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A man in black at your door was never a good thing, Deanna Vasquez thought as she watched her students shuffle past the brawny man with the nearly black buzz-cut hair stationed at the entrance to her classroom. He had one hand clasped over his wrist and resting on a lean midsection in a classic pose. When coupled with the midnight-colored suit, it screamed law enforcement.
Handsome in a deadly and dangerous kind of way, she supposed, as she examined him from the corner of her eye. His face was all sharp lines chiseled into granite. His creamy skin showed traces of a heavy beard and his eyes were the color of the ocean during a tempest.
That stormy gaze never shifted from her as the teens filed by and shot him a combination of amused and uneasy looks.
She was certain her own features reflected her discomfort when she finally gave him her full attention.
"May I help you?" she called out.
"May I come in?" he asked, his voice a melodious baritone that might have been pleasant in some other situation. She ignored the way the low timbre of it strummed alive something within her.
"Would it make a difference if I said 'No'?" she asked and arched her brow in emphasis.
"No," he said with a rueful shake of his head. He walked into the room, his strides purposeful. When he reached the edge of her desk, he once again stood there, hands held before him, everything about him outwardly calm and yet shimmering with ominous energy below the surface.
He was lethally large, with thick muscles through his shoulders and chest, and big powerful thighs. The suit hid most of his midsection, but she imagined it would be as solid as a tree trunk given the rest of him.
She was used to slighter, more scholarly, sorts and his size intimidated, but she suspected that's what he wanted. It was probably what he needed to deal with most of the people he met in his line of business.
She pulled her attention away from the bulkiness of him and concentrated on filling her briefcase with the end-of-year essays her pupils had turned in at the beginning of the class.
"Dr. Vasquez, I presume," he said and finally held out his hand. Big, blunt-fingered and powerful. A large crescent-shaped scar marred the skin on one knuckle.
Swinging the now bulging briefcase from her desk, she stared down at his hand for a long moment, but didn't shake it. Not a fan of authority figures, she had no desire to make his acquaintance in any way, shape or form.
He finally dropped it and once again assumed his militarily precise posture. Hands steady. Legs braced slightly apart. Back ramrod straight. His posture communicating that he had no intention of going anywhere until he was good and ready.
Lifting her gaze to meet his since he was a good six inches taller than her middling height, she asked, "Who are you and what do you want?"
"Are you always so distrustful?" he stated blandly, although his mouth quirked with a hint of dissatisfaction.
She tried to brush past him, but he lifted a rock hard arm the way a barrier might snap down at a toll plaza. Following the line of his arm up along the clean dark fabric of his suit, she realized that much like the toll, her freedom would require some kind of payment.
"How can I help you, Mr...?" She paused, waiting for him to identify himself.
"Special Agent Santana," he said, dropped his arm, reached into his suit jacket and pulled out a badge which he flashed in front of her face.