It Happened One Wedding Page 16

Focus, Roberts.

“I was just leaving,” he said.

“So I gathered.” Her gaze fell on the jacket he’d thrown casually over his shoulder and held with one hand. “You must’ve been roasting in that thing.”

“Occupational hazard.”

She looked confused. “I’m sorry?”

“It’s considered poor form for an FBI agent to have his gun exposed in public,” he explained.

“Oh.” Her eyes traveled down to his right hip, where he carried his Glock. “You must have to get creative when wearing a swimsuit.”

With anyone else, Vaughn would’ve said that was a joke. But with Sidney, he couldn’t quite tell. He cocked his head, trying to get a read on her, and looked her over.

It was that damn sleeve of her dress. Suddenly, he found himself fighting the urge to reach out and tug it up over her shoulder.

Or tug it lower, perhaps?

Their eyes met over the soft, ambient lights of the fountain.

“You said something about leaving?” she asked.

Right. “Enjoy the rest of your party, Sidney.”

Then he turned on his heel and walked away, the sounds of the string quartet fading in the distance.

Six

AFTER WORK ON Monday, Vaughn met Huxley and Cade in the state-of-the-art gym located on the second floor of the FBI building. They were in the second week of their triathlon training program, which meant they’d added a fifty-minute run on the indoor track to their usual weight-lifting workout.

They fell into an easy groove during the run, talking mostly about Officer Pritchett and Co.’s smuggling ring. Because Cade was in the special prosecutions group at the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the division that handled corruption cases, he often served as a consultant on any legal issues that arose during Vaughn and Huxley’s investigations.

“We met with Batista last week,” Vaughn said to Cade as they began their fourth lap around the track. “He agreed to set up a meeting with Pritchett and wear a wire. He’ll tell Pritchett he knows a guy who needs a few things moved from point A to point B. That’s where I come in.”

“What’s your name this month?” Cade joked, referring to the multitude of identities Vaughn had assumed over the years as part of his various undercover operations.

“Mark Sullivan. Gun buyer. Drives a Hummer H3, wears expensive suits, and carries a Kimber 1911 handgun,” Vaughn said.

“No clue what that is,” Cade said.

“Let’s just say, it’s a gun with swagger.” He took his tools very seriously when working undercover.

In the locker room after their workout, Cade and Huxley asked about the engagement party, both of them having met Simon on several occasions.

“You should’ve seen the place,” Vaughn said, drying himself off after a quick shower. “Huge mansion on the lake, in-ground swimming pool, guesthouse, the whole works. Isabelle’s father runs a hedge fund. Obviously quite successfully.”

“And you approve of your future sister-in-law?” Cade asked.

“Sure. Isabelle seems great.” Her sister, on the other hand . . .

Huxley studied him as he slid on his boxer briefs. “What’s the ‘but’?”

“No ‘but,’” Vaughn said. “I like Simon’s fiancée.” And, fortunately for him, she inherited all the good-natured genes in the family.

Cade furrowed his brow. “There it is again—that look. Like you want to say more.”

Vaughn scoffed at that as he pulled on his clothes. “There’s no look.”

Cade pointed. “Huxley just put on his underwear. Not once, in the two years that you two have been partners, have you ever missed an opportunity to smirk at the fact that the man irons his boxer briefs.”

“Hey. They fold neater that way. It saves space in the drawer,” Huxley said.

Cade gave Vaughn a look. I rest my case. “So? What gives?”

Vaughn took in the tenacious expression on his friend’s face and knew that any further denials would only bring on more questions. He sighed. “Fine.” He thought about where to begin. “Isabelle has a sister.”

Huxley rolled his eyes. “Here we go.”

“No, no. Not here we go. She and I are not going anywhere,” Vaughn said emphatically. “The woman’s a . . .” He paused, trying to think of the right word. He caught sight of another agent, Sam Wilkins, passing by their row of lockers. The man was a walking dictionary. “Hey, Wilkins—what’s that word you used the other day, to describe the female witness who kept arguing with you?”

“Termagant,” Wilkins called over. “Means ‘quarrelsome woman.’”

Vaughn nodded at Cade and Huxley in satisfaction, thinking that definition perfectly captured Sidney Sinclair. “There. She’s a termagant.”

“It can also mean ‘vixen,’” Wilkins shouted from the next aisle over.

“Thank you, Merriam-Webster,” Vaughn called back, with a half growl. “I think we’ve got it.”

Cade raised an eyebrow teasingly. “So. Does the vixen have a name?”

Yep, Vaughn had walked right into that one. “Sidney.”

“You just met her this weekend,” Huxley said. “What could you two possibly have to quarrel about?”

“Actually, we met the weekend before last. Simon and Isabelle invited us both to dinner to tell us about their engagement.”

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