A/N: Sorry for the long delay. Cousin Brad tried to stage a coup and take over the story. By the time he was reined in, real life got in the way. Brad's been banished for now and here's a short chapter. Thanks to Amykay73 for her beta services.
Lady Jaye woke with a start, instantly realizing the other side of the bed was empty. A frown formed as she heard Flint moving around in the other room of the suite. He was far from lazy, but it was unusual for him not to linger in bed on the rare times they could share one. A quick glance at the clock showed it was just a few minutes until the alarm would go off, but she still muttered under her breath as she propped herself up against the headboard.
Her anger with the lunkhead was still simmering under the surface and that was an issue. While she and Flint argued on numerous occasions, it rarely amounted to much. Scarlett once joked that they had a Reader's Digest condensed version of a relationship: They got angry, they fought, they got it out of their system and they moved on – often in the course of minutes.
This time, though – she just didn't know. This wasn't him getting upset over some guy flirting with her in public. If his jealousy started getting in the way of missions, then they had a serious problem, and Lady Jaye doubted it was something they'd work through in a morning.
Besides, Lady Jaye was far too practical to waste this mini-vacation. It was rare for them to get any time alone together, and she was going to make the most of it. If she was going to end up seriously pissed at Flint, she'd save it for when they were stuck back at base.
If she could; she wasn't used to holding back her temper and didn't know what would happen if she kept letting this stew. The last thing she wanted was for all this to blow up on them during the wedding.
She had to admit that she was afraid something might blow up at the wedding. It didn't take a crack Intel expert to notice the tension between Flint and his mother last night. In all the time she'd known him, he'd never taken a trip home. On the other hand, Lady Jaye had seen the care he took in selecting presents for his relatives, the way he lit up when he got a letter or phone call from them. He might love them, but there was a reason he didn't want to visit them.
None of that had stopped him from coming to his cousin's wedding. Or – more to the point – bringing her along. This was Flint, a man who would go to Dr. Mindbender for a root canal before admitting his feelings, but there was no hiding the significance of this. For that reason – and the way it made her feel – she was going to try and give the blathering doofus a temporary pass on his idiotic behavior in Germany.
Getting up from the bed, she wandered over to the doorway, giving her head a shake as she watched him. Even with his back to her, it was clear a lot of the tension from last night was gone. Still, something was bothering him, and that bothered her. She resisted the urge to sigh; okay, he was an idiot but he was her idiot. She loved him, proverbial warts and all.
For such an intelligent man, though, he seemed blind to the fact. It wasn't like she wanted to run off with Paulie for a quick fling in the bathroom. He had the information they needed to complete the mission, and it was her job to get the intelligence. Flint knew that. Hell, he put her on dangerous missions all the time because he trusted her abilities. Why didn't he trust her faithfulness as well?
This time she did let out a small sigh. The issue really wasn't his jealousy. She had known about that particular personality trait before they had hooked up, so she couldn't hold it against him now. What truly bothered her was the fact that he was still jealous. If anything, his jealousy was getting worse. It wasn't like he was unable to change. He had managed to rein in his ego considerably over the years, a task that impressed her.
A slow smile formed as he turned to the side as he started the coffee pot. At least Flint came by his vanity honestly. It was more than his handsome face. He was tall and muscular and well proportioned. Leaning against the doorframe, she ran her eyes casually over his broad shoulders and powerful torso, down his lean abdomen, followed the thin line of hair below the navel until it started to spread …
"Enjoying the view?" he asked in a tone that conveyed his smirk.
So much for reining in his ego.
She didn't answer until she had completed her inspection, pushing off the doorway to head back into the bedroom. "You don't need me to stroke your ego."
He let out a husky laugh. "That's not what I want you to stroke."
She looked over her shoulder and saw that he'd moved to the doorway. "You want sex? Color me surprised."
"With you? Always. Besides, I knew you liked what you saw."
Lady Jaye kept her amusement out of her voice. "If you say so."
"I do. And I like what I see."
"Then stop looking in the mirror."
"Hey!" Flint complained.
She gave him an apologetic shrug but couldn't resist another zinger. "That's your problem Dash. You like everything you see, and you think everyone likes what they see."
"Only with you. And you were checking me out."
"Again, if you say so," she teased as she started walking away. Lady Jaye let out a short squeal of surprise when he pulled her back against his chest and slipped his arms around her. "You're certainly in a better mood this morning," she laughed.
"I think that has something to do with what you did for me last night."
"I know it has everything to do with last night."
"Hmm," he agreed, tightening his hug. "I didn't get a chance to thank you last night."
"Some of your grunts sounded appreciative."
"That's something, I suppose. I have to admit I was surprised you were so friendly last night. I figured I'd still be in the doghouse," he said.
"You are," she told him bluntly but she leaned back into his embrace, running her hand along his forearm.
"Then last night?" he began in confusion.
"I'm not going to waste this time alone. But don't push it."
"You're still mad?"
"How is this going to work?" he asked, letting her go and turning her to face him. "You being mad but not acting mad."
"I don't know," she admitted. "You're damn lucky I'm an actress. I can pretend not to be pissed at you during the wedding."
His expression was serious as he took this in. "Okay."
She gave him a softer look. "Like I said, don't do anything else to make me angry. We can still enjoy the weekend."
Flint grinned as he hugged her. "Then I should pay you back for last night."
"Down, boy," she said as she wiggled out of his grasp.
"I'm not up … yet. But don't you want me to return the favor?"
"I do. We don't have time," she said, heading to the wardrobe.
Flint scratched his head as he looked at the clock. "Just how many favors do you want me to give you? I'm up for it, well, I will be," he chuckled.
She gave him a patient shake of her head. "I'm going down to the exercise room. We don't have time for both."
Flint pushed the drawer she had just opened closed. "My idea for a workout is more fun."
"Not as effective, though," she countered, swatting his hand away.
"It depends on how you do it."
"Hmmm. You're not the one who has to go on desert training exercises with Beach Head when we get back."
"One day is not going to make a difference," he pointed out reasonably.
"Dash, I know you. You're going to be like this every day we're here."
"You make that sound like a bad thing."
"It's not. But not now," she said.
"You know, it won't take long for me to return that favor," he purred.
"But you won't want to stop there. Tonight."
"Mom won't mind if we're a couple minutes late," he insisted. "Besides, I need to get on your good side."
"Dash," she exhaled before giving him a small smile. "You're incorrigible, you know."
"You wouldn't have me any other way, would you?" he asked with a lopsided grin.
Lady Jaye gave him a curious look. "Don't go asking questions you may not want the answers to."
"Because I have a temper and I'm already pissed at you?"
Flint was momentarily silenced, so she reopened the drawer and tossed her gym clothes on the bed. "What work will we be doing at your parents' house?"
"Move some furniture out to the garage, set up some rented tables and chairs, nothing major," he sighed. At her questioning look, he shrugged. "Mom is a woman of many talents but multitasking isn't one of them. It's going to be chaos."
"Jeans and a sweatshirt, then."
"Look, you don't have to go. I was serious when I offered you this as a vacation. Stay here and relax," he told her.
Lady Jaye gave him a quick grin. "Okay, I can tell Peg you offered to be a gentleman. I don't mind helping."
"You could stay in the kitchen with Mom, learn all the things I like," he teased.
She gave him a cool look. "I already know what you like. We established that last night."
"Yes, you did. And I like this lingerie," he growled. "I'd like it better off of you."
"Dash, I told you. We don't have time for this and the gym."
"Skip the gym," he said, again drawing her close. "You can move the heavy furniture later."
Rolling her eyes as she escaped his arms, Lady Jaye gathered a pair of jeans and an Army sweatshirt before closing the wardrobe. "So much for you being a gentleman."
"Hey, I'm being efficient. My way lets me thank you for last night and gives you a workout."
"And we could be late. I don't want your mother thinking we were delayed because we're in a wild, wanton relationship."
"But we are," he said, giving her an exaggerated puppy-eyed look. "Or we're trying."
With a smile, she leaned in to give him a kiss. "I don't think you mother wants to know that."
"Who says she has to know?"
"If we're late, she'll know."
"I think she already suspects," he said, wrapping his arms around her and starting to nuzzle her neck.
"No!" she said, firmly enough that Flint actually looked surprised and nervous. That caused her to let out a short laugh. "I'm not going to your cousin's wedding and meeting your family covered in whisker burns!"
Turning again to gather her gym clothes, she let out a yelp as Flint picked her up and dropped her on the bed. Before she had time to chastise him, he grinned broadly. "Babe, don't worry about the whisker burns. No one is going to see them where I plan to leave 'em."
She started to sit up but stopped as his hands and lips started tracing patterns on her thigh. "Oh… Well, in that case turn off the alarm first."