“Hello there, Professor. Still figuring the angles?”
Charlie was so absorbed in his figures that he didn’t bother resenting Agent Edgerton’s approach. He continued glancing out the grimy window, down at the street below, and then back at his clipboard. “What I’m figuring is the reason why he missed. This shot is way closer than any of the others.”
Edgerton situated himself in the exact spot the sniper had fired from. “Well, closer doesn’t mean easier.” He blocked out the window’s dimensions with his hands. “He ran a higher risk of being seen here.”
Charlie frowned. “That wouldn’t affect the shot itself, though, would it?”
The agent—no, the sniper who enjoyed his work; that was a more fitting way to think of him—raised his eyebrows. “Forget about the math for a second. Just look.”
He beckoned Charlie to his spot. With a roll of his eyes Charlie complied. Did Edgerton really expect him to dismiss the math behind the shot?
“Try to think like he does.” Edgerton took out his pointer and used it on the crowd below. It was eerily as if he were marking targets. “Invisibility is a sniper’s greatest strength. If he starts to worry about losing it, his heart rate increases.”
Charlie swallowed as he stared down at all the FBI agents still milling around in the wake of the shooting. He could feel the heat of Edgerton’s breath ghosting over the back of his neck.
“If he doesn’t know how to handle it, his breathing rhythm gets thrown off.”
“Breathing rhythm . . .” The red light of the pointer was no longer visible, but somehow Charlie had missed the exact moment when Edgerton turned it off. He forced himself to turn around.
The sniper was giving him a quizzical look. “You’ve really never fired a gun?”
“I don’t really believe in them.”
“Believe in them? It’s not like they’re ghosts.”
“Obviously that’s not what I meant.”
“So you don’t take into account sweat getting into his eyes or his hands cramping or adrenaline twitching the barrel? That’s the difference between an expert marksman and a guy who aims at white meat and goes home with a wing.”
Charlie stared at him. “A woman got shot today. Not some . . . animal.”
“I see. So when I regard her as a technical problem, I’m a sick bastard. But when you plug her into an equation, you’re a scientist.”
“It just seems like—like it’s all some kind of sport to you.”
Edgerton narrowed his eyes at him. “It’s my job to put my head inside the mind of a killer. Your brother’s too.”
With that, the agent turned and started walking toward the stairs. “You coming?” he called over his shoulder.
Charlie opened his mouth to respond, and even raised a hand to make some half-formed point—but finally he rushed to catch up.
Ian toed off his shoes and laid himself down on the motel bed, crossing one foot over the other. Case solved, with far more help from the gun-shy professor than he would have believed. Charlie Eppes might be a naïve pup whose primary purpose in life was gazing at his older brother adoringly—but there just might be something to that mathematical voodoo of his.
Of course, said pup had almost gotten himself killed, which meant his brother would probably never let him out of his sight again. Ian almost didn’t blame Don. He would be protective of the pup too. And of that damp, curly hair. And of those wide brown eyes . . .
Ian moved his right hand—his trigger hand—down to the buttons of his jeans. He undid the button as he remembered the satisfaction he had felt the moment he took out the rogue sniper. The satisfaction of knowing the professor was safe.
He closed his eyes as his jeans came undone. His dick was stiff and ready, and already poking through his boxer briefs. He gripped it and starting pumping, imagining Charlie’s penis. Thin or thick? For some reason, he saw it as thick, but short. Not that he minded. It would fit perfectly in his hand . . .
And circumcised. It must be circumcised—he was a nice Jewish boy, right? Truth be told, Ian had no preference one way or the other. He could live without any foreskin to tease in exchange for that gleaming, clean head . . .
He started pumping harder. Charlie would make for interesting prey—a quarry who was not without his challenges. Ian would have to get past Don Eppes, just for starters. And Charlie was skittish where he was concerned: he seemed half intrigued by Ian and half terrified of him.
Ian grinned. Smart pup.
But Charlie could trust him. If he could capture that beautiful boy—well, yeah. He would challenge his prize and tease him and push him to learn more about the world outside his ivory tower. But he would never betray him and he would never endanger him.
Ian would bring him right to the edge of safety—and then he’d coax him back down.
He grunted at the thought as his dick exploded into his hand. He kept pumping as wave after wave of semen spilled out—and right afterward, when he was spent, he opened his eyes half-way, keeping them hooded as he plotted out how best to entice his prey.