A Breath Away(6)

By: Wendy Etherington


“I don’t appreciate you dragging my cousin into this,” she said when she finally stopped pacing, planting her hands on her hips and glaring at him.

“I needed protection. I asked a trusted advisor for guidance.”

“One who just happens to be my cousin. You had to know.”

He’d known. His friendship with Lucas had just been a happy by-product of his deep-seated need to find out more about the lady currently scowling at him.

In fact, he could admit—at least to himself—that he had a miniobsession when it came to Jade Broussard. Ever since he’d seen the first NSA case file involving her, he’d researched her, wondered about her and even sought out her cousin in the hopes of someday meeting her.

After last night’s shooting, she seemed the obvious choice to help him solve a lifelong mystery. She’d single-mindedly gotten revenge for her family. Maybe she could do the same for him.

“I certainly check out all my advisors before taking them on,” he said finally.

“Do you ever give anybody a straight answer?”

He smiled faintly. “Not if I can help it.” Just for the thrill, he let his gaze slide down her body, which was surprisingly curvy for such a fierce and serious woman. “Surely, it’s the same for you.”

“Very few people ask me questions,” she said.

“Too intimidated?”

“I imagine.”

“You’ll have a hard time affecting me the same way, Jade.”

Her shoulders jerked at his use of her first name. She clearly didn’t like the intimacy. She liked their attraction even less.

Ironically, he relished her presence.

After talking himself out of contacting her for so long—deciding she wouldn’t want anything to do with a former thief—having her close was an interesting kind of torture.

She would never understand what had driven him to his former life. Yet, despite the philosophical distance between them, his blood sizzled hotter every minute they were together. He had to curl his hands into fists to keep from reaching for her.

He’d snuck into her bed to rattle her, to see if the effect she had on him from a distance would strengthen when they touched. But even he hadn’t anticipated being knocked so far off balance. He hadn’t expected the temptation to be so strong.

“I want some answers from you, Tremaine,” she said as she resumed pacing. “I want them now and I want them straight, or I’m dumping you and going back home.”

“No compassion for an old colleague?”

“No.”

“I was shot, you know.”

“Whoopee. Been there myself a few times.”

Though he’d known this, he raised his eyebrows. “Who got the jump on you?”

“An electronics thief who wanted to turn Miami Beach into his own personal illegal superstore for assorted bad guys. Still have the scar on my upper thigh.”

That would have been Romildo Ramirez. “And how did he make out?”

Her gaze raked him. “Not as well as you obviously did.”

“Just a scratch for me, I’ll admit. But still a rather rude end to a lovely dinner.”

“Who’d want to shoot you over dinner?”

“That’s what I want you to find out.”

“Dinner with whom? About what?”

All business, this one. Something else he’d known—a quality that was good for his case, though maybe not for his libido. “Is there any chance of you calling me Remy?”

Her vivid green eyes flashed. “No.”

“We’re going to be pretty…intimate over the next couple of weeks.”

“We’re going to be close professionally. Close and intimate are two different things. Dinner—who and what?”

She didn’t trust him at all. Smart woman. “I was having dinner with a female friend. A personal female friend,” he clarified, though he was sure she’d figured that already. “She enjoys my taste in wine and new restaurants. My interest in art, frankly, baffles her, but then we don’t often go into deep discussions about light and symmetry.”

Jade smirked. “I’m sure.”

“She’s a charming companion when I’m between buying trips. Or, for our purposes, between cases.”

“Which you are now?”

“For the most part. I’d just started on some research for a new project.”

“So this shooting is personal?”

“I think so.”

She stopped, glancing at him. “Related to your past.”

“Yes.”

“Who?”

“I have several people in mind.”

Her eyes flashed with anger. “Thieves?”

She would never understand his past. He resisted the urge to sigh. He knew this, after all. “They all have illegal connections.”

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