They went to their rooms to make their calls. Across the hall, distinctive noises filled the night. Taylor’s voice, raised in passion, called Jason’s name.
The men exchanged another look. Shrugging, they opened their doors, closing them in unison.
In the morning, Greg was back by 8:00 carrying an assortment of muffins, donuts and croissants. He was smiling broadly, laughing at everything. He gave Taylor a kiss on the cheek and punched Jason on the shoulder.
“Feeling better?” Tim asked him.
“Much! Not such a temporary thing either. She missed me,” he said with a big grin. “Looks like we’ll get back together for awhile. She’s not Taylor…. But she’s a good woman.”
“I’m happy for ya, kid. My turn off tonight,” Tim said with finality.
“My wife’s busy tonight anyway,” Alex said with a frown. “But tomorrow’s mine!”
This agreement made, they got down to business for the day. Jason continued his lessons on how to move and act, working with the men all morning. He wasn’t fully satisfied, but with more practice, he thought they’d be ready.
“Taylor’s turn now,” Jason announced after lunch.
“What? I’m a girl, I know how to act.”
The men looked dubious. Jason stepped forward, putting his hands on her shoulders, his hands drifting down her body in a familiar way, caressing her. She knocked his traveling hands aside, taking an aggressive stance. He looked down and her fist was poised less than an inch from his groin. He caught her hand, rubbing it against him.
“Exactly my point, love,” he said, his voice a soft, seductive growl. “Real girls—that is, girls who aren’t trained to kill a bloke in a thousand different ways, don’t react like that when a man gets fresh. And need I remind you,” he murmured, leaning toward her. “You really don’t want to damage the goods, yeah?” He raised an eyebrow as she relaxed. “My taste in women is well known. I can afford to be picky—and am. My women have class….”
“I have class,” Taylor said angrily, her eyes blazing.
“You do indeed….” He pouted slightly, eyeing her appraisingly. “You’re beautiful and deadly. We need to make you deadly beautiful. We need to make an appointment for a makeover,” he told her calmly as she fumed. “You’ll need a whole knew look—hair, makeup, manicure….”
“I don’t need a manicure!”
“Darling, your nails are chipped from loading weapons. My women are never chipped—unless it’s with diamonds, of course. How well can you run in six inch heels?”
“I’ve never even worn six inch heels!”
“Three inches? Four?”
She showed him her sensible, low heeled shoes. He pursed his lips, frowning.
“Guys, practice. Taylor, love, we’re making a phone call and then you’re going to arrange secure transport for a couple friends of mine.” He whipped out a cellphone, jabbing a number almost angrily.
“Bonjour, Henri. C’est Jason….” He continued a few moments more in French, then switched to English. “Listen, my friend, I need your help. I’ve a wonderful new woman, but she needs a bit of polish as only you and Celeste can provide. We’re going to that big charity benefit this weekend. Exactly! She’s stunning, but a bit rough round the edges. A tomboy, of sorts. Excellent! No, I can’t bring her in. I can’t explain over the phone. You know I’d tell you if I could.”
He waited a moment as the other man replied at greater length.
“Henri, this is something I can’t talk about, mate. New job, strictly hush-hush and she’s assisting. You and Celeste are the only ones I trust with an operation this secretive. Excellent. We’ll send a car for you. Can you be ready by two? Great! She’ll need everything—the works.”
He flipped his phone shut after concluding his call. Taylor glared at him, fists on her hips.
“Rough round the edges?” She screeched, shoving him back a step. “A tomboy? She needs the works? Seriously?” She balled up her fist to sock him.
Jason caught her hand, pulling her to him, both hands clasped behind her back. His kiss stilled her screaming for a moment, but she struggled against him. He relinquished her lips after a moment or two, but held her hands firmly with both of his. She tried to kick him. He dodged her, pressing her body against the wall, putting his weight against her. She might be a martial artist, but he caught her by surprise. She really didn’t want to hurt him, she was angry and confused.
“Listen to me,” he demanded. “What else am I going to say? Oi, she’s an FBI agent who needs to look and act like a super model? Chill, Taylor. I think you’re beautiful, but you do lack a bit of glitz.”
“I will so make you pay for this later!”
“Excellent. I look forward to it. I love a woman with fire.” He kissed her again, but she nipped his lip, drawing blood. He released her, pressing his fingers to his lip. “You’ll thank me later when this job is a success.” He wiped at his bloody lip with the back of his hand.
He turned to Tim. “I need a safe pickup.” Jason gave Tim an address. “I trust these two with my life, and have on more than one occasion. They’re the best. I’ll have them work on you lot as well.”
“We don’t need to be pretty,” Alex said. “We’re wallpaper.”
“Wallpaper who need to have manicures in a bad way. And you could use a haircut,” he told Greg.
Greg combed his hair with his fingers. “Yeah, been meaning to do that.”
“Suits,” Jason said, snapping his fingers. “Nothing I’ve got will fit.”
“We’ve got suits,” Tim said, looking a bit miffed.
© Dellani Oakes
To Purchase Dellani’s Books:
Under the Western Sky http://www.tirgearrpublishing.com/authors/Oakes_Dellani/under-the-western-sky.htm