She looked me over, her eyes lingering on my shoulders, my chest. “You’re a bodyguard?”
“Something like that.”
I smiled, running my finger over the smooth counter to just within a breath of her hand. “I’d like to make a good impression on the boss. If you could…”
“Of course. To the right, through those doors. Her office is at the very end of the corridor. You can’t miss it.”
“Anything I should know about the boss?”
The seductive smile turned into an amused one. “I’m sure you’ll make quite an impression without any help from me.”
I headed down the corridor, glancing back at Ash. He was still talking on the phone, his shoulders hunched and his back turned to everyone. I hoped David wasn’t giving him bad news. I hated starting a new case with bad news.
The corridor ran past a few closed office doors and a conference room with huge televisions hanging on the walls. I imagined the type of videos viewed there and wondered how the people who worked here could make it through the day without wanting to duck into a supply closet with their secretary, or rush home for a quickie with the wife. But, again, maybe they didn’t resist the impulse. These people probably had a better sex life than I did. And that was saying a lot.
I reached the end of the corridor and found myself blocked by a narrow metal desk. There was a woman hunched over, searching through a bottom drawer for something. She was wearing a bulky sweater that was a God-awful blue color with little, black dogs all over it. Her hair was pulled back into pigtails that were then twisted into cutesy little buns like something kindergarten student might wear on the first day of classes.
I cleared my throat, and she bumped her shoulder into the front edge of the desk as she turned to look at me. She cursed, a very dirty word slipping from between her full lips as she turned big, gold eyes to me.
“Can I help you?” she mumbled, her eyes moving over me with nothing more than a questioning glance. I couldn’t remember the last time a woman looked at me quite like that. Usually there was at least a little bit of interest in the first glance. Maybe she was a lesbian.
I had no problem with lesbians. The idea of two women going down on each other was actually quite erotic.
“I’m here to see Ms. Watson. Would you mind telling her I’m here?”
She didn’t miss a beat. She bent over again, grabbing some brightly colored form from the bottom drawer of the desk.
“What’s this regarding?”
“I’m with Gray Wolf Security.”
She looked up again, a new interest in her eyes.
“Are you? You’re not Mr. Grayson.”
“No. I’m Kirkland Parish.”
Her eyebrows raised, as she once again looked me over. Then she stood, brushing a hand over her voluptuous black skirt. She actually had on knee socks. I don’t think I’d ever seen a grown woman wear knee socks. And they were a horrible mixture of black and blue strips that were just…hideous didn’t seem to be a strong enough word. She was not the kind of sophisticated woman I expected to see up here. I found myself wondering why Ms. Watson would hire such a woman to represent her office. Definitely not a great first impression.
“Kirkland. That’s an unusual name.”
“My folks were unusual people.”
“Yeah. Mine too.”
She turned and gestured toward the double doors behind the desk. “Follow me.”
She pushed the doors open, nearly tripping when one of them stuck as she tried to thrust it open with something of a flourish. It thought I was going to have to catch her, but she managed to get over the threshold without face-planting. She strode toward the desk like a horse clomping through a muddy paddock. It was a large office, a typical CEO’s office, complete with the glass and chrome bar in one corner—though this one didn’t display expensive bottles of bourbon like most—a falsely intimate sitting area in another corner, and a large, unusually messy, L-shaped, dark walnut desk with a pale gray finish that sat directly in front of a wall of windows.
The secretary stepped behind the desk, tripping over a trail of cords. She caught herself on the edge of the desk and fell into the tall executive chair with a sigh.
“Is Ms. Watson—?”
“They were down in the mail room,” a voice behind me announced.
I turned and a dark-haired woman in a basic black suit was striding into the room, a handful of DVDs in her hand. She glanced at me, shooting me an appreciative smile as she passed, and set the DVDs down on the edge of the desk with a bunch of others.