Unveiled (Vargas Cartel #2) (17 page)

BOOK: Unveiled (Vargas Cartel #2)
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Chapter Twenty-Eight

 

 

Ryker

 

I opened the door to our hotel room.

“Hattie?”

No answer.

Her suitcase sat on the luggage rack half packed. What the hell? Did she plan to leave without telling me? The soles of my shoes echoed against the creamy white tile floors as I crossed the room. I peeked inside the bathroom. Empty except for the faint hint of her crisp perfume.

Where the hell was she? I called her cell phone at least twenty times in the last five hours. She hadn’t answered the phone in our hotel room either. I checked the pool and the beach. Nothing.

I settled into the chair across from the bed and rested my ankle on the opposite knee. Too exhausted to deal with the implications of her pending departure, I closed my eyes, concentrating on putting the last few days behind me.

Ignacio.

Rever.

Anna.

The Vargas Cartel.

For some reason, I had convinced Hattie to accompany me on this trip. Bringing her here didn’t make sense, but when it came to Hattie, I was a greedy bastard. I refused to leave her at home and give her an opportunity to change her mind about me…about us. I didn’t want her to create a new life without me because I couldn’t and wouldn’t live without her. Somehow she became my home. My everything.

My phone rang. I slipped it out of my pocket and checked the screen.

Thank God.
It was Hattie.

“Hattie, where are you?”

“Ryker?” she said, her voice quivering.

I stood up. “Are you okay?”

“No,” she whispered.

“Hand me the phone,” a man yelled and my heart lurched.

“Hattie. Hattie. Talk to me. Who is that?”

“Is this Ryker Vargas?” A man’s voice echoed through the phone.

“Yes. Who the fuck is this?”

“This is Juan Alvarez.”

My stomach dropped, and the air whooshed out of my lungs. “What do you want?”

“What do you think I want? You invaded my turf and stole my daughter.”

“She came willingly. She wanted to go with us.”

“I don’t give a fuck what she wanted, you mother fucker. You insulted my intelligence. You shot my son. You have seventy-two hours to return my daughter or—”

“That’s not fucking happening. They’re not even in Mexico anymore,” I interrupted. Rever and Anna had booked a flight to Panama that departed hours ago.

“I know.”

“Then you realize I can’t return your daughter.”

“Make it happen you piece of shit, or I’ll have room service deliver Hattie’s fingernails to your hotel room on a fucking silver platter, but I won’t stop there. For every day that passes without Anna being returned to my home, I’ll cut off another body part.” He chuckled, a cold, lifeless sound that made the hair on my arms lift in protest. “Don’t worry, I’ll start with the small body parts. Ears. Fingers. Toes. Maybe a nose or an eye. And if she passes out, I’ll pour rubbing alcohol on her face to make sure she doesn’t miss a second of pain.”

Rage boiled in my gut. For the first time in my life, I felt completely out of control. Revenge coiled around my chest like a Mexican black kingsnake. “No. You listen to me. If you touch a single hair on her head, I’ll kill you and every one of your family members, and I won’t do it with a single gunshot to the head. I’ll carve them up into little pieces and watch them choke on their disgusting Alvarez blood. And when I’m done, I’ll scatter their decayed body parts all over Mexico. Then, I’ll come back for you, and cut out your intestines and feed them to you with a spoon while you bleed to death.”

“Fuck you. Not if I kill you and your family first.”

Before I responded, the phone went dead.

Admirable words, and not the first time I’d heard them either. Ten years had passed since someone uttered them to my face, which was the last time Ignacio managed to rope me into Vargas Cartel business.

Somehow the universe had boxed me into a corner, and I didn’t have a choice. I called Ignacio. In order to get Hattie back, I’d need an army, and Ignacio was the only person who could give me that.

“Ignacio, it’s Ryker,” I said when he answered the phone. “I need your help. Juan Alvarez abducted Hattie.” The words tasted like ash as they tumbled from my mouth.

“I’ll help you on one condition.” I clenched my phone, already knowing what he wanted. It was what he’d wanted for the last five years. “You have to take your place in the cartel. I mean it. From this point forward, you’re all in, regardless of what happens.”

Acid burned in my stomach. I never wanted it. I did everything to avoid it, but time was up. I’d run out of options. I sucked in a deep breath. My vision cleared, and my anxiety fizzled. There was something cathartic about accepting my fate. “You have a deal,” I said.

My voice sounded cold and detached. Accepting his offer had stripped me of my humanity. With those four words, I had sacrificed my life and my future. For Hattie. For my child. I wished I could change it, but I’d never regret it. They were worth it. I owed it to her. I loved her, and I’d do anything to keep them safe, even if it meant giving her up and never knowing my child.

An eye for an eye.

Her life for mine.

My soul for hers.

A perfect trade.

I was grateful she ever wanted me, but I knew her love would evaporate the minute she discovered my fate. Until my death, I’d carry the bloody mantle of the Vargas Cartel on my shoulders.

It had happened so fast—too fast—like a tornado sweeping through my life and wrecking everything in its path. In a matter of days, I had lost everything. Everyone. Just like that, darkness rolled through me, filling my cells, coating my skin, corrupting my mind, and extinguishing the last flicker of light inside my soul.

It was done. Everything had come full circle, except this time there wouldn’t be a happily ever after for Hattie and me.

 

 

Acknowledgements

 

Thank you for purchasing my book. I can’t even begin to put to words what it means to me to be able pursue my love of writing.

To my husband, who puts up with a lot of craziness from me so I can get these stories out of my head.

To Limitless Publishing for continuing to support me, and Rachel Whitwam for squeezing me into her editing schedule.

Finally to Hype PR, all the bloggers, readers, and reviewers: I couldn’t do this without you!

 

 

About the Author

 

After spending years practicing law and a million other things, Lisa decided to pursue her dream of becoming a writer and she must confess that inventing characters is so much more fun than writing contracts and legal briefs. A native of Colorado, she lives with her husband and three children in Denver.

 

 

BOOK: Unveiled (Vargas Cartel #2)
4Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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