The smell of wood polish and lemons mixed with the smooth male scent of the way too respectable man sitting across the round table from Brigid. Everything about Raider Tanaka was clean-cut, upstanding, and unyielding. Even his perfectly tailored navy-blue suit with striped green power tie made him appear like a guy who daily helped old ladies cross the street. "You look like a Fed," she whispered.
His black eyes glimmered. "I am a Fed," he whispered back, his voice low and cultured.
Yeah, and that was a problem. She looked around the darkened Boston tavern, where the attire of the patrons ranged from guys wearing worn dock clothes at the long counter to handmade silk suits over in the corner. Bodyguards with bulges beneath their jackets stood point near the guys with nice suits.
She shivered and smoothed down her black T-shirt featuring Dr. Who. The new one. "I don't think we blend in."
"I believe that's the point, Irish," Raider said, using the nickname he'd given her the first day they'd met. He finished off his club sandwich. His angular features showed his part-Japanese heritage, giving him an edgy look that contrasted intriguingly with his stockbroker suit. Just who was this man?
She shook her head. "I don't get it. Angus sent us here just to have lunch?" The plane ride alone from DC would've cost a mint, even though they'd sat in coach. Of course.
"The boss always has a plan," Raider said, tipping back his iced tea while eyeing the suits in the corner.
Aye, but it would be nice to know the plan. Brigid enjoyed temporarily working for the ragtag Homeland Defense unit run by Angus Force, but her job was hacking computer systems or writing code. Certainly not having a weird lunch with her handler in Boston. "Shouldn't we be doing something?"
Raider shrugged and gestured toward her Cobb salad. "You going to finish that?"
"No." Her stomach was all wobbly.
"Okay." He slid his empty plate to the side and tugged hers toward him, digging in.
Her mouth gaped open. Straitlaced Raider Tanaka did not seem like the kind of guy to share somebody else's food. Not a chance. She'd figured him for some dorky germophobe, albeit a good-looking one.
"What?" His dark eyebrows lifted. When she didn't answer, he glanced down at the lettuce. "When you grow up on the streets or in foster care, you take food where you can get it." Then he munched contentedly on a crouton.
She blinked, her mind spinning. "You grew up in foster care?" She'd have bet her last dollar, if she had one, that he'd grown up in Beverly Hills somewhere with a maid or two cleaning up his room and making his bed. His suits had to cost a fortune, and he had that prep-school look.
"Yes." Raider leaned back in his chair. "You're not the only one who's tough to figure out."
Well, that explained why he was such a control freak. Growing up in the system probably did that to a guy. She tried to keep eye contact but found it difficult. Her abdomen warmed, and an interesting tingling licked along her skin. She had to do something about this disastrous attraction she had for him.
His gaze narrowed, while his back somehow straightened even more. That quickly, he went from lazily amused to alert and tense.
Her breathing quickened in response.
A man appeared by their table. One of the guys with the bulging jackets. "Can I help you?"
Raider looked up, a polite smile curving his lips. "Not unless you're serving dessert."
Brigid breathed in through her nose and exhaled slowly. Adrenaline flooded her system. This was bad. Was she even supposed to be involved in a side job to her already side job? "We're fine," she said.
The guy didn't look at her. His hair was slicked back, revealing beady brown eyes and a nose that had been flattened permanently to the left. A scar cut through the side of his bottom lip. "You look like a Fed."
Raider smiled, flashing even white teeth. "So I've heard."