The Bargain:Vargas Cartel Series, Book 1(73)

By: Lisa Cardiff

“Except you.”

“What do you mean?”

“You don’t think I noticed someone turned off the cameras in her room last night, or that someone deleted the video feed of the pool?” He shook his head in disbelief, a low, harsh laugh escaping his mouth.

“I don’t know what—”

“I’m not going to hurt her.” His voice was uncharacteristically soft. “She’s important to you, and that makes her important to me.”

Stunned, I didn’t respond immediately, but then I saw the sincerity in his face, and I believed him. “I haven’t decided. I don’t know if she’s worth the hassle. My life is complicated.” My stomach revolted, hating my answer, and I clenched my jaw, biting back the emotion. She was worth that and more, but the layers upon layers of lies and an impenetrable wall of complications stood between her and me.

“So that’s what you’re telling yourself.” Ignacio shook his head, his eyes distant. “I didn’t go after your mother. I regretted it.” He combed his hands through his salt and pepper hair. My dad looked old and tired, no longer the larger than life man I remembered from my youth. I had been so caught up in my attraction to Hattie, I barely noticed. “I still do, every day. She was the love of my life. Time and distance can’t alter true love.”

Ignacio had closed the door before I formed a response, as though he hadn’t turned my world upside down. My mom never found someone to love after she walked away from my dad. She lived in the past rather than the present, constantly reliving memories rather than creating new ones. All the while, Ignacio had a family, abundant wealth, and an army of servants.

She never complained, though. In fact, she always said she’d rather live alone than be a mistress or spend her life with someone she didn’t love. I shook my head to clear the emotional turmoil bubbling under the surface.

“Good evening, Mr. Vargas.”

“Thanks for changing your plans, Javier. I hate dragging you away from your wife and kids so early in the morning, but I have a flight to catch.”

“No problem, sir. I understand.”

I opened my laptop and scanned through my email. Fuck. I forgot about my afternoon meeting with Rever. “When you drop me off at the airport, call my brother and tell him my plans have changed. Ignacio wanted me to debrief him today, but I need to be in D.C. by this evening. He’ll have to do it himself.”

“Of course.”


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. Thanks to Limitless Publishing for continuing to support me and to Rachel Whitwam for editing this book and helping me with ending. Thanks to my husband for giving me feedback. Finally, thanks to my long time friend Fatima Simon for helping me with the Spanish dialogue. All errors are my own.

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