CIRCLE OF DECEPTION Excerpt
The naked man swayed back and forth, his ankles bound by duct tape and rope to a massive hook suspended from the ceiling. A bare light bulb at the end of a long wire swung in the opposite direction, casting drunken shadows across every inch of his sweat-coated skin.
Abby Rodriguez's gaze followed the movement of Rex Drago's body as if watching a tennis match in slow motion.
"Enjoying the view?" His bored and resigned tone barely hid his sarcasm. Even upside down, his eyes taunted her.
"Yeah. Actually, I am." She sat cross-legged a few feet away on the warehouse floor, her favorite Sig in one hand resting on her knee. "You've been working on your abs. Got them looking good. Almost an eight pack. Maybe you could get a job modeling for romance novels." With his big arms tied behind his back, she admired how the muscles expanded each time he struggled with the tape. A sparse swirl of hair rested between his pecs and trailed to a thin line across his abs toward his groin.
"Funny. Real funny." He cleared his throat. "Get me down."
"Having a problem with your sinuses? I guess hanging like that," she waved in his direction, "bottom up, could cause a problem. Kind of chilly in here too."
"Where's Jack and Nic?" His coal black hair cut high and tight, almost brushed the floor with each pass. She missed his long hair but the military style gave him a more deadly look. Heaven and Hell knew he already intimidated enough people with his six foot five height.
"Nic is monitoring the silent alarm, making sure it's off and no back up wired in. Jack's somewhere nearby, probably taking out the guard we spotted in the back that Savalas left behind."
Tilting her head, she looked a little harder at the tattoos running across his biceps on each arm. She never remembered seeing them on him before. Motivated less from curiosity than her attempt to avoid staring at what dangled from his groin. Oh, yeah, that appendage had always been worth admiring, but the man already had an ego the size of . . . well, of his cock, and he needed no one stroking-for goodness sakes, her mind refused to stay on the problem at hand. Hand? Her gaze darted to his gorgeous penis and then away.
She sighed. Every time she worked with Rex, her libido revved up at the most inappropriate times. The man oozed sex appeal. With cheekbones to die for and eyes of a clear gray ringed by darker gray, his looks were saved from being too perfect by the scar that ran across his nose and near the corner of his lip to a point on his left cheek. Then again, the scar only added to his aura of danger.
He growled. "Are you planning on cutting me down anytime soon?"
She grinned big, knowing how much he hated depending on anyone's help. "Well-"
"Abby, dammit! Quit playing around." His body began swinging harder as he fought the ties.
"Is that any way to talk to a friend?"
"Some freaking friend," he muttered.
"What did you say?" She looked a little harder at one of the tattoos. Tiny writing around a delicate Valentine heart appeared to move as he flexed his bicep. Was it for a current girlfriend? Weird, he'd never been into visual displays of love. Even when he asked her to marry him years ago, it had been during a private moment and more of a statement than a proposal. Things changed. People changed.
Gunfire echoed through the large warehouse. What trouble had Jack stumbled across? Time for her to quit teasing the big baby swinging frantically in front of her and let him go.
"I said if I ever get down from here, I'll spank that sweet ass of yours red."
"Ha! That's no way to talk to the person who's saving you." She almost flinched when his glare turned to ice. Those beautiful eyes use to be filled with love when he looked at her, but no longer. Years ago, she'd made sure of that.
The jingle of a gun-strap caught her attention. In a smooth move, she twisted, aiming her gun at the person behind her.
"What the fuck!" Jack Drago, Rex's brother, jumped out of her Sig's sight, clutching a M4 rifle across his torso. "Quit being a pain in the ass and cut him down. Savalas has more men coming and we don't have time for you two to reminisce." He glanced over his shoulder, checking the perimeter.
"I didn't need help, especially hers." Rex continued to glower at Abby.
She wanted to laugh, but at the same time, the thought of Rex being killed scared her more than she wanted to admit. No way would she ever let him know that. She'd broken his heart once and he'd done the same to hers. She planned to never let it happen again.