“Why are you still here?” I demand, grabbing two Band-Aids out of the kit.
“I don’t know where to go.”
“Away from me,” I say, tearing open a wrapper to bandage up my wound.
“I told you, I don’t know where to go.”
“And yet you acted really damn confident when you were working me over for the camera.”
“My hands were shaking. I was terrified.”
“Well, you put on a good show, sweetheart.”
“I was running on adrenaline. Now reality has hit me.”
“Stop fretting. You made it seem like I kidnapped you.”
“In case I was captured—but Sheridan’s not easily fooled. Please. I need help. I just . . . do what you have to do to believe me. Pat me down. It’s better than getting naked. I think. I hope. Just get it over with.”
It’s all the invitation I need. Shackling her wrist, I pull her back to the sink and in front of me again, my legs once again pinning hers. She twists her fingers in my shirt, her lashes lowered, dark stains on her pale cheeks.
“Look at me,” I order, trying to figure out why I can’t quite turn on the ice in my veins with this woman.
Her eyes open, her chin lifting, and I study her, reminding myself that I have every reason to make this hard on her—except one: the vulnerable, shaken look in her eyes. The woman who betrayed me had convinced me she was Sheridan’s victim, and yet never once had I seen such a look on her face.
I squat down in front of her, wrapping my hands around her slender ankles, where I linger, reminding myself that I need to treat her like a hostile. This needs to make her uncomfortable—but I can’t help but think of my sister, whose life was ripped out from underneath her by no choice or action of her own. The idea that this woman could be the same kind of victim as Amy does not sit well with me.
Letting out a heavy breath, my hands begin to explore her body, running up her legs to the top of her thigh-highs, where I search the elastic for a hidden device. Next, I move up her hips, and she sucks in the same breath I’m now holding as I run my fingers between her thighs. She’s wearing a thong, so as tempting as her ass might be, this isn’t about sex, or taking advantage of her. If I knew she was Sheridan’s bitch, the story would be different.
Trying not to give either of us time to think about the invasion this is for her if she is truly an innocent in all of this, I stand up and turn her to face the mirror again. She drops her head forward, her long, silky brown hair draping her face. I tug her black silk blouse from her skirt and my fingers tunnel underneath, deftly searching her slender waist, her ribs, and the sides of her breasts. I hesitate only a minute and then do what has to be done. I search the most obvious of potential hiding places for a tracking or recording device, cupping her breasts, and when I feel nothing but curves and woman, I shove down the lace cups, ensuring there’s nothing inside. She pants. Hell, I think I do, too, and I remove my hands, tangling my fingers in her hair and parting it, searching her neckline.
Finally, I turn her to face me all over again, planting my hands on either side of her. She stares down, as far from playing seductress as you can get, but then, she’s probably doing just that—playing me. Still, she’s not wearing a device, and I find myself saying, “I had to do that.”
Her gaze jerks to mine, her cheeks flushed. “I know,” she whispers, delicately clearing her throat. “I get it. I . . . appreciate that you didn’t— ”
“Don’t. Don’t appreciate anything, because I will turn on you in a minute flat if you give me even a flicker of a reason to do it. I don’t trust you.”
“I don’t trust you.”
“You shouldn’t. What’s your name?”
“Is that your real name?”
I don’t miss the two beats of hesitation or the lowering of her lashes before she says, “Of course it’s my real name.” Her gaze finds mine. “Is Chad yours?”
I ignore the question, which hits a nerve I don’t examine right now. “What were you doing with Sheridan in the first place?”
A knock sounds on the door of the bedroom, and I shove myself off the counter. “Clean the blood off your face,” I order, not waiting for a reply as I head through the small room to greet our visitor, my nerve endings buzzing, and my damn cock hard. Cautiously, I crack the door open to find a teenage boy who resembles Hugo standing in the hallway.
“Trouble, señor,” he says in English. “There are men searching the neighborhood. My father turned down the lights and bolted the door, but he says you should leave out the back.”
I curse under my breath and scrub the whiskers I can’t wait to shave. “We’re going.” I turn to get Gia but she’s already here, her shoes in hand.
“I heard,” she says. “And ‘we’ better mean you and me together, because you aren’t leaving me. Not after I just let you search me.”
The smart thing to do would be to do just that—leave her. The odds of her being part of a setup are a good 90 percent, which leaves only a 10 percent chance she’s a victim and/or an ally. And it’s not like I’m a saint here. In fact, I’m a pretty damn accomplished sinner, but I choose the targets of said sins with care. I didn’t choose this woman, and I know how dangerous Sheridan is. If she really crossed him, he’ll kill her.
I grab her wrist and pull her to me. “You do exactly what I say, when I say it. Understand?”