Riding the edge, p.21
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       Riding the Edge, p.21
 

         Part #4 of Wild Riders series by Jaci Burton
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Page 20

  Author: Jaci Burton

  Bo was not happy to find Rick here.

  Which was okay, because now that Bo was here, Rick’s plan was working out perfectly.

  ELEVEN

  Ava looked from Rick to Bo, watching the tense exchange between the two men. Bo wasn’t happy to see Rick. She wondered why.

  “Bo. ”

  “Rick. Weren’t you supposed to be somewhere else, doing something else?”

  Rick didn’t seem at all concerned. “Already got it done. So I thought I’d pop down here and see Ava. ”

  “Yeah?” Bo set Lacey on her feet and moved toward Rick. “Why?”

  “I don’t think that’s any of your business. ”

  Uh oh. The tension grew thicker.

  “I’m making it my business. ”

  Ava stood and moved next to Bo. “We had a fight. He came down here to make up with me. ” She tilted her head back and shined a brilliant smile up at him. “And, oh, did we ever make up. ”

  Rick slanted a grin down at her. “Yeah, we did. ”

  “Can I see you on the balcony for a second?”

  Rick nodded at Bo. Ava grabbed his hand.

  “It’ll be fine. ”

  At least Rick hoped it would be fine. It was finesse time. Bo slid the door closed so Ava and Lacey couldn’t hear what was being said.

  “What the fuck are you doing here?”

  “What are you doing here?” Rick figured turning the tables on Bo would give him some time to think.

  “Following you. Did you make the drop?”

  “On my way down here. Money’s in my bag. ”

  “This is messed up. ”

  Rick leaned against the wall and let a smile slip out. “Why? I don’t see what the problem is. ”

  “You don’t?”

  “No. ”

  “You know what’s happening here, right?”

  “Yeah. ”

  “Then tell me again why you’re here. ”

  “To see Ava. I didn’t like what happened between us in Vegas. ”

  “So she means more to you than you told me earlier. ”

  Rick turned away, hoping Bo would think he was embarrassed about revealing his emotions. “I guess she does. I didn’t know that until she was gone. I missed her. Maybe I care about her more than I let on to you that day. I don’t know. Anyway, after I made the drop I decided to head on down and talk things over with her. ”

  Bo didn’t say anything, just paced the balcony. Rick turned to face him again.

  “Bo, this isn’t going to change anything. I have my bike, Lacey and Ava have their car. I’m not traveling with them. The operation will still go as planned. ”

  Bo dragged his fingers through his hair. “I guess you’re right. ” He lifted his gaze to Rick’s. “Next time let me know what you’re doing so I don’t think you’re up to something. ”

  Rick clapped Bo on the back. “The only thing I’ve got going on is getting back in the good graces of that woman in there. ”

  Bo looked inside the room. “Can’t say I blame you. She’s prime. ”

  “That’s what I thought. Nice piece of pussy like that doesn’t come around all that often. I figured she was worth the trip. ”

  “Just stay away from the other part of the business that’s going on down here. ”

  “That’s not why I’m here. ”

  He just intended to stop it from happening. Or at least prevent it from happening the way Bo had it planned.

  Because despite his cousin being family, Bo was a scum-sucking bastard for setting up his girlfriend this way. The man had no honor. And once you lacked honor, there was nothing left. Rick felt no loyalty to his cousin anymore.

  Bo was going down. Which meant Rick was going to be his shadow until they left Mexico.

  Fortunately, Rick was very good at that. It was his job.

  “So, now what?” Rick asked, trying to act nonchalant.

  Bo visibly relaxed. He threw his arm around Rick’s shoulder and reached for the door. “Since we’re both in Mexico with our ladies and it’s not time to leave yet . . . we might as well party. ”

  Bo knew how to put a party together in a hurry. After they’d gone back inside the room, Bo had grabbed Lacey and said he was going to get a suite, then invite some people in for a small get-together that night.

  Apparently Rick’s idea of a small get-together was different than Bo’s. By nine that night there were over fifty people in Bo’s suite, an ostentatious, oversized, top-of-the-hotel apartment that must have cost Bo a small fortune.

  The drug business must be lucrative for his cousin.

  And keeping Ava in the dark about everything was getting more difficult. One look at this suite and she arched a brow, wrinkled her nose, and turned to Rick.

  “What does your cousin do for a living again?”

  Rick shrugged. “No idea. I think he’s in sales. That’s why he travels so much. ”

  She cast him a dubious look. “Uh huh. I think you know more than you’re telling me. ”

  “No, I just don’t make it my business to pry into what my cousin does for a living. He’s got his life and I’ve got mine. I’d like to leave it that way for now. ”

  She sighed. “You’re right. I’m sorry. ”

  Ava wasn’t stupid—one of the things he admired so much about her. She wasn’t buying the sales angle at all. He couldn’t blame her. Anyone with half a brain knew this whole setup smelled like someone in the drug business.

  He turned her to face him. “You look beautiful. ”

  She cocked a brow. “And you’re trying to distract me. ”

  Partly, yes. But she did look amazing in a red dress with tiny straps over her shoulders. And the top kind of swooped down with this extra material that covered her breasts. Every time she bent over, he thought her breasts would spill out. They didn’t, but the cleavage was tempting. The dress hit her right at the knee, and every time she moved, so did the bottom of the dress.

  Swish, swish, swish.

  She had great legs.

  Hell, she had great everything. She’d make a stellar agent, because she was damned distracting, which made it hard for him to do his job.

  This was going to require his best juggling—and undercover act—ever.

  She’d pulled her hair up tonight, giving him access to her throat. He pressed his lips against her neck, inhaled her sweet scent. Damn, she smelled good. No perfume, just soap and her shampoo and the sweet scent of her skin. He kissed her, letting his tongue slip out to lick across the softness of her skin, ending up at her ear.

  “I like distracting you,” he whispered.

  He heard the catch of her breath. She clutched his arms. “When you do that, it makes my nipples hard. ”

  He smiled. “Good, because it makes my dick hard. ” He pulled her close, and she tilted her head back.

  Whether in jeans and a T-shirt, or dressed up like a socialite, Ava was a beautiful woman.

  Why the hell she wanted anything to do with him he didn’t understand. He was one lucky guy. And even though this was temporary, he intended to enjoy every second of it.

  “You want a drink?”

  “Sure. ”

  They made their way to the bar. Rick ordered a beer for himself and a glass of wine for Ava.

  “I don’t see Lacey,” she said, her gaze searching the room.

  Rick spotted Bo off in a corner talking to a few guys. “There’s Bo. Maybe he knows. Come on. ” He took Ava’s hand and headed in that direction. His motive, of course, was to ease in and see if he could overhear something of what was being said. It might be nothing at all. Then again, it might be important.

  Bo had his back turned to them, so when Rick moved close, he was surprised to discover them talking in Spanish.

  Fortunately, Rick knew enough Spanish to understand what was being said. Something about
taking care of things later tonight, when the party was in full swing. And Bo was counting on being able to slip away. Now that Rick was here, he’d be able to see firsthand how things were done.

  Perfect.

  But Ava was frowning and he’d bet she’d understood every word, too. Not good.

  Rick nudged Bo with his elbow. “Hey. ”

  Bo smiled and made room for Ava. “Evenin’. Don’t you look pretty. ”

  Ava gave Bo a return smile that didn’t quite reach her eyes. “Thank you. Where’s Lacey?”

  Bo rolled his eyes. “Still in the bedroom getting dolled up. That woman takes forever to get ready for a party. Why don’t you go see if you can hurry her up? All the way at the end of the hall. ”

  “I’ll do that. Thanks. ”

  Ava turned to slip away, but Rick grasped her wrist and planted a short kiss on her lips.

  Her lips lifted, her cheeks darkening a dusky pink.

  Sometime tonight he was going to find time to make love to her. While she was wearing that sexy red dress.

  “You look sad and pathetic whenever she leaves a room. You got it bad, man,” Bo said with a laugh. “Be careful, or we’ll be planning a Hellraiser wedding. ”

  If only his cousin knew what was really going to happen. A wedding would be the least of his worries. Rick managed a wry smile. “She’s sweet. Like nobody I’ve ever met before. ”

  “Give her a few months with our gang. We’ll squeeze the sweetness right out of her. ”

  When hell froze over. Hopefully this assignment would be finished by the time they crossed the border. Then Ava could resume her life in Las Vegas—go back to school—back to the safety of academia, where she belonged. Not out here on the fringes of drugs and destruction.

  Look at what it had done to Lacey. He wouldn’t allow the same thing to happen to Ava.

  Ava walked out with Lacey, and the truth was right there.

  Lacey, though only with the Hellraisers for a year, had the look of a jaded biker chick about her. It started with the way she dressed—tight dress cut up to there—hell she probably figured everyone had seen it all anyway. If she so much as bent over even a little, the mystery would be gone. And the look in Lacey’s eyes as she scanned the room said she’d been there and had done just about everything. Lacey’s lips lifted as if she’d just entered heaven. Innocence lost.

  With Ava, the innocence was still there in the way she took in the party atmosphere with a wide-eyed look. Rick took a glance around the room and tried to see it through Ava’s eyes—the free-flowing alcohol, the drugs moving about the room un-hidden, the way people kissed and fondled as if they didn’t care who saw—and this wasn’t even a Hellraisers party. But it was the lifestyle, and one Ava wasn’t yet accustomed to.

  If he had his way, Rick was going to get her away from this as soon as possible.

  You sound like her father now.

  Maybe her father was right. Maybe he understood why Senator Vargas wanted her out of a lifestyle Rick had always found acceptable.

  For Ava, it wasn’t acceptable.

  She smiled when she saw him. Lacey made a beeline for Bo and Ava came his way.

  Dammit, he liked that she only had eyes for him, liked seeing her walk, that skirt swishing around her fabulous legs. The look in her eyes was a punch to his gut—dark, smoldering, barely banked sensuality that with one kiss, one touch, he could stoke into an inferno.

  When she reached him, he pulled her into his arms. Despite his better judgment, he was unable to resist her.

  “When you smile at me like that . . . ”

  She let the end of her sentence trail off.

  “Yeah?”

  “It makes me think all kinds of dirty thoughts. ”

  He shook his head. “You? A proper young lady with a master’s degree?”

  She tilted her head back and laughed. “A proper young lady with a master’s degree who really likes having sex with you. ”

  “Consumed by it, are you?”
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