Home > Taming Cross(19)

Taming Cross(19)
Author: Ella James

I wrap my arms around myself as my throat constricts. Nobody here in Mexico knows my real name.

He strides closer, close enough so I can smell his sweat and see his stark white teeth. And his skin: I can't see a single pore. His lips aren't chapped. His nose isn't crooked. His eyes are even bluer this close. Tall, dark, and handsome, I think dizzily. I'm gawking at my killer.

I back into the bookshelves, holding out my arms. “Who are you?” It's embarrassing, the way my voice comes out a croak. I flail behind myself for a heavy book and hold it out like that might keep him away.

His blue eyes widen. “You don’t believe me.”

“No joke!” I’m shrill. My chest is heaving now. He starts to step closer but I wave the book. “Don't do that! No! I want to know who you are, right now!”

He's from the U.S. Government. He must be. Sean really did pin everything on me and I'm a wanted woman. Wanted for dealing drugs. And they found me down in Mexico! I have ties to Jesus Cientos!

Mother Mary, I'm going to go to prison.

My eyes fill with stinging tears, but I'm not sad. I'm angry. “Do you know why I'm hiding here? Because a Mexican drug lord wants to kill me. Because he bought me as—” my voice cracks here— “a sex slave! I was sold as a sex slave! I don't know what Sean told you but I didn't do those things. I have my flaws, I have my flaws but I was just his girlfriend!”

I burst into tears—angry tears; my lifelong nemesis—and it's not a second later that his hands are on my shoulders, squeezing gently but firmly. I’m terrified and outraged, but his right hand moves to the crown of my head, smoothing down my hair, cupping my neck, and God help me, it feels really good. Too good. Maybe he was sent by Cientos. I jerk back. Look up into his eyes. Again, the shock: This guy is seriously hot. I shove it away and side-step toward the door.

“Why are you here?” I hold my arms out. “What do you want?”

“I told you already. I’m here to help you escape.”

“Who says I need help?”

“I do. And I know you don’t have much time.”

Does he know about tomorrow? How, unless he does works for Jesus? But why is he here if he does? “If you’re a sicario, just be straight with me. I don’t like suspense.”

He’s confused, and growing frustrated. “I get that you have a lot of questions, but we don’t have much time. I got into it with one of Ciento’s guys—”

“So you are with the cartel!” I jab my finger at him, and he groans.

“Noooo. I’m trying to get you back to America.”

My heart starts pounding so hard I think I might pass out “D-do you want me because of Sean? Because I know him—knew him.”

“No. I don’t even know who that is.” That seems to be the truth; I feel a cold rush of relief. “I only want to take you back.”

“Who are you?”

He smiles a little, lopsided. “I'm your guardian angel, Meredith Kinsey.”

I’m not buying it. “I go by Merri.”

“Merri.” He says it with so much relief. “Merri, we don’t have much time. I got in an altercation with one of Cientos’s guys, so by now Cientos knows I’m coming for you.” I try not to shake as those blue eyes blaze. “We need to leave ASAP.”

“I— you can't.” I stand there, breathing hard, struggling to explain why to him and myself why this thing I’ve wanted so bad can’t work. “If I were to leave with you, they'd find us.” My heart aches at the thought of what might happen to the clinic. “And plus I can’t be sure you’re not with them. How do you even know my name?”

He leans back against a bookshelf, looking weary. “You're a missing person, Meredith.”

Missing. No I'm not. I've been right here. It feels to me that the rest of the world has gone missing. I lean against the bookshelves, too, because my legs are giving out.

 

 

Cross

 

 

“WHO DO YOU work for?” Her green eyes, still bright from tears, are dancing, angry now. Her strawberry hair, tied into a bun behind her head, glints in the fluorescent light. Her cheeks are pink. Her lips are tight.

Meredith Kinsey in the flesh is super hot, so help me.

I grit my teeth and try to focus on what she said just now. Who do I work for? Right.

I don't have an answer for that. Preparation never was my strong suit, so I just bullshit. “I find sex slaves and people sold on the black market and bring them back into the U.S.”

She blinks. “For what agency?”

Uhh...what?

“What agency are you with? FBI? The State Department.”

Fuck. I clear my throat. “We’re a group of bounty hunters. We do contracts for the government.” That seems plausible—or maybe not.

“Which branch of the government?” she asks.

I scratch my head. “I’ve only been with the outfit for not even a year. They just send me on jobs.” My dad always said I was good at looking dumb. He also taught me how to lie.

She folds her arms under her gorgeous breasts and looks me over. “How did you get here?”

Flailing... “I rode a motorcycle.”

She doesn't like that. I can tell, because her lips pinch and she lets her breath out slowly. While I fumble for something to make it better, she fires again. “Why do you look familiar?”

My throat tightens. Is it possible that I look more like my father than I thought? I blink, then shrug, like I haven’t the slightest. “No idea.”

She brushes a stray strand of hair off her forehead and sighs. “I’m not used to American faces anymore. That’s probably it.”

Whew. “Probably.”

“How do you plan to get me away?”

You’d think she found me on the Internet. “Uh, I've arranged for you to cross the border. With me.” Well, no shit Sherlock. Damnit, I'm striking out, but Merri is shaking her head. She doesn't seem to notice.

“I can't leave.” She closes her eyes briefly. When they open again, they’re wet. “The people here would be made to pay. They'd get hurt. I would need protection for them.”

“What happens if you don't leave? Do you think that was the last bomb?”

She nods. “I do.”

“Are you crazy?” Her eyes widen, and I nod. “Yeah, your intentions are pretty clear. You know the nuns here want you safe. You should be safe.”

Merri's eyes squeeze shut, and when she opens them, she looks bleak. “I'm sure they do, but I just can't. I can't risk innocent lives.”

This floors me. “Aren't you innocent?”

She brushes her palm over her cheek, like she's wiping away a tear. “We work with children here. I can't leave. It's just...not safe.” A strand of hair falls from her bun as she lowers her head, looking at the floor with wide, wet eyes.

“I'm sorry,” she says, jutting her chin up so our eyes meet. “Thank you for coming to find me.” Her delicate mouth trembles. “Just tell them that you didn’t.”

 

 

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