Note: This is for a challenge. You'll find the prompt at the bottom. Enjoy.

A Series of Fortunate Events

The first time she saw him was at an exclusive club in Manhattan. He stood out to her from the crowd at the bar, with his black jeans, cowboy boots, and an open charcoal gray dress shirt over a green undershirt. That night she had just found her boyfriend—now ex-boyfriend—in bed with her best friend. The utter cliché. So naturally she had made it an even bigger cliché and had approached him, the cowboy out in the middle of the vultures of Manhattan's night scene.

"Gin martini," she had ordered from the bartender before she had turned to him.

They had struck up a conversation about being "foreigners" in New York City. It was one of those conversations that one has with someone they never before met; small talk, nothing personal. His smooth drawl had her shivering and not from the cold. She remembered wondering if he could read her and tell what she wanted from him. Either way, they ended up in his hotel room—the amazing Four Seasons Hotel in Times Square.

The next morning she hadn't regretted it and still didn't, but she couldn't get him out of her mind. He had been gentle, far more gentle than she had expected. And he had held her close afterwards, another thing she hadn't expected from a one night stand—not that that had been her first. The one thing she did regret however, was waking up and leaving before he had even opened his eyes that morning. How had he reacted when he realized she was gone the next morning? Part of her wanted to know, but part of her thought she was a stupid twenty-two year old. Most of all, she wanted to know his name…

The second time she saw him was at a café in Rio de Janeiro. She had been there for work, but that changed when he appeared. He had dropped into the chair across from her and took her attention away from her work with one question.

"Why did you leave?"

She had had no reasonable explanation for him nor a reasonable excuse for why she couldn't talk with him. So, instead of working she had ended up spending the entire day with him in his hotel room. That time, however, she remembered to leave a note with work as her excuse for leaving while he was in the shower.

The third time she saw him was just a glimpse at a Bon Jovi concert. She saw him with his black clothing and an earpiece that made her think he was in private security. When his eyes had latched onto hers, she had smiled and went with her friends to their seats as Bon Jovi began with their first set.

The fourth time was only days after the third, in the same city that they had first met in. This time she encountered him while she was running in Central Park. They probably would have ended up in her hotel room after their run, if he hadn't been called away. She learned one thing that day about him: he was a powerful runner, probably better than she was.

In London six months later she saw him for the fifth time. She had been shopping for a dress to her cousin's wedding when he grabbed her right hand and pulled her in for a kiss.. Needless to say, she didn't buy a dress at all that day or the day after…and she still hadn't managed to learn his name.

The next time Emma saw him, she was walking out of a New York City hospital, her right arm encased in a sling. He stopped walking at the sight of her and then crossed the street to her side. As he walked closer she felt a flutter in her chest. How could he still do this to her even after so much time apart from him and after only knowing him for less than a week. She dropped her shoulders and straightened her posture inadvertently wincing in pain. She hoped that he didn't notice how awful she was looking or that she was in pain.

"Hey," she greeted him with a quick kiss on the right cheek.

He returned her greeting and kissed her gently on the forehead. "What happened?"
He brushed his left hand against the arm in the sling and her injured shoulder.

"I was shot," she informed him bluntly, slightly satisfied when his eyes widened, presumably in shock…or was it anger? "Not my first time," she followed her admission with a shrug. "Job hazard."

"You were shot? Where? Why?" His tone changed to something darker, "Who the hell show you?"

"Down boy," she joked then turned serious with an expulsion of air from her lungs. "I really shouldn't be telling you this, but what the hell. The guy who shot me is dead. The rest you can consider highly classified."

His mouth straightened into a line. "Classified? What are you law enforcement? Military?"

"I work for a private security firm," she let her British accent out a bit more. "My specialty is counter-terrorism especially the intelligence aspect, especially after months—no make that years—with the Special Reconnaissance Regiment of the British armed forces."

"One of those firms that works for government?"

"A firm contracted by governments around the world. We have offices in several countries," she informed him.

He sighed and rubbed his right hand along the back of his head and neck. She shivered wishing that hand was touching her. God, she was so far gone when it came to him and she didn't even know his name or even his occupation! She knew he didn't live in New York, unless he had moved in the months since their first meeting. She looked him over and again noticed the cowboy boots that she saw the first time they met, only this time it was coupled with black wool suit and a stark white dress shirt and black silk tie. Then there was the badge clipped to his belt and the underarm holster she could just barely see. He was FBI. So why the hell had he been security at a Bon Jovi concert?

"What are you doing in New York?" She questioned. "Do you live here?"

He shook his head. "I live in Maryland, just out of D.C."

"Then are you here for that counter-terrorism conference?" She gestured to the badge.

"Not quite." He smiled, "I work for the BAU."

A profiler? "Interesting." And very useful, she added to herself afterwards. Very useful.

The ache in her shoulder had intensified in the last few minutes, into a burn and she inadvertently tensed. Maybe she should have taken that Vicadin like the doctor wanted her too. She glanced up to his face and felt a different kind of burn in her abdomen when she caught the glint of desire in his eyes, or perhaps it was just anger disguised as desire in her own interpretation. A car pulled up beside them at that point and broke their connection. She glanced over at the car and watched as her partner, Gabriel Medici—with his blond hair cropped close to his skull, and brown eyes hidden behind his Dolce & Gabbana sunglasses—stepped out of the car and looked her over and then over at her cowboy.

"You okay Em?"

"Perfect," she replied. "Just give me a sec, 'kay?" At his nod, she turned back to her cowboy. "Emma Kincaid," she murmured so Gabe wouldn't hear and then she raised her voice, "It was nice to meet you Agent…" she trailed off and sighed. "Sorry, I forgot your name."

"Lucas Reed," he offered 'again' with a knowing grin.

"Agent Reed it is," she smiled and then walked over to the car. As she was opening the door with her good arm she paused and turned, "Oh, I forgot. London may be nice this time of year, but Amsterdam is even better." She winked.

"I'll keep that in mind Ms. Kincaid," he replied. "Thanks for the help."

"You're very welcome."

"Travel help?" Gabe asked once she was in the car—a glint in his eyes giving away the mischief that wasn't in his voice.

"Shut up," she advised him dryly.

He turned the wheel and pressed down on the gas. The car moved away from the curb and she glanced back at Lucas through the side mirror as they drove off. A few streets passed by before he broke the silence, "How's the shoulder?"

She knew better than to lie to him and so she didn't even try. "It hurts."

"And yet, I know that's not going to stop you from going after the brother of the man who shot you."

"Of course."

Emma slipped into the hotel room and placed the keycard into her back pocket. Her right arm was aching at her where she had gotten shot, but that hadn't stopped her from ditching the sling in her own hotel room, only a few floors below. She generally didn't care that she could be injuring her arm more by having it out of the sling. All she cared about was getting Luke's help in finding the brother of her shooter. A family of sociopaths. Well more like a family of Neo-Nazi's, but she just categorized them with sociopaths. Slowly, she moved down the short hallway into the bedroom with the queen-sized bed, a nice armoire with the television closed behind, a desk, and a lovely arm chair. Other than the color scheme, the room was exactly like hers.

"Let's see what you have in here," she murmured and picked his duffel bag up from the floor with her good arm. "He's a definitely a cowboy," she muttered dryly as she pulled out a second pair of scuffed cowboy boots—not the ones she had seen him wear before—and a black belt with a oval belt buckle that had small steer on it.

"Looking for anything in particular?" Luke's smooth drawl crept up on her from the bathroom door and she cursed inwardly at her idiocy.

"Not really," she admitted as she placed the bag on the foot of his bed and turned around.

His hand was resting on the smooth grip of his gun, but the holster was still closed. He hadn't unsnapped the top. So, he didn't see her as a danger did he? She stepped towards him and paused. She was armed with only a ka-bar attached her left leg, below the knee.

"I'm unarmed," she told him, the lie flying off her tongue before she could take it back.

"That doesn't mean you still can't kick my ass."

Emma raised an eyebrow as she smirked. "True, I suppose. Though the last time I tried to take someone down with my hands and a busted shoulder I ended up at the bottom of a stair case with three broken ribs. I'm not about to try that again."

"That would be a good idea."

"So…cowboy," the word sounded odd when said in her English accented voice, but she ignored it, "I was wondering something…" she trailed off.

His hand moved suddenly and grabbed her upper arm—the uninjured one thankfully—and yanked her towards him. The kiss was sudden and harsh, Luke's other hand grasped the back of her head and kept her from moving. She let herself give in to the kiss and opened her mouth for him. When he pulled back and dropped his hands from her body she stood there, her chest heaving. He licked his lips and smiled. She felt herself grow even weaker.

"You still use strawberry chap-stick," he observed. "I was hoping that hadn't changed."

To preserve her sanity Emma took a step back and then another until her legs hit the edge of the bed. "I'm not here for that," she informed him dryly. "I need your help with something." Her voice was shaking and she hoped he wouldn't call her on it.

"Help with what?"

Thank god. "The guy who shot me has a brother who's a Neo-Nazi. I've never met him and I know nothing about him. I can tell you however that he's killed—more like massacred—entire families," she had to force the words out and couldn't look him in the eyes lest she saw the need in them.

"You want me to profile him?" Luke asked.

"If you don't mind. We can pay—"

He cut her off, "I'll do it for free. Just get me what you can on those crime scenes and the victims and I'll do what I can to help."

"Thank you."

"So, how about we have some fun?" Emma's eyes widened as Luke settled beside her on the bed and pulled her against him, his hands gently maneuvering her so as not to jostle her arm. "I'll be gentle," he murmured in her ear before he took the earlobe in his mouth and gentle bit it. "What do you say?"

She shifted so she was facing him, causing him to release her ear. "I think…" she kissed his neck, "that's a perfect idea," she started unbuttoning his shirt. "I have a meeting in an hour though."

"I can do that."

When she left forty-five minutes later, she couldn't help but wish she had taken a shower or had time to apply make-up to those love-bites on her neck.

"So that's the guy," Luke's voice was warm in Emma's ear, even through the earpiece that connected them. "I was off." He sounded almost disconcerted that his profile on the man had been wrong in regards to age and manner.

"You'd think the profiler would know that you can't always be perfectly right," Gabriel muttered from his position next to Emma outside of a warehouse in the Bronx. "But he is kinda puny. Are we sure he's the guy we're looking for? He's not exactly what I thought a Neo-Nazi serial killer would look like."

Emma snorted. "Gentlemen please. Now is not the time to figure out how he's different from what you thought. He's there, we're here. Could we please," she couldn't keep the annoyance from her voice, "just get the asshole already? Or do you not remember that he's threatened to blow up several schools in the United States, especially one predominately African American one."

"And let's not forget," Gabe added, "that he's planning to do this with explosives he bought from our dear friend Eric Cole, who has a monopoly on weapons smuggling in both the United States and Great Britain."

"Are you mocking me Gabe?" She asked flatly, though there was a glimmer of humor in her eyes.

"No M'am."

"Call me that again and I'll flay you alive." She rose from her crouched position behind a stack of wooden crates and slipped dipper into the shadows behind her. "Are we ready?"

"Sure thing love," Luke murmured and her body heated up. "We're in place over here."

She grabbed a hold of a ladder above her in the darkness and pulled herself up with both arms until her feet were on the bottom rung. Her favorite sniper rifle—the M110 semi-automatic—was resting against her back. The movement of the metal against her lower back was reassuring as she reached the top of the ladder and took her place in the corner of the building, the opposite warehouse in her sights.

"I'm ready," she murmured. "Let's make this quick. I want to be in bed by 2am."

Twenty minutes later Emma knew it wouldn't be as easy as she had hoped. None of her men had exited the building, nor had their target slipped out of the only door in the building. She could hear the gunfire within that had begun almost immediately upon their entry into the building. Comms had cut off only minutes after and she had no idea if any of her team were alive or what had happened to Luke and the FBI assault team he had snagged for extra helped. She slung the strap rifle back over her shoulder and once it was snug against her back and the strap was crisscrossing her chest, she leapt over the parapet and snagged a hold of the ladder with her good arm. Minutes later she was back on the ground and her beloved Smith & Wesson handgun was gripped tightly in her left hand.

Emma lowered the volume on her comm link just in case the sound came back upon her entry into the building. Slowly, she moved through the shadows to the door and winced as she was forced to raise her right arm to open the door. Once the door was open wide enough for her to enter, she slipped inside and immediately took cover behind a grouping of crates by the door. She could see Gabriel pinned down behind some crates to her right and she motioned for him to stay down. Luke, she could see, was just inside an office along the left wall, about two hundred feet from where she was. Above her was a catwalk and she calculated her chances of getting up there without anyone seeing her. Not bloody likely, but she was going to do it anyway.

Two minutes, torn stitches, and a probably sprained rib later she was resting on the catwalk, her rifle back in her hands. She knew she wasn't alone on the catwalk, but at the moment she could care less. Justin Arnold—the brother of her shooter—was in her sights and she had the perfect shot. Her finger tightened on the trigger and as the gun recoiled into her shoulder she was suddenly thankful she had been born a lefty. As he fell she was aware of the man to her left, his gun trained on her.

"Stand up," he ordered.

Emma stood up, the rifle still clutched in her hands. He hadn't expressly asked for her to drop it now had he? He reached forward and tugged the rifle from her and she let him. But the exact moment that he tossed the gun behind him she leapt forward and aimed a high kick for his gun hand. Her foot connected and the gun went flying, but before she could do anything she was grabbed from behind. Her heart pounded in her chest and her even breathing grew heavy. Panic welled in her chest, but she forced herself to stay calm. Her right arm was twisted behind her back and she fell to her knees as stars and flashes of light impeded her vision and a sharp gasp of pain passed her lips. She didn't fight as a gun was pressed against her head, though her left hand was in the perfect position to grab the ka-bar she had holstered on her leg. She just needed to wait for the right moment.

"Eric Cole, right?" she asked after she managed to control her breathing.

"You know me?" the man behind her sounded amused. "Of course you do, your FBI. I'm surprised though that you managed to get this far."

She swallowed passed the lump in her throat. "I'm not FBI."

"No? Then what are you?"

"Your worst enemy," she didn't care about the corny-ness that was displayed in that clichéd statement. All she cared about was her strike landing home and as she drove the ka-bar up into the area of his thigh closest to his groin, she allowed a smile onto her face. The gun was gone from her head a second later and she rose to her feet without looking behind her. "Actually, I'm ex-SRR," she turned and look down at Eric, "and I presently work for a private security firm. The one who's been after you for several months." She pressed a finger to her mouth, "I didn't think you'd be here though. Ah," she shrugged. "Can't always calculate everything correctly."

Viciously, she reached down and tugged her ka-bar from his thigh. She wiped it clean on his shirt and returned it to the leg holster. She turned around and stepped over the other man—who had been felled by a bullet at the same time that she had drove her ka-bar into Eric's thigh—gingerly. As she passed by her rifle she picked it up and cradled it in her arms as she walked down the steps. Luke met her at the bottom and his eyes roved over her form.

"I'm not letting you out of my sight until that arm is fully healed," he informed her. "I hope you know how to ride."

"Ride?" She didn't bother to deny him the chance to watch over her for two weeks.

"Horses," he replied. "We're going to my grandparent's ranch in Texas. Gabe said it should be no problem, since your technically already on medical leave."

"Well, it just so happens my maternal grandparents own a ranch in Wyoming," she informed him dryly. "I spent my summers growing up there. But riding horses is going to have to wait until my shoulder actually heals a bit. We don't need the stitches pulling again."

He laughed and put his arm around her shoulders. "We can wait. I have some other things planned for us anyway."

"And just when were you planning these things?"

He dropped a kiss onto the top of her head and pulled her closer. "The other day when you were in my bed."

"That long? And you didn't say anything?" She looked up at him and frowned. "If you had told me earlier I wouldn't have even attempted to get up onto that catwalk and wouldn't have torn the stitches in the process."

"Well I just wasn't thinking that you'd do something so stupid, but then again you are ex-military. You must think your invincible or something."

"Not by a long shot." She rolled her eyes.

"Let's go love," he directed through the mass of the arrested criminals and law enforcement officers to the door. "I think they can deal with this without us. They'll know where to find us if they need to ask any questions."

She smiled and said to Luke, as she handed her rifle off to Gabriel, "Your hotel room?"

"My hotel room," he confirmed. "I think we'll have at least three hours before they come to question us."

"Three hours? That's all?" She pretended to be disappointed. "I wonder how much we can do in three hours? Any idea?" she pulled away from him and practically skipped a few steps ahead of him. "What are you waiting for cowboy?" she tossed over her shoulder. "We have things to do!"

Challenge 3:

Genre: General, Romance, Sci-Fi, anything except Fantasy
Rating: Any
Things Wanted: A band, law enforcement/military
Things NOT Wanted: Fantasy, Twilight references/allusions/inspirations
Quotes: none