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Someone he cared about.
Someone who very well could turn out to be a part of his life forever.
And yes, that’s how she felt about Chase. Part of her believed the ties between them couldn’t be cut. Another wanted to bring out a pair of scissors.
The sight of Chase standing beside his car, watching for her, melted her regret about disappointing Burnett, but not much of her anger.
Chase wore his sunglasses, looking cool and collected in jeans and a long-sleeved, light green shirt. Even with his glasses on, she felt his gaze touch hers. Felt it pulling her to him, reading her, needing her.
He needed her.
She hadn’t really sensed that before, but she did now. He needed her. The feeling made the ache in the center of her chest spread.
“What’s wrong?” He walked toward her.
So Burnett hadn’t given him the lowdown.
She stepped away when he reached out for her and headed for the car.
“Della?” he asked.
She looked at him. “What isn’t wrong?” she asked, prolonging having to tell him. Or trying to decide if she needed to tell him.
“I could name a few things,” he said and moved closer. “The sky’s blue. It’s not raining. We’re going to ride with the top down, and I got you some more hair-band things. Later, we’re going to pick up one bad-ass were who I’m thinking is going to lead us to Liam and Natasha. Top off that with … you, other than appearing upset, look sexy as hell.”
His gaze lowered. “I love those jeans on you, by the way. You were wearing those the first time I saw you at Shadow Falls.” He paused a second and raised his eyes. “And I get to spend the whole afternoon with you.”
He moved a little closer and ran a finger down her cheek. “And that, Miss Tsang, is what isn’t wrong.”
She caught his finger. “Why are you always touching my face?”
He grinned. “Because other parts are still off-limits to me.”
Chapter Thirty-seven
Della growled and hopped in the car. But her face tingled where he’d touch it.
Chase moved around the car, opened the door, and with ease and style, lowered himself into the driver’s seat. “Hey, I’ve got an idea. Why don’t you drive?”
“No,” she said.
“Scared I can’t do it? No. Scared I’ll get another ticket? Yes.”
He studied her then leaned back in his seat, lowering his glasses to look right at her. “What’s wrong?”
“You already asked that once.”
“Yeah, I did, didn’t I?” he said sarcastically, pushing his glasses back up and folding his arms. “But I don’t seem to recall you answering.”
Della looked back at the gate and envisioned Burnett stepping out. “Let’s go,” she said.
“Not until you tell me what’s wrong.”
“Let’s go and I’ll tell you.” Or maybe she would.
He started the car and the motor purred, loud but smooth and powerful. He drove into the street.
“Start talking,” he said, his voice only slightly raised over the sound of the engine and rush of wind. Thanks to their super hearing, conversation with the top down wasn’t impossible.
“Burnett and another agent are going to meet us at the airport.”
“That doesn’t surprise me. The council is actually sending another agent as well. Supposedly, this Damian is a bad ass.” He glanced at her. “You worried about meeting the council?”
“A little,” she admitted, letting herself off the hook from explaining anything more. And it was true. She didn’t have a clue how she was going to get information from them. If her uncle wasn’t on that council, she didn’t know how just walking up to them and asking if they knew him would work. No, she realized, what she needed to ask them was why? Why had they sent Chase to help her and Chan? Someone was behind it, weren’t they?
“If you can handle Burnett, you can handle the council, no problem.”
And that was the problem. She couldn’t handle Burnett. Not if the meeting today was any indication. It wasn’t Burnett, she reminded herself, but the FRU. She didn’t have a clue how to handle them.
“Our meeting isn’t until five and it’s close. You want to go back to my place for a while?”
“What for?” she blurted out before she realized that made her sound like a scared little girl. But she was, wasn’t she? She wasn’t ready for what he might have in mind. Or maybe it hadn’t been in his mind, but now he probably thought it was in hers.
“We could sit out on the front porch and bird-watch,” he said and smiled ever so slightly.
Was he making fun of her, or trying to let her know he didn’t have anything else in mind? With his glasses covering his eyes, she couldn’t tell for sure. But other than a few kisses, some sexy banter, oh, and the closet—which she couldn’t blame him for—he hadn’t tried to do anything.
He’s not trying to pressure me into having sex. She recalled telling Holiday that, and she still believed it.
“Fine,” she said. “Birding it is.”
*   *   *
It was fine. They went to his place and sat out on the front porch. He brought her a glass of O-negative. It was fresh and tangy. It could have been the best she’d ever had.
They sat out there for a while without talking. It wasn’t an uncomfortable kind of silence, but peaceful. Baxter joined them. Every few minutes, he’d nudge her leg with his nose for her to pet him. And for right now, Della let herself forget about meeting the council, forget about her powwow with Burnett.