He studies me a moment. “Can’t it wait?”
His tone verges on rudeness and I reply with sticky-sweet innocence. “I’m feeling quite queasy. Something I ate, I believe.
Tartare. I thought to spare your desk a mess.”
He openly scowls and speaks to a man over his shoulder, then to me again. “Monsieur Dupont will escort you.”
I’m such a criminal they need to escort me? The man, bald and in his midifties, with a hard, round face, approaches me.
Chris’s words from last night play in my head. We attack the problems. They don’t attack us. And baby, we do it together. I inhale deeply. We do it together. And it hits me then that “together”
doesn’t mean handing over my life to Chris. It means sharing it. Unlike others in my life before him, Chris is trying to make me stronger. Hiding in the bathroom until he arrives is not stronger.
Straightening, my chin lifts, and while the uneasy sensation in my belly remains, I am stronger. I walk to the chair and sit down. Surprise lashes on his face. “You’re ready to answer questions?”
“No. I’m not ready at all. I’m waiting on a call from my attorney.” I lean forward, resting my hand on the desk, my voice as steady now as his. “And, Monsieur Bernard, if you slander my name with anyone, especially my friends outside, you will know my name far better than you wish you did.”
The surprise he’d shown seconds before morphs into a stunned expression. It matches what I’m feeling. Where did that come from? His brow furrows. “You are quite deiant for a woman accused of murder.”
I raise my eyebrows. “Accused by the very woman who tried to kill me two nights ago—so, yes, you bet I’m deiant.”
And why haven’t I been before now? I’m innocent. I’m a victim. I’m furious that I’m being questioned.
“Then why did you lee the country?”
“I did not lee the country,” I state calmly.
“She came with me.”
I twist around to ind Chris standing in the doorway, his hair a damp mess, droplets of water clinging to the black Harley jacket he wears with the same ease he does his power. The entire room seems to suck in a breath at the same moment, waiting for what will come next. Waiting for him.
His attention ixes on me, and it’s as if no one else were in the room. He sees me. He’s dismissed them.
“I told you I was close, baby,” he drawls, seemingly unaf-fected by the situation. He saunters into the room, and while he’s all casual coolness and sexy swagger, there is a lethal, primal quality just beneath his surface. I might be trying to take control myself, and I want to, but it’s a beautiful thing watching Chris be Chris.
He stops beside my chair and holds out a hand. His eyes are gentle, yet somehow still glinting with hard steel and pure dominance. Holding his gaze, I slip my purse onto my shoulder and press my palm into his. A warm, tingling sensation dances up my arm and I see Chris’s eyes dilate, awareness seeping into his unwavering stare. He feels it, too—this crazy, impossible attraction between us that’s contained by nothing, not even the jerks watching us. I love that about us. I love us.
His ingers close around mine and he pulls me to my feet.
“We’re leaving. We have museums to visit.”
Bernard speaks in rapid, agitated French.
Chris licks him a bored look and says something in reply.
Maybe two sentences. I’m dying to know what; I really have to step up my game.
I glance at Bernard,whose peeved expression is pretty darn telling—as is the defensive way he crosses his arms in front of his chest. Whatever Chris has said, Bernard oicially has his panties in a wad, and I almost laugh.
Obviously entertained by the man’s reaction, Chris’s lips twitch and he motions me to the door. We’re halfway to the exit when Bernard calls out to us. Chris stops but doesn’t turn, as if the man is unworthy of his attention. He answers the man, sounding rather amused, as if whatever power Bernard believes he has is a joke. Then we start walking again and we don’t stop.
We travel briskly through the waiting room, where people cluster like ants. Halfway to the exit the hair on the nape of my neck prickles, as it had when I was shopping yesterday.
Fighting the urge to look behind us, I try to erase the sensation with a rub of my hand. It has to be Bernard watching our departure, and I cast Chris an anxious glance. “Can we just walk out like that?”
“We just did.”
Right. We just did. The prickling sensation deepens and I rub harder; I can’t get out of here soon enough. “What about Rey and Chantal?” I ask when we inally step into the main corridor.
“I had Rey take Chantal home.”
“They don’t know about—”
“No. You can relax. I questioned Rey on the phone before I got here.”
Relief washes over me. “Have you talked to Stephen?”
“Long enough for him to tell me to do what I’d planned on doing anyway, and get you the hell out of there.”
Having my freedom blessed by our attorney is cold comfort, considering I’m still without a passport and being questioned about a murder I didn’t commit. “You know,” I say through my teeth, “these accusations are really starting to piss me of.”
Chris looks down at me, approval glowing in his eyes.
“About time you got mad.”
Yes, I think as we approach the exit. About time. I guess I have Bernard to thank for my coming around. It’s time I remind everyone I am a victim, but not the kind I’ve acted like. Ava tried to kill me. They should be helping me, not attacking me with her.