Point Blank Protector
Point Blank Protector
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From the book
Tyler Clark hated seeing the shrink. Hated having his motives questioned, his mind probed. He pulled open the door to the Sea Breeze Police Department and showed his ID.
The watch officer took one brief look at Tyler's face and slid the visitor's pass across the desk. "Have a nice day."
Tyler resented jumping through hoops for bureaucratic nonsense, and he really couldn't stand being jerked out of the field until the crazy task had been completed. Crazy because any undercover agent worth his salt could fool a shrink.
But regular evals were part of his job as an undercover agent--at least, they had been part of his job until he'd been exposed by the press after his last case closed. As a bonus, his new job--interim job, he reminded himself--also required a visit to the shrink. Lucky him.
In his experience, shrinks came in two varieties, the cheerful and sympathetic wanna-be-your-friend type and the slice-and-dice, cut-out-the-cancer type. He didn't like either one, preferring to deal with things on his own time. Or not.
The utilitarian gray halls of the Sea Breeze, Florida, Police Department weren't complicated, and within minutes of entering the building he found Dr. VanDoren's second-floor office.
The doctor had a white message board on the outside of the door. Someone had drawn a smiley face on it. Great. VanDoren was one of those.
He pushed the cracked door all the way open, knocking on it with two knuckles.
The woman at the desk was on the phone. Lake-blue eyes widened as he entered the room. She pulled an appointment book from a teetering pile on her desk and ran a finger down it, still speaking softly into the phone.
When her finger reached his name, she looked up, giving him a bright smile. She motioned to a chair and raised a finger for him to wait.
He eyed the club chairs. In one she'd left her purse and computer bag. In the other a neat stack of papers and assorted files. He picked up the stack and laid it on the corner of her desk.
Tyler relaxed into the soft leather and watched her as she talked on the phone. She'd turned slightly away from him toward the window. As she spoke, her hands moved in animated gestures. Bright April sunlight streamed in, gilding the corkscrew blond curls.
"All right, then. Talk to you later." She placed the phone on its cradle. "What can I do for you?"
"I'm here to see the doctor."
"About?" She picked what looked like a random envelope from a stack of mail and sliced into it with a wicked letter opener sporting the police seal on its handle.
He stared unblinking, waiting while she glanced over the sheet of paper before tossing it into the trash can. When she lifted her eyes to meet his again, he said, "I think I'll just talk to the doctor--"
She raised one slim eyebrow, a private joke sparkling in her eyes.
Right. "You're Dr. VanDoren."
"Yep." The doc picked up another envelope and cut it open, giving the contents a cursory glance before it followed the last one into the trash can.
"I bet you're killer on the witness stand." He didn't stop to think that his words weren't exactly complimentary.
The psychologist tilted her head. "Defense attorneys do tend to underestimate me."
Another envelope lost its fight with the slick blade in her hand. This one she filed on top of a lopsided pile on her desk before she met his eyes again with a faintly perplexed look, as if surprised to find he was still sitting there. "So why are you here, Mr. Clark?"
"Tyler." He forced himself to sit still. He'd done the same thousands of times before when he'd been undercover and under the close scrutiny of...
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