“Do you want the job or not?” She looked scared yet determined – an interesting combination he hadn’t seen in a long time in one woman.
Her effect on him made him want to shake her until her teeth rattled.
He gave her his best glare. “Have you ever heard of bargaining, lady? You know, you offer the low end, I respond with the high end and then we haggle from there.”
She waved a hand dismissively in front of her. “I don’t have time for that. Do you want the fifty thousand - or do I go find Mr. Bartley?”
He crossed his arms over his chest and looked her over once more. She was serious, all right. “Do you know anything about Bartley? Did whoever provided our names give you any of our histories?”
“I know all I need to know about any of you. You’re all accomplished trackers and lead people on expeditions. You’re the sort of men who’ll do anything for money.” She was putting on a good front but he could tell she knew she was in over her beautiful head.
Good. He’d help cement that knowledge.
“Bartley is here because most other countries in the civilized world want to lock him away until he rots. He’s a killer. He’d lead you into the heart of nowhere, rape you, slit your throat and whistle while he makes his way to the nearest town to spend your money on whores and cheap booze.”
She looked a bit paler.
“I imagine the next on your list is Andrews, who is actually almost as competent as his reputation, but a coward at heart. He won’t risk his own skin for yours or anyone else’s.”
The woman lifted her hand up to brush a strand of chestnut hair away from her cheek, and he saw it tremble.
“Then you’ll just have to do it,” she had the audacity to declare. “I need someone who will see the trip through and make sure we get back out.”
“That ain’t me, lady.” What, did she see ‘sucker’ written on his forehead? She wanted to go to a place where they shot first and asked you what you wanted as they buried you.
He looked her over. She was one dangerous package – a gorgeous woman recklessly looking for excitement.
He fisted his hands on his hips. “I don’t like your kind, lady. I really don’t like my ex-country much either. And I’m not about to risk my neck for some bored, spoiled Americano who wants a new thrill. Got that?”
“Please,” she said and he could see how much it pained her to beg. “I know it sounds trite, really I do, but this is a matter of life and death. I only have a week to get there to rescue Billy.”
Why him? Why did people always think he was going to help them? He had his own problems and his own skin to watch out for. He didn’t need to be a hero. He didn’t want to be anybody’s goddamn hero. He’d played that role and lost.
“Forget about it. Go to the Brazilian police. I’ve got better things to do.” He turned his back on her and started back toward the street.
“They won’t help me! Sixty-thousand? I have to go!”
Hicks swallowed hard but kept walking.
No way. Not even the fact that that kind of money could buy him a nice little spread close to the sea.
“Please, Mr. Hicks.” He heard the desperate tone in her shaky voice. “Seventy-five. I’ll give you seventy-five. Please.”
It was like a knife through his heart, refusing that much money – and the panic in her voice. “I can’t help you, lady. Try the police again.”
He told himself he hadn’t heard her muffled sob.
Lori began writing as a young girl - crafting poems, songs, short stories, and even the junior high school gossip column. She continued to write, although sporadically, while working to create a home for her family and raising her son.
After years of studying the craft of writing, Lori is thrilled to now be embarking on her publishing career. Lori gives workshops, has been a founder as well as a presiding member of several chapters of a non-profit national writing organization, has organized book festivals and conferences. She loves to help other writers in any way she can.
Lori, nearly a native, lives in the Pacific Northwest with the Captain and her dog muses.
A Contemporary Romantic Suspense
Now Available In Print & Ebook
THE TRUTH ABOUT BILLY
American Evelyn Parker has only twenty days left on her Brazilian visa to save her beloved Billy, kidnapped by reputedly ruthless drug lords. Brazilian authorities and the U.S. Embassy have told her to simply pay the ransom but Evelyn will only hand over the money once Billy is safely back in her arms. She hires reluctant ex-Marine Hicks to help her make the arduous trip into the Amazon Basin. And Hicks makes no bones that he not only doesn’t trust her, he doesn’t even like her.
So what will he do once he learns the truth about Billy?