Bonus Story: Prelude to a Date
Teague’s mobile telephone vibrated against his hip for the fourth time in fifteen minutes. Since he’d effectively shut Juliet out telepathically, she transferred her insistence to more mundane methods of communication. He was two hours late to their scheduled rendezvous and Teague knew the blonde was pissed.
“Aren’t you going to answer that?” Dr. Harris, the source of Teague’s delay, didn’t turn her focus from the monitor. The security feed played in painstakingly slow real time.
He considered it for a heartbeat and then silenced the device with a thought. “No.”
“It’s been rather insistent.” The video feed froze though Harris didn’t touch a button on the console. The woman turned toward him with a cant of her head, “Might be an emergency.”
“I assure you, Dr. Harris, it isn’t, but thank you for your concern.”
Harris faced forward once more and the video resumed. “It wasn’t concern, Captain. That buzzing is quite annoying.”
“Noted.” Teague reached down and unclipped the phone from its holster. A text from Juliet scrolled across the screen: This is above and beyond. Let someone else babysit the Ice Queen. As much as Teague was inclined to agree, it was past the point of handing Harris off to another detective. He’d been kind enough to relieve Del Rio – who looked as though he would rather swim with sharks than spend another minute alone in a viewing booth with Triptych’s Head of Anthropology – and it was an act of kindness that he was fast coming to regret.
“Your girlfriend doesn’t like me much,” Harris observed coolly, “You certainly don’t have to babysit the Ice Queen. I understand if you have somewhere else to be.”
Teague fumbled the telephone, caught off guard by Harris’ dark eyes flickering from the device and back to the security video. A hint of amusement wafted up from her and he swore he saw the corner of her mouth twitch. The phone snapped back into its holster with maybe a little too much force behind it and Teague fought back the sudden urge to defend himself. Addison Harris was quite the piece of work.
“Do you enjoy making people uncomfortable and being difficult, Dr. Harris?”
The video stopped again and Harris swiveled her seat to face him completely. She openly studied him in silence, and rather than being unsettled, Teague simply returned the favor.
He couldn’t deny that she was a beautiful woman. She wasn’t skinny or too plump, but soft and curved in all the right places. His eyes might have lingered a beat too long on the barely hinted at cleavage beneath the silk cream blouse, but Harris either didn’t notice or didn’t care. Or maybe she expected it; two hours alone with the woman and Teague still hadn’t figured her out completely.
Harris pursed her full lips before a crooked smile upturned one half of her mouth. “People make themselves uncomfortable around me, Captain MacKenzie. Rumors of my abilities and skills make people afraid and uncomfortable long before they meet me. I simply don’t see any reason to go out of my way to make them feel secure and better about themselves.” Harris leaned in, catching and holding his gaze in those large soul-swallowing dark eyes of hers, But I don’t have to explain that to you, do I? How long did it take for your detectives to feel at ease with you?
Teague felt Harris openly skirting the fringes of his mind. Her mental touch was light but not stealthy. Teague likened it to someone running fingertips over fragile glass ball, pressing enough to truly feel the weight and the size, but not enough to break the surface. It should have felt intrusive, but it didn’t. He wasn’t stupid enough to let the woman past his shields, but Teague couldn’t help but react, pushing lightly back against her – minds touching and entangling for a brief moment more intimate than a touch of skin or kiss of lips.
Harris’ touch withdrew and vanished behind her skillfully placed shields. She spun the chair back to focus on the security video and Teague might have laughed at her reaction had he not been distracted by his own racing heartbeat and quickening breath.
He wasn’t particularly surprised when the woman found her voice again. “I believe you owe me dinner, Captain.”
The phone buzzed again at his hip. Teague turned it off with a thought. “I think that can be arranged.”