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SLEEPING WITH THE ENEMY was the bolded headline of the newspaper held up in front of the man sitting in the rear seat of the limo. Bruce allowed his eyes to drift down to the picture below it. Somebody at the LA Times had done their homework, figuring out that the unnamed woman standing next to his boss in the photo taken months ago at the Governor's Arts Awards was actually her. Originally making its debut in the entertainment section the day after the event, the added intrigue of a sex scandal had increased the reprint's promotional value to front page status.

Bruce had seen Mark dressed to the nines more often than he could count, so often it had become the norm . . . but not her. She was a different story. He couldn't stop staring. She was beyond beautiful, her features enhanced by the wispy upsweep of her hair, the heavy jewels around her neck . . . and that dress. What a dress. Long and elegant, it fit her in a way that proved there were some amazing curves under the work clothes and gear she wore most of the time.

But Bruce already knew that. Didn't he.

Her face was turned full-on to the camera with a welcoming smile. And like the loser he was, Bruce began to daydream, picturing himself there that night, standing beside the photographer, drawing her attention. What would he have said to her if she'd walked up and—

The elbow to his ribs brought Bruce back to reality, and he swiveled his head all the way around to his brother seated beside him. They were both dressed in jeans and black tees, their sole function to get Mark in and out of the building without incident. Anderson was across the aisle from them, immersed in his own papers as he prepared for court.

Steve pointed to the ceiling-mounted television perched just behind Louis's head. "Turn the volume up."

Bruce lifted the remote and an excited female voice filled the interior of the stretch Cadillac. "Lieutenant Robins has arrived."

The rustle of paper told him the announcement had captured all their attentions. A swarm of bodies flowed down the steps as the camera pulled back, revealing a convoy of LAPD cruisers being led by a black Tahoe. Doors opened and her police escort moved forward to surround the back door of the SUV, blocking the onslaught of reporters.

Bruce frowned. A man he recognized as a patron of the gym was the first one out of the lead car, stepping back to— Bruce went ram-rod straight in his seat. Dress Blues. It had been a long time since he'd seen that uniform, and it never failed to impress.

The sudden breathiness in the voice of the young reporter indicated her agreement. "We can see her brother, Paul Sullivan. He's a judge advocate with the Marine Corps and is said to be advising Lieutenant Robins today."

That's her brother? Bruce turned to Mark. "Her brother is a Marine?"

"Yeah"—Mark nodded, then shifted his gaze to Steve, whose focus remained on the screen—"keep your distance."

"Shit," Bruce muttered.

Anderson's head turned a little, but the television coverage proved too mesmerizing and won out in the end, Bruce's and Mark's exchange forgotten.

Virginia was the next one to step out of the SUV. The head-to-toe blue gave her brother's look some serious competition, but while the Marine looked perfectly comfortable with all the pomp and pageantry, she had a puff in her cheeks as she placed the dark peaked hat with its silver band and cap badge over braided hair. Giving the visor a harsh tug, she drew it down low on her forehead.

A low chuckle came from the back. "Two days in a row in that outfit must be driving her crazy."

Her colleagues were jostled by the journalists and photographers pushing up against their backs, but they held their ground with determination and professionalism. She turned to Captain Beal once he exited the vehicle and spoke into his ear. The Marine put his hand on the small of her back as they started up the stairs, her fellow officers cutting a path through the sea of people.

The Silent Ones [✔️] (#2 in the Chilvati Series)Where stories live. Discover now