Written in Red Page 124

“All right. See you tomorrow.”

He went down the stairs, alert for the slightest sound from her, the softest call to come back.

All he heard was the gentle closing of the door.

* * *

Asia closed her eyes and thought of elegant dining, polished hotel rooms, and men who knew more about sex than that widget A was supposed to go into slot B. That most of the people she’d seen eating at Meat-n-Greens were actually enjoying the food was reason enough to call in exterminators—the kind that had the hardware to eliminate all manner of pests. She’d had no complaints with her fillet until she made the mistake of asking what kind of beef it was, and learned it was horse.

Except for the picture it put in her head, horse wasn’t as bad—or gamy—as Darrell’s fillet of moose. Apparently, one description fit any meat.

And the apartments the Courtyard’s upper echelon used for intimate entertaining! She couldn’t imagine women wanting to spend an hour here for anything but bragging rights—or a lucrative ulterior goal.

As for the sex, the less she thought about it the better, especially when she was going to have to accept another invitation from Darrell. She’d seen just enough tonight to have a plan, had been risqué enough to have Darrell panting for more without coming across as too knowledgeable. That alone should be worth a bonus—and prove the caliber of her acting skills.

Asia Crane, Special Investigator. She could imagine Darrell in a couple of years, bragging about having slept with Asia, superstar of a hit TV series.

She sighed, kissed Darrell’s chest, and started to wiggle out of bed.

“Where are you going?” he asked, trying to draw her back to him.

“Honey, it’s late. I have to go.”

“I thought we were going to spend the night together.”

“Oh no. I can’t do that. Not the first time. It wouldn’t be right. And my car’s in the Courtyard parking lot. What if someone notices it was there overnight?”

Darrell frowned. “Are you still worried about Simon Wolfgard being jealous? Because he knows about us. He gave his approval for the guest pass I got for you.”

Sure, she’d wanted people around the Courtyard to know Darrell was her boyfriend, but it hadn’t occurred to her that Simon would know she was the woman up here with Darrell tonight. But Asia Crane, SI, would have expected Simon to know about this romp and figured out a way to use it.

Yes. Simon knowing she was here tonight was good. Better than good, because now he wouldn’t have any reason to question her scent being somewhere he might not expect.

She gave Darrell’s chest a quick kiss. “No, honey. I’m not worried about Simon Wolfgard in any way. I made it clear the other day that I’m looking for a real man, not a Wolf pretending to be something he’s not and never can be.” Okay, she hadn’t said it in those words when she took that last shot at flirting with Simon, but she didn’t think Darrell would ask the Wolf, so no one would know.

She felt a change in Darrell, felt the possessive way his hands now stroked her body.

“Then what’s the problem?” he asked.

“I already told you. I might not be able to resist being passionate with someone special, but I’m not the kind of girl who has dinner and breakfast on the first big date.” She stroked his chest. “Besides, I didn’t bring anything with me for overnight.” She pressed a finger against his lips before he could argue. “Don’t spoil it. Please. Just tell me how soon I can pack that overnight bag.”

“Just as soon as I can arrange to have the room again.” He rolled, pinning her. “But we have time for one more. Don’t we?”

“Oh yes.” She wrapped her arms around his neck as he settled between her legs. “We surely do.”

CHAPTER 19

“Hello?”

“Did you get my present? The items were selected just for you.”

“A special messenger delivered it, even though I never gave you my address.”

“Information can be acquired if one knows who to ask.”

“Well, I love my present. I can use a number of these items on my date tomorrow evening.”

“Would you like some company? That special messenger has a variety of skills. In fact, two dozen messengers from that company are now in the city. They’re trained to handle delicate or volatile packages.”

A light laugh. “No, thanks. I’ll do just fine on my own. And I expect to find a little bit of something to send back as a thank-you.”

“In that case, I’ll look forward to our next conversation.”

* * *

Asia hung up the phone and put on the thin gloves used in a hospital’s contagious ward. As she examined each vial in the carefully packed box sent by Meg Corbyn’s owner, she silently thanked Bigwig for all the information she’d been given about various drugs and the penalties for possessing them. At the time, she’d thought of it as useful information for her TV role. Now it was vital information for real life.

Some of the items in the box were easy enough to come by, because there were few, if any, aftereffects on the person who was dosed. Some were worth several years in one of the rough prisons just for possessing the stuff, and a life sentence if you were caught using it. One item was something she’d never heard of, something called gone over wolf. Until she found out what it did, she wouldn’t ignore the warning to use it sparingly.

Asia lifted the last vial, read the label, and put it back very carefully.

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