Part 14

"What do you mean she's going to San Juan with McBain?" RJ's grip on his cell phone tightened. "Where is she?"

"She's at the airport," Lopez answered. "Their flight is boarding in the next ten minutes. What do you want me to do?"

"Does she have the teddy bear with her?" RJ asked.

"Not that I can see. It could be in her bag. She has an overnight case." Lopez paused. "Man, I gotta tell you. They're pretty chummy. Maybe more so than when they're at her place."

"I know," RJ bit out. "Follow them. Do you need anything?"

"No. I'm good."

"Call me when you get there. I want to know everything."

*/*

With John off on police business, Evangeline indulged in the numerous comforts of the hotel suite. Spurting jets added to the temptation of the huge, sunken bathtub. Complimentary peach-scented bath wash bubbled in the running water. After securing her hair into a loose ponytail, she stuck her toe in to test the temperature.

Heat circled her flesh like John's hot, delicious mouth--

"What?" She pulled out and almost tottered into the porcelain pleasure pot. Her mind skyrocketed with questions. Where had that thought come from? Why compare John and any of his body parts to a bath? Geez! She was on the verge of losing it if she didn't get a grip.

First and foremost, this wasn't a vacation. He had work to do and she brought hers with her. Second, her growing attraction to John wasn't necessarily a bad thing. He was everything she'd ever wanted in man. Funny. Smart. Compassionate. Gorgeous as hell. And boy, could he kiss!

Shivers tore up her spine at the thought. She pressed her fingers to her lips, remembering the taste and feel of his. A burning sensation ignited in her lower belly. She longed to experience his exploring, moist kisses again.

But that would be bad.

Despite all the time they spent together, neither broached the subject of their evolving relationship. They hid behind words. Banter replaced caresses. They swapped jokes instead of kisses. Deep heart-to-heart conversations were the only intimacies they allowed. But those talks only made things worse. The more she knew about John and shared with him, the more addicted she became to him and revealing herself to someone who didn't judge her.

A small ache formed at the base of her skull. The pads of her fingertips massaged the tiny throb. She glanced at the foam-filled tub. It would not be wasted. She found a relaxing station on the radio and stepped into the bath.

"Aah." The warm, scented water wrapped around her like a fuzzy, comfortable blanket. She rarely took the time to slow down and enjoy herself like this. Very stupid for a smart woman like herself. She released a small laugh. From this moment on, worry about her alleged stalker and concerns about her relationship with John were strictly forbidden. At least for the next hour, she planned to have nothing but fun.

*/*

He searched most of the island and consulted with the FBI. No one had seen or heard from Antonio. The news worried John. He agreed to his friend's undercover assignment on the condition that they'd stay in contact. If Antonio didn't show up soon, John planned to storm the Santi headquarters himself.

What about Evangeline?

He fingered the square keycard to their hotel suite. Resting his head against the door, he closed his eyes. Danger loomed through that door. He never expected them having to spend the night. Finding Antonio should have been easy. But Murphy's Law proved to be a winner. Here they were. Miles from home. Two strongly attracted adults whose want for each other was as tangible as Mt. Everest.

God, McBain, you should have prepared yourself for this.

Footsteps sounded a few doors away. The sound of laughter and conversation drifted down the hallway. He slowly opened his eyes and straightened his back. No reason to frighten the other guests by lurking in the hall. Besides, after losing control not once but twice, he had no intention of doing it a third time. Although the idea certainly wasn't without merit. The freedom he enjoyed in her arms released him from all his emotional baggage. Energy pulsed between them. It was like he and Evangeline just spontaneously combusted together. Neither had the power or the will to stop it.

No.

He was stronger than that. Pursuing a physical relationship wasn't fair to either of them. She deserved a man who wasn't afraid to love again.

*/*

Evangeline wrapped the thick, fluffy white terry cloth robe around her. The bath had been exactly what she needed. Warm and luxuriating, the temporary diversion soothed her frazzled nerves. She grabbed a bottle of lotion and padded into the main room. As she began to smooth the cream over her legs, the door opened.

Her entire body tingled as John gaped from the doorway. Her eyes followed his, watching him take in her state of undress and the display of her legs. An eternity later, he closed the door and emitted a strangled cough.

"Hi." His voice sounded huskier than usual.

"Hi yourself." She poured lotion into her hand and massaged the heel of one foot. The fragrance filled her senses, reminding her of fresh peaches on a warm summer day. She smiled without realizing it.

He slowly moved from the door. "I didn't mean to dis…disturb you. Should I leave?"

"It's not like I'm indecent," she said. "But if this robe makes you feel uncomfortable…"

"What?" He gave her a sudden cocky grin. "You'll take it off?"

"No." She couldn't help but laugh at his crestfallen expression. "I'll change into something less comfortable."

He rubbed the stubble on his chin. His eyes locked on hers. "Don't change on my account. You're perfect the way you are."

The blush started at her toes and continued to heat the rest of her body. "Thanks, Detective. I'll remember that."

He nodded and headed to the mini-fridge. "There's nothing good in here. Have you eaten?"

"No, I was kinda waiting for you." She capped the lotion and set it on the end table. "What happened? Did you find what you were looking for?"

"No. The locals are pretty close-mouthed and the local FBI had nothing to add."

She frowned. "What will you do?"

"Try again in the morning."

"So, we're staying over," she murmured mostly to herself. To him, she added, "What will you do tonight?"

He smiled. "Feed you, but I gotta warn you…going out like that will get us both arrested."

She laughed and headed for her room. "I'll change clothes."

"Thank you," he said. "Thank you very much."

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