In this excerpt, Olivia and Hotshot are getting to know each other, and Olivia, who ever likes playing second fiddle, especially to a man, is laying out her ground rules for their undercover assignment.
“So, you want to tell me what Nurse Livvy’s going to make me do?”
His smile, slow and lazy, made her think this assignment might not be so bad after all, even if he seemed to like pushing her buttons with that Nurse Livvy bit. She had to force herself to keep from smiling in return. This was a job. And she’d be damned if she was going to let him run things on the op. She’d spent most of her life trying to get away from males who thought having both an X and a Y chromosome made them superior and gave them the right to tell her what to do. Maybe Hotshot thought he was one great gift to women. Maybe that’s where his nickname came from.
She took her water and returned to her seat on the couch. “First, you will refer to me as either Miss Fairchild or Olivia.”
He did that smile thing again. “In public.”
“Better make it in private, too. For all we know, there will be people listening in. And, it’s too easy to slip.”
“Then you have to call me either Mr. McAllister or Sir,” he said. “Since I’m the rich, arrogant asshole, I’d probably call you Sugarpie.” He winked.
She stifled the laugh threatening to erupt. “Once. Maybe. But you’d regret it. Immediately.”
He pretended to write on his paperwork. “Duly noted. One shot at Sugarpie. And I’ll let you worry about when it’ll happen. How many times can I use Nurse Livvy?”
“Are you ever serious?” she asked. “This is the daughter of Mr. Blackthorne’s godson we’re supposed to be looking for. Remember how important Grace said this was.”
His expression sobered. “You’re right. Making light of things verbally doesn’t mean I’m making light of them. It’s how we deal with stress in the field. Maybe it’s a guy thing.”
Olivia remembered the Deer Ridge assignment, when she’d been working with a covert ops team. They joked around, but when it came to the job, they did it. Well. “Understood. But don’t expect me to play by those rules when we’re working.” She gave him the barest of smiles. “Because Nurse Livvy is the consummate professional.”
He chuckled. “Does that mean there’s going to be off-the-job time when you will joke around?”
“Off-the-job time?” She grimaced. If she was his caregiver, wouldn’t she be on call round the clock? And if so, what kind of sleeping arrangements had been made for her?
Olivia twisted off the taps and stepped out of the shower. She dried off and fished her hairdryer out of her suitcase. She’d hoped the shower would relax her, settle her, but her brain refused to slow down. What she needed was to stop thinking about all the what if scenarios. They’d have to play things by ear, concentrate on maintaining their covers. The more she tried to anticipate what things would be like, the more she thought about spending time with Hotshot. And the more she thought about spending time with Hotshot—she grabbed her nightgown and yanked it over her head. She was so not going there.
Hotshot? Or more of the what could go wrong scenarios? She decided Hotshot was the lesser of her concerns. For all his joking around, he was Blackthorne, and that had to make him reliable.
She hated to admit it, but she enjoyed his banter. Made her feel as if he accepted her. But no way was she going to let him see it. She didn’t let men push her around, no matter what. Even if they were tall, lean, and with eyes so blue they made her wonder if he wore tinted contacts. She made a mental note to check.
But the thought of getting close enough to check had all her female parts making themselves known.
Get over it. You’re going to have to get that close to him doing your job.
And while Hotshot might think his cover as an arrogant asshole meant he should be trying to put the moves on her, hers was to remain strictly professional. At. All. Times.
Olivia brushed her teeth, perhaps a little more rigorous than necessary. When she left the bathroom and crossed the hall to the bedroom, Hotshot was leaving, a bundle of sheets in his arms. She felt his appraisal, and her nipples responded. Damn her libido. So what if she hadn’t slept with a guy in almost forever? So what if Hotshot was good-looking? She was not going to do the automatic female cross your arms over your chest thing. She lifted her eyes, met his gaze. And so what if his eyes really were that blue?
He raised the sheets in a mock salute. “Put clean ones on the bed for you.”
She could have—probably should have—said, “You didn’t need to do that. I’d have done it.” Show him she wasn’t dependent on him.
It’s a set of sheets. Leave it alone.
“Thanks,” she said. “Appreciate it. It’s late. Been a long day. See you in the morning.”
Had he expected her to invite him to share the bed?
Pre-order now and save $3
Remember, I’m giving away a download of any one of my books, so check my website and let me know which one you’d like in the comments.