Sweet Temptation

Page 5

Girl. Hell. Angelina was no girl now. He only wished he didn’t have firsthand knowledge of that fact.

He frowned. David and Hannah had taken an almost parental view of Angelina. Well, maybe not parental as much as they both viewed her as a younger sibling. How had he seen her? It had appalled him that he was seeing David’s sister. Naked. Touching her. Kissing her. But he’d never looked at her as his sister.

Beautiful young girl. Yes. Too young for him. At the time. Sixteen to his twenty-eight. But now she was twenty-three and the age difference didn’t seem as vast.

“Jesus Christ, are you actually trying to rationalize this?”

Now he was talking to himself. Just great.

First things first. He had to put aside the dissection of what had happened. He needed to forget it had happened and focus on the important details. Like where she was and if she needed help.

His door opened, and he turned to see Nathan Tucker stick his head in.

“Hey man, Pop is here and is ready to start the morning meeting. You in?”

Nathan looked curiously at him, and Micah didn’t blame him. Usually Micah was the first one to saunter into Faith’s office, offer a kiss, snag some coffee and preferably the first donut.

He gave a short nod. “I’m coming.”

Nathan retreated but left the door open. Thinking he might as well get it over with, Micah followed him down to Faith’s office.

He didn’t miss the curious stares thrown his way as he walked in and took a position against the wall beside Faith’s desk.

“Morning,” Faith said with a smile.

He softened, despite his dour mood, and returned her smile. “Morning, baby doll.”

Though her gaze was inquisitive, she didn’t say anything. He shot her a look of gratitude.

“Well if we’re all here now, can we get this show on the road?” Pop’s grizzled voice rose in the otherwise quiet room, and he stared pointedly at Micah as he spoke.

Micah listened halfheartedly to the division of jobs and duties. He was too busy thinking about Angelina and how the fuck he was going to find her. How stupid of him was it to just let her go without knowing a thing about her circumstances?

He almost raised his fingers and snapped them as it occurred to him that Damon might know. Of course. She had to have undergone a rigorous screening before she was given membership to The House.

“Don’t let us keep you,” Pop said dryly.

Micah blinked and snapped his attention back to the older man. Connor, Gray and Nathan were all staring at him with open curiosity. Fairh’s look was more sympathetic, while Pop’s eyes were full of amusement.

“Late night, son?” Pop asked.

Micah grunted. “No. Yes. Sorta.”

“Well hell, make up your mind. Preferably on the way to the job.” Pop thrust an invoice toward Micah. “You’re on your own today and it looks like that’s probably a good thing. Don’t look much like decent company if you ask me.”

Micah bit back the obscenities he wanted to blister the world with and took the paper. With a glance in Fairh’s direction and a quick wave, he started after the others.

In the hallway, Nathan hung back until Micah caught up with him.

“Hey, man, everything okay with you?”

“Yeah. Fine.”

Nathan shrugged, and the two exited the office building into the parking lot.

“Want me to ride along with you?” Nathan offered. “I’ve finished up my job, so I’m pretty free this morning.”

Micah paused at his truck. “I appreciate the offer, but as Pop said, I’m not decent company.”

He glanced down at the invoice. Simple installation. Shouldn’t take but two hours tops, and Nathan would still have time to spend the rest of the day with his girl Julie if he wanted.

“Hey, would you do me a favor and take this job? There’s something I need to do.”

Nathan’s eyebrow went up in surprise. “Uh, well, okay. I can do that.”

“Thanks. I wouldn’t ask, but it’s important.”

Nathan took the piece of paper Micah extended toward him and hesitated. “Everything okay with you?”

“Yeah. Fine. Just something I have to take care of.”

Nathan nodded, folded the sheet and headed toward his truck.

Micah climbed into his own truck and pulled out his cell. It was nice to have friends. Good friends who’d do anything for you and not ask questions. He’d had that kind of friendship with David, and he’d been lucky enough to find it again with the guys he worked with at Malone and Sons.

As he drove out of the parking lot, he hit Damon’s private number on speed dial.

“Where are you?” he asked bluntly when Damon answered.

“I’m heading to my downtown office,” Damon replied. “Is something wrong?”

“I’ll meet you there in half an hour,” Micah said and closed his phone.

He navigated the midmorning traffic and parked outside the downtown high-rise twenty-five minutes later. On the elevator ride to the top floor, he tapped his foot impatiently. Of course Damon would have the best of everything. Best offices, best view, expensive-ass furnishings. And he’d probably be waiting with some refined, high-brow alcohol.

Micah ignored Damon’s secretary and headed into Damon’s office. He gave one polite knock but didn’t wait for a response.

Damon didn’t bother to rise, though just as Micah had predicted, there was a glass filled with amber stuff waiting on the edge of the polished desk. Micah sat but didn’t reach for the drink.

Damon surveyed him calmly and waited. Micah wasn’t used to this uncertainty, to second-guessing his decisions. To the absolute knowledge that he’d royally fucked up.

“Christ,” Micah muttered. “I fucked up, Damon.”

Still, Damon waited, only responding with the lift of one eyebrow.

“I need any info you have on Angelina.”

“I think you know I can’t do that.”

“Let me rephrase. I don’t need personal information. I need to know where I can find her. It’s important. I don’t like the idea of her being in Houston alone, staying God knows where. I let her walk out of my apartment last night, and now I don’t know where to find her. I don’t know if she’s okay, if she needs anything.”

“She seemed well this morning when I saw her,” Damon said.

Micah surged forward. “Where did you see her?”

“She came to see me at The House early.”

“What the hell was she seeing you about?”

Damon just stared back, his expression unreadable.

Micah cursed again. “Okay, so you won’t tell me that. At least tell me where I can find her. Damn it, Damon, I’m worried about her. I just need to make sure she’s taken care of. I owe David that much.”

“Interesting that you feel you owe David but not Angelina herself.”

“Don’t fucking play psychologist with me, man. Pisses me off.”

“Only because I make a valid point,” Damon said in an amused tone.

“Look, she’s David’s little sister. Hannah mothered her.”

“And you?” Damon asked.

“She was David’s sister,” he said as if that explained all things. And didn’t it?

Damon chuckled. “In other words you never saw her, and now suddenly you do.”

“No, the hell I don’t see her,” he answered fiercely.

It was a stone-cold lie, and they both knew it. Micah closed his eyes and shook his head.

“How did she know, Damon? How the hell did she know that I’d respond to her bound and naked, begging for the kiss of the whip?”

“I’d say she knows a lot more about you than you do about her.”

“No shit,” he muttered. “Tell me where I can find her, Damon. You sure as hell wouldn’t let me get away with not telling you something where Serena is concerned.”

Damon scowled, and Micah knew he’d scored a hit.

“Hell,” Damon bit out.

“Tell me,” Micah persisted.

Damon sighed and opened his laptop. “I can only give you whatever she put on her application. Don’t ask for anything else. I won’t give it.”

Micah shrugged. As long as he found her, she could damn well tell him the rest.

After a few moments of clicking, Damon raised his head. “She’s staying at the Starlight Motel. No address given.”

“Never heard of it,” Micah said with a frown as he rose. “Thanks, though. I’ll call 411 to get the address on my way out.”

“Hey, Micah,” Damon said when Micah was almost to the door.

Micah paused and turned around.

“Take it easy. Don’t go in with both barrels blazing, okay?”

Micah gave a dry chuckle. “Yeah, I’ll try.”


Just when he thought he couldn’t get any more pissed off, Micah pulled into the parking lot of the Starlight Motel and stared in disgust at the run-down four-story building. He’d thought the directions were bogus when he entered the seedy, dangerous-looking area. Or at least he’d hoped they were.

He slammed the truck door shut and stalked toward the motel office, noting more than one broken pane on the windows of the rooms. What the hell did she think she was doing staying in a place like this?

The clerk at the desk gave him a bored look when Micah entered.

“Angelina Moyano,” Micah said tersely. “Which room?”

The clerk didn’t so much as blink or attempt to move from his slouched position in his chair.

“Don’t have anyone here by that name.”

“How the hell would you know?” Micah demanded. “You haven’t even looked.”

The clerk raised a paper cup and spit a stream of tobacco into it. “Hotel ain’t full. I’d know if someone by that name was booked in here.”

Micah held his temper in check. Barely. “Curvy Hispanic girl. Long, dark hair. Very pretty. Brown eyes. About this tall.” He held out a hand and indicated a height that came to his shoulder.

“Room 417.”

Micah couldn’t decide whether to be glad the punk had offered up the information so readily, or to reach across the counter, yank him up by his shirt and beat the living hell out of him.

But since Angelina wasn’t spending another minute in this dump, he wouldn’t worry about the potential danger she faced.

Not surprisingly, there was an out-of-service sign on the elevator. Muttering under his breath, he climbed four flights of stairs. Finally at Angelina’s door, he paused and stared at the flimsy frame. A good stiff wind would blow it down.

He knocked and waited, shoving his hands into his jeans pockets. Several long seconds passed. He couldn’t fault her for not answering; in fact, if she’d blindly answered the door, he’d have tanned her little ass.

He stepped forward and knocked again. “Angelina, open the door,” he called.

He relaxed when he heard the dead bolt flip. The door creaked open, and he was met with a pair of dark eyes peering out of the two-inch crack.


“Yeah, Angel, it’s me.”

Relief flashed in her eyes as she opened the door wider. “What are you doing here? How did you know where to find me?”

He shoved in past her, taking in the tiny room. “Don’t act so surprised. You had to know I’d find you after your disappearing act last night.”

She closed the door and turned around to face him. “By all means, come on in.”

Against his better judgment, he let his gaze drop down her body. Damn it all to hell, when had she developed such a killer body? He shook his head and focused somewhere else. Anywhere but on her.

“What the hell are you doing here?” he demanded. “This place isn’t fit for rats, for God’s sake.”

She shrugged, a tiny, delicate motion that drew attention to the slim column of her neck. “It was what I could afford.”

“Pack your things. We’re getting out of here.”

When she didn’t move to comply with his order, he went to the bed where her suitcase was opened and things were lying in neat little piles to the side. He tossed everything in the suitcase then looked around to see if there was anything else he’d missed.

Angelina was watching him through narrowed lids, her arms crossed over her chest.

“Not that I don’t love having the busywork done for me, but would you mind telling me what the hell you’re doing?”

“I’d think it was obvious. Getting you the hell out of here.”

She dropped her arms and took a step toward him, which had him hastily backing up. God, he was acting like a first-rate pussy, but if she touched him, he couldn’t be responsible for what happened.

His skin tingled in sharp awareness, and hunger, raw and volatile, rose inside his gut. For a moment he saw her as she was the previous night. Naked, her skin glowing, her hair sliding like silk over her back.

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