Deadly Contact

Free Deadly Contact by Lara Lacombe

Book: Deadly Contact by Lara Lacombe Read Free Book Online
Authors: Lara Lacombe
polite smile. “No, thanks.”
    She let out a small sigh. “Okay. Well, my name’s Staci, with an i, so let me know if you need anything?”
    He nodded, and Staci-with-an-i walked back to the counter, casting one last look behind her as she went.
    Kelly couldn’t blame her. He was an attractive man, and she watched with growing awareness as he rolled up his shirtsleeves to reveal warm golden forearms dusted with dark hair. It was soft, she knew from experience, and her skin tingled with remembered sensation.
    Shaking her head to clear her thoughts, she squirted ketchup on her bun and waited for him to take a bite of his burger before asking, “Why did you lie to me today?”
    He coughed, then finished chewing and took a sip of his soda. “What makes you think I lied to you?” he asked, wiping his mouth with a napkin.
    “Well, for starters, you told me I wasn’t in any trouble.”
    “You’re not,” he said, sounding confused. “Why do you think you’re in trouble?”
    She dipped a fry in ketchup and popped it into her mouth. “Your boss certainly acted like I’ve done something wrong.”
    He shook his head and picked up his burger again. “That’s just the way Kevin is. He questions everyone like that.”
    “Guilty until proven innocent?” she asked, taking her own bite. The burger was juicy and hot, and she had to quickly dab at her chin with a napkin to catch the drip.
    “Something like that. He’s a little old-school about interrogations.”
    Silence descended over the table as they concentrated on their food. She studied him from under her lashes. She’d forgotten what nice hands he had—broad palms, long fingers, short, squared-off nails. She hadn’t forgotten what those hands could do to her, though, and her face heated as the memories invaded her thoughts once again.
    “I have a confession to make,” he said, dragging her out of the past and back to the table.
    “What’s that?”
    “I don’t really understand all the science behind these attacks. How could someone modify bacteria like that to make them more dangerous?”
    Kelly lifted one shoulder as she chewed. “It’s not that difficult,” she said, reaching for her drink to wash down the food. “All you need to do are basic genetic manipulations.”
    “Such as?”
    His gaze was direct, and her stomach fluttered at having his dark brown eyes on her again. His expression was one of genuine curiosity, and she warmed a bit at being the center of his attention.
    “Well, if you know the genetic sequence of the toxin—and we do, since it’s been published—then all you have to do is design a vector with that gene and transfer it into the bacteria. The bacteria take care of the rest.”
    His brows drew together in a puzzled frown. “What do you mean?”
    She pulled a pen from her bag and confiscated a napkin. “It’s like this,” she said, sketching out a diagram as she spoke. “Bacteria will incorporate new genes into their chromosomes through a process called recombination.” She quickly illustrated the process for him, proving once again why she had always failed art. James was a quick study, though, and seemed to grasp what she was saying despite her obvious lack of talent in the drawing department.
    “And you said the genetic information is widely known?”
    She nodded. “Sure. It’s been published. Anyone with an internet connection can access the database.”
    His eyes widened. “There’s no security in place?”
    “Not really. It’s not publicized or anything, but the data are out there.”
    “Unbelievable,” he muttered, leaning back in his chair.
    Kelly returned to her meal while James crumpled his wrapper. “Do you know if George accessed this data?”
    “No. But I’m sure you could check his computer.”
    James nodded in response, his eyes narrowing the slightest bit before his expression returned to the neutral, professional mask he wore. It was a tiny slip, easily dismissed, but something told Kelly he

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