“I’d rather you not.”
She nibbled his chin before she pulled away. “If we don’t stop, we’re going to do something that could get us into serious trouble.”
“I know,” he whispered. “Okay, time for clothes.”
Before she could leave the room, his cell phone rang. Ace picked it up and answered it.
“Hey, Joe.” Ace cast an amused look at her, then winked. “No, obviously I’m not tied up since I answered the phone…. Thanks. So what do you need?”
Anxious as to why Joe might be calling, she moved forward, hoping to overhear something.
“Yeah, we’ll be right there.” He hung up.
“What’s going on?”
“Joe just got word that Bender’s sent out a call to his clients. Apparently he’s found an abandoned arsenal of old Soviet weapons, including some nuclear. We need to get to the office for a briefing.”
That succeeded in stifling her renegade passion. “I’ll be waiting by the door.”
Ace nodded and reached for his pants while she left him alone. Today had been a major mistake. He knew it.
As agents, they were supposed to stay detached, especially from each other. But after this morning, he wasn’t feeling detached from Rhea.
Then again, he’d never been detached from her.
In fact, he was feeling extremely possessive. The thought of a bastard like Bender seeing her in that dominatrix outfit was almost enough to send him over the edge.
He didn’t want anyone to see her like that. Anyone but him.
And how could he send her in there with a madman now?
Oh, this wasn’t good. He’d never felt like this for another woman.
“Get a grip.” He buttoned his pants, then reached for his shirt.
The two of them had a mission and he wasn’t about to let one sexual encounter ruin it.
At least he hoped he didn’t.
“I knew it! Look at them. Did I not tell you that all that sniping was because they were seriously attracted to each other?”
Joe looked up at Tee’s words to see Rhea and Ace through the two-way mirror of his office. Damn, Tee had been right. They were making goo-goo eyes at each other.
“Shit,” he said under his breath.
“What?” Tee asked innocently.
“Work and play don’t mix.”
Tee gave him an arched look. “Since when?”
“Since we have to send her in practically nak*d to beat information out of an arm’s dealer. Given the way Ace is eyeballing her, I don’t think he’s going to approve.”
“What has that got to do with anything? Ace is a good enough agent to do what he has to.”
Tee gave Joe an angry frown. “You and I are best friends, and how many times have you sent me into danger?”
“That’s because you’re the Dragon Lady. You’d take the head off anyone dumb enough to cross you.”
She cocked her head at him and spoke pointedly, “I haven’t killed you yet.”
“Not from lack of trying on your part, and personally, I’d rather you kill me than make me sit down and talk to your mom. That woman hates my guts with an unfounded reasoning.”
“You keep talking like that about my mother, Joe Public, and I just might make sure that your automatic car payment gets misrouted.” She looked back at Rhea and Ace. “Trust me. This’ll be fine.”
Now it was Joe’s turn to scoff. “The last time I trusted you, I got three bullets in my back.”
“No, you got shot because you trusted me and then you didn’t listen to what I said and did your own stupid thing.”
He mocked her by screwing up his face and repeating her words back at her.
“That’s it. I’m emailing my mother to come have lunch here tomorrow.”
“No!” Joe snapped, immediately contrite. “She makes me crazy. She won’t even speak English when I’m around and I know she speaks it better than I do.”
“We will finish this later,” Tee snapped before she opened the door to let Ace and Rhea in.
Ace looked a bit sheepish as he came to stand in front of Joe’s desk, while Rhea took a seat in the black leather chair in front of it.
“So how was your morning?” Tee asked as she came to lean against the side of the desk. “Did Beullah do her job?”
Ace nodded. “Oh, yeah. They hog-tied me in a manner to make you proud, Tee.”
“Good. Pity they let you up.”
Ignoring her, Ace looked at Joe. “So what’s the new information?”
Joe shuffled through a couple of folders. “Bender’s on the move. You two are going to have to head out to Germany tonight.”
Both Ace and Rhea gaped.
“What?” Ace asked.
“You heard him,” Tee said. “I already have your flight booked.”
The news went over Ace like sandpaper. “She can’t go in alone. She hasn’t had time to prepare herself yet. Hell, she barely knows what she’s doing.”
“Excuse me?” Rhea asked, her tone extremely offended. “I think I should have beat you harder.”
He glared at her.
“Don’t worry, Ace.” Tee pulled an envelope off Joe’s desk. “You’re going in as Hermann the towel boy.”
Joe tossed Ace a passport. “You and Dieter will be right outside the room, listening in case she needs backup. Retter will be on recording detail along with Dagmar. There shouldn’t be any trouble you guys can’t handle. God knows you’ve all had worse.”
Tee handed the entire file to Ace. “You two are technically on vacation for the next few days while Rhea learns her stuff over in Germany. I’ve ordered some training DVDs for you to study so that you can learn how to beat him black-and-blue. Bender that is, not Ace.”
Rhea nodded. “Okay.”
“We don’t know when Bender is going to show up, looking for Ute,” Joe said. “But according to Ute, he always gets feisty right before a big coup, and his latest find definitely qualifies. I figure you guys have three days to a week before he shows himself. What do you think, Ace? You know him better than anyone.”
“You’re right,” he said. “He usually books time with Ute the night before he pulls off his shit. We need to get over there and be ready.”
“Then you two go ahead. Retter is already in Germany and waiting for your orders. The rest of us will follow you over there on a later flight.”
Ace handed Rhea her passport and printout for her plane ticket, then led the way out of Joe’s office.
“You don’t think they suspect anything, do you?” Rhea asked in a hushed tone as soon as they were out of hearing range.
On the way over here, they had decided that it would be business as usual for them so that no one else in the office would know what had happened.
God help them if any of the losers here ever learned they’d had sex. They would tease them to the point they’d have to kill someone.
Ace glanced back over his shoulder. “Joe’s pretty dense. Tee…I don’t know. I swear sometimes that woman can read minds.”
“Oh, don’t say that. That makes me nervous.”
“Yeah,” he agreed. “So how do we handle the next few days?”
“Well, normally we’d do deep, intrinsic training…”
Ace couldn’t stop the grin that took over his face. “I was hoping you’d say that.”
She shook her head at his enthusiasm. At times he was simply evil.
But she was glad this was one of those times.
Once they reached Germany, they spent night and day together. Rhea was stunned at how comfortable she became around Ace while she was completely nak*d. It was liberating to have no sense of being body conscious around him.
How could she when he seemed to prefer her that way?
“I’m supposed to be training with you tied up,” she said as Ace secured her hands, which were tied together to her headboard.
“Turnabout is fair play.”
She supposed it was.
“What are you doing?” she asked as he took one ankle carefully in his hand.
He kissed the sole of her foot.
Rhea moaned as he moved to lick her toes and to torment them one by one until she was squirming.
“I’m having my way with you, princess.” He tied her foot to the bedpost.
After he had the other leg secured, Ace stood back. He’d never thought about tying someone up as being particularly sexy, but he had to admit the sight of her tied and waiting for him turned him on a lot more than he would ever have guessed.
He slid his briefs off, then pouted slightly. “I should have tied you down on your back.”
“Not necessarily.” Grinning at her, Ace slid himself slowly up under her.
Rhea hissed at the feeling of him there. She was completely open and exposed to his every desire.
She dipped her head down to kiss him while he slid his hands down her back to gently cup her butt and press her h*ps to his. She could feel him growing hard against her stomach.
“Hmmm,” he breathed, rubbing himself against her. “What have I found?”
Rhea sucked her breath in sharply as his rough fingers gently prodded her clit.
“You do know, I’m getting entirely too attached to you, Ace?”
“Yeah,” he said as he slid one long, lean finger inside her. “And I know that I should get up, get dressed, and go to my room.”
But he didn’t move to get up and that thrilled her most of all.
“Why aren’t you leaving?” she asked.
“I’m desperate for you, Rhea.” He pulled his hand away from her, then brushed the hair back from her face so that he could look at her. “I’ve been desperate to taste your body since the day you first came into the office, stumbled, and fell, flashing me those little pink panties you had on under your skirt.”
Her face flushed with heat. “You saw that?”
“Oh, yeah, and I’ve dreamed of nothing but peeling those pink panties off of you ever since.”
“And now that you have?”
“I want the right to keep peeling them off you anytime you make me hot.”
She rolled her eyes at him. “That is without a doubt the most unromantic thing I have ever heard, and if I wasn’t tied down, I’d leave.”
He laughed low in his throat as his hand returned to stroke her between her legs. “Then it’s a good thing I tied you down first, huh?”
It was hard to think straight while he touched her like this. While his fingers stroked and circled her.
“Tell me what you want, Rhea.”
“I want you inside me.”
Ace gave her a fierce kiss, then moved his lips slowly down her body to her br**sts, where he took his time teasing her. Then lower and lower while her body burned for him. He licked his way to her thigh, then nipped her hip as he slid completely out from under her.
Rhea tried to look over her shoulder but couldn’t see anything.
She felt the bed dip with his weight as he moved to lean over her.
He brushed the hair back from her neck before he nibbled at her earlobe. She shook all over as his tongue teased her ear. His breath scorched her.
He slid his hand around her hip, to sink it deep in her fold before he entered her.
Rhea gasped as pleasure assaulted her.
Ace was blinded by the sensation of her warm, wet heat. He could lose himself inside her forever.
But today was their last day to play. Tomorrow Bender would show himself.
One of them could die. It wasn’t something agents gave much thought to, but as he rode her slowly, that fear finally found him.
What if something went wrong?
“Ace? Are you okay?”
He placed a kiss to her cheek. “I’m fine, baby.”
Rhea moaned as his fingers stroked her while he thrust deep inside her. Still, she could tell something was different about him in spite of what he said. There was a hesitancy to his touch. A reservation.
But she didn’t have long to contemplate that before her orgasm claimed her.
Ace held her tight, his fingers working their magic until the very last tremor had been coaxed out of her.
A few heartbeats later she felt him tense as he too joined her in bliss.
Rhea lay there with his weight pleasantly crushing her while he untied her hands.
“I’m going to miss our ‘training’ sessions.”
“I’ll bet you will,” she said with a laugh.
He moved to the side of her so that she could roll over and snuggle close.
Tenderly, he brushed the hair back from her face.
Rhea sighed. “I wish we could go back and do the last few days over.”
“Yeah, me too. But you know, this doesn’t have to end…does it?”
Rhea swallowed at his question. “I don’t know, Ace. A relationship is hard enough. But between two agents…”