DEAD DANGEROUS: Adie Sturm Mystery #6
DANGER… REVENGE…MURDER! Adie Sturm’s relaxing Cozumel vacation is a fail when a killer strikes. Adie is the prime suspect. She starts an intense investigation and uncovers seedy criminal goings-on and then another murder. Her martial arts skills are tested when thugs come after her and her friends. Adie fights back on this steamy Cozumel ride that could be her last. No one does it better than Adie Sturm when it comes to hot men and danger.
Dead Dangerous: Congratulations on your 5-star review!
Reviewed By Rabia Tanveer for Readers’ Favorite
Dead Dangerous is the sixth novel in the Adie Sturm Mystery series by Anastasia Amor. Adie was looking forward to some fun in the sun and some relaxation in beautiful Cozumel, but it seems like fate has other ideas. When Wolf sends a text telling her to be cautious, she knows her vacation is going to be spoiled. But things escalate and someone dies. However, the real cause for concern is her being a suspect in the murder. What was supposed to be fun-filled days in the sun turns out to be a search for the killer and clearing her name. With people after her, she needs to keep herself safe and make sure nothing happens to her friends as well. Can Adie protect everyone and still find out what happened in Cozumel?
I have a thing for strong, deadly, and sarcastic female leads and Adie Sturm is the incarnation of all of these qualities. The descriptions and imagery were incredibly rich. I could easily picture what was happening in my head and loved every second of it. There was action, suspense, a little bit of mystery, and a bucket full of sass. I loved Adie’s way of speaking; her dialogues were fun and very entertaining. Her whole character is wonderful. She breathed life into the story while also making sure the reader was in the moment with her at all times. The flow was breathtakingly fast yet it suited the overall feel of the story. I enjoyed how Carmelita was the voice of reason in the beginning and how instinctual Adie was. The tension between Adie and Wolf was also something that I looked forward to and I think author Anastasia Amor handled it incredibly well. Dead Dangerous is a stellar novel that I would highly recommend.
Chapter 1: Adie’s Storm
The text had warned him.
Your yacht is about to become fragmented. Can’t wait to see it explode in a million pieces.
He had to stop this.
Bombs had been his business—building, detonating, and dismantling. He had used them in the construction industry in Canada for years and now here in Cozumel. Wolf Du Lac had been deployed in Afghanistan on a special bomb unit. Now he was on a mission to search for the instrument that could destroy his personal monument to his lady—Adie’s Storm. The clock was ticking.
Dazzling bright sun sparkled silver on the crests of the waves. The Caribbean was a brilliant azure blue, the sky above, a soft cerulean blanketed with pillows of white. The sea waters lapped heavily on an elegant fifty-foot ivory yacht. It wasn’t just any rich man’s toy. It had my name in script next to the mermaid on the port side. Adie’s Storm.
My phone chimed. I pulled out my iPhone and read:
Don’t go on board! Keep them all off the gangway. Will explain later. W
My glance caught a figure. I stopped in my tracks so suddenly my friend behind me, racing to keep up, tottered dangerously on five-inch stilettos. She bumped into me nearly falling backwards. Clutching her arm, I righted her, asking, “You okay, Carmelita?”
“Dios mio, Adelina! What is wrong with you!” Carmelita hissed out the last few words as her breath returned in gasps. “First you run like a demented person to get here and then you stop as if you’ve seen a ghost.” She patted the skirt of her green silk dress in place. It matched her sparkling eyes exactly, intentionally. Carmelita, the designer knew what made her look outstanding and played it up whenever she could.
“Sorry, I was distracted by Wolf’s text. He said we need to stay away from the gangway and the yacht,” I muttered, my eyes mesmerized by the tall muscular man I saw standing on the bow in a black neoprene suit, mask and scuba gear. I paused, puzzled, “I don’t get it. He’s going for a dive?”
“Wolf knew we were coming. He warned me to keep everyone away. Said it was dangerous and he’d explain later.” My eyes shot over to the silver sheen of the Mercedes-Benz SUV parked at the dock. The windows were tinted, impossible to make out the interior but I would bet the seats were a soft black leather. It couldn’t be his. Wolf drove a Jeep. “Why is he going now?”
Carmelita glanced at her shiny Cartier watch—a pretty thing encrusted with diamonds almost as bright in the daylight as the sun’s rays striking the Caribbean.
“The Sea God is being overly dramatic. I’m sure it’s just another surprise he has planned for you. Logically speaking, we are forty-five minutes early, chica. He isn’t ready for us.” She smirked. “Most likely he thought we’d be late after shopping. Probably thought we’d stop for drinks and snacks but, we were good girls for a change.” She patted me on the arm, “And we found you a dress for your party. Not that your little wrap-around red print isn’t cute but surely for a soiree you would wear a special outfit for the formal announcement.”
“The aqua silk is beautiful but really you are mistaken to think—”
She clapped her hands in excitement. “I think this must be the place he wants to make you a proposal and my bet is, he has decorators there working their magic as we speak.”
I shrugged. “I told you, it hasn’t gone that far.”
She squeezed my hand. “I’m glad you two are moving slowly. You need to be sure. I know he’s a hot guy but don’t forget about the other fish nibbling on your line.”
Carmelita nudged me. “Adelina?”
Ignoring my friend, squinting at the boat, Wolf stood motionless for a few seconds before he shot backwards into the water in a perfect dive. He went under and then resurfaced again to clear his mask.
I debated shouting out to Wolf but I figured he wouldn’t be able to hear me from here. The gangway was in place awaiting our arrival. There was a bench on this side that would do if we had to wait. I would take Carmelita and wait. When there was another text clearing us, we’d board. Marg might not join us. Carmelita was Diego’s sister and even though Marg got along with Carmelita, she was not keen on her powerful brother, Diego, godfather of Cozumel, even though Wolf most likely did not invite him. I texted Marg.
Waiting at the bench on the dock. Wolf said not to approach the gangway under any circumstances. Adie
I was worried about what could be so dangerous. I turned to Carmelita to make sure she knew this was serious. “Wolf thinks something bad will happen.”
“Oh? Has he been to see a psychic? She laughed at her joke.
“This is serious, Carmelita. I don’t think he’d text me otherwise.”
Carmelita pursed her lips in annoyance. “All right, I believe you.” She swivelled her head. “So, what’s a girl with a thirst have to do to get a drink?” She grinned. “I should have brought my new houseboy. He is excellent at making drinks, among other things. Did I tell you I have a hot one? Very nice on the eyes.” Her tongue flicked over her lip reflectively. “My mouth feels as dry as a hot summer’s day at El Cedral.”
“Don’t worry. I’m sure it’s nothing that can’t be fixed.” I glanced around. “We could sit on that bench in the sun or head out to the beach club while we wait for a text telling me it’s okay. Something may be wrong with the boat.” I tapped my fingers nervously on the railing approaching the gangway.
Carmelita’s eyes shifted to the ocean. The breeze was gently lifting her long brown locks off her shoulders.
Salt was in the air. I could feel it coating my skin. The ocean showed no sign of any impending danger, its waters a brilliant blue. Even as the ocean was beautiful and the day was sunny, a knot in my stomach kept me wary. I had learned not to ignore my gut feelings. I surveyed the area at the waterfront worriedly.
Brushing a bang away from her forehead, Carmelita remarked, “You know, chica, I love the sea. I would adore living in your Sea God’s condo building. The view is terrific and the condos have more square footage than mine. I am so weary of my tired-looking place. There’s no ocean view or beach. I’m so jealous of you. Even Diego has a fabulous view at his villa.”
“They are lovely. Luxury condos with tennis courts and a pool.”
“I should buy one,” she mused. “Does he have any left?
“You have a few million to spare?”
Carmelita shot me a look.
“Of course, you do. Pocket change for a Bolivar Alvarez.”
“No need for you to be envious. You’d have all that if you decided to marry my brother.”
I sighed. “Wolf and I are trying to work things out.”
“How many times have I heard that before? Isn’t it better to move on if you have to keep trying to make it work, over and over again? Love should run smoothly, right?” Carmelita chuckled. “Not that I’m an expert but listen to me, chica. My brothers are both sinfully delicious, don’t you think?”
I nodded. “The way you talk they could be chocolate truffles or incredible éclairs, not men.”
Carmelita grinned. “All good-looking hombres are like chocolate. You’ve said it yourself often enough.”
She was right. The handsome Bolivar Alvarez men were hot commodities but Wolf wasn’t chicken liver either. “Come on, girl, let’s go sit on the bench and watch the sea.”
We were almost there when it happened. A yellow flash, a rumbling vibration and an ear shattering bang rocked the air. Fibreglass parts from the gangway went flying helter-skelter. I pushed Carmelita to the ground. She shrieked as the gravel tore into her skin. Carmelita collapsed in a heap with me halfway on top of her. My body shook with the secondary impact from the explosion and the missiles of debris.
In the parking lot a cell trilled. “So?” a silky female’s voice purred. “Is he in a million pieces?” Her laughter was like the tinkling of a hundred tiny bells.
“The second explosive was detonated. For some reason the first failed.”
“Hm-m, it’s good we had an alternative source. Now go ahead with the plan, mi amor.”
Foliage from the tropical plants, subtly lit, surrounded the tables in the garden portion of the restaurant. Fuchsia tablecloths covered black wrought-iron patio tables, spaced out on the gray ceramic tiles. Behind us a bright blue wall was decorated with wine bottles. A flowering bougainvillea tree blocked the rest of the expanse.
A level up, near the bar the chairs were intimately placed for couples while down below two or more chairs were situated at each table. We were on the upper level where soft music in the background romanced us.
Dusk was warm with a tender breeze ruffling my hair while it caressed my skin like a lover’s lips. In fact, that particular special man was sitting across from me. I’d know him most of my life but had lost touch until a few years ago when I’d taken my tour group to Cozumel. The chemistry had sparked like an active volcano. It had been there even as a teen but nothing had come of it because our parents had objected and then later it was anything but smooth sailing. This time, we were in control of our destiny. The chemistry had morphed into a strong soul connection. Was he my person? Did I know if it was love?
My ex fiancé met my gaze. Was there still magic? Who was I kidding? He was the spark-master—his secret power enticing unsuspecting women.
“Babe? You didn’t say. How about a Bahama Mama or a Mango thingy?”
I looked over at my ex. His hair was a bright halo of blond hair, falling over a high forehead, a Norman nose, full lips and a significant chin. His contrasting black T-shirt displayed broad shoulders and muscular arms. He was Superman fit, and as sexy as ever.
“Sounds good. Maybe the Mango. Healthier.” I grinned. “Should I look at the menu or do you have something picked out?”
“Are you in the mood for seafood? I heard they have ceviche. Let’s start with a guac and a spicy pico de gallo.”
I nodded absentmindedly, perusing the menu. The fish I could make at home and there were only a few I liked anyway. My choice was lobster or—I gave up. Wolf was here. It was impossible to focus on food.
Wolf said something more. The words coming out of his mouth came out as “blah blah blah”, I was so intent on gazing into those sparkling blue eyes. Mesmerising. They reminded me of a freshwater stream flashing silver in the summer’s sun on a hot still day. I was momentarily transported back to the French River where he had taken us in a motorboat to a quiet tiny inlet. It was just the two of us, quiet and still on a sweltering hot summer’s day. This is where our story began, where I’d first felt his magnetic power. I knew he felt it too that day. His skin has glistened from sweat and his smile teased. Wolf was a guy on the brink of manhood and I was a teenage virgin—could be we both were but we were far from innocent.
Right now, I could feel beads of perspiration on my brow and a moisture gathering in my armpits—something like I experienced before a karate sparring match. Nervous energy. I was transported to that weekend at his parent’s cabin that culminated in smoldering glances, plenty of those but no sex.
It ended abruptly when Agnes Du Lac snuffed out our excitement like the quick pinch of two fingers on a candle flame. She and my pop decided we were not an item and would never be. We were told to put a lid on it. My father was afraid Wolf would take my virginity while Wolf’s mom thought I would seduce her poor innocent son into an early marriage. In the end his mother decided I wasn’t religious enough for her family. Wolf wasn’t at all religious but that was only an excuse. Her husband Jack had made it big time and she wanted a rich wife for her sons. I had to wonder if I’d be a winner or loser when it came to love this time, if Agnes Du Lac had anything to say about it, I would fold before my hand was played.
Life was a circle within a circle when it came to Wolf Du Lac. He was a man of mystery. I had been his fiancée once before until that blew up in my face. Too many complications. Now, we were giving it another try but what was up could be down any second on this ride with the handsome Sea God. He had layers like an onion.
“Do you ever think of your time in Afghanistan?”
“I try not to.” His eyes stared into the distance. “Bad times. Too many people dead on both sides. It’s time to start living again.” Wolf stroked my hand. “Right. We need to move forward. The past can’t hurt us anymore.”
“Don’t let them.” Wolf’s clear blue eyes met mine. Can you do that?”
“I will try.” I stared at the menu.
“Think food. What would you like?”
I sighed, thinking of the past. “Yes.”
Wolf gave me a quizzical glance. “Yes, to the apps?”
I nodded solemnly. “Sure.”
He motioned to the waiter and ordered a mango cocktail for me and Dos Equis for himself. He still liked those best, I noticed. When the waiter asked about our food order he said, “We’ll have the guac and the pico de gallo.” He glanced over at me. You want the pollo de mole?”
I nodded. Mayan chocolate sauce coated the chicken. It had been my favorite from the moment I heard of it. The Mayans discovered chocolate, using it in entrees, desserts and strangely it was their currency when they first met the Spaniards.
Everything was better with chocolate. It releases endorphins in the brain, stimulating the pleasure principal. It blasted me away to a fantasy land especially if I was with a scintillating member of the opposite sex.
“And the fish of the day for me.” Wolf said to the waiter before gazing at me curiously. When
the waiter turned on his heel and trotted back in the direction of the kitchen, he grinned. “Chocolate anticipation is driving you wild or—?”
I shook my head. “No. I don’t know. Just a feeling I’m getting.”
“Tell me. Something’s up? Your eyes are a dark blue.”
“That’s the color they are.”
“The Adie Sturm happy eyes are turquoise like the Caribbean. I know you’re pissed off about something. Spit it out.”
I glanced at my ex. It was as if I was the fish on his line and he was slowly drawing me in. Sometimes, he could easily read my secret thoughts but this time he was off the mark. I didn’t know if that problem would ever go away. So many events had interfered with us.
“It’s nothing. Just a bad feeling I have. Call it a premonition of something unforeseen about to happen. Something negative.”
Wolf stared at me. “About what?”
I shrugged. “I don’t know. Nothing to worry about, I’m sure.”
“Good. I’m hungry. Tell me after dinner.” At that moment the waiter reappeared as Wolf glanced back at the menu.
His white-blond hair fell on his forehead. I was tempted to reach over and push it back with my fingertips. Handling his hair felt good. But that would be too much stimulation, for me, maybe not for him. My temperature rose alarmingly every time I touched his thick mane. Wolf reminded me of a lion, his nose strong and slightly crooked from a sports mishap but he had a perfect profile with a significant manly chin. I sighed happily. He was like rich milk chocolate—creamy and sinfully delicious.
“What’s up? Are you hormonal? Your moods are changing like the tide. One second your eyes are dark blue and the next they’re turquoise and you look like you’re high. Have you been eating chocolate from a private stash in your handbag?”
“Don’t be ridiculous?” I did have a private stash but it was in my suitcase.
Wolf looked back up, grinning. “Couldn’t resist. Nice view.”
“My shoes are awesome, right?” I was wearing strappy metallic sandals with three-inch heels.
“What? You don’t like them?”
“I think I need to give those stems a closer look.”
A tingle started in my brain and surged south, like a category four hurricane. It was steamy enough here at the table with the Cozumel humidity without Wolf’s energy. I fanned my face with the menu.
“Humidity, it’s hotter in June.” I said softly. My fine blond hair was safely tucked into a ponytail. Hopefully, I looked okay. I was my own worst enemy when it came to my looks.
“I like the red on you.”
“My dress? Thanks. It’s not too short?”
“Nope. You have great legs. Nothing wrong with showing them off.”
I was always a trifle self-conscious with all the judgy women eager to criticize my style and my looks. This bare-shoulder dress ran to just above the knees. Okay, I lied. It was several inches higher. Perfect for me though. I was vertically challenged and a short dress gave me long legs. There were too many women out there trying to hook up with the tall dudes and the guys got to pick and choose. Fortunately, most six footers liked petite women.
I liked to think of myself as small but mighty. Karate training with weapons had strengthened my body, although if the opponent was powerful, I ran. I wasn’t stupid enough to stay and fight. I was trained to use defence moves in that circumstance.
Wolf shook me out of my musings.
Wolf reached over to take my hand. “I know this relationship has been a challenge. We’ve had our conflicts. Tell me what you’re thinking.”
“I’m worried about your mother’s reaction.”
Wolf nodded. “She is a handful but I want us to live here. She’s in Canada, remember? I doubt she’s moving to Mexico just to mess with our lives, do you?”
I frowned. I wouldn’t put it past her to do just that.
“No worries, I told her it was hurricane season.”
I nodded. If a hurricane was scary, Agnes Du Lac was a lot worse. She had a temper Hurricane Wilma would be afraid of.
At that moment the server appeared, our drinks on a tray. My mango cocktail was a delightful orange concoction with plenty of ice in a large goblet.
Wolf waved away the offer of a glass for his beer. He raised his beer and I lifted my goblet.
“Forget those negative premonitions. Salud, to new beginnings,” Wolf said in his husky voice.
“Yes,” I clicked his bottle, “new beginnings.”
Wolf sipped his beer and then set it on the table.
“Your mother. Have you told her?”
He shrugged. “Nothing to tell, is there? You aren’t wearing my ring yet. Keep that in mind and don’t let her destroy this before we have a chance to fix it.”
“She doesn’t like me.” My mother had often told me stories about the formidable Agnes Du Lac, a contrary woman who managed to intimidate my mild passive mother. While my papa was freaking out about the possible loss of my virginity, my mother was afraid of Agnes. My pop got it in his head I should marry me a suitably wealthy man from Europe while Agnes Du Lac thought I wasn’t good enough for her precious Wolf. She wanted me out of the picture.
“Mom doesn’t like anyone I date, but let’s cut her a break. Dad has only been dead a year. I’m sure in her way she’s grieving. Not thinking straight.”
“I thought they never got along.”
“They didn’t. You know, Agnes. Like a bulldozer. Nobody stands in her way. My dad wanted to divorce her and leave but he felt guilty because we were teens, not ready to be married and settle down with kids and Agnes wanted him around for her social status.” Wolf looked wistfully at the darkening sky. “I wish he’d have stayed around to see us together. He liked you. As for Agnes, no one will ever be good enough. It’s better to disregard her opinions. You are hardly her problem. I’m her target. I disappointed her as a teen, always doing whatever I wanted—the motorcycle accident left me in the hospital for months, then I quit school. She was ashamed. Don’t worry about Agnes getting in our way. I won’t let her do that. She has to accept my decisions. Besides, she has Heinz to worry about. He and Linda have problems.”
“They’re like fire and water. Always fighting.”
I smiled. “We’re both fire elements—Aries and Sagittarius. We should get along great.”
“And we do. Fire flaming fire.”
In my mind I saw skin against skin and heat from our kisses. I felt that familiar tingle at my core.
Wolf smiled surreptitiously. “A woman like you can do that to a guy.”
I batted my lashes. “You charmer.”
Wolf grinned. “I am a man of many talents.”
True enough. He sparked my energy into a raging fire. “Seriously, what have you been up to?”
When the waiter set the apps on the table, I dipped my corn chip into the guacamole and took a bite while I watched him.
“Built the condominium and now I’m selling the units off to recoup my investment.”
“How’s that going?”
“Good, on the whole,” Wolf said somewhat hesitantly.
Wolf dug into the pico de gallo bowl and scooped up the bright tomato salsa flicked with coriander.
“Is there something I should know?”
Wolf’s expression remained inscrutable.
“Condos are selling?”
“Yeah, looks like it. Heinz is running the show. I’ve got a job I’m working on—renovating a building. It was better for Heinz to focus on managing the condo sales. I let him invest in the project.”
“That’s great. But you’re frowning,” I said, noticing the downward turn of the corners of his mouth. “Something happened?”
“He moved here with his wife, Linda, thinking they would be in nirvana. Linda was seriously religious, remember? No more of that. Linda’s gone hippy. Taken on the island life and dumped him.”
“Really? Agnes’ perfect daughter-in-law?”
“Yup. I think she’s stoned every day. She hasn’t seen the inside of a church since she got here.”
“And what about you and Heinz? Is everything good between you two?” I asked because the brothers had their share of conflicts. They worked together, however their personalities didn’t mesh. I was surprised Wolf had invited Heinz to join him.
“We’ve had our differences. I’d prefer to work alone but he was at loose ends. I gave him a job to manage the condos.”
That explains that. I thought about Heinz and Wolf. Physically, both brothers were tall but Heinz took after Agnes Du Lac—stocky on the edge of heavy, country boy next door looks, was how I remembered him. Unlike his mom, he had a pleasant disposition. He was always helpful and kind. In fact, back in our teens, when my family was visiting their cottage on the river, he had me wakeboarding in no time.
Wolf was not nearly as outgoing as Heinz. Sometimes, he didn’t want to tell me anything. I was lucky if I could pry any information out of him. He was more enigmatic than a secret agent on a mission in the Middle East. It was aggravating not to know everything going on but that’s the price you pay for having an enigmatic man in your life.
“Tell me about the condo project.”
“There are more partners. You don’t know most of them.” His frowned.
I swept my hand dismissively. “How about you tell me anyway.” I had this feeling these people were the source of the furrowed forehead.
The waiter had our entrees on his tray. “Pardon me,” he said placing the orders on the table in front of us.
I checked the pinned-on name tag. “Gracias, Estefan.”
The browned chicken was smothered in a chocolate sauce. Ever since I first came to Cozumel it was my favorite dish.
“I’m sure I will.” I caught Wolf’s eye. A furrow creased his brow. “Tell me about the investors in this condo.”
“Leon Ruis del Socorro, has Texas oil money, Ed Marion, from Florida, a wealthy high-profile criminal lawyer, gets off anyone guilty or innocent, and then there’s business owner Orlando Keene, owns a string of bars, from Cancun originally. We also have a woman, Perla Bravo Gonzales, owns art galleries dealing exclusively in Mayan, South American and Mexican art. Expensive work. She’s a beautiful woman and a successful one.” Wolf paused reflectively. “Single too.”
Men! Never happy. I gripped his bicep hard. He was not a bodybuilder. His muscular lean body was from construction work from his early teens helping his dad before he started his own company. He had been a hard worker and earned that body.
When he struck out on his own, his dad had given him substantial start-up money but he conceived the ideas for new projects and pulled them off successfully. At the beginning he had worked with Heinz, but their personalities clashed and the partnership dissolved.
I attempted to pinch his bicep, almost impossible to apply pressure between my thumb and forefinger.
“Get your fingers off me, woman,” he said, brushing my probing fingers away impatiently. “You’re like an annoying crab.”
“Don’t get any ideas. She would never make you happy, cowboy.”
Wolf’s eyes twinkled mischievously. “And you know that why?”
“Has she got the crazy gene?”
Wolf grinned. “No, she’s a serious business woman type. Sits on the city council. I guess you’re right. I should forget about her. She would be so boring.”
“Good. Anyone else involved in the condo building?”
He laughed dryly. “This wouldn’t be Cozumel if your buddy, Alvarez didn’t have a piece of the pie.”
“Diego? He’s involved in your condo deal? My bet is he’s put in a huge amount so he’d have a say.”
Wolf nodded. “He did, but so did the other investors.”
“So, you figure this way he can’t run a solo show.”
Wolf looked away at the patrons dining. A few couples besides us. They weren’t talking. Married too long when there’s nothing left to say. I hoped Wolf would never be like that with me.
“There’s something else, isn’t there? What aren’t you telling me? Has Diego pulled a fast one already?” It was a well-known fact that Santiago Francisco Bolivar Alvarez, known as Diego to his friends, was also the island’s godfather. His family had a powerful position controlling the city and the police. Whatever he wanted he got. Everyone succumbed to his bribes or threats sooner or later.
“Not yet. At least, not that I know of.”
“What aren’t you saying?”
“There is another investor. She’s made a killing in real estate and wanted part of this circus.”
“You sound disappointed by the condo deal.”
“I am a bit.”
“And this woman? Do I know her?”
“You do. It’s Daniella.”
My jaw dropped.
“Daniella had the money and was willing to buy up a parcel of condos. She brought her friend in on it.”
I brushed a tendril of away from my cheek, trying desperately to wrap my head around this one. I didn’t exactly hate Daniella Consuela Puntez de Fuego but I wouldn’t trust her as far as I could throw her. Daniella was an insidious man-eater—python like, capable of capturing and poisoning them with her acidic saliva. She swallowed them whole, but in her case, rats were not her game. She liked rich spicy men. Was she making a play for Wolf, again?
“What’s wrong with you? You know she’s only out for number one.”
Wolf laughed. “Don’t like her much, do you?”
“Who’s her friend? Diego?”
“Nope. Not this time.”
“Who then? What’s this sucker’s name?”
“The Texas billionaire, Leon Ruis del Socorro. Seems nice enough.”
“What’s in it for him?”
Wolf shrugged. “He’s having a good time?”
“I feel sorry for him.”
“Not really my problem,” he stared pointedly at me, “or yours.”
“No worries. I won’t get involved with Daniella and her affairs.”
“He could be just a friend.”
“Sure, and the ocean is yellow.”
“It can be at sunset.” Wolf grinned. “Let’s forget about Daniella and do as the waiter said. Enjoy dinner.”
I did as he suggested. Food was one of my favorite things, surpassed only by one other activity. Forking up a piece of chicken, I allowed myself to get swept away in the heavenly flavors. The Mayans had discovered chocolate and had used it in a variety of entrees. I was a big fan of chocolate mole. I savored the spicy sauce on my tongue, allowing the chemicals to hijack my brain—pleasure endorphins danced wildly out of control. I stared at Wolf. He was so in control—so chill.
He handed me a key card. “This is for you.”
I tilted my head up. “Explain.”
“It’s a master key. I’ve given you the condo adjacent to mine, 302. It also opens the door to any condo in the building including mine, 301. Beyond that one is Heinz’s new place since he moved out of the cottage with Linda.” He winked. “Make that one your home when you feel like it.” I wasn’t sure if you wanted to move into my man cave right away. I think you need space to get your head together. You need to be sure. Besides, my place will need redecorating for you to feel at home, but this way, we can work things out faster with you staying next door. Of course, when you are ready you can move in to my place anytime or,” he smiled, “just visit.”
“But all my stuff is still in the condo near the Museo—the one Diego gave me.” Seeing his frown, I continued rapidly, “I haven’t used it. I gave the key back to Diego and he gave it to Carmelita.”
“No worries, your things have been moved into your new condo.”
“You remember my housekeeper? She arranged it with Maria, Alvarez’s housekeeper.”
“Awesome! They did all that? You must thank them for me.” The clothes were designed by Carmelita Bolivar Alvarez, Diego’s sister. She had her own design house in Cozumel. Every article was uniquely fashioned as well as being well-made with fine materials. All of the outfits fit me like a glove and made me feel fabulous. “Is that all right with Diego? He let me take the wardrobe?”
“He doesn’t care. Alvarez likes you in expensive clothes so other men will admire you. He likes to show you off like a trophy. He thinks we will break up again and then he will snap you up.”
“Sounds like I’m a fish.”
“You are. A tasty angelfish. Now, Alvarez has shark DNA.”
“Diego is really sweet. I know you don’t get along but try, for my sake.”
“Sure, if he keeps that ring he has locked in his safe and never takes it out for you again. You are my fiancé not his.”
“I told him I wasn’t ready to think about marriage or moving on with him.”
“Alvarez isn’t a good listener. He hears what he wants to hear. You know that.”
I nodded. “True.”
Wolf frowned. “As long as the godfather plays nice and leaves you alone, we’ll get along great.”
“I’ll make it happen. Diego and I are friends and we’re staying friends.”
“Friend-zoning Alvarez is good. He’s not part of the plan.”
“You have a plan?”
Wolf laughed. “For most things, no, but for you, yes.”
“I’d like to hear it.” I stared at him inquisitively. “I think it has to be something fun, like strawberries, chocolate—”
Wolf smiled mysteriously.
A cell phone pinged.
“Sorry,” I said. “I didn’t know it was on.”
“It’s mine. I’ll make it short.” Wolf reached into his black jeans. “Hey,” he said, into the cell. “What’s up?”
The person on the other end did all the speaking. Half a minute later, Wolf pushed the icon to close the call.
Wolf stroked his chin thoughtfully. “No, not exactly, but I have some business that needs my attention right now.”
“So, no dessert?” I sighed with disappointment.
Wolf’s eyes danced. “There’s always dessert waiting for you, babe.”
Wolf Du Lac had a way of kissing that set my mouth on fire. If that wasn’t enough, I could count on his lips to explore the secret places of my body. “I’ll take a taxi. You can text me when your business is done if it’s not too late.”
His blue eyes looked regretful. “Thanks, princess. Sorry about this.”
“No, I get it,” I said, placing my fork on the table. “Work first. I’m the one on vacation this time. No tour group to distract me. You don’t need to entertain me. We’ll do this another time.”
I stood. Wolf threw down some bills and got on his feet.
“Loved dinner,” I said softly, hugging him close, “and being with you.”
“Missed you, babe.” He pulled me close and drew me into a steamy kiss, promising more as he moved his mouth between my lips. When I kissed him back, I felt like I was floating on a cloud of light. I had a sudden flashback, his arms around me, caressing every curve of my body. Our contact was sizzling. I knew he felt it too, when he kissed me once again. Reluctantly, I withdrew from his embrace and the longing in his eyes, yet by the time I ventured out the gate and paused to wave goodbye, his eyes had taken on a distant look. My hunch was correct. There was something else he wasn’t telling me.