Invasion of Justice (Shadows of Justice)(9)

By: Regan Black

"You're nuts." He shifted, slouching and working hard to look careless.

She saw straight through the act. "Physical therapy is viable and important to a full recovery." She swiped her card, assigned the payment, and waited for the receipt to print. Tearing it off and tucking it into her pocket, she stood. "If the pain gets too much for you, look me up. I'll take care of it."

She walked away without a backward glance, just keeping her eyes on the path least populated.

"You're at the Ritz, right?" he called across the patio, much too loudly for her comfort.

She sensed the swivel of heads and heard the hush before the murmurs resumed, but she kept walking. Not for the first time, she wished for just an ounce of the telepathic powers her brother had. It would make moments like this so much easier. A quick zap of thought from one mind to another, even a less developed one like Gideon's, and she could rid herself of the annoyance.

But, no. She had to be the hyper-perceptive, aura reading empath in the family. Too bad her family didn't seem to need one of those.

She paused at the corner, debating whether to follow her instincts in a search for her sister or return to the suite and try once more to find Nathan.

Before she could decide, she felt a dark presence behind her. On reflex, she sidestepped, bumping into a pleasantly nervous couple on their first date.

"You okay?" the young man asked.

She nodded and moved away quickly, turning to catch a glimpse of her attacker.

Gideon stood a mere arms-length away and his aura simmered with temper and hostility. She followed his gaze, then scanned the area around him, but no one nearby exuded anything worthy of distrust. In fact, no one nearby seemed interested in them at all.

The signal changed and she crossed the street along with everyone else, including Gideon.

She stepped up her pace, knowing she couldn't outdistance his long legs or athletic stature, but she intended to try. Passing a string of boutiques near the hotel, Petra darted inside one and tried to shield herself from Gideon.

If he was working against her and the CRIA, as she suspected, she needed time to put Kincaid on his trail.

"We're closing," a tired clerk said from the counter at the middle of the store.

Petra looked around at the available products as she searched for a reasonable excuse to stay. Lingerie. She stifled a sigh. Inventory spanned the basics on up to some truly kinky-looking stuff near the back. She headed to those displays.

"I just met the hottest guy and well–"

"You're not under-dressed to impress?"

Petra didn't care for the condescending tone or the telltale expression on the clerk's face, as if she knew exactly how boring Petra under-dressed. Petra ducked behind a rack of strappy leather configurations when Gideon prowled past the window. "There he is. What do you think?"

The clerk glanced, then let herself be distracted by the tantalizing, masculine view. She made a suggestive growl in her throat. "He's looking for you?"

Petra bit back a defensive reply. "Yes he is. Help me out?"

The clerk gave her another critical once over. "They always think the goody-girls have a secret streak of hussy," she muttered. Flipping a switch on the counter changed the sign on the door to closed and dimmed the front lights. "Come on. Let's see what we can do."

"Thanks," Petra looked at the nametag, "Monique."

"Nah, that's just the boss's marketing plan. Call me Maggie."

Petra smiled and looked closer at Maggie. Beneath the thick, sultry eyeliner was a sincere, intelligent gaze. "Let me guess, you're a goody-girl down deep?"

Maggie laughed and patted her full and well-boosted cleavage. "Right here where it counts. My grandma raised me with classic values, but the pay here is phenomenal." She gathered a leather teddy, a see-through bustier, and a red lacy design and then ushered Petra to the dressing rooms.

At a panel Maggie scanned the bar codes on each garment. "Your measurements?" she asked.

Petra shrugged, unwilling to admit she only tracked her bra size for necessity.

Maggie reached for a wand, waving it over Petra from head to toe, then gave her that look again. "D-cup? Wow."

A computer voice announced, "Bust thirty-six, waist thirty, hips thirty-nine."

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