The Object of His Protection (8 page)

BOOK: The Object of His Protection
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“No. However, I do know that Harmon’s daughter took a job there a month or so after his death to find out whose number Harmon called. It’s my understanding that she ended up falling in love with Connor Stewart.”

Drey also poured a cup of tea. “That’s my understanding as well. And they were able to determine the call from Harmon came to you, but no one knows I’m your son.”

Daiyu sighed. “Evelyn never knew I was pregnant, so she’s unaware that Harmon has another child. Although you know who they are, they don’t know you.”

Drey intended to keep things that way until he was forced to do otherwise. He wanted to have completed the investigation by then.

“I’m sorry I don’t have more to tell you, Drey.”

He glanced over his mother and forced a smile. “That’s fine. You’ve told me enough.”

Chapter 9

C
harlene went inside Drey’s home after sitting on the patio for the past hour or so. Although the weather was a little cool, she had enjoyed sitting there watching the ducks play on the water. They appeared not to have a care in the world and she envied them.

Feeling somewhat hungry, she went into the kitchen. She had checked out his refrigerator and pantry earlier and found both places to be well stocked with food. One thing was certain. She wouldn’t starve while living with him.

Within minutes she had prepared a sandwich that would make even the people over at the sandwich shop near work jealous.

And speaking of jealous…

She frowned when she remembered the call that had been left on Drey’s answering machine. It was from some Karen, who wanted to know if Drey was interested in a fun time, and if so to come over to her place tonight, along with an extra set of clothes to stay for the weekend. The nerve of the hussy!

She turned when she heard the sound of the key in the door and felt a quickening in her chest when Drey walked in. She frowned thinking that this deep attraction for him was not what she wanted. But then she couldn’t dismiss memories of the kisses they had shared. Kisses that still had her lips burning in some places.

She could feel her temperature rise when he strode into the kitchen and stood next to her at the counter and stared down at her sandwich. He then looked back at her and smiled. “Hungry?”

She wished he wouldn’t smile in a way that made her want to wrap herself around him, cuddle close and hold on to him real tight. His smile always made him look extremely handsome in a totally masculine and sexy sort of way. “What makes you think that?” she asked.

He chuckled. “The size of your sandwich is a dead giveaway. It’s enough to feed two people.”

She lifted a brow. “Is that a hint that you want half?”

He shook his head. “No, not half. I ate a bunch of cookies over at Mom’s. But I’d love to take a bite.”

She picked up the sandwich, lifted it up close to his mouth and offered it to him. “Go ahead. I don’t mind sharing.”

While she held it he took a bite and she got turned on just by watching him chew. It was the methodical, slow movement of his mouth and the way their eyes stayed connected until he had finished. She swallowed, feeling a mass of heat invade her insides.

“It’s okay,” he said in a husky tone.

She stared at him, feeling her pulse rate increase. “What’s okay?”

“The fact that you want me.”

He was one arrogant ass, she thought. He was also correct. She wondered how he had known. Probably from the sound of her breathing. Instead of denying what he’d said, she looked away out his French doors and saw the ducks were still on the pond. She was then reminded of the phone call he had received earlier.

Placing the rest of her sandwich back on the plate, she grabbed her glass of iced tea and sat down at the table before throwing over her shoulder, “Oh yeah, by the way, Karen called.”

He stared at her, as if not comprehending. “Karen?”

“Yes. Karen. She’s invited you to her house for a sleepover.”

“You answered the phone?”

“No, she left a message.” And then Charlene added, “I imagine you’re sorry that you missed her call.”

“Yeah, I’m all broken up about it.”

Charlene looked at him, not sure if he was serious or not. She tried not to glare at him when he came over to the table and sat down. He was a free man to do whatever he wanted. “You can call her back. She left her number.”

“No need. I know it by heart.”

“Figures,” she said under her breath.

“Did you say something?”

“No.”

He pushed his chair back from the table. “I’ll let you eat in peace while I go over some reports.”

She wondered if he was really going to go over any report or if he was rushing off to return Karen’s call. He glanced at his watch and then asked, “What time do most of the people leave at the coroner’s office?”

“Around seven. Why?”

“No reason. I’ll check you out later.”

She then watched as he quickly walked off toward his office.

 

As soon as his office door closed behind him, Drey leaned back against it and pulled in a deep breath. Talk about bringing sexy back. Hell, Charlene Anderson took the icing off the cake. What was there about her that made him want to get her naked each and every time he saw her?

When he had walked into his kitchen and seen her standing there at the counter, in the direct path of the sunlight that was streaming in through the window, his heart began beating at a rapid pace. There was something about her standing in his kitchen, as if she had every right to be there, that had actually turned him on big time.

He had never taken a woman on his kitchen counter, but a few minutes ago he had come close to doing so. There was something about Charlene that tempted him to take her on the kitchen counter, the table, the bar stool. She brought out the wild side of him, a side he seldom showed. Maybe the reason was that she seemed to understand absolutely nothing about the opposite sex. For example, for an entire year the two of them had relentlessly bantered back and forth. He had understood why and accepted that the underlying cause was this deep sexual attraction they were trying to fight. For the longest time he felt she hadn’t had a clue. She’d never picked up on the fact that he had been sexually attracted to her at all, nor that each and every time he saw her in that lab coat, he had undressed her with his eyes. Nothing had changed. She was no longer wearing her lab coat, but he was still undressing her with his gaze every chance he got. Wondering what she had on underneath her clothing gave him a boner each and every time, which was something else she never even noticed.

Shaking his head, Drey moved away from the door to his desk thinking that it wasn’t an easy thing to admit that any one woman could blow your mind. Karen had nothing on her…other than experience. There was something about the way Charlene had returned his kiss the last two times they’d kissed that had made him wonder just how knowledgeable she was in the art of kissing.

She had been reluctant to put her tongue in his mouth until he had grabbed hold of it with his own and began mating with it. That only made him even more curious as to how often she had actually engaged in a French kiss. Would she carry that same level of inexperience into the bedroom?

A man could tell a lot about a woman’s experience with a kiss, and right now he would rate Charlene’s experience level to a single digit. Not that he was complaining. He had no qualms about showing her what her last lover had evidently failed to do. Meeting a woman who wasn’t all that experienced, one he could introduce to new things in the bedroom, was rather refreshing. In fact he looked forward to doing so.

Drey glanced around the room, and not for the first time he admired the setup of his office. Large, light and airy, because of a huge window that overlooked the pond, it was the only room in the house besides the kitchen that didn’t have any carpeting. Instead he had put in hardwood floors that fit in perfectly with the contemporary office furniture.

Knowing it was time to focus on work, he pulled a file out of the drawer, thinking that he needed to see the original autopsy report on Dennis, and if he could get his hands on that key, it would help tremendously. With Charlene no longer working at the coroner’s office for the time being, there was only one way for him to get the items he needed. Forced entry.

Drey sighed with frustration. If there was another way, he couldn’t think of it. In fact he was having difficulty in computing that Nate Ganders had changed the autopsy report and that some members of the police department might be involved. That made him even more determined to find out the truth. He had a meeting with the Braddocks in a few days and he wanted to be able to tell them something positive that he’d uncovered.

He wasn’t sure just how long he had worked, going over the documentation he had collected, reading the police report on Harmon’s accident and studying in detail again all the phone records and information Gloria had shared with him. Suddenly something outside his window caught his attention.

He crossed the room and saw Charlene. She was standing by the edge of the pond, throwing in bread crumbs to the ducks. His gaze focused in on her. She had put on a jacket and had swapped her skirt for a pair of white denim jeans. Not for the first time, and he doubted it would be for the last, he zeroed in on her backside, thinking just how much he liked it, wanting to cover it with his own body, mate with her from that position where he would enter her womanly core from behind. He inhaled a deep, hot breath, again wondering what there was about her that made his thoughts so sexual.

He observed her for a moment longer before deciding that it would be hard to go back to his desk and refocus on his work now that he’d seen her. Making a quick decision, he moved away from the window and grabbed his jacket off the coatrack and headed out of his office to join her at the pond.

 

Charlene threw bread crumbs out to the ducks while trying to convince herself that it didn’t matter one iota to her that Drey was probably in his office talking on the phone to Karen and planning their hot night together. How many men would give up a chance to be with an eager woman? A woman who evidently had a lot of experience.

A woman who still wasn’t a virgin.

For once she would like to come across as a woman in the know, and not get all giddy when being exposed to something new. Like the way Drey always kissed her. She’d been kissed before but not the way he did it. He could heighten her senses just with his tongue. She had only read about that type of kiss. It was the kind of kiss that still had heat sizzling inside you long after the contact ended. Amazing.

“The weather has turned rather chilly, hasn’t it?”

At the sound of the deep, masculine voice Charlene turned around so quickly she almost lost her balance. She glanced at Drey, who had come to a stop beside her. “I thought you had a lot to do,” she said, deciding not to add “with Karen.”

“I’ve taken care of most of what I plan to do today,” he said, shifting his gaze from her to the ducks.

“So, what time are you leaving?”

He looked back to her and raised a dark brow. “Am I supposed to be going some place?”

“Yes, I told you that that Karen person called. I heard the message.”

He crossed his arms over his chest. “And?”

“And I figured that, like most men, you wouldn’t hesitate to take her up on her offer.”

A smile that didn’t quite reach his eyes appeared on his face. “Well, today you will learn something new.”

“Which is?”

“I’m not like most men. And I don’t take advantage of every opportunity being offered. Some you learn to stay away from.”

“And is Karen one of those opportunities?”

“Afraid so. She’s looking for a husband but she won’t find one here.”

Charlene studied him. “Does that mean you’re not looking for a wife?”

“Yes, it means I’m not looking for a wife. Just a temporary bed partner. It’s better for me that way. I don’t do well with long-term affairs. The short ones work a whole lot better with my lifestyle.”

Charlene wondered if he was throwing out hints. If he was, then he was wasting his time. Once he discovered she was still a virgin, he would hightail it in the opposite direction real quick.

“So, what would you like to do tonight, Charlene?”

She didn’t fail to note Drey had said her name with just the right amount of sugarcoating to spike her hormone level up a notch and couldn’t help wondering if it was deliberate. A man with as much skill and experience with women as he possessed had to know when he’d hit the jackpot.

She decided to call his bluff to see just how far he would take this and if he was trying to break down her defenses. “I don’t know, Drey. What do you have in mind?” she asked in a voice so soft and seductive it didn’t sound like her own.

She watched his eyes darken a little and saw the smooth smile that formed on his lips. “Something that might get the both of us in trouble. But I’m willing to take the chance.”

Yeah, I bet you are.

“Think you’re interested?” he asked her.

Deciding to play along for a while, she said, “Possibly.”

His smile widened and he showed beautiful white teeth. “Good.” He glanced down at his watch. “You need to go into the house and change into something dark.”

Charlene lifted a brow. He said dark but not sexy. Did he have a fetish for dark clothes? “Why do I need to wear something dark?”

“So you can’t be seen.”

Now she was confused. Why wouldn’t he want to see her? She thought naked skin turned most men on. She met his gaze and saw the mischievous glint and wondered…

“Excuse me, are we talking about the same thing?” she decided to ask.

He gave her a half smile. “I don’t know. Are we?”

She didn’t have time to play guessing games with him. “Am I wrong or did you suggest we do something tonight that might get us into trouble?”

“No, you aren’t wrong. I did suggest that.” He leaned in closer, so close she could blatantly feel the heat off his body that seemed to suddenly block the cool air from coming her way. What other reason would her body suddenly feel as if it were burning up inside?

BOOK: The Object of His Protection
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