Thursday, December 31, 2009

Chapter Seventeen

Once they cleared the building, Mackenzie whipped out her Blackberry and punched in David’s number. She was surprised that they had infiltrated such a place as this, even if it was obvious it was a scare tactic. She stood just out of ear shot from Jon as he said his goodbyes and pleasantries in the foyer, but her eyes were fixed on him and those around him as she talked.

“Mac I don’t know what to tell you, I didn’t expect them to approach you in such a public domain.”

“I didn’t either, but it was clever. No one could make a scene and they got to threaten him, even if it was just verbally. We need to alert a few people about this.”

“I couldn’t agree with you more, you’ll have to notify the security where you are. That was one of the clauses for your clearance to carry a weapon there.”

She nodded, “yes I’m about to that now. Can you run some profiles on the invite list, look for anything Puerto-Rican and do background checks on them. See if we can’t dig anything up.”

“Got it. Have you thought about the possibility that they could be using Jon to make a statement of another kind to the community?”

She blew out her breath, “yeah I have. I can’t work out why they’re so twisted up about the kid being dropped, maybe they were going to infiltrate through his football team.” She quickly pondered and offered Jon a small reassuring smile when he glanced over at her.

“Quite possible. I’ll check with Sam and see if there have been any more intelligence on their movements in Jersey and Philly.”

“Thanks David. Email me anything useful that I should know. Oh, can you get his ex-wife and kids watched? I want to make sure they’re not compromised.”

“Already on the list. His parents?”

“They live down in Florida right? I don’t think so. They’ll go for the kids if anything.”

“Ok, got it. Anything else?”

She chuckled, “you miss me don’t you?” She missed him, they worked fabulously together, like Moulder and Scully, or Bones and Booth, and they too had the team work gene.

“I do actually, it’s far too quiet around here for my liking. You’re heading home right? How is he holding up from all this?”

Mac scanned the room before landing back on Jon. He was smiling, not the one that quite met his eyes. Oh Jesus, you know his smiles now? “He’s holding it together, he’s shaken up but I’ll get him home and see how he is. I better go, email me the deets.”

“Atta-girl. Ok, we’ll talk later. Be careful Mac.”

She tucked her Blackberry back in her purse and re-joined Jon. “Ready to go?” she whispered as she looped her arm through his.

He nodded, keeping the smile widening. “Sure.” Part of this job, he’d learnt to compartmentalize. When something was happening at home and he had to be on stage, at his very best, he’d compartmentalize it so he knew that was the best way to deal with this. He’d had his brush with unpleasant people before but the drilling brown eyes of that Puerto-Rican man and his twisted grin, had his belly in knots.

He hadn’t thought up to this point, about the what-ifs of this situation until it slapped him in the face. What if he had been out there alone? Would the man have tried something a little more sinister? He slipped into the car behind MacKenzie, “are you ok?” It was habitual, he wasn’t used to this being the other way around.

She rested her hand on his knee as the car pulled into traffic. “I’m fine Jon, we’ve got it under control.” She didn’t say much more, as they had to be careful even if it was just the driver. “What about you?”

He put his hand over hers and linked them, and nodded. “I’m alright.” He glanced out the window as the city night whizzed by. “How’s the feet?” He turned and met her gaze, her perfect slicked lips curving into a smile.

“I’m very much looking forward to that foot rub.” The last place she needed to be was near him, touching him, after this. MacKenzie realized quickly, that Jon probably needed the distraction and an opportunity to talk about this, if he needed to. She’d learned quickly he wasn’t a man of many words at times but she’d also learned quickly when he was internalizing things. And he did that often.

He gave her a small smile, “magic hands. Remember?” He tightened his grip on her hand, but he wasn’t sure if it was to reiterate the comment or the need for contact.

They pulled up outside Mercer and were shown to the door, within minutes they were safely inside the apartment and Mackenzie kicked her shoes off. “Mama Mia, that feels good. I don’t know why it’s necessary for such heels, it’s more a guy thing isn’t it?” She glanced behind her, but he was gone and the sliding door to the balcony was a few inches open.

“Dammit,” he flicked his lighter three times before it bloomed. His arm trembled as he held the cigarette into the flame. This was crazy, he was a rock star, not some kind of Sopranos wannabe. All he did was cut a kid from the team, not hustle a drug ring. The city traffic hummed under the twinkling lights and Jon blew out a long slow breath. Were the people around him in danger?

MacKenzie had assured him his family would be looked out for, could he trust her? Could he trust the gang not to try something dodgy there? His hands gripped the iron railing, he was out of his league, and this was out of his control. That’s what the hardest thing about this was, MacKenzie could do her job, and he didn’t doubt that.
He just hadn’t expected her to actually have to do it.

He’d danced with danger back in the earlier days; when at the height of their fame they had the odd psycho fan. There had been some hairy moments, but they were ones that were more likely to see him manhandled than straight out killed. Killed? He lost his footing as the night lights spun before him. Would someone really kill me? For what?

“Thought you could use this,” He hadn’t even heard the sliding door. He looked down as she held out a glass of whiskey.

Please let it be his single malt. “Thanks,” he took a sip and wiped his mouth. “I just needed some air.”

“I know,” she slipped onto the oversized lounger and leaned back. “Now you can see why it was important you tell me where you are going,” she cringed at how “mom-like” it sounded.

“I know Mackenzie, I’ve got it. I’ll keep you informed of all movements in the future, even if I want to take a piss.” He took another swipe at his cigarette. “Can you get someone to check on my kids please?” Christ, he couldn’t even go and see them for god’s sake.

He was impossible sometimes, “That’s been taken care of, and when we’re out in public, yes I will have to know where you’re going. This is serious Jon, but as long as we work together we won’t have a problem.” She got up and joined him at the railing, “I promise you.”

He snorted, “This is all so new to me.” He flicked his ash off the side and took another draw.

“Yes it is, but you hired me to trust me with it, so you’re going to have to. No matter how hard that is.”

He turned and faced her, her hair was a little messy, and she still looked gorgeous in bare feet and the black dress that hugged her body in all the right places. “I’ll try MacKenzie. That’s all I can promise you. I’m not an easy man to live with, and I’m stuck in my own ways... but I’ll try. I have to.”

She nodded and grinned, “Not stuck in your old ways, just a control freak. Like me.”

He chuckled, “except I don’t get to win, you do. Playing is the fun part.” They’d been playing well too, but he quickly realized she did have quite the job he’d tasked her to do.

“Come play a little more, I need that foot rub.” She left him on the balcony and padded to the couch. She moaned in appreciation as she sank into luxury. She couldn’t be attracted to a man that she had to protect, already it had caused complications and a lack of concentration on her part. The two didn’t go well together, but she hadn’t counted on the ease of the attraction between them. He followed her back in a few minutes later and shrugged off his coat. “I really don’t know how you do it, smile that much in one night. Be all charming and polite.”

He snagged her bottle of lotionoff the table, he wasn’t keen to get her scent all over his hands. But he owed her this much, she’d blended in flawlessly tonight and no one had ever suspected a thing. Not even there would be attacker. He pumped a few squirts and sat at the other end of the couch and patted his knee.

She lifted her leg and groaned when his hands started to gently rub. His thumbs dug into the centre point at the bottom of her foot, and her spine tingled. “That is amazing. Why did your wife divorce you again? I would have kept you just for this.”

He laughed and slathered more ginger scented lotion on the top of her feet and smoothed it up her calves. Her legs were toned and silky, as he imagined, probably more than once. “I guess being a pain in the ass weighed too much against it.” He reached up to her knee, he could keep going, slide his hand up to her thigh...

“Yes you’re a pain in the ass, but seriously. I’d have kept you around,” she leaned back against the cushions and rested her eyes. She quickly worked out in her mind what she needed to do once she was back in her room, check her mail and email off some other possible leads, just so she had the bases covered on the movements of these gang guys.

He changed feet and lifted her dress, the split resting mid thigh. He had to respect her more than ever now, still didn’t mean he didn’t want to climb on top of her and bury himself deep. “Good to know Kenz.” When she didn’t answer he looked up, she was fast asleep, hair tumbling out over the cushions. Great, and now he smelled just like her. He needed a shower, more so after he watched the rise and fall of her breasts as she slept and found himself wondering what she tasted like. He stood up shifted his pants, and reached for the blanket above the couch.

“I’m awake, I’m awake.” She stretched and rubbed her eyes, “god I didn’t even realized I’d drifted off. “ She stood and brushed herself off, “I’ve got some paperwork to finish up before I head to bed so I might grab a coffee.”

He nodded, “ok –well I’ll see you in the morning then.” Part of him wanted to ask her to his room, it would make the perfect distraction but yet again, he’d be pounding out an orgasm in the shower.

“Thanks again for my feet, god they are soo much better.” She wiggled her toes and then reached in to kiss him on the cheek, without as much as a thought. She pulled back quickly, but he cupped her chin and dragged her back to his mouth. She let it happen, he was still wound up from the confrontation, his hands dragged up into her hair as he angled deeper.

God he wanted her, he was two seconds away from scooping her up and carrying her to his bed. He didn’t want to be alone, who knew how to after this happened to you? Her breasts pressed against his chest, making his cock twitch. Her hands were on him, she wanted it to, they slid up his belly and onto his chest, and the force of being pushed back startled him.

She smiled, “night Jon.” And disappeared into the kitchen.

If he followed her, MacKenzie wasn’t sure she could ward him off again. It took every inch of a crazy person to push him back and stop. She sighed in relief when she heard the door click shut to the hall. She leaned back against the counter and put her hands in her face. “What am I doing? That was completely stupid Mac.”

Jon, miserable and now hard, disappeared to his bedroom.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Chapter Sixteen

MacKenzie looked down and wriggled her toes. It had been hours on her six inch heels and she swore to god if she had to smile at one more person, her mouth would stay cemented in that position forever. When she looked up back to Jon, who had been talking to Senator Clinton, he was gone. She whipped her head around and still he was nowhere in her radius. Crap.

She smoothed down her hands down the front of her dress and slowly circled around nodding and yes, smiling to the people she’d been introduced to all evening. He was still nowhere to be seen, bathroom maybe? He should have known to give her at least a heads up, but of course she knew he still hated being under her watchful eye. She made her way through the sea of people that spilled into the lobby.

She pretended to fuss with her hair, check her cell phone and still after ten minutes he didn’t come out. Shit. Where the hell was he? She’d taken her eye of him for no more than five minutes. Dammit Mac, that’s what happens when you have too much fun playing kissy-kissy. She jammed her hand on her hip and waited, and still he didn’t show or appear anywhere. She fired a text off her Blackberry to him, it was the only thing that could fit in the impractical sized purse for goodness sake, oh and a lipstick. Yup, practical.

She took a deep breath and walked into the men’s room and looked around, empty...nada. She walked straight into a distinguished looking man as she walked out, “oh sorry I wasn’t looking where I was going, silly me, didn’t even read the signs.” She flashed him a huge smile and walked away disgusted how ditzy she sounded. She checked her Blackberry and nothing, Jon, where are you?

Dammit, this could not be happening. They’d hardly been on the job and she’d already lost him. She circled the room again, and searched the myriad of faces hoping one of them would be staring back at her with recognition. What if someone had found him? Accosted him into a corner or something? What if- God, she didn’t smoke but if she did—The light bulb popped in her head as she made her way swiftly around to the back of the room, where the smoker’s balcony was. There standing, alone was Jon looking out to the skyline that poured out in front of them. If she was calm she would have commented how lovely the city looked tonight but no, that all vanished like a poof of smoke. “What the hell do you think you’re doing?” She hissed and quickly scurried along the cobblestone terrace towards him.

Jon turned around, flicking his cherry red butt into the sky as he blew out a stream of smoke. "Getting some carbon monoxide filled air," he said. Catching the glint in her eyes, he paused. What the hell did he do now? "What's up?"

She looked over her shoulder and made sure they really were alone before heading towards him. "Oh gee I don't know Houdini. One minute you were there and the next you weren't.”

He frowned. "I just wanted to--"

She slammed her purse against the steel rail, “you don’t just vanish on me Jon. You tell me when you need to come out for a smoke and I come with you.” She huffed and quickly made sure they were still alone.

He crossed his arms over his chest. "You're my bodyguard not my jailer, MacKenzie." He held up his hand when she was ready to light into him again. "I'll let you know where I'm going next time, but you're not going to live inside my pockets for every little thing."

“How do you expect me to look out for you when you’re running off behind my back without telling me where you are going, what if there had been someone out here Jon?”

He shrugged and motioned around, “there’s no one here MacKenzie.”

“There isn’t now, but there could have been. You left me in there Jon, making hairdresser small talk with people.” She raked her hand through her hair, that wasn’t his fault and she knew it, her feet were pulsing and her manners had all but nearly ran out.

He sighed. "I'm sorry. I've gotten used to doing things alone. Escaping for a second, turned into a few more than I intended." He shrugged his shoulders, dropping his hands to his sides. "I feel closed in sometimes and need to just breathe for a second. I didn't mean to worry you."

Her shoulders eased and she sighed, this wasn’t his fault at all. It was hers, she was insanely attracted to the guy and she’d been crossing the line between reality and playing, more so in her head, than she should have. “It’s ok Jon, it’s just been a crazy night of adjustments, that’s all.”

He grinned. "I've never been one of those celebrities that really needed a bodyguard. This is all new to me."

She joined him at the railing as they both looked out to the city, now she could appreciate it all in its glory. The way the lights shimmered into the inky sky, she could almost feel herself getting mushy. “It’s a lifestyle change, I get that. But we’ve got to just be aware at all times, these guys are everywhere. They infiltrate everything, and we wouldn’t know it.”

He settled next to her, leaving them shoulder to shoulder. "Even in here?" He
frowned out into the darkening sky. He figured Mac was more for his on the way in and on the way out vulnerabilities.

She turned around and glanced behind her as she was about to continue and realized they were not alone. A Puerto Rican man stood tall, and crossed his arms. Her heart jumped into her throat, but she shoved down the suspicion as she turned. “Good evening.”

Jon glanced over his shoulder and smiled. He didn’t recognize the man and didn’t think anything of it as he leaned back on the rail, his elbows propped on the cool iron. But she didn’t. And in that moment he knew why.

“Rich man?”

The blood rush leaving his head left him a little dizzy as he turned around to face the man. “Can I help you?”

MacKenzie closed her eyes, gathering all her gumption as the man reached into his jacket pulling out a cigar. “I believe we have some business to discuss.” She looped one arm through Jon’s and smiled, “no business tonight baby, remember?” She whispered, but loud enough for the man to hear as she kissed Jon on the cheek. We’ll see how far you want to push bastard.

Jon followed her lead, and shakily wrapped his arm around her waist, kissing the top of her head. “Gotta love her, I talk business so much that I’m banned from talking about it on dates.”

He took a long puff from his cigar, “really? That’s funny. I could have sworn I heard you talking about your AFL team back in there, so ever proud.” The smirk sent chills right to the core of his spine. They were in a public place, surely they were safe?

Jon forced a chuckle. “Well, AFL is more a hobby to me than my business, or so I tell her.” He winked at the gentleman, but his face remained still as stone. Fuck.
MacKenzie knew she had to take control of the situation, when the man moved closer her hand automatically went for her gun, but stopped. They were public, he wasn’t going to try anything drastic here, and he’d be stupid too. “We really must be getting going, my poor little feet are aching.”

The man raised his brow and Jon felt sick as his eyes ran down the length of Kenzie and puffed out another ring of cigar smoke. He took another step forward, just inches away from them and leaned in. His steely grey eyes locked with his, and Jon’s grip tightened around MacKenzie.

MacKenzie watched him like a hawk, she was five seconds away from pulling out her gun. Cover or no cover, her instincts said he was just threatening them and then he’d leave. Jon’s arm quivered against her back, but she was relieved he held his ground.

“You’ll be sorry rich man, let me make that clear. Wes is a good kid. So I suggest that you re-think your actions.” He flicked his gaze back to MacKenzie and ran the tips of his fingers down her arm. “Or just maybe, your little girlfriend here might be the one feeling...”Jon coughed as he puffed out a plume of smoke into his face. “The pain.” And then he was gone.

“Stay right there,” she commanded as she followed the man to the doorway back into the venue, and watched him disappear back into the crowd. Holy shit. If she hadn’t have been out here with him, god knows what would have happened to him. She looked back and he as expected, was lighting a cigarette, shakily.

“You ok?” She asked as she walked back towards him.

He nodded and took a long pull. No he wasn’t fucking ok, but he wasn’t about to cry like a baby about it. This whole thing just suddenly had become real. He was at a function with politicians, and they had someone here? He hated when he underestimated something, he didn’t take to that well at all. And now he felt stupid for running off without her, and evidently she was right. He hated when he wasn’t

She didn’t push him, he clearly was shaken but he didn’t need to be mothered about it. “Ok, the best thing to do, is we stay a little longer, calm ourselves down and it gives them anytime to disappear. I don’t think they’ll try anything else.”

“Ok, sounds good.”

“Let’s Dance, I love this song.” Iris from the Goo Goo Dolls had started drifting out to where they were. It would give them a moment, to regroup.
Dance? She wanted to dance? Jon turned around, smiling. "Ahh, Johnny. They toured with us a few years ago. Really great guys." Just how out of the way had they really stayed? And how much didn't he know about that side of life in general? Obviously a lot.

She nodded over his shoulder, as she tugged him gently back inside, “he’s kind of hot, introduce me?” The moment called for some lightness.

He smiled, “not your type. He let his shoulders relax, and had to believe they were safe again. But were they?

She chuckled "Oh really..." She looked up, "And what is my type Jon?”
He leaned in, worry slipping off his shoulders as their noses brushed. "You need someone that can entice your brain as much as your hormones.”
She nodded, wishing that they could stay out here, it was her idea for the dance but now she had to touch him again. This time she’d make no mistake of falling into that all too familiar groove. “Did your wife enjoy these parties?” She needed to keep him calm and distracted.

Jon forced himself not to stiffen. "No, she actually detested them."

"Sorry, just curious. And I so need a foot rub when I get home, FYI.”

He glanced at her as they walked into the room, off balance. Was this part of the game? The playful talk in case someone overheard them? Or was she just teasing? "I have magic hands," he said with an easy smile.

She didn't doubt it either, but now wasn’t the time to think about those damn hands. She was on the job. And now, more than ever she had to pay attention. “Good, my shoes are killin me.”

He slipped through the throng of people until they hit the dance floor. "Kick them off," he said into her ear. "I like dancing with a woman slightly shorter than me." He stared into her eyes as they were nearly the same height with the heels. "Makes me feel manly.”

She kicked them off, and the three inches pushed her right into the perfect curve of his body. Her thighs brushed his as Rzeznik's whispery voice faded into another croony song he couldn’t name. He sucked back a groan as her fingers slid up his back,

The game was back on and his cock was so confused it just decided to stay in the natural state of hardness she generally left him in. She fit him like few others ever had. The silky fall of her hair brushed over his fingers as he linked his fingers at her lower back. Her skin, was like sateen fire urging his thumb to glide up the dip in her spine.

She let herself enjoy it his touch, but knowing she couldn’t get lost in it like she had before. This sucked, but she’d underestimated the situation and possible danger he was in. She’d been distracted, so for now, she had to switch off any thoughts of taking their attraction to any other level than this.

He was talking, but she wasn’t listening. As he swayed her gently, her eyes were over his shoulder noticing everyone in the room.

The song faded, as he drew away to clap for his colleague, he watched MacKenzie shift to his side, clapping as the rest of the room did. She seemed completely at ease by his side, but those beautiful eyes kept scanning the room. Not quite meeting his.

Something had shifted between them. He just wasn't sure if it was actually in his favour.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Chapter Fifteen

Jon pasted on another smile for the shouts and catcalls that tried to get his attention. Over the years it had blended into a cacophony of background noise that he could ignore. He slid his hand along her lower back, stifling a groan at the silk of her skin. The dress dipped low in the back, the V hugging the line of her spine until it mimicked the heart-shaped curve of her ass. Not good. The line-up at the door, stilled and he had to stand there, with her. Chewing on his bottom lip, he slid his thumb along her spine familiarly. He knew the cameras caught everything--and he needed to be convincing. He pressed his lips to her ear. "Acting right?" he said on a low voice that only she could hear.

Hot breath tickled her ear, and the shiver sizzled down her skin. His hands against her skin, was harder to take than it looked. Shit. Her head had finally stopped racing from that ridiculous hump-a-thon she’d initiated in the backseat. She was behaving like a teenager on her first prom-date, not the body guard he was paying to serve and protect. Acting/Smachting. She flashed the cameras a large smile before turning to meet his eyes, like a couple in love, they certainly could play the part better than some Hollywood actors. She needed a few minutes before she kissed him again. “Absolutely.”

He swallowed at the teasing glint of heat in her eyes, his nose bumping hers, looking down at her mouth plainly before he smiled. The air fairly crackled between them. Part of him knew the cameras were catching every ounce of it, but the other part of him didn't care. He slid his hand down her arm, tangling their fingers together before he turned to walk ahead. He caught sight of Obama's security and smiled as he handed over the invitation. "Jon Bon Jovi and MacKenzie Cooper," he said for the list of approved names that the man needed to check off. They went inside and the schmoozing began. "They'll be blood thirsty. Just wanted to give you a head's up. I haven't had a woman on my arm in awhile.”

“I can handle them. Doesn’t it bother you that people are over you like this all time?” She tightened her grip on his hand as they started to weave their way through the crowd. People nodded, and she smiled back. She never was into the socialite scene, but she’d done corporate functions in her time to know what was what.

He waved to the state congressman to his left and Mrs. Clinton as she was trapped in the corner. "It's hard to remember a time when they didn't care," he said absently.

“Well, we’ll just have to make sure we give them something to talk about then.” She winked as they made their way into the dining area. A sharply dressed waiter offered a tray of wine out as they walked past. “Oh yes please.” She lifted a glass off the tray and took a sip. One glass wouldn’t hurt, and hell she needed it to settle her nerves.

"As the lady wants," he said and held his own glass. He carefully introduced her to dozens of people. Careful to use familiar words that didn't make him have to say girlfriend, but made sure it was known. She took care of herself, easily mixing with politicians to the wives, to the snobs. He took a little joy in watching her face go stony when Dawn Chanel asked her point blank--what her job was and she didn't have an answer. Of course Dawn was the gossip of all gossips, a busy body to the end actually. "She was my personal assistant, but you know how those things go."

MacKenzie smiled graciously at Dawn, who's eyes were already dancing with delight over the situation. As she walked away MacKenzie shook her head. "Sorry I didn't think of that one... good call," she took a long gulp of her wine. God, her face was going to ache by the end of the night. Dawn walked away in her three-sizes-too-small dress and MacKenzie snorted, “Stop looking at her ass, or I’ll get jealous.”

His hand lowered ever so much onto the curve of her ass. "Yours is far superior, schnookems."

Her heart tumbled before she snapped herself back to alert. She smiled into his eyes and ran her finger across his top lip. “That might just get you lucky tonight,” she teased. Christ, what was she doing? She seemed to have verbal flirtatious disorder around the man.

His fingers splayed over her back, dragging her in close. "Careful what you ask for," he said hovering just a breath away from her lips. "I'm not above broom closets Kenzie."

Her eyes widened letting as she let out a gasp. He wouldn't? They narrowed again as she pressed herself harder against him. Why did this feel too natural? It was supposed to be a game, maybe she was just a good player. Her eyes fell to his lips again as she dusted hers lightly across them. "Standing up sex huh?” Shit, there we go again.

His fingers dug into her lower back. "You have an evil streak, woman," he said against her mouth. "If you're pushing boundaries, don't be surprised when I push back," he said darkly and stepped back before his damn cock busted out of his dress pants.

Part of her wanted to push the boundaries and see what happened. She figured a man like Jon, when he lost control, was devastating. She had to focus, and keep her eyes on the people in the room. She had to give him credit, he really did know how to work a crowd, make someone feel special just by a few words, or a simple touch to the arm. When he tugged her in closer, she smiled and whispered. “You’re good at this by the way, but tell me...” She smiled again as another couple passed them.

“Does your face ache at the end of the night?”

"I have ibuprofen in every single room in my house, Kenz." He wound his fingers through hers and eased her a little in front of him. She fit along side of him perfectly. Like she was made for him. He liked the way she thought--linear but with biting humor. She read him well, keeping it light when necessary and serious when it was warranted. He let go of her hand, pulling out her chair as they got to their assigned tables.

“Well put me down for a double when we get home.” She chuckled and waiting for him to join him as she sat down. She glanced around the room, everything was as it should. Social climbers, politicians, and wait staff. Nothing TOO dangerous, as far as she could tell. She reached and straightened his tie. “Sorry, it was off to the left.” She laughed, “But we already know you’re a lefty.”

He stifled a chuckle and sat down. "I guess you do." He leaned in close. "That reminds me, just wear are you hiding a certain something extra in that indecent dress of yours?"

She ran the tip of her finger lightly down the silverware at her place setting. “You really want to know? Some things are just better left to the imagination aren’t they?” When he raised his brow she moved in closer, her nose brushed against his jaw. God, that rich spice of him was almost too much to take. “Let’s just say. Tonight I have thighs of steel.”

He closed his eyes, his fingers fisting into his napkin on his lap. "I think I might just hate you, MacKenzie Cooper," he muttered. The image of the gun holster that had to be strapped to her thigh was far sexier than it should have been. His cock stirred in his pants, as every tacky porn movie that involved a cop, flashed through his mind. Except they were all MacKenzie.

She smiled, secretly she was glad to make him suffer for a little. God knows she had so far. “It’s been a long time since I had a firm piece of steel between my legs.” She bit down on her lip to stop the ridiculous grin spreading. She was evil.
He chewed on the inside of his cheek until he cracked only half a grin. "We'll have to correct that, now won't we?"

If only. But no, she was here to serve and protect him. And not from STD’s. Why couldn’t she have met him in another situation, one where it was moral to go back to her bed after they went home? “You know,” she toyed with her napkin as the first course was served. “If I wasn’t your-“she stopped, he didn’t need to know that. It wasn’t as if it would change anything would it?

He leaned in, sealing their lips in a light kiss. They'd been playing far too well with the acting tonight. He was hard as stone and twice as miserable with it. He'd wanted her since the first night he'd met her. If she told him one more time what and where and how he could get her naked, he was fairly sure he'd drag her to the nearest empty room and show her exactly what he thought of her teasing. "What ifs are a little deep tonight, don't you think?"

The half smile she managed was almost sad. Mackenzie loved her life, and she wouldn't trade it for the world. But like anyone she always wondered if she'd find that someone that was just like her. The long nights at work coming home alone to the meal-for-ones did wear thin at times. But this was the life she chose and hadn't regretted it till now. In the few days she'd spent with him she'd realized he was just the same as her. "You're right it is, I'm sorry, this looks delicious,” she picked up her salad fork and speared a prawn.

Part of him wanted to lean in and tell her that he felt the same way. The lines of the game and reality were blurring already. He wanted her. It was a fierce ache that he hadn't been prepared for. Attraction was easy to deal with. It happened every day in his job. Sometimes it was acted upon, but mostly he just enjoyed the pop and zing, moving on with a smile. This--between them--it was more than a little cajun flavored popcorn. He wasn't sure what it was yet, but he already felt singed. So he just sat back in his chair, staring at the shrimp in front of him instead of reassuring the woman beside him.

She leaned over holding her fork in front of his mouth, which he accepted with a smile. She had to get over this, whatever the hell it was. Yes he was attractive and yes he pushed all her right buttons but she was protecting him. She was employed to save his life if necessary. So for now she had to make sure she kept it that way. As much as it sucked.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Chapter Fourteen

She wrapped a large towel around and dried her hair with another, before she padded back into her bedroom. Time to get all spruced up, she thought as she whizzed through the hangers in the closet. She frowned when she couldn't find the dress she wanted she panicked for a minute thinking she hadn't bought it with her. Then she remembered, it was in his room where she’d put a few of her things.

She slathered some body butter on and made her way there. God knows what the night would bring, all she knew was she had to be on her best game of make believe and on high alert. She tapped her knuckles against the door and made sure her towel was securely tucked in.


Jon opened the door, tugging on his shirt, checking to see if he'd fully zippered his pants before opening the door. "What's up..." his words died off as that scent wafted through the door as she stood slick and near naked, her dark hair falling in around her shoulders. A towel held on for dear life, cinched between her breasts. Fucking hell.

She'd hoped he hadn't been naked but she decided when he did finally open the door, this was worse. She swallowed hard. "Uhhh,” He was half dressed, his feet bare and the buckle of his black dress pants dangled out in front. The white buttoned down shirt was half done up exposing half of the fine splattering of chest hair. She snapped her eyes up to meet his realizing she was still in mid sentence " dress..." shit wake up Mackenzie you're going to have to do better than this. “My dress is in your closet,” she managed a small smile.

"Oh," he stood back as she passed him by. The end of the towel hovered over the curve of her ass and he looked away. No way in hell was he looking at that right now. Watching her twitch through his closet hit him low and hard. It had been a long time since he'd shared his closet with a woman. Seeing her clothes mingled in with his held an intimacy far more potent than even her wisp of a towel.

She found the one she needed tugging the garment bag off the rack. “Ah, here we go. Have to tell you it’s been a long time since I’ve been in one of these things, but I’m sure I can still do it justice.” She winked and her fingers curled when the scent of spice and freshly showered Jon wafted past her. The glint of his buckle caught her eye, “you know you’re pants seem to be complete. Just let me know if you need a hand.” She laughed and slipped out of the room, her heart beating in her ears. What? She was flirting with him now? Good Christ.

He looked down at his flapping buckle and up again at her retreating back. "Shit," he muttered and slammed the door. He shifted his semi-hard on and tucked his shirt in with a wince. He was so sick of being on the ready around her. How the hell was he supposed to live with her and not want her? Especially when she walked around in a towel like he was her fucking roommate. Did she even realize what it did to a man to have a woman smelling of a clean shower and not want to tug that towel off? Christ, what kind of saint did she think he was? He quickly donned the rest of his suit, cursing as it required a tie instead of his normally open collar dress up. He'd grown used to the tie over the years, but he still felt half strangled.

He walked into the living room to use the large mirror in the dining room, his fingers sliding away as she stood in the same spot, snapping drops into her ears. The dress crisscrossed low on her back leaving the dusky skin looking soft as silk and twice as tempting. Silver and black vied for the most attention. The black hugged her perfectly and the silver glinted, calling to his nomadic soul.

"God, Kenzie," he said before he caught himself.

Her eyes locked with his, no one called her that, except him. And it was becoming a habit and a bad one for her hormones. Once the earrings were in, she let her hair tumble around her shoulders. He looked slick, with his dinner jacket cinched neatly at the waist. The black Armani suited him, and made him every more bit as sexy as it could. God damn it. "Not bad huh?" She turned, over her shoulder in an attempt to keep the mood light.

He just nodded in approval.

Her mile high heels were something else. Who wore these on a daily basis? Impracticality 101. But lucky for her, stupid college beauty pageants had taught her to walk in them, and well. "Who wears these things? Seriously?" She tilted her shoe out letting the fabric from her dress slide upward revealing a little more leg than she possibly intended to.

Women trying to kill me slowly. "I don't know, but Jimmy Choo makes a fortune on just that sort of deal," he said, trying to keep his voice even. If he wasn't careful he was going to sound like a strangled adolescent boy with a cracking voice all damn night. "But you look amazing." He glanced down the heart shaped V of her ass and the clinging fabric that hugged her close. His gaze rested on the small purse on the dining room chair then back to her second skin outfit. Where the hell was the gun going to go?

She did look good, but hell so did he. "Thanks Jon," she straightened herself up feeling the cool steel on her inner thigh. David had taken a good old laugh when she'd spoke to him on the phone earlier than day and told him her little plan for the gun to be strapped to her inner thigh. The things I do, she thought. She flattened out the lapels on his jacket and smiled. "For the record you look pretty sharp, now I think I'm ready. Oh," she pressed her finger against her lips. "I need lip-gloss... And then we can go."

Sure, lip gloss...just great. So he could stare at her mouth all night, just as shiny as the straps that floated along her shoulders. Awesome.
He tried to control his rioting hormones that screamed--rip off the damn dress--and cinched the tie tighter than he intended. "Fuck," he muttered.

She quickly found her lip gloss and applied a generous coat before fluffing her hair one more time. "Not bad Mac," she teased herself before she tightened her gun strap around her thigh and joined him by the door with her purse. "Ready, time to go and play"

He held his arm out to her, "All right, let's get this done." When she slid her hand through the crook of his arm, he led her out of the apartment and into the elevator. "I suppose we need to show we're a couple to the doorman and staff downstairs too, to keep our cover.'

She nodded, no turning back now. This is where it began. Good god what are you about to get yourself into Mac? "I agree, come on then," when the lift doors pinged open she shifted her body into his feeling the wool of his suit press against the skin of her arm. She flashed the doorman a huge smile as they walked passed.

Her hand itched to move as they made their way to the car waiting outside the double doors. This was either going to go really bad, or really good. She took the lead and slipped her hand lower sliding over his ass giving it a gentle squeeze just in view for the doorman to see as they walked through.

"Yup just as I thought... hard as steel," she teased lowering her voice.

His eyebrow quirked, as he dragged her closer. "I won't forget that," he warned and tucked her hand back into the bend of his arm. Retribution simmered in his eyes as he opened the car door to his town car. "In you go," he said and slid his own hand down her ass.

Her heart hammered into her throat as she climbed across the soft leather interior. She sat back and crossed her legs, "You so don't want to start something with me Mr Bongiovi.” Well hell, this didn't feel so bad so far. Apart from the fact she wanted to rip that Versace suit right off him and suck him dry in the back seat, it wasn't going bad at all. He soon slipped in beside her and held his arm out for her to tuck in beside him. Right, the driver. She did so and crossed her legs further over one of his.

The intimacy was strangely comfortable with him and that scared her. She looked up her chin resting on his shoulder as he curled his spare hand around hers. "So got any moves?" she whispered.

"Baby, I don't need moves--so this will be a learning process for both of us." He said it, not with ego, but with fact. He had women fall into his lap, not the other way around.

She nodded, "I'm sure you don't but what if I'm not prepared to live up to your ego?" She walked her fingers up his shirt to his chin. His penetrating gaze surprised her, she'd gone in and now she couldn’t exactly run back out.

He leaned down enough to drag in that spicy, soft scent. "Ego be damned," he said and caught her glossy mouth in a kiss. The peppermint flavor of the gloss burned as his fingertips drifted into her hair, tipping her head up to deepen the kiss. His thumb traced her jaw line, as the kiss went from teasing to intense. She opened beneath him, her tongue as greedy as his. He fought to keep to his side of the seat, but his hand slid around to her lower back, tracing over the indent of her spine that had teased him. He pulled her in, her fingers sliding into his hair as well, gripping tight as the kiss spiralled from hot to blazing.

The moan slipped from her mouth and was swallowed by his. Her fingers loosened in his hair and her palms flattened on his cheeks turning his mouth for more. God she wanted more, it'd been so long since she was kissed and wanted by a man. A man she was attracted to. She pressed her body into his, her nipples ached beneath her dress desperate to know what it would feel like if....

Her mind derailed on that thought. Her ass had left the seat as she twisted herself into him. Her lips finally broke free from his but she didn't stop there. She needed more of a taste. Her teeth scraped down over his chin and across the bump of his Adam's apple as the groan left his throat. "Jon," she breathed. Her fingers curled around his collar as she looked back up, his eyes matched the heat of her breath on him.

The car rolled to a stop, and his regular driver, Joey, cleared his throat. Their eyes locked and his gaze returned to her mouth. The gloss was gone, but it still burned on his. Whether it was the heat of the kiss or the peppermint on his lips he didn't know. He met her eyes once more, watching her back away from him by degrees. "We're here."

She pulled away as the driver opened her side of the door. She blinked. What just happened here? The erratic pounding of her heart against her chest told her exactly what happened. She indulged. The first fucking night and she indulged and couldn’t take it back. She clutched for her purse. "Right," she said climbing out the car, the now warm steel between her legs reminding her that this was her job NOT her pleasure. She waited for him to climb out beside her and hook his arm through hers. The only way to save yourself, was to lie. "See, and here you didn’t think I could act."

"Right," he swallowed down the acid. "You aught to get an Oscar," he said under his breath and smiled for the cameras.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Chapter Thirteen

She jolted upright, slamming her hand down to stop the inconsiderate buzz that had woken her. Her heart drummed loudly against her chest. A dream, it was just a dream Mac. She pressed her palm against her cheek, Jesus it was burning. Just like the dream, he was burning, all over her. She slammed her eyes shut as the tingle on her arms spread all the way down to her toes. She was not doing this. She was not having naughty dreams about the man she now worked for.

It was just the Chinese, ok the Chinese and the kiss. She pulled back the covers and sprung out of bed, it was time for Jon’s morning run. She loved running so, so far so good. This might not be that bad, they seemed to at least have the common denominator of exercise.

She tugged on her three-quarter yoga pants and lifted her sports bra over her head before jamming on her sneakers. Tying back her hair from her face she reached into the draw and pulled out her small revolver, clicked the safety on and adjusted the holster around her shoulders. She grabbed her phone and took a deep breath as the apartment outside her door was coming to life.

This, was Day One.


Jon turned his hip popping painfully as he swivelled to get a better look at her. [i]Christ, not like you haven't seen a woman before, asshole.[/i] He turned back to lacing his shoe. "Mornin'," he said gruffly. He tried to sleep the night before, but the silk of her hair ended up tangled in his sheets and across his chest in a half dozen different scenarios through the night. He never should have touched her. Wanting and tasting was always a fine line that could be crosses if he wasn't careful.

He tried to logically work out what the hell it was about this woman that had him all in a twist, she was gorgeous, had a great body but it wasn’t like he’d not seen that all before.

She smiled as he finished getting ready for his run. She turned and looked out to the city skyline that stretched out before her like a postcard. The morning was a band of purples and reds as the sun came up on the city that never sleeps. “Great morning for it." She stretched her arms out high above her head to loosen herself up.

He looked up at her, from his own deep stretch. Her dark hair, pulled back and not a lick of makeup--as fresh faced as a teen, until you looked into her eyes. Her eyes were no nonsense and filled with too much life experience. He watched as she deliberately shut him out with a pair of Ray Bans. "Nothing I like better than a fall morning run. A little glass in your lungs is better than coffee."

She chuckled , their eyes catching but hers were shielded thankfully. "They do say that, but if you're like me you want both. I'm greedy" she flashed him a wide smile. She felt her body ease, he seemed un phased by the night before, just acting as he called it. She had to make sure that she followed suit, as delicious as he was, he was off-limits here.

He stuffed his own shades on. "Well, then we'll run around the east end and stop at Dunkin' before we head back. It's a perfect three miles. You know, I don't want to hurt you the first day out with me." His mouth quirked.

She let the laugh rumble in her throat before giving him a playful slap on the back "Three? C’mon you can do better than that?" She usually ran five on a good day, eight for training when she was in the marines. “Your legs tell me you run more than three miles.” Crap, too late. She’d already said it.

"Alright, alright," he laughed. "Just trying to go easy on you. I usually do five every morning. Seven when I do the trails outside my Jersey house." When the doors opened, he headed out the front door at a fast walk."Desk jockey's get out of the habit," he said as he went into a light jog around the corner.

She fell into step easily with him since they were around the same height, their strides were similar. "Well not this desk jockey, I run five most days at the gym usually, the beach if I'm lucky and I jump through hoops for my Hitler, my gym dictator a few nights a week. Don't keep these tight thighs otherwise with what I eat." she said slapping her thigh as they jogged down the pavement littered with a few early business workers carrying their Starbucks.

His cock twitched at the slap. Christ, he didn't need to think about how tight her damn thighs were, he could already tell through the skin tight yoga pants she wore. Weren’t they supposed to be free flowing for fuck's sake? "Sounds like your trainer and mine went to the same school of torture and human debasement." He lengthened his stride as they blazed through their first mile. He glanced at his watch,noticing it was a personal best for a mile. Under six minutes. He shook his head, letting his breath in through his nose as the cold air hit him like ice in his lungs.

"I think it's a pre-requisite. I swear to god, one day I want just be able to kick his ass," she chuckled. She glanced around, making sure all angles were clear, behind, in front and from the side. She had to be ready for anything, and her hand two seconds off her gun.

She puffed out her breath, and snuck a look at him running beside her. His lean athletic form, complimented with amazing biceps that now were glistening with sweat. It was then she tasted the salt on her lips. And it wasn't hers. Good fuck. Someone up there hated her. His sweat? Are you kidding me?

"So tonight we have some dinner right?" she panted as they edged a corner.

He nodded, "Democrat function tonight. Black tie, so you'll have to wear one of those fancy dresses you tucked away when you moved," he cleared his throat, "you know, moved in." He grinned at her. "I'm wearing black Versace if that helps you make a selection." His eyes tripped over her clenching ass muscles as she widened her stride to go around the corner. His gaze travelled back up, the bump under her jacket wasn't her flesh. It sure as hell wasn't the curve of her rather delectable breasts." His eyes focused straight ahead as he saw it thump against her body. Gun. His stride faltered as he fell back for a moment, before catching up.

He'd had guards on and off for more than half his life, but they'd always been muscle, not hardware.

Mackenzie hadn't worn a dress in months. Hell, she couldn’t actually remember the last time she had. Her mind derailed for a second remembering exactly what would be required of her that night. More Chinese kisses. She swallowed hard and forced a smile "Sure, I’ve got something.” They kept running. "Jon, how did we meet? You know for story purposes and how long have we dated... if anyone asks?" she said as they slowed at the next corner.

Blinking out of the gun thoughts, he sucked in a lungful of October air and slowed to a jog with her. "Well, I've been divorced for awhile now, but we should probably still be in the honeymoon phase, if you will, but long enough that I'd have you move in so...say six months?"

Ahh the honeymoon phase, still in that slightly giddy playful place. She closed her eyes and caught her breath for a second. She could do it, no she had to do it. One false move could land them both in danger so there was no choice here. "Sounds fine, I'll let you lead on that if anyone asks..." The sweat on her body was starting to chill as they slowed down. It wasn't that she didn’t want to touch him at all. It was if she did, she wasn't sure how to stop it.

Her ponytail slid over her shoulder and he looked straight ahead again. He knew it was stupid, but long silky hair made him nuts. "And maybe we met at one of the Philly Soul Foundation functions. I've been off tour and that's pretty much the only thing I've been doing lately."

Football, dammit. She knew she’d be exposed to it eventually, she just wasn’t sure she was prepared for, having avoided it most of her life. Since Brian. “I used to be involved in that arena, so I’m up on most of the lingo.”

He'd wondered if football was the reason why she'd said no, but now he knew that wasn't it. She hadn't wanted to go out with him. Then again, not every woman was enamoured by the so called glamour of his life. He smiled without teeth, his temples aching something fierce. He'd just need to get over the attraction, thought that was going to be hard when the public personas were going to be obvious lovers.

The doors of Dunkin Donuts soon came into view and they came to a stop outside. She put her hands on her knees and caught her breath. She tried to shake the guilt creeping back up her neck. She popped her knuckles and looked over at him, at that moment knew she could never let him become another Brian.

“You’re paying,” she said with a wink.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Chapter Twelve

MacKenzie unpacked her things in the other room before grabbing a bottle of lotion, a book and a couple of personal things to place on his bedside table before she did the same with the closet. Sliding some of his shirts aside she hung a couple of her dresses up. She hardly wore dresses but she knew with these dinners coming up she would have to. She fingered the midnight blue silk shirt that was hanging there and wondered for a minute if it smelled like the Irish spring she’d smelt when she’d walked past him. She sighed and decided she should go and play house. She was damn hungry anyway. She walked back out to where he was self involved in pulling out the Chinese onto plates. "Done with the sulking?"

He looked up from the array of plates he'd put on the kitchen table. Without a word he gathered silverware and poured from the Pinot Grigio he kept in the house most often, filling half a glass for each of them. "I've been alone for awhile now, MacKenzie. I didn't mean to snap." He sat down, looked her in the eye and swallowed every sizzling bit of pride that was trying to climb out of his gut.

"I'm sorry." He picked up his fork and waved her to the table. "Dig in."

She nodded and sat down on the high back dining chair opposite him. She lifted the glass to her lips, "Apology accepted," she speared some chicken and waved it in the air. "I understand the alone thing, I've been living alone for quite awhile now too so if I get too relaxed let me know. I'm easy Jon," she nearly choked on her words. "Well you know what I mean."

He couldn't stop the laugh. Easy wasn't exactly the word he'd associate with her. Part of him wished she was...that he could just spend the weekend with her in his bed and get her out of his system, but she wasn't interested and now she was an employee. He had a feeling he'd be taking a lot of showers. "Yeah, well I have a maid for a reason. I'm not the neatest guy, but I'm not a slob either." He twirled noodles onto his fork and stared at the brown sauce dripping from it for a minute. "I'm not an easy guy," his lips twitched, "but just ignore me when I get snarky." He looked up and smiled as he tucked the lot of it into his mouth.

She smiled back and fought the urge to wipe away the little drop of sauce at the corner of his mouth. “I’ll remember that.” There was still so much to talk about, this wasn’t just a flatmate situation. “I think we do need some ground rules,” she took another long gulp of wine. “About what happens outside this house, versus what happens inside.”

"Groping outside, naked inside, right?" He said without a trace of guile.

She brought her glass back to her lips, holy crap. Don’t joke about that. She’d already weighed it up in her head, and it was a tempting proposition but her duty had to speak first. “Well…” She chuckled and continued, “All joking aside, I don’t mind in public if we… well… behave like a couple.”

"I hope you act better than that, MacKenzie. I know it'll be a hardship for you to have to bear my affections in public, but you'll have to pretend it doesn't." And maybe that was what fascinated him most about her. She didn't want him. He was so used to women tripping over themselves and anyone in the way to get to him. Not this woman. "People know I'm a touchy feely sort with those I'm involved with, so I'll have to keep to the standard in that regard."

He rolled his glass in his palm. "Women are meant to be touched, and I like to touch," he said quietly.

Was he kidding? A hardship for her to bear his affections? Maybe she was better at hiding her attraction than she thought. Which wasn’t a bad thing in this situation, it called for it. MacKenzie was sure it would be short lived, after living with someone, surely he’d have some annoying habit that would drive her mad.

She hoped.

Damn, she bet he touched real good too. He really didn’t have an idea did he? She was afraid it would be too easy to pretend, too easy that she’d want more. “We’re going to need to practice this all you know? Otherwise it will looked forced. And they pick up on that sort of thing.” She scooped the noodles into her mouth.

Jon stiffened, the easy smile slipping away. He stood and refilled both their glasses, jamming the bottle stopper back into the neck before putting it back into the wine fridge. "Looks like you'll be getting a goodnight kiss at the door after all." He looked over his shoulder. "Don't worry, I'll brush away the garlic before you get a taste."

She chuckled nervously "Looks like it," she tried to remember the last man she kissed like she meant it, and couldn't even drum it up quickly in her mind. Shit. What would he taste like? Wine and Sin? Oh god, this was going to be a disaster.

He pressed his knuckles onto the table. Her cool reserve was melting away and if he didn't know better, she was even nervous. Maybe he wasn't so repulsive to her? "Well, I didn't get to the garlic shrimp yet," he said and before he could stop himself he leaned in. He heard her quick intake of breath, using it to his advantage he angled, pressing his lips to hers.

Thank god for the back of the chair or she would have flipped back onto the floor out of shock. Her heart drummed hard against her ribs, holy shit. The kiss was like a small gunshot, simple, effective and just as deadly. His lips were softer than she ever expected, and he tasted like chow mein and wine. Her toes curled, and she couldn’t jam down the small moan that escaped her throat.

His fingers dipped into her hair, cupping the back of her head as he pulled her out of the chair into his arms. They were similar in height with her heeled boots versus his stocking feet. Part of him wanted to push for more, to show her that when she'd said no, it was a mistake. But the rest of him wanted to savor. There was only one first kiss. Even if it was make-believe.

He slid his arm around her waist, keeping his other hand right there in her hair, cupping her face as he tasted her. Leaving the kiss simple, he just brushed his lips over hers, swallowing the little moan she'd let free. He leaned back, their lips hovering for a moment before he went back for just one more taste. The tip of his tongue slid across her lower lip just before he stepped back, breaking the connection.

Her eyes fluttered back open at the loss of contact on her mouth, she was securely in his arms and one hand was hovering just about his belt line ready to slide on up into that chest she’d been thinking about. And the other, was sliding down over the curve of his ass.

Oh shit.

“Um...not bad….” For the lack of a better thing to say. She pulled back and her arms shook as she picked up her wine and took a very big mouthful. “Yup, that’ll work… just fine.” She slammed the glass back down on the table. “I think that will work.”

He hid the smile and grabbed one of the bowls with the garlic shrimp and vegetables in it and a pair of chopsticks. "I have to make a few calls." The satisfaction in his face would show. His poker face was currently being over ridden by the semi-hard on he was sporting. "Not bad yourself," he called over his shoulder and headed for the living room.

What in the hell? She’d signed up for guard duty not blow your brains off and leave you horny as hell, kiss duty. She jammed in another mouthful of Chinese, anything to get rid of his taste was still swirling around in her mouth. She was in big trouble, no scratch that. Massive trouble.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Chapter Eleven

“Looks good to me Mac, you sure you’re up to this?” David handed back the papers to her.

She took them and tucked them in her briefcase, “It’ll keep me out of trouble for awhile, I should be asking you if you’re up to handling the office while I’m offsite,” she grinned snapping the clasps shut. One thing Mackenzie hadn’t told David was the tiny little matter that she found Jon attractive. He would have told her to send someone else, but she wouldn’t have it, this was her job and she’d make damn sure that she’d do a good one. Attraction or not. The fact that they had chemistry would only aid the situation, make it easier to be around each other. Least that’s what she kept telling herself.

“Well if I know you, and I think I do. You won’t be far away to kick my ass if anything goes wrong. Just be careful, and ring me at anytime if you need me,” David said seriously folding his arms.

She bent down to her safe and cranked the combination until the steel door popped open. “Damn right, I will kick your ass” she was going to hate this, away from her work, her life. “I don’t expect anything to actually happen but you just never know,” she plucked out a large case which held three guns, three different sized ones for three different situations. She’d already started the applications for her to carry a gun around the presidential candidates and was waiting for appropriate clearance from the Secret Service.

“When was the last time you used?”

She reached in further and pulled out the ammunition as well as a small bag of other gadgets she was going to need. “About a month ago at the range, I generally brush up every once and awhile. I’ll head back there this week."

“Good ok. Well just be careful Mac I’m serious, I know you think you’re indestructible at times but just remember that you’re not,” he warned. She smiled and slammed the safe shut twirling the dial. I hope Jon doesn’t freak out with all this stuff.

“Call me tomorrow after you are settled in there. You’re moving in tonight? Right?”

She nodded and packed her large sports bag with everything she would need away from the office, equipment, laptop, files, and her life as she knew it. “Yeah, can’t really afford not to, I don’t know if he realizes that but he soon will...Oh shit!” She quickly threw him a text that she’d be there in two hours, gym, food and then his house.

“Ok see you later Mac,” David slipped out of her office. She secured her bags and grabbed everything she needed making her way to the car. Still so much to do, and think about but she knew that she’d never think straight if she didn’t go and run her six miles for the day.

As she pounded on the treadmill with Nickelback blasting through her iPod earphones, her mind drifted. [i]Just have to be positive, make this easy as possible for him, it’s a huge change of lifestyle, for both of us. And he was easy to get on with wasn’t he?

An hour later she’d showered, thrown on some jeans and a black tight turtleneck and was driving to his apartment in Soho, fully equipped with a bag of assorted Chinese boxes and her life from her apartment. She rubbed her tummy as she pulled in to his complex, well here goes nothing.

She struggled to the door with all her bags, and rapped on the door. She closed her eyes and took a deep breath, all about business. When the door swung open she grinned, "Honey I'm Home."

"Jesus, Kenzie," Jon opened the door wider. "Give me something would you?" He reached for one of the bags.

She pulled back "I'm fine just stand aside and I'll dump all this down," she leaned away from him to steady her weight.

He crossed his arms over his chest as a duffle bag swung gently to the floor followed by Chinese takeout. The thump of a bag well past bulging that was probably clothes and a garment bag which he took from over her arm. "Good grief woman, are you moving in tonight?"

Did he just call her Kenzie again? She shook it off and dusted her arms and thighs off with her hands and looked up him "No, that's me on a good day," she laughed when his brow quirked. "Yes Jon, if that's ok. I figured there was no point prolonging the inevitable. I thought this way," she looked around the immaculate apartment. "That I was going to catch you off guard in your robe and slippers reading the latest issue of playboy."

"They have good articles," he said dryly and hung the dress bag in his hall closet. He couldn't say he was ready for this. He thought he'd have a few days to digest the thought of a woman in his space again, let alone this woman. But this--now? Without even...He swallowed. Okay. He could do this. She swung around with her laptop bag still on her shoulder, pulling the material of her turtleneck tight to her chest. He clenched his jaw and forced his eyes to her face. Her hair was loose and still damp. Had she just gotten out of the shower? Good fuck, don't go there, Jonny. He lifted the largest bag, hefting it before he turned away to the back of his apartment. "I'll show you the room you'll be using."

He wasn't ready for this for God's sake. She followed him, that elusive scent followed her down the hallway as he turned into Steph's room. "It's my daughter's room, but she's not the frilly sort." He turned back to her, disconcerted when they met eye-to-eye. "Figured it was better than the boy's room," he said and dropped the bag on his daughter's bed. How many levels of sick was it to put a woman that you were so attracted to, into your daughter's bedroom? Like it was going to stop him from picturing her naked? Fuck. "Why don't you settled yourself and I'll get the food prepped," he said and got out of the room. He couldn't be there any longer. Not with her smell permeating the room.

She dumped her other bags at the foot of the bed. The room was done in light pastels but as Jon said not frilly, the stack of CDS by the stereo and makeup and jewellery neatly stacked on the dresser gave away the teenage palate. "Thanks, this is great...uh…" She stood and bit on the end of her thumb nail not sure how to approach the next thing. "I guess this is going to come into the whole how we will do this, but it will probably pay for me to put some things in your room when I unpack... on the bedside table, in the closet...." god. For a brief moment she wondered if this was the right thing to do. You can do this Kenzie, shit Mac... your names Mac. Damn it.

"To make it real...." she added waiting to see how he'd react. She’d already seen how much she’d ruffled his feathers with her unannounced arrival.

His throat went dry as he stopped at the threshold. He gripped the doorjamb, answering with a nod. It was one thing to have her in his home, in his space, but in his room? He looked over his shoulder. "I'll," he cleared his throat, "I'll just show you my room." He knew that if he was going to fake this with any amount of realism she was right, but no one would be back here with them. "I don't see why we need to go this far." He heard the swift clomp of her heels behind him. "It's only going to be you and I here."

She stopped and folded her arms, the faded charcoal t-shirt he wore just rode above that ass, she was now faced with. God damn it. "Well, you have maids right? Staff? they talk... you may not think that but they do," her tone dropped softer as he met her eyes. "Look I know this is hard. But honestly I wouldn't suggest it if I didn't think it was imperative to the operation," his mussed cinnamon hair framed his face, and his aqua eyes fell flat.

He swore and popped his door open, the door stopper catching hard as it hit the wall. Fucking gossip. He'd worked hard to ignore it most of his life, but now he had to work with it. Just freakin' great. "Do what you need to do," he said shortly. He pointed to the bathroom off the corner of his room and then the wide king sized bed. "I sleep on the left side." He met her eyes for a moment, sarcasm dripping. "I dress to the left too," at her icy response he smirked. "Just want to make sure you have all the facts." And walked out.

She sighed, this couldn’t be easy. He was independent and in control of everything, she knew this had to be a kick in ass for him. He’d have to get over it, for his own good and safety. It was all part of the deal. She stood back and marvelled at the endless wall of glass that looked out to the twinkling city lights. It was something out of a movie scene, as she sat on the edge of his Californian King. This had to work, it was going to work. The clang of china from the kitchen snapped her back from her little daydream. Oh well, better go and see Mr Pissy pants. Gotta start somewhere.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Chapter Ten

Jon winced and turned to her. "Does it matter?"

Heat crept up his neck. She was professional, but it was pretty obvious that she wasn't exactly happy about the proposition. Maybe a little time had given her a different perspective. She'd be spending a lot of time with him unless she used one of her employees. The thought rankled.

She lifted herself from the chair and strode over to where the coffee Claire had made. Pouring herself a cup and mixing in the cream she brought it to her lips and sipped. "Not to the end result, but before I even agree to this. What's changed your mind, from the thought of having a woman protect you?" She'd figured he wasn't actually a sexist, but she'd have some fun with it.

He'd worked with women all his life. He had a strong willed mother, ex-wife and daughter. He knew how capable they were. Hell, he'd do anything for any one of them...even his ex-wife. But the thought of a woman, even one with the impressive background MacKenzie had, protecting him rubbed him wrong. To willingly put her in danger so he could...what? Go out, do the things he'd scheduled three--sometimes four months ago? To even walk in the same room as their future president. And he had to make sure that he trusted this woman to do that. He wasn't sure he could.

"I'm sure you're more than capable..." he trailed off.

She rested the cup down on the end of the table and dusted her palms together. His eye had caught a piece of art on her wall that her Dad had bought her one year for Christmas. She walked up behind him and stood next to him observing the art as he was. "It's not just a matter of whether I'm capable, it’s a matter of whether you can trust me to be." She wanted the job.

As much as anything, the money and reputation to her company would be worth it. A small part of her wanted to finish the job, she opened it...she knew what he was up against and she could handle it. But the question was could he handle what he was getting into with her? He had to, or it would never work. In one sharp movement, she grabbed his arm, twisted it behind his back and wrapped her leg around his disabling any movement he could possibly make. Pressing her whole body into him, she inhaled the deep scent of spice as she leaned in even closer.

"Can you trust me? I know you are used to protecting women, but you've got to let me protect you.”

He struggled automatically, until she pressed her entire body length against him and settled him forcefully into the wall. Her strength was a surprise, but the effective immobilization stung. He was reasonably versed in self defence thanks to a life time of martial arts in his household, but even Dorothea at her strongest couldn't pin him for more than a second against a wall.

Not to mention those pins usually dissolved into playtime of the rambunctious kind. There was no play here. Even if his cock jumped at her breath in his ear, the rest was serious and humbling. He didn't fucking like to be humbled. "Back off, I get it," he growled.

She backed off, the warmth of his body shaking her a bit. Her heart raced widly in her chest, christ. Was she making a mistake wanting to do this? When clearly there was some attraction. She'd just have to compartentalize it and move on with the job. “Sorry, I would of done it last night but I don't believe in inflicting pain on the intoxicated.” She smiled and slipped back into her chair. “Sit. Let's talk like adults about this.” She gestured for the chair.

He rolled his shoulder, but there was no pain...well, other than the ass kicking his pride was taking today. Good Fuck. Too keyed up he walked back to her desk and leaned down, his fingers splayed over a blizzard of papers. "I get it MacKenzie. You are more than qualified for this position, but do you realize what you'll have to endure, going out with me?"

He stood and sighed, pacing again. "I'll give you my ex-wife's number so you can see just what kind of crap she had to deal with." He turned back to her, his arms crossed again. "You can't lunge at every woman that tries to get to me, you understand that right?"

This time she couldn't help but laugh. "I'm not going to lunge at every woman that tries to get to you Jon. I know better than that." She studied him the length of him, from his long fingers that were tapping up a strom on her desk, to the cinnamon spike of his hair. She sighed. "It's not going to be easy, for both of us at first. But we'll adjust. Sure there will be teething problems. And yes I'm going to have to live in your pocket. You're going to hate that, I know you are. But we seem to be two of a kind in a way," she mused.

He snorted. "Are you sure you'll be able to pretend you're my girlfriend? I suppose you're a good actress with your line of work anyway." Her eyebrows shot up and he waved the statement away. "Why don't you come over tonight after work and we'll figure out the logistics. I'll inform my staff that you'll be given clearance."

"As long as I don't need to go get a makeover," she said sarcastically back popping her tongue into her cheek before he laughed. "Sure, that sounds like an idea. I'll need to size up the place for a few things. Plus check out my room.” She closed her eyes for a nano second as the reality of what she was doing sunk in. She'd had other personal security jobs sure, but none where she had to pretend to be someone's girlfriend. And she had to pull this off as one whiff of this escaping to the Bloods, both her and Jon's life would be on the line. It was a tall order but this is the stuff she dreamt of as a kid. She'd even imagined in her early days of being a celebrity escort, but back then it was more imagining it was George Clooney or someone like that.

In all the times she did imagine being on the end of George Clooney there had been one thing missing. The spark that ignited every time she touched him, or he touched her. Like it did with Jon. She'd trust herself to put that aside and focus on the business she could do that. Too much would be at risk. Least the public flirting wouldn't look fake, right?

There was tons of stuff to organize; her life was about to change for the next month or so, or however long this took. Her life as she knew it would change. She'd have to work from his apartment, she couldn’t be seen near the offices. It was going to drive her batshit trusting David, and to run everything by voice or video conference. She had to live in his house, be friends with who he was friends with.

It was like an instant boyfriend, without the emotional attachments. On one hand, it scared the crap out of her. Bu the other had her looking forward to hanging out with him as she was sure they had common interests. She wanted to make this as easy for him as possible as well so she'd try and fit into with whatever mould he had for her.

"What I will need between now and then, is a list of everyone you have contact with. Who they are, how often you contact them and what for." She saw the look in his eyes before she delivered the next blow. "And the one thing you have to promise me right here and now. Is, that we have no secrets. You have to be fully honest with me at all times.”

He felt the twinge in his spine, the need to get the hell out of there. He wasn't sure he could go all in with someone again, even if it was pretend. "I won't keep you in the dark about anything that pertains to this arrangement, but there are some things you'll just have to take on faith, MacKenzie. I don't trust new people easily, so I can only promise to do my best."

She blew out her breath. "Thank you, that's all I ask if we want to make it work. I want to make it work. For you. So you have my trust as well in all this. Anything that happens in the privacy of your own home. Stays there.”

He nodded curtly. "Write up your paperwork and just text me or call to give me a head's up when you'll be arriving." He walked to the door, didn't turn around when he swallowed hard. "I don't want my family to know. They matter above all else, MacKenzie, please understand that."

"I hope you're a helluva actress to pull this off."

She understood that more than anyone. Family came first. And he was a family man. She needed to talk to him about the kids. But that would come tonight. Along with everything else. The words actress rung in her head. Shit, holy crap she really was going to have to be the rock star’s girlfriend. "I will be. Don't you worry. It's my job just like it’s yours to act a show. And I understand about the family, we'll talk more on that tonight. I'll pick up Chinese if you don't mind."

He nodded again. "I'm not picky anything with spice and veggies, I'm good." He slipped out the door before he could reveal anything else. God, he hoped he could do this. How could she not know how attracted to her, he was? And how was he supposed to turn it the fuck off? He gave a half smile to his receptionist and fled.

She sat at her desk and watched him disappear maybe she’d been too harsh on him? She hadn’t meant to come across so brash but he had to know what he was in for. This wasn’t just some roommate moving in. This was going to up heave his life, both of theirs in a huge way. She picked up her coffee and shook her mouse, starting to clear her schedule for the next month or so. She flicked David an IM to come and see her when he was free. Could she pull this one off? Only time would tell.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Chapter Nine

Jon walked up and down her block, three times before he managed enough spit to swallow his pride and walk in her door. The small, antique gold plaque told him she was on the first floor of the building, along with another agency of some sort. Taking a deep breath, he walked up the stairs.

Dammit, after trying every way to get around this security issue he’d come to only one resort. No fucking way he was having an entourage, or a guy escorting him everywhere at Obama’s functions. It had been made perfectly clear by Obama’s security that unless Jon had personal security, he was a threat being there.

Mackenzie was his only option if he wanted to continue to do the Democratic stomps. It twisted right down to his gut to think about having to ask her when he clearly blew her off.

He couldn't stop the smile when the frosted glass front of the door screamed noir PI movies, with the crisp black lettering: Coopers Private Investigation & Security Agency. Kenzie's name was smaller and still yet more formal underneath it advising of her licensed status. He was actually going to walk into a PI's office to ask this woman to watch his ass.

He seriously needed to be committed, he thought as he opened the door.

A desk took up the majority of the main space. A simple seating area in leather took up the rest of the room with a fan of magazines and all sorts of green sprouting from every corner. The receptionist desk was littered with green plants in various stages of bloom and a pretty blonde had a phone to her ear. She was a little starchy in a mild pink suit that reminded him of the movie Legally Blonde that his daughter made him sit through.

She hung up the phone and he smiled. "Hello, I was wondering if Ms. Cooper was in."

She pushed her mouse to the screen, and looked over to the diary. "Sorry sir, she's out at the moment with a client but her next hour is free, she's due back any minute. Is she expecting you?"

He smiled, taking his ball cap and sunglasses off. "I think she'll see me. She brought me a contract to look at yesterday." It wasn't exactly the whole truth, but pretty damn close. "Do you think I could wait for her?"

She glanced at the couple of people waiting and nodded "Not a problem" she stood up and walked to the far door and held it open "Just wait inside here, she won't be too long."

He had to hand it to her, she didn't blink even though he saw the recognition in her wide blue eyes. Kenzie certainly had a professional staff. "I appreciate it," he bumped up his smile into charming instead of polite.

"There's a pot of coffee in the corner there, I always put it on at this time of day for her. So please help yourself," she smiled and clicked the door shut behind him.

"That'd be great, thanks." He headed for the pot and smiled appreciatively as the high end blend wafted his way. He almost wished it was Folgers or something to fit with the front door. He didn't bother with any sugar or cream, needing the quick jolt of heat and caffeine that only black coffee could provide. Sipping at the mug, he turned around the room.

She seemed to like the traditional heavy end desks, both at reception and the super sized one in her office. She'd situated it right near the window, maximizing space and light. It was totally covered in files and ditto paper with a busy fax spitting out information behind her chair on yet another desk.

Volumes of books were crammed in the shelves that reminded him of a lawyer’s office more than...well. He supposed she dealt with the law even more than a lawyer and a cop. His eyes scanned titles that spoke of laws, paternity, and even a few different states mixed in. One bookcase seemed to boast a frenzy of electronics that he couldn't even begin to decipher.

A large safe was tucked in the corner, reminding him that her job was indeed in the security end of things. It was a gun safe. He'd been around guns most of his life, though he'd grown out of the fascination with them before he'd hit thirty. Too many near misses and stupidity came with that kind of weapon in his lifestyle.

The only thing that had any semblance of a feminine flair was a single stained glass window that lit the battered hardwood floor with gold’s and greens, reds and blues. An explosion of plants framed the window with some hanging, some in racks and some with stands all showcasing one pot that had to be half the size of Kenzie's massive desk. It was filled with greens and flowers and pretty glass bulbs that seemed to stick out of the dirt. He stepped closer. Damn, there was water in the little balls. "Pretty cool," he said out loud and filed that away. He had far too many women in his life and finding little presents was tough.

He walked across the room, to the personal shelves tucked off in another corner behind her desk. Framed faces in a variety of stages of Kenzie's life crammed the shelves. Mugging smiles, sappy grins at Christmas and a smug flipping finger in front of a cake with so many candles it resembled a bonfire.

He snorted, putting the picture down, his knuckle bumping into a small frame that wasn't quite out front. He picked it up and a much younger Kenzie stared back at him, her lips smacking a guy that couldn’t be over twenty. His eyes were crinkled and laughing as his beefy arm wrapped around her neck and waist.

Mackenzie raced up the stairs, her heels pounding on the wood back up to her office. She breathed out when she came to the landing swinging the door open. Slung over one shoulder her bag, filled with documents she’d now have to file and process. And the other, two foot long subway sandwiches. One again was to be used for bribery. Claire was so much better at filing and doing all that stupid work. Ok ok, so not better. Mac just loathed the manual work that the job entailed at times.

MacKenzie breezed through the reception area, Claire was busy on the phone but snapped up when she saw her come in, and waving her arms around frantically. She raised her eyebrow at her and followed her rapid pointing to the door of her office. She walked up and paused looking through the crack. To her surprise she caught the back end of Jon holding one of her photo frames.

She studied him a bit longer than she intended to instead of going right on it. What was he doing here? A small grin curled in her lips as she wondered if he'd changed his mind and needed her after all. The dark wash jeans curved around his ass so perfectly. What was with that? She always had to look. The blades in his back were prominent through the tight black long sleeve tee he had on. The man worked out, gorgeous shape into a trim waist. Josh would be proud. She snapped back to reality when Claire coughed and gave her a look. She chuckled and shook her head. Swinging open the door fully she stepped in.

"Enjoying the slide show?"

Jon turned away, frame still in hand. The business woman that greeted him left him off balance. Her dark hair was twisted up and away from her face, leaving her sea colored eyes unframed. A slick, decidedly feminine suit nipped in at her waist and the simple white shirt under it looked a little wilted, like she'd been sitting forever. He could see the restlessness in her face and the wariness at his visit. He put the frame down and rounded her desk. "Here," he grabbed the huge deli package and caught a whiff of Italian dressings and meat. "You didn't need to feed me, though." He said with what he hoped was a charming, lopsided grin.

She laughed, "Thanks, it was actually bribery for my staff but tell anyone I do that and I may have to kill you." She sank down in her leather swivel and slammed her leather satchel down. She took the package and pulled out a long wrapped parcel. "I'm starving, I've not eaten since six so please excuse me," she unravelled the paper and took a huge bite of the pastrami cheese and mayo rich roll. "So what do I owe this visit Jon, I know it’s not the free coffee,” she smiled nodding to the coffee at the end of the table.

Leave it to MacKenzie to get right to it. He set his hat down on her desk, crossing his arms over his chest as he dug his fingertips into his aching tricep against the cooling weather. "I'm not terribly good at eating crow, MacKenzie, but I'm here." He wanted to stare at the floor, over her shoulder, anything but her eyes. But it was her eyes he focused on. Pride slamming in his throat

"I'd like to discuss some options."

She finished the second mouthful of her sandwich and couldn't help but be intrigued. He's thinking about it now huh? Didn't seem so bad now did it? She leaned back in her chair and crossed her legs meeting those aquamarine eyes that countless probably women had orgasmed over. The tenseness in his jaw, she could see. He hated this, a man like Jon wasn't used to admitting that he was wrong she'd bet. "I'm listening," she said seriously.

The delight to make him squirm in his seat, she could get off on. He was going to have to work for this one.

"I spoke to a few people last night," try a dozen, "and I'm not in love with any of my options." He couldn't just stand there and have her watch him like that. Her eyes were nearly glittering with the crow he was munching on and it left a bad taste. She didn't want to have anything to do with him, and now he had to all but coerce her into helping him. Christ. But he'd eat that fucking crow if it meant that his family was safe.

He paced along the carpet just inside her door. "I've spoken to the police and a few people I trust and all of them want me under 24/7 guard with a detail that would rival fucking Madonna and all the Brittany's combined." He turned to her. "I'm not going to live my life that way." He clenched his jaw. "You're my best option."

She sat for a few moments listening to him tapping the end of her boot against the brass draw handle of her desk. "You're best option? Or your last?" she asked a bit too quickly off the tongue.

She knew she was his best option, especially for what he required in the upcoming events he had to attend. He couldn’t afford to have an entourage but she wasn't in the habit of jumping into bed with a client in a personal security job unless she had their full confidence.

Otherwise this was never going to work.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Chapter Eight

Mac pulled up to the scene and jammed on her handbrake. She grabbed her satchel and tucked it under her arm, reachedf for the tray of coffees and bag of donuts and stepped out of the car slamming the door. The swarm of media was spilling out onto the pavement, christ it was like a circus. The silent lights of the ambulance flashed, thank god it was stationary. He had to be ok.

She balanced the trays and made her way through the crowds over to the police cordon was, and where two officers guarded the entrance way to the studio. Perfect. Joe Gregio and Tony McNorton who she knew from her days at the precinct were standing watch. “Hey boys” she grinned waving the coffees like a waitress in front of them. Time for some bribery.

Joe who was six foot seven crossed his arms. “Cooper what do you want?”

“Hey Mac.” Tony grinned reaching for a coffee off her tray but she pulled it back.

“Uh uh, I need to get in there and talk to a client I was working for.” She flashed them a big grin. “So can you let me in?”

“Cooper we haven’t got that sort of clearance.” That was bullshit, and she knew it.

“Come on Joe, I need to see him it’s important.” Ok so she wanted to see if he was ok, he was in something that was way over his head. Sure he’d probably have strange groupies, but she was sure none would have tried to mow him down.

He rolled his eyes and plucked the coffee from the tray and held his hand out, “Gimme the loot.”

She laughed and handed the bag to them. “Thanks guys, knew I could count on you.”

“Don’t draw attention to yourself, NOTHING!” Joe warned rummaging thorugh the bag.

“Yeah, yeah,” she spun around and swung open the door in time for a air splitting wolf whistle behind her.

“Looking good!” Tony bellowed.

“Quit looking at my ass!” She turned around where she was met by Jon, and a familiar tall dark haired man. “Hell,” she exclaimed looking at Jon who looked a little worse for wear.

"What are you doing here, McKenzie?" Jon looked over her shoulder at the cops obviously oggling her then back to her shielded eyes. He frowned at his own reflection and the annoying white gauze square taped to his temple and scalp.

She tugged off her glasses, tucking them into her jacket pocket. "I saw it on the news and the minute I did, I knew why." She nodded to the guy, "Are you both ok?" She asked seriously, pointing to his head. Christ, he could of been seriously hurt. She knew now more than ever she'd done the right thing coming down.

He waved her concern away. "I'm fine, I'm fine." He took her hand and pulled her inside the dark studio. "Richie Sambora, this is McKenzie." He sighed. "I used Miss Cooper for some personal inquiries on the Soul issue we talked about."

Richie nodded and held out a hand. "Call me Richie. I was outside when the car tried to use Jonny for target practice."

Jon winced. "Dammit, Richie." He watched Kenzie's eyes go flat and hard.

She gripped Richie's hand and shook it forcefully. "Pleased to meet you Richie".

Richie motioned for everyone to go down the hall. "Why don't we go back here where we can talk. Miss Cooper can tell us what's on her mind."

Jon nodded. "Yeah, the shot the paramedic gave me is starting to take effect."

"Sounds good." She followed them down the hall, taking notice that Jon was in sweat pants and a tight tee-shirt that was stained with sweat and drops of blood. "I hope you don't take this lightly, any one of you could of been seriously injured out there today, hell killed."

Richie nodded, instantly contrite. "Of course we know that, Darlin’. If we didn't joke about the crazy things that happen in our lives we'd have been six feet under long ago."

Jon shrugged. "We've been in worse situations."

She blinked, worse situations my ass. Jesus, what the hell kind of stuff did they get into that could be worse?

Her eyes narrowed at Jon. "What one of your groupies come after you with an AK-47?"

Jon sat down. "There was no gun, McKenzie." His head head lowered as the Darvocet swam through his veins. "Jesus, the media must have gone nuts with that story already."

"Yes they have, that's how I found out." She placed her satchel down and squeezed into a chair. Jon's blue eyes were cloudy and his whole body was slouched forward. They had no idea what sort of people they were dealing with here. She'd seen it on the force, and it wasn't pretty. "Well, I came down to see you and also make you an offer." She folded her arms and leaned back.

Jon looked up, closing his eyes for a second. Damn, I wish I'd said no to the drug for the aches and pains. "What kind of offer?"

"In my experience, these things just don't go away overnight if you ignore them. I've had dealings with gangs when I worked on the force, and once they start to make waves, there is usually only one way it ends."

Jon's eyes widened. "What? They want to kill me for not hiring the kid?"

She shook her head, "hard to say but they may be using this opportunity to send a message to others. It's been done before. You, your family and," she looked over at Richie. "Are at risk." She leaned forward and clasped her hands, "so that's why I'm offering my services as an undercover bodyguard, just until we see how this plays out."

"What?" He swallowed against the surge of nausea and dizziness as the drug settled against his empty belly. "I'm not going to have a troop of people following me around. I'm not one of the Brittany's and I refuse to become one."

"Jonny, listen to her, man." Richie clamped a hand on Jon's shoulder. "She might have a point."

The certainity and confidence she was used to seeing in those eyes, was so not there. She crouched down in front of him, so thier eyes met. "I'm professional as they come, and there's just one of me."

Jon shook his head. "I've never needed that kind of protection before and I'm not going to start now."

Richie frowned, leaned back on the half wall that divided the rooms.

“Jon, listen to me. I'm not proposing you get an entourage. I know that's the last thing you need right now. Especially in all your dealings on the political scene right now. I'm offering you one on one protection here." He didn't hold her gaze for long, the drugs making him distracted. "I'm fully trained here, ex marine, cop you name it. I can do it. You're in good hands."

"I'm not having some chick protect me," the drugs leaving his good sense far behind. Jon tried to shut his mouth, but it was too late.

At her closed off face, he tried to backtrack. "Wait, Kenzie."

"No, you've made your point. I didn't take you for a chavenist Jon," she ignored the fact he'd called her Kenzie, she so didn't need to go down that path right now.

"It's fine Jon. If you want to become a target. Who am I to stop you?" She wanted to shake him, but knew she couldn't push it.

"Did they say anything to you from the car? Yell anything?"

Jon sighed. He knew he'd fucked up, but he couldn't pull it back. He wouldn't pull it back at this point. He couldn't have this woman protect him. He was all for women's rights in every avenue, but he couldn't have this woman around him 24/7 after she'd pulverized his balls just a few days prior. Call him prideful, call him studpid. He'd find another way. He cleared his throat. “Think about your actions, Rich Man,” he said quietly.

"Look, guys. No one's going to win any side of this argument. Why don't we all sleep on it and look at it tomorrow with some perspective." Richie nodded at Jon. "And when Jon can think like a human, not someone high on Darvocet."

Mac nodded "Right, good idea." She rubbed her face with her hands. Richie was right, Jon wasn't in the clearest of mind frame now and hell if he was on Darvocet he certainly wouldn't be. She couldn't force the issue with him and now wasn't the time. The way he'd disregarded it so easily still had her pissed. Like she couldn't handle it. And that was something she was used to from her life in this man-orientated career but she expected more from him. God knows why. She glanced back over her shoulder at him, rubbing his temples and looking though he was about to drop she sighed collecting her case.

"You're right Richie. I'm not needed here," she slapped her business card down on the table. "Call me when they start to threaten the lives of your kids." Damn, she hadn't meant that to come out of her mouth. She spun on her heel pausing at the door, her fingers curling around it. She wanted to say more. She wanted to tell him that she cared, but what was the use. He was just another stubborn male.

"Good day Richie, nice to meet you."

"McKenzie--" She turned around to him, but he just shut his mouth and swallowed. "Thank you for taking the time to come down and..." he trailed off. "Just thanks." Her green eyes seemed to grow sad just before she turned back around.

MacKenzie kept walking and didn't look back until the crisp city air hit her face. Part of her wanted to go back in there and throttle Jon for being so casual about the situation but she had to realize he probably wasn't thinking straight and he was a man who didn't take too kindly to be told what he needed. Well if he has any sense he'll at least get his own security on it, I just hope they don't waste too much time as god knows when those kids would strike again. She waved to Joe and Tony before returning to her car and popping the door open.

As much as she could deny it all she wanted. There was something different than him just being a client. Maybe she just saw herself in him too much, drived determined and knowing what he wanted. That was probably it. She roared her iginition into life and pulled back out into the deep downtown traffic, and made route for the beach giving one last thought to the man she left back in the studio praying he'd see some sense tommorrow. That's all you can do Mac, can't force your help on others.

Richie palmed the card and stuffed it in his jeans pocket. "C'mon Jon. I'll get you home.”

He snagged his jacket and shook the pocket for his keys. "Jon, why don't you call Mike to have someone check in on Dot and the kids."

Jon's belly quivered and the nausea threatened to spew. God, not his kids. “Why don't you just let me call my driver, I'll go stay with Dot and the kid--"

"I don't think that's a good idea, Jon. Not until you know more."

Jon sighed, the need to go to his family and to fix everything was overwhelming, but he knew Richie was right. Until he knew more, it was just good conscious to stay away from them and not lead them to his family.

"All right, let's just get out of here." Richie pushed Jon gently ahead of him and outside to where a police cruiser was stationed.

"I'm here to take Mr. Bon Jovi home," said the officer.

Jon looked back at Richie. "You get yourself home. We've all had a long night. Nothing's going to happen with one fo New York's finest taking me home."

"If you're sure."

"I'm positive."

"Ok, call me if you need me."

Jon nodded and rested his hand on his shoulder. "I will, thanks man."

Richie went to go and turned, "you were right about one thing though Jon."

Jon raised his eyebrow, "oh?"

"She's hot."

Jon half snorted, "go home old man."