Alina wanted to scratch herself or feel pain in a subtle way to tell her she wasn’t involved in an espionage or thriller movie. Her surroundings held no familiarity, even less than her new home, and this relaxed man sitting within arm’s reach was planning to act on a script six feet deep with terrorism, government leaders, and what sounded like it could turn into an all-out war between nations.
She felt her heart thumping against its space under the ribs and silently beseeched it to hang in there and not cause her to flop to the floor in an active heart attack. To think the one day she went out of her safe zone, which mostly included her new house and a few necessity stores, she runs into some type of agent, maybe a spy, or who knew what else he hadn’t revealed yet. Were all men who went out for a bite to eat connected to a world she barely had an inkling that it existed, and she’d never played a role in? Was a seduction the first play of the game every time? Did they all have big guns, a controlling manner, and a powerful body to sway them into their bed? It had been her bed, so he must be even better at it than most, if she was right.
“…Shehata will get us into Iraq with an escort.”
She’d missed the first part of his explanation as her mind reviewed how she ended up sitting across from this…man who has international connections. Was he some kind of spy, or undercover agent? He mentioned the CIA. Really? “Can you repeat the last part?” She needed to know the plan because there was no way she would accompany this man along with Egyptian guards to terrorism at its finest. She’d cooperate, and then find a way out to do it on her own.
“Why don’t I retell you in the morning when you’ve rested? Four-thirty.”
He probably thought she was too tired and stressed to listen. That would work for her. “You’re right. I’m having a hard time focusing. I’m sure your plan is good and will work.” She honored him with a meeting of the eyes and saw a fatigued droop to his eyelids, yet a spark of energy ignited somewhere deep inside. He meant whatever he had said and she was sure he’d take her on this mission with a definite resolve to get work done. May be he was using her for something bigger.
He bent over to pick up her cup. His sleeves had been pushed up his arm at some point. Muscles pulsed and changed shape along his forearm, for God’s sake. That brought her straight back to their first night. It didn’t take a rocket scientist to appreciate the perfection of his form. Without clothes on it only got better. His organizational skills and energy made a cool drink on a hot day a paltry excuse for relief.
If he wasn’t a mad man with an ulterior motive to use her, he equaled perfection. This reminder came like a Novocain shot to the mouth. She’d have none of that in her life again. She’d run fast and far to avoid another dance with the perfect. Once was enough and perfection would never last a lifetime.
His back faced her and exposed his slightly loose jeans forming to the muscles on his thighs. He turned his torso to speak to her. “Your room is at the end of the hall. I’m sure you won’t have a problem finding it.”
“Right. No problem.”
Down the hall with her bag in tow, she stepped into the room. Her glance lasted a few seconds and covered anything worth noting. The bed looked unused with the blanket stretched tight to all four corners. She wasn’t sure the thin material would weather the drafty feel in the back of the apartment. Wearing clothes would be helpful plus she could get up and leave if the mood struck her.
She had wisely packed a pair of pajamas complete with line drawings of scattered sheep. Llamas hadn’t been in vogue during her minimalistic shopping trip. Dressed in farm animals would definitely keep Vic uninterested. She had mainly bought them because they appealed to her at the time. Normally, she wore nothing to bed. She had always liked the feel of clean sheets against her skin, but not tonight and not until she was home alone again.
She calculated their time away in accordance with the week the veterinarian had promised to watch Gerty. Getting Christa home in a week would be victory in her mental healing, and she looked forward to returning to the quiet and stable life of a scientist alone with her compounds. This nearly pleasant thinking could give her a successful start at a few hours of sleep.
No one would chase her. No one would find her. No one would kill her.