Invasion of Justice (Shadows of Justice)(10)

By: Regan Black

Petra tried to hide her humiliation.

Maggie clucked her tongue. "Hey, you're built. Enjoy it."

"I'm just a few inches too short to appreciate those numbers."

"Okay." Maggie touched another button on her panel. "I've programmed heels. We've got those, too, if you like the look." She pulled back a drape and Petra walked into the small cubicle. "Give it a sec to upload and enjoy the show."

The hologram shivered to life. Petra gaped at the life-size image of herself in skimpy black leather, thigh high boots, and silver studded accessories. As the image turned and posed with attitude Petra never dreamed of, she had to admit she didn't look half as bad as she'd thought.

"Wow! Is that real leather?"

"Yup," came Maggie's answer from the other side of the curtain. "You won't find softer anywhere. It's surprisingly comfortable–sans studs–under street clothes."

Further comment was stalled by the next image of the much-too-sheer bustier and matching boy shorts. "Yeah but will I really look this good in person?"

"It is you 'in person'. Or it will be when you buy it."

A low wolf whistle preceded, "Use my card."

Petra saw herself blanch at the sound of Gideon's slumberous voice and decided it was a look that had to go. She threw back the curtain, grateful the move closed the hologram, and glared at him.

"What are you doing here?" Petra snapped.

"How'd you get in?" Maggie demanded at the same time.

Gideon opened his arms. "I'm here for you, baby. Good to know we're on the same page."

Petra sniffed and folded her arms while Maggie dashed off to her counter, concerned about security messages.

"I didn't do any real damage," Gideon assured Petra quietly. "Now are you playing this game out or should I call your bluff?"

She didn't like the way he crowded her, or the glint in his eyes that suggested either answer would suit him. "What did you see?"

"What didn't I see?" He whistled again.

She scowled and he laughed, letting the sound carry out to Maggie and barely giving Petra time to prepare before his arm cinched her waist.

"We'll take it all."

"We'll take the red," Petra contradicted. She smiled sweetly up into his face. "Some things should be a surprise."

"Ah, baby, think of her commission. She stayed open late just for you."

"True enough." Petra noticed Gideon's offer to pay seemed to have slipped his mind. Handing over her bankcard, she miraculously kept her face in neutral when she confirmed the total.

Gideon chuckled over her shoulder. "Real leather. Mmm-mmm." He drew Petra closer. "Can't wait to feel that."

She'd give him something to feel all right.

"You okay?" Maggie asked.

The concern behind the question told Petra her expression betrayed her. "Yes, of course." She formed a smile with no little effort and, when Gideon took the bag, wished Maggie well.

Outside, Gideon maintained the physical contact, steering them clear of others as he aimed for the hotel. His touch annoyed her on many levels, especially safety. Blocking herself from him meant limiting her awareness of other threats. Based on what she'd felt in this city so far, that worried her.

"Please, let me go now."

"As soon as you're safely tucked back in your room."

"A safe arrival could be in jeopardy if you don't let go."

"Do you always talk like that?"

"Like what?"

"Like you've got a stick up your ass."

"I refuse to dignify that," she said, pulling away, but he held fast.

"Guess that's a yes."

He barreled them through the lobby and into the first elevator, assuring them a private ride by sending a wicked look at the few people who'd been waiting.

"That was quite rude."

"Uh-huh." He pressed the button for the sixth floor. "So report me."

"Actually, I plan to do just that. When Kincaid downloads your file–"

"He'll find what I want him to find."

The doors opened and Gideon stepped out, but Petra jerked away from him at the last second, intending to slip away and find a safe house until Kincaid could bring her in.

The exercise she'd mastered in training failed her in the field. Gideon's lightning-quick reactions resulted in her arm clamped in his invincible grip, the elevator door opening wide, and her being dragged into the hallway.

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