Chapter 8: The Devil You Know – part 11
Teague grimaced as bitterness coated his tongue and poured down his throat. He frowned at the tan fluid in the Styrofoam cup, then looked up at Sydney. The commissary clerk tried to hide a grin. “People drink this on a regular basis?”
The heavyset woman gave Teague a sympathetic smile. “I warned you that two shots of espresso might be a little strong. More milk?”
“I’ll live,” Teague shrugged, handing over his ID card to pay for the beverage. “I try cappuccino every few years. Then I remember why I don’t drink it.” A yawn swallowed the end of his statement.
Sydney chuckled, then returned his ID. “I thought you’re used to the early-morning shift.”
Teague choked down more of the bitter drink. “I am. Didn’t get much sleep last night.” Not that he minded the sleep deprivation. His lover’s long legs and agile hands made drowsiness more than worth it.
After downing the rest of the cappuccino Teague teleported from the corridor outside the commissary to his office. The atmosphere was peaceful due to the early hour. Grateful for caffeine, he sat at his desk and switched on his computer.
Woo’s strained voice carried from the outer office. “Dr. Harris, Captain MacKen–”
Knuckles rapped on the door. “Good morning, Captain MacKenzie,”Addison called.
Teague shook his head as he moved to the door. “Good morning, Dr. Harris.” He opened the door to find a vexed Woo and a smirking Addison.
“Like I said,” she told Woo, “the Captain is in.” Addison smiled at Teague, strode inside, and sank into the chair opposite his desk. With her tailored dress showing off her legs and arms folded beneath her breasts, the woman’s attractiveness almost made up for her frosty demeanor. “I’m here to discuss my case.”
Curiosity and concern rolled off of Woo. “She just got here. Said that she knew there was a break in the case.” He snuck a suspicious look at Addison, who was studying her manicured nails.
Teague suppressed a sigh. “Last night I informed Dr. Harris that we have new information. I specifically said that there was no need to report until morning. I’m certain she understands that an unexpected arrival puts us at a disadvantage and that we require some additional time to ready a proper presentation.”
Woo relaxed, but Addison didn’t have the good graces to feign embarrassment. Instead she crossed her legs, hiking her skirt up an inch. “To prepare or to hide, Captain?”
Teague was losing patience. He strode to the front of the desk, leaning against it with his arms crossed. Addison challenged him with her eyes, which he easily met. “I assure you, Dr. Harris, if there were information we felt the need to hide, I wouldn’t have extended the courtesy of an update last night. After two months, we’d like to close this case as much as you would.”
“You can say that again,” Woo muttered. Addison scowled at him, and the man staggered back. He opened his mouth to protest.
Not a word, Woo, Teague projected into the lieutenant’s mind, along with a suggestion to make himself scarce. “Thank you, Lt. Woo. I’ll brief Dr. Harris from here.”
“Yes, Captain.” Woo shrunk back, closing the door behind him.
Teague rounded on his altogether too smug lover. “Addison. I’ve told you to stop terrorizing my team.”
Addison rolled her eyes and chuckled. “I didn’t do anything to Lt. Woo. My reputation precedes me. Makes it easier for me to get my way.”
Shaking his head, Teague moved behind his desk and sat down. Addison circled around to stand behind his chair. Her mind slid against his, her mental voice silky innuendo. Maybe you should make your team less prone to being terrorized. Her arms wrapped around his torso, palms skimming down his chest. Her teeth grazed his neck, and Teague’s body betrayed him with a shiver. Desire accompanied Addison’s throaty laugh as one hand teased lower.
As much as Teague enjoyed the woman’s caress, he managed to catch her hand with his. I thought you wanted to discuss your case. I had a terrible time convincing you to leave it alone last night.
Buzzkill, Addison shot back, mildly disappointed. She raked her nails up his torso and twisted away, her mood suddenly professional. “Tell me about the breakthrough then. What did you find out?”
Teague studied her for a moment. Addison Harris was a puzzle that he hadn’t yet solved. She could be cold and dangerous, Triptych’s ice queen. In the bedroom she was a hot-blooded as any other woman, but playful and coy, seductive and creative. And she had two children; he’d seen pictures of them in her office. When he’d asked about them the Ice Queen returned. Puzzling, all of it.
As his hormones waned Teague replied, “The theft of your artifact was orchestrated by someone able to hide from a powerful psychic and circumvent our security. That’s not a disgruntled employee or a petty thief.” He picked up the data pad on his desk, tapped the screen a few times, and handed it to Addison. “We’ve been following this man. He’s our primary suspect–”
Addison’s annoyance rippled through him. “You didn’t tell me you had a suspect.”
“–in a large and previously untraceable black market auction ring,” Teague continued, ignoring Addison’s pout. “It paid off. These people have been stealing items for months. Art, technology, anything rare or expensive. We think your artifact will turn up at the next auction. It’ll help us take down the whole ring.”
A smile crept across Addison’s face. Her dark eyes sparkled predatorily. “When is it?”
Teague laughed. “No. You are not going to be any part of it. I know you take this theft personally, but you’re not going anywhere near that auction.”
“I want my artifact back!”
“Addison, think for a moment.” He projected calm, hoping to diffuse a tantrum before it started. “You have a reputation. You said it yourself. No one is going to believe that Dr. Addison Harris would be involved in this. You’re too close to Dr. Gibson. You’d blow the sting before it started.”
Addison glared, eyes flashing. Teague braced himself for an outburst, but none came. She pursed her lips, continuing to stare at him for a few moments. Then the Ice Queen spoke. “I could go in disguise. Tell me that my abilities wouldn’t be helpful in that situation.”
“No you–” Teague stopped in mid-objection. Although he was loathe to admit it, Addison had a point. Security had a few psychics and witches, but he was the only Homo superior. “You might be onto something.”
Addison’s smile was cold and smug. “Of course. I didn’t get to where I am today by just being a pretty face and a fabulous shag.” She slid onto the desk, idly shoving papers out of her way. Teague resisted the urge to straighten them, knowing that was partly why Addison had done it. “Which part are you in agreement with? Needing me or the disguise?”
“Both. We can disguise you, but it won’t be your typical disguise.” He stepped up to her and took her hands, relieved that she didn’t protest. Addison could be prickly, and he didn’t know her boundaries yet. We all have our special skills. This is one of mine. Close your eyes and think of someone. Someone you know well, that you can picture everything about. Face, voice, scent, all of it. When you–
Faces flickered in his mind’s eye. First was Dr. Gibson’s, but it was soon replaced with another man’s angular features. Teague recognized him from the personnel files: Dr. Myers, head of the Genetics department. Memories of a few other people appeared, but none was as strong as Myers’. Teague concentrated, then spoke with Myers’ Yank-accented tenor. “Open your eyes, Addison.”
Her head jerked up. Addison yanked her hands back, radiating shock, bitterness, and affection. “Teague?”
“Yes. Illusions are my specialty. Visual, aural, and olfactory.” He smiled, but Addison’s frown deepened.
Squaring her shoulders, Addison stepped up to him, scrutinizing his adopted face. “That’s amazing.” She pulled him down for a kiss, one different from those they’d shared. Tenderness of all things sweetened their contact.
Although he already knew the answer, Teague asked, Who is he?
Addison stepped back and looked away. “No one. Just my son’s wanker of a father.” She met his eyes briefly, then frowned at the far wall. “Could you be you again, please?”
Teague dropped the illusion, keeping his surprise under wraps. No one had told him that Myers had fathered Addison’s son, and that she’d had some sort of relationship with the man. “Better?”
Addison smiled, but it didn’t reach her eyes. “Much.” She leaned back on her hands. “How long will it take you teach me that?”
Teague grinned. “How long will it take you to learn?”