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About That Night (FBI.US Attorney #3)

By:Julie James

imples's eyes met hers and held them. "Okay, we'll do first names instead. Rylann."

She said nothing at first as she looked him up and down, coming to one inescapable conclusion. "You're used to getting your way with women, aren't you?"

He paused for a second. "Far more than I'd like, actually."

He suddenly looked serious, and Rylann wasn't sure what to say in response. Perhaps that was her cue.

She tipped her glass with a polite smile. "I think I'll head back to my friends now. It's been a pleasure … not quite meeting you."

She walked back to the table, where her friends were engaged in a heated debate over the scope of the Fifth Amendment's right to counsel during custodial interrogations. The guys in their group, including Shane, kept right on arguing as Rylann squeezed by, either not having noticed-or not caring about-her interaction with the guy at the bar. Rae, however, practically yanked Rylann into her seat.

"So? How did it go?" she asked eagerly.

"Assuming you're talking about Smug Dimples over there, it didn't go anywhere."

"Smug Dimples?" Rae looked ready to smack her upside the head. "You know who that is, right?"

Surprised by the question, Rylann stole a glance back at Smug Dimples, who'd already joined his friends over at the pool table. Well, she'd had a theory up until that moment. Judging from the no-fuss jeans, flannel shirt, and work boots, along with the slightly too-longish hair, she'd pretty much assumed he was a townie, likely one of those guys in his twenties from Champaign who hung out with his friends at campus bars looking for easy pickings among the co-eds.

But now, given Rae's implication that he was somebody she should know, she needed to rethink that assumption.

An athlete perhaps. He was tall enough, easily over six feet, and certainly had the body-not that she'd paid attention to that, of course.

Maybe he was the Fighting Illinis' new quarterback or something. Rylann had been living in the insular world of law school for the past nine months and, frankly, didn't have much of an interest in college football, so that could easily be the case. Although he seemed a bit older than she would expect for an undergrad.

"All right, I'll bite. Who is he?" she asked Rae. She prepared to be wholly unimpressed.

"Kyle Rhodes."

Rylann stopped her drink midway to her mouth. Well. She actually did know that name. Virtually everyone at the university knew that name.

"The billionaire?" she asked.

"Technically, the billionaire's son-but yes, the one and only," Rae said.

"But Kyle Rhodes is supposed to be a computer geek."

Rae shifted her position to check out the object of their discussion. "If that's the new face of computer geek, sign me up. He can push my keyboard buttons any day."

"Nice, Rae." Rylann resisted the urge to look over again. She wasn't familiar with all the details of his story, but she knew enough from the Time, Newsweek, and Forbes articles she'd read about his father, a Chicago businessman hailed as the epitome of the American dream. From what she recalled, Grey Rhodes had come from modest roots, graduated from the University of Illinois with a master's degree in computer science, and eventually started his own software company. She didn't remember much about his career, except for the one detail that really mattered: about ten years ago, his company had developed the Rhodes Anti-Virus, a software security program that had exploded worldwide to the ultimate tune of over one billion dollars.

She also knew that Grey Rhodes made generous donations to his alma mater, at least, she assumed that was the case, since the university had named an entire section of the campus after him-the Grey Rhodes Center for Computer Science. With his billion-dollar empire, he was easily the most wealthy and famous of the school's alumni. And thus Kyle Rhodes, a grad student in computer science and the heirapparent, was also a name people knew.

So Smug Dimples had a name now, Rylann thought. Well, good for him.

She watched surreptitiously as Kyle Rhodes leaned across the pool table to take his shot, the flannel shirt stretching tight across his broad, seemingly very toned chest.

"You could always go back over there," Rae said slyly, her eyes trained in the same direction as Rylann's.

Rylann shook her head. Not a chance. "Didn't your mother ever warn you about that kind of guy, Rae?"

"Yep. On my sixteenth birthday, when Troy Dempsey pulled into my driveway and asked if I wanted to go for a ride on his motorcycle."

"Did you go?" Rylann asked.

"Hell, yes. I was wearing a denim miniskirt, and I burned my calf on the exhaust pipe. Still have the scar to this day."

"There's a lesson to be learned there," Rylann said.

"Never wear a denim miniskirt?"

Rylann laughed. "That, too." And stay away from bad boys.

They moved on from the subject of Kyle Rhodes and joined their friends in the Fifth Amendment fracas. Before Rylann realized it, over an hour had passed, and she was surprised when she checked her watch and saw that it was after midnight. She caught herself glancing in the direction of the pool table-her treacherous eyes seemed to have a will of their own that night-and noticed that Kyle Rhodes and his friends were gone.

Which was just fine with her.



THE BAR LIGHTS came on, a signal that it was time for everyone to clear out.

Rylann checked her watch impatiently, saw that it was a quarter past one in the morning, and wondered what could be taking Rae so long in the bathroom. She didn't think her friend was sick-sure, they'd both had a few drinks that night, but they'd spread them out over several hours.

When another person, the third in the last five minutes, bumped into Rylann in the half stampede/half stumble of drunk patrons to the door, she figured she should check on what was keeping Rae. Mov