Her Perfect Mate(110)By: Paige Tyler
“What about Tanner?” Zarina asked.
John stopped. “Mr. Howe won’t be going anywhere for a while.”
“He didn’t kill those hikers.”
“Maybe not,” John agreed. “But I think even you’ll admit it’s a little dangerous to let someone like him roam the streets. Until we evaluate how volatile he is, he’s staying here.”
Zarina folded her arms. “Then so am I.”
John regarded her in silence. “I had a feeling you’d say that. We can always use a good doctor at the DCO.”
Kendra watched John walk away. “When Dick finds out we have a hybrid here, he’s going to have doctors poking and prodding him until they figure out how to create their own.”
“Can they figure out how to make new hybrids by studying him?” Landon asked Zarina.
She shook her head. “Just because you can look at a Picasso doesn’t mean you can paint one. Besides, I’ll make sure I’m involved in whatever testing the doctors do. I’ll know if they’re getting close and I’ll do whatever I have to do to sabotage it. Even with Tanner’s DNA, the DCO could work for years and never get anywhere. Klaus and Renard are the much bigger threat. With Ivy’s DNA, they could be well on their way to already creating the perfect hybrid.”
Ivy’s stomach knotted. “And if the DCO ever captures one of my clones, they’re going to put two and two together and figure out what really happened at that lodge.”
“Hey.” Landon took her hand in his. Even that small public display of affection was dangerous in the DCO offices, but she didn’t pull away. “We’ll deal with that if—and when—it happens. When Klaus and Renard surface, the DCO will know about it. When they do, we’ll make sure we’re the ones John sends to bring them in.”
How did Landon always know what to say? She gave his hand a grateful squeeze. “You’re right. There’s nothing we can do right now. For all we know, Klaus and Renard might not even get my DNA to work.”
He and Ivy hung around the DCO just long enough to hear the outcome of the interrogation with Tanner—where he backed up Zarina’s story—then went to Ivy’s apartment. Once inside, he set their Chinese takeout on the counter and pulled her into his arms for a long, thorough kiss that had him considering the idea of having dessert before dinner. But then he saw the worried frown creasing Ivy’s brow. Clearly, dessert was going to have to wait.
“Hey.” He smoothed her hair back from her face. “You okay?”
“Just worried about what those scientists are going to do with my DNA.”
He kissed her again, then gently cradled her face in his hands. “I’m worried, too, but whatever it is, we’ll deal with it together.”
She smiled. “Together. I like the sound of that.”
“Me, too. More than I ever imagined.” He searched her face. “What do you think about making this together-thing a bit more official?”
“Official how?” Ivy’s brow puckered in confusion, then her eyes went wide. “Oh! You mean…?”
“Yeah. I mean I think we should get married. We’ll be able to stand up to anything the DCO throws at us if we know what we have between us is rock solid.”
Ivy looked like he’d hit her with an axe handle.
He stepped back, ran his hand through his hair. “It isn’t anything you have to answer right away. Just think about it.”
“I don’t have to think about it.”
She smiled. “The answer is yes.”
He stared. “Really?”
What had Angelo said, that he was the luckiest guy on earth? He was the luckiest guy in the whole universe. “I’m going to do this proposal thing right. Buy a ring, get down on one knee—”
She put a finger to his lips, shushing him. “Your proposal was perfect. Although, it might be a good idea to get a ring before we tell my parents. Dad’ll shoot you if I show up without one on my finger.”
He chuckled and kissed her again. “Deal.”
Somewhere South of Khorugh, Tajikistan