"Are you completely insane?" Lucas asked in a harsh whisper.
The answer to that depended on who was answering, but Ruby didn't think he really wanted a response to his question. "I guess that means the room is clean of bugs."
He wasn't going to be put off though, judging by the way he stalked over to her, predatory intention clear in every step that brought him closer. Her pulse shot up, and every instinct warned her to run, but she stood her ground as he bore down on her. He stopped less than an arm's reach away, frustration dipped in desire pouring off him in waves that set off an answering delicious shiver up her spine.
"Asking me to bring Jasper here." He shoved his long fingers through his dark hair, ruffling its perfect order. "You know that isn't possible."
"We both know it is possible-anyway, it's smart for you. It lets you flash a little of that Luc Svendsen magic that has Rolf all hot and bothered." She snorted at his surprised look. Men always were ready to believe anything about her, except that she could add two plus two and get four. "Oh yes, I know that despite what your written plan stated, I was just your invitation to Fare Island. The really big bait you're dangling so he'll let you in close is the possibility of learning all the secrets you have about the influential people he wants to control."
"I don't need Jasper here to prove that I'm valuable."
"No, you need him here to prove that you're willing to make sacrifices for the organization. He knows it will cost you valuable favors to get Jasper here. If you don't think he has some inkling that my brother is in custody, then you vastly underestimate him." Too many people had tried to influence her father by currying favor with his family. However, neither her mother, brother, nor herself had a direct line to her father's heart. "That's what he really cares about. Until you can prove your value to the organization, you're an interesting distraction."
She was right. He'd have to be an imbecile not to realize it, and Lucas Bendtsen was no idiot. Like her, he stayed focused on obtaining the goal at all costs, no one who wasn't that way would have said yes to her stepfather's asinine idea to get married right away. They didn't have much in common, but they had that, even if their goals were at opposing ends.
"And the fact that having Jasper here will make it that much easier for you two to go AWOL didn't factor into your decision at all?"
Of course it did, but she didn't need to confirm it for him to know that. "What's wrong?" she asked, her sharp question softened by her teasing tone. "You think you can't beat me at the game you created and made all the rules for?"
His answering smirk made her pulse hop. "That's not even up for debate."
Had they started flirting? Because it totally felt like they'd moved from fighting to flirting considering the way her lungs had shrunk and her nipples had peaked. Did Mr. By The Book even know how to flirt? His eyes darkened before he dropped his gaze to her parted mouth then ever so slowly brought his attention back up. Breathing became difficult.
Yes. Yes, he definitely did know how to flirt.