Knight:A Club Alias Novel(4)

By: K.D. Robichaux

“Well, let’s start from the beginning, shall we? How did you two meet?”

I settle into the cushion of the couch, lean my head back, and close my eyes, letting the memory overtake my mind.

Eleven Years Ago

Khost, Afghanistan

“DO YOU MIND if I take your picture?”

At first, I ignore the soft female voice as I take another bite of my dinner. The mac and cheese has gone cold already, but it doesn’t matter. It’s so blistering outside one wouldn’t really want to eat steaming hot food anyway.

“Sir?” comes that sweet voice again, only this time it’s louder, with more authority behind it.

I glance up from my plate of orange, sticky noodles and into the most beautiful brown eyes I’ve ever seen. With my mouth full, my bite half chewed, all I can do is grunt. “Me?”

She smiles, her perfectly white, straight teeth standing out against her tan skin. In fact, that gorgeous, bright grin looks completely out of place in the chow tent. Everything else is dull and dirty, like a painting that’s been kept in an attic and hasn’t been dusted in decades. It makes you want to take a rag and Pledge the shit out of every fucking thing, but there’s no getting rid of moondust.

“Yes, you.” She chuckles, and it’s a sultry sound that goes straight to my cock.

“Um…” I look around, wondering if this is some kind of joke my superiors are playing on me.

“I work for Sands of Time Magazine. Just taking some shots of soldiers during their daily routines. Nothing big. Thought I could get a good pic of the chow hall,” she explains, lifting her giant black camera in one hand from where it had been hanging from a thick strap around her neck.

I swallow my macaroni. “Oh. Well… sure, I guess. Do you want me to, uh…?” I stand up from my seat, and her eyes widen as she peers up at me.

“Whoa, you’re a big guy, aren’t you?” she breathes, her gaze traveling over me from my buzzed hair to where the lower half of my legs covered in DCUs disappear behind the table. “How tall are you?”

If I had a nickel for every time someone asked me that… “I’m 6’8”, ma’am.”

She laughs again. “Oh my God, don’t call me ma’am. I’m not that old.”

“How old are you?” I groan at myself. “I’m sorry. Don’t answer that. My mind-to-mouth filter seems to be missing.”

“Oh, honey. Don’t worry about manners with me. How long do you think I’d survive around a bunch of soldiers if I cared about y’all being couth? I’m twenty-six,” she tells me, waving away my rudeness.

“Yeah, probably not very long, or you’d spend the entire time you’re here offended.” I glance down at my half-eaten dinner.

“How old are you?” she asks, and I look up to find her pressing some buttons on her camera before lifting the viewfinder to her eye.

“Twenty-one,” I reply, fidgeting where I stand as she takes a photo. “Do you want me to like… pose or something?”

“No, you can go back to eating if you want. I didn’t mean to disturb you. Candid shots always turn out the best, yet I have to have permission for the magazine.” She rolls her eyes. “Kind of a catch-22.”

I lower myself back onto the bench and grab my fork. “I’ll just pretend you’re not there.” Yeah, right. As if in a million years I could ever ignore her presence. Every word out of her mouth is mesmerizing. I hear the shutter go off a few times as I try my best to look like a badass while eating mac and cheese.

“That’s perfect. Thank you…” She holds out the word, and I meet her gaze once again.

“Glover. Brian. Brian Glover,” I fumble, closing my eyes briefly and shaking my head at myself.

“Thank you, Brian.” Her voice is low and flirtatious as she tilts her head to the side with another one of her gleaming smiles.

“You’re welcome, ma’a—um…”

“Clarice,” she supplies. And as I lift my brow—“Yes, like the FBI trainee.”

“I suppose people quote The Silence of the Lambs to you as much as people ask me how tall I am, huh?” I smirk.