Chase couldn't believe his eyes or his luck when he'd spied the figure on the second-story balcony. It had to be Harper as he'd recognize her mouthwatering ass anywhere. He dropped his slim cigar to the floor then ground it out with his heel. No other second-story pro would have the balls to break into a house while the owners, one hundred and fifty party guests and a legion of security guards were in residence. His gaze skimmed the shadowy figure. And to top it all off she was wearing a sexy evening dress guaranteed to slay a man with one glance at those neck-to-floor legs of hers.
How well he remembered those legs.
Chase held his breath when she opened the French doors and slipped into the office. It would appear that the beautiful thief was going to do all the hard work for him this evening.
With the grace of a ballet dancer, he climbed onto the balcony rail of the guest suite and made the leap to the office balcony. His gloved hands connected with the railing and he pulled himself up with ease.
He was pleased to see Harper still had the same, deft touch with locks that she'd been known for. Houdini had been a legend in second-story work though he'd heard she'd retired more than a year ago. He dropped to a crouch before the doors to peer inside through a narrow slit in the drapes. It would seem the stories of her retirement had been greatly exaggerated.
His former lover stood over the desk with a laser light tucked behind her ear as she searched the drawers. Her movements were economical, swift yet efficient. She moved through each drawer, her search thorough, yet she took great care to not disturb the contents of the desk.
What was she looking for?
Her task completed, she rose and her gloved hands were empty. She stood for a moment, her gaze fixed on a painting behind the desk. She slid her fingers along the bottom of the frame, it swung to the side to reveal a safe.
Now, that's what I'm talking about.
She was hard at work on the safe when Chase reached for the door handle. Rising, he held his breath as he slipped into the room, counting on the fact she'd be too immersed in opening the safe to notice his arrival.
It wasn't hard to detect the differences between the Harper he'd known and the woman standing before him. In the past she could've opened this safe in a matter of moments and that was with her eyes closed. Now, she labored over the task like a master painter would over his latest work.
In their line of business, being slow increased the chances of getting caught and she'd definitely been caught this time.
He slipped out from behind the curtains, his gaze still focused on the beautiful thief. Her posture was tense though she seemed to be completely unaware of his presence. In the past he'd never have managed to sneak up on her. It seemed Harper had been in retirement just long enough to lose her edge.
If it were possible, she'd grown more beautiful in the past five years. Her black hair was contained in a complicated twist on the back of her head leaving the length of her slim neck exposed. He'd always loved that part of her anatomy. There was something undeniably erotic about the bare curve of a woman's neck.
She wore gloves and a long-sleeved black dress that clung to her tight, athletic frame. The skirt was short, ending several inches above her knees, but it was her legs that had his mouth watering. Long, shapely and clad in sheer black stockings, Harper had the most amazing legs and he well remembered the feel of them wrapped around his waist as he'd taken her beneath him. Bemoaning her mere five feet, five inches, she'd always worn stiletto heels and he was quite pleased to see she'd retained that particular habit. His woman hadn't changed completely--
His chest went curiously tight. Five years ago she'd thought she'd caught him in a compromising position. Without giving him a chance to explain, she'd packed her bag and walked out of his life. He rubbed his hand over his chest. If she hadn't come home early that day, if Susan hadn't come by in the midst of an emotional meltdown, if he hadn't held her as she'd cried and been more on guard when she'd grabbed his face for a passionate kiss, would he and Harper still be together?
The safe opened and she made a soft sound of satisfaction. He glanced down at his watch. Seven minutes. Definitely not as good as the old Harper had been, not by a long shot. He crossed his arms over his chest and adopted a careless stance.
"It's about time, Harper. My grandmother could've opened that safe faster than you and she's been dead for ten years."