Flirting With Danger

Secret agent, Adams, was sent from New York to London to work for MI5. He couldn't have been partnered with anyone more different to him; a rich, stunningly beautiful aristocrat, who had joined MI5 as a spy. Together, they had been unstoppable, but their differences had made sparks fly. Then a twist of fate separated them. Now he was back to see if the sparks could develop into something more.

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5. Flirting With Danger Chapter 5

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In the back of his mind, Luke was aware of the fact that being locked in there could be a huge problem for him considering that there was a corpse outside in the trunk of his car! However, he was still struggling to recover from the after effects of extreme arousal, and his brain wasn't functioning on practical matters properly. See, that was why having women around in criminal cases was a real bad idea!

"You sure?" he asked her.

"Yes, of course I'm sure," she replied, running a frustrated hand through her hair.

He followed her movement with his eyes. She wore her hair tucked behind one ear, he'd noticed. Somehow, it never seemed to move from there. As her fingers ran through the perfectly sleek strands, however, her hair fell from her ear and tangled slightly. It left it more ruffled looking. It was more her, the her he used to know anyway. That was one thing he'd noticed about Charlie since he'd returned: she seemed more… neat and perfect, too much so. He knew she was before, but not this much. Even this neat and tidy life of hers in the Country Club, organizing…whatever it was that she organized, and that guy she had hanging round her, Richie, he was conveniently there, even though she couldn't really want to stay with him ...it just didn't ring true to the Charlie he knew before. Sure, she liked things by the book, but she got her kicks out of showing she was as good as any guy in MI5, and if that meant getting down and dirty, she never turned down the challenge. She had dealt with the lowest of scum on a daily basis, and pushed herself more than she probably should have. She thrived off that. How could her life now, without being an agent, satisfy her?

What was he thinking? He had to focus.

Charlie had moved to the desk and was searching through the drawers for something.

Luke strode to the window, peering out over the sheer drop of a flat brick wall.

"We'll never get out of there," Charlie said, glancing in Luke's direction.

"Okay, you seem to know this place. How we gonna get out then?" he asked.

"We aren't," she replied, giving up on her search and throwing the paper she had found down on the desk with annoyance. "Well, not unless someone happens to check in on this office tonight."

"And how likely is that?"

"Not very likely on a Sunday."

"Hmm." Luke momentarily attempted to piece together ideas in his head. "So what's that?" he asked, pointing to the paper she had thrown down on the desk.

"Doug's schedule. He's away for the weekend. It has his contact number on it," she informed him.

"Doug?"

She nodded. "The director."

"So, phone him."

"Can't," she replied, sinking into the office chair. "My mobile is out there." She turned to stare at the wooden panelled door, biting her lip.

"Mobile?"

"Phone," she supplied for him, still staring at the door.

He groaned.

"Along with the keys," she added.

"Great, what d'ya leave them out there for?"

She turned to him with a frown. "Don't start Adams. I didn't know that Sue and Dennis were going to sneak in here for outrageous fornication!"

A grin developed on Luke's face at the memory. "Yeah, it was kinda 'outrageous'," he quoted her.

She rolled her eyes. "So that's that then, we're stuck here now until the cleaners arrive tomorrow morning. Bloody brilliant!" She stood up abruptly and the chair skidded backwards on its wheels as the strode over to a mini fridge in a shelving unit that ran along one side of the room. She opened the door and took out a decanter of water, picking up a crystal whiskey glass from off the shelf, and placing it down with an angry thud before pouring herself a glass of water.

Luke watched her movements but his mind was elsewhere. "Charlie, the car's out there. You think someone will impound it?" he asked, glancing out of the window anxiously.

She laughed. "We're not in America now Luke. This is rural Kent. The car won't be 'impounded'," she assured him, "Not…"

"…on a Sunday," he said in unison with her. "What is it with you people here on Sundays?" he asked.

She smiled, wouldn't he like to know. "Doug is always away on a Sunday," she informed him.

He lifted an eyebrow. "Ahh, and while the cat's away…"

"Precisely," she grinned.

"Hmm, and how those mice have been playing," he grinned back, his eyes twinkling at her.

"Hmm." Her eyes remained on his for a few seconds, before they returned to the closed door, as she leant back against the shelving unit and sipped her water thoughtfully.

"Charlie," Luke began moments later, "you don't suppose one of them 'country club mice' murdered Roberto, do you?" he asked, moving to the desk and beginning to flick through the surveillance discs.

She frowned. "I doubt it. What would they want to kill some random American for?"

He shrugged. "Who knows? I've said it before, these aristocratic types are nuts most of the time." He laid a set of discs out across the desk to better study them.

"Oh, and that would include me then, would it?" she replied with annoyance. Her family were aristocrats and he knew it. "On second thoughts, I can quite understand someone wanting to kill a random American. I've had the same feeling many times before," she said sarcastically. He wasn't listening though. His face fell as his eyes frantically scanned the discs. "What's the matter?" she asked.

"They're gone," he said, hitting the desk top with the back of four fingers.

"What are gone?"

"The discs for today," he said, his voice rising. "All of them; they're gone."

"What?" she said, moving towards the desk. "They can't be."

"I'm telling you Charlie, they aint here," he insisted, gesturing to a gap in the row of discs. "They're all labelled, times and dates, but there aint none from today. Somethin' aint right," he said, shaking his head and staring suspiciously at the discs on the desk. "Could the killer have got in here?" he asked.

"No," she frowned, "this door is always kept locked."

"So who has keys?"

"Only two other people, Doug and I…oh, and the cleaners," she added.

He thought for a moment, a finger on his lip. "Those two other people, they wouldn't be Sue and Denny, would they?"

"Dennis," she corrected. "No, at least I didn't think they had keys. Why would they?"

"I dunno, but they must have, 'cause they locked us in here for starters. Ahh," his face lit up with realization, "Maybe Sue and Denny…"

"Dennis," she corrected again.

"Dennis, whoever, maybe they've not just been doing it in here. Maybe they've been fornicating all over the club!"

She pointed at him. "And they took the discs to hide the fact."

He grinned. "Or maybe for further stimulation."

She looked taken aback at the thought of them taking the discs to watch themselves. Good grief, maybe they hadn't taken them for that reason and it was just Luke's dirty imagination. "Adams, you have a filthy mind," she concluded, turning to walk away.

"Me? Hey, I'm not the guy who's got some obsession with giving women one in public places, then watching the footage," he laughed, "the randy little…"

"You're 'randy' enough too," she interrupted, turning back abruptly and glaring at him.

Amusement danced in his eyes. He leant back against the window sill, crossing his arms. "Yeah? Howd'you know?"

She held his challenging gaze and refused to let the smile that threatened develop. "We worked together for years; I know the signs."

Luke, on the other hand smiled openly, studying her with interest. "Well, Charlotte, you can't have been 'randy' for any of those years at all, 'cause I never saw no signs from you."

It took all the effort she had to stop that smile. "So, as soon as we get out of here, we go to see Dennis, get the discs, and you'll be exonerated," she said, purposely changing the subject.

She was such a tease.

"Yeah. And Denny boy is gonna hand those discs over if he wants to keep his little secret safe," Luke pointed out.

"Exactly." She sighed and walked to the office chair, taking a seat again. "We just have to get through a night locked in here first."

Then, to make matters worse, she slowly became aware of a ringing sound that could be heard coming from the office outside.

"Oh no," she put a hand to her head, "Richie."

"Ahh, shame," Luke commented.

She dropped her hand and turned to him with a frown. "What's wrong with you?"

He shrugged. "Nothing'."

Her expression softened slightly. "You two would probably get along you know."

"Why? Because he's American?"

"Well, yes," she answered a little uncertainly. "You could talk about…I don't know, New York or something."

He stared at her then for a few moments disconcertingly. She felt suddenly uneasy. "What?" she asked.

"How long you been seeing this guy Charlie?"

"Almost a year, why?"

"Not even a year," his eyes widened. "Not even a year and the guy proposes?"

What was wrong with that? "It has been known before," she replied, "Anyway, he tends to do that a lot," she shrugged. "I don't take it too seriously. I'm not ready for marriage again… at the moment," she emphasised.

"Well, he must be quite serious if he carries a ring around with him," he pointed out.

"Hmm. Why are you asking anyway?"

He laughed. "Because he's not from anywhere near New York. Thought you'd have known that about him," he challenged.

She thought for a moment before replying defensively. "Just because he's not from New York, that doesn't mean he's never visited it."

She didn't understand, and she didn't know this guy that well either, he concluded.

"What's this guy do?" he asked.

"He's a philanthropist," she answered, knowing that he would have something to say about that too. Why was he being like this?

"A what?" he laughed.

"He works with charities, financing projects," she explained. "Helping people," she stressed.

"That ain't no job," he commented.

"Can we stop this interrogation now please Luke?" She stood again, and walked back to the shelving unit, her back turned to him. Being locked in there with him seemed suddenly stifling, with no way of putting space between them.

What kind of guy didn't work? And where did he get the money from anyway?

"Sorry," he said suddenly, watching her withdrawal. "It aint none of my business."

She swung back to him. "If we have to spend the night in here together, at least we can try to get along."

"Sure we can," he said, his face breaking into a reassuring smile.

She sighed before a sudden shudder overtook her. She was getting cold.

"You alright?" he asked.

"Yes," she replied, moving towards a cupboard at the far end of the shelving unit. "I'm just a bit chilly, that's all. I think there is a blanket in here somewhere from the club picnic," she said, fumbling in the cupboard and eventually pulling out a bright blue blanket. "Thank goodness," she exclaimed, unfolding it, draping it around her shoulders and heading for the tea and coffee making facilities, which were on a tray on one of the shelves. "Do you want a cup of tea?" she asked.

"You got coffee?" he questioned.

She knew he was going to say that. "Yes," she smiled, preparing the drinks.

"So, the fact that this Roberto has been murdered over here," she began, voicing a concern that had been niggling at her, "won't that bring more trouble across The Pond for you?"

"Maybe," he replied, "but Roberto was one of the most powerful guys in that gang, along with his brother, Tony. Now he's dead, they're gonna have troubles of their own in the city. Rival gangs will try to take territory from them," he explained.

She abandoned the drink making for a second, and turned to him. "What on earth have you gone and got yourself tangled up in now? Gangsters? Mafia? And by the way, who's working with you on this?" she asked suspiciously, waving a teaspoon at him.

He fell silent, simply staring at her.

"Luke? Don't tell me that you've been doing this all on your own. Are you mad?" she said, shocked.

"I just started investigating stuff. Thought I could get enough evidence to put them away," he explained.

"And they found you out," she remarked.

He ran both hands through his hair. "Yeah," he replied, a little dejectedly. "They sent some woman to me, a Bella Jackson..." The look on his face told her he wasn't impressed with the woman. "... She was pretendin' she wanted my services as a private investigator, that's what I was doin' as a side line to fund my investigations into the Borelli's. Anyway, turns out she was working with the Borelli's. The message was that they wanted me to join forces with them." He laughed. "Bullshit! So I decided I'd had enough, and that's when I left to come back here."

She returned to the mugs and poured the boiling water from a kettle into them.

"Who was the man you returned to New York for, the person you regarded as your brother?" she asked, finishing the drink making and approaching the desk. She placed his mug on the desk top for him and turned to take a seat on the maroon coloured sofa, which was against the opposite wall to the shelving units. She sunk into the soft cushions gratefully, cupping her hands around her mug and taking a warming sip of tea. "And how come you haven't mentioned him before?" she added.

He shrugged, and reached out for the mug, leaning back against the window sill to drink it. "Never came up in conversation. Besides, he moved out of New York for a few years so we kinda lost touch for a while. Then I came here," he replied.

"So, how do you know him? Who is he?" she pushed.

His face fell deathly serious and he glanced out of the window for a moment before he began to explain.

"His name was Danny. He was a half-brother to Tony and Roberto, only they didn't get on too well with him…"

So Danny's family were mafia.

"…Don't think they considered him a true Borelli. When they was kids, Tony and Roberto got mixed up in one of the Lower East Side gangs, real heavy handed guys. They started off running errands for them, being look out, you know, small stuff, but before they knew it, they were in over their heads. Well, the top guy, he wanted Danny too. Told them to persuade Danny to work for them. Danny wasn't interested, but the top guy thought Danny knew too much so, to prove their loyalty, he ordered Tony and Roberto to murder their brother."

He glanced sadly out of the window again, sipping his coffee.

She watched, transfixed, processing the information and waiting for him to continue in his own time.

"They was only kids really. They must have been nervous see because they shot him but never checked that he was dead. Some cop found him, left to die, bleeding out in a backstreet, but he was still alive, only just, but he was alive. It took him years to recover fully, but the cop who found him, he helped him out, gave him a new identity, you know, made sure the brothers never found out he was still alive, and helped him look after himself."

Her eyes flickered around the profile of his averted face and a soft smile touched her lips. "Luke, the cop years ago, the one who found Danny, it was you, wasn't it?"

He stilled for a second, but then nodded.

Now she had a greater appreciation for both why he cared so much about Danny and why he wanted to bring the brothers to justice so badly.

"He lived with us for a while, Ma and me, when he was recovering," he went on, "but then we decided he should move outta state, for his own safety. I didn't see him for some time, and then I moved out here. Only somehow, the brothers did find out about him…seven years ago. That was when I got the phone call and flew back. You know the rest," he finished.

He was gazing out of the window again. "Luke," she said softly. He didn't seem to hear. Placing her mug on the coffee table, she rose off the sofa and moved to stand in front of him, leaning back on the desk. He finished his coffee, and placed the mug down, glancing across at her with questioning eyes.

"I appreciate how much you cared for Danny, but facing the Borelli's alone was simply suicidal. Whatever made you do it?" she asked as gently as possible.

Why had he? He had to admit that his actions had been impetuous even for him. Well, his partner hadn't been there. Who else did he have that he could trust as much? He'd not only lost Charlie, but his friend, and probably the one person who had it in them to prevent him from going off the rails. But she was thousands of miles away, and even if he could have found her again, he'd been cut off from his life in the UK, so what good was it? She was hardly going to move to the USA to help him bring down the Borelli's. So, he'd lost his partner, he'd lost his job, he'd lost Danny, and the following year, he lost his mother; he had no one. Okay, well there was the odd woman here and there; he wasn't a saint. But he hadn't encouraged any of them to stick around. It was a risky business he'd chosen to get mixed up in, risky and lonely, but worst of all was the danger he was to himself because, after all, he'd had nothing whatsoever to lose.

"Luke?" she questioned.

He struggled to answer her and finally blurted out, with frustration, the only thing he could think of. "I dunno, I just had to do it."

She searched his face, looking for answers. Reaching out towards him, she placed her hands gently over his.

"Luke, you have to stop this…this vendetta. You'll never win it because," she titled her head slightly, willing him to take note of what she was saying, "even if you go after the other brother and succeed, there will be more and more people coming out of the woodwork after you. It will never end," she stressed. "You can't live like that. I'm sure Danny wouldn't want you to; anyone who cares about you wouldn't want that."

Do you care?

It was on the tip of his tongue to ask it, but nah, that would sound stupid.

He glanced down at her hands on his. They seemed so much smaller. He could feel the smoothness of her skin.

When he lifted his eyes, she was gazing at him, a slight frown wrinkling her brow, her eyes soft with concern.

"You deserve to find happiness," she went on, unable to stop herself, "everyone does," she said, finally withdrawing her hands when she felt her emotions threatening to take over. She'd said enough. She just hoped he had listened. But now he was staring at her with a strange expression that she couldn't read. It unnerved her. Maybe she'd said too much?

"And what about you, Charlie?" he finally said, reaching out with one hand towards her face. Her heart rate accelerated suddenly. What was he going to do? Sliding his fingers gently into her hair that was neatly tucked behind one ear again, he freed it, letting it fall around her face. "Are you happy?" he asked. She felt her cheeks warm at his nearness. Smiling, he brushed her flushed cheek with his thumb before he dropped his hand.

She hesitated as if to think, and then nodded.

He wasn't convinced. Okay, so she wasn't unhappy, but she wasn't satisfied either. He knew it, even if she didn't. And there lay the problem. Charlie could be incredibly stubborn when she wanted to be. If she thought that everything in her life was neatly arranged, trying to talk her into ruffling things up a bit was going to be difficult. He wondered how she would react to the thought of working for MI5 again. He wasn't going to broach that subject with her though, not then anyway.

"Has he got anything stronger over there?" he asked suddenly, moving towards the drinks cabinet. She followed his path with a wary expression. He could see that there was alcohol there. "What?" he questioned, after glancing back at her, "If we're gonna be here for the night, we may as well make ourselves at home, right?"

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