Black Jack (Elite Ops 4)

Page 93

Travis was rather confident.
Isaac’s dark brown eyes flicked to where Lilly stood beside him, resplendent in a soft, light blue camisole and matching skirt. Strappy flat sandals covered her feet. Her shoulder-length brown hair was pulled back into a casual ponytail and she even carried a small clutch purse rather than a rifle.
She looked every inch the perfect little lady.
Travis held his arm out to her, and almost grinned at the arrogant little tilt of her head as she laid her hand on his arm.
“Lady Lillian. Mr. Caine,” he greeted them as they moved up the steps. “Lord Harrington is awaiting you.”
“I’m certain he is,” Travis responded. “And Lady Harrington? She’s gone?”
“Lady Harrington is in D.C. shopping, I believe,” Isaac informed them as he stepped aside. “Lord Harrington may have neglected to pass along the information that her daughter had been found and was returning.”
“Her daughter was never lost,” Lilly informed him coolly as they stepped into the foyer and waited for Nik to step in before Isaac closed the door behind them.
“So I see.” He inclined his head in approval. “Follow me, Lord Harrington is waiting in his study.”
Travis placed his hand on Lilly’s lower back as they followed the bodyguard. It was hard to believe Isaac McCauley was involved in anything nefarious. He had been with the Secret Service, served a short stint with the CIA, and had then gone private. His reputation was sterling and above reproach.
Isaac paused at the study doors, gave a brief knock, then opened them and stood back as they entered.
Desmond Harrington stood in front of the cold fireplace, his leather-shod foot propped on the hearth as he leaned an elbow casually against the mantel. He’d shed the suit jacket he usually wore. The sleeves of his white, fine cotton shirt were rolled to his elbows and the dark blue silk slacks were still perfectly creased.
At first glance he was the epitome of professionalism, until Travis looked closely at his face. He looked like an exhausted thug. The red hair closely cropped, the lines on his face. Desmond Harrington was a hard man, and it showed in every line and wrinkle of his face.
In his free hand he held a short glass of what appeared to be whiskey. Watching them, he remained silent as he lifted the glass and sipped from it before nodding to Isaac.
“Can I offer anyone a drink?” Isaac asked as Travis, Lilly, and Nik came to a stop in the middle of the room, facing Desmond.
“I’ll have my regular, Isaac,” Lilly answered, her voice smooth and sweet and so ladylike it was hard to believe she could wield a sniper’s rifle as easily as she held that glass of Crown and Coke.
“I’ll take the whiskey straight,” Travis answered as he pressed his hand into Lilly’s back, urging her to the love seat despite the fact that they hadn’t been invited to sit.
Nik stepped back, crossing his arms over his chest as he leaned against the wall beside the door and watched everyone with narrowed eyes.
Silence filled the room as Isaac poured the drinks, then moved across the room to hand Travis and Lilly theirs.
“Isaac, would you mind stepping outside now?” Desmond asked.
“I do, Lord Harrington,” Isaac answered firmly. “You know that’s not a very good idea at the moment.”
Desmond sniffed disdainfully as he turned his head, threw back the rest of his drink, and grimaced tightly. “There are days, Lilly, when I wonder what the hell made me think I could handle the legacy your father left behind.”
He slapped the glass to the mantel, raked his fingers over his head, and blew out a hard breath before glaring back at her.
He looked tired, she thought. Tired and filled with regret and grief.
His gaze focused on Travis Caine for long, intense minutes.
“It’s damned hard to trust you,” he said, sighing.
“I’m a man of my word, Lord Harrington,” Travis reminded him. “You know that as well as anyone.”
Lilly looked at him in surprise. He sounded as though her uncle actually knew him.
Desmond shook his head as he turned to her. “Six years ago I contacted Mr. Caine to negotiate an agreement between Harrington Translation and Dictation and a much larger company intent on taking it over. Your father was buried in an internal investigation at the time and I agreed to handle the attempted merger. I contacted your Mr. Caine to aid in that.”
“A legal negotiation?” she murmured as she turned to Travis.