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Authors: Desconhecido(a)

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BOOK: Do You Trust Me?
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As they moved into
the living room, he looked around at the rambling, adobe ranch style house. “Not
bad.”

The one time he’d
visited her she’d still been in her condo. Now she tried to see this new home
through his eyes. Hardwood floors gleamed in the slanting sunlight and fabrics
of soft colors covered the furniture. Wide windows opened the house to bright
light that swept over the artifacts displayed everywhere. It was a reflection
of her personality. If he didn’t like it, that was his problem.

Meanwhile, she had
other things on her mind. Like finding out just what John had been involved in
and exactly how she was supposed to figure out who to give the locket to. Because
John sure didn’t explain a hell of a lot. Maybe if she had more information...

Surely John didn’t
expect her to wait around indefinitely for someone to give some kind of signal.

“Exactly how long do you
plan to stay here?” she asked McCall. Conflict raged inside her. She wanted him
gone. No. She wanted him to stay.

This is making me
crazy.

McCall studied her
for the space of two heartbeats. “For as long as it takes. Hopefully before the
worst case scenario plays itself out.”

“I’m going to take a
shower and change.” She started up the stairs. “You can pick whichever one of
the guest rooms pleases you.”

He closed a hand on
her arm, stopping her on the second step. “I said we needed to talk when we got
here. We should do it now.”

“About what?” Her fingers
tightened on the banister as she swallowed back her edginess.

“All right. Do you
want to come into the kitchen? I’ll put on some coffee.”

“I’m coffee’d out,
but I could use something cold.”

“Fine.”

Rina poured orange
juice for both of them, then sat down at the kitchen table across from him. She
waited, knots twisting in her stomach while he took off his sunglasses and
brushed his hair back from his face, obviously choosing his words carefully.

“This is not an easy
conversation for me, Rina.” He watched her face as he spoke.

“That already sounds
like I’m not going to like it.” Rina sipped her juice, watching him over the
rim of the glass.

“I just want to lay
it all out on the table so there’s no misunderstanding here. So you have one
last chance to say, ‘thanks, but no thanks.’” His voice was flat and
uninflected.

“Correct me if I’m
wrong, but I thought last night we were...developing something. I thought we
were going to talk about how we could make this work.” She clenched her fists
in her lap. “Silly me.”

“Listen to me.” He
fiddled with his glass. “There’s no way we can get around what’s happening
between us. Believe me, I’d give everything if we could. Not because of you but
because of me. Of what I am. Despite last night, despite your willingness to
try...whatever I want, I can only be trouble for you. You deserve more than I
can give you, but I’m warning you. If you don’t shut it down now, I’ll take
everything you’ve got.”

She stiffened her
spine. “You asked me to trust you. I thought that meant we could try to work
things out. See where this goes.” She tucked her hair behind one ear. She hated
the telling blush creeping up her cheeks as memories of the erotic things they’d
done slammed into her. “You can’t take what I’m not willing to give. It’s my
choice, too, McCall.”

His mouth tightened. “You
think I didn’t like what we did? That I don’t want more? How many times do I
have to tell you? It’s not you, Rina, it’s me. When I said I was poison, I
meant it.” He took a careful swallow of his drink and set it down slowly. “I
have so much baggage I need a truck to haul it around. And despite your
willingness to...experiment with me, I worry that ultimately, it will be too
much for you. That I’ll be too much for you. That you won’t be able to deal
with the shields I have to put up during the day.”

“I’m not a child,
McCall.” Her fists were so tight her nails dug into her palms.
Shut up
,
she wanted to yell at him.
I know what I’m doing.
But did she? And how
could she offer her body on a platter to a man she still wasn’t sure she could
trust with John’s secret.

Her head was
beginning to ache.

“The smartest thing
for you to do,” he went on, “would be to lock yourself behind your door until
this is all over. And while I’m sitting here warning you, telling you what you
should do, I’m hoping you’ll ignore what I’m saying. So I guess that makes me
the asshole of the year.”

Rina let out a
tremulous sigh. “Let’s cut to the chase here, shall we? What’s the bottom line?”

“That I can’t make
myself not want you. That I’ll take you in ways you’ve never even heard of.
That I don’t know what I have to give beyond the physical. If I could find the
strength to do it, I’d tell you to kick my ass out of here and call Sully to
demand a replacement. But I can’t. So it means I’ll have to work extra hard not
to let myself be distracted from my assignment, and that’s why during the day
we’re little more than strangers.” He let out a deep, agonized sigh. “And,
finally, it means I won’t need one of the guest bedrooms. I’ll be sleeping in
yours.”

Her stomach unknotted and did a little flip as the total effect of what he was saying hit her.

“What is it you’re so
afraid of, McCall?”

He took a swig of his
orange juice before answering her. “Nothing. Everything. Things I can never
talk to you about. Maybe whatever this is will just burn itself out. God knows
we’d both be better off.”

So. Whatever happened
in his past must have nearly destroyed him. He couldn’t put it behind him. It
couldn’t just be some woman who ran from the D/s relationship, even though she
expected McCall to be a very controlling yet giving Dom. It had to be more than
that. And, damn it, she couldn’t ask Sully for help on this one.

Great. Let’s fuck
ourselves to death so we can get over each other. I can hardly wait.

She had to swallow
twice before she could speak without scratching his eyes out. “If that’s the
way you feel, why are we doing this?”

“Because we both want
it.” His voice was flat, his face expressionless. “It’s either this or both of
us driving each other nuts. And compromising the mission.”

“And you consider
that a valid reason?” she spat at him.

His eyes drew her,
the gray now a stormy black. “Rina, the choice is yours. All you have to do is
say no.”

No.

The word echoed in
her head, but she couldn’t make her lips form it. Why was she punishing herself
by agreeing to this stupid situation? Because, truth to tell, she’d wanted him
from the very first time John introduced them. Because he was the man in all
her erotic fantasies, the one who made her nipples harden and every erotic
pulse in her body beat a furious tempo. Because in bed, McCall brought her a
wildness she’d never known. For however long it lasted, she wanted it. Because,
right now, it was the only thing that could blot out the terror invading her
life.

So if that was all
she could have, she’d take it. No matter what that made her look like.

He waited the space
of one more heartbeat. Two. Then he nodded.

“Fine. Then we’re
done talking.” A muscle jumped in his cheek. “That works out just fine. I have
two main objectives here—to protect you and to find out why you were at the
townhouse.”

“Anything else?” she
asked, trying to be as matter-of-fact as he was.

“Yeah. My social
skills suck, so I’m sure to piss you off with great regularity. Consider
yourself warned.”

She burst out
laughing, as much a release from tension as anything else. “Fine. Then you won’t
mind if I kick your ass now and then.”

He smiled. It was
obvious he was using unfamiliar muscles to do so. “So. Let’s get settled in.”

They both rose from
the table at the same time, bodies bumping. She put out her hands to keep from
stumbling and came into contact with the hard wall of his chest. His hands
reached up to cover hers, his hips shifting just enough that she could feel his
erection press against the soft flesh of her tummy. His breath hissed.

“Jesus, I can’t look
at you for five minutes without getting hard.” He rubbed their joined hands
over her nipples. “I see something else gets hard, too.”

She lifted her face
at the same time he bent his head, and he took her mouth in a kiss that sent
heat through every nerve and muscle in her body. He did that thing with his
tongue, sweeping and tasting, that almost made her climax just standing there.

When he broke the
kiss, she wanted to wail at him to come back. Not to stop. The only sound in
the room was the uneven rasping of their breath. Her heart was still galloping
in her chest and her breathing hadn’t quite returned to normal.

McCall carefully
stepped away from her. “Go take your shower. I need to go through every room in
this house again as well as the outside perimeter.”

Rina stood for a long
time in the shower, hoping the pounding water would wash the cobwebs out of her
brain. How had she let herself get into this fix? McCall was a taker, no mistake
about it. Even his rare gentleness had a demanding edge to it. But after that
first night so many months ago, she’d known if the chance presented itself
again, she’d be right where she was. Rapidly becoming addicted.

She touched the
locket at her throat.

I’m not forgetting
you, John. I just wish I knew if this whole thing with McCall is the signal you
told me to look for or if I’m just fooling myself.

By the time she
turned off the water, her brain was just as muddled as before. When she went back
downstairs again, freshly showered and dressed in slacks and a silk blouse, McCall
was waiting for her in the hallway.

“Your security stinks,”
he told her.

“I’m a writer. How
much security do I need?”

“A lot more than you’ve
got. But that’ll be taken care of tomorrow when Gage and Les get here. I just
wish we didn’t have to wait until then, but they’re finishing up a priority
assignment. Now. What’s your routine?”

“Excuse me?”

“You know, what do
you do when you get up in the morning until you go to bed at night? Do you have
places you go? Do people come here? We have to make some arrangements, but a
lot depends on your schedule. What does a writer do with her day?”

“She writes,” she told
him. “What else?”

“Can the smart mouth.
I need to have details.”

“All right. Whatever.
Right now I’m working on a new book. I spend most of each morning in my den,
writing. Afternoons I run errands, cook, bake, do something to let my mind
relax and open itself to new ideas. Then I write again for two hours or so
before I quit for the day.”

“Are people likely to
call? Come over?”

“Of course.” She
flapped a hand in the air. “I’m not a hermit.”

“We’ll need to be
ready for that. They’ll ask questions about me.” He frowned. “Anyone who’s
especially likely to stick his or her nose into your business?”


You’re
sticking your nose
into my business,” she pointed out.

“What about a
boyfriend?”

She had to laugh at
that. “Isn’t it a little late to be worrying about any men in my life?”

“Well, do you?” His
voice was heavy with impatience.

The smile disappeared
and anger seeped into her voice. “Do you really think I’d be falling into bed
and having wild monkey sex with you if I had a man in my life? Is that how you
see me, McCall?”

“Okay. Sorry. I told
you I’d piss you off.”

She grinned. “So you
did.” Then she sobered. “Back to your question. I need to find a way to explain
you to my friends. My agent. My publicist. Yes, there are people woven into my
life who will ask questions, for God’s sake.”

“Fine. Where did you
live before San Antonio?”

She cocked an eyebrow
at him. “Where did I live? Detroit. Why?”

He made a face. “What
a God-awful place. No wonder you moved. All right. I know enough about Detroit to fake it. I’m an old lover from the Motor City who’s just shown up in town.”

Rina closed her eyes
for a moment, dizzy with the turn of events. She had the feeling she was on a
runaway train that was unstoppable.

“Just follow my lead,”
he added, “and you won’t get into trouble.”

“I’m already in more
trouble than I can handle,” she muttered under her breath.

“Did you say
something?”

She just shook her
head. “Listen, I need to get to the grocery store. I hadn’t planned on having a
guest, and I’m a little low on groceries.”

“Good. That will give
me a chance to check out the neighborhood. Map it in my mind.”

“Map it?” She raised
her eyebrows.

“See how easy it
could be for someone to cruise by your house, get onto your property, get away
if they’re spotted.”

BOOK: Do You Trust Me?
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