He hadn’t realized how short she actually was, with the top of her head just reaching his chin. She looked much less intimidating without her power suit and pumps, and with her hair snagged back in a ponytail. The Special Agent in Charge, Griffin, had charged Braedon with keeping Boyd safe. Two days ago, he’d wondered why the hell the man thought she needed protection; today he had his answer. There was actually a woman inside the armor she donned every day.
“Thirteen years on active duty, most of those on special ops, taught me the importance of being on time.” He tugged open the passenger door for her, waiting while she deposited her pack next to his in the truck bed. So much for needing his help.
“Thank you.” A genuine smile crossed her face as she grabbed the handle and swung herself into the cab. “A pick up truck isn’t exactly a practical city vehicle.”
“Maybe not, but she sure is great for splashing through mud and muck. She’s my little mule, and gets me where I need to go.”
His dick went hard as he watched her stroke the dashboard. Damn early Thursday morning city driving didn’t require utmost concentration, allowing him to spend too much time focusing on his passenger.
“I haven’t owned a car since I got transferred to Philly. Too expensive and too much trouble.” The back of her knuckles trailed along the console between the seats.
Oh, God. He needed open road rush hour traffic and soon. He hadn’t thought about fooling around in the back of a vehicle since before he left for the Air Force Academy and convinced his girlfriend to give him a goodbye present.
“I don’t know what I’d do without a truck. I’ve had one ever since I turned sixteen.” That first truck had been not-so-affectionately labeled the Clown Truck. With its blue cab and red bed, mix-matched as a result of an accident that happened before he inherited the rattletrap, no AC and no radio, it had pretty much sucked. But it had been wheels and it had been all his. He’d moved up in the world since then, his latest vehicle a top of the line Ford truck.
“I never would have pegged you for a pick up man.”
“Tell me, Ms. Profiler extraordinaire, how would you have pegged me?” He tried to tell himself he didn’t care about her opinion of him as he waited for the answer.
“I expected to see you in some small, flashy, sports—”
“Oh, man, you thought I was a jet jockey?” He clutched at his heart. “You’re killing me here.” Stereotypical fighter pilots drove sports cars, including most of the flyboys he’d worked with over the years.
She chuckled, a sort of giggle that almost sounded flirty and feminine. He wanted to hear it again. “They said you’d been an Air Force pilot—”
“Helicopter pilot. Not some glorified fixed wing flyboy who couldn’t keep a craft in the air without the help of a fancy computer.” Not that his Pave Low didn’t have the latest technology. It did.
“I’m sorry. It’s just that when I hear the phrase Air Force pilot, I think of Tom Cruise.”
He groaned, an exaggerated sound, even to his own ears. “Now you’ve struck the fatal blow. Don’t ever compare America’s finest to a bunch of squid wannabes. They’re not even in the same league. You won’t see me, or any other Air Force pilot, jumping up and down on some couch like a raving lunatic.”
Her laughter filled the cab, the sound arousing all his nerve endings and making him smile. “I hadn’t realized there was such a rivalry between the branches of service.”
“Aren’t there rivalries between the FBI, and the CIA, and the rest of the alphabet soup that thrives in DC?”
“Well, of course.”
“Add guns, bigger toys, and way too much testosterone and that’ll give you some feel for the competitiveness between the branches.”
She laughed again, a sweet, sexy sound that made him laugh along even as his dick got hard.
Shit. She’d better get cranky when she got hot and tired. Or look fugly–fucking ugly–when she woke up. Or get a serious case of swamp ass when she got sweaty and sticky.
Something, anything, to stomp on his growing lust.