True Deceptions (True Lies)(5)

By: Veronica Forand

She wasn’t a threat to anyone. She hadn’t even argued when they’d reassigned her. After months of intense training, she still hesitated to shoot at inanimate objects and had never developed the calm, cool demeanor necessary for undercover work. She acted like a spacey schoolgirl from Southern California. No wonder he’d shown her no respect. Secret agent stuff didn’t appeal to her. She much preferred working at headquarters over this grungy apartment.

Her ineptness became clear when she’d failed the firearms training and barely made it through one-on-one combat. Her only skills aside from computer science were her ability to memorize a hundred different faces shown to her in random order and her speed through the obstacle course. Not exactly skills Simon seemed to care about.

Several times in the training process, she’d argued with her superiors about her lack of ability. They’d disagreed, insisting she’d be an asset in the field. By the time she’d entered her third month of training, they refused her request to go back to her old job until she successfully completed her mystery task. She could accept her new position or leave the service. It was like they’d removed her from her job permanently. She wasn’t even allowed to speak to her old colleagues in her department.

Instead of dwelling on the negatives of the situation, she needed to get practical. Her suitcase with her pajamas and toothbrush sat on the floor in the bedroom. His bedroom.

She got up and went to the bedroom, then opened the door and tiptoed into the dark room. The light from the hall illuminated a path from the door to the center of the bed. Simon was stretched out atop it, wearing boxer shorts and nothing else. His jeans and T-shirt lay in a heap on the floor. He watched her in silence, hands resting behind his head.

If the devil came to tempt her, he’d arrive in the form of Simon Dunn.

She’d seen hundreds of hot guys while surfing the beaches in Southern California. Simon, however, was not only graced with abs of steel, arms of well-defined muscle, and a handsome face, his body appeared molded by Roman gods for purely hedonistic activities. His expression conveyed a bored resignation with life. His tightly cropped hair gave him a military appearance, and his eyes were the bluest eyes she’d ever seen, even bluer than her own.

“Are you standing in my room for any particular reason, or simply sightseeing?” His deep voice caused her insides to vibrate as though standing near a subwoofer.

“Suitcase. I need my suitcase.” She turned away from him and grabbed it. “I’ll leave it in the hall closet.”


She paused at the door, waiting for him to say “good night,” “nice to meet you,” or even “I hate your presence in my flat.”


She turned around and smiled. “Yes?”

“Shut the door when you leave.” He rolled onto his stomach and pulled the pillow over his head.

“Sure thing, boss.” She waved at his back then closed the door and sighed.

This was so far over her comfort zone. Like sky diving was to a person who preferred strolling through a park at dawn.

She wouldn’t make it one week with him. She’d gladly work with someone less scary. No, scary wasn’t the word to use for Simon. Overwhelming. He overwhelmed all of her senses and made her feel naked and vulnerable.

She moved into the bathroom and remained staring at the wall until her heart slowed to a steadier beat. Stripping off her jeans and shirt, she jumped into the shower and let the hot water ease her stress. Washing her hair with orange blossom shampoo and feeling the lather slide down her body placed her close to nirvana. She turned the water off and tried to be positive. She’d survive as she’d survived the death of her mother—one day at a time.

Her arm stretched across the room for her towel at the same moment the door opened. Simon stared directly at her uncovered chest and then moved his glance down her body. The only part hidden was her backside.

What the…

She flung the towel around her and stepped over the edge of the tub. Heat covered her face like a crimson veil.

“Hey,” she hollered. “The door was locked.”

He leaned against the wall, looking almost bored. “I’m locked out of nothing here. Do you understand?”

The calming effect of the shower disappeared. All of her fears and insecurities emerged. They’d said the assignment would push her boundaries, but she’d never thought the mission through. This wasn’t a challenge. This was hell on Earth.

“I have no bed, my previous existence has been erased, I’m assigned to the devil, and now I have zero privacy? Wrong.” Her voice lifted to an octave below a screech. She stepped toward him and poked him in the chest. He didn’t move. “I will have privacy. Unless you are stopping terrorists bent on killing me in the shower, you will never, and I mean never, enter this bathroom while I’m inside.” She thought about poking him again, but she hated violence and would already be berating herself all night over her outburst.

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