Delicious Torment(2)

By: Linsey Lanier


Parker nodded imperceptibly. “She’s part owner with her family.”

Miranda angled her head. “Got the bag. Nice extra bit of identifying evidence.”

“Outstanding.”

Witherspoon reached up casually to caress Simmons’s neck. The woman turned to him with an I’m-all-yours smile, and gave him a full-lipped kiss with a bit of tongue. Would have been a charming scene—if Witherspoon weren’t married to somebody else.

Miranda growled under her breath. “That’s right, buddy. Go for it. I’ve got you covered.”

“Down, tigress.” Parker’s low laugh caressed her ear. “You’re enjoying this, aren’t you?”

She caught herself before she could smile, shrugged instead. “You know I don’t like cheaters.” Especially after trailing the bastard on her last case who’d been sleeping around on a friend. As well as beating her.

“And you know I don’t either. But are you sure you can focus? Perhaps this exercise is a bit much after—”

“I can focus just fine.” She fidgeted with her paper napkin and shot her boss a wary look. Why did Wade Russell Parker the Third have to be so darn sexy?

Those sharp, Magnum-gray eyes that could both warm you with passion, then freeze with disapproval. The salt-and-pepper sprinkled through his dark hair that he wore just over his ears. His finely tailored, dark blue suit. That distinguished, middle-aged face. That irresistible magnetism. No wonder he could turn the head of every available woman in Atlanta—a fact she had witnessed more than a few times. Since the death of his wife three years ago, Parker had been the most eligible bachelor in town.

He leaned in a little closer, those steamy gray eyes of his brimming with testosterone-fired attraction. “Are you sure you’re all right?” He let a finger trail down her arm.

Miranda swallowed as goosebumps bombarded her flesh. She cleared her throat. They’d talked about this. After her recent ordeal, she couldn’t take much more than a causal friendship, even if they had gone through that ordeal together. Even if they had slept together just a few weeks ago.

“Yes. I’m just peachy.” She shifted away and concentrated on her targets. “This outing is business, isn’t it?”

He sat back again, his gaze still piercing. “Absolutely. Why would it be anything else?”

Liar.

Yesterday afternoon, when he’d plopped the file on her desk and asked if she wanted to work this weekend, she knew he had something up his sleeve. This assignment didn’t call for the chief investigator and president of the Parker Agency and his best trainee.

This morning, when he’d picked her up in his midnight blue Lamborghini, held the door for her, told her the form-fitting red-and-white sundress he’d given her to wear as a “disguise” looked stunning with her dark hair, she knew this excursion had all the trappings of a date. Parker was making an excuse to be with her, trying to keep her from moping around her apartment alone this weekend.

While the camera caught Pretty Boy and Simmons gaping at each other again, he leaned in and exhaled against her ear. “You’re doing an excellent job.”

She shifted in her chair, ignoring the chill bumps skittering down her back at the warmth of his breath. “Thanks, but you already said that.”

“Did I?”

In a deft move, he slipped an arm along the back of her chair, with a lot more charm and subtlety than Witherspoon. “You’ve come a long way since you started at the Agency, Miranda.”

Too soon, Parker. “Really?” she asked, finding her voice had gone hoarse.

“Yes, you have.”

“Thanks,” she said. Again. And reached for her glass. She put it down again.

She couldn’t get down another swallow of wine. Her throat was too tight. Their bland conversation was too heavy with the subtext of things neither of them wanted to talk about. The horrendous fight they’d had three weeks ago. The day she’d stormed out of his office, never intending to come back. The day he’d saved her life.

How long would she stay in Atlanta and keep working for the Parker Agency? The jury was still out on that one.

Parker inhaled patiently and leaned back to study the woman beside him. He removed his arm from the back of her chair, but it took all his restraint to keep from taking her in his arms and kissing the daylights out of her right then and there. After mourning Sylvia’s death for three years, he had finally fallen in love.