Never Been KissedBy: Molly O Keefe
Boys of Bishop 02
Cook’s Bay, Moorea, Polynesian Islands
August 4, 2013
For a man of few words Brody Baxter hated silence.
Watching the waves crash on the beach, he wished his brother were there. Sean’s chatter would make him focus.
At this point, the third hour in a four-hour shift with nothing but moonlight and dolphins in the ocean in front of the villa, Brody prayed for a three-man paramilitary attack from the water but would settle for camera-wielding paparazzi jumping out from the Tiare bush to his left.
Anything to break up the monotony.
Funny, but at one time he’d thought guarding shady politicians would be more exciting than guarding the earnest ones, but the years had taught him otherwise.
The screen door behind him slid open with a gasp and a swish. The short hair on his neck prickled in warning, but he didn’t turn around. It was the woman Senator Rawlings had brought. Gina Bassili. The smell of sweat over perfume preceded her.
“Sorry,” Gina said, her voice gaspy and rough. “I forgot you were out here.”
That’s the idea, he thought, and stepped farther into the shadows of the balcony.
Perhaps knowing he was out here, she’d have second thoughts about enjoying the view from the balcony.
But no, the woman came to lean against the railing overlooking the bay. Her robe, barely tied at her waist, looked like a dark oil spill over her body. The color blended with her hair. The night sky behind her.
Quickly, he glanced away. She’d been loud in that villa. Lots of Oh, Daddys.
“Is all this really necessary?” she asked, waving her hand around to indicate him and the other members of the team, silently guarding the senator and, by proximity, her. Her accent was nearly non-existent, but the alleys of Cairo clung to her vowels.
She’d come into the senator’s life suddenly. A friend of a friend of an aide at some political fundraiser in D.C. Brody didn’t particularly like how much they didn’t know about her.
Choosing not to answer, Brody scanned the edge of the cliff to his left. If Brody was lucky, Senator Rawlings’ wife would come rappelling over the edge with a submachine gun and he wouldn’t have to engage in this conversation.
There were days he really missed the Marine Corps.
Out of the corner of his eye he saw her run her fingers over the silk edge of her robe, revealing her collarbone, the gravity-defying inside curve of her breast.
“Maybe Doug sent himself the death threats, just so he could take me someplace.”
Doubtful. Brody’s team didn’t come cheap. And Cook’s Bay was a lot of effort for a woman who probably would have put on the very same show at Four Seasons in Washington, D.C.
“Does it bother you? Listening to us?” She tipped her head, her dark hair falling down her neck. “Knowing he has a wife. A family. That he’s cheating? Lying?” Her eyes glowed with a certain avarice. Obviously, it turned her on. The dirty illicitness of it. Of her role in it. It explained why she was putting on a show for a man twice her age, three times her weight, and with the morality of a shark.
For a moment he thought about telling her she was the cleanest thing in Senator Rawlings’ life. That the death threats could have come from the full spectrum of extremist groups, the product of a lifetime of double dealing and lying in the name of politics.
But, lately, Rawlings was pissing off the Yetarzikstan Ba’ath party, with vocal support of the rebels.
All of this he didn’t bother explaining to her, because he doubted she cared. Instead, he looked back over the ocean. The dolphins, the moonlight. Bother him? As a rule, Brody didn’t get bothered.
“Gina?” The senator yelled from inside the door.
She shrugged, her lips twisted in coy regret.
“Duty calls,” she whispered and vanished back into the villa.
The world issued an open invitation to humanity to fail itself. To be selfish and small. Mean, even evil at times. And most people, in Brody’s experience, found it impossible to turn down that invitation.
The senator and his lies were just another example in a long line.
His earpiece buzzed in the split second before he heard Colin’s voice. “Brody? Roy is coming up on your six. You have a visitor at HQ.”
A visitor? Here?
Suddenly he thought of Ed, sick and alone in that house. Too stubborn to ask for help if he needed it.
He and Sean should have gotten him a nurse. They’d been talking about it, but Ed was so stubborn and, in the end, Brody didn’t know how to fight him. Or maybe he just didn’t care enough.
But Sean didn’t know where Brody was, or how to find him.
No one did.
So not Ed.