Shadow of Temptation (Asylums for Magical Threats 2.50) - Page 26

Focus, Salazar. He needed to live if he wanted to undress Sabrina and explore every inch of her body. For the first time, he had something to live for past rescuing his sister.

With his new goal in mind, he finally whispered, “Still no sign of him. Are you absolutely positive that Neena was telling the truth?”

She glanced at him and nodded. She was about to whisper something back when he heard some rustling. It was faint, but since it was a windless night, it meant he needed to investigate the sound. He looked through his binoculars and noticed a shadow that was too big to be a cat or dog. After lowering his binoculars, he put a finger to his lips and signaled that he would check out the noise while Sabrina stayed here to cover him.

She nodded in understanding and he slowly made his way down the street. He was careful to keep himself hidden behind the cars, until he could cross the street out of the sight line of the shadowy figure. Since it was nearly midnight, the streets were empty in this part of the city. He crossed without being seen and crept between the trees and the school wall. As he drew closer, the shadow he assumed was a person was loud enough in its movements that a person walking on the street could hear it. That told him that the shadow he’d spotted wasn’t Watkins.

Still, he wasn’t taking any chances. It wasn’t beneath Watkins to use a teenage troublemaker as a decoy to draw them out.

He was soon close enough that he could make out some of the woman’s features in the faint glow of the streetlights—short, curly hair and dark skin. If he were to hazard a guess, it was Luciana Ribeiro, the Collector’s Locator.

To protect her, Luciana had always been kept away from the front lines in past operations. Something about her presence here was off.

He kept his gun in his hand and rushed her. When he reached her, he placed his free hand over her mouth and pressed the muzzle of his gun into her side. He whispered, “I’m going to remove my hand and ask you some questions. If you make a sound above a whisper, I’ll shoot you, Luciana. Understand?”

Since Luciana wasn’t trained for combat like Jorge, she nodded as he had predicted she would. He continued. “You’re a Locator and shouldn’t be here. Tell me why you are.”

He kept his finger just outside the trigger and removed his hand. Thankfully, she didn’t scream but instead whispered, “I want to know how you got out.”

That wasn’t the answer he’d been expecting. “Is this a stalling tactic?” He gave a quick look around. “I don’t see anyone, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t there.” He pressed his gun harder into her side. “Now, stop with the games and tell me the truth.”

“But I am telling the truth. They used to keep my husband as ‘encouragement’ to keep me cooperative, but he disappeared. I’m not supposed to know, but I do. I want out so I can find him again before they do.”

“If that’s true, and your husband disappeared, he’s probably dead.”

She shook her head. “No, I refuse to give up. I know he’s alive. He has a valuable set of skills.”

“A latent ability?”

“No, but just as valuable.”

Her tone was final, and he could tell she wasn’t going to elaborate. Since he didn’t have time to waste on such nonessential information, he decided to push on. “Let’s pretend all of this is true. That still doesn’t explain why you’re here, alone, when you’re supposed to be tracking me.”

She looked at him over her shoulder. “They gave me thirty minutes to walk and clear my head of the others’ influences. You know how my abilities work—sometimes having another person too close will affect my ability to track. And before you ask, I found something you dropped back at the place you torched. That gives you two choices—help me and I can put the others off long enough for you to get Watkins, which I know where he is, by the way. Or, I can make noise and draw the others here, and you’ll have to shoot me.”

Judging by the defiant look in Luciana’s eyes, she meant it.

Fuck. He didn’t have a whole lot of choice in the matter. He could knock her unconscious, but then the others with her would come searching when she didn’t check in.

He had zero right promising anything, but he was going to try. It was the best chance he and Sabrina had. “How I got out is complicated, but all I can do is try to help you. After you give me the info about Watkins, I need you to go back and pretend to find me. If all of this goes off without a hitch, and you don’t betray me, I’ll find a way to contact you and get you out.”

“And I’m supposed to believe you, why?”

“Listen, I don’t have time to argue. I’m the best chance you have for getting free of the Collector, so take it or leave it.”

She stared at him and finally said, “Give me a piece of your shirt as collateral, and I’ll agree. That way if you don’t contact me within the next twenty-two hours, I’ll have two hours to locate you, find you, and turn you in to the Collector’s people.”

Chapter Twelve

Sabrina had agreed to trust Jorge, but as they finished surveying the old shop across the street, she still felt uneasy about his deal with the Locator woman. Sabrina had known nothing about the Collector last week, but from what little she did know now, she was starting to put together a profile of both the woman and the people who worked for her. It wouldn’t be out of line to assume Luciana was playing Jorge to protect her husband.

She shifted her position on the roof of an abandoned building and turned toward Jorge. “The windows are dark, and I don’t see any movement. Are you sure about this? We only have one shot; Watkins won’t let himself fall vulnerable again.”

“I think Neena told us to go to the school so that we’d find Luciana, probably so she could try and get yet another person to help her organization by trading favors.” He glanced at her. “Given the nature of your work, I gather you’ve spent years profiling people. Do you agree this fits what you know of Neena?”

At least Jorge was referring to her past and identity in a positive light. “It’s possible, but the woman isn’t exactly predictable.”

“Do you have any other ideas?”

Tags: Jessie Donovan Asylums for Magical Threats Paranormal
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