“Do you have some sort of court order to do this?” Brooke asked Cade.
“No.” Seated across the desk from her, flanked by the two FBI agents, he appeared unconcerned with such pesky details. “But I can get one, if necessary.”
From his self-assured tone, Brooke had a feeling that Assistant U.S. Attorney Cade Morgan was a man who was used to getting his way. He certainly looked the part, with his tall, athletic build, angular jaw, dark brown hair, and cobalt blue eyes. He was remarkably good-looking—she would have to be a fool not to notice that—and she had no doubt that this played very well for him both inside and outside the courtroom.
“You probably could get an emergency judge to grant you an order allowing you plant a few bugs in the restaurant,” she conceded. “But you would still need someone on the inside to make sure your target sits at the right table.”
“It would be very difficult for us to pull this off without your help.”
At least he could acknowledge that much. “Before I’d even consider agreeing to this, I need to know who the target is and what that person or persons is being investigated for.”
Cade shook his head. “I’m afraid the nature of the investigation is confidential. As for the identity of the target, after we have your agreement to cooperate, we’ll provide you with that information at the appropriate time so that you know who to seat at the bugged table.”
For Brooke, however, this point was not up for debate. “I have a responsibility to protect Sterling’s interests, Mr. Morgan, and that includes the safety of its employees and customers. For all I know, your target is an organized crime boss, a drug kingpin, or some other sort of dangerous criminal. What if these two men discover that the table is bugged? What if they identify Agent Huxley and his fake date as undercover agents and pull out guns and start shooting people? Can you imagine the liability I’d be exposing the company to if someone got hurt and I’d had advance notice that there was a potentially dangerous sting operation going down in one of our restaurants?”
Cade considered this point. “I can’t reveal the nature of our investigation,” he said finally. “But I can assure you that neither of the two men who will be at Sogna on Sunday night are considered dangerous. Nobody’s pulling out guns and starting a shoot-out in the middle of your restaurant. This isn’t the O.K. Corral.”
“I’d still like the names.”
His blue eyes held hers boldly. “You drive a hard bargain, Ms. Parker.”
“I wouldn’t be doing my job if I didn’t.”
“Hmm.” He stretched out in the chair, looking effortlessly handsome and every bit the successful trial lawyer in his tailored gray pinstripe suit. “Now, normally, this would be the point when I’d have to give you the tough-guy speech about how, if you were to reveal to anyone the confidential nature of the information I’m about to give you, you could be charged with obstruction of justice and face a possible felony conviction and imprisonment.” He flashed her a dashing grin. “Luckily, though, since you’re a lawyer and obviously know that already, we can skip over the tough-guy stuff. Which is nice, because that part of the conversation can get really awkward.”
Maybe it was the fact that Brooke, admittedly, was having a bad day. She’d been dumped by the Hot OB, had just spent three hours on the phone haggling with the Staples Center lawyers over every tiny, miniscule part of their hospitality deal, and had done it all on two measly bites of a chicken taco and a melted strawberry-mango smoothie. She was tired, hungry, and had, up until ten minutes ago, been looking forward to the first weekend in a long time where she did not have to work. So, yes—she was, perhaps, feeling extra-cranky because of circumstances that had nothing to do with anyone sitting in that office right then.
But Cade Morgan was seriously beginning to piss her off.
He’d come to her office, seemingly to ask for her help. Now he was threatening her with obstruction of justice charges—and most annoyingly, he was doing it with a smile.
So she returned the favor. “That is nice, Mr. Morgan. Because in response to your tough-guy speech, I, in turn, would’ve had to give you my tough-girl speech, about where, exactly, federal prosecutors who come to my office looking for assistance can stick their obstruction of justice threats.” She smiled ever-so-charmingly. “So I’m glad we were able to sidestep that whole ugly business. Whew.”
Although her attention was focused on Cade, out of the corner of her eye, Brooke could see Agents Huxley and Roberts looking at the wall and ceiling, seemingly trying to hide their smiles.
Cade looked momentarily caught off guard, the first time since he’d waltzed into her office, then his eyes flashed with something else entirely. Amusement, perhaps.
That annoyed her even more.