Betrayal had always been part of the plan; falling in love complicated everything.
Dante Guzman He knew within hours that Ruby Rhodes, the sexy little auburn-haired beauty, who just happened to sit next to him at his favorite bar and flirt with him all night long, was not who she appeared to be. Redheads were his kryptonite—everyone knew it, including his enemies who wanted to see the Guzman cartel destroyed. Just exactly who sent her and why was something he was going to have to figure out. At least playing along with her was enjoyable since part of her ruse seemed to entail sleeping with him and indulging his… let’s say, darker desires. Or maybe that wasn’t supposed to be part of the plan, and she broke the rules. Falling in love with Ruby was definitely not part of his plan, and Dante was going to have to punish her for making him do just that. Especially after he learns who she really is and why she was sent to seduce him. **This is a prequel to Inferno, Book One in the Agents of Ensenada series. It ends in a cliffhanger.
She tucked her phone in her purse as she stepped out into the warm summer night—closing her eyes to enjoy the summer breeze, only opening them when she ran smack dab into a tall, broad body who let out an “Oomph” when her body barreled into his.
“Oh, discúlpame,” she said automatically, then cringed. Not exactly the reaction of a woman just learning Spanish.
The man’s face came into view wearing a knowing grin. “Miss Rhodes.”
Shit. She went on the offensive before he even had a chance to ask her about her Spanish.
“Oh, Dante! It’s you! I swear I’m not trying to harm you on purpose,” she said with a laugh that was way too high pitched, even to her own ears. “Even though I’m sure it looks that way, all the bumbling I’ve done around you.” Breathe, Keni.
Wait, what is he doing here?
In a more subdued voice, she cocked her head and asked, “Did you forget something?”
His hand went to her hip, where his thumb subtly stroked the material of her white designer dress. “My dinner plans changed, so I thought I’d come back and see if you’d like to join me.”
Except he said it in Spanish.
She blinked at him rapidly then said with a placating smile, “I’m sorry, I have no idea what you just said to me.”
His grin was crooked when he asked—in English this time, “Are you sure? You seemed to know some Spanish just a minute ago.”
“Positive. But that’s why I’m here. To learn. I overheard the bellman at the hotel say discúlpame earlier when he ran into someone, so I just put two and two together. Did I say it right?”
He eyed her suspiciously for a beat then a slow grin formed on his face as it relaxed. “Yes, you said it right. So, would you like to have dinner with me?”
“I thought you already had dinner plans?”
“I cancelled them. I didn’t think it’d be fair to my companion to be thinking about you all evening when I should be paying attention to her.”
Her stomach dipped at his admission. Genuinely.
It’s just because that means the mission is going better than planned, she reasoned. It had nothing to do with the fact that she had found herself honestly enjoying his company earlier.
“Oh. Well, what if I say I’m busy?” she teased, batting her eyelashes coyly at him.
He gave her a grin that melted her panties while he leaned closer, wrapping a strand of her hair around his finger as he murmured, “Aw, don’t do that, little one. Then I’ll have to eat alone and go to bed hungry.”
She caught the slip although she knew perfectly well it was anything but a slip. He didn’t say or go to bed hungry—he said and.
“What are you implying? If I have dinner with you, you’ll go to bed satisfied?”
His eyes flashed lustfully at her under the orange street lights, but he shrugged noncommittally. “More so than I would if I were to eat alone.” He slowly withdrew his finger, leaving a perfect ringlet on her shoulder, then stared into her eyes. “Who knows, maybe I’ll even have dessert. Do you like dessert, Ruby?”
How strong he was coming onto her now made her immediately suspicious. She’d practically sat on his lap inside the bar trying to get this type of reaction, but he’d not taken her up on it. What had changed?
One goddamn word. Discúlpame.
Fuck. She needed to do some damage control. Except she wasn’t exactly certain what that should look like. Did she play hard to get or take him up on his offer? What was the best strategy, long term?
It must have been the Macallan talking because she heard herself purring, “I love dessert.” Then leaned her tits against his arm. “What’s your favorite?”
Guess I’m going with the sex strategy.
He stared down at her with his gaze focused on her mouth. “Strawberry shortcake,” then moved up to her eyes. “Yours?”
With her eyes deadlocked on his, she replied in a low, sultry voice, “Mexican swizzle sticks.”
The corner of his mouth turned up. “I happen to know the perfect place you can get those.”
“What a lucky coincidence for me to have sat next to you at the bar.”
There was a hint of sarcasm in his voice, putting her on edge. Something told her he wasn’t buying her story. She was going to have to turn on the charm and make him believe it.
Get it here: Ignition
“Just what do you think you’re doing?”
Dante’s voice was low, but angry. Scary-angry. She’d never heard him sound like that, and a quick glance at his handsome face when he appeared from the trees, still in his tuxedo, indicated his tone matched his mood.
She was up like a shot and running like her life depended on it.
It probably did.
Get it here: Inferno