Corkie's nose itched. But she didn't dare sneeze. She stood in that cramped, dark, dirty corner and listened to Clara purring and the bedframe groaning.
I'll kill him.
If he's actually...doing that with Clara, after kissing her downstairs in the hall...Corkie decided that she hated Lieutenant Alex Spears now, just a little bit.
Okay, fine. He was doing exactly what any other man in this place would be doing—bedding a prostitute—and he was saving her neck at the same time, but—
Did he just laugh?
A second male chuckle reached her ears, and Clara's throaty giggle followed. Then everything went quiet...and Alex called, "Room's taken, buddy. Get the fuck out."
Corkie froze in her corner.
"My boss wants to see your woman," a scruffy voice said in return. Corkie heard the hammer of a revolver cock loudly in the silence that followed.
Alex said, "I paid for this one...go get your own."
"Her face, amigo...we only want to see her face."
"Fuck off," Alex growled.
A second later, Clara screamed, Alex shouted more curses until he was subdued with a bone-crunching sound—probably fist meeting face—and Corkie pressed a hand to her mouth to mute her own protest.
There was a small scuffle, and the whiff of cigar smoke drifted to Corkie's corner, and she promised God that if they got out of here safely, then she'd do exactly what Alex wanted from her from now on...okay, God? Just don't let him and Clara get hurt...
His jaw throbbed from the suckerpunch, but Alex wasn't about to cow before Espinoza and his grunt. Clara sat up in the bed, clutching the blanket to her chest as Hibram Espinoza sucked heavily on a cigar and studied the girl. Alex struggled, as any man in this situation would do, but mostly he prayed that Corkie stayed quiet in her little corner and didn't screw this up.
Because Alex was about to change gears here, and if either of those women got offended by it—especially Corkie, who would likely dare to say something—then all of their necks were toast.
Seemingly satisfied with what he saw in Clara, Espinoza turned to Alex. His dark eyes traced Alex's face and fell to the Ranger tattoo. "American."
"Yeah? So what?" Alex growled, shrugging against the grunt's hold on his forearms.
"How are you enjoying my country?"
Alex glanced at Clara and gave her a crooked grin. "Loving it."
Espinoza held his cigar to his lips. "Why are you in my country?"
"I'm on vacation," Alex sneered.
The hand holding the smoldering cigar touched Alex's tattoo, the burning end hovering very close to his skin. "We do not like American soldiers on our land," Espinoza said calmly. He glanced over his shoulder to Clara. "Or with our women."
Alex forced out a snort. "Soldier...right. I'm done with that shit."
A dark eyebrow rose on Espinoza's face. "Is that so?"
"Fucking straight," Alex growled. "Fucking C.O. had me tossed me out for dealing...same goddamn C.O. that smuggled in the damn drugs, but his ass was about to be on the line, so he fucked mine instead. So, you could say I'm retired. What's it to you, anyway?"
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Crazy Enough (originally titled "Black And White Rainbows")Romance
It was supposed to be an easy job. Get to Mexico, get photos of that bastard, Niro, and get home. But photojournalist Corkie Brooks did not account for a lone Army Ranger kidnapping her, stealing her photos, and then protecting her. Lt. Alex...