Noticing suspicious activity at her lab, Maura Lindsey used her smarts to dig into the actions of her boss. But when an explosion rocked their offices, the brainy beauty realized she was in over her head. Luckily, she knew just the man—a handsome, tough and extremely qualified man—who could help. All she had to do was convince him to take the case.
Former undercover police officer Liam Anderson never had much time for his best friend’s baby sister, but when Maura showed up at his door claiming to be in trouble, he couldn’t just turn her away. And he couldn’t ignore the intriguing woman she had become. Liam intended to make sure that she stayed out of the line of fire…and stayed safe in his bed.
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After a quick set of punches on the keypad, Liam opened the door and motioned for her to step inside. He expected her to walk through the kitchen to his family room and curl up on the couch. Instead, she hunkered down on the bar stool and stared at his fridge.
He tried to assess her mood and failed. “Are you hurt?”
She rubbed her arm. Probably didn’t even realize she did it. “Sore but otherwise okay.”
“How about hungry?”
He roamed around his kitchen looking for a way to keep his hands busy. “Thirsty?”
“Just some water, please.”
He grabbed a bottle and twisted off the cap before setting it in front of her. “Yeah, I hear dying can be dehydrating.”
She treated him to a slight smile then. “That’s what they say.”
His patience picked that moment to expire. He went from being supportive to being frustrated. The latter emotion he knew well in conjunction with Maura. “Look, I’m all for small talk but why don’t we skip to the part where you explain what’s going on?”
She picked at the bottle’s label. “There was an explosion.”
“I know that much.”
She frowned at him. “Let me finish.”
With the shock gone, all he had left was the churning anger in his gut. “Your brother is sitting at his house drinking himself into a blank oblivion while he mourns your death. So, forgive me if I’m confused why you’re here and not there. Why you’re anywhere, for that matter.”
Pain flashed across her face. “Dan.”
“Yeah, Maura. Dan.” Liam leaned down on his elbows until they were face-to-face. “You’re not the type who would let her brother worry for no reason. What is this?”
“I was in the building when it exploded.” She lifted her hand to stop him when he tried to bud in. “I…saw something.”
Yeah, him. “I’m sorry about that, Maura.”
All emotion left her face. “For what?”
“You wanted to work for someone like Dr. Hammer for years and then achieved it. I know it meant a lot to you to get that job.” Liam stumbled over his words. He’d never been good at this emotional connection stuff. “This must be hard. You know, for you.”
Her mouth dropped open. “What are you talking about?”
“Haven’t you read a paper or seen the news?”
She pointed to the purple blotch on her cheek. “I’ve been busy.”
Doing what was the question. The same one he wanted to ask, but he’d ease up for now. “Your boss is gone.”
Oh, man. Why did he have to be the one to break this news? “The usual definition, I’m afraid.”
“I still don’t know what that means.” Her tone got testier the longer the conversation went on. It was almost hostile now.
Liam drew in a deep breath. There was no stopping now.
“He’s dead.” He enunciated each word, hoping that would help the message get through to her.
She shook her head hard enough to knock a few teeth loose. “No.”