While talking to Taylor, Jason has a sudden revelation. A quick web search later, he has found Orchid, hiding in plain sight as an exotic super model. Now all that remains is a way to draw her out and bring her to them – without getting themselves killed, of course.
“Is that where she shot you?” Taylor’s eyes went right to Jason’s crotch.
“If she had, would it all still be working?”
He raised an eyebrow. It was quite satisfying to watch her blush.
“Close. She missed on purpose. Nice, eh? Meant to kill me though.”
“Time for me to call the boss,” Taylor said. “You guys clean up.”
They nodded, heading toward the kitchen. Jason lingered, eyes on Taylor’s as she pulled out her cell. Before she made the call, he crossed the room. Taking her in his arms, he kissed her firmly, heatedly, channeling all the desire and passion he possibly could into it.
“If you think for one moment,” he said huskily. “That she’s any more amazing than you—I hope that convinced you otherwise.”
Practically running from the room, he headed back to the kitchen leaving Taylor in stunned silence. Pulling herself back together, she made the call to her boss.
The men gathered around Jason in the kitchen, silently cleaning up after their meal. It was obvious that they all had questions, but Jason didn’t want to answer them. He felt betrayed again, as if Orchid’s flagrant presentation of herself was a slap in his face. She should be hiding out, changing locations every couple of days, lying low. Instead, she was working, partying, flaunting herself—advertising lingerie, fur coats, bathing suits and sex.
“I hope someone knifes the bitch,” he growled as he washed his knives.
Stabbing into the air, he startled the agents. Tim quickly disarmed him, taking his place at the sink. Jason barely noticed. For the first time in his adult life, he wanted to cry. He’d always been strong, tough, wily yet he’d been brought down by the oldest trick in the book.
“Go for the gonads,” he muttered. “Damn the woman! Doesn’t matter how smart, paranoid, clever or cagey a man is—go for the sex angle. It’s so hackneyed, yet it worked perfectly! I bet it always does. Do you know how that makes me feel?”
“Yeah, kid,” Tim said, clapping him on the shoulder. “Like any other man who’s ever been used by a woman. It’s a flaw in programming. We get a rush of testosterone, and we’re done for. I think I speak for every man in this room when I say this. Confronted with that woman, we’d all have been in trouble. I don’t care how many years I’ve got with the Bureau and the military before that. If a piece like that had approached a man like me, I’d have told her the best way to kill me.”
“After I fucked her bald,” Greg agreed loudly.
Taylor walked in as he said that. All the men made themselves busy. She said nothing as she took her place at the table. She looked pensive, contemplative, but not quite content. They stopped working and sat next to her.
“They want to use Jason as bait,” she said quietly. “He runs in some of the same circles. He can get into the big parties that the rest of us can’t.”
“We’d stand out like week old laundry.” Greg nodded. “She’d know we were posers the second we walked in.”
“So….” Jason sighed. “How did I know it would come to this? Had this feeling, me. Give her the chance to finish me proper.”
“I tried to talk him out of it, Jason. But our boss is adamant. The fact that she’s not stupid and will see a trap doesn’t seem to have entered into his scenario.”
“Then we have to be smarter than she is,” Tim said, patting her hand.
“And better armed than she is,” Alex added.
“More on top of it,” Greg concluded. “Cause home boy ain’t going in without backup.”
“Thanks, mates,” Jason said solemnly. “You’ve done what you can. I’ll be on my own.”
“No, you won’t,” Taylor said with the flicker of a smile. “He did okay an entourage. A girlfriend.” She laughed giddily, tossing her hair. “And three security. Only logical after what you’ve been through, right?” She giggled again, batting her eyelashes.
“Dear God!” Jason was appalled. “We’ll work on the performance, my lass. I wouldn’t date a woman with that kind of a laugh.”
“I know, but it was the best I could do on short notice.”
“And you lot,” he pointed to the men. “Are too much like agents. Military, yes. But you sweat, bleed and piss Bureau. Starting tomorrow, school’s in session. I’ll get you more like me if it kills us.”
“And you, my lad, will learn how to defend yourself proper,” Tim said in a fair imitation of Jason’s baser accent.
The young Englishman laughed happily. “I put myself at your disposal, Sensei. Meanwhile, when do we start this charade?”
“There’s a huge party in a week here in the city. Everyone in the fashion industry will be there. It’s not as big as Milan, but there’s a big push to do something to help the poor. What better than a fashion show to raise money, right?” Taylor rolled her eyes. “But absolutely everyone who’s anyone, or wants to be anyone, will be there.”
© Dellani Oakes
To Purchase Dellani’s Books:
Under the Western Sky http://www.tirgearrpublishing.com/authors/Oakes_Dellani/under-the-western-sky.htm