change in color as he passed under the lights, from gold to green and back. A prosaic observer would call them hazel. Roz thought them magical.
Leonide took a seat across the table from Roz and smiled at her, maintaining eye contact. She could do little except either smile back or accept his regard coolly. She chose the latter.
“I apologize for my late arrival,” he purred, his dark velvet voice rippling over her senses. “I was delayed.”
Beside her, Andreas’s body stiffened very slightly. He’d picked up her natural attraction to a handsome man.
A shape-shifting dragon added firepower to the team. Literally. And he wasn’t defined by the time of day, like vampires. Roz hoped they wouldn’t need his more obvious powers.
Cristos continued. “I want this done quietly, efficiently, and fast. I’ll bring Leon up to speed later.”
Cristos stared at them all, sparing a couple of seconds for each face. When it came to her turn, she felt him probe her mind swiftly, incredible power sweeping in, then out again.
Expending that power would have exhausted her. Cristos didn’t seem fazed in the least. After his swift examination, he faced them, Talents of awesome power, as their acknowledged superior. “There are traitors in Department 57, people. And one of them is in this room.”
Andreas slammed his mental shutters down in instinctive reaction. The pain it dealt to him hurt him more than he’d imagined, but he couldn’t allow any further incursions until he knew more. Did Cristos lure Roz here so he could get her where he could examine her? It could be. And to teach Andreas a lesson. She had seduced him, after all, and he was well on his way to giving her his heart. After all his training he should have known better, but he’d read no subterfuge in her, no attempts to go deeper than he’d allowed. Which, after all, went almost all the way. What a fucking idiot.
Now the daytime meeting, Leon’s position by the door, and Fabrice’s stance near the sofa arrangement, blocking the bathroom exit, made sense. Had they known, or were they remaining cautious? He stayed between her and the window and waited on events, steeling his heart to any appeal she might make, but willing to listen and to defend her if he considered it necessary.
Bernard Knox knew far too much and suspected more. Not only that, but events last year had made Knox more than uneasy. But Roz hadn’t set foot in this building until today. Cristos fixed Roz with a knowing stare. “The deputy director there, Bernard Knox, has given Roz Templeton covert instructions to report back to him, and only to him. Roz is a spy.”
Although he knew, he still felt an instant of impulse when he heard the words. Worse still, he knew she’d felt it before he’d closed down. He wanted to reach for her, make it better, soothe her, but that would demonstrate disloyalty to everything he stood for, everything he believed in, and it would betray his colleagues. These agents were the best of their kind, and she needed to prove herself equal to them. “How do you know?” he asked his boss.
“Intel. Candy picked up an email when Knox sent it to her private address instead of her company address.”
“Sloppy,” Fabrice remarked.
Andreas turned to Roz. “When did you speak to him last?” he asked, his voice deliberately flat.
“What did you say?”
She grimaced. “I told him I was coming here this morning for a briefing.”
“What will you tell him when you report back?”
She faced him, ignoring the silent faces turned toward them. The stillness was palpable. “I will tell him that it’s difficult to discover anything. If he wants more, I will ask Cristos to provide me with a few false leads.” Those eyes shadowed with fear, her mouth turned down slightly at the corners, showed him how close to tears she was, but he couldn’t expose himself to discover why. Besides, Fabrice would do that. “Andreas, first above