Okay this story is a bit off the beaten path but I hope you enjoy it! Thanks for reading!


C.J. tried to push her way through the crowd to follow the man. He looked damn familiar…the way he walked but no he couldn't be…it just couldn't be so. The people trying to rush their way to the front row of the parade route just didn't part like the Red Sea for her to keep up with him. Damn where was Matt? She should get her cell phone out and call him…but he was up with his latest socialite flavor in some box seats and probably too busy working her up for a romantic night afterward to have kept his phone on. She didn't begrudge him that, he'd just returned to town after being away for months and even if he'd not been a monk while gone, she knew he'd jump straight into the social scene when he returned.

She'd left Elise behind probably more than a little confused but if that was really who she thought it was, then he'd been sprung from maximum security back at Pelican Bay up north to perform a hit here. He'd been one of those hired assassin only he'd been a bit rash with his technique which had gotten him caught by Matt.

Not that he hadn't taken a bullet wound to the shoulder for it which ended the pursuit right there and damn, she knew how much that would hurt. But Matt had kept it together long enough to be able to ID the man when police caught up with him and brought him back. Then she'd shown up wearing that god awful fur wrap over a pretty sexy dress and had gone into protective mode shooing everyone away except the paramedics who prepped him to head off to UCLA's Trauma Center to get the bullet taken out.

Vince had teased her about it but she'd shooed him away too because when it came to Matt, no one messed with him without her invoking her wrath. And if this man had gotten a "free get out of jail card", then she was so on his ass. First, deal with him before he killed anyone and then go after the penal system that had greased his way out of his life sentence.

Where had he gone? Oh there he was, in front of her. She knew that somewhere among these hundreds of thousands of people including those on the float was the target of an assassin's plot. He didn't even look behind to see that she was following him. But it looked like he was trying to make it to the front of the viewing section. She didn't know what the cross street was, maybe two blocks east of Vine.

She pushed her way past a couple of burly men and then she heard a roar of cheers as parade floats started passing on by. She saw the man push his way past a barrier when the cops weren't looking and run up to the floats. She vaulted over one and headed towards him.

"C.J…is that you baby?"

She looked up and saw Roberto dressed in a sexy looking costume that barely sheathed his muscular dancer's body. He had some backup female dancers on a section of float that looked like a dance floor complete with spotlighting.

"Roberto?"

The float stopped due to a logger jam and she walked up to the float.

"What are you doing?"

She sighed.

"I saw someone I recognized and he's…possibly here to do some harm."

Roberto didn't look fazed. He knew what she did when she wasn't mixing it up in his Latin Dance classes.

"Get on the float…"

She arched her brows but when he put out his hand, she gripped it and he pulled her aboard.

"Now dance with me…."

"Do what? Oh Roberto, I can't do that…you know I'm weak on my footwork."

He sighed patiently.

"Doesn't matter…when you listen to the music and forget all that messy chorography, you are one hot and sexy woman…"

She blushed slightly and so she let him grab her hands and when the music started up, they started dancing together beneath a spotlight and soon enough the audience thought she was part of the act.

In the meantime, she noticed that the man had jumped on the float ahead of her and had found a hiding spot visible only to her. None of the dancing bears in different hues of the rainbow saw him in their midst.

"Focus on the music…," Roberto coached, "Feel the rhythm…it's like making love no?"

She didn't know about that but she just played along with him. She could do much worse than Roberto, knowing that sometimes the hottest dancers made the best…and well, he obviously had some good genes to look smoking hot like he did. Plus he was very nice and patient with less gifted students like her. Maybe if she invited him out to coffee and hit him up with her idea…but no, she had to do more homework first but she could start off her list of prospective candidates for…donors with him.

Yes, that might work, she thought as she enjoyed herself while not allowing the blast from her past in front of her a chance to escape.


Ginger tried her damnedest to get Matt to pay more attention to her. They'd finished the pizza and okay, she actually had an entire slice of it without freaking out. They'd sipped some wine and some of Matt's friends including Ramona and her husband who had chatted them up before they headed to the announcers' booth where Ramona would do some commentary on floats later in the parade. The rebirth of her acting career had been the talk of Hollywood last year.

"Matt, do you think I could ever be as successful as her?"

He blinked at her.

"You're an actress?"

She smiled at him.

"I am now…modeling just didn't do it for me. I have much more depth than that. I think it hurt me for jobs. That and gaining two pounds last year."

Matt didn't see it. She looked a little thinner to him actually and he'd been trying to get her to eat because he was concerned about her health. He liked his women to have curves and enjoy them, to be physically fit and enjoy that. Like C.J. for example, she had the nicest looking curves and yet she was a black belt who could throw him on the mat in less than 30 seconds.

But then why was he thinking about her now? He was with Ginger right now, having a good enough time but he'd panned the masses of people hoping to spot his closest friend but so far, nothing. Maybe he'd run into her afterward when the crowds started to clear out.

He definitely had to have a word with her to talk to her about this crazy plan she had inside her head about putting the cart well before the horse with this baby thing. She needed to meet the guy, fall in love, the fool needed to get it right and marry her and then came babies. And they'd be beautiful babies…from a beautiful woman and brilliant like her too.

"Matt…what's that?"

He looked over at Ginger who had one of her manicured fingers pointed at one of the floats which had a group of dancers…a man and a woman dancing in the center…something familiar about her.

"Isn't that…?"

Matt felt like he got hit in the gut. Right in front of him was C.J. dancing some hot number with a man who looked as if he'd been sculpted out of marble. What on earth was she doing dancing with him on his float? Oh there had to be a story behind that one and he wanted to hear it.

Ginger's lip snarled.

"God, she can't even let the spotlight go by without hogging it."

Matt doubted that's how it happened and then his eyes got larger as he saw some movement in the float in front of him with the dancing bears and suddenly like a flash, C.J. had said adios to her dance partner and took off after what looked like a man.

He jumped up in his own seat.

"Excuse me…"

Ginger threw up her arms.

"What…you can't leave me here," she said, "Where are you going?"

He sighed.

"I'll be back soon…"

And like that he sprinted down the stairs to head where he saw C.J. heading, not knowing what the hell was going on but he'd be damned if he'd let anything happen to her.

He ran smack into Hoyt who still held his radio. The lieutenant looked at him annoyed.

"Where are you off to or should I even ask?"

Matt just wanted to keep running.

"Hoyt…I just saw C.J. chasing after a man," he said, "Something's going on here…get your men…"

Hoyt knew better than to argue with him and he got on his radio though he didn't have a clue either while Matt just continued running, hoping that time wouldn't run out.