Her first instinct was that he was in on it with Faraday and trying to get a location out of her. Just to be sure, she covered her bases. "You can't. I'm as deep under as it gets," she said with a glance at the plush yard and grand house.
She was trained mostly in surveillance, and sure as hell knew more about satellite positioning, weapons, terrorist factions and Intel, than she did about keeping house and chasing after a baby. And avoiding contact with Bryce. He'd been good about keeping his promise of not touching her. In fact, he'd taken it so far as to not look at her most of the time. Their relationship was strictly professional. He'd turned into a complete workaholic and for the past three days she'd left his dinner in the microwave with a note. And other than seeing him briefly in the morning before he left for the office, they'd had little contact. And she silently admitted she missed him. No matter how much she didn't want to.
She blinked and shook her thoughts loose of Bryce. "I sent you a souvenir."
"Oh yeah? Is it socks? I need socks."
She smiled to herself, glad that the carefully worded letter was on its way to him while at the same time the videotape of Mark Faraday betraying his country and colleagues was out of her hands and now meandering across the country through varied post offices to a neutral party. That way, all bases were covered—if the tape didn't come out, the neutral party would go looking for it. "Better than argyles," she said. "I'll check in later. It's not going to hurt my career to miss a few days of work, right boss?"
His chuckle was computerized as it came through the headset, but in her mind she replaced it with the rich baritone she knew well.
"Getting antsy already. Figures."
"I'm outta here," she said, then cut the line in Australia first. She couldn't leave a trail to this house, these people. She was the one who took the risks for her country, not them. Closing up, and pushing the small thin computer into her case, she zipped it closed, then headed back to the house. She quietly opened the doors and slipped inside, moving quickly through the house to the staircase.
She froze when a shadow rose in front of her and instinctively she reached for the weapon that wasn't there.
"So Ciara," Bryce said, folding his arms over his chest. "Are you going to tell me why you were out in the backyard at midnight?" He flicked on the hall light and his gaze dropped to the case in her hand. "With that?"
Ciara's spine stiffened.
Bryce's first thought was that she was just out for a stroll. Then he saw the bulge in the case that could only be a phone.
And his next thought was she was calling a man. And jealousy tore through him. Especially when he noticed how she was dressed.
Or rather not dressed.
The short nightgown and thin robe left little to his imagination. And where she was concerned, his imagination had the speed of sonic flight. And the sexy deep burgundy satin molding her body sent his own desires into overdrive. He grew hard, instantly. He imagined her with another man, any man, giving him all that lush passion Bryce had known so long ago, and something tightened around Bryce's chest like a vise.
Then the talk he'd had with himself earlier kicked in and he tried smothering his runaway passion. Suddenly he resented the hell out of the things Ciara did to him. Making him think of more, making him want more than he wanted to consider, even in a private fantasy. One look at her and he thought of being inside her, feeling her arch against him and of the satisfaction he'd felt with her, and only her. And in a small secret part of his mind, a place even he dared not go too often, he realized that not even his wife had made him feel that way.
Wild sex with a stranger had.
What did that say about his ability to choose a mate? And was he fantasizing about that because that's all they'd had? Mentally he shook himself free of those thoughts.
"Well," he finally said. "What is that?"
It was incredibly small, he thought and he didn't think he'd ever seen one so thin. And then there was the phone. "What are you doing with it outside?"
Damn her evasiveness. "For what?"
"I don't think that's any of your business."
She started past him, but he latched onto her arm.
He didn't. "You were outside in the pitch black, using a computer? With a phone?"
"Yes. And the phone is for Internet links." She searched his gaze. "What's your problem?"
Ciara sighed hard and knew this would only bring an argument she didn't want or need. She pulled free and faced him. "It's a lovely night, the screen is lit enough that I can see it and I wanted to be outside."