Home > The MacGregor Brides (The MacGregors #6)(4)

The MacGregor Brides (The MacGregors #6)(4)
Author: Nora Roberts

Royce really enjoyed watching her. Just now, she didn't resemble the woman who'd sung in her underwear, or the coolly polite one who'd worn a simple sweater and discussed alarm systems with him. She'd tamed that waterfall of dark hair into a complicated braid that lay down the center of her back. She had simple gold drops at her ears and a slim gold watch on her wrist, along with the wink and flash of a diamond tennis bracelet.

Her white silk blouse was very tailored, and a navy blazer hung over the back of her chair. The room smelled of leather, polished wood, and woman.

Just now, he thought, Laura MacGregor looked classy, expensive and utterly unapproachable. Unapproachable, Royce mused, unless a man had seen her hips wiggling about in a pair of silk boxers.

He leaned on the doorjamb. "You look like a lawyer."

Her head shot up. He admired the speed with which she recovered. Surprise was no more than a flash in those dark chocolate eyes before they cooled. "I passed the bar last summer. I am a lawyer. Do you need one?"

"Not at the moment, but I'll keep you in mind." The fact was, he'd kept her in mind for the better part of a week. Windswept hair, that intriguing little scar, those damn-the-devil eyes combined to make him a man a woman couldn't help wondering about. Since she didn't want to wonder, she wanted him gone. "The offices are basically closed until the end of the month."

"So the receptionist told me downstairs. But I'm not here to hire you or your parents." He walked in—his movements making her think of a cat poised to spring—and edged a hip on the table.

"Why are you here?"

"I had a job to look over in the neighborhood. I thought I'd let you know we'll start installing your system Saturday morning."

"That's fine. I'm sure my grandfather will be pleased."

"He's got the right idea, protecting what matters to him. He's proud of you and your cousins. It shines right out of him when he talks about you."

Laura's eyes softened, and her body lost its defensively rigid posture. "He's the most wonderful man in the world. And one of the most exasperating. If he could, he'd tuck all of us into his castle in Hyannis."

"Boston can be a dangerous city for a pretty young girl," Royce said, in a deep burr that mimicked Daniel and made Laura's lips twitch.

"Not bad. A little more volume and you'd have almost nailed him."

"And he's right, it can be. You're three single women living in a big house filled with expensive things, easily fenced merchandise. One of you is the daughter of a former U.S. president, and all of you granddaughters of one of the richest men in the country. And you're beautiful. All of that makes you potential targets."

"We're not fools, Mr. Cameron."

"Royce."

"We're not fools," she repeated. "We don't walk into dark alleys, open the door to strangers or pick up men in bars."

"Well, Slim, that's commendable."

Her shoulders were tightening again. "My grandfather is overreacting, but if installing a complicated security system eases his mind, then that's what we'll do."

"But you don't think you need security."

"I think my cousins and I are perfectly safe in our own home."

"Do you consider having a man walk into your kitchen while you're dancing in your underwear safe?"

"You had a key—and I wasn't in my underwear."

"I'd have been inside as easily without the key as with it. And what was it, if it wasn't your underwear?"

"Pajamas," she snapped.

"Oh, well, then, that's different." Royce grinned down at her, enjoying the sizzle of temper in her dark eyes.

"Look, you install the damn system, we'll use the damn system. Now I've got—" She strained backward when he leaned down. "What are you doing?" He drew in a slow breath. "Just getting the full impact. I like your perfume." And his eyes gleamed with amusement.

"You're awfully jumpy all of a sudden."

"I don't like being crowded."

"Okay." He eased back, just a subtle movement of that compact body that didn't give her quite the distance she would have liked. "How long are you going to be at this?" he asked, waving a hand at the stack of law books.

"Until it's finished."

"Why don't I come back, around seven? We could get some dinner."

"No." She said it firmly, and shifted in her chair to give an open book her attention.

"Are you involved?"

"Obviously."

"I don't mean with work, Slim. I mean with a man."

"That's none of your business."

"Could be. I like the way you look, the way you smell. I like the way you talk, the way you move. It would be interesting to find out if I like the way you… think," he ended, as her narrowed eyes lifted and fixed on him.

"Do you want to know what I'm thinking right now?"

He smiled, then grinned, then roared with laughter. "No. If you change your mind about the meal, you've got my number."

"Oh yeah, I've certainly got your number."

He chuckled, started to rise, then saw the label on the folder nearly buried under a stack of books. "Holloway," he murmured, then looked back at Laura. "The homicide?"

"Yes."

"I knew John Holloway."

"Did you?" She'd liked his laugh, nearly been charmed enough by it to reconsider dinner. Now both her voice and her eyes went frosty.

"Do you number many spousal abusers among your friends?"

"I didn't say we were friends, I said I knew him. He used to be a cop. So did I." This time, when he started to straighten, she put a hand over his. Her eyes were focused on his face now, calculating, considering. "Did you work with him?"

"No. We worked out of the same precinct for a few months a while back. I was transferred. He was a good cop."

"He was…" She shut her eyes. "Oh, that's typical. He kicked his wife around for years, but he was a good cop. Wear the blue and stick together."

"I'm not a cop anymore," Royce noted mildly. "And I didn't know much about him off the job. He did the work, he made the collars, he closed the cases. I wasn't interested in his personal life."

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