Idiot. Marc directed the insult to himself and the woman who had him wrapped around her little finger. She had worked the helpless, desperate act well and he had fallen for it. Hook, line, and whimper.

It had been easy finding her. She hadn’'t even bothered checking in under another name. Either she really so naive or she wanted him to find her.

And if he could find her, then whoever was after her could too. All he had to do was flash his badge. But anyone with some extra cash and enough interest could pay for that info.

He had no reason not to believe she was really in danger. His instincts told him she hadn't been lying about that. But considering how she'd played him for a fool, maybe he couldn't – shouldn't – trust his instincts where she was concerned.

He stalked past a row of dim-lit motel rooms until he arrived at the lucky number. Room 409.

He hesitated just outside of the door. If he pounded on the door, she could panic and try to crawl out of the window. The room was on the second floor and the drop would make anyone think twice. But she had already proved she had some daring in her. And in his profession it was dangerous to underestimate people.

Asking the clerk to let him in would lead to too many questions and enough time had already been wasted.

Marc assessed the lock on the door. It was not a flimsy lock but it certainly wouldn’t hold up against some heavy duty pressure. He made his decision and would just have to be prepared for anything.

He rapped sharply on the motel door and called out to her.

“Amber, it’s Detective Marc Sharpe. Open up.”

Silence. He couldn’t hear a sound inside but he knew she was in there.

He pounded on the door again. “Come on. I know you’re in there.” Now he could hear shuffling inside. He hoped she didn’t try anything stupid. “Amber, you have half a second to open this door.”

The shuffling grew louder. “Wait. I’m not dressed.”

“Open the door, Amber. Now.”

The tone of his voice must have alerted her of her precarious situation, because the locks were quickly rustled back into their original position and she flung the door open.

And there she stood, virtually naked, wrapped simply in a short terry cloth bath towel.   

“I told you I wasn’t dressed.”