I know that it’s a bit of a cop out giving you guys an excerpt of Venice Nights, but I thought that I would anyway!
This is the very opening of the book, and as always, Mack is roping some poor unsuspecting chap into something she probably should do. Usually those ‘poor chaps’ are far from poor, and are bad-arse to their very bones. In this case? This guy’s a human-trafficker. A truly nasty piece of work. And in my view, in these opening pages on Venice Nights – he gets what is deserved. Enjoy!
Arlo Ricci sat across from me, looking delicious and confident in a cocky way. We sat out in the warm evening air on the balcony of the Caruso hotel, stomachs full, with the wine flowing as the sun set over the waters of the Ravello Coast. Arlo was my first official job as a paid assassin.
I watched him sit back and admire me. “A beautiful sunset, with a beautiful woman. Life can’t get any better than this, Lena.” He reached for my hand. On the inside, I prickled at being someone as feminine as Lena, but I had Gabe to blame for coming up with that name. On the outside, I smiled warmly at him, pretending to be embarrassed. His palms were warm, and I could see he was getting slightly intoxicated. “I’ll be back in a moment,” he said, leaning down to kiss me on the cheek.
I watched as he left the table, and wound his way through the restaurant inside. I reached for the champagne bottle and topped up his glass. Checking to make sure he really had gone to the bathroom, I opened up the top of my snuff ring, extracted a tiny tablet, and swiftly dropped it into his glass.
The rohypnol dissolved instantly in the liquid, and I sat back and took a sip of water. My way in with Arlo was to play it like he was going to get me in bed. I cringed. I really hoped the roofie would take care of him before we got to that point. I downed the rest of the water in the glass, wishing that Gabe could have given me some sort of ‘sober-up’ pill. I needed a clear head but I’d had one too many already. I saw Arlo leave the bathroom, and I filled my water glass before he reached the table. I stood up as he stepped through the balcony doors, my dress wrapped around me in the light breeze, and I reached for him.
My lips met his, and all I could think about was that the sooner this was over and done with the better. There was something weird about kissing another guy when I was in love with Chase, even if it was all an act—an assignment. “Let’s finish our drinks and head upstairs.” I breathed the words into his ear, my voice sultry.
Arlo smiled, nodding. “Definitely.” He laughed as he picked up my glass of bubbles and handed it to me before picking up his and slowly sipping.
I smiled nervously, taking a gulp of my own. I needed to get this show on the road. I was on a time limit. I had to refrain myself from constantly looking down at the Tag Hauer watch that River and Chase had given me just before we landed in Mexico on our last job. “Race you to the bottom,” I said lifting my glass, giving him a wink.
He laughed. “Okay. But if I win, you’ll let me do anything I want to you in that bedroom?”
I pretended to ponder it, without showing him how revolted by the idea I was. “And if I win?”
“I still get to do anything I want to you in that bedroom.”
I burst out laughing. “I guess this is a no win situation then. Drink up then.”
I watched him as he lifted his glass to his lips, giving me a mischievous smile before he poured the liquid down his throat. There was no going back now. He watched in turn, lust in his eyes, as I drank. He plucked the glass from my hand as soon as I was finished, and placed it on the table, moving closer to me. “I want you, Lena…” he murmured as he bent down to kiss my neck softly.
Oh boy. I had to hope like hell that roofie Gabe gave me was one of the fastest acting ones. I did not want to get naked with his guy.