The Unwanted


The flight from DFW to Richmond was uneventful enough after Destin had convinced the yuppie sitting next to her that he wasn’t really interested in her. All it had taken was turning around to face him so he saw her completely.

Once she’d met his gaze, once he’d had a chance to see her scarred face, he’d decided she wasn’t really worth a quick flirtation and he’d spent most of his flight with his nose buried in an urban fantasy. She couldn’t fault his taste…she loved the author herself.

But she had given up on casual flirtations a while back. Caleb had started out as a casual flirtation and she’d tumbled head over heels into love with him, then head over heels into heartbreak when he left.

“What was with the guy on the flight?”

Destin shot Caleb a look. Surprise barely had a chance to form before it died. Of course he’d noticed. Caleb noticed everything. It was one of the things that made him excel at his chosen profession. His psychic skill might be classified as a sub-ability but he had a unique ability to filter through the shit, as Oz had once termed it, and he noticed everything, saw everything. Hell, he could probably give a written report, five pages in length, on the visual details he’d noted in Oz’s Spartan office.

“There was nothing with the guy on the flight,” she said, shrugging.

“He’d been checking you out since before we boarded. Then five seconds after he tried to talk to you, he was all but crawling inside the book.”

Destin smirked. “He saw the scar, baby. It freaks people out, haven’t you noticed?”

He didn’t say anything else and as they approached the upcoming exit, he took it, slowing down only when he had to either hit the brakes or they’d go flying off the road. She braced herself. “I see your driving hasn’t improved much.”

“Did you expect it to?”

“Not exactly, but then, you showed up in Oz’s office looking like the typical cookie-cutter Bureau boy, shiny shoes, perfect suit… I guess some part of me thought you might have gone all straitlaced.”

A faint smile curled one side of his mouth. “Yeah, that’s me, all right, Destin. Just your typical bureaucratic FBI boy. I’m a dime a dozen now.”

Like hell, she thought.

Some part of her mind that she couldn’t turn off made her think about pushing that slate-gray suit jacket back from his shoulders. Wonderful, wide shoulders, and that suit was just a little too nice for him to look like a cookie-cutter Bureau boy. Especially with those shoulders.

Forget his shoulders, Destin. He walked, remember? She shoved a hand through her hair, flicking her bangs out of her eyes. She needed to get it trimmed again. Grew too quick. Keeping it short kept her from messing with it, and she’d discovered a serious pleasure with the wash-and-go look but it was a pain in the butt getting it cut every couple of months.

“When did you cut your hair?”

She turned to look at Caleb, but he was paying an inordinate amount of attention to the road as he slowed and turned into the parking lot of the restaurant. “Couple of years ago,” she said, shifting her attention away from him as he pulled into the parking lot of a little mom-and-pop diner.

She had no idea where they were, but she knew the sort of place. The food would be plentiful, filling and cheap, the coffee would be excellent and they may or may not take credit cards.

“I take it we’re getting dinner,” she said blandly.

“We can eat at the hotel if you’d rather, but I need to get out, hit the restrooms and get some coffee at the very least.”

The second he pushed the car into park, she was out, slamming the door and striding away. Food. I can do food. A break from him…yeah, that works…

It wouldn’t be a bad idea at all to get away from him, to quit thinking about the fact that she missed him, that she was still thinking about pushing that slate-gray suit jacket from his shoulders. That she—

Get it under control.

You’re on a job.

Remember the job.

Get it under control.

She was halfway through the third chorus of her little pep-talk mantra when a hand closed over her wrist. She recognized his touch, his scent, his presence even as her body started to jerk away in instinctive reaction. She slowed to a stop and waited.

Caleb faced her, studying her from under a golden fringe of lashes. When he touched her cheek, his fingers soft and gentle on the scar tissue, she held still. She couldn’t react, couldn’t lean into him, no matter how much she wanted to. She hadn’t ever gotten over him, nor had she tried to fool herself into thinking otherwise. But she’d be damned if she let him see that.

“Was it after this happened?”


“This.” He pushed his hand through her hair, then curled it over the back of her head.

She could feel his heat, remembered the way his touch had always made her feel—it was like a drug, heady and euphoric. She’d been addicted, then he left and she came crashing back down to earth. Not going there again. Nuh-uh.

Due out next week…

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