Above All, Honor

by Radclyffe

See part 1 for all disclaimers and copyright information.


Chapter Three

"Agent Roberts?" a handsome Brad Pitt look-alike inquired as Cam stepped off the elevator on the eighth floor of a brownstone apartment building that faced the south side of Gramercy Park. He extended his hand with a disarming smile. "Iím Mac Phillips. The others are inside the command post. Welcome to the Aerie."

She took his outstretched hand, smiling at the play on eagleís nest. "Cameron Roberts. What's on for this morning?"

She accompanied him into a large loft space that had been sectioned into work cubicles and equipment stations by shoulder high particle-board partitions. Their surveillance center occupied the entire floor directly below Blair Powellís penthouse suite. A small conference room enclosed by glass filled the far corner. As they approached the group of people seated within, Phillips consulted a printout in his hand.

"Intro and weekly briefing now. You are scheduled to meet with Egret at eleven in the penthouse." He caught her faint expression of surprise and shrugged. "She wonít talk to any of us. She says if she must discuss her plans, it will only be once, and with the team commander."

"Itís her prerogative," Cam remarked. As she walked, she was making careful note of the banks of video monitors, multi-cassette recorders, computer simulators, and a large grid of New York City, digitally indexed and showing up-to-the minute placement of police vehicles. It was the same array of equipment used to monitor the White House and surrounds, and with the same reason. The President was vulnerable through his family. To avoid the appearance of that vulnerability, the First Family needed to be shown living as normal a life as possible, not shuttled about by armed guards. Hence, their protection needed to be provided at a distance, with as little visibility as possible. The semblance of freedom was a ruse they all conspired to perpetuate - everyone, apparently, except Blair Powell.

"Good morning, people," she said briskly as she strode to the head of the oblong table. She glanced at each face, making brief eye contact with everyone. "You have one hour to tell me everything I need to know about this operation, and everything you donít think I need to know as well. Letís get started."

At the end of an hour during which Cam listened, questioned, and issued a few directives, the agents who constituted her team sensed there was a new game in town. Everyone present took their responsibility seriously, for the sake of their future employment if for no other reason, and each had felt the frustration voiced earlier by the departing team commander. That dissatisfaction was heightened by the fact that they disliked Blair Powell, although none of them would ever say so, even to each other. Over the six months since Andrew Powell had been President, the obstructive, uncooperative attitude of his daughter had subtly undermined the confidence of the operatives. An hour with Cameron Roberts provided them with the first jolt of optimism theyíd felt in weeks.

**********

"Allow me to summarize," Cam said as she stood and walked to the window looking down on the postage-sized private park that formed the heart of Gramercy Park. As she watched an elderly woman unlock the gate that surrounded the park, she spoke, her back to the room, but her voice clearly audible. "Ms. Powell resents our intrusion into her life; she resents our presence in every public and private moment of her day. She undoubtedly resents our observation of her personal liaisons and romantic encounters. I, for one, donít blame her."

She turned to the group with a small shrug. "The fact that Ms. Powell does not welcome our presence is immaterial. Our job is to see that she is able to carry on her life with the maximum degree of security possible. No matter where she is, or what sheís doing. She has decided to make this a game. We have to play, and we have to win. We donít get to throw up our hands and call foul if she changes the rules. There are no rain outs. We canít expect her to help us win; we have to do that for ourselves."

She smiled faintly as she took her seat again. Now she understood at least one of the reasons she had been given this assignment. "Remember she is an uncooperative subject. Donít expect her to smile and say good morning; donít expect her to make your job easy. She has made it clear she does not want us around. She is not going to invite us along. We will switch from protective surveillance methods to investigative tactics. If she canít see you, it will be harder for her to lose you. If you need to follow her to protect her, then youíve got to fit in where she travels. You have to function essentially undercover."

She looked pointedly at each of her operatives, seeing them as Blair Powell must see them. Ivy league starched, polished and presentable. About as obvious as the proverbial bulls in the china shop.

"Except at scheduled public functions where Ms. Powell is acting in some official capacity, no suits, no ties, no skirts. Street clothes, preferably something appropriate for the type of locales she is known to frequent."

She saw the slight stiffening of a few shoulders, and continued unperturbed. It was time to stop circling the primary problem. "For you men, I think a slightly longer hair length would be helpful for starters. It's time for you to stop looking like tourists, or cops." She sipped the last of her coffee, gathering her papers with one hand. "A little research might also be in order. I want a summary of every gay bar and restaurant in New York City. Hours of operation, type of clientele, traffic patterns in the area, etc. Start with the ones you know sheís been to. Have it on my desk before the day is out. Know your subject, ladies and gentlemen, and you have won the first point."

Everyone relaxed slightly as she pulled open the door to the conference room. She paused at the sill, turning back casually.

"By the way Mac, does she know about the video equipment inside her apartment?"

He looked at her in surprise. How had she noticed that on a quick walk through the monitoring section?

"I doubt it," he said quietly. If she were aware of the micro-cameras mounted in the ceiling of her loft, she would hardly be walking around nude the way she did.

"Turn them off," Cam said flatly. "Video the elevator, the building exits, fire escapes, and garage only. On my responsibility."

With that she was gone, leaving them to wonder where one got the balls to countermand a direct order from the White House Chief of Staff.

**********

At precisely eleven am, Cam keyed the elevator to the penthouse, exiting in a small foyer opposite a carved oak door set into the rich wood panels. The wallpaper on the other two walls adjoining the lift was a cream fabric, intricately patterned and luxuriously textured. The effect was warm and sensual. Cam rang the bell beside the door.

Blair Powell opened the door a moment later. Her hair was wet from the shower, casually finger-combed and falling freely around her face. She wore a loosely belted blue silk robe that came to just above her knees. Her legs were bare, and Cam knew she was naked beneath the thin material. The front gaped enough to reveal the soft inner curves of both breasts. There was a trace of jasmine floating in the air. Cam was assaulted with the seething sensuality she had sensed in the photograph earlier. She kept her gaze carefully at eye level.

"Iím Agent Roberts, Ms. Powell. Iíll come back when youíre ready, " she said neutrally. "If you would just call the command room-"

"I wonít be available later," Blair interrupted, appraising the current commander assigned with her care. This one was somewhat of a surprise. She wore the requisite suit, a little better cut than most. You couldnít see a hint of a bulge from the shoulder holster. Her hair was short, and fashionably styled in a roguishly faux-masculine cut. The double-breasted jacket was open to expose a fine white linen shirt that hugged a well developed chest and trim waist. The belted trousers were streamlined to the tightly muscled thighs. Blair found her startlingly attractive in an understated butch fashion. The Commander was either unimpeachably heterosexual or exactly what she appeared to be - a lesbian who didnít care who knew it. Blair was intrigued.

"Itís now or next week," she continued, enjoying her control. There was no way the new commander could wait even a few hours to discuss her schedule.

"Now would be fine," Cam acquiesced graciously. She didnít want a power struggle over trivial issues. She had no need to prove herself that way.

Blair stepped slightly aside, motioning Cam into the high-ceilinged open loft space. She smiled as Cam carefully avoided brushing against her. All business, she thought to herself.

"Do you have a first name, Agent Roberts?" Blair asked as she crossed to the kitchen area. A breakfast bar flanked by tall stools separated the cooking space from the large living room. She leaned down to pull two cups from the shelves under the island, quite aware that the movement afforded a clear view into her dressing gown.

"Cameron," Cam replied, keeping her face and voice expressionless. Her mind registered the striking perfection of the young womanís body, an image of her soft, pink-nippled breasts indelibly implanted in her memory. She was being taunted, that much was clear. What she didnít know was why.

Blair straightened slowly, searching for a reaction in the handsome agent's face. She was curious to find none.

"Cameron," she breathed huskily, "thatís nice. You can call me Blair."

Cameron continued unperturbed, "Iíll try not to take too much of your time, Ms. Powell. If we could just review your plans for the week, I can leave you to your day."

Blair stared at her, anger seething in her blue eyes. "Donít patronize me, Agent Roberts. We both know you wonít be leaving me to anything at all."

Cam nodded assent. "Forgive me, I didnít mean it that way. Of course, I canít. But I can make my presence and that of my people as unintrusive as possible."

Blair was surprised by her conciliatory approach. That was a new tactic. Usually they tried to bully her with threats of unfavorable reports to her father, as if she were an unruly child in school. Either that or they promised her privacy while tightening the net around her. She had absolutely no reason to believe this one, despite the sincerity in her intense gray eyes. She walked around the island carrying the coffee until she was next to Cam. She reached to put the cups on the counter, brushing close to Cam as she did.

Cam didnít flinch at the contact, although her body registered the pressure of Blairís breasts against her arm and the heat of a naked thigh against her leg. She was annoyed by the twitch of arousal that occurred entirely involuntarily. She consciously kept her breathing light and steady. She knows about the video cameras. Putting the team commander in an embarrassing position on tape might conceivably benefit her at some point, or it just might be her idea of a game. Either way, Cam pitied Daniel Ryan. Blair Powell was a powerfully desirable woman, and if such attractions still interested her, it might become a problem. Blair had no way of knowing that despite the reflex arousal she provoked, Cam was completely immune to sexual allure.

Blair deliberately pressed closer, and Cam allowed the moment of contact to linger long enough to make it clear she was aware of it, and undisturbed by it. Sheíd gotten quite a lot of practice in the last six months saying no to attractive women. Then she stepped away, reaching into her inside jacket pocket for the computer log Mac had provided her.

"The schedule?" she said softly.

Blair stared at her, color rising to her face. She had just been rebuked, subtly, but very definitely. Rejection from women was a new and unwelcome experience. Sheíd never been as blatantly provocative with Daniel Ryan, but she had sensed his discomfort whenever they were alone, and she knew she had an effect on him. Something about Cameron Robertsí cool, aloof manner made her want to crack that perfect self-control. If she must have a jailer, she wanted it to be one she commanded.

"Yes, letís get that over with," she responded with irritation, taking her coffee and moving into the sitting area.

Cam followed, noting the large work area in the far corner of the loft. Easels stood open with canvasses mounted on them and other works leaned against every surface. Sunlight streamed through the skylight, illuminating the uncovered surfaces. From the brief glimpse she got, it appeared that Blair Powell deserved her reputation as a genuine artist. Cam took a seat across from Blair on one of two facing leather sofas. Blair tucked her legs under her as she curled gracefully into the cushions. Cam noted abstractly that she was much more beautiful in her unconscious moments than when she used her considerable sexual power as a weapon. In the next instant her mind had returned to the work at hand.

"I have you at a gallery opening tomorrow, dinner at the White House New Yearís Eve, and attending the Macyís parade here in New York City with the mayor the next day," Cam read from the schedule. She looked to Blair for confirmation.

"Busy week," Blair muttered. "That seems to be it," she said tersely.

Cam regarded her thoughtfully. She would have hated such intrusion, but there was nothing to be done about it. The fact that Blair Powell did not choose this life - it wasnít her after all who had run for public office - was beside the point. And the hard part was yet to come.

"What about your personal plans," Cam asked, her eyes on Blairís face. She would not apologize for what she needed to do. Cam wanted it clear that she would not compromise her own responsibility or Blairís safety because of Blairís dislike for the situation.

"I donít have any," Blair responded lightly.

Cam leaned back, tossing the schedule aside. She smiled faintly. "I need to know anything you have scheduled - dinner plans, a date for drinks, that sort of thing. If you donít know, Iíll need you to tell me as things come up. All you have to do is check in with the command post -"

"I know all this, Agent Roberts," Blair said testily.

"Yes, but apparently youíre not fond of the routine."

"Would you be?"

"Thatís not the point. You are the daughter of the President of the United States. You donít need me to tell you what that means. Please let us do ours jobs, and I promise you we will be as discreet as we can be."

"Do you expect me to tell you when I plan on a sexual liaison too?" she asked bluntly.

"I donít need to know what youíre doing so much as where youíre doing it," Cam responded smoothly. She knew Blair was trying to get her to back off, and she could not relent now. "It would be preferable if you would inform us when you planned to spend the night somewhere other than here, for example."

"And what if I donít know where Iíll be spending the night?"

"Then Iíll improvise."

"Youíre a lot more direct than your predecessors. Arenít you afraid Iíll complain about you and youíll end up guarding some minor foreign diplomat on their tour of the capitol?" Her tone was caustic, but she studied Cam with guarded respect. The new commander was in a class of her own. Impossible to shock, and clearly not intimidated by her. A refreshing change, but much more of a challenge than the others.

Cam laughed. "Ms. Powell, some people would consider that a plum assignment!"

"Compared to this you mean?"

Cam stood, refusing to be provoked. "It was a pleasure to meet you, Ms. Powell. Please call me at any time if there is anything you wish to discuss. I would like to review your itinerary each day. Let the command room know when it will be convenient for you to meet with me."

"Oh, absolutely," Blair responded with a smile, her tone implying just how little that request meant to her. She remained seated as Cam left the room, thinking how attractive her tight, graceful body might be under other circumstances.


Chapter Four


Mac Philips looked up as his new boss walked into the command center. He raised an eyebrow slightly in inquiry. She seemed pensive but displayed none of the thinly veiled discomfort Ryan tried to hide after one of his encounters with Egret. But then Mac didnít expect her to reveal anything. He couldnít remember the last time he had met anyone quite so impenetrable. He had a feeling this was going to be a "need to know" operation. He found he liked her unspoken respect for Egretís position, and her basic assumption that they were there to protect her, not have an easy time. He was getting tired of the undercurrent of dissatisfaction and criticism that had been the daily fare around there for the last few months. If she could turn that around, he was all for her.

"Anything unexpected?" he asked as she joined him.

"Not so far. The public functions are as outlined. For the gallery opening tomorrow, Iíll be inside with two others. Have two people with the car outside. That means the afternoon and evening shift will split the extra duty."

He made a note. "Right."

"We can use some of the White House detail for the dinner on New Yearís Eve. Have one team stay here to meet her plane when she returns for the parade. All of that is standard, and in the future you can draw up the duty rosters. Just be sure I get a hard copy of who will be where."

"Done," he responded. He waited, wondering how she was going to deal with the real problem.

"Ms. Powell will not confirm any personal plans, which puts us in a reactive mode. I do not want her to get away from us, especially not now. I have a feeling sheíll be testing our new command. She is going to move, you can be sure of that. Keep a car accessible in case she grabs a cab, and have someone ready for foot pursuit, preferably a woman. If she goes to a gay bar, it might be easier if we have a woman on the inside."

"Weíve had lousy luck so far," Mac remarked. "Half the time we lose her in transit."

Can stood, stretching her cramped shoulders. "That is no longer acceptable. Iím going home. Page me the minute she steps out her door."

"Until what time?" Mac asked as he prepared to make a note.

"Any time," she said with finality. "If she isnít in her apartment, I want to know about it."

"Yes, maíam," Mac responded crisply. He watched her glance once around the room, assuring herself that all was in order, before she left. He had a feeling Egret was in for a surprise, and he was looking forward to seeing it.

**********

Cam stripped as she walked through her new apartment to the shower, eager to wash the effects of her flight and the first day of her new assignment from her body and her mind. The cool spray refreshed her, but did little to dispel the disquiet left from her meeting with Blair Powell.

It was not just the young woman's confrontational manner that had affected her. She was angry at herself for the physical response, however unwelcome, that the woman had provoked in her. She had been aware of an insistent pulse of stimulation long after she left the apartment. It may have been unbidden, but she felt betrayed by her own body. With an irritated shake of her head, she pulled on shorts and a tee-shirt. She could hardly be expected to control her involuntary nervous system! And here in New York there was no discrete way to relieve it. She would just have to run off the lingering remnants of arousal.

**********

Blair Powell looked down onto the busy streets below as Cam ran lightly down the steps of her brownstone and began her jog toward Central Park. She was very quickly swallowed by the crowds. An afterimage of her lean form lingered in Blairís mind as she reached for her phone. It occurred to her that the agents downstairs might be listening, but she no longer cared. She dialed a number from memory.

"Hey, you," she said with a smile in her voice, "How come youíre working on a Saturday? ... Right! Youíre still trying to be the youngest assistant director! ... Of course I need a favor! .... Background check - a Cameron Roberts. This might be a tough one. Sheís secret service.... Yes, I know how much youíre sacrificing! Just get me whatever you can. ... Call me as soon as you have something, okay? And hey - I know I owe you, really .... Not in this lifetime you wonít!"

As she replaced the receiver, she contemplated calling downstairs to advise them of her change in plans. But then again, why alter the routine now. She slipped into a dark brown leather jacket as she left her apartment.

**********

The pager clipped to the waist band of the small pack Cam wore beeped just as she completed the first lap around the Central Park Resevoir. She dug out her cell phone, punching numbers with barely a break in stride.

"Roberts."

"Egretís on the move."

"Do we know her destination?"

"No, maíam."

"Are we covering?"

"So far. Sheís on foot and we have her in visual."

"Good. Donít attempt to make contact. Just stay with her. Iíll be there in twenty minutes. And Fielding?"

"Yes maíam?"

"Tell them not to lose her."

"Yes maíam."

Please god, donít let us fuck up the first day, Agent John Fielding thought as he relayed his chiefís instructions to the two agents in pursuit.

**********

"Where is she?" Cam asked without preamble.

"At the Soho gym," Fielding replied with obvious relief.

"Do you have visual confirmation of that?"

"Yes maíam. Paula Stark is inside."

Cam relaxed. "Good. Iím going to shower and change. If she moves before I check in, call me."

Twenty minutes later she sat across the street from the Soho gym watching the entrance. A metallic blue Ford diagonally opposite her held two secret service agents doing the same thing. She didnít think they were aware of her. She wasnít watching them. She trusted her agents for this type of routine surveillance. She was there because she wanted to get a sense of Blair Powell. She wanted to know where she ate, where she shopped, where she went for entertainment, and where she spent her evenings. Then she would begin to feel she could protect her.

Four hours later she was beginning to fill in some of the blanks. From a distance she had observed Blair dine with an exotic appearing dark-haired woman in a small Italian restaurant in the west Village. From there the two women had walked a few blocks to a neighborhood gay bar for a nightcap. They had taken their time, window shopping, stopping off at a bookstore, purchasing espresso from a curbside stand. They were in the bar now, and so was one of her agents. She didnít really care if Blair saw him. Their presence should be anticipated. Cam simply told him to keep his distance and not to intrude upon them. Cam was considering calling it a night. It didnít look like this was anything more than an evening out for Blair Powell, and the team assigned to shadow her seemed to have things under control. She was reaching for her radio to check out when she spotted Blairís companion hurry from the bar and hail a cab. She was instantly alert.

"Young - this is Roberts. Do you have Egret in visual?"

"Negative. Sheís in the restroom."

Cam switched channels. "Stark - get into that bathroom."

"Iím on it," the female agent replied as she exited the car parked just down the street from the small corner bar.

The moments passed slowly until Camís earpiece crackled to life.

"Sheís not in here, Chief," Stark announced.

"Recheck the entire bar. If sheís not inside, start a sweep of the surrounding area. Sheís on foot, at least for now." Cam punched in the numbers of the command center on her cell phone as she spoke. "Fielding, give me the addresses of all gay bars in a twenty block radius - start with known locales first."

While she waited for the computer to produce the information, she considered the situation. Blair had intentionally evaded them, which was not all that hard to do since they werenít guarding her with the manpower a criminal surveillance would demand. That was because Blair was supposed to be a friendly protectee. Now that she was out of their range she was at potential risk for kidnapping, or if documented in some compromising circumstance, for blackmail. The fact that she was not easily identifiable as the Presidentís daughter was the only thing they had going for them. It was going to be a long tense night until they found her.

"Iíve got that list for you, Chief," Fielding said as he came on line.

"Go," she said. There were six potentials in the immediate area. "Get Mac Phillips in to co-ordinate the teams. Iím going to check out the ones at the top of the list."

"Got it. Good luck," he signed off.

Right, Cam muttered to herself as she locked her car and joined the crowds on the ever busy streets of Greenwich Village. An hour later she paid her third cover charge of the evening and thanked a leather-clad bouncer for a particularly garish skull and cross bones stamped on her hand. She was in a loft on a dingy block just off Houston in a massive bar that was dimly lit with recessed red lights. The interior space was divided into several levels, with at least two bars, dance floors scattered at random, and what appeared to be a warren of smaller rooms in the rear. It was women only and predominately but not exclusively a leather bar. Cam bought a beer and began to wander through the crowded main room. Toward the rear, twisting halls led off to other rooms, all of them full. She glanced into each of the smaller areas she passed, noting that the overt sexual activity increased the deeper she went into the building. At one point she had to move sideways along the wall to pass two women with their hands inside each others clothing, oblivious to those passing by or standing in the shadows observing their heated encounter.

As soon as she pushed her way into the dark bar at the end of the long hallway, Cam saw her. She was leaning against the bar, facing the room. Cam turned her back, stepping behind several women grouped along the wall. She whispered her location and instructions to the other agents before returning her gaze to Blair Powell. The Presidentís daughter had been joined by another woman, who pressed close against her in the crowded space. The stranger whispered urgently into Blairís ear. Blair gazed past her into the seething crowd of bodies on the small dance floor, not answering.

Cam observed the women impassively. Blair looked remote, as if her mind were elsewhere. The leatherclad woman with her was obviously trying to interest her in something a little more intimate. As she leaned to kiss Blairís neck, she ran a hand up the inside of Blairís bluejeaned thigh, and would have pressed her hand to the triangle between Blair's legs if Blair hadnít gripped her wrist, pushing her hand away at the last second. Throughout the entire time, Blairís face barely registered a response.

It was clear to Cam that no one knew or cared who Blair was. Everyone was absorbed in their own pursuit of sex, or whatever particular thrill they were seeking. Cam needed to be sure Blair remained anonymous, and she wasnít entirely sure how to do that. Calling attention to her by trying to remove her against her will certainly wasnít the best course of action. Cam resigned herself to watching for the time being. That proved to be more difficult than she anticipated.

Blairís companion was not easily diverted, and continued her insistent caresses. She had essentially trapped Blair against the bar with an arm on either side of her while she straddled Blairís leg between her own. Blair turned her face away as the woman persisted in kissing her neck, one hand now inside Blair's shirt, fondling her breast. Blair did not seem particularly affected by the activity, but her ardent suitor apparently was. As Cam watched, the other woman began to ride Blair's leg harder, her motions jerky and tense. Can had no doubt the woman was poised to orgasm right there at the bar.

Blair could feel the womanís heat through the material of their clothing, and heard the shaky moans as her companion pressed her damp crotch against Blair's thigh. It hadnít been Blairís intention to let her go that far, not until her eyes swept across the room and met those of Cameron Roberts. She was momentarily stunned. The agent leaned against the opposite wall, dressed in jeans, a white cotton shirt, and boots. She looked completely at home, and was easily one of the sexiest women in the room. The fact that Blair found the Secret Service agent attractive infuriated her, especially since she knew Cam was only there to watch her. Well, let her watch, she thought angrily to herself. She kept her eyes on Camís face as she cupped the womanís buttocks in her hands, squeezing the taut muscles in small tight circles, lifting her leg hard into the other woman's crotch.

"Let me have it, baby," she whispered in her companion's ear, pumping her own hips now. "You want to, donít you?"

"Oh Jesus, yes," the stranger panted against her neck. "Oh fuck, unhh Ė I need to come Ė" She was so far gone all she sought was that elusive instant of bone melting release. "Oh, god, yeah ---"

Camís gaze never strayed from the sexual display. Her faced revealed no emotion, nor did Blairís, as Blairís partner in the drama shuddered into climax against Blairís body. Cam might have been embarrassed to witness the encounter had she sensed a shred of intimacy in it. It was erotic, of that there was no doubt. She knew she was wet, but the physical arousal did not penetrate her consciousness. She wasnít the only one watching, although the interest of the others was of a different nature.

As the woman's spasms subsided, Blair extracted herself from her spent partnerís embrace, grasping her drink from the bar and pushing her way into the crowd. She did not look back at the woman sagging against the counter, gasping for breath. She did not acknowledge the occasional appreciative comments her performance had elicited. She took her time crossing to Cam.

"Enjoy the show, Agent Roberts?" she asked as she stepped to Camís side. The press of the crowds brought her within inches of Camís body. She could make out a light sheen of sweat on Cam's skin in the soft red glow of the lights.

Cam's eyes were impossible to read as she returned Blairís gaze. "I have a car outside when youíre ready to leave," was all she said. She had no intention of involving herself in a conscious way in Blair Powellís personal affairs. She might have to witness them, if Blair continued with this kind of public encounter, but she didnít have to be a participant.

"And if I decide to walk home?"

"As you wish," Cam replied.

"Iím not sure Iíve had enough entertainment yet," she said pointedly.

Cam shrugged. "The car will be there no matter how late you stay."

"And will you be?"

"Yes."

Blair sipped her manhattan, the only drink sheíd had all evening. She might like to walk on the wild side, but she wasnít a fool. She tried to gauge the agentís attitude from her expression and the tone of her voice, and found she couldnít. Cameron leaned relaxed against the wall, her tone friendly, her face composed. To anyone watching, they might be any two women in the first exploratory stages of a typical bar encounter. Except Blair knew they werenít, and as much as Agent Roberts made it appear that she had some choice in the rest of the evening, the truth was that the moment they found her, her freedom had ended. She set her glass on the nearest table.

"You donít make it as my choice for an escort," she said bitterly. "Iím going home."

Cam followed Blair out to the street at a discreet distance, and once she saw her climb into the car with two of her agents, she headed tiredly toward home herself. As she walked, she tried not to replay the image of a strange woman surrendering to passion in Blair Powellís cold embrace.

Continue on to Part 3

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