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.“Carnie? You guys are all crazy.None of you have proper names.” Rico turns to Carnie, not offering out his hand for him to shake—Carnie hasn’t earned that privilege yet—and asks, “What do you call yourself that for? You like meat?”“Carnie, not carne,” my boy says, emphasizing the difference between his nickname and the Spanish word for meat.“I’m fucking vegan.”“You don’t eat meat?”“No, I don’t.I don’t eat anything that used to have eyes.That’s fucking wrong, man.”Rico runs his tongue over his teeth, narrowing his eyes at Carnie.He makes a low humming sound in the back of his throat—I don’t think he’s impressed by my prospect.“Men were bred to hunt and kill, my friend.They learned to do that to survive.To feed their families.To assert their dominance over weaker, less intelligent men.That’s the natural way of things, huh?”Oh boy.I’ve heard people have this conversation with Carnie before.It never ends well.He folds his arms across his chest, flexing his muscles.“Actually prehistoric man survived mostly off things he foraged from the land.Meat was an infrequent substitute to his diet.He survived where other species failed and suffered extinction because he was smart.Because he had a bigger fucking brain than any of the other animals.And look at me, man.You think I have any problems asserting my dominance over weaker, less intelligent men? Do you?” Pulling up to his full height, Carnie leans back, giving Rico a less-than-friendly smile.The click of heels on tiles breaks the silence.“Are you boys done measuring dicks?” Maria Rosa appears behind Rico, as beautiful and deadly as ever.I always wonder whether it’s possible to catch the woman without a full face of makeup and her hair done.I’ve dated enough girls, really girly girls, to know that even they have their down time.Days when they don’t feel like sucking in their bellies and getting dressed up to the nines.Days when all they wanna do is lounge around on the couch in a T-shirt and tracksuit pants, eating Ben and Jerry’s from the tub.Maria Rosa is always perfect, though.Always.And she doesn’t look Colombian, either.Bleached blonde hair, green eyes, light olive skin—she looks like Penny from The Big Bang Theory.That’s no mistake.She’s obsessed with the show, addicted, or she used to be.It doesn’t look like much has changed since the last time we met.“Rebel,” she says, holding out her hand.“What a pleasant surprise.” I take her hand and kiss the back of it, knowing that she’s lying.My visit is about as pleasant as a rough enema.“Beautiful as always, Mother.So good to see you, too.” I lay it on thick, giving her no reason to suspect there are about a million other places I’d rather be than right here, right now, with her.“How long are you staying in the country for?”She pouts, resting her weight over one hip.If I didn’t know her already, the extraordinarily tight red dress she’s wearing would have me thinking she is just on her way out to a nightclub.She’s not, though.It’s just how she dresses, even at ten in the morning.“Oh, I don’t know.I’m just checking on a few new business enterprises I’ve invested in.After that…I could stay a week.I could stay a month.Depends on whether I have any reason to hang around.” She strokes a taloned finger down my cheek, tracing her nail along my jawbone and down underneath my chin.She’s a notorious flirt.I know better than to even consider going there, though.Cade did and it nearly cost him his life.I smirk at her, playing the game.Letting my eyes rest on her cleavage a little longer than I should because I know she likes to be appreciated.“Are you going to spend a few days with me here, baby?” she asks, stepping closer to me so that her chest is pushed up against mine.Her tits are almost spilling out of her dress, skin soft and golden and smooth, and it’s really fucking easy to see how men get caught up by her.She’s sexy, she’s powerful and she has stones.I don’t know a guy who hasn’t been given a boner by the Bitch of Colombia.I’m hardly innocent, myself.I am sensible, though.I take hold of her wrist and kiss her lightly again, on the wrist this time.“I wish I could.We have to be heading back to New Mexico right away, though.I’ve come here strictly on business.”“Is that why you’ve brought this one with you instead of that coward Cade Preston?” She actually sounds pissed that Cade isn’t here.I laugh, but it takes serious effort.I can’t put a foot wrong here.I can’t say the wrong damn thing.If I do, my balls will be forfeit and Carnie will probably end up dead.“Forgive me for saying so, Mother, but I didn’t think you were all that fond of my vice president these days?”She flicks her wrist at me, making a derisive sound at the back of her throat.“Don’t be so ridiculous.I love him.Mateo, everything is fine.You can head back downstairs.”I didn’t even realize that the guard—Mateo—was still behind us, loitering in the doorway.He gives her a short bow.“Yes, Mother.I’ll be available if you need anything.”I don’t like the way he says that, like he thinks she might want us brutally murdered in about half an hour or so, and he’ll be ready to oblige her.Mateo leaves, pulling the door closed behind him, leaving the four of us behind in the entrance of Maria Rosa’s suite.To say things are a little tense would be an understatement [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]