She glances at the empty chair across from her. He'd just left to make her favorite coffee, because he said from look in her eyes he could tell it was "a two cup kind of morning." Kate loves knowing he watches her - even when he is truly annoying - which isn't as often as he thinks, at least not anymore.

A quick, knowing grin lights up her face as she remembers that night undercover: his eyes on her ass at the club, how she couldn't resist teasing him with a bit more sway in her hips, knowing he'd be frozen and staring when she turned around. No, sometimes she doesn't mind his presence at all.

Once, she had mentioned to him that she'd had a wild phase, but hadn't gone into detail because Castle would have locked Alexis in her room and thrown away the key. The depth of her "wild" phase was nothing like wanting to become a cheerleader. Truth is, before her mother was murdered, Katherine Beckett was known as a girl who liked to party and play, and while illicit drugs never entered her system, illicit sex had been a staple. Her rules then were simple: if he's single he's free to mingle. Not that a taken guy never caught her eye, but a man flirting with her while his date was in the ladies room had always made her nauseous.

She hadn't been thinking of love and romance then, and there is still that part of her inside, the part that knew she was hot and that sex was power. She'd thought that part of her had been dead and buried with her mom - until Castle walked into her life.

"You have no idea" she'd whispered to him, using a voice that has made guys beg for more, a voice she hadn't used in a long, long, time.

Maybe it was the modeling. It hadn't been a plan of hers, but when it was suggested to her, she thought the extra cash would be nice. It would be nice to have her own money and not depend on her parents. She'd always had that independent streak. While modeling made many women extra body conscious, something about the impersonalness of it - being stripped naked in front of groups of people, being measured, taped, dressed, and then thrown out on a runway to entice and enchant buyers - made her more aware of her body as just an object, one that could be manipulated to create various feelings and emotions - regardless of what she really felt.

There was a rush with that. Modeling had taught her to accept her sensuality.

After her mom was killed, a few months after withdrawing into the darkness, she'd gotten more reckless. She watched her dad drink to numb the pain and was furious with him. Mom had been so alive, full of life and fun. She started going out at night, seeing how far she could get a guy to go without taking her home. Up against a wall, hands groping, daring the guy to make her come, taunting him that he couldn't hold out as she stroked him off. She'd been taking her life in her hands, telling herself she was trying to feel alive...

Only when it came to her to become a cop had the voracious need to fill the emptiness subsided. She'd become calmer, a woman of cool control. She is now more of the woman her mom would have expected. Sure, she wasn't an English professor, finishing up a Ph'd specializing in Russian prose, but her career was respectable, honorable, and she was one of the best in her field. Now, her sense of power in the world comes from figuring out who the killer is, bringing the perp down, bringing them in, and breaking them to tell the truth. She has no need or desire to manipulate men in her sex life. She wants more than just sex. She wants the kind of love she'd seen with her parents. She wants, "one and done." She just never thought that her "one and done" would make her feel so...wild.

Long before the aroma of her favorite coffee reaches her, she feels his eyes stroke her hair and caress her back. It is tempting to lift her hair off her neck, just for a moment, just to feel the heat of his imagination as he pictures his lips against her nape. The thought makes her smile with amusement and affection. His feelings about her are so transparent, and yet he is careful to try and not cross the line into something she isn't ready for.

Isn't ready for? When had that become her thoughts about him? For that matter, when had she started considering that Castle might be her, "one and done"?

"Here you go, Beckett, my insurance against being shot today."

Kate smiles slyly as she takes the offered drink, letting her eyebrows raise as she sips. Damn, it's so good! She darts her tongue out to lick a bit of foam off her lip and watches his bright blue eyes darken. For a moment she lets her hazel eyes hold his, lets herself enjoy the heat building between them. Then she looks down and away.

"Shot, yes, but don't think your ears are safe."

Castle smirks as his eyebrows raise, "I like to think none of my person is safe around you, detective."

Internally, Kate rolls her eyes, but she lets her gaze briefly rake over his body.

"You're right Castle."

She stands up so she's in his space, her chest nearly brushing his, and whispers:

"I'll take you anytime I want."

Castle's eyes narrow and his jaw drops. Kate laughs, and walks away from him.

"God, you're easy."

"Only for you, Kate."

Kate. She was glad he couldn't see her face. There had been no tease in his voice, and more that not wanting to see the sincerity of his countenance, she couldn't afford to have him see the blush his words brought to her cheeks, nor the softness in her eyes as her heart glowed. Sighing to herself, she wonders how much longer she can pretend what's going on is just a fun flirtation. When she's going to have to admit to him what he's doing to her heart.