Love Irresistibly(8)

By: Julie James

“Mr. Morgan,” she said warmly as she held out her hand. “I could’ve saved you the trip over. I just wrapped up a three-hour conference call, and you were the next item on my agenda.”

“It’s no trouble at all,” Cade replied, just as smoothly, as his hand clasped hers. “It’s actually better that we meet in person.” He gestured to Vaughn and Huxley, both of whom had stepped forward, seemingly very eager to make the acquaintance of Ms. Brooke Parker of Sterling Restaurants

and the Gorgeous Green Eyes. “This is Special Agent Roberts and Special Agent Huxley with the Federal Bureau of Investigation. If this is a good time, we’d like to speak with you for a few minutes.

In private.”

She shook hands with both agents, without so much as batting an eye over the request. “Of course.

If you gentlemen will follow me, we can talk in my office.”

She led them past the reception desk, down the hallway to a corner office. Brooke stood by the door and gestured for the three men to step inside.

“Please make yourselves comfortable.” Cade walked in and immediately was struck by office envy. A large, rich mahogany executive desk stood in the center of the office, flanked by matching bookshelves. Being a corner office, there were floor-to-ceiling windows along two walls that overlooked Michigan Avenue and, beyond that, the sparkling blue water of Lake Michigan.

“Nice view,” he said, taking a seat in one of the chairs in front of Brooke’s desk. Vaughn slid a chair over from the small marble table in the corner of the room and sat on Cade’s right while Huxley took the chair on Cade’s left.

“Thank you.” Brooke shut the office door and sat across from the three men, behind her impressive mahogany desk.

She folded her hands. “So, Mr. Morgan, now that it’s just the four of us, let’s dispense with the formalities. You clearly wanted to make a statement by showing up at my office with two FBI agents in tow. Whatever this is about, I’m guessing it’s urgent.” She got right to the point. “Is Sterling Restaurants in some kind of trouble?” Hell, Cade had barely gotten comfortable in his chair before she opened with that salvo. Not that he denied her accusation—yes, he had wanted to make a statement. He could’ve asked only one of the

agents to join him in this meeting, but had thought that bringing both along would help underscore the exigency, one might say, of the situation.

Or, one might also say, he was making a power move.

The clock was ticking on this sting operation, and Cade wasn’t afraid to flex a little U.S.

Attorney’s Office muscle to make things move faster.

He answered Brooke’s question with a similarly straightforward answer. “Sterling Restaurants isn’t in any trouble.”

A flicker of relief crossed her face. “Okay. Good.” Then she cocked her head, as if something had just occurred to her. “Am I in trouble?” Something about the way she had blown in like a storm with her knockout heels and take-charge attitude made Cade unable to resist one small joke.

“I don’t know,” he said, raising an eyebrow. “Is there something you’d like to tell us, Ms. Parker?” She glared at him.

Perhaps he should’ve tried a little harder to resist.

“It’s been a long day, Mr. Morgan,” she said. “Maybe we could fast-forward through the

prosecutorial banter portion of this meeting?”

“But that’s my favorite part.”

She sighed. “So much for that suggestion.” Cade fought back a smile. He decided to skip the rest of the pleasantries—which weren’t really going over so well, anyway—and cut to the chase.

“We’re here because we need your help.” This surprised her. “My help?” As the knowledge sunk in that no one from Sterling was about to be hauled out of the office in handcuffs, she relaxed a bit. “All right,” she said, still maintaining a slightly cautious tone. “Tell me how I can I help you.”

“There are two men who will be having dinner at Sogna this Sunday evening,” Cade said. “We’re anticipating that their conversation will be relevant to an ongoing investigation. With your assistance, we’d like to listen in.”

Brooke looked confused. “I’m not sure I’m following.”

“We want to bug their table,” Cade said simply.

“Oh.” Her lips curved at the edges in amusement. “I thought you guys only did that kind of stuff on TV.”

“We’re the FBI, Ms. Parker,” Vaughn interjected.

“We have all sorts of tricks up our sleeves.”

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