“How do you know who I am?”
“Because it’s my job.”
“If you’re not here to kill me, then what do you want?” her voice comes out sharp, but her body softens into me. I inhale her fragrance while mentally berating myself for it. I like the way she looks too much. I love the way she smells and fights me in a way no woman ever has. I’m intrigued by her. By her past and the way she’s been living these last couple of years. Everything about this one draws me in when it’s the absolute last reaction I should be having.
She’s an asset. One I’m here to work over. To get answers from.
And at all costs, keep alive.
“To dance with you.”
“What?” she laughs incredulously.
“I want to dance with you,” I repeat. Standing up, I toss back my other shot and shell out a bunch of bills onto the bar top beside the empty glasses. “Dance with me, butterfly, and we’ll talk. You just said you haven’t lived enough. When was the last time a man held you while you danced?”
She frowns. “Seven years ago. He danced with me in a club, and it was the worst mistake of my life. Two years after that, he shot me.”
“Only, I’m not him, now am I? And this is most definitely not a club.
Come get your country on with me.”
“You don’t strike me as the type who knows how to two-step.”
“I’m not. We’ll make up our own dance.”
I extend my hand, letting her believe the choice is hers. She stares at it for at least a solid minute before her eyes slowly lift to mine. She holds me, her body so still until she finally makes up her mind and rises off the stool.
But goddamn her, she reaches for that last shot and wolfs it down before I can stop her. Four shots of rum in under five minutes in a girl who likely hasn’t eaten in a while and weighs no more than a buck-fifteen. Shit.
And on cue, she stumbles forward into me, her body heavy against my chest. She giggles, tilting her face back until those pretty blues meet my greens.
“Oops.” I brush her hair out of her face and gather her by the small of her back. I lead her away from the back entrance a little, though that will be my exit of choice before this is done. “Why are the scary ones with the darkest souls always the prettiest?” she muses, her voice heavy, saturated in too much alcohol.
“That’s the law of the jungle, darlin’. All the best predators are designed to attract their prey.”
“Is that what you’re doing now? Trying to attract me?” She tilts her head coquettishly, her full lips curving in an impish smirk.
She laughs, smiling wide and relaxing for the first time. “All the best predators are designed to attract their prey. Don’t forget it, darlin’.”
I have no illusions about the type of predator she is and the power she wields over men.