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 a lock.

“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 hard thunk.

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 uniqueness.  

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 anger.  

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 voice.   “Hello?”


“Laura?”

“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.  

“Being stupid.”

“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 friendly manner.”

“The latter, I think--if you hurry.”  

“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 and nodded to the bouncer as he walked in.  Only a smattering of people, mostly men, occupied the bar.  

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 spades.

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?”  

Laura blanched.  “It’s nothing.”

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 yet.”  

The little man nodded.  “It was a mistake.  I didn’t know she was taken.”

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.

Ignoring the 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 might be.”

Laura got out of the car, pacing in the cool night air.  He followed suit.  

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 going home.  

Idly, he polished a smudge off the hood where the blemish reflected in the moonlight.

“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 impossible?”

“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 … Laura.”

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 admitted.

“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 this car?”

Insulted, he frowned.  “With all due respect, Miss Holt, it’s mine.”

“Yours?”  Her whole body relaxed. “You own a ’71 Hemi ‘Cuda?  How long?  Where do you keep it?  Can I see the engine?”

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 ago.”  

“But I thought--“

“Thought what?”

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 bedroom.  

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 fabric. 


*****

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 hand.  

His expression cleared, and he pressed a kiss to the inside of her wrist, causing her to shiver again.  “Are we done here, luv?”

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.  “Deal.”

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 leather.

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 this?”

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 pleasures.”  

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 voice.  

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 proper gentleman.”  

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 soon, eh?”

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.”

“Laura, I 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,” she insisted.  

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 hardly begun.

Her hand traced his ear, stopping at the earlobe.  Abruptly, she sat up.  “Remington Steele, I’m shocked.  Your ear is pierced.”

“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 think. 


*****


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.  

“Laura?”

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 unmistakable.    

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 hand away.

“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 erection.  

“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 frustration.

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 spasming body.

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 done 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 him.  “Hi.”  

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 the left.”

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 chipper enough.

As if she could read his mind, she pointed at the rising sun.  “It’s morning.”  He tilted his head, waiting for her to finish.  “No regrets,” she said simply.  

He closed his arms around her and rested his chin against her hair.  “None?”

“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, that’s not the way to put me off.”

With a saucy look she retorted, “Who said anything about putting you off?”  

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 same.  While she spoke with 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 clipboard.  

“Mind if I take a seat?” the policeman asked.

“Certainly.  Would 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 her file cabinets, wearing only a lacy pink bra and panties with her fedora, trench coat and heels.  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 for you.”

“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 disappointment.

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 professional attire.”  

Planting his tongue firmly in cheek, he replied, “I wonder why, Miss Holt.”  

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 sleep.”

“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 look.  

“Oh, eventually, I think.”  




Mildred chuckled all the way home.




30 September 2009
edited 11 August 2010







Steele Holting On
Steele Holting On