Lilly smiled at the thought.
Travis saw the smile. As John had stated earlier that day, this was pure Night Hawk. This was not Lady Victoria Lillian Harrington. This was the agent. The woman that could be more dangerous than most men could ever hope to be.
That gleam of stubbornness filled her eyes, and though he’d been expecting it, it still managed to surprise him.
She was morphing right in front of his eyes from the lady she was believed to be, to the dangerous covert agent she had been. The separate parts of Lilly weren’t merging together cohesively, or better yet for the Ops, the agent persona hadn’t died entirely.
No, he mouthed back at her. It’s being taken care of.
She jerked her arm from his grip, a frown tightening her brow as her lips thinned again. She wasn’t the least bit happy that someone else might be taking care of anything.
“I know how to take care of my own business,” she warned him in a low whisper, the light English accent slipping away from her to reveal the cool, accentless tone of the agent Lilly Belle.
Even now, knowing who and what she was, he found it damned hard to see Lilly as an agent right now. Hell, he’d seen her in action more than once, and it was still hard to believe it all the way to his soul.
“This has gone beyond your business.” He gripped her arm, keeping his voice to a mere breath of a sound. “Back off, Lilly, and let me take care of this.”
“I don’t need you to take care of this for me,” she assured him. “I’ll take care of this on my own.”
She was going to make him crazy. If she remembered who she was, what she had been, he might not have been nearly so worried. But she didn’t remember, and God only knew how many of the instincts buried inside her memories were still hidden.
She was adept now, she had proved that in the garage today. But he couldn’t be certain, clear to his soul, that she had retained enough of her past identity to be able to protect herself effectively.
“I have guests to greet,” she reminded him as she flashed him a hard look from gem-cold green eyes. “And a party to attend. We need to leave now, if you don’t mind.”
Damn her. Travis had to grit his teeth to keep from snapping out something he knew would cause a confrontation. Lilly didn’t deal well with what she called “smart-ass male remarks.” Not that he did well with the feminine kind either. Strangely enough, though, when her sweet mouth got smart, his dick just got hard.
It was hard now. As he followed her from the bedroom, along the open hall and down the elaborate, curved staircase, his cock was throbbing with an increased hunger that he was damned if he knew what to do with. Especially at the moment.
“Mr. Caine.” Desmond Harrington stepped from the open doorway of the ballroom, his gaze cautious as the doorbell rang and Lilly took her place at her mother’s side.
“Lord Harrington. Lady Harrington.” Travis paused at the bottom of the steps and observed Lilly’s mother watching her with a glimmer of silent condemnation.
Lady Harrington wasn’t happy to see him.
“Why am I not surprised to see you here, Caine?” Lord Harrington sighed as the first guests began to filter into the large foyer.
Lord Desmond Harrington’s expression was heavy, resigned. The deep furrows in his forehead, surprisingly, went along with his rough face. He was a man that had survived by his own wits and business sense, unlike his half brother who had been born into society and a fortune that stretched back to Cromwell’s time.
“I don’t know, Lord Harrington, why aren’t you surprised?” he asked the other man as he kept his eyes on Lilly.
Lilly seemed too off balance. Travis could sense the fine line she was riding, the sharp edge of nerves and confl
ict that were tearing at her.
“You’re sneering at my title,” the other man growled, though there was no true heat in his voice. “It’s offensive.”
Travis grunted at the accusation. “Perhaps you don’t understand an American’s version of respect.”
He was actually more English than Harrington was. He was a Dermont, born into a long line of Dermonts, and had inherited a fortune that stretched back even further than Cromwell’s time. His grandsires had married proud English heiresses and built that fortune until the present Lord Dermont could sit back and rest on the fine pillows his ancestors had created for him.
“American, huh?” Harrington’s tone was singularly disbelieving. “Why do I have a feeling there’s much more to you than meets the eye, or the investigator’s report?”
Travis turned back to him, his brow lifting. “Went that far, did you?” He was a bit amused by the fact.
“You’re not exactly on the right side of the law,” Harrington muttered. “You’re a danger to her now. You were a danger to her before.”
No, Travis hadn’t been a danger to her. They had saved each other’s lives more than once. His Lilly was a hell of a lot more woman than Desmond Harrington could ever guess.