A Secret Service Special Surprise

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An irritated scowl cut across Carter's face as she swung at Donovan, but he blocked the blow with his forearm. She spun, jamming her elbow into his stomach. He flexed and retaliated, but she parried his hit.

"This is stupid," she said.

She ducked, leaving Donovan hitting the air.

"Yes, you already said that," he said, shifting back to avoid her knee.

"It doesn't make it any less true."

She faked a punch with her right and jabbed with her left, landing a blow into his ribs. The impact barely hurt, as she pulled back at the last second.

"I don't see why we have to do this," she said.

She raised her hand, deflecting Donovan's fist but taking a hit in the side for her efforts.

"Left side," he reminded her. "And you know that we have no choice."

Carter swung, but he caught her fist and spun her around, pinning her to his chest. His breath fluttered her hair and whispered passed her ear.

"We could always say something came up at the last minute and avoid the whole thing," she said.

She bent, using her body weight and flipped him. He slammed onto the mat. Before he could rise, she was crouching on top of him, her knees pinning his legs, while she held both his arms down. Loose hair fell down as she stared at him. His face had matured. Gone was the boyishness it had once held, leaving behind defined, handsome features.

Donovan didn't seem inclined to struggle out of her hold.

"You know we can't do that," he said. "Your father would kill me."

Carter shrugged. "So we go on the run."

Using brute strength, Donovan flipped her off of him. She landed hard on her back and found Donovan hovering over her, their positions reversed.

"You understand that's not a viable option, right?"

Carter thumped her head on the thick mat in frustration. "Yes. But still."

She stared back at him. His dark blue eyes studied her. It was a look she knew all too well and knew that there was nothing she could withhold from him.

"Doubts?" he asked.

"None."

He nodded, the edge of his mouth curling just a bit. She couldn't help herself: she smiled. It was one of her favorite looks, the one he gave her when he couldn't decide whether to show her how much something meant to him. Donovan's gaze turned from serious to devilish, his eyes flicking down to her lips.

They were broken from their moment by a voice calling out to them.

"Agent Keller? Agent Owens?"

With an annoyed huff, Carter twisted her head to see an assistant glancing around for them. When he spotted them, a look of relief filled his face and he jogged over. With his approach, their secluded world was popped.

The sounds of the training room came back to them. Grunts walked alongside the muted thunks of leather protected fists against punching bags. Deep voices talked in low authoritative and guiding tones, as trainees went toe to toe.

With a final look at Carter, Donovan stood and held out a hand to her. She took it and he pulled her up. The assistant stopped before them. Carter wiped away her loose hair and planted her hands on her hips.

"What is it?" she asked.

"I'm glad I caught you before you left," the assistant said. "Deputy Townsend wants you to come see him first thing tomorrow morning. He has a new assignment for you."

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