I am limp when Chris sets my leg down and slides up my body. He kisses me, the salty taste of his kiss flavoring my tongue. “Taste you on me. That says you belong to me. Don’t forget it.”

• • •


Fifteen minutes later, with too many bags in hand for my comfort, Chris and I exit the store. Ava wasn’t there when we exited the dressing room and for that I’m thankful. Regardless of the throb of my cl*t to remind me that Chris is as skilled with his tongue as he is with a paintbrush, my discomfort over Ava is still quite intense.

By the time we pull up at the restaurant, I haven’t figured out why. It’s not about distrusting Chris. But there is a gray area in my mind I can’t muddle my way through, and it’s bugging me.

Inside the chain restaurant, a “something for everyone” kind of place, I force myself to forget Ava. Rebecca is who matters and just thinking about what we might find out from the PI has me balling my hands by my side.

The hostess motions us forward and Chris reaches over and pries my fingers apart and slides his through mine. “Relax, baby.”

It’s amazing how well he reads me. “I just want to find out that she is okay and I’m paranoid to think otherwise.”

“I know,” he agrees. “Me, too.”

Two men greet us at the table we’re shown to and I am in testosterone overload. Good-looking, fit, and dressed in jeans and Walker Security T-shirts, they both stand to greet us.

“Blake Walker,” one of them says, offering me his hand. He has long black hair tied at his nape, and intelligent brown eyes that have a been-through-hell depth to them.

“Kelvin Jackson,” the other one, with sandy brown hair that curls at his brow, and bright blue eyes, announces. “I’m the head of the San Francisco office.”

Blake snorts. “Once we have offices. He’s working from home until the building gets the construction done, thus the lunch meeting. I’ll be glad to get back to New York and out of his living room.”

My brow furrows. I’m concerned that they’re not more established here, and Chris seems to read my thoughts as we all sit down. “Walker Security is not only one of the best in the business, but Kelvin is a former FBI agent out of the San Francisco office.”

“I was ATF,” Blake adds. “My brother Luke is a former SEAL. My brother Royce is former FBI. The list goes on.” He cuts Chris a quick look. “Your man got us the journals, by the way.”

I’m impressed and relieved. Chris leans back and drapes his arm over my chair. “Jacob’s a good man.”

“I noticed,” Kelvin comments. “I need a man like him.”

“Stay away,” Chris warns. “I like my building more with him on the job.”

Kelvin looks encouraged. “That he’s impressed you only makes me want him more.”

“Have you found out anything about Rebecca?” I interject, eager to find out what they have to share.

The waitress appears and kills my chance for immediate answers. Chris opens his menu. “We’d better order. We’re going to be cutting it close for our flight.”

With effort I focus on the menu and order my first choice everywhere: pasta. The men all order burgers.

After the waitress leaves Blake picks up the conversation again. “About Rebecca. We tracked down the mysterious new boyfriend in New York. He said they took a trip to the Caribbean and they were going to travel to Greece next but she had a change of heart and wanted to come home early. We checked out his story. She flew out with him and came back alone.”

An icy chill slides down my spine. “She came back here?”

Kelvin gives a decisive nod. “Six weeks ago.”

I am sick to my stomach all over again. “She never got her things out of storage. She never came back to work. So where is she?”

“We don’t know,” Kelvin confirms, “and there’s no record of her leaving by any means of public transportation.”

“We also checked car rentals and found no record,” Blake adds, buttering some bread. “And she didn’t own a car for us to track down.”

Guilt twists me in knots. I sensed Rebecca was in trouble. I should have trusted my instincts and pushed harder for answers sooner. “Where does that leave us?” I ask, and I can’t keep the urgency from my voice. “The police?”

Blake sighs heavily. “This is tricky. We have enough to support a missing person’s report, but she’s an adult who has the right to come and go as she pleases.”

“And she told everyone she was leaving town,” I say.

Blake nods. “Exactly. It’s hard to get attention to these types of cases.”

Kelvin slides his silverware out of his way and sets a folder on the table. “We also don’t want the police asking questions that could trigger someone to hide evidence we might find otherwise.”

Evidence? I straighten. They are clearly are thinking crime, too.

Kelvin continues, “At least right now, we think a missing person’s report is a bad move.”

“You can trust these guys, baby,” Chris assures me, his finger lightly caressing my shoulder. “They know what they are doing.”

“I do,” I assure him and the entire table, “and I understand the view on the missing person’s report. I just don’t like the direction this seems to be headed or the things it’s making me think might have happened to Rebecca.”

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