A Beautiful Lie

Page 26

Garrett was flooded with her warm wetness and as she pushed herself harder against his erection, the water splashing around her body as she thrust her hips. He knew he was all done.

"Uunnngg…fuck," Garrett shouted against the wet skin of Parker's neck as she slid up to the tip of his cock. The heat of her opening pressed against the sensitive head, and he came hard, using every ounce of his willpower not to push inside her as he throbbed between her legs.

His body jerked with the force of his orgasm, and Parker slid one more time down his length, holding herself against the base of him as they collapsed against each other, panting heavily.

Parker didn't have time to wonder what in the world had got into Garrett or to enjoy the fact that maybe they were finally moving to a place where they could be real with each other and not be consumed with guilt and memories. The moment was cut short by a voice on the other side of the waterfall.

"Mr. and Mrs. Miller, I'm sorry to disturb you, but the President has arrived and asked if you would join him for a late lunch instead of dinner."

Parker and Garrett didn't move, their foreheads locked together and both of them glancing down beneath the water where their bodies were still touching.

"He would like for me to inform you that he will conduct the interview you desire immediately after lunch."

The faint sound of footsteps walking away prompted them to start breathing again. Parker finally let her hand drop from its firm hold of the ceiling and pulled back to look at Garrett. She knew immediately that their moment was over by the embarrassment covering his face and the fact that he wouldn't look her in the eyes.

Parker unwound her legs from around his waist and pushed herself away from him, refusing to watch him put his precious wall back in place or say something to belittle what had just happened between them. She quickly adjusted her bathing suit, pulling it back into place and covering herself from his view. She turned and swam away from him, making sure she was the one with the last word this time and paying him back for his quick retreat out of bed and away from her the night before.

"I'm going to take a shower," she yelled over her shoulder as she moved through the water. "I'll meet you at lunch."

Chapter Fourteen

Parker showered and dressed for lunch, leaving the room before Garrett got back. It was better this way: no awkward silences, no attempt at strained conversation, no need for her heart to crack a little more because of what she'd done, what she'd given that hadn't been returned. The black three-quarter sleeved wrap dress she wore looked like something she'd wear to a funeral, which was fitting, given her mood.

She exited the room and smiled at the guard standing in the hallway, her black, peep-toed Jimmy Choo heels clicking on the marble floor as she walked. She'd been there almost twenty-four hours and hadn't even thought to look around. She was losing her touch and forgetting her training all because of one man.

Parker didn't figure she'd find anything or gain access into any room that might have information that would help them, but she couldn't just sit around and do nothing.

She wandered along every floor of the palace, walking at a casual pace and pretending like she was checking out the artwork on the walls as she went. Parker wasn't stupid enough to reach out and turn the handle on any of the closed doors, knowing full well that she'd be seen and questioned.

Instead, she focused on the conversations of guards and staff. She assumed they had been informed that she spoke a bit of Spanish after her words of thanks to the President's wife at dinner the other evening. This explained why the people she passed spoke to each other in Portuguese when they noticed her standing there. The two languages were similar in that many of the words were spelled the same, so they were easy to learn. The main difference was the pronunciation. Lucky for Parker she had spent several weeks last summer speaking only Portuguese. She was quite fluent.

Most of the conversations focused on security of the palace, meetings about security of the palace, or changes in security of the palace. Nothing stuck out to Parker as unusual until she walked by an office with two men in a heated discussion. She immediately recognized the first man as the Vice President. The man he argued with looked like one of the staff members since he wore the same crisp, white uniform everyone else did.

She walked by the door as quickly and quietly as she could, stopping once she reached the other side so she could listen, translating their conversation in her mind.

"They are going to find out about the cat."

"They aren't intelligent enough to put that together. You shouldn't worry so much."

"You and I both know what he'll do if this is uncovered."

Parker knew her Portuguese was spot on and there was no doubt in her mind she translated what they said perfectly. But what the hell did it mean, she wondered.

"Mrs. Miller," a familiar, booming voice echoed in the hall behind her, causing her to jump and turn around. "You look lovely this afternoon."

Parker easily masked the look of guilt on her face and smiled politely at Fernandez.

"Thank you, Mr. President. I hope you don't mind. I was just enjoying some of your art pieces before our late lunch," she said, the lie easily rolling off of her tongue.

Fernandez stared at her with a smile on his face, but it wasn't one of joy. He was using it to cover up his irritation because she was wandering around alone.

"And which piece have you enjoyed the most?" he asked her, attempting to trip her up, most likely knowing full well she hadn't been paying a bit of attention to any of the paintings or sculptures as she wandered.

Parker had spent the better part of eight years studying this man. She knew the name and location of every single piece in the palace, along with how much it cost and the date it was purchased. She didn't need to pay attention to her surroundings to know how to answer his question.

"I am particularly fond of the Salazar, 'Unscathed Earth', in the northwest corner of the third floor, next to the executive office balcony," Parker replied confidently, raising one of her eyebrows in challenge.

If Fernandez was ruffled by her knowledge, he didn't show it.

"I do believe we should be heading down to the dining room. It would be a pleasure to escort you," he replied, bending his elbow for her to take.

Parker had a feeling he didn't really care about being a gentleman, he just didn't want her snooping around anymore. She wondered if the guards would get a good tongue lashing later for not stopping her.

Garrett stood up from his place at the table as Parker entered the room on Fernandez's arm. He'd spent the better part of the last two hours wondering if something had happened to her. The only thing that kept him calm was the subtle, clean smell of her soap from the shower and the exotic scent of her coconut perfume she'd sprayed while getting ready in their room. It permeated the air when he finally let himself in after wallowing down by the pool for an hour after she left .

Fernandez walked Parker over to Garrett's side and he greeted her with a kiss on her cheek. The dress she wore clung to every inch of her curves and showed off a generous amount of cleavage, and Garrett had to remind himself that it would be inappropriate to maul her at the dinner table.

"I found your wife roaming the palace unaccompanied, so I thought I'd escort her back to your care," Fernandez said as Garrett pulled Parker's chair out for her.

The condescending way he spoke of Parker, making it seem like she'd sneaked away from her husband without permission, made her curl her fists in anger.

Garrett nodded his head in thanks and put his hand over Parker's fist that rested in her lap so he could try and calm her down. He knew full well that comment would bring her claws out, and it would be incredibly hard for her not to say something snarky to the man in response.

"Thank you for the use of the pool today, Mr. President. It must be wonderful to have such a beautiful retreat right in your own backyard," Garrett told him as one of the waiters began serving lunch.

"I'm happy you were able to take advantage of it. I'm afraid with my busy schedule I'm not afforded much free time to appreciate my surroundings. I was informed that you and Mrs. Miller had a wonderful day and that you were able to find a little privacy from the guards," Fernandez said simply with a sly smile aimed at Garrett.

This time it was Garrett's turn to curl his hands into fists at Fernandez's blatant admission that he'd been told exactly what he and Parker had done that day. It disgusted him and made him want to punch the smug look off of the man's face for thinking he could just take advantage of them like that.

Parker was just as enraged as Garrett was at the President's words, but she quickly changed the subject to diffuse the tension in the room.

They made a good team, even if neither one of them could admit it.

When lunch was over they made their way up to the President's office. Parker stopped in the suite along the way and picked up her camera.

Fernandez sat down behind a giant oak desk, pointing to the chair directly in front of it for Garrett. He pulled out a small tape recorder, a notebook, and a pen and began the interview.

Parker attached the new lens Garrett had bought her for her birthday to the end of her camera, adjusted the settings for the dimly lit office, and began circling the room, taking random pictures. She listened to Garrett's questions, knowing that none of them would cause the President to slip in any way. But at least the interview had gotten them close to him, close enough to know he wasn't what he seemed.

Garrett watched Parker out of the corner of his eye as she slowly and quietly took pictures of the President during the interview. The new lens allowed her to zoom in so close to items that she could see particles of dust on them. Parker made sure to snap a photo of every single piece of paper in the room. She knew the President wouldn't be careless enough to leave something laying around that would blatantly point a finger at him; she just needed a clue―something that could tie him to the missing girls or to what happened to Milo.

Luckily, Parker was behind the man when Garrett saw the small look of surprise on her face as she stared at something on Fernandez's desk. He didn't pause or lose his concentration at all while he asked Fernandez what made him run for office, still watching Parker as her breath quickened and she slowly lowered the camera from her face concentrating whatever it was she had noticed.

Parker shook the fog from her head and quickly pulled the camera back up to her face before Fernandez noticed the clicking behind him had stopped. She adjusted the focus ring, set the shutter speed, and zoomed in as close as she could, snapping several pictures before walking back around to the front of the desk as if nothing was amiss.

The interview concluded a half hour later, and Garrett thanked Fernandez for his time and the use of the palace. The three of them walked down the front steps together, Fernandez being whisked off in one vehicle while Parker and Garrett were placed in another, along with their bags.

Garrett watched Parker's knee bounce nervously the entire ride back to the resort. Whatever it was she saw in that office had put her on edge. Given the use of recording devices in their room, he wasn't about to question her in the palace's car. The limo dropped them off at the front entrance and the driver handed their bags over to one of the resort staff before pulling away.

"What's going on, Parker?" Garrett whispered as they walked across the resort to their room. "What did you see back in that office?"

Before Parker could answer him, they were at their door and the staffer unlocked it for them, placing their bags at the foot of the bed. Garrett tipped him and waited until the door before turning back to Parker with a questioning look.

"Just…give me a second," she said with a frazzled wave of her hand as she quickly rounded the end of the bed and grabbed her laptop off of the table by the window. Her knee continued to bounce nervously as she waited for the computer to power up, finally opening Google and typing in the name she'd seen on the matchbook on the edge of the President's desk. As soon as she saw it her blood had run cold and a flash of memory shot through her mind.

Parker had let herself into Garrett and Milo's apartment and shouted a greeting as she shut the door behind her. She had just flown in from Puerto Rico and her first ever assignment as a CIA agent. She was exhausted, but she'd promised the boys she'd stop by for dinner. The three of them had just signed the lease to the small ranch they'd be sharing in another month, but for now, Parker had her own apartment a few miles away from them. Parker and Milo had been dating for almost a year, and for the first time in a long time, she felt like she was part of a family. She could never deny Garrett or Milo anything they asked. Even if it meant coming to their apartment straight off of a three and a half hour flight from Puerto Rico to Washington, DC for debriefing and then another almost four hour flight from DC to California.

Milo came out into the living room as she dropped her bags on the floor by the door, double-checking to make sure she'd removed the destination tags from the handles before she turned to greet Milo.

"Hey, babe," he said as he kissed her cheek. "How was your trip? Get some good pictures?"

They walked over to the couch to sit down, and Parker put her feet up in Milo's lap.

"It was good. The weather was beautiful," she told him as he untied her shoes and removed them for her.

She'd learned one of the main tricks of leading a double life was to stick to the truth as much as possible. It had been nice in Puerto Rico. And according to the Weather Channel, it had also been nice in Mexico, where Milo thought she'd been.

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