Protecting Freedom - Page 5

“I’m a former Marine. We don’t retire.”

He’s moved during our walk and is now striding alongside me. He’s so much bigger when he’s so close.

“So you’re the agent that bosses all the other ones around?” I give him a teasing smile.

“As of a few moments ago, yes. And while the president is gone.”

“No more Agent Sweet?”

“Is that a problem?” he asks, cutting his eyes to me.

I shake my head. His tone is reprimanding and for a second I wonder why he has to be a jerk for no reason.

“Agent Sweet is with going to be on July’s detail while she and the president are away. I’ve been asked to stay with you.”

“You look thrilled about it.”

I try to make it sound like a joke to ease some of the tension I see in him. Any other emotion besides grumpy would be nice. He doesn’t respond or try to deny it. He just keeps walking. I sigh, wondering if I should let this crush go. Maybe going away to college isn’t such a bad idea. Unless he’s going to be on my detail then, too.

“This is only until my dad gets back, right?”

He doesn’t answer again and he’s so much colder than usual. Is he angry with me? Maybe his stomach is more painful than he’s letting on. Or maybe I’m annoying him and he’s not happy that he has to babysit.


“Whatever,” I mumble as he opens the doors leading to my private living area. I’m surprised when he steps inside with me and closes the door behind him.

“What are you doing?” I snap, and suddenly I’m the one who’s angry.

I’m tired of having all these feelings for someone who isn’t going to give me the common courtesy of answering my questions. And I’m pissed off that I can’t control my body’s reaction to him no matter how hard I try. Now he’s invading my personal space and I don’t appreciate his looming presence in my room.

“Are you going to be a problem?” His voice is so low I almost don’t hear him.

“What is that supposed to mean? Have I ever been a problem?” I have no clue what he’s talking about. I never cause anyone in this place a moment of worry. In fact, I try to keep my head down so that I’m left alone. When I’m asked to do something, I do it, no matter how much I hate being locked up in this place. I’ll never again be free to do what I want, but I understood that at a young age. For him to stand here and ask me if I’m going to be a problem pisses me off. It makes me straighten my spine as anger rises. I put my hands on my hips and his eyes move down my body. I’ve never had another agent glare at me the way he is right now, and though I’m mad, heat pools in the lower half of my body. I’m ashamed at how much I like his eyes on me.

“The president has said you’ve been defiant lately. That I should keep a close watch because you might be trying to rebel.” He walks farther into the room, closing some of the space between us.

My body freezes and some of my steam evaporates as he takes a step towards me. My instincts tell me to step back, but then I recall something on the Discovery channel about turning your back on an animal. Is that what he is?

He’s so much bigger than me, and from the look in his eyes, he’s starving.

I stand there unmoving as the muscles in his chest flex with his slow movements. If we were in the woods I’d be the prey and he’d be the panther lurking in the tree. The thought frightens me, but god help me, it makes my legs weak with need.

“Is it a boy that’s the problem?” His question catches me completely off-guard.

I’ve never talked about dating to anyone, let alone my dad. Why would Washington think that’s why I’d be rebelling? I’ve been asked out before, but who really wants to go on a date with a girl who has to bring the Secret Service as a chaperone with them? Still, I don’t want to sound like a pathetic girl who can’t get a date. I have no idea why I’m trying to make him jealous, because there’s no possible way he would be. But I can’t keep from insinuating that it might be a possibility. Just to see his reaction.

“That’s none of your business. Besides, I turn eighteen tomorrow, so it’s not like you can stop me.” I try to keep eye contact with him, but his stare is too intense.

I decide that’s the moment for me to turn and walk away from him, but he doesn’t let me. He reaches out and grabs my arm, forcing me to face him. This is the first time he’s ever touched me, and my heart is pounding in my chest. Then I gasp as he pulls me even closer, my body now flush with his, not an inch of space between us. I have to crane my neck back to look up into his dark green eyes that are full of possession yet clouded with reluctance.

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