Authors: LR Potter
Now it was Cash’s turn to exhale deeply. “From… from whatever… from everything.”
Exasperation at the vague answer set Alex back on edge. “If you really wanted to keep her safe, you’d tell her to get out of the agency.”
Cash smirked. “Have you met her? You don’t exactly
Devon Montanez what to do!”
With lips pressed into grim lines, Alex merely nodded before leaving the room.
He sat in the cafeteria for almost thirty minutes, the food he’d attempted to eat sat heavily on his stomach. Rising wearily to his feet, he knew he and Devon were going to have to have one last talk about her future… either it’d be with him… or with the agency, but it wouldn’t be both.
He was startled to find her bed empty when he arrived back to her room. As his gaze swept the room, he finally heard noises… curses actually, coming from behind the bathroom door. He tapped on the wood softly. “Devon? Everything okay?” he asked.
Alex’s lips smirked when he heard a string of Spanish cuss-words that even he recognized. Slowly, he opened the door to find her struggling to fasten her pants one-handed. “What the hell are you doing?” he demanded.
Her face broke into a smile when she saw
him and her movements halted. “Alex,” she said, in near incredibility.
She came to him and wrapped her one good arm around him. He hesitated only briefly before gathering her lushness up against his hard body. All the resolve he’d formed previously flitter
“I’ve missed you,” she murmured into his chest. She inhaled deeply drawing his scent into her.
He chuckled. “I think we’ve had this conversation already.”
She pulled back to stare up into his face. She raised her hand to place it against his cheek. “We have?”
He smiled down at her. “Last night. I’m not surprised you don’t remember; you were pretty out of it.”
Sliding her hand up
to his nape, she drew him down and pressed her lips to his. The kiss wasn’t passionate. It was sweet and soft and gentle. Alex left her lips to press his across her jaw, down to the soft column of her neck. He felt her pulse quicken and she struggled to get closer to him. The movement caused a gasp to be pulled from her lips and she jerked away, pain etched clearly across her face.
“What?” Alex asked, concerned.
“My shoulder. I dislocated it when I fell during the explosion yesterday.” Her brows rose questioningly, “I think it was yesterday. Wasn’t it?”
He nodded. “Why are you out of the bed?”
She blinked up at him for a long moment before allowing her arm to fall away from him, swaying slightly. He gave her a quick once over and noticed the dark bruising at her temple. He reached up a hand and pressed it lightly against the darkened stain on her skin. “How bad is this?” he asked, watching her carefully.
The pleasure that had been etched on her face at his appearance slipped away. She shrugged and gave a dismissive wave of her hand. “Nothing but a mild concussion. Nothing to worry about.”
Moving around him, she went back into the room and stood looking out the window at the dismally grey sky outside. “What are you doing in Mexico?”
“Rush sent me. There
are problems with the newest Dragon Towers being built.”
“How are they? Rush and Trinity?” she asked.
“Good, I guess. They’re on their honeymoon.”
“I’m glad things worked out for them. It could have gone terribly wrong
,” she said, in reference to Trinity Drayton’s abduction. With a touch of melancholy, she continued, “I’m glad you thought to call me then… that you wanted my help… that you thought I
help,” she finished softly.
He walked up behind her and placed a hand on her uninjured shoulder before pressing his lips against her hair. He stood close enough behind her,
that his heat warmed her suddenly chilled skin. Dread washed over her. She knew the minute she told him what she had to tell him, he’d walk away… he always walked away.
never doubted your abilities, Devon. The only thing I’ve ever doubted… no, the only thing I’ve ever
is that the business you’re in is unstable and unpredictable. Yesterday was a prime example of that; you never know what you’re walking into. There are always strings being pulled both within the agency and without that you won’t be able to see… until it’s too late. You were lucky yesterday. I would have hated being called to inform me of your demise… although, I didn’t much like getting this one either. You scared the hell out of me, baby.” As he spoke, he rubbed his hand up and down her arm.
She drew in a shaky breath.
Here’s goes nothing
, she thought. “I’ve found them, Alex,” she said.
She felt him tense behind her. “Found who?”
She squared her shoulders and turned to face him. “Miguel and my mother. The information was at the house that blew up yesterday.”
Alex hand fell away as he absorbed the information. He rubbed a hand across the back of his neck. “I thought the bust was a set up? Why would they set you up and provide
particular piece of information? Don’t you find that a little… fishy?”
Her heart began to pound in her chest. When her lips threatened to tremble, she squared her jaw
. “Alex, I’m not stupid. But I’ve got to at least see whether the information is valid or not. It’s been almost five years! Five years, Alex. There’s no telling what my mother’s had to endure at the hands of that monster! This has been my whole purpose… to rescue her.”
Alex shook his head. “Damn it, Devon! It’s too dangerous!
It’s dangerous and you don’t even know for sure if your mother is actually alive.”
She blinked at him for several moments.
Ignoring the comment about her mother altogether, she finally said, “Some would have said what we did to rescue Trinity Drayton was dangerous… you were willing to involve me in that. You know how important this is to me.”
“I was there to ensure your safety then. I…” he stopped abruptly and once again ran a hand over his head.
! He was not telling her he loved her – he never had and he had no intention of telling her today either. He was not getting involved with her any further. Clenching his jaw once more, he said emotionlessly, “Are you going to wait at least until your shoulder is healed before tracking them down?”
Color rose up in her face and slowly she shook her head.
“You are going…
?” he asked incredulously.
She placed a hand on his bicep and it
bunched beneath her fingertips. She allowed her hand to fall away. “Yes,” she said, with a touch of defiance.
“What does Cash think about this?”
The color rose up once again and she glanced away. “You haven’t told him?” he accused.
Slowly she shook her head. “It’s not his business.”
“There’s no way I’ll talk you out of this is there?” he asked.
Again, she slowly shook her head.
He stared down into her eyes for a long moment before grasping a handful of her hair, opposite of the blooming bruise, and pulling her in roughly for a harsh kiss. He drew back abruptly. “Well, good luck, I guess,” he said as he turned away and headed to the door.
“Alex?” she called, pleadingly.
He gave a sharp shake of his head. He stopped and said softly, “Please remove me from your emergency contact list. I don’t want to bury you when the time comes. I hope you have a long, happy life, Devon. I truly do.” With those words he walked out of the room without turning. His high-polished black shoes tapped against the floor tiles as he made his way out of the hospital and out of her life.
When he finally got downstairs, he called for his driver. He sat down in the hospital’s lobby as furious
rage seeped into his pores. She’d done it to him again. He felt as if he’d been punched in the gut over and over.
! When would she learn! He’d known her for nearly five years and while they’d never had an exclusive relationship, he’d always assumed that eventually, she’d see reason and come to him and then they’d share a life together. It wasn’t that he doubted her competency; it was that bad things happened to good people all the time. He finally understood why his first wife, Addison, had hated it when he worked for the CIA.
As he cooled down, he snapped on his phone and punched in a number. “This better be damned important, Alex Masters!” Cash grumbled. “I just got to sleep, you bastard!”
Without preamble, Alex replied, “I just wanted to tell you that Devon found some kind of information at the drug house yesterday – information as to the supposed whereabouts of Miguel Munoz and her mother.”
Silence met his words. Finally, Cash said, “That’s makes no sense.”
“That’s what I think as well. But she’s going to look for them… today!”
“Shit!” Cash exclaimed. “
How has she even been released from the hospital yet?”
“I’m assuming she’ll check herself out.”
“Well, can’t you stop her?” Cash asked.
“She never listens to me.”
“Shit, shit, shit!” Cash exclaimed again. “I’m on my way,” he said, before the line went dead.
Alex leaned his head back and closed his eyes.
Goodbye, Little Devil
Devon sat down heavily. Her chest hurt as the muscles there tightened painfully around her bruised ribs. Tears burned her eyes and she blinked rapidly to stay them. She raised a hand to her bruised temple as a sickening feeling of disorientation made her stomach queasy. She blinked to clear her wavered vision. Why did he always make her choose? She loved him, he knew that. He was all that she wanted… all that she’d ever wanted. But how could she turn her back on her mother? Her mother had jeopardized her own life to protect her. How could she not return the favor?
Why did Alex have to be so unreasonable? Pain sliced through her and
she struggled to breath. She became light-headed and she concentrated on taking steady breaths. Taking another deep breath, she firmed her lips. She refused to cry over him anymore. Slowly, she rose from the bed and sat awkwardly in the chair. She bent over and nearly passed out at the pain in her ribs, her temple, and in her shoulder. Nausea rose up so quick she panicked she’d vomit where she sat. She inhaled deeply until the sensation passed.
Carefully, she shoved her feet into her shoes and propped them one by one on the bed’s edge to tie the laces. She panted through the agonizing pain. She sat back in the chair as sweat formed on her upper lip. This was going to be harder than she’d originally thought. Pushing herself up out of the chair, she buckled her utility-belt around her waist and cringed at the pain the extra weight brought her.
Slowly, she reached for her jacket and struggled into it, tucking one arm in and draping the other side over her shoulder. A small fission of fear settled over her. How would she possibly defend herself in this condition if it came to that? Exhausted by just dressing herself, she closed her eyes briefly to regain her strength.
Damn Alex Masters
! She was perfectly fine until he’d shown up. He’d sucked up all her remaining energy.
Alex had just heaved his tired body from the limo when his phone rang. “Hey, Cash. What’s up?”
“I wanted to let you know, I talked her into waiting a couple days. She’s in pretty bad shape. You are a cold-hearted bastard, I must say.”
“Why? Because I won’t stand by and watch as she self-destructs?” Alex asked.
“I don’t know, man. But she agreed to wait if I helped her. So that
’s the plan. Do you want me to call with what we find?”
Silence pulsed through the phone line. Finally, Alex exhaled deeply. “No. No, I really don’t. I’m done with this. It’ll never be over. There
will always be another lead… another bread crumb. I can’t keep watching her destroy herself. Just keep watching out for her,” Alex said, at first, but then reconsidered. After sighing, he said, “Yeah, let me know.”
Are you on your way back to Puerta Vallarta?”
“No, I’m too tired. I
’m staying in Mexico City tonight. So call me if you need me. I’m staying at the Hyatt,” Alex said.
Okay, dude. Don’t be a stranger,” Cash said before cutting the connection.
Alex pressed the phone’s edge against the corner of his lips.
Oh, Little Devil
, he thought. He couldn’t get the picture of her battered face out of his mind. Guilt ate at his insides until all he wanted to do was get back into the car and go back to the hospital. But they’d been stuck in this rut way too long.
Without even checking into
a room, he headed to the hotel’s bar. “Bourbon, straight up,” he told the bartender, a pretty Spanish girl in her early twenties.
He’d finished his second drink and was nursing his third when a hand landed on his arm. He turned to find Dr. Ensley Ingram climbing up on the stool next to him
, her long, blonde hair shining, her clear blue eyes smiling up at him. He smiled in return. “Dr. Ingram,” he said.