So if our first story this go-around is an appetizer, this is definitely the main course: The first part of a two-part tale in which, as author Tara M. Patterson says, "Cragen is asked to take an undercover assignment and gets more than he bargained for." Who knew that some of the "secondary" characters in the L&O 'verse were going to turn out to be the main characters in our fanfic choices this time! Enjoy.Undercover Love
Captain Don Cragen sat in the squad room of the Manhattan Special Victims Unit going over some paperwork with Detective John Munch. It had been a relatively quiet day, something both men were grateful for. Cragen was just about to express this sentiment when he felt a pair of hands cover his eyes.
"What the…" he exclaimed.
"Take it easy, Don. Guess who?" a female voice softly whispered in his ear.
A smile spread across Cragen’s face. He had an idea who the woman was behind the hands, so he decided to play along.
"John, care to give me a description of my captor?" joked Cragen.
Munch sized up the woman standing behind his captain and then replied.
"Well, she's about five foot seven, 130 pounds with an amazing figure. She's got wavy red hair and the softest blue eyes I've ever seen. Approximately 40 and she's not at all like the women you date."
"I like this one,” she commented.
Cragen thought for a moment and then posed another question.
"What did the detectives at the 2-7 think about you?"
"Let's see ... Cerreta disliked me. Logan tolerated me. And Briscoe thought of me as a younger daughter. As for this detective, I think he might be taking an interest.”
"John's blushing right now, isn't he?"
The woman looked over at Munch and smiled as the detective tried to hide his embarrassment at being caught. Her laughter rang gently through the air, causing Munch and Cragen to join in.
"Okay, you're good-looking and two of my other detectives were not fond of you. Hmmm ... I know you're not one of my former associates from IAB." Cragen smiled.
"You should know me better than that," she replied.
"John, one more thing. Is she carrying a piece?”
Munch looked over and smiled.
"How'd you know that?"
"Because if I'm not mistaken, my captor is Agent Sabrina McFarland of the F.B.I.," replied Cragen.
Sabrina removed her hands from his eyes and watched with delight as Cragen turned around in his seat to face her.
Cragen stood up and drew the woman into a warm embrace, hugging her tightly against him.
"When did you get back into town?"
"Couple days ago," she answered.
"John Munch, I'd like you to meet a good friend of mine, Sabrina McFarland. Bri, this is Detective John Munch," introduced Cragen.
"It's a pleasure to meet you, detective."
"You too and please, call me John," Munch remarked as he shook hands with the beautiful FBI agent.
"All right, John and its Sabrina or Bri."
"So, what brings you to SVU?" asked Cragen.
"I dropped by to see you," she replied.
"Nothing. I've got an assignment that I need your help on."
"The FBI wants the help of the NYPD. That's a first," commented Munch.
"Well, it's a little more complicated than that, John. Tell you guys what, why don't I buy you both dinner and we can discuss this matter?" Sabrina suggested.
"I'd love to, Sabrina, but I've already got plans for tonight," Munch replied.
Sabrina pouted slightly. "Too bad. So, what do you say, Don? Dinner, my treat."
Cragen smiled as he looked down into Sabrina's dancing blue eyes.
"I'll go to dinner with you. But, I'm buying."
"How can a girl say no to that? I'll meet you back here at six?"
"Sounds good," answered Cragen.
"John, it was a pleasure to meet you."
"Same here. I hope we'll see each other again."
"I have no doubt we will," replied Sabrina. She turned and left the precinct.
"Now that is one beautiful woman," Munch commented.
"You just keep your eyes right where they are, Munch. She's not available."
"Why you old dog."
Cragen laughed as he sat down and returned his attention to the paperwork in front of him.
"So, why did you come to see me?" Don inquired.
They were most of the way through dinner at a lovely Italian restaurant when he finally posed the question.
"Well, it's like this. Do you remember that baby-napping case your squad worked on about sixteen months ago?"
"Sure. We found the kid, but we weren't able to track down exactly who was behind it all."
"Right. Well, I've got a hot lead on a couple of the players," replied Sabrina.
"Are you going to tell me or do I have to get out the rubber hose?"
"Here's what I know. James Parkland, the man who sold the baby to the couple, owes a big debt to a well-connected person in Vegas. It seems he was working off his debt when he was arrested."
"Is he talking?"
"Yeah. Anyway, I've got permission from the Bureau to go after our well-connected friend."
"How you gonna do that?"
"By posing as a woman desperate to have a baby of her own. The only problem is…"
"That I need a husband."
Suddenly the realization hit Cragen.
"Me? You want me to pretend to be your husband?"
"I was hoping that you'd want to bring this scum in as much as I do," Sabrina remarked.
"I do. It's just that…"
"What's the problem? You don't think I'm marriage material, Don?" she teased.
"Oh, come on, Bri. You are definitely marriage material."
"Just not your ideal mate, huh?"
"I didn't say that," he protested.
Cragen looked at the woman sitting across from him. She was something. Successful, considerate and attractive. Everything a man could want. But who would believe that someone her age would actually be married to a man like him?
"Sabrina, you are a very attractive woman and any man would be lucky to have you as a wife."
She blushed slightly as his statement. "So, do I have a partner on this case or not?"
"Let me see what you've got," he replied.
She took two file folders out of her bag and handed them to him across the table. Neither one commented on the faint electric charge that passed as they brushed hands.
"This is the file on one Jasper Michaels. The other one details our cover."
"And the department approved this?"
"Apparently the chief seems to think he needs to break from you," teased Sabrina.
Don laughed. "So, when do we leave for Vegas?"
"End of the week."
"That's four days. Good thing I'm a quick study."
"So, tomorrow afternoon I'll meet you and we'll go shopping for new clothes."
"New clothes? What's wrong with my old ones?"
"Somehow I don't think that Donald Hanover, self-made entrepreneur wears suits that are off the rack."
"And how do you know?"
"Don, my father was a cop. I can still spot one half a mile away. And so will Jasper Martin. Trust me; we're going to pick up a few things to accommodate Mr. and Mrs. Hanover’s status."
"It's a good thing I like you."
"Don't I know it? Now, why don't you buy your wonderful wife dessert?"
Don and Sabrina both laughed and went back to their meals.
"This is really a waste of time," Cragen remarked the next afternoon.
"Oh, come on, Don. You, of all people, should know the benefits of doing research," replied Sabrina, looking up from her magazine.
"Research?! You call me being poked and prodded while wearing this monkey suit, research?" he complained.
"Would you just relax? The tailor is almost done fitting your suit and then it's my turn."
Cragen allowed a small smile to creep across his lips. "Finally, some justice."
The tailor returned with the tuxedo jacket and slipped it onto his arms. It fit him perfectly.
"David, you do very nice work," she complimented the tailor.
They paid for their purchases and left the tailor’s. They started to walk down the street, window shopping. At one point, Sabrina's hand brushed against his. He took it in his own and they continued to walk hand in hand.
"So, Mr. Hanover, please let your wife know if you see anything you'd like her to wear."
"Now that's nice," he commented as they paused in front of a large store window.
"The black one."
"You mean the one with the sequins?!"
"Do you have an objection to sequins?" he teased.
"No. It's just that I'm not the glittery type. Besides, there's nothing to it," Bri remarked as she looked at the dress more closely. It was basically a tiny black strapless dress, which left the mannequin's legs bare to mid-thigh. "I don't even think I could sit down in that."
"Come on, be a good sport. Go in and try it on."
Reluctantly, Sabrina walked into the store with Don close behind. He watched with delight as Bri spoke with a saleswoman, pointing to the dress in the window. The salesperson escorted her to a dressing room and then went to get the garment in question.
While she was busy trying on the dress, Don found a comfortable chair to sit in and was offered a cup of coffee by another associate. He gratefully accepted and soon found himself flipping through a fashion magazine as he waited.
"Well, I got it on. But I'm not sure how to keep it up," Sabrina commented as she stepped out of the dressing room into the store.
Don looked up from the magazine and just stared.
"What is it?" she asked in alarm. She slapped a hand on the slight swell of her breasts above the glittering sequins and looked down.
"Do I have it on backwards or something?"
He laughed and was grateful that the sound had started his heart again.
"No, I don't think so. I'm sorry, but there's nothing that raises a man's blood pressure more quickly than a beautiful woman wearing an incredible dress."
Sabrina blushed in spite of herself.
"That dress fits as if it were made for you," the salesperson added.
"Well, then, we have to buy it," Cragen declared.
As they left the boutique, Sabrina turned to him.
"There are just a few more things I need to buy, but you don't need to come with me."
"Are you kidding? I'm having a great time. Who knew that shopping could be this entertaining?"
"Okay, but don't say I didn't warn you."
A half hour later, they were standing outside of Victoria's Secret on Broadway.
"You dragged me all the way out here for this?" he complained.
"Hey, I gave you ample opportunity to back out. You're the one who insisted on coming with."
"Fine, but let's make this quick. Okay?"
"We're starting to sound like an old married couple."
Sabrina walked into the store and wandered about picking up various essentials that she needed. Don couldn't help but stare at the large pile of lace, satin and silk underwear that she carried into a dressing room. He tried to find a quiet corner to hide in while he waited. After almost thirty minutes, she walked out and placed a multi-colored pile on the counter. Then she walked through the store again. This time concentrating on sleeping attire.
An hour after walking in, Don and Sabrina walked out of the store. Each of them carried two bags filled with items guaranteed to drive any healthy male crazy with desire.
"You were kinda cute in there," Bri remarked.
"It was sweet how you acted all embarrassed and such. Sort of like a newlywed husband would act in a store like that."
"I'm just trying to get into the role," he replied.
As they walked towards the car in silence, Cragen couldn't help but think about the clothing Sabrina had just bought. He imagined what she might look like wearing only a black lace bra and panty set he had caught a glimpse of. He found himself wondering what it would be like if he were the one to take it off of her.
Don finished out the day at the station, clearing up some files and bringing Elliott Stabler, who would be filling in while he was gone, up to speed on a couple cases. He went home to change and then headed over to Sabrina's brownstone for dinner and a last minute strategy session.
He had forgotten what a beautiful old building it was until he parked his car in front of it. Bri's grandfather had bought it when he first moved to New York and it had stayed in the family from then on. The last time Don had walked up the steps was after the funeral of Captain Jerome McFarland almost two years ago.
Sabrina opened the door with a flourish after Cragen rang the doorbell. Don felt his breath catch in his throat as he marveled at the beautiful woman standing before him. She was wearing a pair of black jeans that accentuated her curves and a deep purple blouse with the top two buttons undone. The setting sun was hitting her hair and making it appear more copper in color.
"You're staring," she remarked, her blue eyes twinkling.
He cleared his throat. "Sorry about that."
"Don't be. So, are you going to stand there or come inside for a home-cooked meal?"
A smile formed on Cragen's face as he followed Sabrina inside.
Over a dinner of homemade pot roast, baked potatoes, and baby carrots, they talked about recent cases they'd worked and about their colleagues. Don couldn't help but notice how the candlelight glowed against Sabrina's face or how when she laughed the flames twinkled in her eyes. He knew that he was staring at her, but he couldn't seem to help himself.
Once the dinner dishes were cleared, Sabrina suggested that they go into the living room. While she went back into the kitchen to get dessert, he went into the living room intent on starting a fire. As he made his way across the room, Don paused for a moment and turned on the stereo. Soon the room was filled with a soft, sultry jazz tune followed by a roaring fire.
"That was an excellent idea, Don," she remarked as she walked into the room carrying a silver tray.
"Here let me get that for you," he said.
Cragen walked over and took the large tray out of her hands.
He set the tray down on the coffee table and began to survey the dessert selection.
"I hope you don't mind, but I thought after that heavy dinner, we could just have something light," Bri explained.
"I don't mind at all," he replied as he sat down on the floor next to Sabrina.
"So, do you think we're ready for this assignment?" he asked as they both sat staring at the flames in the fireplace.
"I hope so," she said as she reached over to take one of the strawberries off the tray. She held it to her lips and Cragen watched as her tongue
slowly touched the outer part before her teeth bit into the pregnant berry sending a stream of juice down her slender wrist and onto her arm.
As she reached out to take a napkin off the tray, Cragen placed his hand around her wrist and brought it towards him. She was surprised as he
lifted one of the linen napkins up in his other hand and gently wiped away the stream of red that marked her arm.
"Thank you," she barely managed to whisper.
"You're welcome," he replied just as quietly.
The tension in the air was palpable as Cragen held Sabrina's hand in his and they gazed into each other's eyes.
Sabrina cleared her throat as she dropped her gaze from his. "If we're going to keep up the illusion of being a married couple, we're going to
have to come up with a back story."
"All right. Let's get to work."
"How did we meet?" Bri asked, looking up into his soft brown eyes.
"It was five years after my wife died. You came to work as a temp in the accounting department of my company. You were there for about a
week when I saw you. I took one look at you and knew I'd met someone I wanted to share my life with. When your time was up at the company, I
called you and asked you for a date. We've been together ever since," he answered.
"Wow, you came up with that off the top of your head?"
"Well, I just remembered how I felt about meeting Marge, a little bit about meeting you for the first time, added some poetic license, and viola."
Sabrina felt tears coming to her eyes as Don talked about his late wife. "Okay. Let's see where did we go on our first date?"
"I took you to the theater ... a musical."
Sabrina raised her eyebrows slightly. "A musical?"
"I happen to enjoy musicals, Bri."
"I didn't know that."
"There's a great deal you don't know about me, Sabrina."
"Yes, really," he replied, smiling at her.
"Okay, we went to see a musical and then dinner afterwards?"
"Dinner and dancing," he finished and then ate one of the strawberries.
"Ever the romantic," she complimented before joining him in eating a berry.
"So, what attracted you to me?" he asked.
"It was the aura you have about you ... power, self confidence, and compassion," she answered as she reached over and took his hand into hers.
"And what was it about me?"
Cragen placed his hands on either side of her face and looked deep into Sabrina's eyes. "Your hair."
Reaching up, he ran his fingers through the thick wavy curls. "What can I say? I'm a sucker for redheads."
"Oh, you," she teased as she pushed him gently away.
Don straightened himself up and moved closer again. He reached up and placed a finger on her cheek. "It was your eyes. They are this incredible
shade of blue, almost like the ocean with a just a hint of gray in the corner. The moment you looked at me, I felt like I'd found what I'd been missing all
This time Sabrina couldn't hold back the tears that fell down her cheeks. Don reached up and wiped them away with the pads of his thumbs. It
was an intimate act that caused Sabrina to catch her breath slightly.
Once again, they fell silent as Sabrina turned to look at the fire. She was unsure what was going on. First, Don had stared at her when she'd
opened the door. Then during dinner, their hands had brushed a few times while reaching for things on the table. And just now, he'd touched her with
his words and gestures. If she didn't know that they were preparing to play a role, she would have been flattered by the attention and yet, she had this
feeling in the pit of her stomach that this relationship could evolve into something more. Finally, she turned back to face him.
"There is one other thing we have to address," she said quietly.
"Well, if we're supposed to be married, then we're going to have to hold hands and kiss each other."
He reached over and held her hand again. "Holding hands is no problem." Cragen glanced down at their entwined fingers and kissed the knuckles
of her hand softly.
"That was a nice kiss, but we should probably practice kissing ... on the lips," she complimented.
"Ah," he replied. "Well, far be it for me to protest the ideas of a lovely lady."
He leaned over and kissed her quickly on the lips.
"Don, that's the kind of kiss a parent, gives a child. We have to be convincing as a newlywed couple who are crazy in love with each other."
He looked at her and his hand left hers and reached for her face. He traced lightly across her cheek before slipping his hand around to the back
of her neck. His other hand came up to her cheek and his thumb stroked across her bottom lip sensuously. She began to tremble almost imperceptibly.
Her eyes widened as her lips moved against his thumb.
"Sabrina," he said softly, and the hand behind her head drew her close so that his lips just touched hers. He kissed her lightly and then again. "You're beautiful," he whispered as he deepened the kiss.
She sighed, right into his mouth, and everything went soft. Her lips relaxed and parted beneath his, inviting him deeper, the tension in her muscles
eased and she melted into his arms.
He wasn't a man to turn down an invitation like that. Deepening the kiss, he teased her with his tongue, trailing along her bottom lip before
venturing inside where she was warm and sweet. She tasted of the sweet strawberries they had been enjoying. This was the first taste his
desire sharpened senses noted, but he concentrated letting his mouth experience all the complexity of flavors. Under the sweetness of berries was the
deeper, richer taste of bitter coffee, and under that, the most complex and desired flavor of all: woman, hot and wanting.
He pushed a hand into her hair, letting the soft silk bunch and play between his fingers. He let the hand that cupped her chin travel as lazy as his
tongue in her mouth. It trailed down her throat where a pulse beat frantically, skimmed her blouse and found buttons. Don skimmed over the buttons,
toying with them, with her and with himself as her breathing thickened. Softly, he let his hand drift to the fullness of her centerfold breasts, where her
hardened nipples were nearly as prominent as the buttons. As he touched her, he felt a tug as her hands pulled at his suspenders, and she moaned, her
voice blending with the song.
Suddenly a horn honked outside, loud enough to penetrate the lust filled atmosphere and to bring cold reason to one of them at least.
Sabrina pulled away from his mouth slowly, her lips wet and swollen from his kisses, her eyes heavy and passion drunk. She'd gone from
innocent angel to sensual goddess in just a few minutes.
"Wow," she remarked as her fingers reached up to touch her swollen lips.
Don tried to shake the desire from his head as he looked at her, but all he could think about was plundering her even more. As they sat staring at
each other, he finally came to his senses. It wasn't supposed to be like this. They were playing a role for a few weeks, not making a lifetime
commitment. Slowly, he stood up and held out a hand to help her stand.
"I ... I should really be going," he began as he held onto her hand.
"I understand. I'll see you tomorrow, Don," she replied as she stood on tiptoes to kiss his cheek.
They walked hand-in-hand to the front door, each caught up in their own thoughts and feelings. He paused with his hand on the doorknob.
Turning, he pulled Sabrina closer. "I had a nice time tonight, Bri."
"So did I."
He leaned down and captured her lips in a searing kiss that set her body on fire once again. When he finally pulled back, he stared at the
reactions he could see playing across her face.
"Good night," she replied as he walked out the door.
As they drove from the airport in Vegas to the house they would be staying in for the duration of the case, both Don and Sabrina were in their
own worlds. Don looked as if he hadn't slept all night, which was the truth. Once he'd gotten home, he took a cold shower to try and alleviate the
desire that was still coursing through his body. Then he'd laid in bed trying to fall asleep, but every time he'd close his eyes he saw Sabrina sitting on the
floor looking at him with swollen lips and desire in her eyes. So sleep had given way to a book which he couldn't concentrate on. Finally, he'd pulled
out some paperwork and went over the files until he'd fallen asleep on the leather couch.
On the other hand, Sabrina had slept like a baby. After Don had left, she'd extinguished the fire and then went into the kitchen to do the dishes
and straighten up from dinner. After a long, hot bath, she'd fallen asleep dreaming of the kiss she and Don had shared.
"How did you get the Bureau to spring for first class?" he asked as he watched the scenery pass by the windows
"Well, I simply explained that a self made millionaire and his wife would not be caught flying in anything less than first class. I told them it was
either that or a private plane," she explained.
"I wouldn't have minded a private plane."
"Me either, but this was less expensive."
"There is something we need to take care of before we get to the house," Don said as he reached over and took Sabrina's hand in his.
"What is that?"
"Well, if we're married, we should probably have rings," he answered as he reached into his suit jacket pocket and pulled out two black velvet
Don handed one to Sabrina and watched with delight as she opened it. Inside the box, Sabrina found two rings both catching the light streaming
through the windows of the limo.
"What are these for?" she asked, slightly dazed.
"This is your wedding band," he said as he took the ring out of the box and slipped it onto her left ring finger. "It is a platinum eternity rope
wedding band that has been crafted without a beginning or end." He paused for a moment as she admired the band on her finger, and then Don took
the other ring out.
"This is your engagement ring. It's also platinum and has an emerald cut diamond with a double channel band set in an art deco style," he
explained as he slipped this one onto her ring finger above the wedding band.
"Don, these are exquisite," she whispered as she admired the two rings on her finger. "And extremely expensive."
"Don't worry about expense. I have a friend who is a jeweler and he was very happy to loan these to me."
"And what is in the other box?"
"My wedding ring."
Sabrina took the box from Don and opened it revealing a beautiful man's wedding ring. She took it out of the box and slowly slipped it onto his
left ring finger.
"My ring is platinum with three sapphires and two diamonds inset on it."
"This is the exactly the kind of ring I would have picked out for you," she remarked as she admired the ring on his finger.
"I take it you approve of the ring choices."
"Are you kidding?! The next time I go to buy a piece of jewelry, I'm taking you with me," joked Sabrina as she reached over to hold his hand.
"Thank you, Don."
"For agreeing to work this case with me and for being so thoughtful in choosing the rings. I don't think I could do this if you weren't here," she
Sabrina laid her head on Don's shoulder allowing her hair to tickle his nose. They were quiet the rest of the way, each contemplating the task at
Twenty minutes later, the limousine slowed as it approached a gated driveway. Don reached over and kissed Sabrina's forehead in order to
wake her up.
"I think we're here," he said as she wiped the sleep from her eyes.
"This looks like the place," she remarked while looking out the window.
"Only the best the Bureau could find."
The wrought iron gates slowly swung open and the limo drove along the driveway until it came to a stop in front of the Swiss chalet style house. The driver got out and opened the passenger door. Don got out first and then helped Sabrina out. As their luggage was unloaded, they stood staring at the house.
"How much do you think this house is worth?" asked Don as he marveled at the well-manicured lawn and the small reflecting pond near the front
"Around $3.5 million," Sabrina answered as she slipped her sunglasses on. "The bureau is renting it from a local realtor, under our names."
A low whistle escaped from his lips when he heard the dollar amount. Well, Mrs. Hanover, what do you say we go and explore our new home?"
"I say, lead the way," she answered as she took his hand in hers.
Together they walked up the cobblestone path to the front door. Sabrina reached into her purse and pulled out the key, handing it to Don. After
unlocking the door and opening it slightly, he reached down and picked Sabrina up into his arms.
"What are you doing?!" she demanded.
"I'm carrying my bride across the threshold," he replied. "Welcome home, Bri."
Once inside, they were greeted by an enormous staircase that rose from the marble floor of the foyer and went up to the second level of the
house. Don gently set Sabrina down and they marveled at the opulence that was surrounding them. The house was beyond anything either of them
could have imagined. The realtor had gone to a great deal of trouble decorating the house so that it looked lived in.
"I wonder how this got here." Don asked as he picked up a photograph from one of the antique tables in the foyer.
Sabrina glanced over his shoulder at the photograph which showed both of them smiling at the camera with a tropical sunset behind them.
"Must be a honeymoon picture," she commented as she took the photo away from him.
"And just how do we have honeymoon pictures?"
"It's amazing what you can do with a computer these days."
"Interesting. I wonder what other surprises await us," remarked Don as he started walking towards the doorway to the left of the staircase.
"Tell you what, I'll go one way, you go the other and we'll meet somewhere in the middle," she suggested.
"Sounds like a plan."
As Don wandered around the house, he felt himself catch his breath several times. How the hell had he ended up in a three and a half million
dollar house with a gorgeous woman who was pretending to be his wife? Then he remembered it was a role he was playing: a happily married,
millionaire whose wife desperately wanted a baby that he could not provide so that they could catch the ringleader of a kidnapping ring. If he just kept
reminding himself of these circumstances, then perhaps he could forget just how beautiful Sabrina was and how much he wanted to kiss her again.
It wasn't just that he wanted to kiss her again; it was that he wanted to do so much more. He wanted to lay her on the four poster bed in the
Master Bedroom and see the contrast of her ivory skin against the royal blue satin sheets. He could only imagine how her red hair would look as it
spilled onto the pillows while she called out his name.
Shaking his head, Don tried to put those images aside. He was still grieving over Marge ... wasn't he? And if he wasn't, he probably should be.
Sure, he'd dated other women in the nine years since Marge's death, but he always found an excuse not to continue the relationships past the third or
fourth date. Perhaps it was a fear of intimacy that kept him from moving forward or perhaps he was just plain scared. His thoughts were interrupted by
"Don!" called Sabrina.
He stepped out onto the balcony and looked around until he saw her standing outside on the deck.
"What's wrong?" he asked.
"Come down here. There's something you have to see."
Going back inside, Don made his way downstairs and out onto the deck from the family room. There he found Sabrina leaning against the railing
staring out onto the property.
"Okay, I'm here. What do I need to see?"
She guided him over to the railing and pointed out several of the amenities that their house had to offer.
"If you look over there, you'll see our pool and spa, further back are the tennis courts and right next to the tennis courts…"
"A putting green?!" he exclaimed, not quite believing his eyes.
"A putting green."
"Too bad Lennie's not here, he would love this."
"I know. Well, you can always take pictures and send them to him."
"I just might do that. Did you see the television over the fireplace in the family room?"
"I think it's plasma," Bri remarked.
"One of the biggest I've seen," he replied. "Perhaps you can answer a question?"
"Why on earth would you need seven full and two half bathrooms in a six bedroom house?"
Sabrina looked at him for a moment and appeared to be deep in thought. "I have no idea."
"As long as I'm not the only one who's totally confused by that."
"Bri, I..." he began but was interrupted by the doorbell.
"Who could that be?"
"Probably our handler," she answered as she began walking back into the house.
Don paused a moment and looked out at the scenery one last time before joining Sabrina inside.
After their handler, Special Agent Marcus Johnson, left, Sabrina excused herself and went upstairs to unpack and take a shower. While she was
doing that, Don decided to see what food, if any, was in the house. Opening the refrigerator, he was slightly surprised to find it stocked with many of
his favorite foods and soda. Next, he looked in the cupboards and found his brands of coffee and cereal. Someone had gone to the trouble of making
sure he felt at home here. Once he saw all the food, Don decided that he would make dinner that evening. He took out a pair of steaks that looked
wonderful along with potatoes that he was going to bake and some corn-on-the-cob. Instead of using the stove inside, he decided to barbecue on the
fancy gas grill out on the deck. After gathering up his supplies, he left a note for Sabrina and went outside to start cooking.
As he cooked dinner, Don went over the files that Agent Johnson had left behind. There was information on Jasper Michaels and his partner,
Darcy Walker along with more details about the house and the employees who had been hired to help take care of the place.
Forty five minutes later, Sabrina came downstairs to the kitchen and saw the note he'd left on the kitchen island. Opening the refrigerator, she
removed a bottle of red wine and a sparkling water. She took two glasses out of a cupboard and went outside to join Don.
"Something smells delicious," she commented as she stepped onto the deck and was greeted with the smell of steaks and spices.
Don turned from the grill and felt his breath catch. She had changed out of the white linen suit she'd worn earlier and into a pair of denim shorts
that showed off her long, slender legs and bare feet. A white T-shirt that fit her snugly completed the ensemble. With her hair in a ponytail, she looked
younger than 42. The sun caught the copper highlights in her hair and the only thoughts that came to him involved the whirlpool spa by the pool.
"What's wrong?" she asked, breaking the spell.
"Nothing," he replied, trying to cover up his silence. "I hope you're hungry."
"Famished," she answered as she walked over to the wrought iron table.
After placing the drinks and glasses down, Sabrina opened the bottle of water and poured a glass for Don.
"I thought you could use this."
She handed him the glass and allowed her fingers to trace down his arm as he took it.
Sabrina turned and went back to the table to pour a glass of wine.
"I hope you don't mind if I indulge," she asked while motioning to the bottle of wine.
"Just because I'm a recovering alcoholic doesn't mean you can't drink around me, Bri. It's perfectly fine."
Sitting down, she noticed the files spread out on the table.
"Yeah and I have an idea as to how we can make contact with Michaels and Walker."
"Let's hear it."
"According to the files, Michaels is an avid golfer. I thought I could go over to Rolling Rocks tomorrow morning and see if I can run into him on
the golf course," explained Don.
"Good thing we have a putting green," she commented.
"While I'm playing golf with Michaels I thought you could go to the spa and see if Ms. Walker is hanging around."
"I'll talk her up over facials and manicures."
"Afterwards, we'll run into each other in the lobby and ask them to join us for dinner at the casino."
"You really have thought this out," she remarked as he placed a plate of food down in front of her.
"This looks delicious. I didn't know you could cook."
"One of many hidden talents," he replied as he joined her at the table.
Wonder what other hidden talents he has, Sabrina thought to herself as she took a bite of her steak.
As they ate dinner, they talked about their plans for meeting up with Michaels and Walker the next day. Scenarios were played out and a plan of
action was made. By the time they had finished eating, the sun was setting and the outside lights were beginning to turn on.
"Well, now that we have everything figured out about this case, what are we going to do about sleeping arrangements?" Sabrina asked as she
finished her glass of wine.
"I thought you could sleep in the Master Bedroom and I'll take one of the guest rooms," suggested Don as he reached over to pour her another
"You should unpack your stuff and put it in the master bedroom's closet."
"You mean you haven't filled it with all your clothes?" he teased.
"Have you seen the size of that walk-in? You could move one of the guest beds into it and still have room for a party," she replied.
"I wonder if the new owners would be willing to rent it out for SVU's annual holiday party."
They both laughed at the idea of the SVU detectives dancing in a walk-in closet.
"Are you sure you don't want the master?" she asked.
"You take it. I'll be fine in one of the other five bedrooms."
"Okay. Since you cooked dinner, I'll clean up if you want to go and unpack."
"I think I may just take you up on that offer."
He pushed away from the table and headed towards the French doors that led back inside. Pausing just inside, he turned to look at her.
"Do you want to go out tonight?"
"I'm not sure," answered Sabrina as she began gathering up the dishes.
"We could go scope out Rolling Rocks and see what we can find," he suggested.
Sabrina thought for a moment.
"You do come up with some good ideas, Mr. Hanover."
"Thank you, Mrs. Hanover," he replied as he walked over to help her up from her seat.
"All right, you go unpack and get dressed and I'll start the dishes. Meet you downstairs in twenty minutes?"
"Make it thirty. It'll take me some time to get prettied up," he teased.
The Rolling Rocks Casino was one of the newest and most opulent hotel casinos. White swans glided in the silvery waters of the lobby pool, and
man-sized urns exploded with exotic flowers. The staff was dressed in tuxedos with silver ties and cummerbunds.
Don and Sabrina passed a number of elegant shops displaying everything from diamonds and furs to T-shirts. Sabrina knew that they'd aligned
themselves close enough to the casino to tempt any winners to put their money back into the hotel.
The casino itself was crowded with sound, the chink-chink of coins pouring out of slots echoing from the high ceilings. There was the hubbub of
voices, the clatter of the roulette wheels, the smell of smoke, liquor, and perfumes. And, of course, of money.
"Some joint," Sabrina commented while taking a gander at the knights and fair ladies painted on the windowless walls.
"What's your game?"
She shrugged. "They're all suckers' games. Trying to win against the house is like trying to row upstream with one oar. You might make some
progress, but the current's going to carry you down sooner or later."
He nipped lightly at her ear. "You're not here to be practical. Remember, we're on our honeymoon, sweetie pie."
"Blech," she said through a bright, loving smile. "Okay, let's go buy some chips."
Sabrina decided to start off playing the slots. She selected a spot that was close to the center of the room so that she could be on the look out for
Jasper Michaels and absorb the surroundings at the same time. She knew that it might take several nights to reach the next step, but she was hoping
they might get lucky.
As she lost her money steadily to the slots, Don went to get drinks. Champagne for her, ginger ale for himself. He made certain the bartender put his drink in a champagne flute so that to the casual observer it looked as if he too was drinking champagne. He placed the drink down next to Sabrina and watched as she placed another dollar into the machine.
"Well, I guess the house doesn't have to worry about me breaking the bank."
"Perhaps if you just relaxed." He placed a hand over hers as she pulled the lever. Lights began to whirl and bells clanged.
Her eyes went huge as coins began to shoot into the basket. "Oh, wow! That's at least five hundred!" Sabrina did a little dance and then threw her arms around him. "I won five hundred dollars!" She gave him a big kiss.
"Now, that's more like it," Don remarked as he kissed her. "Come on, let's go play blackjack."
They scoped out the tables, sipping their drinks and playing the part of an affectionate couple having a night on the town. Sabrina tried not to take it too seriously, the attention he paid her, the fact that his hand was always there when she reached for it.
As they walked around, they were drawn to a blackjack table where a young couple seemed to be doing extremely well. Don nudged her towards the table where quite a crowd was beginning to gather. The young wife was beaming as she encouraged her husband to keep betting.
Sabrina watched with excitement as the nearly delirious husband hovered at the ten-thousand dollar mark. A husky man in a tuxedo approached the table. He had smoothly tanned skin and expertly styled hair. All of which gave him a dignified bearing. She was certain he was the kind of man most
women would look at more than twice. Despite this, Sabrina took an almost instant dislike to him. His eyes were pale blue and appeared to be
smiling, but gave her a quick chill that ran down her spine.
"Something the matter?" Don whispered in her ear.
"Bad business," she muttered and held clutched his hand tightly for a moment.
The crowd began to cheer as the dealer lost to the husband, Marty, on nineteen.
"This seems to be your lucky night," the man remarked as he moved closer to Marty.
"I'll say," Marty looked up at the newcomer. "I've never won anything in my life."
"Are you staying at the hotel?"
"Yes, sir. My wife, Cassie, and I are," he said as he gave his wife a squeeze. "We just checked in this afternoon and decided to give the tables a whirl."
"Then allow me to congratulate you personally. I'm Jasper Michaels and this is my hotel."
As Jasper talked with the young couple, Sabrina decided it was time to take some action. She picked up her glass and began to stroll closer to where the young couple was. They were already making noises about cashing in and were busily thanking Michaels.
"Be sure to come back," Michaels told them. "We like to think that everyone at Rolling Rocks walks away a winner."
When Michaels turned, Sabrina made certain she was directly in his path. A quick movement and her champagne splattered onto his tuxedo.
"Oh, I'm so sorry," she said as she brushed at his damp sleeve.
"Don't worry about it. It's was entirely my fault." Easing away from the dispersing crowd, Michaels took out a handkerchief to dry her hand. "I'm
afraid I was distracted." He glanced at her empty glass. "And I owe you a drink."
"That's very kind of you, but fortunately for your suit it was nearly empty." She flashed him a smile. "I was a little curious about all those chips. My
husband and I were watching that young couple. We weren't having quite their luck."
"Then I definitely owe you a drink," Michaels took her arm just as Don walked up.
"Darling, you're supposed to drink the champagne, not pour it on people."
As if she were flustered, she laughed and ran a hand down his arm. "I've already apologized."
"No harm done," Michaels assured then as he offered Don a hand. "Jasper Michaels."
"Don Hanover. My wife, Sabrina."
"A pleasure. Are you guests of the hotel?"
"No, actually, we just moved here." Don sent an affectionate glance towards Sabrina. "We're taking a few days as a honeymoon before we get back to business."
"Where did you move to?" Michaels inquired.
"We bought a little place near Logan's Point," replied Don.
"The one that looks like a Swiss chalet," Sabrina answered.
"That a very nice piece of real estate," Michaels complimented.
"Thank you. Sabrina took one look at it, and well ... let's just say I can't say no to my wife."
Michaels smiled. "Well then, I simply must replace that champagne as my way of welcoming you to the neighborhood." He signaled a roving waitress.
"It's very kind of you." Sabrina glanced around approvingly. "You have a wonderful place here."
"Now that we're neighbors, I hope you'll enjoy the facilities. We have an excellent dining room." As he spoke, Sabrina could feel Michaels taking
stock of Don and her. She hoped that he saw that her jewelry was discreet and expensive. That Don's dinner suit was expertly tailored and that they
appeared to be the kind of clientele he preferred.
When the waitress returned with a fresh bottle and glasses, Michaels took it upon himself to pour the champagne. He handed a glass to Sabrina and kept one for himself. He turned to offer Don a glass also.
"I'm fine with my first one. Thank you," Don replied.
"What business are you in, Mr. Hanover?"
"Computers. Sabrina and I spent the last few years in Chicago. We decided it was time for a change. Luckily my business allows me to be flexible."
"And yours?" Michaels asked Sabrina.
"I've put my career on hold, at least for a little while. Right now, I'm enjoying taking care of Don and our new home."
"Ah, and children?"
"No." Sabrina's smile wobbled as she looked down at her glass. "No, not yet. But I think being here, the schools, the weather ... would be perfect to raise a family." There was a trace, just a hint, of desperation in her voice.
"I'm sure. Please enjoy Rolling Rocks. Don't be strangers."
"Oh, I'm certain we'll be back," Don assured him. "Well done," he murmured to Sabrina when they were finally alone.
"I thought so. Do you think we should go back to the tables for a while or just wander about looking like the love-struck couple we're supposed to be?"
Don chuckled and started to pull her close for kiss, then stopped with his hand on her shoulder. "Well ... sometimes things just fall neatly into place."
"Drink your champagne and smile." He turned her gently, keeping his arm around her as they wandered toward the roulette table. "Now look over there, to the woman Michaels is talking to. The brunette by the staircase."
"I see her." Sabrina leaned her head against Don's shoulder. "Five-five, a hundred and ten, light complexion. Between twenty-five and thirty years of age."
"Her name is Darcy Walker – or it is now. According to our file from Johnson, she was going by the name April Mounts when she was working with Parkland in New York."
"She's probably sleeping with Michaels," she remarked as she turned around in Don's arms. "We need to find out how much they know and how
close they are to the top." She finished off her champagne as she contemplated her next move. "You work your way and I'll work mine."
"Agreed, just promise me you won't do anything reckless without talking with me first."
"Agreed." She kissed him on the cheek. Out of the corner of her eye, Sabrina saw Darcy heading towards the ladies' room, she handed her
champagne glass to Don. "I'll be right back. Hold this."
"Of course, darling," he replied as she walked away.
Sabrina bided her time, sitting at one of the curvy dressing tables, by freshening her lipstick and powdering her nose. When Darcy sat at the table next to hers, she began the whole process again.
"Damn," Sabrina said in disgust, examining her fingers. "I chipped a nail."
Darcy gave her a sympathetic glance. "Don't you just hate that?"
"I'll say. I just had these done three days ago. I have the worst luck with them." Sabrina opened her handbag and started searching for a nail file. "Your nails are gorgeous."
"Thank you. I have a marvelous manicurist," Darcy said as she held up a hand to examine it.
"Do you?" Sabrina asked as she shifted in her seat. "Maybe you can help me. My husband and I just moved here from Chicago and I haven't had any time to find the right health club, spa, manicurist, that sort of thing."
"Sugar, you can't do better than right here. The membership fees for people not staying at the hotel are a little pricey but they are definitely worth it." She ran a hand through her coifed curls. "And the beauty salon is to die for."
"I'll have to look into it. Thank you." Sabrina said as she stood up.
"You're very welcome." Darcy applied some additional lip gloss onto her already shiny lips. "Tell them Darcy Walker sent you."
Since they had spent a late night at the casino and didn't want to arouse suspicion, Don and Sabrina decided to stay in and relax the next day. For Don this meant taking advantage of both the plasma television and the putting green. While he practiced, Sabrina decided to grab a book and sit by the pool enjoying the fresh air and sun.
After about an hour, Sabrina still sat in the chair reading. She was so lost in her thoughts that she didn't notice when Don slipped up beside her and held out a drink.
"I thought you'd like something to cool you off," he said, grinning.
Sabrina jumped then laughed. "Don't you know it's not nice to sneak up on people?"
He chuckled and handed her a glass of lemonade. "Why aren't you swimming?"
"I was thinking about it, but wasn't sure how cold the water was."
"Only one way to find out," Don said as he reached down and pulled her out of the chair. He guided her gently towards the edge and ever so slightly pushed her in.
"Ah!" she screamed as the cold water hit her body. Her head surfaced and she pushed her hair back as she coughed up some water. "Well," she commented, "I guess that's one way to get me in the pool." The nervous expression Don had on his face relaxed and he smiled when he
realized that she wasn't mad or hurt.
Don walked over and offered her a hand. She smiled and took it, letting him pull her out of the water. She grimaced as the cover-up she was wearing began to weigh her down. Without thinking, she pulled it over her head and tossed it on the ground. Looking up at Don, she was surprised that he was turned bright red. She looked down and understood why. The white swimsuit she was wearing had gone transparent in the water and managed to show even more skin than it had before. She simply grinned.
"You'd think you never saw a bikini before," she teased, trying to lighten the mood. She quickly adjusted the suit and dove back into the pool.
As Sabrina continued swimming, Don went inside to take a cold shower. He couldn't get the image of Sabrina – wet from head to toe in a white bikini out of his head. As he dried off from his shower, he happened to glance out the window and saw that she had recovered from their kiss and was now lying on a chaise lounge on her stomach, sunning herself. Before he could do something stupid like run downstairs and make love to her on the pool deck, he reached for his cell phone.
"Briscoe," the familiar voice said after several rings.
"Lennie, she's trying to kill me," Don announced as he sat down in the leather chair nearest the window.
Briscoe chuckled. "Who's trying to kill you?"
"Ah, the lovely Agent McFarland. And how is she attempting murder?"
"Lennie, you should see the bikini she's wearing or not wearing as it is."
"That revealing, huh?"
"I can see practically everything."
"And this is a problem?"
"Because we're supposed to be playing a part."
"Let me ask you this, Don. If you weren't playing a part and she was just any other woman, what would you do?"
Before he could answer, Don caught sight of Sabrina diving into the pool.
"I'd jump into the pool after her and kiss her until she begged for more."
"Oh, you've got it bad, my friend," Briscoe remarked.
"That's just it, Lennie. I shouldn't be having these feelings."
"This is out of some obligation you feel towards Marge?"
"Yeah," Don admitted reluctantly.
"Donnie, she's been gone nine years. Marge knew how much you loved her and I'm sure she wouldn't want you to not fall in love with someone else. You can still love Marge but, you can't give up on love without trying again."
"But what if I can't?"
"You've been with other women since her death, right?"
"Then, what's the problem?"
"I wasn't looking for anything more than an occasional dinner date."
"And it's not that way with Sabrina?"
Don paused for a moment. "No. Lennie, when she looks at me, I feel alive again and her kisses…"
"I can imagine. Listen, you need to ask yourself what you want and then talk to Sabrina. She's probably unsure herself." Lennie stopped as he let his advice sink in. "Or you could just grab her and kiss her and see where it leads."
"All right, enough love advice. Tell me about the rest of the case."
An hour later, Don hung up with Lennie and went downstairs. He could hear a basketball game and he followed the sound until he reached the kitchen. The television in the family room was tuned to a basketball game, but Sabrina was nowhere to be found. It wasn't until he was in the family room itself that he found her asleep on the large sofa. He leaned over and kissed her on the forehead. She stirred slightly and Don took the throw off the back of the sofa and placed it around her. As he watched her drift off to sleep, he decided it might be time to take some of Lennie's advice.
The next morning, Don left early to try and meet up with Jasper Michaels on the golf course. Since he was the first one leaving, he had first choice of the two cars in the garage. The first was a fire engine red Mustang GT convertible. It reminded him of Sabrina, full of life and energy. The second car
was more his style. The sleek black BMW 650i convertible was the car of a self-made millionaire. He popped open the trunk and placed his golf clubs,
housed in a new bag, inside before heading out to Rolling Rocks.
Twenty minutes later, he pulled into the valet parking lane of the resort. After getting some directions to the driving range, Don went to change his shoes and was soon out hitting some balls.
"You're leaning on your back foot when you follow through," a voice said.
Turning around, Don came face to face with Jasper Michaels.
"I see you've decided to take advantage of some of the amenities we offer," he remarked.
"It's a beautiful range, Mr. Michaels."
"Please, call me, Jasper. And do you prefer Don or Donald?"
"All right, Jasper and its Don."
The two men shook hands and then Don turned to hit another ball this time making the adjustments Michaels had suggested. It went exactly where he wanted it to.
"Thanks for the tip," Don said.
"You're welcome. Are you up for a game today?"
"I'd like to, but with the move I'm afraid I might be a little rusty."
"Nonsense, a couple of holes and you'll get back into the swing of things. I'm meeting the rest of my group in twenty minutes. Why don't you join us?"
"Are you certain?"
"Yes. We lost a member of our foursome a few months ago and we've been desperate to find a new fourth."
"All right," replied Don. "I'm going to go buy some more balls in the Pro Shop and I'll meet you in twenty."
Don left the driving range and headed towards the Pro Shop. He stopped in a quiet corridor and pulled out his cell phone.
"Hello," Sabrina answered her voice husky from sleep.
He tried to put the image of her tangled up in the satin sheets out of his head.
"Guess who I'm playing golf with in twenty minutes?"
"Tiger Woods," she teased.
"Very funny. Jasper Michaels has invited me to join his group for 18 holes this morning."
"That's terrific, Don."
"And what are your plans?"
"I'm going for a full day of exercise at the health club. Hopefully, I'll run into my new friend, Darcy Walker."
"Well, good luck."
He hung up his phone and placed it back in his golf bag then he headed over to the Pro Shop.
Later that morning Sabrina arrived at the Rolling Rocks Spa and Health Club. With a few well-placed tips, she was able to get her schedule to match that of Darcy Walker's. That was the simple part. The hard part for Sabrina was the prospect of spending an entire day wearing a leotard.
When she took her place in the aerobics class with a dozen other women, she sent a friendly smile in Darcy's direction.
"So, you've decided to give it a try?" asked Darcy as she checked to see that her hair was still bundled attractively in its band.
"With the move, I've missed over a week. It doesn't take long to get out of shape."
"I know exactly what you mean," Darcy replied. "Whenever I travel…" She broke off as the instructor entered the room and turned up the volume on the stereo.
"Time to stretch, ladies." The instructor was all smiles and firm muscles as she turned to face the mirror at the head of the class. "Now reach!" she said in her perky voice while she demonstrated the move.
Sabrina followed along through the stretches and the warm-up and into the more demanding routines. Though her job demanded that she stay in
excellent physical shape, she had to give all her attention to the moves. It became obvious as the class continued that she was in a more advanced class
and there was a matter of grace and style along with endurance that was demanded.
Before the class was half over, she had developed a deep loathing for the bouncy instructor with the perky ponytail and cheerful voice.
"One more leg lift and I'm jumping her," Sabrina muttered. Although she hadn't meant to speak out loud, it was apparently the right move. Darcy
flashed a grim smile.
"I'm right behind you." She panted as she began to execute what the instructor gleefully called hitch kicks. "She can't be over twenty. She deserves to die."
Sabrina chuckled and puffed. When the music finally stopped, the two women sagged together into a sweaty heap. After pulse checks and
cool-downs, Sabrina dropped down next to Darcy and buried her face in a towel.
"That's what I get for taking a week off." With a weary sigh, Sabrina lowered the towel. "I can't believe I scheduled myself for an entire day."
"I know what you mean. I've got weight training next."
"Really?" Sabrina offered her a surprised smile. "Me, too."
"No kidding?" Darcy blotted her neck, and then rose. "We might as well go suffer together."
They moved from weights to stationary bikes and then to treadmills. The more they sweated, the friendlier they became. Conversation moved from exercise to men, from men to backgrounds.
After sharing a sauna and a whirlpool, they ended the session with a massage.
"I can't believe you gave up your career for your husband." Darcy folded her arms under her chin as she lay stretched out on the padded table. "I just can't imagine doing that."
"I'm still getting used to it myself." Sabrina sighed as the masseuse worked her way down her spine. "To tell the truth, I haven't quite figured out what to do with myself. Don wants me to think of it as an experiment."
She hesitated, just enough to let Darcy know it was a sensitive subject. "My husband and I have been trying to start a family. We haven't had any luck even though we've gone through the whole route of tests and procedures. I had this idea that if I quit working and alleviated some of the stress in my life ... well, something might happen."
"It must be difficult."
"It is. Don's first wife couldn't have children and it just about devastated him. After she died, he'd just about given up hope of having a child of his
own. When we started dating, we had a long discussion about children. You see, we're both only children and we both want a big family. It seems so
unfair really. We've just bought this beautiful, wonderful house with five bedrooms that are just ready for children to play in. We're financially stable,
our marriage is great, but we just can't seem to get pregnant."
If the wheels were turning in Darcy's head, she masked it with sympathy. "I guess you've been trying for a while."
"Three years. It's really my fault. The doctors have told us there's a very slim chance that I'll ever be able to conceive."
"I don't mean to offend you, but have you ever thought about adoption?"
"Thought about it?" Sabrina managed a sad smile. "I can't begin to tell you how many lists we're on. Both of us agree that we could love a child that wasn't biologically ours. We have so much to give, but," she sighed again. "I suppose it's selfish, but we really want a baby. It might be a little easier to adopt an older child, but we're holding out. We've been told that it could take years. I just don't know how long I can handle all those empty rooms." She allowed her eyes to fill and then blinked back the tears before they fell. "I'm sorry; I don't usually get like this."
"That's all right," Darcy said as she stretched her arm between the tables and gave Sabrina a squeeze on the hand. "I guess no one can understand
these things like another woman."
Over a lunch of spinach salad and iced tea, Sabrina allowed Darcy to steer the conversation toward more personal matters like marriage. Sabrina
played the emotional woman part to the hilt, adding tears and then blinking them away quickly. By the end of the meal, the two women were fast
friends and were already talking about playing tennis and going shopping together.
Sabrina dragged herself home a couple hours later. She tossed her gym bag in one direction and kicked her shoes off letting them land in another.
"There you are," Don called out as he stood looking down at her from the top of the staircase. "I was just about to send out a search party."
"Fat lot of good that would have done. I would have rather had a stretcher."
"Are you all right?" he asked as he headed down the stairs.
"I'm fine. I'll tell you one thing, Don, I would rather be caught in the middle of a gunfight with a drug dealer than deal with a perky aerobics instructor ever again. I pumped, I squatted, I lifted, and I crunched. And on top of all this, all I've had to eat all day is a salad."
"Poor baby," he said as he kissed her brow. "What can I do to make things better?"
"You could make me a snack." She smiled and he could feel his pulse race.
He reached over and took her hand in his. Together, they walked into the kitchen where he had her sit down at the island while he began to gather the ingredients necessary to make a sandwich.
"So, tell me all about your day."
"It was exhausting. Apparently Darcy does this routine at least three times a week."
Don placed a bag of chips on the counter and she began to munch while he continued working.
"She seems okay, really. I mean when you talk to her, she comes across as a normal, bright woman. Then you keep talking to her and you realize that there's something more behind it all. It's like she's trying a little too hard to get to know you."
He glanced up from the sandwich he was making. "I gather you talked quite a bit then?"
"I spilled my guts to her. She knows all about how we met when I was helping with an internal audit at your company. How it was love at first sight and how incredibly romantic you were." She crunched into a chip.
"I was, was I?" He put the sandwich down in front of her and then poured her a glass of her favorite soda.
"You sure were. You sent roses to my office everyday for two weeks until I agreed to go out with you. Then you took me on moonlit walks along the lakefront and dancing under the stars. You were quite taken with me."
"I bet I was." He smiled as she bit hungrily into the sandwich.
"You practically begged me to marry you. Oh, this is good." She closed her eyes and swallowed, savoring the flavors. "Where was I?"
"I was begging you to marry me."
"Right." She gestured wit her glass before drinking. "But I decided to be cautious and you eventually wore me down. Now you're doing everything to make my life a fairy tale."
"I sound like a pretty terrific guy."
"That's because you are. Anyway, I played up the whole world's happiest couple routine. We're happy, of course, except for our big disappointment." She frowned but kept eating. "In the beginning I was starting to feel kind of bad about stringing her along."
She reached for the chips and started nibbling on them. "But once I brought up the baby, I could practically see the wheels turning in her head. The whole time she was being friendly and sympathetic, I just knew she was sizing me up."
"You don't feel bad, then?"
"Not one bit. I keep remembering the face of that mother when we returned the baby to her and it makes me more determined than ever."
"So when are you seeing Ms. Walker again?"
"We're playing tennis the day after tomorrow." Sabrina pushed her plate away. "She thinks I'm a woman trying to fill my time. We may even go
"Poor baby," he teased.
"Very funny. So how did your day go?"
"Very well. Apparently Mr. Michaels finds my wife quite charming."
"We discussed business, his and mine, and afterwards we went to the bar for a drink."
"Ginger ale. I explained that I have a rather sensitive system."
"We discussed sports and other manly things and I very cleverly managed to drop into the conversation the fact that I hope to have a son someday."
"It fit the mood. You know, a son to carry on the family name, play ball with…"
"Girls play ball too," she interrupted. "Did he buy it?"
"Well, I fumbled a bit, looked distressed and changed the subject."
"It felt right. Trust me, Sabrina, if I had said anything else, he would have gotten suspicious."
"Well at least you've laid the groundwork."
"I spoke with Johnson and he'll let us know as soon as Michaels makes a move to check out our story."
"Also, we've been invited to have dinner and go dancing with Michaels and Ms. Walker on Friday night."
Don walked around the island and picked up a remote control from the sofa table in the family room. Soon the room was filled with soft music.
"So I was thinking."
"We're hopelessly in love, right?" he asked as he started walking back towards her.
"And we are going dancing?"
"Well, we should probably practice." He held out a hand and waited for her.
Sabrina stood up and placed her hand in his. With practiced rhythm, their bodies glided across the floor. She rested her head against his shoulder and he pressed a kiss on her temple.
"Not bad for our first dance," Don commented as he began to hum along with the music.
Suddenly, Don became aware of the intimacy of the moment. With a beautiful woman in his arms, her perfume invading his senses, the music, and the soft tickle of her hair against his cheek, it seemed like the perfect moment to take fate into his hands.
"Sabrina," he whispered gently.
"Bri, I think…" he stopped as she pulled back and their gazes locked.
"I think I'm falling in love with you, Don."
He paused and just looked at her. She was staring at him ... waiting for him to make the next move. Slowly, he took a step towards her.
It wasn't fear that caused her to step back, but the need for a hard surface to brace herself against. She just knew that once their bodies collided, she'd need the support.
He stepped towards her and she stepped back in a simple choreographed dance. His gaze locked on hers and she couldn't have broken the spell if she wanted to. It was almost a shock when she backed into the kitchen counter. She gripped the granite which was cool beneath her heated flesh, bracing herself for the physical and emotional onslaught that was almost upon her.
Then he was there in front of her. Her chin tilted in order to maintain eye contact. She could feel the heat that was pulsing off of him. He invaded her personal space and she welcomed him. He kept advancing until he was flush against her and she whimpered deep in her throat.
Her lips parted as his head lowered, but he didn't kiss her. He rested his forehead against hers.
"I'm falling for you too, Bri," he confessed. He tipped up her chin with one hand and lowered his mouth to hers.
She gripped the granite counter harder in order to anchor herself as pure, unstoppable lust roared through her body. His mouth plundered hers and she plundered right back. His tongue was insistent, thrusting in her mouth so that she was moaning and her hips were wiggling in anticipation.
"This could be a very bad idea," he murmured as he reached for the hem of her clingy peach-colored cotton sweater and pulled it over her head.
"The worst," she panted while unbuttoning his light blue shirt with urgent haste. She pulled the shirt apart and stared at his chest.
She caught him studying her chest with the same fascination. The intensity of his stares had her nipples contracting and thrusting forward, puckering the silky fabric of her bra.
He let her push the shirt off his shoulders, but shrugged out of the thing impatiently, returning immediately to her breasts the second his hands were free.
She loved the way his chest rose and fell with his breathing and the steady beat of his heart against the palm of her hand. And she loved the feeling of the air on her skin when he removed her bra with practiced ease. Even more, she loved his almost reverent intake of breath as he cupped her breasts.
"They're spectacular. I thought I'd imagined them," he complimented.
She chuckled softly. "And they're real too."
After a moment, she reached for his belt and he mirrored her actions. His hands left her breasts with reluctance to head for the button of her linen
shorts. They worked with quiet concentration freeing each other of belts, buttons, and zippers.
She was trembling as Don picked her up and gently placed her on the counter. As she settled on the cold granite, she gasped. Then he spread her legs and knelt down in front of her.
Sabrina braced herself by putting her hands behind her on the counter. Every part of her body was quivering for him. She felt his breath, soft and erotic, on the inside of her thighs. She ached for the touch of his tongue on her trembling flesh and it came, but not where she desperately wanted it. Instead, he kissed the inside of her thigh.
"Mmm," she purred. Her eyes drifted shut as she savored the sensations coursing through her body.
He placed a row of kisses in entirely the wrong direction from where she needed him. The sound she emitted this time was more a groan than a purr. There was a time for teasing, a time for a low slow build-up. Now was not one of those times. He didn't seem to be picking up on her obvious clues. Little kisses traveled up to the front of her thigh and then she felt his tongue as it traced her opening and she felt her body open wider for him.
"Not yet," he whispered so softly that she could barely hear him over her escalating moans.
His tongue trailed slowly up to her frantically throbbing bud. As the roughness of his tongue slid over the smooth surface, she felt a warm wave begin to build and she cried out. He licked her again, not much more than the flick of his tongue and she finally thrust her hips forward against his mouth.
"Please!" she begged.
It was only then that he grabbed her hips and feasted on her.
Her body was trembling so much that she felt like she might tumble onto the kitchen floor. But his hands held her in place as his tongue drove her
towards release. As the building wave crested, she screamed.
He stood up and held her through the intensity of the first explosion and eased her through the aftershocks as her cries subsided into a long drawn-out sigh of release.
There was an unfulfilled ache deep inside her body and Don was still wearing his unzipped pants. They hung at his hips leaving him half-naked, which was not nearly naked enough. She slid her boneless body to the floor and this time she was the one to drop down to her knees and strip him naked.
She reached for him, but he stopped her.
"Condoms," he spluttered.
"I'm on the Pill," she told him.
The next thing she knew, she was being pushed up against the purring fridge. Her hips were in his hands and her legs around his waist. He kissed her deep and hard. She could feel his hardness probing and shivered in anticipation as he drove up into her body. The fridge was cold and hard against her back and Don was hot and hard against her front. Her hands began to claw at his shoulders and their bodies thrust together.
"I can't…" he groaned and she knew they needed to change positions.
"Kitchen chair," she gasped.
"Floor." He eased them down until he lay on the Italian marble and she straddled him.
She grinned down at him and then leaned forward to kiss him deeply as she began moving with him, meeting each thrust and finally settling into a
rhythm. He thrust his tongue deep in her mouth as she climaxed, swallowing the loudest of her cries. Then he was groaning into her mouth as he
followed her over the brink.
She lay sprawled atop him, her head against his chest. His hand made lazy circles on her back as a giggle escaped from her lips.
"What's so funny?" he asked.
"I was just thinking that if you wanted to move into the Master Bedroom, all you had to do was ask."
Don chuckled. "Well, now that I know that, why don't we see if we can break that big bed in?"
"That means getting up."
"If we don't get up soon, my back will never forgive me."
"Since I have plans that involve you being on your back, perhaps we should move," Sabrina said as she slowly got up. She put out a hand to help him stand.
"I think next time, you're going to be the one on your back," he teased as he kissed her sweetly.
Part 2 continues here.