Home > All Things Pretty (Pretty #3)(6)

All Things Pretty (Pretty #3)(6)
Author: M. Leighton

“The woman, she’s Lance Tonin’s girlfriend.” That gets his full attention.

He sets down his pen, watching me for a few seconds before he narrows his eyes on me. “And?”

“Look, you know my goal is to be an under cover. I’m willing to put in the time, just like everybody else, but this is an opportunity I don’t think you would want to miss out on.”

“Is that right?” he asks, leaning back in his chair and crossing his arms over his barrel chest.

“Sir, I know how long we’ve been after Tonin. And I know how hard it’s been for anyone to figure out how he works, even with someone on the inside. But maybe we’ve been working the wrong angle. Maybe trying to get close to him isn’t the way in.”

“And you think you could get Lance Tonin’s girlfriend to turn on him.”

“Yes, I do,” I reply confidently. “And even if she’s loyal to him, if I could just get inside with her for a little while, I think I could get something useful. She might not willingly turn on him, but…”

“And just how do you think you’d get inside?”

“Well, I know we have a guy on his crew…”

“And you know this how?”

I shrug. “I keep my ears open.” I smile. That’ll bug the shit out of him, but I’d never rat out one of my brothers for telling me.

He lets that go. For now. “So you’re asking me to compromise my man inside to get you in with his bimbo?”

“No, it’s not like he needs to recommend me for anything important or anything that might require much trust. If he could get me in doing some menial shit, I think it could work. As long as I have a way to spend a little time with her. I know I can do this, sir. I can feel it.”

“You feel it, huh? No chance that could be ego you’re feeling, is there?”

“Maybe a little, but we’re definitely friendly. If it doesn’t work, I’ll move on. No harm, no foul.”

“People don’t just ‘move on’ from Lance Tonin. He runs his organization in more of a blood-in, blood-out way. We’d have to extract you very carefully.”

“Okay, fine. If I fail. But only if.”

He watches me for at least a full minute, his sharp brown eyes digging all the way in, like he’s looking for evidence of the Locke worth behind the Locke name on the left side of my chest. I stand up taller. I’m Locke all right. Through and through. And I have no problem proving it.

“I’ll think about it.”

I glance down at my watch. “Well, not to be pushy, sir, but I’ll need to know something pretty soon. I’m meeting her in half an hour to return her phone. If I go dressed like this…”

He takes less time to consider something this simple. “Go in street clothes. Just in case. Come straight back and let me know if you still think you’ve got a way in.”

“Yes, sir,” I say to the top of his head. He’s already dismissed me.


I try not to fidget as I wait, but it’s hard. I feel like I’m playing with dynamite just by being here. Of course, there’s the concern about my phone and concern about Lance finding out what really happened yesterday, but there’s also just Sig himself. Something about him disconcerts me. I’m not even sure what it is.

I’ve thought about it a million times this morning, and I’ve all but convinced myself that his attractiveness and our chemistry was a result of my heightened anxiety, nothing more. For that reason, I’m ready to get my phone and put the whole thing behind me as soon as possible. Whatever it is about him that disconcerts me–if there even is such a thing today–will be a moot point in about ten more minutes. He’ll be out of my life for good. No harm done.

It’s when I’m glancing casually around the coffee shop, sipping my coffee, that I look up and I realize how very wrong I was. The instant my eyes fall on Sig’s tall form weaving through the tables, my stomach clenches. And when he winks in recognition, it bursts into a knot of fluttering flames like he’s my first crush and he’s about to ask me to go to a dance.

Carefully, I set my hot drink down and clasp my shaking hands tightly in my lap, my mantra for the moment something to the effect of be cool and stay out of trouble.

He’s dressed in faded jeans that hug his long, thick thighs and a chambray shirt that’s stretched tight across his wide shoulders and cuffed up his forearms. His hair is still damp from his shower and his face is even more handsome than I remember. I didn’t think that was actually possible.

Pulling out a chair and lowering his big body into it, Sig smiles at me across the table and I’m forced to acknowledge just how dramatically I underestimated my attraction to him. I feel his smile from my wide eyes to my trembling lips and on down to places below my waist that haven’t felt this needy in years.

And that’s not good.

Before I get too anxious, I remind myself once more that I won’t have to see him after today. He can’t be a problem for me if I never see him again, now can he?


I scoot the cup of coffee that I ordered for him across the table just as he slaps a brown paper bag onto it. “For me?” he asks in his rumbly voice.

“For you.”

He takes a brave gulp and then unwraps a huge burger as I’m left to wonder if he has any skin left on his tongue. “Mmmm. Just when I thought you couldn’t possibly be any more attractive.”

I warm over his compliment. “I assume you like cream and sugar?”

“I like coffee. Any way it comes.”

“Even with a burger?”

“Especially with a burger.” He takes a voracious bite. I’m not surprised when he lowers the sandwich and about one third is missing. As big as he is, it makes sense that he’s a big eater with a big bite. I wonder vaguely if all his appetites are so…healthy.

I suck in a little breath at the train of my thoughts, sinking my teeth into my bottom lip to give me something unpleasant to think about. It usually works, but when Sig’s dark brown eyes fall to my mouth and his chewing slows, all I can think about is what it would feel like if he kissed me. Right here, right now. Before we go our separate ways forever.

“Are you hungry?” His voice is low, hypnotic, his eyes flipping up to capture mine and hold them relentlessly.

“I’ve already eaten. Thank you.” His eyes don’t leave mine as he takes another bite and chews. We sit in silence, watching each other, lost in thoughts that I can somehow imagine that we share. And that’s dangerous. Very, very dangerous.

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