Cree abruptly realized that while she'd been busy gathering wool, John was sitting there apparently content to watch her sip coffee. That was another thing she liked about him. He didn’t seem to have the urge to fill every moment of silence with unnecessary talk. That casual, confident way of his made her wonder what kind of lover he’d be. A very good one, she was sure.
She forced herself to focus on something else in a useless attempt to get that all-too-vivid image out of her head.
“How did you figure out I was special?” she asked, refusing to use any of the crappy titles his organization seemed obsessed with applying to her kind. “Does the DCO have a big team of experts who pore over hours and hours of videos and records, looking for signs and tells?”
John shook his head, a small smile curving his lips. “Not really. We still don't know enough about shifters for that to be possible.”
“How did you spot me then?”
Her boss had told her to make sure the DCO noticed her, but it would still be nice to know exactly what they’d keyed in on.
John shrugged. “With some shifters, there are physical and behavioral traits that give them away—overt demonstrations of strength and speed, aggressive or over-confident attitude. But in your case, it was more subtle and harder to put into words. It was just a sense I got from watching all the surveillance video. The way you move through a crowd like a graceful animal, the way you lift your nose just a bit like you're testing the breeze for a scent, the way you constantly scan the restaurant when you're eating. It all told me you were special.”
Huh. She had no idea she even did those things, but those were damn subtle signs. “It sounds like you and your team spent a lot of hours watching those videos to pick up all those things?”
He gave her a lazy smile. “No team—just me. And yes, I spent a lot of hours watching you.”
The idea that John had sat in front of a TV or computer monitor for hours on end gazing at her so intently that he'd been able to pick up the details he had should have creeped her out. But it didn't. In fact, it was sort of a turn-on.
“So you're saying the DCO didn't peg me as a shifter—you did?”
He nodded. “But no one there knows yet. I haven't told them. I thought it best to find out if you were interested before saying anything. Right now, the few who are aware of you think you're simply a potential operative of the boring, everyday human variety.”
A grin tugged at her lips—he had a way of making her smile. But what could she say? This mission was turning out to be more fun than she'd ever imagined. And the fact that John was the only one who knew about her secret was like extra frosting on an already well-iced cake.
“Are you interested?” he asked again.
That was a loaded question if she ever heard one. She felt a warm rush suffuse her belly. “I'm very interested.”
“Excellent.” He grinned. “Does that mean you’re joining the DCO?”
She laughed. “I didn’t say that.”
He frowned. “But you just said you were interested.”
She leaned forward in her chair and fixed him with a sexy look, letting a little yellow-glow flash in her eyes. “I didn't say I was interested in the DCO. When I said I was interested, I meant in you.”
He tilted his head to the side, giving her an appraising look that sent the rush of heat she’d felt earlier to pool between her thighs. “I can work with that.”