stupid, stupid girl.” He spoke roughly, but gently brushed her hair out of her eyes. “What the hell were you thinking?”

  “That it was stuffy in that hotel room and I wanted a breath of fresh air,” she said with a straight face, then grinned when he laughed unwittingly.

  “Well, Miss Genius, what was your plan for getting off the skyway roof?”

  “Well, there are often ladders—”

  “Not this time.”

  “No need to sound so smug,” she muttered, then pointed to the large windows of the office building, which connected with the hotel via the skyway. The windows were six feet tall and easily reachable. Plus, it was a Saturday. The building was likely deserted.

  “And if an alarm goes off when you break the window?”

  “Unlikely, in this neighborhood. If anything’s alar
med, it’ll be the front door, not the second story window.” She looked down as a car honked at them. “Well, that’s quite enough attention, I think. I’m outta here. Bye.”

  “Not without me,” he said firmly, and dogged her heels to the window.

  “If you come with me, it sort of negates the whole reason why I escaped in the first place,” she griped, then broke the window with an elbow strike.

  “At least you’re wearing a heavy sweater,” he said disapprovingly. “As for negating your reasons, I couldn’t care less. We have a conversation to finish.”

  “Yeah, yeah.” She reached in, found the catch, turned it, slid the window open, and carefully stepped inside the building, avoiding the broken glass on the floor. She stood for a long moment, listening.

  Nothing. No lights, except from the computer screen savers. The rooms were still, that peculiar stillness that comes from an unoccupied floor. The place could be wired for silent alarms, but given the general shabbiness of the cubicles and equipment, she doubted it.

  She turned just in time to see Eric step inside. Then he took her into his arms and kissed her so hard she thought her lips would go numb.

  “Umm,” he said after a long minute.

  “Umm? That’s it?”

  “Strawberry Chap Stick. I love it. Also, you owe me your life.”

  “Well, I probably would have been able to—”

  “You owe me your life,” he repeated firmly, and lowered her to the carpet.

  Chapter Four

  Somehow, her sweater was hanging over the nearby computer monitor, her left shoe was in the cubicle beside them, and her right was over by the coffeemaker. Eric was kissing her mouth, her chin, the soft skin of her throat, and he was giving her goose bumps. Certainly not from the chill in the air; she was far from cold. She was very warm, almost too warm, and she pulled and tugged at his clothes until his bare chest was settling against hers.

  You don’t have time for this.

  Shut up, inner voice.

  “Stupid back-clasp bra,” he growled in her ear, tugging. “Get rid of them. Only front-clasp brassieres from now on.”

  “Who says ‘brassieres’? Where the hell are you from?”

  “Shut up and kiss me back.”

  “OK, but after that, I get to boss you around.”

  He laughed into her mouth. She curled up her tongue to meet his; he tasted like martinis and smelled like crisp cotton. She could feel his hands stroking the skin of her belly, then sliding beneath her and fumbling with her bra. There was a wrench—



  —and then her breasts were free and he instantly captured one of her nipples with his mouth. He sucked, hard, then eased up and licked, his tongue rasping across the taut flesh until she thought she’d scream.

  She clutched double handfuls of his thick, wavy hair, then forced herself to ease her grip and ran her fingers through the silky strands.

  “What are you thinking about?” he asked her cleavage.

  “That I’ve never made out with anyone who had long hair and wore business suits.”


  “It’s definitely something to write home about,” she laughed. Then she gasped as he nuzzled lower, licking the lower curve of her breast. “Oh, jeez, that’s really great.”

  “Umm. I was thinking much the same thing. Oh, good—leggings. Easy off.” She could feel his hands on her and raised her hips, the better to be stripped. In another few seconds, her pants were hanging over the cubicle wall.

  Two days ago she’d been head of security for Anodyne. A day ago she’d been jobless and on the run. This afternoon she was making love with the guy who caught her.

  It was madness, but it seemed, oddly, a reasonable reaction to the chaos of the last forty-eight hours. And she was so, so tired of running… and he felt so good… and held her so gently… and his mouth… his mouth…

  She reached down, unzipped his pants, and slowly eased her hand inside. She felt something sinfully soft—silk boxers?—and then grasped his long, hot length. Nothing soft there… but still sinful, oh, yes.

  He stiffened against her and his eyes rolled up. “Good thing I’m prone,” he managed, “because I think my legs just buckled.”

  This is crazy, crazy, crazy. You haven’t even known this guy for two hours.

  Shut up, inner—

  Well, you haven’t!

  “Quick,” she groaned as she felt him slip a finger past the elastic edging of her panties. “Tell me something deeply personal.”

  “Uh—I’m a Capricorn?”

  “Deeply personal, jackass.”

  “Do we have to have this conversation while we’ve got our hands in each other’s underpants?”

  She smothered a giggle. “Can you think of a better time?”

  “Uh—I was born in St. Paul. Joined the Air Force after high school. Used—oh, Christ, that’s nice, don’t stop doing that—used the—um—GI Bill to—uh—to… What was I talking about?”

  “Using the GI Bill to pay for college,” she replied, delighting in the way he was trembling above her. She was stroking his velvety length, running her fingers up and down, occasionally rubbing the now-slick tip with her thumb. This appeared to be done to good effect, if his harsh breathing was any indication. “Then what?”

  “Then I died and went to heaven.”

  She squeezed, and he groaned. “No, really.”

  “Um… the Air Force paid for my master’s in criminal justice. Then the NSA recruited me. Then I got tired of the NSA. Then you kissed me in the elevator and I became your slave.”

  His fingers were caressing her inner thighs just outside her panties, and his thumb was stroking sweet circles around her tender flesh. She squirmed and spread her legs to give him better access. He bent and nibbled softly on her lower lip, then sucked it into his mouth. She breathed his breath, and it wasn’t nearly enough.

  “How much longer are you going to make me wait?” she nearly whined. She squeezed again, harder.

  “Ah! Don’t do that. Never mind, keep doing that. Harder next time. What?”


  “What did you say?”

  “I don’t remember. It would be much easier for you to fuck me,” she said helpfully, “if you lost the pants and the boxers.”

  “Thanks for the tip,” he said, so dryly that she laughed. “But that’s just what I’m afraid of. I—ah—am not in the habit of bringing condoms along on business trips.”

  “What, are you kidding?”


  Shit. She sighed and threw a forearm over her eyes. Shit, shit, shit. “Then you’d better get your hands out of my underpants.”

  “Well, I was thinking—”

  She sat up and shoved him off. “No, no, no. You’re right This was a bad idea. Very very very bad.”

  “Maybe we could improvise.”

  “What, Saran Wrap and a rubber band? Pass.” She stared at his bare chest She’d ripped his shirt open a little too roughly, she could see at least two buttons on the carpet. He had the absolute nicest chest. Lightly furred, with yummy tan quarter-sized nipples and amazingly denned abdominals. He really was very—

  “—else we can do?”

  He sounded so plaintive, she hid a smile. “This was nutty enough without risking my health—or my life. For all I know, you could be riddled with disease.”

  He snorted.

  “I know, I know, but we’re not a couple of horny teenagers with no impulse control.”

  “Funny,” he muttered, sitting up and pulling his shirt together. “I sure felt like one five minutes ago. Jesus, how many of my buttons did you eat?”

  Teenagers. No, they weren’t teenagers. Far from it.

  But that gave her a delicious idea. She abruptly straddled him and pushed him back until he was lying on the carpet.

  “What now?” he complained, but there was a gleam in his eye she quite liked.

  “Well… we’re pretty
charged up… and we’ve decided we’re not going to be careless…” She slid down a bit and began to wriggle against his hips. “But that doesn’t mean we have to walk away totally frustrated.”

  He caught on at once, and put his hands on her ass to pull her closer. She was wearing her panties and her socks, and nothing else. His shirt was open and his shoes were off, but other than that he was fully clothed. So when he pressed her to him and started to twist against her, the friction was absolutely delightful.

  “I haven’t gotten off like this since I was in college,” she giggled, rubbing against him.

  “Stop talking now,” he growled.

  “You’d have to gag me.”

  “Next time,” he promised. He yanked her down to him, holding her shoulders with bruising strength, and then his tongue thrust past her teeth and she groaned into his mouth.

  They rocked together; the only sound in the deserted office was their muffled gasps and groans. She felt his hands sliding down, cupping her breasts, forcing them together into deep cleavage, and then his fingers were rubbing her nipples, rolling them between his fingers, pinching them, while he thrust, writhed, against her, and she spun away into orgasm, clutching him so tightly she would later notice bruises on his shoulders.

  She was drenched, and not just with sweat. She gave not a shit. The only thing that mattered was that amazing feeling, the way her uterus contracted when the waves of pleasure—

  “Ah, Eric, that’s so good!”

  —crashed over her again. And again.

  His grip tightened a moment later, very close to pain, and then he relaxed. His forehead was sheened with sweat and he was panting lightly, as if he’d jogged around the block.

  “Oh my.”


  “That was awesome.”

  “To put it mildly.”

  She yawned. “I need a nap. It’s been a weird couple of days.”

  “I need to change my pants.”

  She giggled. “Gross.”

  “I’m gross? You’re the one who did this to me.” He pulled her beside him into a companionable embrace. “I haven’t had to—er—change my pants in the middle of the day since I was a teenager.”