Picking her phone up off the nightstand, she texted Mara. You awake?
Less than ten seconds later her phone rang. When Isa saw Mara’s number on the screen, she smiled. “Hey, you didn’t have to call.”
“I know, but it’s late for you to be texting. What’s up?”
“I…” Ugh, she felt like an idiot. Why had she texted? She didn’t want to say she’d had a bad dream. It made her sound like a five-year-old. Her throat tightened as unexpected tears stung her eyes. Some days she’d be totally fine about everything—or at least able to cope—and then she’d have a nightmare and it was like she was drowning in memories and grief all over again.
“You want some company?” Mara asked softly.
Isa blinked, the question taking her by surprise. “Oh, no, it’s too late. I just texted because…” She let out a short laugh. “Because working with Graysen is harder than I imagined. But this can wait until tomorrow.”
“Harrison had to go out of town tonight. A quick trip up to Orlando to meet with a potential client.”
“Oh, right.” She’d actually known that, had talked to him earlier about what they’d discovered so far at Raptor Aeronautical.
“So, I’m alone anyway and I can’t sleep without Harrison. I’ll be over in a bit with a bottle of wine. Pick out a movie for us. None of those stupid romantic comedies.” She hung up before Isa could respond, as was Mara’s way.
A very small part of Isa felt bad, wanted to call Mara back and tell her not to come over simply because Isa was feeling emotional and out of sorts.
After losing pretty much her entire social circle after her father’s treachery had been splashed all over the news a year ago, she’d been so damn alone when she’d moved to Miami. No one from DC or even her college friends would return her calls. She’d become a leper overnight.
Landing the job with Red Stone Security had been unexpected and a gift in more ways than one. From that first day, Mara had taken her under her wing and made her feel accepted.
Even though it made her feel a little pathetic that her friend was coming over so late because she was feeling weak and needy, she didn’t care. Right now she needed a friend.
Graysen steered into the parking garage of his high-rise condo. He’d stayed at Isa’s house, watching as the lights went off one by one. But then he’d started to feel like a stalker so he’d forced himself to leave. Going to her home had been a risk, a stupid one. And the reason he’d given her for showing up—that he’d been worried about her safety—had been equally stupid. She wasn’t in danger.
He’d just needed to see her. It had been selfish on his part, but where Isa was concerned he didn’t seem to think clearly.
As he got out of his SUV, memories of the day her father died assaulted him. Isa should have been in DC, far away from everything that went down on that fateful day. But because of bullshit timing, she’d seen everything and her life had been ripped apart. His too, because he’d screwed up everything with her that day.
Not that it mattered. The only thing he cared about was her. She’d ripped his world apart simply by being in it. If he could go back in time… Hell. He didn’t know what he’d do. Her father had been selling state secrets, had betrayed his country to the highest bidder on more than one occasion.
But Isa had been innocent in it all. Not that it had mattered once the media ripped her father’s life apart. Hers had been destroyed right along with it. She’d lost her job, her friends, everything. Guilt raked through him at the knowledge that he’d been part of that.
It was why she’d moved to Miami, to escape the bitter scrutiny and judgment. She’d have never been able to get a decent job in DC again anyway. Not after what had happened. She’d always be looked at with suspicion no matter how innocent she was. There’d been another scandal a week after the story of her father’s treachery and death broke, something to do with multiple senators being caught up in a prostitution ring. It was the only thing that had allowed her to start over as easily as she had without further media scrutiny. People cared more about sex, and the politicians’ story had been salacious.
Instead of walking to the elevator, he took Peaches out of the garage and headed around the big building to the area designated for pets. A bright full moon illuminated the grassy area. As Peaches took care of her business, that gut-wrenching afternoon replayed in his mind.
Maybe because it was close to Christmas, or maybe because he’d spent most of the day with Isa, but that day was all he could think about.
His heart raced a little faster as the phone rang, as he waited for Isa to pick up. He’d just gotten a call from his boss that today they would be infiltrating her father’s estate and arresting him. The man had just taken the bait they’d laid out for him, agreeing to meet with a new buyer to potentially sell the identities of five covert agents. As a defense contractor he wouldn’t normally have access to that kind of information but they’d discovered he’d been working with multiple hackers and using his access to areas of high-level security in different government buildings to help get those hackers infiltrated into private intranet networks.
“Hey, babe.” Isa’s voice was light, her tone easy.
He forced his voice to remain steady when all he wanted to do was tell her the truth. But he couldn’t. “Hey, are you headed back to the city yet?”
“Soon, I promise. Just spending time with my dad.”
He needed to get a time frame from her but didn’t want to tip her off that it mattered what time she got back home. The FBI had moved up their infiltration day and time. Isa wasn’t supposed to be anywhere near the estate when this happened. That had been one of his main concerns. Shit like this happened all the time, something he understood. But it had never been personal like this before. He’d never expected someone like her—and had never slept with anyone involved in a case before either. She was so sweet, open, and giving. She made a lot of money analyzing work effectiveness for various companies but gave so much back to the community with her free time. It was hard to believe she was her father’s daughter, now that he knew how treacherous the man really was.
“Well hurry back. I miss you. And I have something I want to talk to you about.” He hated himself even as he said the words. He needed to tell her everything they’d discovered about her father. He wanted to do it in a calm setting where it was just the two of them. Not that it would matter where he told her—the news that her father was a traitor to his country would devastate her. But he still wanted to break the news to her as easy as he could.