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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6. Flirting With Danger Chapter 6

~~While Luke was invading the drinks cabinet, Charlie moved back to the desk, and studied the surveillance discs with interest.

Luke's eyes flicked to her, in between assessing the contents of the fridge. There was a lot of alcohol there on the shelves, from whiskeys to wine, but there wasn't that much in the form of food. He hadn't eaten since he'd been on the plane, and that food had been so bad, he hadn't eaten all of that either.

"You see anything of interest there?" he enquired, moving wine glasses, a bottle of wine he had opened and a selection of snacks he had found in the fridge onto the coffee table. "Any discs there that you wanna hide Charlie?" he grinned.

Her eyes widened and she turned slowly to him, not even humouring him with an answer to that question. He didn't expect one. "Guess not, eh."

Luke was far too excitable that evening for her liking, especially considering that she was stuck there in that room with him. How on earth was she going to calm him down? She felt a nervous anticipation of comments like that one. Not that she wasn't more than capable of coming up with some kind of appropriately witty reply, but it was the way he watched and waited for a reaction, as if trying to read something into her response. Sometimes he seemed to know too much…or at least he thought he did. And worst of all, sometimes she gave into laughter, which only encouraged him more. Well, he was so outrageous, she just couldn't help it.

"I really think you ought not empty Doug's fridge Luke," she said, heading back to the sofa, seating herself in front of the 'picnic' he'd arranged on the coffee table and eyeing it with uncertainty.

"What, are you kiddin' me? Old Douggie boy aint gonna miss this. He's probably having his own dirty little weekend," he laughed.

"No actually," she replied primly, "He's away on business."

"Ahh, poor old Douggie," he answered. "So," he said, clapping his hands and gesturing to the table, "We have a total of, some kindda weird lookin' nuts…"

"They are sunflower seeds," she informed him, "Doug is trying to lose weight."

He grinned. "Ahh, Douggie boy's gotta cut down on the old spare tire if he's gonna get the ladies in bed."

She laughed. He was incorrigible.

"Yeah well, you can keep them," he said, passing her the saucer of seeds. "Bird seed ain't my thing. But we do have some kinda cheeses here, some bread, some ham and some of the smallest sausages I ever saw," he finished, assessing the food wryly.

"Cocktail sausages," she informed him. "It's the remains of the Club picnic."

He pulled a face. "Who had sausages in cocktails? Aint it supposed to be olives?"

She chuckled, not bothering to explain. "Yes Luke."

"And," he went on, performing a fake drum roll, "the crème de la crème, a bottle of most excellent Cotes de Beaune wine," he said in a ridiculous French accent.

She laughed. "Very nice Adams, but I have had enough to drink today."

He face fell. "Ah, c'mon Charlie, we gotta get through a whole night in here. What else we got to do? There aint no TV, not much food, we can sit here twiddling our thumbs if you like, or…" He smiled as a thought hit him. "…Or, we could have…"

"What?" she asked.

"Sex," he grinned, "Whatd'ya say Charlie?" He wiggled his eyebrows at her suggestively.

She paused for a second. "Pass me that wine," she said suddenly.

He laughed, pouring her a glass and passing her it.

She laughed also, taking a sip.

He poured a glass for himself too, but before he sat down to enjoy it, along with the nibbles he had found, he headed for the CD player he had spotted on a shelf to the side of the desk.

Charlie began to pick at the cheese and bread while Luke spent some time searching for music to put on. He chose an easy listening CD and turned the music down to a soft background noise. The gentle tunes seemed to warm the room with their dreamy notes. If she didn't know better, she would think that Luke was trying to romance her.

They enjoyed the snacks more than either of them had thought they would. Charlie hadn't realized that she was peckish, and Luke hadn't realized what good quality the cheeses and hams were. The conversation remained light, with Luke entertaining her with ridiculous jokes and innuendos. At some point during the conversation, they both became aware of rain falling outside, and they commented on how strange it was, considering the sunshine earlier that day.

Finally, somehow, the bottle of red wine had disappeared, but Luke wasted no time rising off the sofa to go search for another one. She watched him with some reservations. She really shouldn't drink much more.

Whilst hunting down another bottle, something on one of the shelves caught Luke's eye and he smiled with pleasure, placing the bottle on the desk while he bent to take a closer look. He turned to Charlie. She was watching him.

"Do you play?" he asked hopefully, gesturing to the board on the shelf.

"Chess?" she said with surprise. "Of course. Do you?"

"You bet I do," he replied, taking hold of the edges of the board and pulling it out. "You wanna play?" he asked. "Could be an interesting game."

"Okay, why not," she smiled, taking up his challenge and standing to move a small table under the board that he was carrying.

"Alright!" he responded with excitement, arranging two chairs for them and pouring two more glasses of wine, which he transferred next to the board. "I warn you though Charlie, I always win," he grinned, taking his seat.

"We'll see," she smiled back.

As she took her seat opposite him, it occurred to her then how important it was that she beat him. They had been competitive before, but they had always basically been on the same side. In a game of chess, it was each for their own. She was facing a huge competition, but she couldn't lose to him; he would be unbearable. The thought of the game was unnerving, but it was challenging too, and when was the last time shed been challenged like this? She'd forgotten. What was she feeling right now? Anxiety yes, but something much more interesting than that, something that went hand in hand with that type of anxiety: excitement.

"Let the battle commence," Luke announced, rubbing his hands together smugly.

Glancing down at the board, he paused for a moment, and then looked up at her. "Hey, you wanna go first?" he asked, gesturing to the board.

What made him think she needed an advantage? "No, no, you go ahead," she insisted.

He smiled but shook his head, swivelling the board around so that the white pieces were on her side. "Ladies first," he grinned. "Ladies always first," he stressed suggestively.

She smiled and gave a small nod of acknowledgement, her eyes falling to the pieces. Reaching out, her hand hovered above the middle pawns for a moment while she summed up her options. Then she swiftly seized one and moved it forward decisively. The game had begun.

Luke's first move was instant. She knew that he would move quickly; it befitted his arrogance. She played chess more cautiously however, assessing every option. His over arrogance could quite easily trip him up, but she wasn't foolish enough to underestimate him either.

It was an odd counter move; he had advanced his King's pawn, leaving it open to be taken by the Queen's pawn she had just moved. What was his thinking behind that? It was too early to tell, but now she had to make the decision of whether to take his pawn, or not to waste valuable moves, and free her more powerful pieces as soon as she could. If she didn't take it though, would he take her pawn afterwards? Tradition told her not to waste time on pawns this early in the game, however, it went against the grain to leave the two pawns there, challenging each other.

He watched her with amusement as her eyes lingered on the two pawns. There wasn't that much he could do with the move; he'd just done it more to throw her off, knowing that it would niggle at her sense of neatness. He wondered how she would finally react.

She had to make a decision. This was ridiculous, it was only the third move of the game! She took a hesitant glance at Luke. His eyes moved from the board to her, sensing that her attention had shifted. He smiled. She smiled back and returned her eyes to the board. Damn it, she couldn't resist. Having made a decision, she quickly grasped her pawn with one hand and took his with the other. There, she'd done it.

"Hmm, interesting," he commented, with a knowing grin. "Different," he added.

She narrowed her eyes at him. She knew full well what he was trying to do. Smiling sweetly, she picked up her wine glass and took a slow sip, holding his gaze until he was forced to refocus on the board to continue play.

She predicted that he would rely heavily on his knights and would want to free them quickly. The knights were powerful pieces when played well, being unpredictable in the way they could move in multiple directions and the fact that they could jump other pieces, which might otherwise act as barriers. She could also use knights effectively, but more often used the power of bishops, aligning them with each other and then strengthening their potential with the use of the Queen.

He moved, and she'd been right. He jumped his knight into the board.

She smiled in response; her prediction had been spot on. He also smiled smugly, raising his glass to her.

She felt confidence flooding into her at that point however, and it lifted her spirits considerably. At that moment, she was certain that she could use the fact that she knew him so well to her advantage. Holding her glass up, about to drink, she considered her next move.

The moments ticked by as Charlie examined the board. Luke wasn't the most patient of people, but he wasn't going to let the fact that she was stalling put him off. In the absence of anything else to do, he found himself transfixed on the glass at Charlie's lips. She sipped, once, twice, three times, her lips slightly reddened by the time she had finished. Was it the colour of the wine that shimmered there still, or something else that had reddened them?

Her next instinct was to get one of her bishops out fast. She'd keep an eye on his knight however, knowing how quickly it could cause her trouble, but this time her move was swift: bishop into the middle of the board, to rest behind the first pawn she'd moved. At least the bishop was now protecting her pawn. Okay, so she was now limited in what she could do with the bishop, since it was being blocked by her own piece, but there were ways around that dilemma, and she had her bishop in quite a powerful position now.

Her eyes rose to his confidently. He dipped his gaze momentarily, before raising it again and lifting a questioning eyebrow.

"Are you sure about that Charlie?" he asked.

She smiled sweetly. "Yes, perfectly sure."

His next move was bold, and she could see from the satisfaction on his face after he'd moved it that he thought she'd overlooked that possibility.

Like hell she had! She never overlooked anything in chess, least of all this early in the game, and even less so when it involved her King. She had just dismissed the idea of him making that move for how simply she could use it to her advantage.

H'd moved his bishop into the board, putting her into check.

She already knew what she would do, move her pawn forward to block the check and threaten his bishop at the same time. Reaching out, she took hold of the head of the pawn but clung onto it for a few seconds while she did a final check of the board to see that she hadn't missed anything. Still holding onto the pawn, her gaze flicked upwards to him. His eyes moved from her face to her hand and back to her face again. She studied the pawn one last time before finally moving it forward, leaning her chin on her hands and smiling with satisfaction at him.

His eyes darted downwards and then moved with lightning speed all over the board. He reached out blindly, picking up his wine glass and taking a sip, while still considering the pieces. Then, putting down his glass decisively, he moved his bishop back one square in defence.

With Luke though, no move was purely defensive; she knew it instinctively. There was an attack in there somewhere at the same time. She scrutinised the board for it. Okay, so he had the potential to threaten her king now from another angle, if he managed to back up the bishop with a knight, to prevent her king from taking it. But she really didn't like relying on her king to take pieces, it made her nervous. So, she needed to get more pieces out to pose more of a threat. She'd move her knight out to the edge of the board, not only freeing one of her pieces, but defending the square that his bishop would have to next move to if it were to threaten her King. Perfect. She was still anxious about that bishop of his though.

His next move puzzled her yet again. Damn Americans! She had to admit that she was nervous of him playing by different rules that she wasn't aware of. No, but she knew her game. She spent the next few minutes scrutinizing his move, going through every possible reason for it, but still not coming up with a motive. Well, it can't prove any great threat to her, not yet. She focused on her game plan. She would now move her second knight into the middle of the board; that would trouble him as he valued knights, but best of all, there was another motive behind her move.

Then something occurred to her. Would he sacrifice pieces? If he knew that he could take her knight, would he sacrifice his bishop? In a way, she hoped so; she didn't like his bishop where it was. She could stand to lose a knight that hadn't gone anywhere far yet. Now, if it was her, she'd never sacrifice a piece if she could help it, but this was Luke we were talking about.

He stared long and hard at the board after her move. Then his eyes were on her again, wondering, searching, smiling knowingly…at what, she wasn't sure. Hell, she actually didn't care if he took her or not at that point. If he did, she would use that advantage, if he didn't, she would have moved a piece further into the board.

Then he seemed to mirror her earlier action, taking hold of his bishop but not letting it go. He hadn't even moved it out of its square though. Would he take her knight with it or not? It hovered ominously there. She began to feel her heart rate accelerating. Why, she didn't know. It made no difference to her, but she'd just like him to make a decision. He'd always moved his pieces quickly before. What was he upto?

At last the piece moved past its square, in the direction of her knight, but to her annoyance, it stopped again half way between her knight and its original square. She glanced up at him. He was watching her, smiling, obviously playing games with her. Okay, but he couldn't do this forever; he'd have to move eventually. Then, to her consternation, he moved the piece back to its original square and let it go! What on earth was he doing? She sighed and looked up at him. He was still staring at the board ,however, she was sure that he knew she was watching him. Again he reached out and took hold of the bishop, but this time he lifted it completely off the board and held it on the table in front of him. She'd lost her patience.

"Oh, for goodness sake Luke, just take me if you want to!"

His eyes widened; an amused smile quickly developed. "Oooh, an interesting proposition. Can we wait till after the game though? 'Cause I'm winning at the moment," he replied.

She gave a small laugh. The cheek of him! "Really? I don't think so, but nobody is going to win if you don't move one piece or another soon," she pointed out, exasperated.

He smiled, apparently pleased with himself about something, and picked up his bishop again, finally making his move.

Once again, she'd predicted him right: he took her knight with his bishop.

She wasted no time, taking his bishop in return.

There followed a frenzy of taking pieces. She tried to slow it down, alarmed at how quickly the board was clearing and aware that, although she was keeping up with him, she was also getting carried away at a pace he was more at home with.

Now they were both at the stage when they were each desperate to claim an advantage by taking a piece of the other's that wasn't involved in a trade. Only that would determine who was going to dominate the board.

Luke was considering a complicated plan, but it meant that in five moves ahead, he could get her into checkmate. He became excited at the prospect. But the way she was playing, she would probably predict his moves. He had to resort to more unconventional means. He grasped his Queen, the piece that he knew she valued to the hilt, and moved it into harms way. He watched the slight widening of her eyes as she looked down at the board. Placing it onto the square that would result in its demise, he lifted his fingers slightly, seeming to release the Queen.

Her eyes flicked to his. "You seem to have let go of that piece," she observed.

"No," he challenged, lifting his hand enough for her to see his little finger still touching it. "I never let go until I'm through," he said mischievously.

She sighed. "Do you really feel the need to resort to all these childish games?" she asked him.

He returned his Queen then and moved his knight, putting his plan into action.

"Games?" he responded innocently.

She frowned though after assessing his move. How could she have missed that? He was playing with her, trying his hardest to put her off. Well, two could play that game; if he could distract her like that, then she could do the same, threefold.

She took her time over her next move, making him wait as only the beginning of her counter strategy. Firstly, she toyed with her wine glass, running her fingers slowly up the stem. She drew his attention to it by moving hers away from the board. She sighed, seeming to be contemplating her next move, whilst her fingers slid up and down the stem of that glass, teasing it, teasing him. Then, when she had his full attention, she lifted it, excruciatingly slowly to her lips. She held it there before she took a sip, so that her lips were clinging to the edge of the glass, her eyes apparently contemplating the board.

He was losing control again; those lips of hers were driving him to distraction! They touched the glass softly, while the red liquid seeped past them and disappeared. She swallowed and lowered the glass, her eyes closing slightly, seeming to enjoy the warming taste. The fingertips of her other hand, however, toyed with her mouth, one finger slipping in, her teeth biting down indecisively as she scanned the board with suspicion. Luke had problems moving his eyes off those glossy lips of hers. He was throbbing again… badly…in a daze of her fingers and lips, shiny and wet. God he could plunder those lips right now!

As his eyes lingered on her mouth, he was vaguely aware of her moving a piece.

It seemed irrelevant though. Suddenly disbelief hit him, seeing her like that. Disbelief that he was sitting there in front of Charlie after all those years and there was something...something between them, something really damn hot! Things had happened so fast that day; he could hardly get it through his head. And now, damn it, he was at her mercy yet again because his libido was most definitely taking over rapidly. He was aware that it was jeopardising his game, but part of him was starting to not care. She was playing with him, he knew it, but what the hell, let her keep on playing!

She sighed as if too hot. His attention flicked from the board to her once again. She ran the fingers of one hand down the folds at the front of her dress, grasping them and wafting them lightly as if to generate some air. The board was calling him but there was no way he was missing a moment of that wafting! She leant forward slightly, resting her chin on one hand. His gaze avoided her face and snuck a look down the front of her dress. Her fingers were still there, edging into the place that his burned to be. He shifted uncomfortably on his chair and lowered his eyes to the board. He was going to move his bishop…no, knight, then his bishop…or was it the other way round?

He tried to fix his eyes on the board; he willed them to stay there, but then she was moving again, ducking down for some reason. Curiosity tore his attention away.

She had swivelled to one side of her seat and bent, leaning forward over one knee to loosen the strap on her shoe. Appreciating her ankles and calves was one thing, but the view of her dress, or lack of it, down her back was something else at that angle. He could barely see the edge of the back of her dress, and if he focused just on that area, he could almost imagine her not wearing that dress at all! His mouth was suddenly dry. He licked his lips. Then she was taking her shoe off. His mind began wandering. After she had taken both shoes off, she would be naked… apart from that dress. Well, she definitely had no bra on anyway, he could tell. Okay, so she probably had panties on… grrr, he had to stop thinking of her panties!

Right, that was it, he had to move now. If he remembered the plan correctly, he needed to move his knight…yes, then on the next move, she would be in check. And after that it was just a matter of bringing his remaining bishop into play.

He made his move.

Having dispensed of her shoes, she rose again to glance at the board. She assessed the effect that his knight would have on her game, noting that she would be in check on the following move. But then something odd happened. She suspected what he'd inadvertently done, but had to check and recheck to see if she was in fact right. A smile grew the more she checked their pieces, until she broke out into laughter.

"What?" he frowned.

She glanced up at him, but burst out laughing again.

"C'mon Charlie, what's up?" he said impatiently.

She took in a deep breath to calm herself in order to answer. "Take a look at the board Luke."

His eyes shot down to it, but he saw nothing unusual; he wasn't in check, but in one more move, she would be. He was winning, so why was she so amused about that?

"What's so funny?" he asked.

"No," she insisted, "really take a look at it."

He had really taken a look at it!

"Are you gonna tell me what's wrong or not?"

She leant back in her chair, as if she had finished, draping her arm casually over the back.

"Stalemate," she said slowly but clearly, her eyes glittering with amusement. The word echoed around the room.

"What?" he asked, searching the board for answers.

"It's stalemate. Nobody wins; it's a draw," she emphasised.

"Ahh no, no, no, no, no," he responded, shaking his head, "I don't play stalemate; someone's gotta win, and one more move, and you're in check…soon to be checkmate," he informed her.

She chuckled. "You have no choice but to accept stalemate Adams; look, I can't move any of my pieces at all. And if I can't move any of my pieces, then you won't get your turn, hence, stalemate."

He stared at the board in dismay, as what she had said sunk in.

"That aint how we play it in the States!" he finally responded dismissively. "Stalemate, that just aint right!"

She smiled, rose off her chair and moved to the half bottle of wine that had been left on the desk, refilling her glass.

"Face it Luke, you can't beat me because I am your equal. I'm equal to you, and you're equal to me. And don't think for one minute that I didn't see your five move plan," she laughed. "That attempt to put me off with the Queen," she shook her head, "pitiful!"

"What about you?" he pointed to her accusingly. "What was all that sighing and touching? And that thing with the lips, eh? What was all that about? And the shoes," he added.

"Shoes?" she laughed, "I took my shoes off Luke; my feet were hurting."

Hmm, well, his body was still buzzing from the memory of it. She'd been playing him; that was for sure.

He stared at her, leaning nonchalantly back against that desk, smiling triumphantly at him. Silence fell upon the room, apart from the sound of raindrops on the window panes and the soft sound of background music. He stood slowly and she watched with growing curiosity the closer he got to her. What was he going to do? He only hesitated a second when he reached her however, and stepped to her right. She turned with surprise to see him flicking through the songs on the CD. He had found one that he apparently liked, nodding his approval. Then his head turned to her. His eyes began to mould to hers in the silence that had fallen between them, and she wondered what on earth was going through his head.

Then, without warning, his hand shot out, grasping her by the wrist, and before she knew what was happening, he'd pulled her with a sharp tug, into the hard wall of his chest. She gasped and looked up at him in shock.

"I like this song; let's dance," he smiled challengingly.

It looked like she hadn't got much choice; he clearly wasn't taking no for an answer.

His hand moved from her wrist then to clasp hers, whilst his other hand slid onto her bare back. That touch felt so intimate; she found herself struggling to catch her breath at the feel of it. The only thing she could do to distract herself from the sensations she was feeling was to talk.

"Rainy Night In Georgia," she nodded, "fitting choice." Her voice didn't sound as steady as she would have liked, but that was the least of her worries at that moment. She had the distinct feeling that this dance was going to be her punishment for putting him off his game. He wasn't going to win though. There was no way she was going to give him the satisfaction.

"I thought so," he answered.

As they began to sway to the music, Luke took full advantage of having access to her bare skin. He'd been fascinated by it all day, and now he had an excuse to feel the long expanse of soft, silkiness against the palm of his hand.

When Luke's hand began to wander, trailing his fingers up and down her spine, up and down, up and down… Charlie's head became slightly fuzzy. She had a vague thought: she might now have some understanding of why Luke hadn't been able to concentrate on his game.

"You been to Georgia Charlie?" he whispered into her ear, his warm breath caressing her senses.

It was an odd question, but she answered automatically, her head stuck in a drowsy haze. "No." Then, forcing the word out, she asked, "You?"

"No," he replied, his breath leaving a tingling trail from her earlobe upwards to her temple, where his lips then hovered. "Wanna go some day?" he sighed, his lips brushing her temple with the slightest of touches. It was a crazy conversation, but there they were, having it.

"Why not?" she laughed.

She could feel his smile from the movement of his lips at the side of her face.

Slowly then, she began to register that his hand on her back had lowered, tracing circular paths, over a wider area than just her spine. He was exploring, but how far would he go? His fingers had reached the material of one side at the back of her dress now, they hesitated there. She seemed to have stopped breathing. Then his fingers crept past the material to the even softer skin beneath it, skin that he had never even seen before, let alone touched. It felt thrilling and dangerous to him, and for a few seconds, both daring and exhilarating to her. His palm was now on her naked hip, and it ran boldly, and so very sensually, upwards over her waist, up, up… He was now also holding his breath, on tender hooks, wondering if she would let him move his hand to where it had burned to be.

He spoke to her then, praying that his comment would distract her for long enough.

"I miss the MI5 days, don't you?" he asked softly.

He'd made a fatal mistake. The mention of MI5 was like a bucket of cold water over her as realisation of what she was doing suddenly hit her. She had been letting him seduce her for God sake, what was she thinking? Suddenly, all that heartache of when he'd left came rushing back to her.

Abruptly stepping away from him, she left his arms outstretched, empty and confused.

"Don't think you can just come back after all these years and everything will be the same Adams, because it isn't," she said, turning and striding to the other side of the room.

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