Venus Ardanowski, called ‘V’ by her friends, kept the canister of pepper spray trained on the strange young man.  “Anna Devane doesn’t have a younger brother,” she said.  “You should have come up with a better story.”

“My name is Gabriel Devane and Anna asked me to wait for her here.”

V ignored the young man’s earnest expression.  “Then where is she?”

“I don’t know.  I thought you were her.”  Gabriel began to rise from the bed.  A subtle movement from V discouraged that.  “Look, if you will let me get my phone, I will call her.”

V’s hesitation irritated Gabriel.  He stood up, allowing the sheet to fall from his nude body.  “I am not going to hurt you,” he ground out between clenched teeth.  “I am not even carrying a weapon!”

That was highly debatable, V thought, tearing her gaze away from his ample endowment.   “Fine,” she said.  “Just don’t try anything.”

Gabriel crossed the room and retrieved a tiny cell phone from the pocket of his jeans.  He carelessly draped the jeans back onto the chair as before.  All the while he was aware of V’s frankly assessing gaze upon his body.

“Let me guess,” V smirked.  Her eyes drifted back up his body to settle upon his face.  Gabriel had the tiny phone pressed to his ear and a frown upon his face.  “Anna doesn’t answer your call.  Right?”

V’s sarcastic tone was not lost on the young man.  He knew that his inability to reach his older sister further convinced the beautiful redhead that Gabriel’s story was not true.  “No,” the young man explained.  “Anna left me a message.  Something has happened and she had to go back to the police station.”

“Yeah, sure…”  V gestured with the canister of pepper spray.  “I’ll tell you what.  You put your clothes on.  We will go and meet Anna there.”

Gabriel sighed but did not move.  Instinctively V’s grip tightened about the small canister as her past training as a WSB agent automatically kicked in.  Both she and Gabriel stared at one another as they stood in a frozen tableau.

Finally the young man’s gaze drifted downward.  V realized that his body had undergone significant changes.  “Well, just…You can…”  Her face grew red with embarrassment.  Her WSB training had not prepared her for a situation like this.  “Can’t you still get dressed with it like this?”

Gabriel shrugged.  “My jeans are tight.  It’ll hurt.”

V was flustered.  Gabriel seemed unaffected by his body’s arousal.  In fact, he continued to stare at V with an intense, unblinking gaze.

“Just…just sit back down on the bed,” she demanded weakly.  Her hands fluttered in the air.  “And cover up.  Please.”

Venus desperately tried to figure out her next move.  She and the stranger could just wait until ‘it’ went down.  But frankly, she admitted to herself, she did not have enough experience with the male anatomy to know how long such a thing might take.

“What are you doing?” 

She frowned as Gabriel’s fingers flew across the phone’s keypad.  “I am sending Anna a message.  When she calls me back, you will have your proof.”

Such a simple solution!  V was tempted to slap herself on the forehead.

Almost immediately the tiny cell phone rang, causing V to jump.  Gabriel carefully answered the call.  “Here,” he proffered the phone her way.  “Anna wants to speak with you.”

Venus accepted the phone with caution.  “Hello?”

Gabriel correctly read V’s expression.  She had finally accepted that he was who he claimed.

“I’m sorry,” V said, snapping the little phone shut.  “I didn’t know.”

“It is alright.”

Venus apologized with each step she took toward the door.  She fled Gabriel’s presence with an immense sense of relief.  There was nothing she wanted more than to just put the embarrassing episode behind her.

There was only one problem.  A crystal clear image of a naked Gabriel Devane remained foremost in her mind.