Lola almost dropped the platter. She didn't know what looked more devastatingly attractive, Jack with his clothes on or Jack with his clothes off. The slow burn in her belly voted for clothes off, but this version looked damned fine, too.

She cradled the plate in her arms like a shield. "If you want to serve some salad in the bowls and get some dressing from the fridge, that would be great."


He jerked open the refrigerator door. "Looks like someone went shopping while I was sleeping."

"That was Rosa. After my phone call to Nate, I did a little work."

"Rosa's a character." He leaned over the table and scooped some salad into the two bowls on the table.

"Her bark is bigger than her bite. She's completely devoted to her husband, Roberto."

"Must be nice."

"Maybe you already have that and you just don't know it yet." Lola plopped the meaty pieces of chicken on top of the bed of rice, afraid to turn around, afraid to see his expression.

"Maybe, but..."

She held her breath, but he didn't continue the thought. Holding the platter of steaming food in two hands, she turned from the stove with a bright smile plastered on her face. "I hope you're hungry."

"Starving." His dark eyes smoldered over the rim of his wineglass, and Lola bit the inside of her cheek.

Stop. His eyes weren't smoldering at all. The candlelight was playing across his face, creating false illusions.

She carried the chicken to the table and returned for the plate of fried plantains. "These are Rosa's specialty."

Jack handed her a wineglass, and their fingers touched around the stem. The electricity from that soft brush of fingertips almost made her swoon, and she plopped down in her chair and took a gulp of wine.

He tilted his head, a lock of black hair falling over one eye. "Are you a big drinker?"

If she had to hang out with him much longer and continue to suppress her feelings she would be. She tapped the wineglass and laughed. "No, not usually, but you have to admit these are unusual circumstances."

He speared a piece of chicken and placed it on her plate. "Did you find out anything more about Emilio's condition this afternoon?"

"Still in a coma. I'm hoping to check in on him at the hospital tomorrow."

"I'm beginning to wonder who's following us, the people involved in your brother's kidnapping or the CIA."

"The CIA wouldn't run down a man in the street." She met Jack's half-lidded eyes and stammered, "W-would they?"

"I don't trust the CIA, Lola. I can't trust anyone right now, except..."

"Me?" The word came out on a breathy sigh. She dropped her gaze and stuffed a forkful of rice in her mouth. Damn, she was in deep.

He reached over and touched the corner of her mouth with the tip of his little finger, capturing a single grain of rice. "Yeah, you."

She dabbed her mouth with her napkin and swallowed. "Even after I called my friend at the CIA?"

"I know you were trying to help...and you did. The Agency has put the word out that I'm dead. Maybe they believe it and maybe they don't. That's why they have my mug on computer terminals all over Europe."

"Too bad Gabe's kidnappers don't think you're dead."

"Maybe they do."

"So now you think the CIA is responsible for breaking into my car and my condo?" Lola took another sip of wine, allowing the ruby liquid to warm and relax her muscles.

Jack furrowed his brow as he sliced into a chicken thigh with such precision and concentration he could be performing surgery. "You said it, Lola. Someone broke into your car, your condo."

She crossed her knife and fork on the edge of her plate. "So you think someone's after me and not you?"

He abandoned his own silverware and grabbed both of her hands. "I don't know. Why would they be after you? What could you possibly know about Gabe's work in Afghanistan?"

"He works on flu viruses. He's been at it for years. That's all I know. He was with Doctors Without Borders and left them to follow up on a viral breakout in Afghanistan. I got that much in a phone call from him. The next thing I knew, a rep from Doctors Without Borders called to tell me about the kidnapping, but I never received any demands from anyone. That's when I called you on Emilio's recommendation."

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