Steele Between the Lines
Season 1,
Between License to Steele, and Tempered Steele
by Gilmoradict
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A field of sleek race horses breaks from the gate, with the ensuing excitement and noise. As the group rounds the first turn, the colt in the lead falters and falls back, limping noticeably, and tossing his beautiful head. The jockey struggles to control him, gradually bringing him to a stop near the fence, where he leaps from his charge's back. Several men run to help hold the spirited horse, followed at a slower pace by a trainer, who runs a seasoned hand down the bay's leg. The colt is led carefully off the track. His tack removed, he is turned out into a roomy box stall, where he stands breathing heavily, nostrils flaring.

"This was the finest colt I'd seen in years. How could this happen?" An angry man in business attire ill suited to the stall outside of which he stands, studies the horse, shaking his head in disappointment.

"It may be just a deep sprain, in which case he'll be good as new with a little rest and TLC." the trainer suggests.

"I don't pay for horses to 'rest,' just race. Find some investors who are foolish enough to take him on, or collect on the insurance and put him down."
With a look of concern on his face, the trainer watches the man depart.

A woman's hands pull the paper reading "Steele Pure Gold" from a newspaper box.

A pair of dark skinned hands, belonging to a commuter, holds the Daily Chronicle, with the headline "Steele Pure Gold."
Another set of hands, this pair a woman's, extend over a breakfast table, holding the same headline.
The paper declaring "Steele Pure Gold" is seen just in front of the lame horse's stall. A larger view reveals the work worn hands of the lame horse's trainer holding the paper, and smiling at the image of the man named Steele.
Elegant, well manicured hands, extending beyond crisp French cuffs and a dark vested suit hold the same headline. The handsome dark haired man smiles at the photo of himself, in which he is holding the arm of Mr. Gordon Hunter, who is flanked on the other side by an "unidentified woman." It is this woman the man's gaze focuses on. His right eyebrow rises slightly and his smile deepens as his mind's eye replays the previous two evenings: the soft deep brown of the woman's eyes as she had sat across from him, the swing of her long, shinning hair catching the light in a dozen shades of brown, the play of dimples across her cheeks as she spoke so earnestly to him about her work... He doubted she had any idea how lovely she was, so absorbed was she in her excitement over the world around her. Audrey Hepburn - no, Katharine....Truly this woman is a gem of much greater value than those he was supposed to have saved....
Laura and Bernice ride up in the elevator together.

"Unidentified woman... That's you." Bernice remarks dryly.
"Poor Mr. Hunter." Laura murmurs sympathetically, "He wasn't really a thief, just a man who saw his dream going down in a sea of red ink. He wanted to use those gems to finance the production of his automobile."
The two women walk through the doors of Remington Steele Investigations together. A man has been waiting in the reception area for someone's arrival.
"Lester Giddons - I have a nine o'clock with Remington Steele?" he says inquisitively.

"Oh, I'm sorry. Mr. Steele has been called out of town - San Francisco I believe." Laura apologizes, adding brightly "But we can use his office." Laura motions for Mr. Giddons to precede her into Mr. Steele's office.

Before following him into Mr. Steele's office Laura looks sideways at Bernice, "If anyone calls..."

"He won't." Bernice states matter of factly.

"Mr. Steele!" Mr. Giddons exclaims. "I thought you were in San Francisco!"

Laura's face lights up. Glancing quickly at Bernice she follows Mr. Giddons through the tall red door. Inside the office the desk chair turns to reveal the well manicured man in the three piece suit sitting at Mr. Steele's desk.

"Yes, well suddenly it seemed there was nothing there for me. Now, what can we do for you Mr. Giddons?" the ersatz Mr. Steele asks as he rises to close the office door behind the startled and bemused Miss Holt.
Laura's pulse races with the sudden rush of excitement one might feel at the apex of a roller coaster, or the beginning of a ski run down a black diamond slope. This was the feeling that led her to become a private investigator - turning a corner to discover the unexpected and slightly dangerous. 'What is HE doing here?!' she thinks! Swiftly she gathers herself, however, to focus on Mr. Giddons, his praise for Mr. Steele's work over the past two days, and his thoughts on how Mr. Steele could assist him with an urgent security failing in his own business. This blue eyed stranger indeed makes a delightful Remington Steele. Her gamble might yet pay off....
The door to Mr. Steele's office opens and closes frequently as the morning continues. Bernice fields continual calls from those in need of the great Remington Steele's services, and those who, having never met the enigmatic Mr. Steele, now wish to thank him in person for services received. The reception area flutters with these latter in particular, each holding their copy of The Daily Chronicle with the photo and story of the royal lavulite. Seeing an opportunity, Laura hollers for Murphy, who, still nursing a headache from the previous day's events, is working on more pedestrian matters in his office to the left of Laura's.
"Grab the agency camera, Murphy! - let's get some publicity photos!"

Murphy sticks his head into Laura's office, peering through to see 'Mr. Steele' chatting with a Hindu man in the office beyond. "What's going on....whoa - you've got to be kidding me Laura! You don't honestly want photos of HIM!"

"Don't knock a gift horse in the mouth, Murphy. Com'on, just go with it. We'll talk later-" Laura begs around the beautiful smile that Murphy can never resist.

"I can think of someone I'd like to knock in the mouth." Murphy scowls. With a dark look at HIM, he grabs the camera from a file drawer. Bernice blinks as flash after flash illuminates the doorway of Steele's previously quiet office.
At noon Laura turns her back on the office doors as she locks them behind the last client she ushers out, encouraging those who have not yet seen Mr. Steele to call and schedule appointments. A grin slides across her face, and her eyes sparkle as she looks conspiratorially at Bernice.
"It would seem your Mr. Steele has generated some interest in the agency Laura." Bernice remarks wearily. "I haven't been able to get the phone away from my ear all morning. How do things look from where you are?"

"Not bad, Bernice," Laura smiles broadly; "Not bad at all! Come on - let's talk turkey with this turkey while we have a moment to breathe."
"All right, 'Mr. Steele'," Laura begins as she strides purposefully into Steele's office and up to the impostor himself. "You have shown an amazing talent for undercover work, glad handing, smiling for the camera, and bluffing your way through situations you know little or nothing about. Can we back up just a moment now? Who are you, and why are you here?"
Murphy and Bernice join Laura in staring the serenely composed interloper down.

"Really, Miss Holt, I thought I'd made that quite clear already. I'm a man who likes an impossible challenge. With the gems currently out of circulation I find myself open to new endeavors. 'Mr. Steele' seems to offer some interesting possibilities - for all of us." Steele smiles charmingly at Laura and Bernice, his smile dimming a bit as he meets Murphy's scowl.
"Laura," Murphy spits out darkly. "This is insane. This guy's a con man we know nothing about, representing us in the public eye. The people who were here today want copies of their picture with the 'Great Remington Steele' - what are we going to say when he leaves, or when he gets caught heisting some other priceless gems in San Francisco or Fresno, or Catalina: This is professional suicide."
"Murphy - hang on just a moment." pleads Laura. Turning to the handsome stranger, "Murphy has a point 'Mr. Steele.' Can you give us your real name, some credentials, some history of your past employment? What can you bring to this agency if we decide to work out some kind of....arrangement?
"My talents are more than apparent to all of you -" 'Steele' declares cheerfully. "a handsome face, a winning personality, a certain worldly knowledge of people and business. As to my name, I have used several as you have already ascertained, and am quite taken with the one you fabricated for your little ruse. REMINGTON STEELE - it has a nice flair, don't you agree?"
"LAURA..." Murphy's eyes shoot daggers at his 'partner.'
"O.K., O.K., Murph - we still have some things to work out." Laura grimaces, turning once more to the dark haired stranger. "You aren't giving us much to go on 'Mr. Steele'. We don't know anything about you. How do we know we can trust you not to embarrass this agency, or do us even greater harm?"
"You don't." replied Steele, locking Laura's brown eyes with his blue. "Aren't things more interesting this way?" Steele's mouth turned up on one side in a most appealing half smile. "It suits to me to stay in the City of Angels for the time being. I will maintain your little ruse in return for those few little niceties appropriate to Mr. Steele's lifestyle. I believe we can have a most satisfactory relationship."

Steele recognizes in Laura the same thirst for adventure and risk that set his pulse racing much as hers has all morning. Appraising her, Steele thinks, 'This woman is afraid of very little, and despite her child-like face, possesses the authority and intelligence that are clearly the driving force behind this agency. Murphy follows her lead, rather than the other way around.' Steele finds Laura Holt most intriguing. She is nothing like the women he is usually attracted to - he is almost afraid to consider what he hopes to accomplish here.
Laura, deep in thought, is pacing, as Steele admires the view she presents.

"All right Mr. 'Steele', I'll admit you have brought attention to the agency simply by appearing on behalf of us last night. Say we consider giving you the use of this office, the use of the limo, and the wardrobe in exchange for occasional appearances as our figurehead." Laura continues to muse. "As far as parameters go, if you are our public face there are activities that we could not have our agency head known for - do you appreciate that?"
"Of course, Miss Holt, of course. Nothing I do must reflect negative publicity back to you. I can be the soul of discretion. Now, just exactly how much time do you anticipate my spending working closely with you?" Steele's eyebrows wiggle suggestively at this.
"Murphy," Laura continues, ignoring Steele's question, "If we do this, you and I will continue to function exactly as we always have. We'll do the work, while Mr. Steele can attend a few lunches, make a few remarks here and there, get his picture taken - and we'll actually have more time for our cases. 'Mr. Steele' will function as he always has, in a purely advisory capacity. In other words, Murphy, he'll have nothing to do with actual casework."
Bernice alone watches Murphy struggle to accept Laura's proposition. When he fails to respond Laura slows her pacing and turns to seek her partner's eyes. Steele, as well, turns to Murphy briefly, well aware that despite seeking Murphy's input, the final decision is Laura's and Laura's alone. Murphy shrugs. "This is your call, Laura. I'll go along with this insanity if you think it will help the agency." Turning to the prospective titular head of the agency he glowers darkly. "Believe me though, 'Pal, you don't want to mess with Laura, or with ME."
Steele feels a chill run up his spine at the venom in Murphy's voice. Laura too, at Murphy's cautionary threat, senses the risk she is accepting for all of them by inviting this stranger into their lives, in even a limited role.
"Well, Mr. Nobody? Remington Steele Investigations could issue a press release announcing that the recently seen 'Mr. Steele' has once again retired to a less public role. We could carry on as we did before, and you could return to - whatever it is you do." Laura's chin rises, her demeanor is serious as she challenges the dark man standing before them.

Soberly the nameless man replies. "Remington Steele suits me quite well Miss Holt. I relish the challenge of becoming the man you envision Remington Steele to be and offer you my word that I will do my utmost not to embarrass or undermine your agency. I look forward to earning the respect of my excellent staff." A slow smile creeps across Steele's face.
Laura swallows nervously. Still no hard facts about this mystery man, and yet... his eyes are steady as he meets her gaze. There is without doubt a connection between the two of them - a connection that does not include Murphy - a fact that man is painfully aware of. Blue eyes meet brown as Steele and Laura test the future of their association.
Bernice breaks the tension suggesting "Let's grab a sandwich, folks, before our one o'clock arrives." She steers Murphy out the door by his elbow, leaving Laura and Steele to follow behind. As the group walks through the doors of the agency toward the elevator the trainer from the racetrack, holding the newspaper with Steele's photo, watches from the corner of the hall. He smiles, recognizing the man trailing in the group of four. 'What game is Harry up to now?' he wonders.

End Part 1


Part 2
"The flat is perfect - slept like a baby!" Steele assures Bernice. "Miss Holt has a client who dabbles in real estate who was able to secure it for me. Speaking of Miss Holt, Miss Wolf, Do you happen to know where she is just now? I'm hoping to tantalize her palette with a gourmet lunch just a notch or two above your little lunch wagon downstairs."

Bernice rolls her eyes as the oblivious Mr. Steele cruises past her on his way into the office he has happily now at 11:00 deigned to occupy.
"Not that you're listening, 'Mr. Steele,' but the name is FOX, and Laura and Murphy have been out on a case since early this morning."

Steele's head reappears in the reception area.

"Oh. Very well." Completely indifferent to Murphy's absence, Steele inquires, "Do you know when Miss Holt intends to return to the office?"

"No." Bernice sighs. "But you have a dozen messages here, including several invitations to lunch if you're interested."

"Really!" Steele's face brightens. "Anyone I know?"

"With your talent for learning names, I doubt you'd know." Bernice smirks. "Have at 'em. Feel free to answer the phone yourself. I've had enough today already."

"No, no, carry on Miss Wolf. You do a splendid job, splendid job!" Steele encourages cheerfully as he takes the messages from Bernice. Striding purposefully into his office once more, he declares: "Time to earn my wages."

"Wages of sin." Bernice mutters. "Hope I managed to keep any real clients away from him."

"You should have seen him, Murphy." Laura grins as she and Murphy sip coffee over sandwiches in Laura's Rabbit. "Like the cat that swallowed the proverbial canary. Deborah Hancock let us have the Rossmore place for a song since her Japanese client had paid for the whole year before moving to a bigger place - completely furnished - though he's already plotting getting some framed movie posters to personalize it. I wonder if he's ever had his own place, or always lived on the move. He couldn't stop grinning, strutting from one side of the place to the other."

Murphy isn't really interested in any details of apartment hunting with the 'Great Pretender' but finds it pleasant to have Laura with him, and acknowledges aloud
"He's certainly generated lots of interest in the agency."

"I know - isn't it great?!" Laura rushes on. "We've got security set ups tomorrow and Saturday, and some early morning client meetings Friday and Tuesday. It would appear our 'Mr. Steele' is not an early riser, so we can meet Jamison and Cutler without worrying about HIM looking over our shoulder."

"Sounds good, Partner." Murphy agrees companionably.

"He does have a flair for the finer things in life. He wants gourmet cookware, artwork, and wines-." Laura continues. "It seems he knows quite a bit about all three - as well as gems of course. I wonder where he comes from. The accent isn't South African exactly, or entirely British either, not that I've got much of an ear for these things. Do you suppose he's really upper class, down on his luck, or just a consummate actor? He can certainly talk a line to a total stranger, and wears those $800 suits on as if they were made for him!"

Murphy rubs his eyes with one hand. Had Laura ever been this excited about him and his background? But of course his life is an open book. No mystery. Parents and family from Denver, college and then Havenhurst, where he and Laura met. No mystery at all.

"Miranda." Steele muses, looking through his messages. "Sounds promising, in the absence of Miss Holt. Miss Wolf, I'll be lunching at Chez Rive with a Miss Miranda Thicke of the Los Angeles Artist's Guild; getting 'Mr. Steele' out into circulation for the good of the agency."
Steele sails out of the agency. *** Fred opens the door to the limo. Steele slides in with a smile. "The Los Angeles Artist's Guild, Fred, 6th and Grande, near the museum, my good man. We'll pick up the unknown Miss Thicke, and then off to Chez Rive for lunch."

Laura looks up from the blue prints she has secured from the gallery earlier that morning. Security should be no problem. Murphy is working on background checks of the staff. From the lights blinking on the phone, Bernice is still busy handling the newly increased interest in Remington Steele Investigations. "Let's hope Mr. Steele can live up to that killer smile." Laura whispers under her breath, wondering where he has disappeared to. "Bernice?" her volume rising to reach the receptionist Laura calls out "Is our Mr. Steele back from lunch yet?"

"Should be back in five. Fred phoned when they left Chez Rive." Bernice calls with one hand over the phone.

The charming Miss Thicke was all Steele could have hoped she might be, lovely, refined and most willing. As Steele steps out of the limo upon returning to Century Towers, he is distracted by thoughts of his lunch companion. The casually dressed man steps toward Steele, 'accidentally' crossing so closely in front of him that Steele steps back.

"Harry! Fancy meeting YOU here!" the man exclaims.

"Ah, Joey, what a surprise indeed." Steel replies with a trifle less enthusiasm than Joey has expressed. "It's Remington Steele, Joey, for the benefit of anyone passing. I've only recently arrived in LA. I've been meaning to find out who might also be in the city. What a delight to find you." Steele's face suggests the opposite. His past threatens to undo his present in this encounter - wouldn't do to have Miss Holt happen by.

Laura bursts through the front doors of the Towers just at that moment.

"Mr. Steele," she greets the man with crisp courtesy. "So glad to have caught you. You have a 4:00 meeting with a Mr. Andrews. If we leave now we can just make it." She looks with curiosity at the man talking to Steele.

"Certainly, Miss Holt. Ahh, Mr. Jostens, Miss Holt, - offering the briefest of civil introductions. "Joseph, Good Day."

"I'll be in touch, Harry." Joey grins as he touches his cap in a light hearted salute.

"Harry." muses Laura as she follows Mr. Steele into the limo. "The Rossmore Place , Fred." Turing to Mr. Steele Laura asks, "Another of your identities? Do you have many acquaintances here in Los Angeles ?" A prickle of concern furrows Laura's brow. How well, and among what crowd is Mr. Steele known? Is 'Remington Steele' to be revealed to as a fraud so quickly?

"I have not yet had time to follow through on any ties I might have to your fair city, Miss Holt. Mr. Jostens and I crossed paths some years ago in South America. Quite a fine judge of horses actually - perhaps his work has brought him here now." Steele reassures Laura smoothly. "This is only the second time I have been to Los Angeles, and my longest visit to date. I have never had quite so lovely an incentive to remain before." Steele turns all his charm on his companion. "Tell me about our 4:00 meeting. Miss Wolf failed to apprise me of any afternoon commitments when I left for lunch."

"About lunch," Laura continues, ignoring Steele's question and processing her renewed hope that Steele's identity as the agency's head might yet be safe, "How did your meeting with Miss Thicke go? She carries a lot of weight in the arts community locally. It might be best if in the future you include Murphy or me in client development meetings."

"Miss Thicke - ah, Miranda and I got on wonderfully Miss Holt." Steele ponders with amusement how awkward it would have been to have a third person present during their lunch. "She seems most enthusiastic about Remington Steele Investigations being part of an event she is planning for a few weeks out - at the Pills Mansion I believe."

"Really!" Laura has never been to the exclusive estate before - what a terrific connection!

"Yes, Miranda hoped I could escort her as honorary chair - dreadfully dull, I suppose, but this is the way I have committed to support your agency. I'll get more information after I meet Miss Thicke for dinner tomorrow. Now, our 4:00 Miss Holt?"

Realizing Steele is setting up his own social schedule. Laura has a sinking feeling that managing the mysterious Mr. Steele is going to be a bit like chasing a runaway train. "Mr. Andrews is the building manager at Rossmore; he'll clarify the amenities of the building with you." and then more thoughtfully, "We need to go over some details of our working relationship, Mr. Steele, and I think it might be best if we do that sooner rather than later - this afternoon in fact."

"Certainly, Miss, Holt, wonderful idea! My home is your home." Mr. Steele's blue sparkle at the prospect of entertaining Miss Holt in his new flat. He has already stocked the wine rack with several acceptable vintages. What a perfect conclusion to lunch! Miss Holt is without question his preferred companion - Miss Thicke merely a pleasant diversion. Whatever her excuse for meeting might be, Steele feels certain Laura can be persuaded to make their meeting last through dinner. Despite the surprise of Joey Jostens crossing his path, things were definitely looking up. He leans in toward Laura to search her sober brown eyes, an irresistible crooked smile winning him a prim smile in return. Things were definitely looking up.

Joey Jostens watches Harry and his lovely companion drive away. Whatever scam Harry has tumbled into is an elegant one, limos, upscale offices, business trim! Surely there was someway he could benefit from Harry's good fortune as well. "Remington Steele indeed' Joey smiles.

Part 3
Remington Steele lay back on the sofa in his elegant new flat, staring up at the ceiling. Alone. At seven o'clock. The African Queen plays quietly on the TV, ignored by Steele, an almost unheard of occurrence. Perhaps he hadn't expected Laura Holt to be swept off her feet and into his arms, but he had certainly expected more than had occurred.
The meeting with Mr. Andrews had been dreadfully dull; keys, parking, laundry, doorman. Steele had paid more attention to the building than to the manager; experience and training had ingrained in him the benefits of knowing the layout of one's surroundings: exits, airshafts, service tunnels. More than once such knowledge had saved his neck.
When the manager left them Laura had returned to his flat with him and upon entering had removed and laid her suit jacket across the back of the sofa. Her delicate shoulders were now tantalizingly visible beneath the silky fabric of her blouse. She took a seat on the sofa and invited Steele to join her, as she crossed her lovely long legs. The perfect fit of the tweed skirt matching the now discarded jacket emphasized her slender build. Steele had found himself wondering again if she realized the effect she had on those around her. She dressed the part of a business woman, almost as if it were just that, a role she was playing at. As exceptional as the business attire looked on her, Steele had thought Laura better suited to something outdoorsy such as Levi's and a sweater, or perhaps….well, he had better not go down that path just now. They had been close enough on the sofa for him to smell her perfume - and to be entirely distracted by the dusting of freckles that covered Laura's tanned skin, from her nose and cheeks, down her throat, and disappearing into the v formed by her collar. Laura's eyes were compelling, the deep brown nearly one with the dark of their wide black pupils, veiled by lowered lashes. The wine was chilled and ready, the music ready to be enjoyed, his senses fully engaged in the apparition before him, and then Laura had pulled out a list from her hand bag.
In her neat, loopy script, (unusual Steele thought, for a lefty,) Laura had listed ten tasks that Remington Steele Investigations would expect from its illustrious head. the list still lay limply in Steel's grasp.
1. Attend publicity events: Approximately 10 hours./week.
2. Meet with clients in office Approximately 10 hours/week
3. Meet with agency personnel to discuss weekly schedule
4. Refer clients needs to Murphy or Laura 1-2 hours/week
5. Refer publicity photos matters to agency
6. Maintain record of expenditures
7. Maintain record of travel times/destinations
8. Maintain record of social contacts made as Remington Steele
9. Maintain a record of any previously unanticipated needs
10. Firmly decline personal role in any cases
Steele briefly runs his other hand over his body. He feels shorter, smaller, somehow less, than when Laura entered his flat. What power did this woman think she had over him? Still, raising his eyes to look around the living room of the flat, Steele knows part of that power surrounds him. The smartly framed movie posters from Casablanca, and Notorious hanging on the wall behind him, the chilled wine, the kitchen awaiting its meticulously selected cookware, the lighted dining room breakfront ready to display the newly purchased pre-Columbian sculpture, the lush bedroom and bath just beyond the door, where he had slept so well the last few nights, alone certainly, but content: this is as elegant a set up as he has known since his time with Daniel. His eye continues down the page Laura left him with to the methodical list of expected remuneration for his assistance to the agency.
1. Use of Rossmore apartment
2. Use of limousine and driver
3. Use of agency office
4. Use of agency credit card
5. Wardrobe,tailored to fit as needed
6. Access to agency funds through limited checking account
7. Membership at one or more appropriate club s(to be decided)
8.Insurance benefits
9. Medical benefits
10. Guarantee of no more than 25 hours/week work load
'Am I willing to sell myself to this agency, to this woman, in exchange for these THINGS?' Steele ponders weakly. The answer without question - 'NO.' He would have no difficulty obtaining any of these things himself, should he want them. He has always preferred traveling light, with little as possible to account for and encumber him. Life for Steele is more about experience than possession. And yet those eyes, her flickering dimples, the wit, wisdom, and daring of the spitfire who had left him alone to 'think things through'…he might be willing to accept her lists to be with her, to possess her. Steele contemplates the woman who had sat near him on the sofa earlier in the evening. The business woman is as much an act as the outfit she wore. Laura Holt is a conundrum of contrasts: disciplined - daring, methodical - unexpected, sophisticated - naïve. The items on the first list….well the challenge is always to avoid commitment and effort as much as possible, and still achieve the objective. Steele rises to shower and order dinner - no, go out for dinner. He reaches for the phone, "Claude, my friend, Remington Steele here. Too late to squeeze me in tonight?.....Excellent, excellent….I shall be there by nine." And another call, "Deborah? Yes, the flat is perfect! So terribly sorry to be calling at the last minute, but I find myself alone tonight. Any chance you could be persuaded to join me for dinner at L'Ornate? Charming! We'll celebrate the successful conclusion of our search! I'll be by in 30 minutes. You'll look lovely in whatever you select." No sense in spending the evening alone. There will be time to win Laura's confidence. His pursuit of Laura would continue in the morning, meanwhile he would enjoy the creature comforts of Laura's second list.
Laura Holt stares up at her ceiling from the chair just inside her front door, shoeless feet stretched out on the hassock in front of her. Seven o'clock. She relaxes: alone at last, and able to think and breathe more easily.
Dealing with Mr. Steele this afternoon had been alternately exhausting and exhilarating. Just being on the same sofa with him in his apartment aroused feelings that Laura had struggled to control. His perfect blue eyes, the smile that slid sideways across his face, the thick dark hair that fell across his forehead, tempting her to smooth it back into place, the accent of his lilting voice as he made the most outrageously flirtatious remarks: Laura's stomach had clenched and her pulse raced - it was all she could do to remain business like. She is convinced, however, that this is the only way Remington Steele Investigations is going to survive her relationship with Mr. Steele. Business like.
As she waited for her 'boss' to return from lunch today she had outlined the parameters of the relationship between Mr. Steele and the agency: a list of services and expectations, and list of compensations. Business like, save signing a formal contract. And how was that to be accomplished since the only name Mr. Steele would acknowledge was the one she had created out of her imagination!? Michael O'Leary? Douglas Quintain? Paul? Harry? Is there any chance that any of them is Mr. Steele's real name? Does it matter? Laura's stomach tightens again.
'What am I doing?' she questions herself for the umpteenth time in the past several days! Murphy's glowering looks and head shakes made it clear what he thought.
Bernice found Laura's plight much more understandable, not to mention amusing. Bernice's raised eyebrows and lascivious grin made her thoughts on the interloper similarly clear. Though Mr. Steele's refusal to call Bernice by the right name was wearing a bit thin, Bernice responded to Mr. Steele's devastating good looks and charm in much the same way Laura does - the way most women apparently do.
Laura knew her friend Deborah had been drooling over the effusive Mr. Steele when they were looking for a place for him to live, and had been quick to question his availability when she thought Mr. Steele otherwise occupied. Apparently Miranda Thicke of the Artist's Guild had found him fascinating as well. The effect Mr. Steele has on other women strengthens Laura's resolve to treat their relationship in as deliberate, and professional a manner as possible. She has always prided herself on being less boy crazy than other girls. 'My life does not revolve around the men I spend time with.' Laura reminds herself. 'Men don't make business decisions based on their girlfriends. There are standards for a woman in the eighties!'
But those eyes….Laura's heart began to beat faster. It had been all she could do to refuse his repeated suggestions that she join him for dinner, for a glass of wine, to watch the African Queen with him that evening. She had needed to bite her lip to keep from smiling at his antics and quips. Business like - that is the only way she is going to survive.
Laura wearily rises, grabbing her shoes as she heads to her bedroom to change from the tweed suit to something more comfortable - a tee shirt, and running pants and shoes. A couple of miles run will release her tension and invigorate her before she settles in to study the papers she had brought home from her stop by the agency. She needs her thoughts clear and focused. There is no question that business is looking up with a 'real" Steele in the picture.
"Hang on Laura. It's going to be an exciting run," Laura muses aloud, thinking less of her athletic activity, less of the business that needs to be attended to, and more of the man she had left an hour before.
End Part 3
Part 4
Murphy and Laura lean over the large desk in Mr. Steele's office, his blond head close to her shinning brown, examining the photographic proofs that cover the desk's surface. The pictures are mostly those Murphy took that first day Steele arrived unbidden to occupy Remington Steele's desk, and life, but there are others as well, taken by zealous "beat" reporters. These have been requested by Laura from various Los Angeles papers; one taken at a luncheon with Captain Jeffers of the LA Police Department, one of Steele dinning with Miss Thicke of the Artist Guild, one backstage at the ballet. The rapidity with which Mr. Steele has become a social focal point in the city has wildly exceeded their expectations, as if they had had any.
"The guy loves the camera, Laura; he's got an uncanny instinct to smile at the opening of a lens cover." Murphy mutters grimly. "You're still sure you want this exposure for the agency? This conman is getting his face pretty well known all over town…it's going to get harder to separate ourselves from him every day."
"Everything is working out great Murphy." Laura responds evenly. "We've never had more interest in our services. Focus here. We'll frame our favorites and create a photo montage for Mr. Steele's office wall - a wall of fame so to speak to impress clients. This one, these three, this one…."
The two partners finish the project together, and Laura slips the photos they have chosen into an envelope to take to a friend, who had opened his own developing studio, to print. "I've already spoken with Bernie Malcovitz, who told me he could have them ready for us in a week or so. Ready for a break now Murph?"
"Sure, Laura. Do you want to run down to Schlotzmann's for coffee and Danish?" Maybe he could manage to get Laura to stop working for just a few minutes and relax...with him.
"Bernice offered to pick something up on her way in this morning. Whatever she got should be on the counter by the coffee -would you mind bringing me a cup when you come back in? We can go over the Porterville matter together." Laura led the way back into her crowded office, picking up a file as they walked past the cabinet.
All work and no play, Murphy muses, at least where he's concerned. There is a certain rhythm to their interactions though, a familiar comfort. Laura slips her shoes off and rests her feet on her desk as she opens the file she picked up. Murphy sighs and leaves to get coffee, briefly enveloping one of her tiny feet with his hand as he walks past Laura's desk. Laura smiles without looking up.
Steele whistles an Irish sounding tune as he leaves the Rossmore building, heading toward the waiting limousine. Joey Jostens steps quickly up to him, greeting him with a big smile and a jovial slap on the back.

"Gotta minute, Harry? I've been hoping to catch you on your way out - how about a bite of lunch?"
"Just finished breakfast, Joey. Sorry - bit late for the office now. I'll be sure to call soon" Steele assures his acquaintance. Then with a wink, "Remington Steele, Joey, remember?"
"Come'on Harry - that's too big a mouthful for a simple guy like me. What's it gonna matter if you're a few minutes later? You're the big detective, now, right? They'll wait for you." Joey simpers.
Steele hesitates at the door of the limo, and then shrugs and gestures for Joey to precede him into the car. "Ride along if you like, Joey, we can talk on my way to the agency."
"Quite the wheels, Harry. No more buses or bumming rides, eh?"
"Well," As he sits with Joey, Steele looks down at his brightly polished Italian shoes, suddenly a bit uncomfortable with his new found wealth. Thinking of the Royal Lavulite, and the path it has let him on, Steele continues thoughtfully "I've had a bit of good luck of late. Couple of things fell the right way."
Joey shakes his head. "Down in Argentina we was both living pretty hand to mouth, up one day and down the next, depending on how the ponies ran, or how the cards fell."
Steele smiles back at Joey. "We had some good days though, mate. You have an amazingly good eye for a winner, Joey; we made a killing or two. Didn't you finally land your dream job with a stable there? Just before I took off as the Kilkinney Kid? Working as a trainer with Andre Espernza?"
"Yeah, well, always had a hard time resistin' a good bet….they sort of frown on your bettin' against your own colors. Looks bad, ya know, even if I had nothin' to do with a certain horse winning or losin. So, anyway, I'm still looking for that great horse, and I know of one… Danny's Desert, only he's pulled up lame and they're gonna put him down unless someone can put together a group of investors to put him out to stud. Gonna take a little time, but he's quality, Harry, he could sire the next great colt."
"You have about the best horse sense of anyone I know, Joey, I'm sure he's a pip. Wish I could help you out, but I'm afraid that sounds like more money than I can put my hands on." Steele says gently.
The limo reaches Century Towers, and Fred steps across to open the door for Mr. Steele and his companion. (Fred laughs to himself as he thinks how many different passengers he has driven in the week since 'Mr. Steele' showed up in the flesh.) Steele dismisses Fred with a genial wave of his hand. He reaches to shake Joey's hand, offering his regrets once more, when Joey makes one more impassioned plea.
"Please, come see Danny, REMINGTON; I'm working at Bogart Farm, out on Hollywood Road. Here's my number - call me, I'll show you around the place - bring the lady, she might like a day in the country."
"I'll think about it, mate. I'll think about it." The name of his hero, Bogart, with an address that had been the origin of his escape for so many years, seems an omen to Steele, along with planting the seed of an idea for wooing Laura. A day in the country might be pleasant indeed. Stuffing the number Joey had given him in his pocket Steele continues into the tower, hitting the button for the eleventh floor at just about half past eleven o'clock.
There had been another two-liner in the "LA Word" column today - 'Remington Steele spotted at late night dinner with realtor Deborah Hancock.' Laura smacks the paper onto her desk wishing she was bashing HIM. How had Steele found time to meet Deborah for dinner when he had been pressuring her to stay at his place to eat, and to watch a movie? The man was unbelievable! Laura strides back and forth in her cramped office, then through the door to HIS office to lengthen the path she paces.
"How can he call this 'coming in tomorrow morning to talk" when in thirty more minutes it will be afternoon?" Laura fumes.
"Relax - you told him he didn't need to be here early." Walking into the office, Bernice places a calming hand on Laura's shoulder and grins mischievously. "Besides, you and Murphy get a lot more done when he isn't here to flirt with you and push Murphy's buttons. Is there some reason you want him here right now?"
Laura is distinctly uncomfortable with Bernice's insinuation. "Don't be ridiculous, Bernice. I just can't wait around here all day waiting to talk to him, and fill him in on where we need him to be. I laid out all my expectations last night, and I thought he understood that we need to spend a little time each day going over things together…."
Bernice's smile grows even broader. "Your expectations, huh Laura? Going over what things?"
"Bernice!" Laura growls. "Ours is a purely professional relationship. That's the way it has to work. He performs a service for us, in return for the use of the certain luxury items."
"Uh huhh. What service did he perform last night?"
"Who?" Mr. Steele strolls into the office with an inquisitive look in his bright blue eyes.
Grabbing Bernice firmly by the shoulders and spinning her around to head back into the reception area, Laura grimaces as her face flushes with color. "Ah, the cleaning service, I asked them to pay special attention to the carpets - which I'm pretty sure they failed to do….
Bernice's hoot escapes from the other side of the door before Laura can slam it shut. "Glad you can join us today, Mr. Steele. I thought I made it clear we needed to discuss the day's schedule each morning? Morning!? As in some time before…."
"It's the shank of the morning, Miss Holt! And as beautiful as you yourself are. Brilliant, fresh, and a bit brisk!" Mr. Steele teased. "Time is such a subjective matter - one man's early is another's moment to rejuvenate and appreciate the sunrise from bed."
"Mr. Steele, I need you here each morning to fill you in on your schedule for the day. There's a luncheon for the "Protect the Coastline" campaign. They've specifically requested your involvement - it's a great publicity opportunity. You can still make it there on time, but we should review some names first." Laura's pulse rate rises as Steele coolly contemplates her, his arms crossed, and that rogue eyebrow raised in amusement. 'Stay cool, Laura', she thinks.
"Well, Miss Holt, a worthy cause I'm sure. I tell you what. As much as I am enjoying our interaction now, I will leave promptly, smile and exchange banalities with all those who wish to commune with the coastline, if we can make a little bargain."
How much of Bernice's teasing has Steele heard? Laura's cheeks continue to burn, and she smoothes her already tidy skirt. "What kind of bargain, Mr. Steele?"
"Do you like horses, Miss Holt?" The observant Steele recalls the photo of a handsome thoroughbred nuzzling the ear of what could only be an elfin, adolescent Laura displayed on the credenza behind her desk.
Mr. Steele's question comes completely out of the blue, and Laura's eyes lose their glare for a moment. More often found in jeans and barn boots than dresses, for years Laura had mucked stalls, groomed horses, and soaped saddles to earn riding time at a public stable a bike ride away from her home. Steele has unearthed a passion Laura has not indulged in for years. Recovering swiftly, however, Laura strives for a casual response. "Most girls in America go through a National Velvet phase, Mr. Steele. I was not immune."
"Elizabeth Taylor, Mickey Rooney, MGM, 1945…My friend Joseph, the man I introduced to you yesterday? He has invited me to visit the excellent facility where he works, and specifically asked if YOU would like to come as well. Can we make it a date for Saturday? I suspect he could arrange for a couple of mounts for us." Steele watches Laura a bit anxiously, gauging her response.
Laura's cheeks are pink once again, but this time her flush is not anger, but pleasure. A horseback ride with Mr. Steele? - Laura's resolve to keep their relationship business like is temporarily forgotten. "Murphy and I are meeting a client to bid on a security contract Saturday morning, but perhaps later in the day…" and then remembering her bargain with Steele, as well as her resolve to keep their relationship business only: "if you both attend the Coastline luncheon, and arrive earlier Monday morning to meet with Murphy and me to discuss your schedule for the day." 'Has she succeeded in sounding business like?'
Taking Laura hands in his, and touching each in rapid succession with his lips, Steele allows his smile to lift both corners of his mouth.
"Excellent, Miss Holt, I shall make the arrangements with Mr. Jostens. Call Fred. I will depart to protect the coastline now, and will return later this afternoon with details of our outing." Steele turns and swings the office door wide, turning to flash Laura a final smile as he heads out, past a laughing Bernice.
Laura sighs and sinks into the chair behind Mr. Steele's desk, allowing her head to fall forward into her hands. For the umpteenth time in the past few days she thinks 'What am I doing?!? Get a grip, girl.' Straightening her back and picking up the stack of discarded photographs from the corner of the desk where she and Murphy had left them she walks back into her office and tucks them under the blotter on her desk. Tossing the newspaper with its gossip column into the trash, Laura sits down with a list of contacts and picks up the phone to give Fred the details of Mr. Steele's lunch with the environmentalists.

Part 5
Murphy tosses his keys onto his kitchen counter, grabbing a beer from the fridge. Laura had been absolutely brilliant all morning, as only she could be. She had thought of every possible security risk to Randall's shipping business, and charmed the man even as she pointed out his oversights. Nadine, Randall's "executive assistant" had been obnoxious, hanging on HIM, and asking endless pointless questions about the theft, and Laura had been patient even with her. Laura's girl-next-door sincerity and concern coupled with her insights were an unbeatable combination. Of course she came to the meeting having thoroughly researched every aspect of Randall's conglomerate. Her understanding of complex business astounded Murphy - Laura would shine in almost any financial career - other than the fact that such work would lack the excitement Laura craved. As much as she excelled at helping people avoid criminal intrusions into their lives, there was a part of her that loved the possibility that such intrusions would occur. Still, Murphy feels a bit wearied by her intensity at times, and today has been one of those days. Sometimes he just had to step back and let Laura rush by him, knowing she will turn back for his solid back up in the next moment. He knows she is vulnerable, even if she doesn't always acknowledge that fact. Heck, she needed a male figurehead to get people to take her seriously: a figurehead who has somehow now become a flesh and blood pain in the backside. Now Laura was vulnerable within her own agency. Vulnerable to whatever larceny 'Steele' was planning. Murphy sighs as he allows the beer to flow down his throat.
Laura tosses her keys on her hall table and undresses as she walks swiftly down the hall to her bedroom. She will have just enough time to change and pick up Mr. Steele for their visit to the farm where his friend has invited them to visit. The morning had been productive, Mr. Randall seemed pleased with the groundwork she and Murphy had prepared, and if they could work without Nadine falling all over Murphy they could have the security breaches plugged within weeks. 'Poor Murphy,' Laura smiles. 'Not really into brainless blondes - from what she had observed, Nadine was more Mr. Steele's type.' Digging into the back of her closet she emerges victorious with a pair of well worn boots. A splash of water across her face, and a quick glance in her mirror as she gathers her thick hair into a clip, Laura strides out the door and into the Rabbit, tires squealing as she makes a u turn and heads towards Rossmore.
Steele tosses his new apartment key up in to the air, catching it absentmindedly as he waits for Laura. Dinner with Miss Thicke had been predictable. Getting women to smile and flirt with him took no thought at all - a certain half smile, slight movement of an eyebrow. Steele's good looks and quick wit were gifts he had traded on for some time now. It was effortless, and slightly boring, a way to pass an evening, but meaningless. Miranda wanted him to escort her to a charity affair she was chairing - for the good of the agency he would play the role of Remington Steele with Miss Thicke. He would rather play Remington Steele with Miss Holt. How fortuitous that Joey had been willing to arrange for he and Laura to have the use of two what he promised would be well mannered horses for a bit of a ride, assuring Steele (Harry) that there was plenty of land to wander over. Pleasant to wander…pleasant wandering thoughts of Laura…
"Well, Old World meets New?" Laura remarks dryly as she looks Mr. Steele up and down with a self depreciating smile. "What kind of farm are we going to?" Steele is wearing formfitting white riding pants, tucked into tall polished boots, along with what must surely BE a polo shirt, and a tweedy blazer with suede elbow patches.
"Haven't actually been there - I'm sure you are not surprised to learn that my riding experience has been English, and yours apparently Western. "You make a charming cowgirl, Laura." Steele's admiration is completely sincere. His eyes slowly take in Laura's jean jacket, faded blue plaid shirt, and soft, washed out jeans. Her lace-up boots are battered. Somehow it seems to Steele this Laura is more herself than the business woman her tailored suits suggest. With her shimmering hair pulled back in a clip, her freckles unconcealed, Laura looks younger, and more vulnerable. Steele's heart constricts a little, as an unfamiliar feeling of protectiveness rises in him. What is it about this woman that so rattles him?! And finding Laura staring at him with a quizzical smile, Steele moves to guide her with a hand at the small of her back to the passenger side of the Rabbit. "May I drive?" he asks, taking the keys from her before she can answer. "We have a bit of a journey to reach Hollywood Road.
Warm breezes surround the couple as they spin along the streets of LA in Laura's convertible. Steele seems entirely comfortable navigating for a man who only recently arrived in town. 'Is it possible for him to be ill at ease?' Laura ponders, watching Mr. Steele out of the corner of her eye. Laura gently continues her probe into Steele's background.
"Tell me about your friend, Mr. Josten."
"He is an expert trainer." Steele's responds warmly, "Not only does Joey recognize the traits that make a horse great; he brings out the best in every horse he works with. I suspect he will have some fine animals for us to ride today. How often do you get out riding these days Miss Holt?" Steele deftly turns the conversation to focus on Laura.
"Not often, Mr. Steele." Laura grins ruefully, glancing down at her dusty boots, and then over at Steele's polished pair. "Do you always travel with 'riding boots and jodhpurs?"
"I find the finer things in life are available in most cities if one looks about, Miss Holt."
"I'll just bet you do, Mr. Steele."
A pleasant hour's conversation finds Steele making the turn onto Hollywood Road, and a short time later parking Laura's car near the neatly fenced paddocks and stables of Bogart Farms.
Joey walks forward quickly to meet Steele and Laura. "Harry, ah, Remington!" Joey exclaims, "Great you could come, and bring the lady too. Nice to see you again Miss Holt." Joey pumps Steele's hand, and then gestures toward two stately thoroughbreds waiting quietly at the fence. "These two are yours for the afternoon - retired 'fellows,' happy to get out for a stroll. Come into the tack room and we'll get you both set. I want to show you my special project too, Remington."
Laura breathes deeply of the country air and promptly sneezes. Mr. Steele pulls his handkerchief out of his pocket and with a slight flourish hands it to Laura.
"Thank you Mr. Steele." Laura groans inwardly. She had hoped it would be late enough in the fall that the rag weed would have died back. Another sneeze shook her narrow shoulders. Mr. Steele looks at her with a bit of concern.
"All right, are we Miss Holt?"
"Of course, Mr. Steele. I have a little trouble with hay fever. Ahh cheoo!" Laura tries to mentally calm the itching in her nose, and control the sneezing. Her mother had always maintained that the sneezing was all in her head. 'In my head is right!' Laura thought to herself, as a fourth sneeze claims her. Mr. Steele's handkerchief was getting a workout - it smelled vaguely of his cologne. That distraction is all it takes to control Laura's sneezing. Could she ride with the fragrant cloth pressed to her face? Walking into the stable Laura is overwhelmed by the affluence. Stall after stall, labeled with each occupant's name, the walkway neatly swept, and matching equipment trunks neatly set outside every other stall. At the far end of the stalls the wide walk turns to reveal offices, and a large tack room. A door near the end stands open to the outside, and continuing down this hall Joey leads them outside again and to a grassy paddock . A handsome young stallion nickers and walks up to the rail to greet Joey, who finds a carrot in his pocket for the horse.
"This is Danny," Joey states, looking hopefully at Steele.
"He's gorgeous!" Laura exclaims, reaching to stroke Danny's nose. "What a beauty! I'll bet he can really tear up a track."
"Yeah, he's had some great races all right." Joey chooses his words carefully, not sure how much information Steele has relayed to his lady friend.
"Yes, well, how about that tack now Joseph. Danny is a handsome fellow. You must be very proud to work with such a fine animal." Steele looks evenly at Joey, willing him to move on.
Joey takes the hint, and leads the pair back toward the tack room. He will find time to work on Harry after he rides. The smell of well oiled leather greets them as they enter the tack room, where pegs hold bridle after bridle, and expensive saddles sit neatly on racks beneath them. Joey throws two bridles over his shoulder, then selects a saddle, handing it to Steele, choosing another for Laura. Returning to the horses, the two men make short work of saddling the horses, work Steele seems as comfortable with as Joey. Laura watches, speculating on this new piece of information about Mr. Steele's background.
"You've done this before, Mr. Steele."
"If one is going to ride, one must know the proper procedure to accomplish the task, eh, Miss Holt? I imagine you would be equally able."
"Thank you Joseph," Laura says, taking the reins from Mr. Steele's friend. "Who am I riding?"
"This is Kennedy," Joseph informs Laura, and looking at Steele, adds "and yours is Jefferson."

Laura spends a moment murmuring to Kennedy, offering her hand for him to nuzzle. Though dwarfed by the thoroughbred, Laura grasps the horse's mane and the back of the saddle and is quickly aloft. She sits comfortably, talking to her mount in a quiet voice, while Joey brings the stirrups up high enough for Laura. Steele then removes his blazer, and hands it to Joey, rising easily onto Jefferson's back.
"A presidential bent, eh Joey? Shall we be on our way, Miss Holt?"
"Lead on - should I ask if you know where you're going?"
"It doesn't matter as long as I'm with you." Steele replies gallantly.
Joey roles his eyes at Steele's words, though he knows Harry's history with women. That tripe must work! He laughs as he offers direction to both. "Up the road a bit, and then take the path to the left. You'll circle around and come back over the road a couple of miles farther on. Follow the path on to the stable, or circle around the lake if you like. I'll be here waiting when ya' get back."
With a crisp click of her tongue Laura leads the way, Steele falling into place at her side. Laura's sneezes once more, then manages to control the impulse. The pair ride companionably down the road, enjoying the warm sun, and beautiful California scenery. Upon reaching the lake Laura guides Kennedy off the road, and prepares to dismount. Steele slides swiftly off his mount to reach for Laura's slender waist with his long fingered hands, lifting her to the ground. Laura's stomach fills with butterflies at this contact, her pulse racing. A glance up at those ocean blue eyes and Laura comes close to loosing her balance. Stepping back and focusing on the lake instead, Laura takes Kennedy's reins from his neck and walks slowly toward the water.
"How long have you been in America, Mr. Steele?" Laura questions. "Did you come to Los Angeles directly from South Africa? Or was that only the unfortunate Mr. Pearson?"
The inquiry takes a decidedly chilly turn at the mention of Ben Pearson.
"The gems had been in South Africa, as you know Laura, and I followed them here, as did Mr. Pearson." Steele's demeanor is sober as he responds. "It is a relief that Kessler and Neeff have been apprehended, and will no longer be able to either pursue the royal lavulite, or harm others in that pursuit."
"Of course. You know the agency will be called to testify against them - 'Mr. Steele' has always managed to avoid court appearances - business out of the country, relatives at death's door... Things could get tricky now that you actually exist." This new concern clouds Laura's thoughts. As she ponders the now very real Remington Steele Laura asks,
"How was your lunch with Miss Thicke…Murphy and I were sent a copy of a photo of the two of you at Che Rive."

"Indeed? All in the line of duty, Miss Holt. A bit dreary if truth were told." Steele replied.
"And Miss Hancock?" Laura feels a prickle of irritation creep up her neck as she recalls the newspapers report of Mr. Steele's dinner exploits the same night he had supposedly wanted HER company.
"I simply wanted to thank her for finding me the wonderful flat, Laura." Steele senses his pleasant ride deteriorating. "You will recall that yours was the company I sought Thursday evening. You and Deborah are friends, are you not, Miss Holt? She was most glowing in her praise of your work ethic, and competence. Envious I think of the exciting life of a private dick." Steele sought to regain the light mood he and Laura had enjoyed during their drive to Bogart Farm.
Laura struggles to maintain enough distance that she can steer clear of Mr. Steele's obvious charms. "Murphy and I have a client we could use your particular talents with, Mr. Steele - a young woman whose efforts to help are hindering our ability to meet our client's needs. Perhaps you would be willing to keep this woman occupied so Murphy and I could work in peace."
"Whatever you need Laura, within reason. I would prefer to keep a modicum of dignity." Steele grins winningly at Laura, almost refuting his request for dignity. How cruel that she would use him to free her to spend time with Murphy, even if under the guise of work!
"I'll fill you in Monday morning, Mr. Steele." Laura's delivery is all business. "As lovely as the ride has been we had better head back now.
Sighing, Steele joins his hands together to provide a step for Laura, which she eschews as she pulls herself lightly up onto Kennedy's back.
"Thank you Mr. Steele, but I am quite capable on my own."
"Clearly, Miss Holt, clearly!" Steele responds dryly.
As they draw near the stable, Kennedy's ears prick forward, his nose flares, and in memory of some long ago afternoon, he leaps to a gallop to join pace with a group of young race horses thundering around the practice track. Laura draws close to the gelding's neck, hanging on despite the surprise start.
"Laura!" Startled, as well as concerned for Laura, Steele urges Jefferson to a gallop, to draw closer to Laura's horse. Glancing over, he sees that Laura, far from being afraid, is laughing as she firmly grips Kennedy's bridle and begins to bring him under control.
Gradually fighting the horse to a grudging stop, Laura is completely exhilarated. Breathing as deeply as the horse, her face shines with the joy of unexpected challenge met.
"Miss Holt, you are amazing." Steele, watching Laura, smiles. This woman is something, someone he fervently wants to know.

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