Tuesday, January 26, 2010

While you were sleeping...

He sat listening to the sound of the waves as they crashed up against the beach.


He was angry and there was only one reason for it.

Rich man.

He puffed out the last of his cigarette and flicked it across the deck, “Jerome!”He drummed his fingers on the end of the chair as he waited. The stupid asshole got scared and ran inside the house, he snorted delighted, “What a wimp.” He looked up as Jerome creaked across the decking.

“Yo. What’s up?” They slapped hands and pulled them back fast.

“Did you get the pictures I asked?” He lifted the beer and leant back rolling the butt of it across his belly.

“Sure did, little kissy-kissy on the beach. She’s one hot mama rich man’s got.”

He nodded and clicked his fingers. “Show me them.”

Rich men that played with Democrats he mused. They pretended that the world was about to change, that it could change, it was a nice sentiment to write home about. Yet, in the entire ass kissing and let’s change this country for the better, they couldn’t even give his baby brother a chance at a dream. A fucking dream.

He wanted to slice the fucking Rich man’s smug smile right off his face. He picked through the photos of Rich man loving it up on the beach with the hot looking chick. The chick that had a gun. Black watch wasn’t stupid. The guy had may have had protection, he’d seen that coming but the surprise attack on the house brought it to light. Guns didn’t scare him.

He handed them back, “you know what to do with them.”
Jerome shoved them back in the over sized envelope. “You want me to rough up the place while they sleep?”

He should, but he shook his head. “No, let’s see what the Rich bastard does next. Him and his little chick with a gun. Did you get an ID on her?”

Jerome shrugged, “Mackenzie Philips doesn’t bring up anything anywhere, I checked her out. She’s registered as an office assistant. “ They’d kept an eye on the press when they were splashed across magazines and papers at all these fancy-to-do fucking events.

“She can cover her tracks well, she has to be his cover, although Rich man was quite content to hide in the house when you were there. Maybe he likes a woman in charge. We’ll keep an eye on her. I’m not scared of her, or him.”

“What’s next?” Jerome asked pulling his hood up over his head.

“You drop the photos, and then we watch what they do next. If he’s smart he’ll come to his senses and call Wes into the team. If he’s not---“ Black watch glanced out to the dark sea. “It’s time to ramp things up a little and make him wish he’d never gone there.”

“And Wes will get on the team?”

He took a long pull from his beer and nodded. “Wes will get on the team, at any cost.”


Saturday, January 23, 2010

Chapter Twenty-One

She squirted the shampoo into her hand and raked it through her hair. The hot needles beating down on her did little for the tension in her shoulders and neck. She’d emailed David to get onto any blogger sites, and scan for evidence that her cover had been blown. God, she was stupid sometimes. A damn fan for Christ’s sake? They’d have to up the public presence of them being a believable couple at the very least, especially if they were being watched.

She stepped back and closed her eyes, letting the steam combine with heat wash away the day. The minty cloud did nothing to overpower the smell of him that still lingered in the shower. The same smell of leather and soap that followed her around daily.

MacKenzie had a problem, and it wasn’t just that they were in a sticky situation. She was falling for Jon, and hard. She knew that this was going to take all the strength above and beyond all the physical training she had endured in her life. The pull of attraction to him, made her ache if she let it. It was a fucked up situation to be in, resisting a man that you had to touch as part of your job. It just wasn’t fair. And it wasn’t fair to him, her employer that she was distracted.

She tried to ask herself why she was falling for the man, he matched her strength and her will in life. He was a good person, he made her laugh and he knew what he wanted and how to get it. Putting aside he was insanely hot and was a great kisser. Christ MacKenzie.

For the last hour she’d tried in her head to think of every way to make this even work, but she couldn’t. As long as she was responsible for his life, she couldn’t be in love with him.

Jon woke, a couch cushion jammed under his cheek and one of the throws over his shoulders. The downstairs held the blue cast of night. They’d been watching a movie, but he must have dozed off. Sleep was something he didn’t allow himself all that much. In fact, he pretty much sustained himself on five hours a night, but every once in awhile he dropped like a stone for an extra long nap.

Sea air and two beers will do that, ass hole.

He grimaced, rubbing his neck as he sat up. The couch was definitely not like his leather one at home. He shuffled up the stairs, dragging his t-shirt over his head. The house felt stifling. Of course security girl had every flippin’ window practically nailed shut for security reasons. He wasn’t sure what kind of info she’d gotten from her partner, but whatever it was had her over cautious.

Scratching his belly, he pushed the door to the bathroom open before he noticed the shower running and the low lights of the vanity mirror as Kenzie’s only illumination. What was she doing taking…

His thoughts trailed off as she lifted her arms to wring soap from her hair. The suds slithered over her shoulders and down the sweet dip of her amazing back. The bubbles gathered at the cleft of her cheeks before making tracks over her hips and her ropy runner’s legs.

She turned to duck her head under the rainwater showerhead and he stumbled back a step. The high curve of her breast beaded tight as the steam wafted up from her rain dotted skin. The long line of her torso made his mouth water, especially when she turned her face up to the spray, obviously enjoying the heat.

Stop watching, perv. Jon bumped into the door and out, pressing his back to the cool wall. He dragged his hand through his hair. Good job, asshole, now you get to live with that in your head. Congrats.

He kicked open his own door and ripped off the rest of his clothes. The crisp cotton of the sheets only made his dick harden more. He stared at the ceiling. It was going to be a long fucking night.

She cranked off the shower and wrapped a towel swiftly around her body and made her way back to the guest room. She couldn't see him right now, not when she was all riled and primed for jumping his bones. Sleep. That's what she needed.

At two am she cursed into the dark room and sat up and flipped on the bedside lamp. This was ridiculous, she couldn't sleep. Every creek or noise in the house had her up checking out the window or peering down the hallway. She didn't know whether she was on guard for an intruder, or Jon slipping into her bed. She gave a disgusted huff and grabbed the blanket and headed downstairs. She needed some space between them, as long as she knew they were not far apart naked in bed. She wasn't going to sleep.

She crept around, careful to make as less noise as possible finding candles and some matches before heading out to the porch. It was seasonably chilly, but she liked the cold. It always cleared her head. Tugging the blanket around her body she pulled her knees into her chest and stared out at the street. It was going to be a long night, but the gentle glow of candlelight and sea breeze was already calming her.

Jon rocketed his pillow across the room and watched as his Lazy boy swished with the heavy feather pillow bomb. Christ, that was the third pillow to make it onto the chair, but it still didn't stop the scene of bubbles and steam that was tripping like a broken record in his head.

He was acting like a randy 15 year old on his first crush for fuck's sake. He needed sleep, this thing to be over...And MacKenzie flat on her back, thighs open.

"Argh!" he screamed into his remaining pillow. He swung his feet out and jerked his jeans on. Obviously he needed a cigarette before he went out of his mind and crawled into her bed, damn the consequences.

He felt around his pockets and swore. Of course they were in his coat pocket because he didn't fucking smoke in his own goddamn house. He padded down the stairs, the moonlight gilding his living room with enough white light that he could see his coat rack.

Reaching around the various jackets, he found the one he was wearing earlier and sure enough--there they were.

MacKenzie jerked her head up at the scuffle. Oh god, please don’t say they’ve come back for more, into the house and are escaping through the front. I’m sure I checked that back door. She snuck to the side of the door and waited for her assailant, they wouldn’t expect her so she’d easily be able to get the upper hand. The door creaked open and she took a deep breath. With one flying leap she screamed took him from the back wrapping her arms around his neck and her legs around his waist, his cool skin pressing against her. Skin? Oh shit --- they both fell with a thump onto the hardwood floor.

He grunted under her as she tried to remove her limbs now entwined with his. "Shit" she muttered as her face scrunched into his neck. "You need to move..."

He tried to think about moving, but her knee was about a millimetre from his nuts. He hissed. "Mac, if you move your knee I'm going to be singing a new octave on Friday night."

“Oh god, sorry...” She shifted her weight and rolled back onto the floor, so much for keeping away from him – naked.

Jon rolled over onto her once more. Her eyes glittering in the low light of the tree shadowed porch. "Is there a reason you tackled me? Or do you just find me that irresistible?"

Her eyes fell to his lips. Someone up there really hates me, seriously. Their eyes meant and her heart thundered in her chest. What if she said yes, what if she gave in and kissed him? Would he take her to his bed? “I thought you were an intruder, after today...I was on edge.” His eyes searched hers, all she had to do was say it, or do it. “Help me up?” Chicken.

He figured it was probably best to listen to what she said, not what her body was doing under his. Not the fact that her thighs had opened to accept him or that her nipples were currently digging through his chest hair. He should probably listen to her. Probably. His mouth lowered, barely brushing her lips.

He knew she could heave him off with little effort, but did she really want to?

Her fingers curled around his neck, and the heat pulsed off his body between them. Barely a kiss but a challenge, he wasn’t going to back down, she was. She pressed her forehead against his and sighed. Beneath them, against her belly she could feel the tell tale signs of his erection.

Her lips grazed his full bottom one, why did this feel so god damn right? Her tongue traced his upper lip before she retreated. That was as far as she could go. "Jon you gotta get off me," her voice cracked and she could of cursed herself for it.

He braced a palm on each side of her face. His eyes raked over her flushed cheeks, the quick rise of her breasts under him as he slowly pushed off of her. Everything inside of him told him to press harder. Just a little more and he'd have her. The threads of attraction were binding and braiding between them, he could feel it. Just a step farther and he'd finally...What? He'd sleep with his bodyguard.

With a curse, he lifted off of her and grabbed his smokes that had fallen to the floor. He banged through the French doors, his lighter the only light beyond the stars. He dragged in deeply; the rush of nicotine cleared his head. He blew it out, an almost inaudible, "fuck," with the last of the wispy grey smoke.

She hoisted herself back up and dusted off her thighs. She followed him back inside, even side on the night light showed off the perfect contours of his body. Damn sometimes it was really just better to imagine what was under there, than have it shoved in your face. The light splatter of fur on his chest made her fingers curl, she wanted to touch. And his biceps and abs, just ridiculous. She was getting zero-sleep tonight. Before she thought more she reached up and traced the outline of the steers head on his arm. “Where did you get this?”

She looked out into the dense pathways behind his house. Laughing darkly, he blew out another stream of smoke. "The day I got married. Figured a little more pain was due me, evidently."

She nodded. "I'm sure." It would have been easier if he was still married. Then she'd know he was off limits. No bounds. She moved her hand off him and ran it down the wooden pillar. "So what do we have next on our agenda? Hillary's bash?"

He crossed his arms, kneading his fingers into his bicep. "Yeah, Mrs. C's been good to me, least I can do is help her save face."

She kept her gaze on him but his was still out to the yard. "You know Jon I've been around a lot of high profiled people. But I've got to say, you are one of the most down to earth ones, I've met. Plus I can see you ave a big heart. That's commendable."

I'd rather have a big orgasm. "Thanks. I'm lucky enough to give back." He crouched down and stabbed out his butt. Trying to ignore her silky calves right there, he could trace his knuckle up and along her inner thigh...Stop. Fuck.

She watched him slowly rise all the way back up, until his eyes again her heavy on hers. "I guess we need to get to bed, I mean beds. Us...."

His mouth quirked. "Yeah, my bed's calling my name."

So is mine.
She waited for him to lead the way so she knew he was safely inside before they snicked the locks. She followed his lead back up the stairs where he stopped at his door. He was testing her right to the damn end. All she could see was the king sized bed, strewn in sheets behind him. When his eyebrow quirked she took a deep breath. "Night Jon" and quickly found the safety of the guest room.

"Night, Kenzie." Her shoulders stiffened just before she closed herself off from him. Good, I'm not the only one that's suffering. He shut his door and shucked his jeans. "Four fucking AM," he muttered and buried his head in his lone pillow.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Chapter Twenty

MacKenzie wrapped her arms around herself as the breeze whipped around her on the porch. He’d been inside for almost thirty minutes now and she hadn't gone in. She scanned the immediate area and reached for her cell and texted back David to confirm they were all ok. She snapped it shut and slid it into her pocket. This is ridiculous, if he can’t handle you doing your job, it’s his problem.

The floorboards creaked as she walked slowly back inside. She made her way up to his room where she’d left her piece. He really had to get over what ever the hell crawled up his ass, he knew the score. She paused, he had his back to her and was propped up in the large cane chair facing the window, strumming a guitar.

Unnoticed she sunk against the doorframe and watched him, the way his fingers danced effortlessly across the strings and how completely relaxed he look made her smile. “Did you still want dinner?”

He stiffened. The sad notes of the Dylan song drifted away until he flattened his palm over the strings, twirling the neck a few times until it faced away and he could drop it into the guitar stand. "I'm not hungry." He strode past her, not quite able to look at her.

He knew she was doing her job, but it didn't make it any less annoying when she'd so cooly put him in his place. They were adults and even more important, they were professionals. He'd do well to remember that when his hormones stopped the blood flow around the belt buckle. Fuck

He walked across the cluttered room, dropping onto the couch with the remote in his hand. Please God, have a football game on.

She rolled her eyes as he moved across the room and didn’t acknowledge her by sight. What else could she do? She was putting him at risk telling him how she felt, this was her job. People didn’t just go and fall in love with their charges, that sort of thing only happened on ridiculous movies. Not here. She was in too deep to back out of the job now and compromise him further. She sighed and stood in front of the TV and crossed her arms. “Are you going to sulk all night? I’m sorry I snapped, I made a mistake leaving my gun behind and I panicked.” God she hated admitting she was wrong.

His jaw ached from biting his fucking tongue off. "I'm not sulking. I'm keeping my mouth shut so I don't regret my words. Worlds of difference."

“I’d prefer you were honest with me like we agreed.” Why, were you being honest with him MacKenzie? He didn’t reply, he cocked his head around her to get a view of the TV. For the love of stubborn males. “Fine.” She dropped her hands to her side and stormed out.

She stalked out of the room and he scrunched down into the couch. Knowing she was right and owning up to it were two entirely different things. He just needed a bit of mindless entertainment and the smell of ginger to clear the air before he did something stupid.

She strapped her holster back on before heading back to the deck, god knows she needed some fresh air before she also said things she regretted. If he wanted to play Sulky Sulkerson, then fine. He could have it his way. She closed her eyes and leaned back against the rail, she quickly opened them when the bushes moved and a twig snapped.

“Oh crap,” she whispered tucking them under her arm and reaching for her gun and ducked out of view. The crunching of leaves had her silent, they were still damn here. She peered out and caught sight of a kid dressed in baggy jeans, a dark t-shirt and cap slinking away from the house. “Hey! You!” She leapt up and pointed her gun in his direction.

The kid panicked and scrambled unsuccessfully, “get your ass back here now!” She hurdled the railing and landed dead on her feet before catching up with him. “What the fuck do you think you’re doing?” She yanked him back, dragging him to the ground and pinned him there.

Disgusted with the game, he turned off the TV, tossing the remote onto the coffee table. Christ, he needed to just suck it up and say he was sorry. He hated doing that man. Hated it more than a wax for fuck's sake.

He opened the back sliding door, "hey, Kenzie--" he cut off when he was met with an empty deck. "Kenzie?" he called out. Dusk had fallen and the light was grey with mist coming off the water.

Her head shot up as she twisted the guys arm behind his back immobilising him. With her other hand she pressed the cool steel of her gun against his neck. “Get back in the house now Jon.” She pulled tighter as he squirmed, “quiet asshole.”

Jon leaned over the railing, flinching when her gun glinted off the low light. "Shit." Jon backed off, closing the door with a snick of the locks. How in the blue hell had they found him here? He had one of the back houses for just this reason.

If he wanted everyone and their camera to find him, he'd have taken the house on the water. He punched the window, the quick zing of cold window pane making him feel better. Good fuck, she was out there alone with one of those guys. Did he have a partner? What the hell?

She quickly patted him down to find no evidence of a weapon, as she squeezed her knees tighter to hold him there. “Who are you, and what are you doing here?” God, he was probably a fan.

“James Baker, my girl—girlfriend wanted his autograph. I swear, over there.” MacKenzie followed the line of his chin to where a small scribble pad and pen lay in the foliage.

“Fuck,” she released her grip still keeping her gun firmly on him. “Alright, well take your pen and paper and get off the property, now.” She stood and waited while he bumbled his way up, collected his pad and pen and scampered. She waited until he was out of her line of sight before she dropped her gun. Jesus fucking Christ. What next?

“Fucking hell," she muttered turning back towards the house dusting off her legs as she went. She knocked on the door. "Jon its ok, I just lost you a fan probably."

He slid the door open. "Tell me you didn't just say fan. Please?"

Just fucking great. He'd be on the news or even worse, the blogger sites by morning. What a clusterfuck of a day.

She blew her breath out and stood on the deck as she jammed the gun back into her pocket. "I'm sorry, he was trying to get an autograph for his girlfriend, I had to make sure that wasn’t a cover. It’d be an easy thing to lie about. What else was I supposed to think?”

He sighed, the anger melting out of him with the defeated look. "Well, maybe that will keep the stalkers at bay for a few days at the very least." His lip kicked up into a smirky grin. "There's something to be said for peace and quiet, even if it comes with your big ass gun."

“Christ, I just probably put the kid into depends.”

He slung his arm around her shoulders without thinking. "C'mon, Dirty Harry...let's see if we can find something to eat." He grinned down at her. "Or should I call you...what's that guy's name from the Bodyguard movie? Farmer? Christ, my wife made me watch that like a half dozen times."

“I’m much better than Farmer thank you very much.” They were ok, they were safe. It was over, for now. “Got any beer? I’d kill for one, and order pizza. Lot’s of it.” She shrugged when he looked at her with wide eyes. “I’ve got the gun.” She replied simply.

"Yeah, I suppose you do." She walked ahead and he watched her ass with the silver of the gun glint from the back of her waistband. The level of wrong there was astronomical. It should not be hot. Swallowing thickly, he caught up to her. "Tell me you didn't put anchovies on my pizza and we'll be fine."

“Ew, yeah no thanks.” Once the pizza arrived they migrated to the backyard and sank into the oversized chairs. She cracked off her beer top and took a long gulp. Thank god he was over his pissy-fit. “So who won the game?”

Grease and cheese burned his lip as he bit down too hard. "Uh...I don't know." He gave her a rueful smile. "I just didn't want to talk to you." He sighed. "I suppose I should get the apology out of the way. It was what I was coming outside to give you to be honest."

Her lips curved and she sucked in the loose cheese before she took a bite. “It’s ok, as I said, I panicked, I made a mistake and I took it out on you. I’m sorry too. It’s fine, really Jon.” She didn’t need the whole debrief of who did what, she wasn’t into that shit.

Thankful for the reprieve he sat back, folding his slice to bite around it. "We just dropped out of the honeymoon stage and had our first fight, honey."

She snorted as she lifted her beer, “guess we did. Pity you can’t take me up to bed for the good make-up sex.”

"Now that's my kind of woman." He reached for another slice. He just wished that were true...on all counts.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Chapter Nineteen

His thumbs brushed against her hipbones, the soft denim so familiar and yet different on her body. A dog yipped and gave a sharp bark as a pair of teenagers used a stray piece of driftwood as a bench to neck on. The breeze was warm off the water, even as the sand chilled beneath his feet. October near the inlets was often a lot milder than even September. A few boats still littered the waterways, reminding him how fast summer had faded.

The woman in his arms was a contradiction, much like the Northeast teaser of a summer day. He could feel the connection, the buzzing awareness between them when they were 'on' for working. When they were alone, she stepped back, making him wonder if he was imagining every nuance of the attraction between them. But here, when she didn't really have to play the girlfriend and slid so easily into the role, these were the times that confused him.

He shuffled her forward to the water. "You don't mind staying here tonight, do you?”

Her heels dug into cool sand as she pressed her body back against his. No she didn’t mind, yes she could have stayed out here forever with him. Her mind was a flutter, she didn’t like when that happened, and she was so used to thinking and shooting straight. Not being all twisted up like a pretzel.

The beach was calm as the waves gentled up onto the shore. Life for her until this moment had been way too busy and she missed the simple things like this. It had been a long time since a man stood behind her that could match her strength in both body and mind. She could probably still throw him to the ground and pin him but she’d have fun trying. This game, whatever they were playing was becoming too easy and confusing.

It wasn’t always a physical thing that attracted her to men, it was definitely a nice to have and Jon was very easy on the eyes. It was his mind, his way and his determination and drive that got her right down in the belly. She saw it in his eyes, the same determination that led her down the path she took, after Brian. “No, not at all. I have nothing that can’t wait.”

"I could use a day away from the city," he hissed as his toes met water. "Fucking cold," he muttered and started to back out.

She laughed as he tugged her with him, losing her footing she fell backwards into strong arms and hands. “Shit, sorry.”

"S'okay," he laughed. "I bet that water would be way colder on your ass." Hauling her up, he turned her into his arms. "But maybe you need a cool down."

His eyes sparkled like the water, and he couldn’t be trusted as his lips twitched. She arched a brow, they were barely inches apart as her gaze rested on his mouth. If she didn’t move she knew she would be taking advantage of this “acting.” The cool water pooled around her feet so she shifted her foot in an innocent flick splashing water up his calves. “Oops.”

Gripping her around the waist he lifted her. "Hey now!" When she went to kick again he clamped a hand around each arm and tossed her over his shoulder in a fireman's carry. "You cannot be trusted, woman." He trudged back up toward the shell strewn sand.

She laughed and tried to twist her way out of it, she knew she could if she really had to, but not without inflicting damage to him. “Put me down now, or you want a new Soprano Record?”

Flattening his arm over her thighs, he held her tight to his shoulder. "Oh hell no." He trudged up the sand and dropped her onto her butt, his knees between her legs as she messed up his hair. Frowning down at her, he pushed it back. "Don't touch the hair, don't you know that's my pride and joy?"

"You have it insured though right?" She scooped up a handful of sand weighing it in her hand. Desperate to ignore him crouched in-between her.

His eyes dropped her mouth, then the sand. "Smart ass," he muttered. When she grinned up at him, he wrapped his fingers around her wrist to dump the sand. "I don't trust you," he said and leaned in. Her breath minty against his lips, he breathed her in. "Aww hell," he said and closed the distance.

She couldn’t deny how much she wanted him to kiss her, no matter how unnecessary it was given the situation. That mouth was dangerous and she bet it could do wonderful things to her body as she folded into the kiss. She felt the zing in her knees, her lips parted and she accepted his tongue. Mint and honey flooded her mouth as he drove the kiss deeper.

Jon straightened up, dragging her closer as the soft moan vibrated through him. Her neck arched as he cupped her face, dipping in for another taste. She tasted like sea spray and something darker, something he was becoming all too familiar with.
His thumbs traced her jaw line as his tongue tangled with hers. The little whimper at the back of her throat burned him as his belly tightened at their position. His back ached and his knees protested but he wasn't letting go.

Her control sifted away like sand in your hands, god help her and god damn her for wanting it this much. Her fingers drove up into soft hair and then down over strong shoulders, taut with muscle. She shifted closer, pressing her breasts into his chest. There was no space between them that could be measured, just red simmering hot heat.

Her hair slid around his hands, his wrists, his arms--the silk and the fire driving him higher as the winds picked up. Spray off the water coated his back as he drowned in her taste. As his back cooled, the heat between them flared. The kiss lengthened and he lost himself in her taste.

Her head jerked up as the pound of feet behind her had her on her knees with her arms out wide holding him back.

"Ken--" he broke off as she drilled back into him. "Dammit, Kenzie!" She stiffened in front of him, her arms outstretched to protect. The dog leaped and kicked up sand as she tried to get around Mac. Her bark was sharp as she whined. "Molly, its okay girl."

She dropped her arms, letting Molly lunge past her, proceeding to slobber all over Jon. She closed her eyes and puffed, close fucking call. Too fucking close. “Jesus Christ,” she swore as she stood dusting the sand off her legs. She jumped when her hip vibrated, god what next? A bird to swoop down on them? Hell. She cleared her message from David which ironically was warning her that they could be followed. Well shit, and her she was metres away from her fucking gun. “We need to move, now Jon.”

Jon pushed down on Molly's head as she tried to lick him. "Not the kisses I'm interested in, girl. C'mon," he laughed, "all right, all right. I missed you too." He waved to Molly's owners, slapping her rump. "Go on, girl. Back to George." He looked up at Mac. "What's going on?"

“We need to get back inside—“she hated admitting her mistakes, god did she ever. “My piece is in your bathroom. And that was David, just warning us to be careful with any stragglers.”

“You’re piece? Oh- tracking me out here?” He looked out on the horizon, a few couples that owned houses in the surrounding area dotted the beach. The wind that had felt so good before now held an ominous chill. "Are you sure?"

She scanned the immediate area quickly, a couple of teenagers and some older folk, she hadn’t really noticed them before which meant she wasn’t really paying attention. “Yes, I”m sure.” This wasn’t his fault it was hers, hers for yet again being sucked into this charade of whatever it was with them. She grabbed his arm and moved him behind her so the gap for the clear shot was obstructed.

Frowning at the back of her head, he stiffened. "What are you doing?"

She slipped her arm through his to put on her game face once again and shifted herself around him "Obstructing the shot.”

"The fuck you are," he growled. "I didn't see you put on fucking kevlar this morning."

“This morning was different Jon. You know this is my job now and you know there is a threat.”

"Using a sniper rifle is a far cry from running me over with a goddamn car, or a warning MacKenzie. I think you're over reacting.”

Her hands curled into fists, he knew how serious this was becoming so what the fuck was his problem. “Alright, so I don’t over-react and we get ten pounds of lead in our bodies. That ok?” She yanked his arm, “well?”

His jaw clenched as they stood nose to nose. "I got it," he growled. "You made your point." He pulled his arm away from her. "Do you want to plaster yourself around me to take a bullet?" He flung his arm out. "If we walk up the beach I could become a smashed cantaloupe from the back of the head too."

“Now you’re just being ridiculous. In case you’ve forgotten Jon. I was employed to be your bodyguard. Being all over you and crawling up you is MY JOB.” It all came spewing out and god if she could help herself now. “This was never going to be easy,” problem was, it had been far too easy.

His head snapped back as if she'd slapped him. "Well aren't you good at your job." He stood still, his fingers jammed into his pockets. "Lead on oh protector," he said cooly. "I wouldn't want to overstep. I, after all, am great at taking your cues."

She just wanted them back in the house and off this damn beach, where they were in the wide open. This hadn’t been a job half the time, and that’s where laid the problem. She was lucky to have the reality check now, and not when he got hurt. The sea air was thick as the tension that hung between them as they walked back to the house. Once there, she grabbed him and twisted him around. Her eyes stayed on his,

“It’s for the best Jon. I’m only doing it for you.”

"Right, it's just a job. I won't forget again, MacKenzie." He stepped back and inside. "I've got calls to make." He stopped, turning his head a fraction so he could see her peripherally. "If I'm allowed to do so," he said flatly.

The cool tone in his voice sliced through him like ice, and she pretended that it didn’t matter. It did matter, he mattered. On the inside she was ready to collapse but her body held the pressure. She had to push back, in public she’d be his girlfriend as promised, but at home she had to learn to draw the lines before they vanished. “I’m sorry.” She rested her hand on the battered doorframe as she watched him walk away without as much as another word.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Chapter Eighteen

MacKenzie forced her smile and clapped along with the crowd as Senator Hilary finished her address. She tugged the knot at the end of her coat and let it fall open. It was seasonably warm for October. They were in the Hamptons, taking Jon’s chopper early this morning to come down in time for the rally. Of course he had a chopper, and he had a boat too.

She glanced his way and smiled through her shaded lens, the late afternoon sun took the bite off the cool sea air that was whistling around the tent. She’d spent the night wading through her emails, none of which bore any information suggesting that the Bloods were targeting Jon further for any cause. Either that was a one off, or either they were being clever and covering their tracks well. She suspected it with the latter.

Jon was a perfect target for a social or now even political statement, the countless people he acquainted with surprised MacKenzie, and he was more than just the average rock-star. She’d met people he’d worked on his philanthropy projects, his football team and even co-property owners that publically, he was a “silent partner” to. His diary was booked out for months in advance and MacKenzie struggled how he remembered everybody’s name and their background as they mingled.

Jon linked his hand with hers easily, drawing her in until their walk settled, as it always did, into the same stride. From walking to running, she matched him, even lapped him to be truthful. She was easily the strongest female he'd ever had beside him. The tented area was filled to the brim with powerful women, but her strength put them all to shame.

Therein lay his problem, in all honesty. She was strong in every way. Strong enough to kiss his face off in a Beemer then walk away from him like it was no big thing. Strong enough to level him to the ground, but not want to be with him. She was also strong enough to sit across from him every fucking night in a pair of yoga pants and a tank top that was barely big enough for a 14 year old teen and small enough to make him nuts. Not a hint of the Kenzie that twined around him every blessed day.

Hell, she'd even joked with him that he should get a fucking girlfriend. Fuck me.

MacKenzie covered her mouth as she yawned. “God, sorry.” Lack of sleep and making sure she had every single thing covered off around this was the culprit. She’d approved extra surveillance security on his family that was to intervene if anything were to happen. “So, where to?”

"I need some time away from the fucking press, the goddamn democrats and the reporters," he whispered nearly tonelessly just in case there was a stray one of the three in earshot. "I say we head out to my house."

“You have a house here? You’re just full of surprises.” He led her away from the sea of people that started to spew out from the domain.

"Yeah, I got it a few years ago on a whim. I like the old style Cape Cod feel to some of the places near the water." He nodded to the driver of the day, one of her changes. He'd used the same damn driving company for ten years, but they couldn't pass the MacKenzie Profile of Bad Guys so, she'd handpicked just one more thing in his life. She'd be picking his fucking underwear next. He'd like to see her try that one.

She ducked into the car as he held the door open for her. “I used to spend many a summer with Mum and Dad up at the Cape in my youth. Always wanted a beach house one day, one of those big rambling styles with a wraparound porch. I just might be jealous of you now, if the Chopper hadn’t already sealed it,” she teased as he joined her.

"Well, honestly even I couldn't afford a house on the actual beach at the time. I can now," he said it matter of factly, "but I fell in love with my wraparound porch, so I'm staying." He climbed in behind her. "I didn't get out of Jersey much when I was a kid, but I did make it to the Cape a few times as a struggling musician. The boardwalk had nightly expos that we used to try to win."

“See, you have a wraparound porch, now I do hate you.” She shifted her weight wedging her foot in the floor but it slipped and she ended up across his lap. “Shit, sorry. Damn shoes,” she muttered straightening herself up, peeling her arm off his woollen blended Armani.

He pushed away the thick lock of dark hair that slid forward and settled her into him as they'd taken to riding in the car. The windows were tinted, but not enough that the cameras couldn't infiltrate the little oasis he usually enjoyed.

No...Whenever he was outside, he endured and hated himself for enjoying the way she fit him. He played with the collar of her shirt, tempted to drop lower into the crisscrossing v of the neckline to see just how it tucked into her high waisted pants. Instead, he dropped a quick kiss along her jaw line and sat back.

"Wait until you see the sunset," he said smugly.

“I do love a good sunset,” she sighed as she settled back, her gaze drifting out the window. It was small touches like that, that unsettled her most. Tender and genuine, mixed with the scent of him late in the day dashed with spice and leather. The same smell that seemed to follow her around in his apartment, no matter where she was. Those touches she knew came, not necessarily because they had to, and they were both guilty of them without admission.

The ride took little more than twenty minutes, but he was as conscious of her as if she'd been sitting on his damn lap the whole ride. The bottle of ginger scented lotion that sat on his bedside table taunted him nightly, especially since the bottle kept getting slowly lower and he'd yet to catch her slathering herself in it, but the scent stuck to everything in his room. And now the car was as bad as his towels.

When the car stopped, he stepped free and good breeding had him helping her out, even as he breathed in the sea salted air. Anything that wasn't her. Just for a second so he could get his raging hard on under control. Thank God for the longer style of his suit. Even with the pervasive heat that bounced off the faded sunny shingles and pristine whitewashed trim, he closed his suit jacket. She didn't need to know just how badly she affected him.

"Here it is, Casa Bongiovi, East Hampton."

She'd already started walking away, the pull of serenity and peace that was wrapped up in the vintage home called to her. She made sure Jon was following before she zig-zagged through the lush yard. Old wicker furniture was dotted around the place, the worn grooves in them bore many sunny days of relaxation and good company. She clamoured up the steps to the grandiose wraparound porch and breathed in the crisp air, this was paradise. As he climbed up the stairs to the porch she gripped the railing and smiled, "We have to come here more often--" She stopped. This wasn't her reality, it was for now but one day her job would be completed and this would all go away. Somewhere she wondered if she was sad because also he would, or his perks would. "I mean, while I'm working for you."

He watched as her hair lifted and fell on the light breeze coming in, the happiness and the wariness there that often warred on her pretty face. "Lots to see in politics out here, so that's not a stretch," he said easily. He held his hand out for her to head inside. "C'mon, I'm sure we can find something for you to change into. We'll head into town in the morning.”

“Perfect,” she took his lead and followed her inside, it was surprisingly homey.

Generous in size and classic, plush furniture lined the rooms. It was minded herself of her apartment, just a hell of a lot bigger. The big stone fireplace in the centre of the room, she imagined how dreamy in the winter it was to sit, tucked up and read a book next to it. She plucked a frame off one of the units, a framed picture of Jon being mauled by four kids for the best spot on his lap. “You miss them huh?”

He glanced at the picture over her shoulder, the smile automatic as he took the picture. "That was the last day of Summer Vacation, two years ago." He set it back on the crowded shelf. This house was the one he allowed to be less than picture perfect.

He was used to having people over at the mansion, but it was pretty much only family at the Hampton house. He went out to parties, more than held them here. "I tend to stash a lot of pictures here. The kids like to give them to me since they never know what to get me for birthdays and Christmases."

"They are adorable and so are you,” he was blonde and a few years younger. Not that he hadn’t retained his good looks well, it was quite the opposite. "Nothing wrong with that, family is important and is irreplaceable," she dragged her finger along the top of chest. "So you going to show me this beach?"

"Well let's get undressed--" at her quick look he cleared his throat. "We'll go take a walk, get some dinner over near the waterfront."

What the hell was she going to wear? Did his ex-wife still have clothes here?

He looked down at her. Her hips flared a bit, but she should be able to get into a pair of his old jeans. "Follow me," he said and headed up the stairs.

His bedroom was bright, on the sunny side of the house since he didn't mind mornings on the beach half as much as in the city. The massive whitewashed chest took up half the wall. He opened the bottom drawers, digging into the pile of jeans folded until he found some of his less boot cut pants lay. Pulling out an older battered pair for himself, he found a well worn pair for her as well. He unearthed a Nike shirt for himself, long-sleeved and grinned at the faded Giants jersey and tossed it over his shoulder. "Think you can manage to wear that?”

Her hands froze as she stared at the jersey. “Ah, yea...” It got a little less painful each time she saw one. God, she still had Brian’s old one tucked away in her back closest somewhere. It still smelt like him, and now this, smelt like Jon.

“Sorry, nope this is good. I’ll go change.” She took the jeans and locked herself in the ensuite, and leaned hard against the door. Get a hold of yourself, this is different. You’re not in love with the guy. She stripped off and tugged on the jeans, they were snug but fit fine. She pulled the jersey over her head and stared at herself in the mirror for a good minute before shaking it off. “Fits,” she beamed as she walked back out.

He laughed, but it was a little strangled. The woman filled his jeans a helluva lot better than he did. Sweet fuck. "I don't know if I should be offended that a chick fits in my jeans or not," he said with a grin. Since he’d given her the jersey she’d been distracted, “are you ok?”

“Yea, just a little headache. I’ll take some ibuprofen and I’ll be fine. Besides, I don’t think I can compete with the only man I’ve seen that fills out jeans better than any chick I know. Your fans must love it.”

"Yeah well," he frowned. How did he put this that it didn't sound like he was a complete ass? "It's part of the package. I work out so I can run all over that fucking stage, but hell..." he grinned. "Nothing wrong with being proud of your body--to a point."

She patted him on the shoulder, “nothing wrong with it all. Hell, after what we endure at the gym. I’d be asking for a refund if I didn’t have these kinds of results. Come on then,” she winked as she led him out the door.

Heading out the back steps once they got downstairs, he automatically sought out her hand as they picked their way down the winding path that led to the beach. The gardens and the walkways of the surrounding houses made an overgrown maze, but the beach quickly came into view. "There's my beach. It's a private beach for all of us in this area, not a public one, just for the owners and renters."

He flipped off his battered Tevas and held them in his free hand, letting the sand sift through his toes. The shells and muscles crunched underfoot, but he was used to the rough hewn beach, taking comfort in the imperfection in the midst of the lapping water. "It's more of an inlet this way so we don't really get waves to speak of, but the water remains swimmable, so that's a plus. Most of New York's waterways are beyond hope these days."

She followed suit and kicked off her sandals as he led her along the beach, she welcomed the salty air as it balanced her out again. She wasn’t in love with the guy, she was just overwhelmed, and he was an overwhelming guy. The tension between them hadn’t died, she’d just tried in vain to build bigger walls that not even her gun- Oh shit, she’d left it in the bathroom in its holster when she changed. Crap, maybe it’d be ok. They were on private land. Damn Mac, how could you been so damn stupid? “This is amazing Jon,” she clasped his hand tighter not knowing if it was a reflex or a need.

He laced their fingers in reflex to her tighter grip, he gathered her in front of him. The stray inhabitant to the beach gave him the option to touch her. He was getting so he wanted to touch her more than not. And as she leaned against him, he sighed. He'd take the moment. It was all he had.