Dominic didn’t know why that fascinated him so much. It wasn’t as if he expected to appeal to all women, but for the most part, they pretty much fell at his feet. Most offering any variety of promises—everything from sex to bearing his children to general worship. So this cloaked indifference was an interesting change.
“I serve with Banks,” he told her, figuring that said it all.
“Serve? Like, what? Drinks?” she asked, leaning against the wall and batting her eyelashes.
First an errand boy and now a waiter? She was either lousy at reading people, or she was hot on giving him a bad time.
His research said that their grandfather had been a Navy commander, that she’d grown up in Annapolis’s backyard and that her brother had been well on his way to graduating the Naval Academy with honors when she’d run away. So he figured she was all about the bad time.
“Look...” She paused, arching one slender brow in question.
“Castillo,” he filled in.
“Look, Castillo. I don’t know what you want with this Banks guy, or what info you think you can get from me about him.” As if sensing that he’d been about to interrupt, she held up her palm and shook her head. “Whatever it is, I’m not interested.”
“I’m not here to get info, sweetheart. I’m here to protect you.”
Damn. Dominic grimaced. What was with his mouth? He shouldn’t have said that. He was just here to keep an eye out, not to scare the poor woman. Then he thought of the message he’d gotten while waiting outside her building.
Bad Ass says bad juju. Ugly on the move.
It didn’t take much to decode that Brody was warning that things were going bad in Guatemala, they hadn’t gotten Banks out and Valdero’s men were likely to grab Banks’s sister as leverage.
So maybe she should be a little scared. If that made her cautious, it was worth the info breach.
For one second, he thought he’d gotten through—her brow creased, her eyes clouded and her lips pursed.
Then she laughed in his face.
“Protect me? From what? Big burly guys accosting me in the dark hall of my apartment building? News flash, Castillo, you’re the only trouble I’ve got in my life right now.”
Her words were light, her tone amused. But Dominic knew how to read beneath the surface. He could tell that she’d had plenty of trouble before him and had probably handled it just fine.
Still, handling a drunk or a jerk of a boyfriend was aeons away from facing down drug-running goons who specialized in body decoration via knives and fishhooks.
Before he could tell her that in some form or another, he heard a noise in the hall.
Lightning fast, he grabbed her around the waist, lifting her off the floor. At her quick inhalation, he slipped his hand over her mouth to keep her quiet. He scanned the area. Four closed doors on the right, three on the left and a janitor’s closet at the end. He strode toward it, the kicking, squirming bundle in his arms not slowing him down at all. He regularly carried a backpack that weighed almost as much as she did. Although, granted, it didn’t try to bite him.
He reached the closet, glad it was unlocked. Jimmying the lock would have required taking at least one hand off the woman. Instead, he shoved her into the small, cramped, dark space and pulled the door closed, but not all the way. He peered through the crack, watching as two thugs rounded the corner.
Damn, talk about timing. Not for the first time in his life, Dominic gave thanks for whatever guardian angel was watching out for him.
He glanced down at the thrashing handful of woman trying to bite his fingers. Her breasts pressed tight against his chest, a minor turn-on even through both of their jackets. Damn, she was the perfect height. Pulled close to his body, her face was level with his, so he had a good view of the fury coating it. Her eyes spit fire and promised a nasty enough retribution that he tightened his hold on the wrists he’d snugged into the small of her back.
Power down, he warned his glands. Hot and horny was fine in the proper place and time. A closet with gun-toting goons outside looking for torture targets was neither.
As much to keep them safe as to get her out of temptation distance from his lips, Dominic leaned down to press his mouth against her ear.
“I’ll take my hand off your mouth if you promise to stay quiet,” he warned in a whisper. “Fair warning, you break the promise and someone is gonna end up hurt bad. Before you decide, take a look through that crack and check out your door.”
Her glare didn’t dim, but she did stop thrashing and trying to bite him. Suspicion joining the fury in her eyes, she stared for another second before shifting her gaze to the crack of dim light floating between the wall and the edge of the door.