No One to Trust(2)

By: Katie Reus

Monster. The word echoed inside her but she bit it back. “Mr. Salas.” She tried to keep the disdain out of her voice as she faced the man who’d likely beaten her brother. Or at least watched while one of his men had. Somehow she managed to blink back the tears threatening to spill over.

“Please call me Orlando. You’re a very good sister to pick your brother up so quickly.” Standing about ten feet away from her, he leaned against the mini-bar with a glass tumbler in hand.

She narrowed her gaze. Anger battled with the fear blossoming inside her but she was still level-headed enough not to cower in front of him. A man like this probably craved the fear of others. “Did you do this to him?”

His shoulders lifted in a slight shrug. “Not personally. Benito owes me quite a bit of money and I intend to collect.”

“How much?”

“A hundred thousand.”

Lizzy swallowed but tried to school her shock. Benny had had problems with drugs in the past but he’d been clean for a while. Unfortunately, he’d found a new drug of choice. Gambling. If she had to guess, he owed Orlando the money because of bad bets. Or maybe he was back into drugs. She just didn’t know. And she hated what her brother did to himself. He had such a good heart but he couldn’t seem to keep it together.

Her parents had the money. She definitely didn’t. And it was unlikely her parents would fork over that kind of cash for the black sheep of the family. Unless she could convince them it was for her. Despite the terror splintering through her, she stood her ground. “So you tried to beat the money out of him?”

His dark gaze seemed to penetrate right through to her innermost thoughts. “He’s lucky he’s not dead. Out of respect for your family, I’m giving him one week to pay me back.”

“And if he doesn’t?” She hated that the question came out shaky, but she couldn’t help it. She was scared, even if she tried to hide it.

“I sincerely hope he has a life insurance policy.” He placed his glass on the bar and covered the short distance between them in seconds. Before she could react, he’d pressed her against one of the columns lining the outer edges of the lanai. His breath was hot on her cheek and his expensive cologne nearly smothered her as fear clawed at her insides. “I might be willing to bargain, however, Ms. Martinez. You are a beautiful woman. Six months as mine, and I’ll let your brother off.” His hips jerked forward and she pushed back the bile in her throat when she felt his erection against her hip.

Instinct overtook her fear as she shoved at his chest. “You’re disgusting.”

He was immovable. Grabbing her wrist, he pinned it above her head. When she swung out at him with her other hand, he snapped it up with the same precision. She tried to tug against him, but the man’s grip was like an iron shackle. Cold sweat blossomed across her forehead and spread the length of her body. She hadn’t told anyone where she was going, and Orlando Salas was total scum. If he raped her, he wouldn’t let her live to tell anyone. No, he’d likely dump her in the ocean. She racked her brain, trying to think of a way out of her situation when a loud shout and glass breaking inside caused him to let her go. But not before he backhanded her across the face and growled, “Stay here.”

The abrupt action surprised her more than it hurt. A dull throb spread across her cheek, but it was nothing compared to what would happen to her if she didn’t get out of there. As he started to reach for a gun tucked in the back of his pants, the double doors flew open and the last person she expected to see stormed through, with a SIG in hand.

And it was pointed directly at Orlando.

“Are you okay, Elizabeth?” Porter Caldwell, her unlikely savior, asked in his typical clipped tone.

“I’m fine.” At the moment, all that mattered was getting out of there alive. She wasn’t exactly sure what Porter was doing there or even how he’d gotten past Orlando’s guards. She wasn’t going to balk at a chance to escape, even if her rescuer was her sort-of-ex/almost-lover. Even though they’d dated for a month and gotten pretty physical, they’d never actually had sex so she didn’t think that qualified him as an old lover.

“Do you know who I am?” Orlando spat, but Lizzy noticed he didn’t continue reaching for his gun. He wasn’t that stupid.

Porter’s pale blue gaze narrowed with deadly precision. “More importantly, do you know who I am?” Without waiting for a response, he strode toward Orlando and slammed the gun across his head with a vicious blow.

With a short-lived cry of surprise, Orlando crumpled onto the mosaic tile. Lizzy had expected more of a response from the man but maybe without his security to back him up he wasn’t so tough after all.

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