Chapter 9

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The best way to celebrate retrieving something of national importance to your country and thereby saving it from a possible attack, was in my opinion to kick back in one of Washington's best jazz clubs, getting bewitched by the live music and sipping those good ol' cocktails.

So I was a sucker for the flapper time, could you blame me?

Sipping my dry martini with two olives, I had my legs crossed and my eyes on the stage as the band played and a beautiful African-American woman blessed the club with her deep voice. I was completely enthralled. Watching the pianist glide his fingers across the tangents, hearing the sax's smooth alto sound... it had me drunk.

There really was no better way to celebrate a job well done. It also gave me the rare chance to give my dresses a night out. The one I was wearing tonight was a feisty little red thing with a daring cleavage and a bare back. But hey, a girl had to have her fun, didn't she? The attention it brought me was enough to bring a little smile to my face as I turned to my martini and sipped it. At least four men had given me glances as I entered. Hungry glances.

But then again, they didn't know I was carrying a loaded gun holstered in a strap around my thigh. If they did, they probably wouldn't be looking at me for that much longer.

But I didn't mind. I wasn't here to score. I never was. This was just one of the few places I truly could relax and feel comfortable, just listening to the soothing music. You could say it was my place of zen.

"Enjoying yourself, mia cara?"

I just had to bloody jinx it, didn't it?

All the blood in my body froze up solid when a hand came around me from behind me and wrapped around my waist, the same time a set of lips got pressed to my ear; one warm exhale. One deep inhale.

"You look ravishing, Agent Cabello. I can only imagine where you're keeping your gun."

Gritting my teeth, I remained calm.

She was here. No panic. We were in a public space with too many civilians. If anything went down in here, the casualties would be too great for my conscience. Obviously she was here just for me, so if she did decide to start something, maybe I could coerce her into taking it outside in the alley.

"Agent Jauregui," I said, circling around in my chair until we were face to face. Well, face to neck, really. "Came to listen to some smooth jazz and perhaps get a drink?"

"I was more hoping to get a dance. May I?"

"I really hope you're not planning on acting out a Mr and Mrs Smith scene here."

She smiled sexily, showing off those pearly whites, then looked down. She held out her hand towards me. "Last I checked, we weren't married."

Pursing my lips, I looked at her hand for a moment before I took it with a straight face. I figured if she was going to act civil, I might as well play along. I was curious to see what her game was. She was looking absolutely mouthwatering in the black n' white vintage suit she wore, like she came right from filming a James Bond movie. The thing was, she was acting strangely calm for someone whom was left in a rather compromising position the last we saw each other. Not to mention I stole that USB back. She had to be furious inside.

But her dazzling smile revealed nothing as we walked out to the dance floor and took our position. Spaghetti could dance, go figure. What Italian didn't know how to slow-waltz? She held me firmly against her chest with one hand on my back, the other softly cupping mine. She was a tower, so I had to opt for just pressing my hand against her chest. It also allowed me to see if she carried a weapon there. She was clean.

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