Authors: Kate Kelly
IN PLAIN SIGHT
In Plain Sight - Copyright 2014, Kathryn Kelly
Rafe Pascotto reluctantly agrees to help his brother-in-law, FBI Special Agent Vince Gage, by keeping tabs on a suspected international jewel thief. Reluctant, that is, until he meets beautiful Bridget O’Neill.
Within minutes, Bridget recognizes Rafe for the rube he is, hooks him and publically hangs him out to dry. Unbelievable the man has come back for more because he thinks she needs protection. She’d enjoy the joke if she wasn’t so busy running from a past that’s about to catch up to her.
Special thanks to the superbly talented and generous Nancy LT Hamilton, The (Not So) Lazy Jeweler
All rights reserved. Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise) without the prior written permission of both the copyright owner and the above publisher of this book. This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, brands, media, and incidents are either the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously.
This book is a work of fiction. With the exception of recognized historical figures, the characters in this novel are fictional. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
“No. No. Wait a minute…no.”
“Stop it David.” Rafe Pascotto closed his eyes as he savored a mouthful of espresso. Why did coffee taste so much better in Paris than it did at home in Boston?
“Wait a sec. I see a jiggle. They’re small, but they’re real.” David twisted in his seat to watch the woman walk across the outdoor plaza. “She may be the last woman in Paris with real boobs. Nice ass, too.”
“Would you stop objectifying women?”
David snorted. “I’m a fashion photographer. Objectifying women is what I do for a living. I also objectify men,” he added. “The new ads should hit the streets in a few days. Man, you are going to get some serious action once pictures of your half-naked ass are plastered all over Paris.”
Rafe had hoped to be in the States by the time the new ad campaign for underwear came out, but his plans had changed at the last minute. Now he had to suffer the embarrassment of seeing his derriere, scantily clad in new designer underwear, on buses and park benches and billboards. For a while, working as a model had been a lark, and he’d made some serious coin, but he was done with the whole racket. He needed more…everything in his life.
He was tired of thinking about his looks, of clothes, of the openings and parties he was required to attend. He was ready to go home and reinvent himself again.
Rafe studied the flow of people who walked past his table. March was still too chilly for sitting outside, but he was afraid he’d miss the woman he’d promised to make contact with if he went inside the crowded café. Supposedly, she stopped for a coffee-to-go this time every day.
“Oh, man. Jackpot,” David murmured. “Check her out. She is one hundred percent woman.”
And the woman Rafe had been waiting for for the last half hour. For once he agreed with his friend. The woman was…mouthwatering. She wore a leather jacket over a red silk shirt that was unbuttoned just enough to tease with a hint of full, round breasts. That jiggled. Her skin-tight jeans were tucked into knee-high boots with heels that could pierce your heart. Gripping a take-away coffee in her hand, her multicolored scarf fluttering over her shoulder, she crossed the plaza with long strides and disappeared around the corner.
Rafe rose and tossed some euros on the table. “Gotta go.”
David grabbed his camera bag. “I don’t have anything for the next two hours. I’ll come with you.”
“Not this time. Catch you later.” Rafe hurried after the woman. He and David had become good friends in the last year and hung out together a lot. But this was business of a different ilk.
The truth was he didn’t know what he was getting into. His brother-in-law, Vince Gage—make that FBI Special Agent Gage—had asked him to do something that probably bordered on illegal.
Or maybe not. Gage was the straightest arrow he’d ever met. And a scary dude when he chose to be. Unfortunately, Rafe’s twin sister, Sophie, had fallen in love with the cop. Or, he’d thought it unfortunate, until he realized Gage worshipped Sophie. Anyone who loved his twin that much had to have redeeming qualities. Rafe hadn’t yet spent enough time with Gage to know how he felt about having him as a brother-in-law, though.
But Gage’s request that he sniff around Bridget O’Neill, a suspected jewel thief, to find out what she was up to these days had intrigued him. Especially now that he’d seen Bridget O’Neill. He was supposed to engage O’Neill’s interest, maybe even drop a hint that he was interested in purchasing some gems. Sapphires, to be precise, which just happened to be in Boston at the moment. Where Gage worked.
He picked up his pace as the lady in question again slipped around another corner of the narrow, cobblestone street and out of his sight. She must be in incredible shape to keep up such a fast pace in high-heeled boots.
What Gage had asked him to do was a long shot. Not the “engaging” a strange woman part. He had no problem attracting women. But really? That was how you hired a jewel thief? Take them out for a glass of wine, maybe grope each other a bit, then casually drop the bomb on them while adjusting your clothes? “Oh by the way, care to pick up a few sapphires for me at a bargain-basement price?” There had to be a more subtle way.
Gage hadn’t given him much to go on. Said he thought Rafe would do better not knowing much more than that the FBI wanted O’Neill back in the States where they could keep a closer eye on her. It didn’t take a genius to figure out Gage also wanted to see if she’d take the bait and agree to steal the gems.
Luckily for his brother-in-law, Rafe often worked in Paris and on occasion hung out with the glittera, and O’Neill was known to skirt the edges of the same crowd.
He wasn’t interested in talking to her today. He wanted to have a look at who she was, maybe where she lived, that’s all. But that one glance at the café may have been all he’d get unless she slowed down or he got lucky.
He rounded the corner into a cobblestone courtyard with a fountain in the middle. Several trees grew in large pots, and stone steps led up to exclusive apartments that probably dated back…hundreds of years, at the very least. If this was O’Neill’s neighborhood, it was easy to imagine she stole priceless gems for a living.
Either way, he’d lost her.
C’est la vie
. If he could squeeze it in, he’d try again tomorrow. He sat on the cold stone bench under a leafless tree and studied the square. Small, enchanting courtyards, such as this one, were tucked into odd corners of the old parts of Paris. The States didn’t have anything like this, and he’d miss how European people lived right in their history. Who knew? Maybe the Sun King, Louis the Fourteenth, had strode through this very square. Maybe he’d even had a mistress who’d lived here.
Rafe looked around. A patch of color that jarred with the gray stone caught his eye. He stood and hurried over to the doorway. O’Neill had been wearing a scarf that color.
The door to the entrance had been left open a crack with the scarf lying half in and half out of the doorway. He picked it up and ran the thin silk through his fingers, a divine, subtle scent drifting up to him. Rafe smiled. Her perfume might have been subtle—and expensive— but leaving a brilliant red and turquoise scarf as a calling card was anything but.
He stuffed the scarf into his coat pocket and slipped through the open door into a small, marble foyer. One apartment downstairs, one up. He tried the door to the downstairs one. When the door didn’t budge, he took the steps two at a time to the upstairs apartment. She was taking a chance, luring a complete stranger into her home. The act didn’t jibe with the self-assured woman he’d watched stroll out of the coffee shop.
Of course, this
Paris, and some women weren’t shy about hitting on him. But, still, he should be cautious. He had a major ad campaign about to debut, and the ad company wouldn’t be thrilled if he got himself into an embarrassing situation. He’d pulled some outrageous stunts in the first two years of working as a model, but even the wild side got dull with time. At least, it had for him.
When he knocked on the door, it swung open on well-oiled hinges.
“Finally. Took you long enough,” a voice called from the back regions of the spacious apartment.
The hint of her Boston accent made him smile, and he stepped inside the apartment and closed the door behind him.
“Have a seat. Make yourself at home. I’ll be right out.”
“Do you always lure strange men into your apartment?” He walked into the large living room and studied the chandelier above his head. It looked as old as the building.
She appeared in the hallway, and his breath stalled in his throat. Christ, she was beautiful. She’d had her hair pinned up before, but now thick, brilliant red curls swept across her shoulders. Her hazel eyes glowed like a lioness’s. She was tall, around five-nine, and the world must have smiled when she was born because she looked damned near perfect.
She smiled at him. “Are you dangerous?”
He smiled back. “Are you?”
Her laugh rippled over him. “Absolutely.”
“I found your scarf.” He yanked it out of his pocket and offered it to her. He wanted her closer.
She strolled across the room and pulled the scarf from his fingers. “Thank you.” Then slipped it around his neck and tugged him toward her. “Too bad you don’t wear a tie,” she whispered against his mouth. “It would have come in handy. I like to tie…things up.”
“Really?” He grew rock hard.
Another smile curved around her generous, full mouth as she urged him close enough for a brief, tantalizing feel of her breasts against his chest. “Is that something you’d be interested in?”
“Um…well, uh…” He’d come here for a reason, hadn’t he?
She pushed his overcoat off his shoulders and slid one knee up his inner thigh. “Who doesn’t enjoy a brief afternoon rendezvous.? She undid the two top buttons of his shirt.
“Unless,” she pouted. “You’re gay. But I don’t think so.”
He groaned when she cupped his erection in her hand. She let go way too soon for his liking.
“Come.” She pulled on the scarf still around his neck and led him, stumbling, down the hallway to the master bedroom.
Jesus! This was really going to happen. An outrageously beautiful, sexy woman was going to…going to…hell, he didn’t have much experience with kinky. Tying up someone was pretty tame stuff these days. And it had been six months since he’d…
He let her push him down on the bed.
“You’re gorgeous.” She undid the rest of his buttons and drew his shirt off.
He grabbed her by the hips. “Maybe we should…I don’t know…talk first.”
She leaned forward and gently bit his nipple. “I don’t think so.”
He bucked, and when she unzipped him and took him into her hand, he summoned every ounce of his energy to concentrate on not coming. He really, really didn’t want to blow it.
He reared up again when she blew softly on the tip of his penis. “I’m going to tie you up now. And then…” She smiled lasciviously. “I’m going to give you a blow job you will remember the rest of your life. Give me your wrist.”
The rest of his life.
He groaned when she straddled him and tied his wrist to the bedpost. Out of nowhere she produced a second silk scarf. She rubbed herself against his erection while she finished tying him to the bed, and then slid off and studied him.
His entire body responded to her look. He was completely at her mercy and loved it.
She put her finger up to her mouth.
And disappeared from the room.
Man, he’d have to thank Gage for telling him to check out Bridget O’Neill. No way could she be a jewel thief. She was just a really sexy, really horny…
He strained forward, but couldn’t move much because of his restraints. He heard what sounded like the front door closing. No, that couldn’t have been the front door. Bridget was down the hall doing…whatever.
“Hey,” he yelled. “Hey, Br…lady.” He’d forgotten he wasn’t supposed to know her name.
When the apartment remained silent, he swore and yanked on the scarves. No way would she have tied him up and then left him. She had been as turned on as he was. He’d felt her heat when she’d rubbed up against him.
Christ! Where was she?
“Bridget? Okay, you’ve had your fun. Now come and untie me.”
He held his breath and listened.
Oh my God
. She was gone.
He twisted both arms, but the movement tightened the damned scarves. There had to be a way out of this. She’d come back, and they’d both have a good laugh over him worrying that she’d left.
What the hell had he been thinking that a beautiful woman like Bridget would pick up a complete stranger?
He was so fucked.
Two hours later, Rafe blinked open his eyes. It had been a long time since he’d napped in the middle of the day. In the act of trying to sit up, he froze. Hell! He’d forgotten where he was.
He sank back onto the bed when he heard a door open and close somewhere out in the apartment. Finally. Man, when he got his hands on Bridget, he’d…he started to grow hard, wondering just how much into kinky she was.
He waited patiently with closed eyes as the door to the bedroom swung out. If he could stay cool, coax her close enough to him to wrap his legs around her…
A scream split the air. Rafe’s body jackknifed up, but the scarves arrested his forward motion, and he was jerked backward. An older woman, terror stamped on her face, ran from the room as a stream of curses erupted out of Rafe’s mouth.