When Aaron retreated into his condo, Lola broke away from Jack. "I'd better check to see if anything's missing."

He followed her inside and closed and locked the door behind them. "Tell me what happened. What did you see?"

"I was getting ready to take a shower." Tightening the towel around her body, she glanced back at him. "Thank God you were still here. For once I'm glad that elevator was so slow."

"Not that there's much I can do now."

"No, but..." She wasn't going to admit to him that his very presence in her condo soothed her. That his dark intensity and his honed muscles convinced her he could protect her from just about anything.

She grabbed his solid forearm and dragged him down the hall to the bathroom. She pointed at the footprint marring the pristine porcelain of the tub. "He came in through the window and must've left that way. The footprint is pointing toward the window, so maybe he jumped over the tub when he came in and then stepped in a little water in the tub that muddied the bottom of his shoe when he left."

"Did you leave that window open?"

"No. He must've done that on his way out."

"What's on the other side? You're on the third floor."

"There's a balcony that runs along the outside. That's why I always keep this window closed and locked." Folding her arms across the towel, she dug her fingers into her flesh. "I always thought this window was too big for a bathroom."

Jack stood on the edge of the tub and examined the window without touching it. "Looks like the lock could've been forced. Call the police and report this. Maybe they can pick up some fingerprints."

Before her knees started shaking again, Lola flipped down the toilet seat and dropped on top of it. "I didn't notice anything out of place in any of the rooms."

"So he was careful. It doesn't mean he didn't steal something. Have a look around."

"I'm going to get dressed first."

Jack's brown eyes shifted to the edge of her towel and darkened to an impossible ebony. "I'll check the rest of your windows and the sliding doors."

She pushed off the toilet seat and stopped at the bathroom door. "This has something to do with Gabe, doesn't it? My car...all of it."

He came up behind her so close, his warm breath caressed the back of her neck. "Or me. Someone knows I'm back in the States. They must've figured I'd contact you."

Goose bumps rushed up her arms, and she tripped into her bedroom. Damn Gabe. How had he gotten into such a mess? And why did he have to drag her into it? And damn Jack, too. When her father died, she thought that shadow of danger always hovering in the background would disappear.

She dropped the towel on the floor and scooped up the jeans and T-shirt she'd worn during the day. Perching on the edge of her bed, she grabbed the phone and called the police. This didn't warrant a call to 911, but they assured her they'd send a patrol car to check it out.

As she sat with the phone between her knees, Jack tapped on her bedroom door. "Yeah, come on in."

He nodded toward the phone. "You call the cops?"

"I did. Should you take off before they arrive?" She held her breath. If she didn't want him to leave before, she really didn't want him to leave now.

"Nah, they won't be too interested in me, but I'll give them a fake name just in case." He jerked his thumb over his shoulder. "All the other doors and windows seem secure. I went out to the balcony, and it looks like another partial footprint out there but nothing else, and neither one of those prints is clear."

"I haven't even checked my stuff." She bounded from the bed and ducked into her walk-in closet, where she kept a safe. Everything was intact. She dug out a jewelry box where she'd stashed several expensive pieces her mother had worn. Nothing was touched.

"How about your office, your computer?"

Lola went into the second bedroom, which she used as an office, and sifted through her drawers and files, leaving behind a bigger mess than the thieves.

After verifying her tidy burglar hadn't taken one item, Lola shoved her hands in her pockets and hunched her shoulders. "I don't get it. Nothing's missing. I can tell someone has gone through my belongings, even though that someone has been extremely careful not to leave anything out of place. If he hadn't left that footprint, I never would've known he was here."

Tags: Carol Ericson Romance
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