“Since when does Race have a sister?”
“Since I got locked up.”
“They don’t look anything alike. You sure she isn’t one of Novak’s? He’s got everybody looking for your boy. Word is he needs him breathing and is willing to pay major cheddar for him.”
I shrugged a shoulder and rubbed a hand over my shaved head. “She look like she could be rolling with Benny and the boys?” It was asked sarcastically.
He laughed drily. “No, but then again you don’t look like the scourge of the Point either, just like some punk kid.”
I was glad my rep still held water when I needed it to. “It’s the eyes. They both have eyes the color of pine. She seems straight, but if she’s not . . . I’ll handle it.”
He nodded because sentimental I was not. She was already in my way, and if she proved to be anything other than what she claimed, I would make her regret it in ways that would be legendary in a place where bad stuff was the day-to-day norm.
I was going to slide in the booth next to her, where she was watching me with those dark green eyes locked on me in a ferocious glare. Her pretty mouth pursed into an ugly frown when bare arms wrapped around my neck from the back and lips that smelled like cherry candy landed behind my ear. I couldn’t tell because of my hoodie, but I was pretty sure a fine-ass pair of man-made br**sts were pressing into my back.
“Long time no see, handsome. I didn’t know you were out.”
Her voice was husky, manufactured that way to make horny men think it was a brilliant idea to give her all their hard-earned money, even if it meant their kids and wives went without.
I turned around and brushed a brief kiss on her heavily made-up lips. It was like kissing a candle, and I tried to give her a hug that was as modest as it could be while I was fully dressed and all she had on was heels and a G-string.
“Just got out. Looking for Race. You see him since he blew back into town?” She looked over my shoulder to where Dovie was practically bouncing up and down in the gaudy booth.
“Who’s the Pollyanna?”
I glanced at her over my shoulder and Dovie went still. Her pale hands flattened on the tabletop and she just stared at me.
“No one. Honor, you and Race had a thing before I went down. I need to find him. I think he’s in trouble.”
The stripper opened her mouth but not before Dovie snorted and interrupted with a matter-of-fact, “My brother was not banging a stripper.”
Well, shit. Honor’s fake lashes fluttered and lowered and I could feel her anger rolling off of all that exposed skin. You didn’t walk into a dancer’s gig and insult her. That was just a house rule in the District.
“Oh, honey, he wasn’t just banging a stripper . . . he was banging a whole fleet of them. Sometimes more than one at a time. When Bax says we had a thing, that just means Race liked me best. Seems to me you would know that if you’re gonna be running around calling him your brother.” She hooked a thumb at Dovie’s scowling face and narrowed her eyes at me. “Really? You get locked up for a minute and you bring this piece around? You forget the way it works out here, Bax?”
I sighed and gave my head a little shake of resignation. “I didn’t forget anything. I just need to know what Race is into.”
She pouted for a minute more and kept up her glare contest with Dovie. Neither was going to win since it was like an apple glaring at an orange, so I waited until the dancer looked back up at me. She switched tactics and broke out in a gigantic fake grin. She batted those plastic eyelashes at me and ran her long nails over the zipper of my hoodie. I lifted a black eyebrow and caught her wrist in my fingers.
“Why don’t you ditch the deadweight and come back after my shift? We can chat, and you know . . . get reacquainted.”
“I’m running on limited time and even more limited patience, Honor. You don’t want either to run out.”
She made a face and flipped her long, reddish-brown hair over her shoulder so I could see the pointed tips of each naked breast where they were rubbing against me.
“All I know is everyone, and I mean everyone, is looking for him. He stopped in when he very first got back to town looking for Ernie. I asked him if he wanted to take a trip down memory lane and he wasn’t interested. He was quiet for a while, we all knew he was back and living in the Point, and then overnight he was rattling Novak’s cage and then he was a ghost. I like Race, we all like Race.” That was said pointedly to Dovie and I heard her suck in a sharp breath. “If I knew anything else, I would let you know, Bax. You know I wouldn’t leave you hanging.”
I considered her for a minute, trying to determine how much was truth and how much was just what she thought I wanted to hear.
“What did he want to talk to Ernie about?”
She shrugged a naked shoulder and ran her hand up and down my arm. Any prolonged contact with a female who was missing her clothes was bound to have an effect on my starved sex drive, but for some reason, I found the twitch in my pants annoying and ill-timed rather than exciting and blood heating.
“I dunno. He didn’t say. He did ask if I saw some guy hanging around, though.”
I went stiff and grabbed her by her upper arms. She gave a little shriek as I pulled her up to the very tips of her cheap heels.
“What guy?” This was important. I could feel it. I was a good thief, a successful criminal, because my instincts very rarely failed me, and whoever Race was asking after was key to his disappearance. I just knew it.
It wasn’t Honor’s overly sexed-up voice that made me realize not only was I squeezing her hard enough to leave marks, but I was also shaking her like a rag doll; it was Dovie’s much quieter, much more modulated one. I set the dancer down and took a step back.
“What guy, Honor?”
She was scowling at me and starting to walk away, her gunmetal-gray eyes flashing sparks at me.
“You’re still an ass**le, Bax. I don’t know how I managed to forget it. It must be because you’ve got that whole dark and dangerous thing going on. I forgot that the dangerous part isn’t any fun. Some rich guy. He was asking about some really rich guy, that’s all I know. If you come back, leave Pollyanna at home, and try to remember I don’t like it rough.”
She flounced away with as much attitude as anyone in ridiculous heels and not much else could muster, and I turned to look down at Dovie. A storm was brewing under her pale skin. I could see it in the hot flush high on her cheeks and the way her green eyes darkened to almost black.