Bold Tricks(5)

By: Karina Halle

I felt like elbowing him in the nose again, seeing it break over and over. But Javier was one of those men who could take the pain and make it work for him. He had too much of an advantage over us at the moment and he liked it when I hated him as much as he liked it when I loved him.

“How did he die?” I asked, grinding my teeth.

“I don’t know,” he said. “All I know is that he is one less person to hurt you.”

“You are so fucked-up,” Camden muttered, his hand tightening on my back.

Javier merely grinned at that, his teeth white in the darkness, taking no offense at all. “Whatever I am, you need me more than I need you. And because of that, you’ll do as I say.”

“Sounds like a deal with the devil,” I told him.

“My, my, angel, how quickly you’ve changed your tune now that this tattooed ape is back in your life.” He eyed Camden. “You know, just because you’re here now, doesn’t mean you’ve won anything.”

“I only came to get Ellie back,” he said, his voice quiet but full of animosity. I knew that Camden was keeping himself on a very tight leash. I also knew that when he didn’t, well, I didn’t have to look long at Javier’s bruised and bloodied face to know what happens.

“Oh, of course,” Javier said with deliberation. “But is she really back?”

“Javier, shut the fuck up,” I said. “If you’ve got a plan then tell us what the plan is, because the longer we sit here arguing, the further Gus gets away from us.”

He slowly looked back to me. “That has been my point all along. Are you able to think now? Is your little attack over? Because I know what worked last time you—”

“Get on with it,” I cut in. Neither Camden nor I needed him to finish his sentence. The last time I had a panic attack around Javier, we ended up having sex in an orange grove. I was vulnerable, driven by lust, desperate for closure and lured back into my own past. I had a million excuses for why I fucked him but what bothered me the most was that at the heart of them all, I did it because I wanted to. I needed to. Now, looking at him, knowing how much he had and hadn’t changed, I hated myself for being so weak, hated my body for betraying me so easily.

He held my gaze and I knew in the dim light he could make out the raw anger in my eyes. He was thinking, wondering how much more he could toy with me. He now had the ability to get a rise out of both Camden and I anytime he wanted. He was a man with too much ammo, but perhaps he’d always been that way. He stockpiled it like a squirrel preparing for winter.

He shifted the Jeep with a lurch, causing me to fall into Camden, and pulled the vehicle back onto the dirt road, the rain whipping us as it continued to fall in heavy drops. We sped in the direction of Veracruz, where the city lights were casting a dull orange glow on the bottoms of the storm clouds.

“The first step is to get rid of this car,” Javier said, his mouth setting in a grim line. “They’ll be looking for it.”

“There’s always Jose,” Camden said.

I looked at him incredulously. “You have Jose?”

He gave me a small smile. “The car’s a bit battered but yeah I have Jose. It brought me and Gus down here. All your stuff is still in the trunk.”

Thank god, because all my other stuff was in the hotel room that I wouldn’t be returning to. The only thing I had on me was what fit into my clutch purse: Eleanor Willis’s passport (which was pretty much useless now since Travis knew it was a façade), some makeup, a few pesos and that was it.

“Right,” Javier scoffed. “I’m sure the car isn’t wanted by a few people either.”

“You mean other than you?” I asked.

He grunted. “The past is the past. We’re better off getting something more inconspicuous, don’t you agree?”

“We’re getting my stuff out of the car, at least,” I told Javier. “You can add that to your plan.”

He made another disagreeable sound but didn’t argue. “Fine. Get your stuff. Get a new car. Head to Mexico City to check on Violetta.”

I frowned at the mention of his sister. “Check on?”

He nodded. “I’ll tell her to get out of town, go to Marguerite or Alana’s in Jalisco.”

“And she’ll listen to you?”

He bit his lip for a second. “She knows what happened to Beatriz. She’ll listen.”

“Who is Beatriz?” Camden asked.

Javier shot him a look as he brought the Jeep onto the main highway. “None of your fucking business.”

“It’s one of his sisters,” I quickly told Camden. “Travis murdered her.”

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