He sighed in frustration and sat forward, resting his elbows on his knees. “It’s Thomas now?”

“I’ve been telling Thomas for a year that we should use Abby. She would be a better asset.”

He scooted to the edge of the couch and held out his hands. “Just…hear me out.”

“What is the point? If Travis finds out we’ve coerced his wife, the operation will implode.”

“So, the better option is to bring him, the unstable one, on as an asset?” he said, deadpan.

“I think Maddox knows his brother, and he is the lead on this. We should trust him.”

“You’ve known him for a week. You trust him?”

“No, not even a week. And yes. You should, too.”

“He’s too close to this case. This is his brother. Hell, even the director is too close. For some unknown reason, he’s practically adopted Maddox. They should all know better. This is not me being a jackass. This is reason, and it’s making me crazy that no one is listening. Then, you come in—someone unattached and put into a place of authority. I thought I finally got my chance, and I’ll be damned if Maddox isn’t actively keeping me away from you.”

“What’s worse is the louder I am, the less they hear.”

“Maybe you should try speaking more softly.”

Sawyer shook his head. His smoldering blue eyes snuffed out when he looked away from me. “Good God, Lindy. You need some help unpacking?”

I wanted to send him on his way, but an extra set of hands would make it go so much faster. “Actually—”

He held up his hands again. “I know my reputation at the office. I admit to half of it—okay, most of it. But I’m not a dick all the time. I’ll help you and go home. I swear.”

“Right, but the chances are better for me to become a lesbian than for me to have sex with you.”

“Understood. Although I find you extremely attractive—I won’t deny that in the real world, I’d try my damnedest to take you home from the bar—you should know that, even though I am a jerk and a man-whore at times, I’m not stupid. I wouldn’t sleep with my boss.”

Sawyer’s comment made my cheeks flush, and I turned my back to him. His Southern charm wasn’t lost on me even though reason told me he was a waste of time for any woman wanting respect or a relationship.

Sawyer might be a womanizer, and he might even be an asshole most of the time, but he had no problem with transparency. Kept at arm’s length, Sawyer could actually be an asset and maybe even a friend.

I WOKE UP TO A NEARLY CLEAN BEDROOM. All my clothes were either hanging in the closet or folded and put away in the dresser drawers. Sawyer and I had managed to unpack every box and even clean up most of our mess—aside from some packing nuts and empty boxes that we’d torn down and stacked by the front door.

Wearing a gray sweatshirt and navy lounge pants, I wrapped my fuzzy white robe around me and then opened my bedroom door, looking out into the kitchen and living room. They were one in the same, separated only by the kitchen counter that doubled as an island and possibly a breakfast bar.

My condo was small, but I didn’t need much room. The thought of having a whole space to myself made me want to take in a deep breath and spin around like Maria in The Sound of Music—until I remembered that I wasn’t alone.

Sawyer was lying on my couch, still asleep. We’d blazed through two and a half bottles of wine before he passed out. One of his arms was draped over his face, covering his eyes. One socked foot was on the floor, likely to keep the room from spinning. I smiled. Even drunk, he’d kept his promise not to make a pass at me, and he’d earned an infinite amount of respect by the time I left him on the couch for my room.

Poking through my pathetically stocked cabinets, I was trying to find something to eat that wouldn’t offend my hangover. Just as I reached up for the box of saltine crackers, someone knocked on the door.

I padded over in my pink-and-white gingham slippers—a Christmas present from my mother the year before. Damn, I thought. Need to call her today.

Releasing the chain lock and dead bolt, I turned the knob and peeked through the crack in the door.

“Hey. I’m sorry for ditching you last night.”

“You’re just waking up?” he said, his eyes pouring over my robe.

I pulled the belt tighter. “Yeah. I kept the party going while I unpacked.”

His eyes danced around a bit, his investigator senses kicking in. I’d seen that expression so many times before.

“You finished all that unpacking by yourself?”

My hesitation to answer prompted him to touch his hand to the door and slowly push it open.

His anger was instant. “What the fuck is he doing here?”

I returned the door to its former position. “He’s sleeping on the couch, Thomas. Jesus, do the math.”

He leaned in and whispered, “I’ve been on that couch before, too.”

I pushed the door to shut it, but Thomas held it open.

“I told you if he bothered you to let me know.”

I crossed my arms. “He wasn’t bothering me. We had a nice night.”

His eyes flickered, and his brows pulled inward. He took a step toward me and kept his voice low as he said, “If you’re worried about how you’re perceived, you shouldn’t have let Sawyer spend the night.”

“Is there something you need?” I asked.

“What did he say to you? Did he discuss the case?”

“Just answer the questions, Lindy,” he said through his teeth.

“Yes, but I don’t think it’s anything he hasn’t said to you.”

“He wants to make Abby an asset.”

I was surprised that he was asking me.

“Your brother won’t allow it. Besides, I don’t think she can be trusted. According to the file, she has helped her father numerous times despite their volatile relationship. She won’t turn him in, except maybe for Travis. We’d have to arrest him first though. Then, maybe she’d play.”

Thomas sighed, and I inwardly cursed myself for thinking aloud.

“You would have to arrest him,” Thomas said.

Thomas nearly whispered, “It would blow my cover.”

“You’re not undercover. What the hell are you talking about?”

Thomas shifted his weight. “It’s hard to explain, and I won’t while I’m in the hall and while Sawyer is pretending to be asleep on your couch.”

I turned, and one of Sawyer’s eyes popped open.

He sat up, grinning. “To be fair, I was asleep until you knocked on the door. This couch is comfy, Lindy! Where did you get it?” he asked, pushing down on the cushions.

Thomas opened the door wider and pointed to the hall. “Out.”