Page 13 of Undercover Agent

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“Right there,” she said, pointing to the table next to the sofa.

I picked it up, put in my number, and then set it in her hand. “I’m going to run across the way and pick up a few things. Is there anything in particular you’d like?”

She thought for a minute, and I expected her to reiterate that she wasn’t hungry. “A chai latte, please. Tell Rashid it’s for me. He knows how I like it.”

“How do you like it?” I asked, curious as to what options there were.

“Spicy and half-sweet.” She rested her head against the sofa’s cushion and closed her eyes again.

I couldn’t keep myself from running my finger from her temple down her cheek. “Go ahead and sleep,” I said when she opened her eyes and they met mine. “I’ll only be a few minutes, but ring me if you don’t feel well.”

“Okay,” she whispered and turned away from me. I stood, knowing that if I didn’t get out of here, I was going to lift Emerson into my arms and hold her as she slept. Never before had I felt such an overpowering need to take care of someone, and I found it rather disconcerting.

Once downstairs, I sent a text to Stephen, asking if it was normal for her to be so sleepy, and then dashed over to the market.

The man behind the counter ignored me until I asked for the chai. “It’s for Emerson. She likes it spicy?—”

“I know how she likes it,” the man with a heavy Middle Eastern accent said as he walked out from behind the counter and toward the rear of the store.

“It needs to be decaffeinated,” I added.

“Yes,” he responded without turning around.

A few minutes later, he walked up with a lidded ceramic cup and looked at everything I had on the counter. “You take Emme her chai. I’ll ring you up, and you pay when Rashid delivers.”

“Are you Rashid?”

The man shook his head and looked at me as if I was daft. “Rashid is my son.”

A few minutesafter I returned, I realized that I hadn’t given the man at the market Saint’s apartment number. I was just about to leave to do so when Emerson’s mobile rang.

“Hi,” she answered. “Yes, I’m at Tommy’s.” There were a few seconds of silence on her end, but whatever the caller said, made her smile and her cheeks turn pink.

She ended the call and sat up. As soon as she did, she put her face in her hands. I bounded across the room to her. “What’s wrong?”

She moved her hands and peered up at me. “I was hoping that when I opened my eyes, my mishap of this morning would’ve been a weird dream.” She ran her hands over her hair. “I must look terrible.”

On the contrary, she looked very much like she had the last time I saw her, and that was beautiful.

I’d woken her with my mouth, watching her face as she came awake. I closed my eyes, only momentarily, pushing the memory away before my body reacted in an embarrassing way. “You look lovely,” I murmured.

Seconds later, there was a knock at the door. When I opened it, I had an inkling of why she was concerned about her appearance.

Not that I usually took notice of other men, but it was impossible to ignore his attractiveness. He was like a walking sculpture—his facial features and body looked as though they’d been chiseled from stone. His hair was long on top and fell forward, and when he brushed it away and looked at me, I could see gold flecks in his hazel eyes. I felt Emerson’s presence behind me.

“Emme,” the man said, pushing past me. “What happened?”

I watched her cheeks flame and her eyes drop to the floor in a way that made me want to bend her to my will.

“I hit my head,” she said.

“Oh no,”Rashidresponded, putting his arms around her. I hated the way she rested her cheek on his chest and closed her eyes. I might as well have been invisible as far as the two people standing a few feet from me were concerned. When I saw him bring his hand to her hair and stroke it, I was ready to rip his arm off.

“Your father said you’d have a bill,” I snapped.

“Yes.” He reached into his pocket but left one arm around Emerson.

“Did you bring the groceries?”