Kitty Goes to Washington Page 29

This was a bad, bad idea. I knew it in my gut. You didn't just go breaking into government buildings in the best of times, and this wasn't the best of times. But if I didn't show, Cormac might break into Flemming's office without me. If he learned anything juicy, he'd keep the information from me out of spite.

I had to go.

I drove my car from the alley around the corner and found Luis waiting outside Alette's town house. He casually leaned on the wrought-iron fence that divided the property from the sidewalk. By all appearances he looked like he was out enjoying the unseasonable sunshine, pausing during a stroll. I pulled up to the curb in front of him, parked, and got out.

He beamed at me. He had a generous smile and sparkling eyes. My stomach fluttered.

“You're a hard person to track down,” he said brightly. “I hoped to find you outside the Senate building, but you were already gone.”

I winced in apology. I hated the idea of him running all over town after me—then again, it was awfully flattering. “I gave you my cell number, right? You should have called.”

He shrugged. “Chasing you is more fun.”

Spoken like a true predator. He stepped toward me, looking like he was getting ready to pin me against the car. Part of me wanted to dodge, to keep the chase going for a little longer. But I let him put his hands on my hips and lean forward for a kiss. I held his arms and pulled him close.

I glanced over his shoulder at the windows of Alette's townhome, hoping no one was watching.

Coming up for air, I said, “You shouldn't be here.”

He followed my gaze back to the building. “I'm not afraid of them. Is it too early for me to take you to dinner?”

“I'd love that. But—” I wanted to pull my hair out. I couldn't believe I was going to turn down Luis to go play Mission: Impossible with Cormac. “But I can't. I set up a meeting and I can't miss it.”

“Something for your show?”

“Yeah, something like that.” It wasn't an outright lie. Most everything ended up on the show eventually. But Luis looked at me sidelong, like he knew I wasn't being entirely truthful. He could probably smell it on me, or sense the twitchy nervousness through my body.

He said, “The full moon is coming soon, in just a few days. Do you know where you'll be?”

I knew the full moon was coming soon. I couldn't forget. “No. I usually scout out a place to run, but I haven't had time.”

“Come with me. There's a park about an hour outside town, a few of us drive there. It's safe.”

Full moon night with friends. It had been a long time since I had anyone watching my back.

“I'd really like that. Thanks.”

He brought my hand to his lips and kissed it. “Then it's a date.”

When one lycanthrope said to another, “run with me,” it was usually a euphemism. I certainly hoped so.

“I should let you get to your meeting.”

“Yes.”

“Then until I catch you again.” He touched my cheek, kissed me on the corner of my mouth, lingering for just a moment as if he'd draw the breath from me, then pulled back. He stepped away, grinning, and it was all I could do to keep from following him, step by hypnotized step.

He turned and continued down the street, hands tucked in his trouser pockets.

So where were all the seductive Brazilian hunks when I had time on my hands?

I picked up a visitor's badge, found my way to the Clinical Center building, and kept walking, like I was going to Flemming's office again: down the hall, around the corner to the elevators. At this point, I had no idea what I was doing. Cormac said he'd be watching for me.

It was easy for him to talk about sneaking into government buildings. He hadn't been accosted by Men In Black on his arrival in town. He wasn't having paranoid delusions about the hallway in the Senate building being bugged so that some security goon heard all our plans and was waiting for us to make the first move and catch us red-handed.

I clung to the wall, glancing around with wide eyes, convinced someone was following me.

I scented Cormac—his light aftershave and the faint touch of gun oil that never left him—just before he stepped around a corner and grabbed my arm. I still gasped and had to swallow back a moment of panic. This isn't danger, I'm not in danger. He put his hand against my back and guided me forward, so that we continued down the corridor, walking side by side, like we belonged here. He'd left his guns at home this afternoon.

We stopped by the elevators. Cormac pushed the button. No gloves, I noticed. Maybe that came later.

I leaned close and whispered, “I have to ask, aren't you worried that maybe somebody heard us? That maybe the FBI or something knows we're here and is watching us? I mean, we planned this inside a Senate office building. They probably read our lips off the video surveillance.” I glanced over my shoulders. First one, then the other.

“Norville, the thing you have to understand is, the government is a big bureaucracy, and the left hand doesn't know what the right is doing most of the time. The fact that it gets anything done is a miracle. Nobody's paying attention to us. But they'll start if you keep acting like you're up to something. Stop looking around.”

We didn't much look like we belonged here. Cormac was still wearing jeans and a T-shirt. I was only marginally better in slacks and a knit top. But he acted like we belonged here, and that was the key. Keep quiet, don't spend too much time looking around like you needed directions, and know where you're going.

The elevator opened, we stepped inside, after letting the few occupants exit: a couple of people in white lab coats, a woman holding a flower arrangement. She was dressed about like I was. Cormac was right. No one paid attention to us.

He pushed the button to send us to the basement, carrying on like we had an appointment with Flemming. By the time the doors opened to spit us out, my stomach was doing somersaults.

“We can't walk right into his office,” I whispered at him, hoping I didn't sound as panicked as I felt. “What if he's there?”

“He won't be. I sent him on a wild goose chase.”

“You what?”

He looked down his nose at me, the long-suffering stare that made me feel like an annoying younger sibling.

“I called him from a pay phone, said I knew him from the army and had information about his research, but I had to talk to him in person. I told him I was in Frederick.” He pursed his lips in a wry smile. “He'll be gone for a couple of hours.”

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