By: Brenda Jackson

When he draped his arms across her middle she snuggled closer into him. He liked the feel of having her there, and with that thought firmly planted in his mind, he closed his eyes and joined her in sleep.

“WHAT TIME DO YOU plan to check out today, Kim?”

Kim looked up from her breakfast plate. They had awakened a short while ago, and after taking a shower they’d ordered room service for breakfast. Now, wearing the complimentary bath robes provided by the hotel, they were eating in bed.“I asked for a late checkout,” she replied. “That means I won’t be leaving before two. What about you?”

“I asked for a late checkout, as well. My plane doesn’t fly out until five and that will give me plenty of time to get to O’Hare.”

“I don’t fly out until six. Want to share a taxi to the airport?” she asked, taking a sip of coffee.

His smile sent a warm feeling all through her in a way even the coffee hadn’t done. “Yes, that will work.”

She resumed eating. She would be returning to the Keys and he to his home in Atlanta. Although they both lived in the southeastern part of the country, a long-distance affair was out of the question. She’d tried it once, only to discover the man had been living a double life with girlfriends on both the east and the west coast.

“I appreciated yesterday and last night, Kim.”

She glanced over at him and the corners of her lips eased up. Duan could definitely make her smile, among other things. She considered what he’d just said and wondered how many men actually thanked a woman for sex.

She chuckled. “You’re a man who probably appreciates a willing woman. And I was definitely willing.” She pushed her plate aside and propped herself against a pillow. “You didn’t even have to hit me with any good lines. I saved you the trouble, but it was well worth it.”

Over the rim of her coffee cup, she studied him lounging in bed with his robe on. Like her he was naked underneath. He had to be the most sexually compelling man she’d ever met. During their shower they had done a number of scandalous things and she could feel her pulse speed up just thinking about it.

“So tell me something about Duan Jeffries that I may not know,” she prompted.

A grin touched his lips. “Is that a prerequisite to sharing a cab ride with you?”

“I could make it one.” She smiled. “You never know who you can trust these days.”

He laughed. “And you can say that after the past fourteen-plus hours we’ve shared together?”

“Sure, why not? So tell me.”

He took another sip of his coffee. “You tell me what you think you already know.”

She scrunched up her face as if she were thinking real hard and Duan couldn’t help but chuckle. “Hey, I’m not that complicated.”

“Didn’t say you were, so let’s not get testy,” she replied.

She tapped her chin a couple of times. “I know you’re thirty-six—used to be a cop and then got promoted to detective. Now you own a P.I. firm with four other guys. You’ve never been married and as far as anyone knows, you don’t have any children. And you date on those rare occasions you’re not swarming the country doing investigative work.”

“I see my sister’s been talking.”

Kim shrugged. “What makes you think it was Olivia?”

“Because Terrence knows better. A brother’s creed. He won’t tell my secrets and I won’t tell his.”

Kim leaned forward, her brow arched. “Terrence has secrets?”

Amusement flitted in Duan’s eyes. “None that Sherri needs to be concerned about, if that’s why you’re asking. They’re all in the past. The Holy Terror is now a changed man.”

“So tell me your secrets, Duan. The good, the bad and the ugly.”

He smiled. “Um, the good is that I volunteer my time with the boys’ club whenever I can.” He paused a moment. “The bad is that I have a low tolerance for those who break the law and then, because of some damn loophole in the legal system, get away with it.”

Kim heard the anger in his voice. “Is there a particular case that rubbed you the wrong way?”

There was no amusement in his eyes now. “There have been several, but the one that sticks out in my mind is a case I worked involving a woman who was kidnapped, raped and left for dead. We had all the evidence we needed. It should have been open and shut.”

“But it wasn’t?”

“No. One of our officers obtained evidence without a search warrant.”

Kim pulled back, afraid to ask. “They dropped the charges?”