Romatech. That's where he said he worked. Romatech. Roman. "Oh my God." She sat back in her chair.
Connor raised his eyebrows.
"Roman's the owner of Romatech, isn't he?"
Connor shifted his weight from one foot to another. He watched her with a wary look. "Aye. That he is."
"Then, he's the one who invented the formula for synthetic blood."
"Aye, he did."
"That's amazing!" Shanna stood. "He must be the most gifted scientist alive."
Connor winced. "I wouldna say that exactly, but he's a verra intelligent man."
"He's a genius!" Shanna raised both hands in the air. My God, she'd been rescued by a scientific genius. A man who was responsible for saving millions of lives around the world. And now he'd saved her. She sat down, dazed.
Roman Draganesti. Gorgeous, strong, sexy, mysterious, and possessing one of the most intelligent minds in the world today. Wow. He was perfect.
Too perfect. "I guess he's married."
"Nay." Connor's blue eyes twinkled. "Are ye saying ye like him, lass?"
She shrugged. "Maybe." Her turkey sandwich suddenly looked very appealing, and she picked it up for a big bite. The most incredible, available bachelor had entered her life tonight. As exciting as that was, she had to remind herself of his bizarre reason for coming to the dental clinic. She swallowed. "I'm still not implanting that tooth."
Connor smiled. "Roman is accustomed to getting his way."
"Yeah. Reminds me of my father." That was another point against him. She downed the last of her diet cola. "Do you mind if I have some more? I can get it." She rose.
"No, no, I'll do it." Connor hurried to the fridge and retrieved a two-liter bottle from the bottom shelf. He brought the bottle to the table.
"The sandwich is great. Are you sure you won't join me?"
He filled her glass. "I already ate, but thank ye for asking."
"So, why did Roman hire a bunch of Scotsmen to guard his house? No offense, but it seems kinda unusual."
"I suppose it does." Connor screwed the top back on the diet cola bottle. "We all do what we're best suited for. I'm an old warrior, ye might say. So, working for the MacKay is the best job for me."
"MacKay?" Shanna took a bite of her sandwich and hoped Connor would elaborate.
"MacKay Security and Investigation." Connor sat across from her at the table. " 'Tis a large company based in Edinburgh. Run by Angus MacKay himself. Ye havena heard of it?"
She shook her head no, since her mouth was still full.
'"Tis the premier company of its kind in the world," Connor announced proudly. "Ye see, Angus and Roman are old friends. Angus does all the security work for Roman, here and at the corporate office."
A beep sounded at the back door, and Connor jumped to his feet. Next to the door, Shanna spotted a light switch with two indicator lights protruding from it - one red and one green. The red one was lit. Connor whipped the short sword from the sheath on his belt and paced silently toward the door.
Shanna gulped. "What's going on?"
"Doona be alarmed, lass. If the person outside is one of our guards, he'll swipe his ID card and the light will turn green." Just as Connor spoke, the red light went off and the green one came on. Connor eased to the far side of the door, his blade still drawn, his stance like a tiger ready to pounce.
"Then why are you - "
"If an enemy attacks a guard, he could steal the ID card." Connor put a finger to his lips to warn Shanna to remain quiet.
Quiet? Jeez, she was giving considerable thought to getting the hell out of there.
The door slowly opened. "Connor? It's me, Ian."
"Och, good. Come on in." Connor sheathed his sword.
Ian was yet another kilted Highlander, though Shanna thought he seemed incredibly young for security work. He couldn't be a day over sixteen.
He slipped his ID card back into the leather pouch at his waist, then gave her a shy smile. "Good evening, miss."
"Nice to meet you, Ian." Oh, he was definitely young. The poor boy should be in school, not up all night guarding people from the Russian mob.
Ian turned back to Connor. "We conducted a full surveillance sweep. Everything is clear, sir."
Connor nodded. "Good. Ye should return to yer post."
"Aye. If ye doona mind, sir, after all the running aboot, me and the lads are thirsty. Verra thirsty." Ian glanced nervously at Shanna. "We were hoping for a.. a wee drink."
"A drink?" Connor glanced at Shanna, a worried look furrowing his brow. "Ye'll need to do yer drinking outside."
It seemed to Shanna that for some reason they were suddenly uncomfortable around her. So she tried her best to appear friendly. With a smile, she grabbed the cola bottle off the table. "Would you like this, Ian? I really don't need any more."
He grimaced with a look of disgust.
She set the bottle down. "Okay. It's diet. But it's not that bad, really."
Ian gave her an apologetic look. "I - I'm sure it's perfectly fine, but the lads and I, we prefer a different sort of drink."
"A protein drink," Connor blurted out.
"Aye." Ian nodded. " 'Tis a protein drink, to be sure."
Connor hurried to the fridge, motioning for Ian to follow. With whispered voices, they huddled in front of the open fridge, removing something. They stepped back to let the refrigerator door close. Then they sidestepped together, their backs turned to Shanna and their shoulders connected like Siamese twins as they shuffled over to the microwave on the counter.
Whatever they were doing, it was obvious they didn't want her to see it. How strange was that? Oh well, it was a night for strangeness. Shanna munched on her sandwich and observed the two Scotsmen. It sounded like they were opening bottles. Click. Probably the microwave door shutting. A series of little beeps, then sure enough, she heard the whirring sound of the microwave.
The two Scotsmen turned toward her, their backs to the counter and their shoulders pressed together to keep her from seeing behind them. She smiled at them. They smiled back.
"We.. uh, like our protein drinks warm," Connor said as if he wanted to break the silence.
She nodded. "That's nice."
"So, ye're the lass the Russians are hunting?" Ian asked.
"Afraid so." She pushed back her empty plate. "I'm sorry about dragging you guys into this. You know, I have a contact at the U.S. marshal's office. I could let him handle this. Then you wouldn't have to concern yourselves with me anymore."
"Nay, lass," Connor said. "Ye're to stay here."
"Aye. Roman's orders," Ian added.
Sheesh. The mighty Roman has spoken and all must obey. Well, if he expected her to implant that tooth in his mouth, he was in for a surprise. Thanks to her father, she had become an expert in rebelling against domineering men.
The microwave dinged and the two men whirled around and busied themselves at the counter. They appeared to be screwing the tops back onto the protein drinks and shaking them. Then they stopped and looked at each other. Connor glanced back at Shanna, then rushed over to a cabinet and pulled out an old paper sack. Ian remained huddled over the bottles. When Connor returned, there was a flurry of activity that Shanna couldn't see, accompanied by the crunchy noise of paper.
Then Ian turned with the paper sack in his arms. The top had been rolled down. Inside, no doubt, were the mysterious protein drinks. He walked toward the door, the glass bottles clinking together inside the bag. "I'll be going now."
Connor unlocked the door. "Report again in thirty minutes."
"Aye, sir." Ian glanced at Shanna. "Good evening, miss."
"Bye, Ian. Be careful," she called after him. After Connor locked the door, she smiled at him. "Connor, you rascal. I know what you were doing. Protein drink, my ass."
His eyes widened. "I.. you canna - "
"You should be ashamed of yourself. Isn't that boy under age?"
"Ian?" Connor looked confused. "Under age for what?"
"Drinking beer. Isn't that what you gave him? Though why anyone would want a warm six-pack is beyond me."
"Beer?" In Connor's shocked voice, the final r seemed to roll for a full thirty seconds. "We have no beer, ma'am. And the guards wouldna ever get drunk while on duty, I assure you."