She never offered one, and he could only wonder what that meant. That she didn’t have a man and was embarrassed, or that she did—as the sweatpants and boxers suggested—and wanted him kept out of agency business . . . kept safe.
The thought ticked Blue off, and it had nothing to do with wanting her for himself. He’d been sleeping in her bed. He simply didn’t like the thought of sharing sheets with some lame ass**le who was going to end up with a broken face the next time he put his skeevy hands on Evie Black!
You want to fight the guy now? Seriously?
He forced himself to get back to work, and searched for articles about Solomon Judah and John No Last Name. There wasn’t a single mention of either male. But then, neither had ever led a public life. When Solo wasn’t working, he spent his time at some hick backwater farm without any kind of modern convenience (shudder). And John . . . well, Blue wasn’t sure what John did in his off time. The warrior had secrets, and Blue and Solo never pressed.
I have to find them.
When a friend’s life was at stake, he had to question everything and everyone. Nothing could be overlooked. Every piece of information had to be verified.
Blue leaned back in the chair and ran a hand through his hair, swiveling to face Evie. Beautiful, irritating Evie.
“John and Solo are out there. They need me.”
Her expression softened, and she nodded. “Believe me, I know how you feel. My father is out there, too.”
He was struck by the most insane urge to pull her into his lap and hug her close. To offer comfort . . . and to take it. “I won’t stop until all three are safe. You have my word.”
“Good,” she said. “Because I won’t stop, either. I’m officially on the case.”
Uh, what now? “Counteroffer. You go back to the hospital and let the big boy do all the heavy lifting. I’ll report in at least once a day. You’ll never have to wonder what’s going on.”
She shook her head, ponytail dancing. “My counter to your counter. Go screw yourself.”
“I have. It’s not actually half-bad.”
Her eyes narrowed. “Pig.”
“A name I’ll wear with pride. But take a moment to think this through. As Michael’s daughter, I’m your superior. What I say goes.”
Please. “Give me an order. Let’s see what happens.”
Looking ready to spit nails, she said, “I’m helping, Blue. Got it?”
“No. You’re not an agent anymore. You’ll only get in my way.” And possibly get one or both of them killed.
Anger sparked in those chocolate eyes. “News flash. You’re either going to work with me, or against me. One way or another, I’m investigating. But before you decide, maybe think back and remember what happened to the people who got in my way during my agenting days.”
They’d ended up in the hospital, either physically ill or physically broken. “Coincidence.”
Wow. Way to stand up for what you don’t believe in, Blue.
Her grin was cold and certain. “Step one of my solo mission. Proving you wrong. I hope you enjoy raging diarrhea.”
Fine. Why should he care if she got hurt?
Michael, that’s why. Right. Not Blue’s ongoing . . . attraction to her. There. He’d admitted it. It wasn’t just arousal. Wasn’t something he could tuck away and easily forget. Horror of horrors, some part of him found the moody woman appealing. And sexy. And sensual. And thrilling.
Arguing with her turned him on.
Who are you trying to fool? You’ve been turned on since the moment you woke up.
Maybe it was the forbidden aspect of their relationship. Yeah. That had to be it. He couldn’t have her, so of course he craved her. Like the sugar he loved but couldn’t eat, because it screwed the hell out of his heartbeat.
“What about your real job?” he asked, trying one last time to get rid of her.
She grinned again, but it was smug this time. “My father owns St. Anthony. Bought it just for me, in fact. So I can take off as many days as I want.”
“My review of you as an employee?” He gave her a thumbs-down.
“I’m torn up inside. Really.”
Was he ever going to win one of their disagreements?
“Give me a day to figure things out and make a plan. Plus I need to sneak home, check out my house, make sure no one broke in or took anything, and gather a few supplies. Tomorrow I’ll know whether I should stay dead or miraculously come back to life, and we’ll go to the explosion site together. It’s the only place I know to start.”
She thought for a moment, then gave another nod. “All right. Okay. But know this. If you’re lying to me, trying to ditch me, I’m going to hunt you down and make you wish you’d actually burned to death.”
If anyone could do it, he thought, it would be her.
Great. Something else to like about her. Follow-through.
He needed to get back to hating her. Like now. Otherwise, resisting her would be more difficult than it already was, and he didn’t need difficult right now.
He needed answers.
THE WINDOWS IN EVIE’S car were tinted so dark, Blue didn’t have to hide in back during the drive home. He sat up front, marveling that the world had continued on without him. It was morning, so people strode along the sidewalks, rushing off to work. Lines formed in front of the coffee shops. A team of pickpockets swept through the crowds, liberating wallets and jewelry.
For the first ten minutes, neither Blue nor Evie said a word, and he was glad. They’d argued all the way into the garage.
“Be on the lookout for tails,” he’d said. “Before and after you drop me off.”
“Duh. I do know what I’m doing, bluebonnet.”
“And make sure you do a visual sweep of your entire property line when you return, just in case someone—”
“Dude! I know.”
Now he was too busy battling his body to spar with her. Her honey-almond scent saturated the entire vehicle. He kept imagining easing her to her back and pinning her with his weight. Sliding his hands under her shirt . . . then her jeans. Touching every inch of her. Kissing and tasting every inch of her.
He cursed. He needed to buy her a new body lotion. Maybe one called Dog Crap and Old Sneakers. Or Locker Room Man-Sweat.
At the fifteen-minute mark, Evie broke the silence. “Hey, Sir Sexalot. We’re almost there.”
Thank God. Escape. “Notice I don’t threaten you when you call me ridiculous names.”