True Deceptions (True Lies)(6)By: Veronica Forand
Simon smiled. A dimple emerged on his cheek and laugh lines appeared around his eyes, the kind that only formed after decades of happiness. It was so unexpected, it frightened her.
“Glad to see you have your limits. You appeared too timid to survive in the field. I refuse to work with someone like that. Too much fear will make you do inept things, causing one or both of our deaths. Goodnight.” His gaze drifted across her bared body parts before he turned and left the room.
Simon never woke up because he’d never fallen asleep. He spent his night staring at walls and trying to rid himself of the image of Cassie’s body. He couldn’t. Her perfect breasts and the blonde curls between her legs had been tattooed on his brain. And those long legs would look amazing on top of his sheets. Her sex goddess appearance, however, was only part of the problem with her. She embodied everything he didn’t want in a partner—inexperience, clumsiness, and a body he’d obsess over. Tucker must have planted her here as a joke. Simon didn’t appreciate the humor. The idiot had no respect for human life, only for outcomes.
Throwing on running shorts and a black T-shirt, he slipped into the small office next to his bedroom, sat at one of the two desks, and logged into his computer. Without knowing his target, he had no idea how useful Miss Cassie Watson would be. He didn’t have time to play around, so he entered a little known database that held the personnel files of MI6’s most valuable assets and located Cassie Watson. Her file was only a few weeks old. Ms. Watson, formerly known as Catherine Wallace, was thirty-one, was born on the second of January at Bristol General Hospital, and had a PhD in Computer Science. A brain in a centerfold’s body.
She’d taken a position at General Atomics, arriving at MI6 a year later. A robotics specialist with a focus on software development, and also a very capable hacker, she’d never experienced fieldwork. That was obvious. Despite remaining calm after he’d yanked her down, she didn’t respond defensively. No fight whatsoever. If he’d wanted to extract every bit of information in her head, he’d have had it in under two minutes.
He needed food. Slipping past the living room without a glance toward his new partner, he headed to the refrigerator. Orange juice, iced tea, beer, fruit, vegetables. No eggs? Milk was missing as well. Who stocked a fridge without eggs?
“You’re up early.” Her morning voice was deeper than the night before and sexy as hell.
Temptation stood next to the couch with tousled hair and sleepy eyes, wearing a short nightshirt—emphasis on the short part. Holy hell. Distractions killed, and her looks could disarm a man even if her fighting skills couldn’t.
“Did you do the shopping?”
She nodded and padded into the kitchen in bare feet and daisy toes.
“You forgot eggs and milk.”
“No, I didn’t. I don’t eat animal products.”
“Why not?” he shot back at her. His hunger had killed any small desire he might have to respond diplomatically.
“It’s just wrong.” She slipped past him without meeting his gaze and poured herself a glass of orange juice.
He tried to keep the scowl off his face, but her nonchalance pissed him off. The do-gooder attitude would screw up his work and his meals.
He stepped toward her to see if she’d back up. She did. “Milk is not an animal.”
“It comes from an animal.”
He stepped forward again, and she coughed into her hand. Either the orange juice or his presence didn’t agree with her.
This isn’t a game, pretty girl. This is a billion dollars, enough weapons to start an army, and a group of power hungry dealers who care more about profit margins than human—or animal—life
She didn’t back away when he pretended to pick something off her shoulder. It was a start. Perhaps the shrinking violet thing was all an act. Doubtful.
“Do you drink coffee?” Simon tried to be pleasant to her, but her apprehension bothered him.
She nodded, yet her eyes never met his.
“Good. Make the coffee. I’ll be back with a proper breakfast in an hour.” Some exercise and real food would help him empathize with this puzzle of a woman.
“You’re leaving?” Tension surfaced in her jaw, and she sucked in her bottom lip. She had amazing lips. Probably the most distracting thing about her, besides her legs.
He headed to the door and turned back toward her. “I work out every morning. I suggest you do the same. We’ll be busier in the afternoon and at night.”
“I plan on doing yoga this morning.” She opened a cabinet. “Don’t worry about the coffee, it’ll be ready when you return.”