Get your copy of Homeland Security here!
The heavy door swung open. Fully expecting another black clad, automatic rifle bearing commando like the ones that had dragged her from her apartment, Katie's jaw dropped when a tall, broad frame wearing a tuxedo filled the space. His form almost completely blocked out any light from the hallway. Katie sucked in a breath.
"Good evening, Ms. McCoy." Tuxedo man stepped through the door, not making eye contact as he studied the file in his hand.
He didn't have to introduce himself. She knew exactly who he was. Oh crap. Would he remember her?
"I'd shake your hand or curtsy or something if I weren't attached to this stupid table." Katie scowled for effect but he still wasn't looking at her. Instead, he chuckled as he settled himself in a chair opposite hers, stretching his long legs underneath the table.
"Don't worry, Miss. Despite the fact that I missed a delicious prime rib dinner this evening I will not bite you." That explained the tux.
"You mean you don't always dress that way for an interrogation? Don't I feel special now?" she snapped, unable or unwilling to bite back the sarcasm as she sat as far back in her chair as she could.
Finally he looked at her. She saw the quick gleam of recognition before it disappeared.
He knew who she was.
"See anything you like?" Katie grumbled, resisting the urge to squirm under his blue gaze.
"What's your name?" the man asked casually, although Katie knew casual had nothing to do with it.
"You know my name. You just used it. Stop trying to butter me up and get down to business. I'm sure you know everything about me. I mean, I doubt those commandos of yours kidnap random women for fun on a Friday night. Or maybe they do?" She noticed the man watching her with the slightest hint of a smile.
"Are you always so defensive?" He eyed her again, as if seeing straight into her soul.
Her blood started to percolate a little in her veins under the intensity of his scrutiny. Aggravation, that's all. What other explanation could there be for the sudden rise in her internal temperature.
"McCoy. My name is Katie McCoy. And only when I have been kidnapped by a bunch of Special Forces wanna-be's. That tends to ruffle my feathers a bit, Mr…?" Two could play his game.
"James. Agent James."
"Your mother not like you much?"
He eyed her questioningly. "What's that supposed to mean?"
"She named you 'Agent', so she must not have liked you very much."
The man chuckled and she almost smiled in return until she went to push a stray hair behind her ear and realized handcuffs still held her to the steel table.
"It's Kaiden, Ms. McCoy. Agent Kaiden James."
"Agent of what agency?"
"Well, aren't you full of questions tonight?" He winked at her as he leaned back in his chair.
Katie scowled at him across the small space. "I always have a lot of questions when I am dragged from my home in my pajamas in the middle of the night."
Agent Kaiden James looked at his watch. The same military style, digital type Nathan used to wear. Katie scowled again. The memory of her ex-fiancé was not what she needed to be thinking about.
"It's barely nine in the evening, Ms. McCoy. I would hardly call it the middle of the night. Do you always dress for bed at dinner time?"
"I wasn't exactly expecting any company," she shot back.
"No, I suppose you weren't." He fiddled with his watch again, eyes narrowing as he studied the illuminated face. She didn't remember him being so pensive the last time they had met. Of course he had been under the influence of some strong narcotics. When would he admit that he knew her?
"Why am I here, Agent James?"
"Please, call me Kaiden."
"Fine, Kaiden, why am I here?'
"Do you really expect me to believe that you have no idea why you are here?"
"Yes, I do. Apparently making a frozen pizza is a capital offense in this part of the world."
In another place, under other circumstances, silk, satin and lace rubbing up on him would have been a turn on. At one in the morning, in a building that smelled of dust and must, nothing got turned on except his allergy response. He needed an antihistamine and a cup of coffee in the worst way. And maybe a sandwich. Or some fried chicken. His stomach rumbled at the thought of hot, moist fried chicken and buttermilk biscuits. He had missed dinner, after all.
He caught Katie's eye over a display of animal print push up bras. His blood warmed pleasantly as she smiled at him. A hunger of a different sort clenched in his gut.
"I'm sorry," she said. "I know it's late but I can't stomach the thought of anything that man touched on my skin. I want to grab a couple of things to hold me until I can get to the mall."
"Take your time. You might not be able to go home for a few days so grab what you need," Kaiden responded with more conviction than he felt. He nodded at a leopard print push-up in front of him. "That looks nice." It would look real nice on Katie. Forget about his allergy response, everything started to warm up.
"Agent James! I had no idea you had such a wild side to you!"
"I'm not all business all the time you know. And please, call me Kaiden already. I am pretty sure we have gone beyond formal. Not every woman I meet gives me a sponge bath." He winked at her as a blush formed on her cheeks.
"We probably shouldn't discuss that. Nurse-patient privilege or something." She reached for a deep emerald satin and lace set that would look like the jewel of the same tone against her creamy skin and bring out the green in her hazel eyes.
"I don't think there is any such thing. Besides, it's something I certainly enjoy thinking about."
He watched as the flush in her cheeks darkened by at least three shades. Kaiden couldn't help but wonder if Nurse Katie had ever thought about him. Of course not, you idiot, she was engaged! Still, during his stay in the hospital they had definitely shared a flirtation. Apparently it ended at flirting since she had a boyfriend the entire time. The pain meds had probably colored the experience, making it something more in his mind than it had actually been.
"All right then it must be off-limits for a secret agent to discuss such things with a suspect."
Kaiden laughed. "There is nothing secret about this agent. You know who I am and what I do and I'm fairly certain the only thing you are guilty of is bad judgment in men."
And just for an extra spring treat...Meet Clara, the James Matriarch with attitude...Excerpt 3
Clara peered out the door, squinting at him. "That you, Kaiden?" she called out.
"It's me, Ma! You got your glasses on?"
"You know I hate those things, boy. Besides, don't need glasses to see that monstrosity of a vehicle of yours. Didn't know I raised a boy with such self-confidence issues."
"Come on, Ma, you know I just like big trucks."
"You know what they say about a man with a big truck… he's compensating for other smaller things.""Ma!"
Clara opened the door and stepped through, toting her favorite shot gun over her shoulder. "Come here, boy, and give your mother a hug."
With a glance at Katie, Kaiden jogged over to his mother and grabbed her up in a bear hug, spinning her around before setting her back on the ground. Clara giggled like a little girl. "Just like your daddy, you really know how to sweep a girl off her feet!"
"Only you, Ma. I don't seem to have that touch with the rest of the ladies."
Clara looked past him at where Katie still stood. "Well, now, look what the cat dragged in. I can't believe Kaiden found you again. I was pretty certain he was going to be pining after you for a lifetime. Dumb fool left the hospital without even getting your number!"
"What? I'm an old lady. We say what's on our mind in case we lose our mind before we get another chance."
Katie's face reddened as she offered her hand to Clara. Clara chuckled but ignored the other woman's outstretched hand, instead grabbing her up in a hug. "No one's a stranger round here."