Holt Steele, I'm Driving
“Come on, doll. Let
me slide it in, a little more, come on. Take it in.” He
breathed out in contentment. “There
you go, sweetheart.” He ratcheted down
another bolt with the same finesse he used in picking
“All right, love. Let’s see how you sound.” A flick of the
keys had the Hemi engine coming to life in a rumbling roar.
He walked around the heavy door to duck
under the hood again. A careful adjustment here
and there smoothed out the sound until the
engine purred under her owner’s hands.
No trace of the car’s
previously hard life remained. The midnight
black finish gleamed, proudly displaying its heritage
even as it hid an engine refined by modern
technology. The owner slid an admiring hand along the
top edge of the hood before shutting it with a
A friend had discovered
it, offered it up for a song. In the late
evenings and quiet weekends of the past three years, he’d
created a masterpiece of machinery for him
alone to enjoy. The brand new license tags gleamed.
He’d squelched the idea of customizing
them. Instead, he would allow the artistry of the
vehicle to stand in testament to its
The new vibrating pager on
his belt attracted his attention.
Scowling at the code and the phone number, he wondered what
Miss Holt wanted now. He wasn’t in the
mood for her company. She’d come to a dead end
on a skip trace and had taken her frustrations
out on him.
Oh, he understood and
would forgive her on the morrow. She had
precious few people, namely him, that she trusted
enough to drop the mask she often wore and let
her emotions out. He only wished she would let all
of them out, rather than just the occasional
Killing the engine, he sat
in the soft leather seat for another minute
before crossing to the phone and punching in the number
she’d left. The line rang only once
before someone picked it up.
Raucous sounds of old
school rock music and laughter accompanied her
“Come get me.”
“Where are you?”
“At a little dive on
Seventh and Mateo called Henry’s.”
“What in the hell are you
doing over there? That’s a rather shady
part of the city.” He almost missed her sigh with all
the noise in the background.
“The kind of stupid where
you need to call the police, or the kind
where I can come get you and we all walk out in a
“The latter, I think--if
“Bloody hell, Laura.
I’ll be there in fifteen minutes.”
Thank God the storage unit
he’d rented was big enough for both cars.
He’d leave the Auburn in safety while he drove his
muscle-bound baby tonight--although this
wasn’t how he’d planned to take his beloved out for a
spin. No. Not tonight.
More than familiar with
Henry’s, he snatched his leather coat off the
top of the tool chest and dove into the car.
Clad in jeans, black boots and a simple black
t-shirt, he frowned at his attire. At the first stoplight,
while the car thrummed under him, he yanked a
stick of gum out of the glove compartment and
slicked back his hair with a touch of gel.
A heavy gold necklace and earring from the same
finished out his look. He couldn’t opt for
his usual mustache but the heavy five
o’clock shadow he had would do.
Henry’s didn’t call for
the dashing professional detective who had
become so much a part of his natural persona. No,
only a hardened character comfortable with
the darker aspects of life could walk with any sort of
power in a place like that. What in the bloody hell
was Laura doing there?
He knew damned well that
one or two slots in the front of the
bar were strictly reserved for
either the top-notch clientele--such as
there were in this part of the city--or the best car that
showed. This little doll filled the bill nicely. The
dubious bouncer at the door moved the cones
so that he could slide into the spot directly
in front of the door. He slipped a fifty to the
doorman. “Keep th’ riff-raff’s hands off
it; will you, mate?” A jerk of the head was the only
acknowledgement that the man heard his words.
Before he walked in
though, he didn’t miss that Laura’s car had two
flat tires in the parking lot nearby. A closer
look revealed they’d been slashed by a knife.
Flattening his eyes, he rounded the corner of the building
nodded to the bouncer as he walked in.
Only a smattering of people, mostly men, occupied the
He didn’t like this place.
It wasn’t the kind to hang out with a
few friends and slaughter them at billiards. He only
came here to pay off a snitch or make an
occasional deal. The black beauty parked in front came from
one of those. His eyes zeroed in on
Laura sitting at the bar clad in a provocative
little outfit better suited for a twenty-year-old in a
college dance club than a professional woman in a
hardened dive. The short skirt and spandex
top screamed for attention, and she had it in
A little weasel of a man
had her cornered at the end of the counter.
His buddy sat on the other side and saw him coming.
“Aw shit, miss. You didn’t tell me
your boyfriend was Johnny Todd.” The weasel
stepped away from her as if she’d suddenly
developed the pox.
She turned away from both
of them with equal parts of fury and
gratitude mixing in her eyes. He smiled at her, hard and
tight, before aiming lethal glances at both
men. They scattered like cockroaches.
Between one second and the
next, he decided how to play out the little
scene. He closed in on Laura and yanked her to
him in a hard, hot kiss where he delved deeply
into her mouth, exploring its taste with a
fast and thorough search. One hand
held her head still; the other slid down to her rear and
lifted, firmly pressing her hips to his.
In the face of the current
situation, she had the sense not to struggle. After a moment, she
melted against him. He let
his hand slide up the sweet
curve of her bum to rest at the small of her
back. He released her mouth to whisper in
a flat, east-London accent, “Your boyfriend?
Bloody ‘ell, Johnny Todd’s got a reputation, and
it don’t involve waitin’ around for a skirt, even
one as sweet as you.”
Furiously, she whispered
back, “I didn’t know you were going to show up
as Johnny Todd! I was trying to keep those
two creeps off me and told them my boyfriend
was on his way.”
He only nodded and nudged
his chin at the bartender. “Set me up with a pint, mate, a decent one.”
He started to ask Laura
what in the hell she was
doing here anyway when a faint red patch on her
collarbone caught his eye. He trailed a
finger down her neck, tugging the spandex away. Sparks
of anger clouded his vision for a moment.
“Who's th’ bloody bugger that marked you, luv?”
Johnny stamped across the
bar and yanked the little weasel out of his
chair where he cowered. “Did you touch my bird?”
he demanded. Laura had followed, and now
she put a hand to his waist. But he
ignored her in favor of eliciting an answer from
the twit. “I asked you a question, and I ain’t got an answer
The little man nodded.
“It was a mistake. I didn’t know she
Johnny pulled the man so
that his nose nearly touched his own.
“Get out of my sight, old man. If I catch th’ likes of
you anywhere at all, I will beat you to a pulp,
you ‘ear? And when I get m’ girlfriend’s car in the
mornin’, I want a nice, pretty set of tires on
it.” He shoved the man back so that he landed hard on
his chair and knocked his drink over.
drink the bartender had set on the counter for him,
Johnny dragged Laura out of the building.
He opened the car door for her and shut
it a shade too firmly. Laura tried to speak, but he
held up a hand as the engine roared to life and
they shot off into the darkness and street
lights. He drove in silence as they crossed
the town and climbed Muholland Highway. Halfway up
the mountain, he turned off onto a narrow
paved road he’d discovered quite by accident last
year. When they were surrounded in
darkness with only the lights of Los Angeles spread out below,
he shut off the engine.
He lost every trace of the
Cockney accent as he turned to her.
“Mind telling me what that was all about? It’s not
like you to call for help; nor do I usually
find you dressed in this manner regardless of where we
Laura got out of the car,
pacing in the cool night air. He
The whole scenario had him
baffled. Laura usually sharpened her
verbal sword on him whenever she was
irritated. But she’d been content to stare out
the window while he drove across Los Angeles.
She didn’t even lodge a protest about not
Idly, he polished a smudge
off the hood where the blemish reflected in
“Do you know how tired I
am of what I can’t do? I can’t be a
frivolous female because I won’t be taken seriously.
I can’t be a hard-boiled detective because
I’ll lose all trace of femininity. Sometimes, I just want to
be me--not the detective, not her mother’s
daughter, not a plaything. Why does that seem
“Who are you, and what
have you done with Laura Holt?” he quipped.
She tilted her head back,
as if to keep tears from falling though her
eyes stayed dry. In frustration, she declared,
“I am Laura. Just Laura.
Not Miss Holt. Not Remington Steele’s associate. Just …
Changing tactics, he asked
gently, “So what did Laura have in mind for
the evening, and why did she pick that particular
joint to do it in?”
She scuffed the toe of her
shoe along the pavement and crossed her
arms. “I wanted to go dancing. To forget
about everything for a while. But when I
arrived at the club, I felt silly going in alone. It’s--it’s
not as if I’m trying to pick up a man.
I drove around and saw the bar.” She scrunched up her face.
“I forgot what I was wearing,” she
“It is rather … scant,” he
admired. The dark blue spandex top
hugged her curves and scooped wide across her shoulders.
The black skirt flirted mid-thigh,
showing a lot of leg accentuated by black heels fastened with
ankle straps. He wanted to slide a hand
along the length of those limbs but stuffed it into his
jacket pocket instead.
She shivered in the night
air. Before he could move to drape his
jacket over her shoulders, she changed the subject as she
turned around. “Where did you lift
Insulted, he frowned.
“With all due respect, Miss Holt, it’s
“Yours?” Her whole
body relaxed. “You own a ’71 Hemi ‘Cuda?
How long? Where do you keep it? Can I see
He grinned at her rapid
questions and popped the hood. “I bought
it a little over three years ago. I’ve a storage
unit where I’ve been working on it. It
keeps me occupied while someone has kept me at bay.
This little doll just got her tags a few days
“But I thought--“
She shook her head and
peered under the hood after taking the small
flashlight he produced from his pocket. “This
isn’t a restoration,” she stated.
From a foot behind her, he
admired the curve of her backside and the
couple of miles of leg hanging out from the
excuse of a skirt as she bent over. “No,” he
agreed. “The engine is original, but I’ve made
modifications here and there.”
“Such as?” She
glanced over her shoulder, scowling when she saw
where his attention had been.
“No drum brakes for one.”
He skimmed a look down her body that
made her blush. “Better tires, power brakes and
power steering mean even a little thing like
you can handle her.”
Her eyebrows flew up.
“Will you let me drive?”
“No.” Shocked at his
blunt answer, she automatically began to
lodge a protest. He stopped it with a searing kiss.
Pulling away, she
muttered, “Don’t distract me. Why not?”
He shut the hood and
escorted her to the passenger door. “Laura,
I’ve put nearly as much time into this machine as I
have with you,” he said as he handed her inside
the car. Grinning, he added, “At least she’s
giving me all she’s got. It’s been a
bloody hard road to get her here, but she’s paying me back in
spades.” He shut the door. By the
time he slid under the steering wheel, her temper was
up--just as he’d intended.
“So in other words, you’re
telling me she puts out.”
Resuming his Cockney
accent, he agreed with a grin, “In spades, jam
tart, in spades.” He backed into a tight turn,
then shifted to punch the accelerator.
As the needle climbed on the speedometer, he feathered
the clutch through the gears until the car
hugged the asphalt and flew.
A glance at Laura revealed
a startling look of joy he’d seen only once
or twice before. After a few minutes, she began
poking around the car--opening the glove box,
twisting around to inspect the backseat, and playing
with the radio and air conditioning controls.
Her expression stayed with her even as he slowed
to navigate the streets of Los Angeles to
find one of the better, if darker, clubs downtown.
He flipped the keys to the
valet and escorted Laura inside, not with an
arm, but with a hand to her waist. He had a
reputation here too. The doorman
nodded, saying only, “Todd.” The muscles of her back tensed
under his hand, but she said nothing as they
walked inside to the pounding beat of a live
band that had the dance floor hopping.
For an hour they hardly
spoke. He had little interest in fast
dancing--cutting loose as Laura desired tonight--but he
kept a beat well-enough that she could spin
about and move with abandon. His
presence ensured that the half-dozen odd men who
might have approached her stayed well away when they
saw who had her under his protection.
They might not have known his name, but they
recognized the hard, flat look and flex of the hand
when they moved in too closely.
Between dirty looks, he
spent his time admiring Laura’s style: hair
loose and long, hips twisting, and hands gracefully
floating in the air. His gut clenched as he
wished fruitlessly that Laura would come around in the
At ten after midnight,
Laura pulled him away from the dance floor.
They found a little table in the corner where a
waitress dumped a pair of waters at their request.
He could feel the sweat beading under his own
shirt, along with a modicum of irritation.
Why couldn’t Laura have simply asked him to go
along in the first place? Surely, she knew
by now that he’d go anywhere with her.
The heated looks she’d
been flicking at him didn’t help either.
He would find her staring at him, then she’d look away in
embarrassment. Damp ringlets clung to her
flushed face. The sweat dripped between freckles
on her neck and back, making them sparkle in
the flashing lights of the club.
Remington Steele might
have allowed his partner space this evening, but
Johnny Todd had his own rules when it came to
women. He stepped in, crowding her.
The kiss he demanded wasn’t hesitant or caressing.
The hand on her waist heated the dampened
Laura discovered something
then and there. Her partner wasn’t
always an elegant gentleman. His insistent kiss
commanded her participation. She gave back,
matching her mouth to his--tasting his lip before he
took control again, diving his tongue into
hers in a rhythm mimicking the dance she’d shunned for so
long. Need shot through her, and it
took every ounce of control to pull away.
“I think not, luv.
I’m not done yet.” Again he laid his
lips on hers. He moved along her jaw, pressing kisses there that
had her eyelids drifting downward and her
breath catching as desire rose up in a wave.
She shivered--both with
need and a frission of uncertainty. She’d
learned along the way exactly how hard she could push
Remington Steele. She knew his boundaries
nearly as well as she knew her own. But
this was Johnny Todd.
There in the bar, he
nipped his way down her neck to kiss her
collarbone. When he reached the reddened mark, he laved it
with his tongue--heating it before he
fastened his own mouth to it. The sucking made her knees
week before she realized his intent.
When she did, she pushed his head away. His eyes
came up, dark and unfathomable. What
she saw had her reaching out again, this time taking
His expression cleared,
and he pressed a kiss to the inside of her
wrist, causing her to shiver again. “Are we done
She nodded, wondering what
to make of him. “All right.”
The valet retrieved the
‘Cuda and handed over the keys with healthy
reverence. Johnny waited for a moment and held them
up. “Want t’ drive?”
“Yes,” she said, her voice
full of uncertainty.
“Then Laura’s got t’ come
out and play w’ me.”
She flinched. He
shrugged and rounded to the other side of the
car, concealing his disappointment.
“Wait.” He stopped, his expression neutral.
Then he saw the shy smile he knew meant he’d found her.
He’d seen it only four
times in four years: the first was the morning
he’d chosen to be Remington Steele instead
of going to San Francisco, and the second for
a brief moment in a winery where she’d
confessed to enjoying her little chase there.
The other two times had been rather recent: in a
homeless shelter where she’d decided to stay with
him rather than go home, and on the beach at the
Friedlich Spa. Each of those moments had
been burned indelibly into his brain, and he’d longed to
see that Laura in her entirety.
With airy confidence,
Laura nipped the keys out of his hand.
He grinned and ducked into
the car, sliding over to the passenger seat.
Laura followed. She made several adjustments
to the seat and mirrors, then reached over and
pulled him by the jacket to meet him in a searing
kiss. When the taste of her began to
overwhelm him, he was terribly grateful he already had a
chair. Just as suddenly, she let go.
“That ought to hold you
for a moment.” She fired the ignition and
slipped the car into gear. He thought she would dart
the car into traffic, gunning the engine for
a quick start. But she understood the car better
than he had anticipated. She played
with it, easing it onto Hollywood Freeway. Once there,
she waited patiently until they neared the
edge of the city. Where 101 became I-5 and entered the
Los Angeles Forest, she downshifted, opening
up the throttle until the car hummed in
contentment in the three-digits.
In the hills she found a
curvy road that demanded every ounce of skill
she had as a driver and brought out the best of
what he’d coaxed out of both the original parts
and the modifications he’d made. He kept
one eye on the speedometer. Rarely did
it drop below fifty-five even on the sharpest of turns.
By the time she shifted
into park and killed the engine, they were
buried deep in the forest, and he had to admit she was
probably the better driver. She rolled
the window down to let air waft through the car and lay
back against the seat, nestling into the
She turned her head, that
shy smile still in place. “Thank you.”
“So ‘ow does a skirt th’
likes of you know so much about a car like
She glanced away before
bringing her eyes back to his. “I dated a
guy once who had a fascination with muscle
cars. The relationship didn’t last long,
but I fell in love with the ‘Cuda. There’s nothing in the
world like the whine of a Hemi engine as it
cranks up. These babies aren’t fast off the mark,
but give them a mile or two, and they’ll
cream the competition.”
She was right, of course.
Fascinated by Laura’s easy demeanor, he
discovered that he adored this rarely seen side of
her: relaxed, confident, and energized with an
edge that compelled her to push the envelope.
Reluctantly, she held the
keys out. “She’s lovely,” she
complimented. Then she frowned. “Wait a
minute. What was with all those spare
parts from the Auburn that time we took it apart?”
Dropping the Cockney
altogether, he said, “Ah, some of those I came by
honestly, bits I culled from the car. The
rest I picked up from Weasel.” He ran his
fingers through his hair and shrugged. “Just
having a bit of fun with you that day.”
She shook her head in
amusement. “You do like to do that.”
“It’s one of life’s many
Laura unbuckled her
seatbelt. He followed suit, then had a lovely
surprise when she stretched across the seat to lay her
head in his lap. In the moonlight, her
eyes became dark, sparkling pools and her pale skin
washed out, making an exquisite contrast of one
against the other. She crossed her ankles on the
window frame, leaving those bare legs exposed
to his gaze. Gravity pulled the skirt down to
puddle on Laura’s lap. He tensed his jaw
against the hard jolt of lust that stabbed through him.
Deciding the best course
was simply to keep his hands off her
altogether, he rolled his own window down to catch the
frame with his fingertips and an elbow on the
door. The other arm he stretched across the back
of the car seat. His thighs burned
where her head touched.
“Tell me about Johnny
Todd,” she asked.
He blew out his breath in
frustration. Would there ever be a day
she would stop talking long enough to act on their
mutual desires? “There’s not much to tell,
Laura. I took the name while Daniel and I were setting
up Hoskins. He was a Manchester United
fan, and Jack Todd’s an old retired player from the
team. I took the name ‘Johnny Todd’ so
that I could pretend to be his nephew. It’s just a
way of making a mark more comfortable.”
“But you’ve used the name
and the character several times since.”
“Th’ name ‘as a ring to
it.” He slipped back into the Cockney
She laughed. “You’re
good at that.”
“Aye, luv. Should
be. When I caught the ferry from Ireland,
I landed with a pack of blokes that didn’t take a shine to my
Irish. So I learned to talk like ‘em.
When I ‘ooked up with Daniel, ‘e had an ‘ell of a time
teachin’ me t’ speak like an English toff.”
“That must have been a
great source of contention for the two of you.”
She reached up to play with his medallion.
Forgetting his own
decision not to touch her, he dropped his hand to
stroke the locks of hair dancing across his lap.
The heavy strands played of their own
accord in his fingers, and his eyes drifted closed.
“Aye, it was. Had a bit of fun with ‘im
when I popped up one day--” He slipped into his familiar
upper-crust British accent. "And spoke as a
She chuckled again and
shifted. He opened his eyes in time to
watch her drop those long, toned legs to the seat.
“Something tells me,” she said drolly, “that
I’m hearing a heavily edited version of events.”
He snorted softly.
“Oh, Laura, there’s not much of it that fits
into your world.”
“My world?” She sat
up and faced him, legs off to one side as she
supported herself with a hand on the door and another
beside his shoulder. “Is that what you
think? That I can’t deal with your past because I didn’t
grow up in it?”
He touched her cheek in
apology. “No, Laura. You’ve dealt
admirably with the pieces that have dropped in from time
to time. It’s rather that most of it
isn’t very pretty, and while all of it has made me who I am, I’d
prefer not to go back for a visit anytime
She moved again, this time
straddling his lap. “Now that I can
understand.” His eyes nearly crossed as she settled.
Her skirt drew up so that it hardly
covered her charms. “Kiss me.”
He turned his head away.
“Laura, I don’t want to start something
here that we’re not going to finish. It’s a long
way to the nearest cold shower.”
She ran her hands down his
t-shirt, drawing the gold chain over his
head and setting it on the driver’s seat. “You
won’t need one; I promise.” For a
moment, only his own harsh breathing could be heard.
Then, low laughter. “I’ll be damned,” she
said. “I’ve put you off so long that you don’t know what to do
with me when I’m willing.”
don’t want you to regret this in the morning.”
Uttering another sultry
chuckle that shot straight into his gut, she
began assaulting his senses. Her laughter unraveled his
brain. He knew exactly how to manage
Difficult Laura, Pissed-Off Laura, Miss Holt of
Remington Steele Investigations, and the
ever-present Hesitant Laura. This woman winding her arms
about his neck, drawing her hands along his
shoulders, sliding her fingers under his shirt
had him baffled. Involuntarily, he turned
his head, catching the mere essence of perfume she’d
touched to her neck. Inhaling deeply,
his lips parted. The dried sweat imparted a salty flavor
where he tasted the soft flesh under her ear.
Curling hair brushed his face, tickling.
Then he lost all ability
to think. Her hands skimmed under his
shirt, leaving his flesh tingling. She tugged the fabric up.
So distracted by her searing touch, he
couldn’t process her intent in his mired brain.
“Take it off, Mr. Steele,”
As he tugged the shirt
over his head, he realized what she’d called
him. Mr. Steele. Her name for him. With that
simple phrase, he understood she knew exactly
what she was doing here: making love to him.
Bare-chested, he closed
his arms around her--and feasted. Turning
the tide on her, he explored her mouth again. The
flicker of her tongue to his had him sliding
a hand to the small of her back, pressing her to him
so that his erection pressed hard against her
through the fabric of his jeans. She fidgeted
at the contact, but he held her still.
Deliberately--and he wondered how she still had the ability to
think as he eased the wide collar of the
spandex over her shoulder, baring it to his lips--she began
rocking her hips in sensuous rhythm.
Already breathing hard, he
wondered how he was to last. They’d
Her hand traced his ear,
stopping at the earlobe. Abruptly, she
sat up. “Remington Steele, I’m shocked. Your ear is
“You weren’t supposed to
notice.” He reached up to remove it.
Earrings and Remington Steele didn’t belong together.
“Leave it. It’s
sexy.” Her lips closed over it, warming the
metal with her breath before she traced it with her tongue.
Astonished, he let his
hand fall away. Taking a distinct risk, he
let his knuckles brush her breast on its way down.
Still moving, she reached
down to the bottom edge of her shirt and drew
it over her head in one smooth motion. She’d
not bothered with a bra, and the vision of
her naked torso shut down the rest of his ability to
Laura knew that once she
gave Remington the key, she didn’t stand a
chance of staying in control of their
lovemaking. Not this time anyway. Perhaps
that alone had given rise to some of her fears of becoming
dependent on the one she loved. Like the
car under her knees, one didn’t open the throttle and not
expect an immediate and powerful response.
She got one.
Remington took immediate
possession of her bared breasts. With an
infinitely gentle touch, he caressed, learning the
shape of each of them. He cupped both,
letting his thumbs circle the tips until Laura’s breath
stuttered and her hands clutched at his shoulders.
Then he drew one into his
mouth, suckling lightly at first and
increasing the pressure until she writhed on his lap.
Leaving that one to cool in the breeze, he
paid equal attention to the other side, drawing on that peak
until Laura gripped his head and ground her
hips against his rock-hard erection. Biting her
lip, she stifled her own cry as the orgasm
ripped through her.
Shaking from the intensity
of both the erotic sensations and the
emotions rushing through her, she rested her head
against his shoulder.
If she had deluded herself
until now that she wasn’t utterly in love
with Remington, the facts spread out before her with
startling clarity. One: she was
closing the office and staying in bed with him for the next
week. Two: her heart had finally told her
brain to shut up. Three--
“Laura, stop thinking.
Let me--" She pulled back in time to
see his face fall. The disappointment was
Deliberately, she rocked
against him again. “If you think for one
… bloody moment I’m stopping now--"
His face lit up again.
“Perhaps I misunderstood.”
“You did. Now kiss
me and don’t worry about where your hands are
going.” As she said that, she pried the button of
his jeans open.
“My sentiments exactly.”
He stopped breathing for a minute while
she made an exploratory foray under his briefs.
Then she made the discovery that his
hands had made the trek southward under her skirt. His
thumbs lightly stroked the inside of her
thighs, sending shivers into her core.
She kissed him,
distracting him enough that his hands stopped moving.
With one hand, she pulled on the door handle,
then used a leg to kick open the door. The sudden rush of cool
air made them both shiver, and she didn’t miss
the way Remington firmed up his jaw in
anticipation of her drawing a close to their
party. But she had no such
intentions. She slid off his lap to stand on
the asphalt. Without looking away from his face, she
reached behind her to unzip her skirt.
Gracefully, she stepped out of it and her panties, then
peeled the spandex off, leaving her wearing only
the black heels.
Sweat rolled down
Remington’s brow. “Good God, Laura.
You’re every bit as lovely as I’d envisioned.” He
reached for her, but she playfully slapped his
“No. Jeans first.”
She saw his answering grin, and he
kicked off his boots, throwing them into the backseat with his
socks as they came off. She wanted to
undress him herself but accepted that given their current
circumstances, allowing him to do it would be
far more expedient. There would be other times.
He had no reservations
about his own physique, and when he tugged off
his jeans, taking his briefs with them, she
understood why. Comfortable in his own
nudity, he waited--standing barefooted on the
road--while she drank her fill.
Dark curls covered his
chest, framed by broad shoulders and narrow
hips, before tapering down to a light scattering over
his flat stomach. Laura’s hands itched
to thread her fingers through them. His hard, lean
thighs flexed as he balanced. For a
moment, she caught his eyes with her own. And then her
gaze dropped to take in his erection.
“Just exactly where do you
keep it when you’re not using it?” She
bit her lip, waiting for an answer. His arousal
stood, long and proud, very nearly touching
his stomach as he waited patiently. She
closed the distance, touching the crisp curls on
his stomach, before her hand traveled lower, to feather
through the ones on either side of his
“I’ve forgotten,” he
muttered. Looking up, she locked eyes with
him again as she stroked the tip and slid her hand down to
curve around the base. Her middle
finger and thumb didn’t quite touch.
That was the last time she
remembered making a move on him.
Remington sat down in the
car, taking her with him so that she
straddled him again--only this time without a thread of
clothing to separate them.
Time slowed down while he
touched. Starting with her face, he
brushed her cheek. She turned to nip his thumb and
suckle it before blowing on his palm. A
shiver ran through him. Gliding hands down her throat and
shoulders, again he circled and plucked her
nipples until she arched against him. Only
then did he taste, bringing her to a second
climax in somewhere under a minute.
Dearly wanting to curl up
in his arms and quiver for an hour or two,
Laura forced herself upright instead while her hands
caressed from his throat to his chest, down his
stomach and back again. Lightly, she traced around
his nipples, enjoying the way they instantly
hardened, and Remington’s muscles
twitched under her hands.
While her passage still
spasmed, Remington drew one hand up and down
her spine, playing at the nape of her neck and
trailing down in a touch that bordered on
tickling. The other hand skimmed down her slender
torso, trailed over her thigh and dove between
her legs. Finding her wet heat, he inserted a
single finger while his thumb found the tangle
of nerves where her pleasure originated.
She gasped out his name as
his long finger stroked and his thumb
caressed. She rested her head against his while her body
jolted in time with his hands. With a
sure touch, he forced her to climb the mountain again.
But this time, she wanted him with her.
Knowing him as she did,
undoubtedly, he would hold off his own release
as long as possible. But there was a simple key
to gaining his cooperation.
“Please,” she whispered in
his ear. Turning his head, he found
her lips and took her deep into a hot kiss. At the
same time, he gripped her hips and helped her to
shift position to that she could take him inside.
There, as the tip of his
arousal throbbed against her passage, he
waited. She pressed, taking him an inch inside, feeling
her body stretch to accommodate. He
pressed, sliding in another inch. She trembled from the
sensation, echoed by him as he withdrew, leaving
her bereft. But he held her again, just at his
tip, and she let out a short curse of
His whole body vibrated
with his deep chuckle. “Laura?”
“Yes,” she got out.
“Stop me if I hurt you.”
She smiled into his eyes
made midnight-blue in the darkness. “You
could never hurt me that way.”
“Laura--” he started.
In response, she took his
hands in hers and used them to balance.
Then she sank down in a single, long stroke that
took him to her very core. Stretched
beyond anything she’d experienced, she shook as her body
clenched the length of him.
Releasing her hands so
that she could steady herself by holding onto
his shoulders, Remington dropped his hands to her
thighs, stroking her nub once more--only this
time, impossibly full of him and unable to move,
she splintered apart instantly, calling his
name. He closed his eyes,
wrapped his arms around her until she could hardly
breathe, and drove again and again into her
But even in the midst of
her climax, she leaned into him, taking him
deep where he wanted to be. So lost was she
in her own pleasure that she nearly missed
his saying her name, just once, as he shattered. Nothing Laura had
prepared her for the sensation of
Remington's finding his ultimate pleasure within her.
His lean form stiffened while he used his
whole body to thrust up into hers. The intense pulsating
sensation, punctuated by his harsh breathing,
caused her to cry out once more.
A warm, firm arm curved
around her back as he collapsed onto the seat
of the car, taking her with him and holding her
against his chest. They both gasped for
air in unison with hearts pounding in rhythm.
When breathing returned to
normal, and they both became aware of the
sweat drying in the breezy air, Laura pressed
kisses along Remington’s collar bone before
she sat up.
He lazily looked her over,
a trace of a tired smile on his face.
“That’s hell of a way to christen the car, Laura.” He
picked up her hand to kiss the fingertips.
“Better than a bottle of
champagne?” She flexed her hand in
response to the tingles he created.
“We can do that later,” he
insisted, making her laugh.
Three hours later, the sun
laid out its rays in a warm blanket over the
landscape, waking him. Laura, wearing only his
black shirt with his leather jacket draped
across her legs, nuzzled his chest as if to soothe him
before sighing and hugging him to her once
again in her sleep. He wore only his jeans. At
the moment, they chafed uncomfortably.
They’d made love twice
more--once in the backseat, the other on the
hood of the car--before exhaustion overcame them.
He certainly had a renewed appreciation
for Laura’s athleticism.
Somehow they’d ended up
back in the passenger seat. Last night
he’d leaned the seat backward a few degrees and
stretched out his legs. Laura currently
sprawled half on and half off him, the same position she’d been
in when they’d gone under.
Lazily, he let his hand
stroke her back as he thought through the
night’s implications. While she’d known about “Johnny
Todd,” last night she’d made the connection
that the persona had less to do with assuming a
role and more with pulling out pieces of him
he’d tucked away with some embarrassment. He touched his earring
with a free hand, a legacy from those days on
the streets. For a time he’d continued to wear an
earring only to irritate Daniel. In the
ensuing years of his mentor’s tutelage, he’d never understood why
the piercing hadn’t closed over. As he
traveled about the world, he’d come to appreciate it
in various guises.
He’d thought Remington
Steele had no need for that sort of thing, but
given Laura’s response last night, understanding
had dawned that perhaps she saw through the
layers of him better than he realized. Certainly, he’d chipped
away Laura’s fears and
inhibitions to reveal the exquisite woman he’d been longing to
see in her entirety.
He snorted softly
at his own arrogance. Laura had every bit as much to
do with that; for sure she had her own chisel
tapping away from the inside.
He realized he had no
defenses at the moment. If she regretted
her actions last night, he would be devastated. Reluctantly, he tucked a
strand of her hair behind her ear to wake her.
Her lashes lifted.
“Good morning, Laura.”
Her whole face lit up with
that shy smile, and relief flooded through
He pressed a kiss to her
forehead. “Can you let me up long enough
that I can drive us home? I’d rather not have to
make explanations to the police or a local
resident as to the state of our undress.”
Laura leaned up, pulling
her hair out of her face to take in his bare
chest and unbuttoned jeans along with her skimpy
attire. “Well, I don’t believe that
explanations are precisely necessary, given the evidence at
hand.” She started to laugh. “I’m not
sure where we should head first. We can deal with either my
nosy neighbors or your doorman.”
“Let’s take my doorman.
I can tip him so that he’ll keep his
thoughts to himself.”
“You’re on, Mr. Steele.”
She opened the car door and stood,
wincing as she stepped on a rock in the road.
Remington thought she
looked incredible: tousled hair, sleepy eyes and
only his black shirt grazing her thighs.
He leaned over the backseat for his boots and
then scooted to the edge of the seat to pull them on.
Laura tiptoed around the car holding her
dusty skirt, panties and a strappy heel. “Where did you
throw my other shoe?” she called.
“Ah, try the bushes off to
He walked up behind her
where she stared at a clump of shrubbery.
“I see it, but I’m not going after it.”
“I’ve got it.” He
waded into the tall grass and retrieved the
pump. Before he gave it to her though, he
hesitated,assessing her mood this morning. She seemed
As if she could read his
mind, she pointed at the rising sun.
“It’s morning.” He tilted his head, waiting for her to
“No regrets,” she said simply.
He closed his arms around
her and rested his chin against her hair.
“Well, there will be if I
don’t get out of this freezing air and to a
bathroom. I’m hungry too. And I want a shower.
A long hot one.”
Delighted by her response,
he uttered a low laugh. “No arguments
with any of it. Now let’s see on which of those I can
deliver.” He handed her into the car. While he drove, Laura
wiggled into her skirt and fastened the straps of
her shoes across her ankles. “Good Lord, woman,
not the way to put me off.”
With a saucy look she
retorted, “Who said anything about putting you
Remington only pressed a
little harder on the accelerator.
They had all of Saturday
to explore the nuances of their new
relationship. On Sunday afternoon though, while lazing on
the bed in Laura’s loft, they caught a case
requiring their immediate attention.
Hanging up the phone,
Laura gave him the highlights while she changed
into professional attire in somewhere under fifteen
minutes. On the way to the office, they
stopped by Remington’s flat so he could do the
Mildred, he knotted his tie and drew on his coat.
Glancing at the mirror, he caught a glint of gold
and reached up to slide the hoop out of his
ear lobe. Laying it on the counter, he had the uneasy
feeling their interlude had ended--one
compounded when they stopped at the storage
unit to exchange the ‘Cuda for the Auburn.
Laura filled him in on the
details as he drove the last three blocks to
the office. In the past hour, she had reverted to Miss
Holt. He wanted something--assurance
perhaps--but he couldn’t identify it that day.
The case held their
attention until Wednesday. Between the
stakeouts and midnight forays, sleep had been scant and tempers
short toward the end. His uneasy
feeling solidified, and he felt as if he’d let something
precious slip from his grasp.
At two that afternoon,
Remington and Laura gave the police officer the
last details of their discoveries while their
client sat forlornly in his chair. They’d
proven that a series of thefts were linked to the murder of
the client’s sister. Laura escorted their
client out the door, handing him the business card of a
therapist in the process.
The officer indicated he
had a few final questions and pulled out his
“Mind if I take a seat?”
the policeman asked.
you like a drink? Club soda?”
“No, thank you, Mr.
Steele.” Remington sat on the corner of his
desk, rubbing the back of his neck in weariness.
“Nasty case,” the officer offered.
“Aye. Miss Holt and
I had our work cut out on this one.”
While the officer made
notes, the connecting door to
Laura’s office slowly swing open. She was leaning against
file cabinets, wearing only a lacy pink bra and
panties with her fedora, trench coat and
Shooting him a sultry smile, she caught the door knob and closed it again.
He stared in astonishment,
glee ripping through him.
“... any other evidence?
Ah, Mr. Steele?”
Remington managed to
refocus his attention on the officer. “Ah,
yes? Sorry, woolgathering a bit.”
“I imagine you can use
some sleep.” Among other
things, thought Remington.
“Only a couple more questions and we’ll
be done. Is Miss Holt available now?”
Apparently. He buzzed her
extension. “Miss Holt? Officer Jones has a question or two
“I’ll be right there,”
came her lilting voice. He arched a brow
as he moved his hand from the button. She opened
the door with the trench coat buttoned and
tied at the waist. She deliberately sat next to
him, tantalizing him with the view of a bare
leg toying with a heel dangling from her toe while she
answered the officer’s questions.
Remington had no idea what
she explained to the officer, but as her
answer drew out, she slid off the desk again and began
pacing. Walking behind the officer’s
chair, she slowly unknotted the belt of the coat and
slipped the buttons free.
His mouth dried--half in
fear, half in anticipation.
In a smooth move, she drew
the coat off and dropped it on the chair
near the officer. She bit her lip as she saw his
The officer stood, shaking
hands with both of them before he departed.
Remington shut the door
and locked it. “Laura, that was--"
“Really, Mr. Steele,” she
interrupted. “By the look on your face,
one would think you expected me to be wearing nothing
but lingerie under the coat instead of
Planting his tongue firmly
in cheek, he replied, “I wonder why, Miss
She gathered up the coat
again and crossed to stand by his door.
“Mr. Steele, we’ve billed out nearly sixty-eight hours
since Sunday afternoon, not including overtime
for working on the weekend. I think
we’re done for the week, don’t you?”
“My sentiments exactly,
Miss Holt.” He opened the door.
“Mildred,” she said as she
walked through, “we’re not available until
Monday morning. That includes you. Let
the answering service know, and go get some
“You too, Miss Holt.”
Laura turned, giving him a
searing glance. “All right.
Eventually. Coming, Remington?”
He caught her around the
waist, conscious of Mildred’s questioning
“Oh, eventually, I think.”
Mildred chuckled all the
30 September 2009
edited 11 August 2010