Ocean Kills:Book One of Ocean Breeze(7)

By: Jade Hart


See? Dangerous. Very dangerous.

Our meals appeared, and we both smiled as the waiter laid the dishes with a flourish. “Itadakimasu.”

Callan repeated it with a grin, while I tucked into my teriyaki chicken.

My stomach growled, and my fingers fumbled with the chopsticks in my rush to eat.

On my second overstuffed mouthful, Callan cleared his throat. “When was the last time you ate?” Protectiveness shone in his eyes.

I rolled my eyes. He'd known me a couple of hours and moaned about my eating habits. Not gonna fly with me.

Forcing myself to slow down, I glared. “You only get one.”

“One what?”

“Question. Do you want me to answer where I'm from, or when I last ate?” I popped a piece of salmon sashimi in my mouth after drenching it with soy sauce and pickled ginger.

“You. Tell me where you're from.” Callan placed a piece of chicken in his mouth, his movements predatory, watchful. Eyes never leaving mine, he speared a piece of tuna sashimi with his chopsticks.

“My mum is from Cambodia. My dad is from England.” Crap. Was from Cambodia and England. When would I stop stumbling like that? “I was born and raised in Thailand before moving to Sydney when I was five.” Gathering some rice, I smiled. “That's it. I'm a mutt. I don't belong to any country or any nationality. I don't belong to anyone.” Get that hint, kangaroo boy?

“You're not that unusual, and it wasn't that long-winded either. I expected more.” His eyes dipped to focus on his teriyaki chicken.

Did he just insult me?

Despite myself, I was intrigued. “What do you count as unusual then? You? Mr. probably-never-left-Australia-in-his-life.”

He finished eating, before giving me a hard smile. “My dad is from Russia, my mum from New Zealand. But I was sent to boarding school in America. There, I joined a school exchange program and lived in Korea for a few years. I've only just returned to Sydney after living in Bali for five years. I speak two languages and have a law degree.”

That was quite a resume. But it all begged the question: What was he doing as a foot cop in the seediest part of Sydney? Why wasn't he a detective or a lawyer? “You’ve whet my appetite, Officer Callan.”

He choked.

I laughed, enjoying his discomfort. Men were just too easy to manipulate.

Licking my lips, to further the bloom of embarrassment on his cheeks, I added, “You're a puzzle, and I like puzzles.” Rather, I liked solving puzzles to find if darkness lurked behind them. And by solving, I meant killing. “Lucky for you, I've been to all those countries you speak of and I’m fluent in three languages.” I smiled sweetly. “Considering I dropped out of school at fourteen, I think that's a big achievement compared to some college graduate.”

Callan swallowed his mouthful. “There’s no passport on file for you. You're lying about the travel.”

My stomach clenched; the pulse in my temple warned I was perilously close to disappearing.

I shrugged, hiding my indignation. “You don't know anything about me, Officer Callan. Don't assume everything you need to know is in that little file of yours.”

“Stop calling me that.”

“What?”

“My name is Callan. Just Callan. I'm not on duty now.”

“Well, you won't be able to claim this dinner as an office expense then. Pity.” I rolled my eyes, and finished the last piece of chicken.

Callan watched me chew; the tension between us was so thick I tasted it. He took a sip of Coke. A small dewdrop remained on his lip. “I want to see you again.”

I refused to give in to the jolt in my belly. I cocked my head haughtily. “You told me I scared you. Why on earth would you want to see me again?”

Nerves danced in his eyes; he rubbed the back of his neck. Any other girl would have been swept away by the endearing, rejected look he wore. Not me. Of course not me.

My stomach clenched. Get a grip. He is the law. The enemy. Time to leave, Ocean. You've overstayed as it is.

I made to stand, but Callan's hand shot out and grabbed mine. “Do you have a phone number I can call you on?”

“What? So you can take care of me? Make sure I'm safe and well fed?” I laughed. “I don’t need taking care of. Now take your paws off me.” I glared at his hand until he dropped it. “Chase some other tail.”

He stood. I didn't like the look in his eyes. Gone was the calculating surfer boy trying to read me, replaced with a hard-edged cop who wanted what he couldn't have. “I want to chase you. You're like me. I can tell.”

Now that was the most ridiculous thing I'd ever heard. “Yeah. Okay, Callan. We're both so alike.”

I planned on running out the door while he paid the cheque, but it was obvious with the way his body guarded the exit that it wouldn’t be that easy. Fine. I had another plan.

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