Black and Blue (Page 11)

Black and Blue (Otherworld Assassin #2)(11)
Author: Gena Showalter

Blue wouldn’t destroy his relationship with the man just because his treacherous body wanted to spend a bit of quality time inside the Black Plague.

More than that, Blue hadn’t suddenly started liking her.

And more than that, he was engaged, and Evie wasn’t a job.

“Update,” he demanded.

She gaped at him. “Seriously? After everything I’ve done for you, you can’t start with ‘Thank you’? Instead, you have to bark a one-word order as if I’m a robo-dog that’s just supposed to obey?”

Could she never just let things roll? Did she have to make everything a freaking challenge?

“Thank you,” he gritted.

“You aren’t welcome,” she reported—and, strangely enough, it doused his irritation.

Despite everything, she sometimes amused him. The little spitfire was as unpredictable as a storm.

She crossed her arms over her chest. “I’d like an update, too, you know.”

“I’ll tell you everything,” he said with a nod. “But me first. Please.” He had to know.

Her eyes narrowed with suspicion as she said, “I have a feeling you say ‘me first’ to a lot of girls. And in this case, I doubt you know anything, anyway. But, fine. I haven’t heard from my father, but I do know a man was found at the explosion site and taken to the nearest hospital. That same man was soon moved out without any civilians knowing how, why, or where.”

“You think that man is Michael?”

“Yes. I also think he’s at a government-owned medical facility—”

“I know the one,” Blue interjected. “If he was taken there, he wouldn’t have stayed long, because he wouldn’t have known who to trust. The moment he was stabilized, he would have found a way out.”

She pinched the bridge of her nose, a wave of despair drifting from her. “I haven’t let myself worry about him—much—because I know he’s wily and strong and unbelievably determined, but it’s not like him to leave me in the dark.”

Yeah. That didn’t bode well. “Have you heard anything about John and Solo?”

“No. I’m sorry.”

She sounded sincere.

He nodded to let her know he’d heard her. Then he told her everything he remembered about the explosion. As he spoke, she turned her face away from him, as if she couldn’t bear for him to see whatever emotion shined there. He didn’t tell her that he could feel her sadness.

Was she thinking about her father in pain?

“So how’s the security here?” he asked, changing topics as an act of mercy.

She drew in a deep breath, and when she next met his gaze, he thought he saw a hint of gratitude. “It’s amazing. Of course. You haven’t been ambushed once, have you? You’re welcome, by the way.”

Don’t respond. You’ll only encourage her. “What do you use?”

Her shoulders squared with pride. “A system of my own creation.”

So . . . she was a skilled killer and a surgeon as well as a wire tech? Why was that so sexy? “Honey Badger, you’re clearly not as good as you think you are. I managed to get through your window without any problems.”

“ ‘Honey Badger’? Did you just call me ‘honey badger’?” She waved her fist at him. “Do it again and I’ll cut out your tongue to wear as a charm on my necklace. And I’ve already fixed the flaw that allowed you to break in.”

“So there was a flaw. Meaning . . . what? Say it with me. You’re not as good as you think you are.”

Her gaze threw daggers at him. “Anyone on Michael’s payroll was flagged in the system as permissible, just in case someone ever needed to come in and hide while I was away.”

A bona fide act of kindness. He didn’t want to think of her as the caring type, but did so anyway and responded accordingly, expression and voice softening. “That’s an excellent excuse for a subpar system,” he teased.

She hissed as if he’d stabbed her. “How dare you sink so low and insult my software! You take that back.”

Wow. She actually looked capable of murder just then. He realized he’d just found the line she’d drawn. The one he wasn’t ever to cross. Or bad things would happen. “Fine. I take it back.”

A moment passed before she got herself under control. “You may live.”

“Thank you.” He meant that. “Now, would you mind if I had a look around, checked things out?”

Though her expression remained blank, he felt a thrum of anger radiate from her. “Do what you want. But I’ll expect breakfast and a full report about how impressed you are when you’re done.”

“Breakfast I can do. I guess I owe you.”

“You guess?”

“And a report . . . why not? I just hope you can handle an honest critique—since you certainly know how to dish them.”

Hot color spread across her cheeks, and he once again had to deal with a throbbing hard-on.

Gotta stop reacting to her. Especially over stupid crap like that.

He rolled from the bed—and what the hell. It was difficult to leave her. First he swept through the entire house, inspecting it for cameras and bugs as well as any indication an uninvited guest had come through unnoticed. All was well. And, okay, all right, he had to give Evie props. Her system was utterly badass.

So was her home. There were four bedrooms and an office. She preferred bold colors, antique furniture, and modern finishes. She had hung pictures of her father, her sister, Claire, and her adopted sister, Eden, all over the walls. Blue had always considered Eden one of the most gorgeous women in the world, but just then he would have said Evie was the sexier of the two. By far. Something about the fragility of her bone structure, the humor lighting those mysterious, dark eyes. The mischievous curve of her smile.

A mischievous curve never more apparent than in the photos of Evie and Claire. . . . The girl died three years ago, yes? Yeah, he thought. Three years. Shortly after, Evie left the agency to work at the hospital.

He’d always wondered why.

Michael kept details about Claire’s death hush-hush, so Blue had no idea what had happened. And he didn’t like that he didn’t know, he realized.

Frowning, he turned away from the pictures and entered the game room. There was a pool table and a poker table, a dock for a large-screen television, and a huge sectional couch. The smoked-glass door in back led to a massive greenhouse.