â€śWe need to find a hotel.â€ť Just saying it made him think of
sex with Lark and he started getting hard. It was crazy,
this constant lust he felt for her, but there was just
something about her. Those long legs and that perfect ass,
the sexy way she moved, the way her green eyes seemed to
sparkle. Everything about her turned him on.
â€śWe donâ€™t need a hotel,â€ť Lark said. â€śWe can stay at my
place. Thereâ€™s plenty of room, and itâ€™ll give me a chance
to check on things and water my plants.â€ť
His mouth edged up. â€śYou sure you can trust me?â€ť
She cast him a glance and smiled. â€śAny reason I shouldnâ€™t?â€ť
Plenty of reasons, he thought. Like he wanted to see her
naked. Like he wanted to climb into bed with her. Like
what he wanted do to her once she was there.
â€śI guess not.â€ť He looked away at the lie, used the turn
signal on the rental car and changed lanes. â€śDowntown,
right? Whatâ€™s the address?â€ť
â€śFive hundred block of South Hewitt. Itâ€™s in the Arts
District not far from where my design studio is located.â€ť
They drove through downtown L.A. traffic, which was getting
pretty heavy this late in the afternoon. Eventually, they
reached their destination.
â€śPull into the underground garage,â€ť Lark instructed as they
approached a huge, remodeled, five-story brick warehouse.
â€śUse space forty-two B. Thatâ€™s my second car parking spot.
Since I only have one, itâ€™s vacant.â€ť
Dev pulled into the space beside forty-one A, next to a
little silver Mercedes coup. â€śThat yours?â€ť
â€śI guess youâ€™ve got a few toys of your own.â€ť He had a
Porche, an SUV, and a Harley. He liked toys and he wasnâ€™t
ashamed to admit it.
Lark just smiled. â€śIâ€™ve also got a jet ski and a sailboard,
but I keep them at the beach.â€ť
He flicked her a glance as he turned off the engine,
impressed in spite of himself. He enjoyed all kinds of
sports but he was rarely attracted to athletic women. With
her tight jeans and spike heels, Lark had completely had him
â€śMy condoâ€™s on the second floor,â€ť she said. â€śThe elevatorâ€™s
The five stories had been converted into two floors of open,
loft-style condominiums, he discovered as Lark unlocked the
door and he followed her into her unit.
â€śWow.â€ť His gaze went from the tall windows to the open
ceilings crisscrossed with the original heavy wooden rafters
and exposed, recently installed, round silver heating and
â€śItâ€™s different, I know.â€ť
â€śI like it,â€ť he said. â€śItâ€™s interesting.â€ť Hi-tech all the
way through. And after seeing it, with Larkâ€™s vibrant
energy and sense of style, he couldnâ€™t imagine her living
â€śThe guest room is this way.â€ť She took off down the hall
and Dev followed. There were two guest rooms, each with its
own separate bath. There was a queen-sized bed in one and
twins in the other. She led him into the room with the
queen and he tossed his bag on top of a brilliant purple
â€śWhereâ€™s your room?â€ť he asked, wishing heâ€™d be sleeping in
there instead of in here and knowing damned well he wouldnâ€™t be.
â€śNext door.â€ť She caught his hand and tugged him farther
down the hall, through a door leading into an airy
open-ceilinged bedroom. A big iron four-poster king-size
bed covered by a fluffy white down comforter and miles of
plump white embroidered pillows sat in the middle of the room.
He looked at the bed, looked at Lark, and the blood in his
veins rushed south.
â€śSo what do you think?â€ť
Nothing hi-tech in the bedroom, which pleased him no end.
â€śVery feminine and pretty.â€ť Just like you, he thought, but
didnâ€™t say it. They were both standing in the doorway.
When she turned, he realized she was so close he could smell
her soft perfume, a fragrance he had noticed before, lilac
with a subtle hint of spice. He breathed her in and his
In heels, she was as tall as he was. If he leaned over just
a little, moved the slightest fraction, he could settle his
mouth over those plump pink lips, taste them as he had been
wanting to do since the day sheâ€™d walked into his office.
Her eyes locked with his. Her lashes were thick and dark,
and they began to slowly descend. He bent toward her,
inhaled lilacs and spice, felt his erection throb. She was
breathing hard and so was he.
Then his cell phone started to ring and he jerked away as if
someone had dumped scalding water over his head.
On a ragged breath, he walked back down the hall toward the
open living room. â€śRaines,â€ť he said hoarsely, not bothering
to check the caller I.D.
â€śHey, Daredevil.â€ť His Ranger nickname. â€śItâ€™s Clive. Word
is youâ€™re in L.A.â€ť
Dev closed his eyes and inhaled deeply. â€śMadman. Howâ€™d you
know where to find me?â€ť
â€śTalked to Town. He said you flew in. I guess youâ€™re with
He thought of what had almost happened in her bedroom and
thanked the cell phone gods for the timing of Madmanâ€™s call.
â€śWeâ€™re following a lead. We found the people who arranged
the adoption of her sisterâ€™s baby. Weâ€™re talking to them
tomorrow. All we have to do is get them to give us the
â€śMight not be that easy. Those folks can be sticklers.â€ť
He thought of the babies theyâ€™d sold to pad their own pocket
and his tone hardened. â€śWeâ€™ve got enough on them to make
them talk whether they want to or not.â€ť
Madman chuckled. â€śSounds like fun. Need any help? Be just
like old times.â€ť
â€śYeah, well, thank God those times are over.â€ť
Cliveâ€™s deep voice roughened. â€śListen, Dev. Larkâ€™s a nice
girl. I know sheâ€™s hot, but believe me sheâ€™s not your type.
I donâ€™t want to see her get hurt.â€ť
â€śI donâ€™t mix business with pleasure. You know that.â€ť
â€śYouâ€™re right, I do. Thatâ€™s the reason Iâ€™m not worried.
She needs your help, Dev. Finding that baby is really
important to her.â€ť
Dev thought again of how close they had come to winding up
in bed and his resolved strengthened. â€śDonâ€™t worry about
me. And weâ€™ll find the little girl.â€ť