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Exquisite Trouble

By:Ann Mayburn

Chapter 1

Miguel ‘Smoke’ Santos

From my vantage point in the empty shithole house I’d bought on the outskirts of Houston, I watched the most beautiful woman in the world get into her reliable old car with a flash of her mile long legs that made my cock twitch. Fuck, everything about that fine piece of ass made my cock twitch, but the fantasy of her legs wrapped around my head while I make her scream my name was one of my favorites. As she started her car up, I idly wondered once again if the hair on her little pussy matched the blonde on her head, or if she shaved her sweet cunt bald.

It was just after five o’clock, and the street was getting busy with all the blue-collar workers coming home from a hard day on the job. The woman whose life I was in charge of protecting pulled out of her driveway and I smiled at the sight of her moving in her seat to the music. I focused my binoculars on her full, naturally pink lips, but she was driving down the street before I could get a good look and figure out what song made her happy like that. As soon as her car was out of my sight, I picked up my phone and called Vance, my right-hand man and the vice president of the security company I own. He’s also a brother—not a brother by blood, but a brother by choice. We go back, way back, to Marine basic training; even though he can be a real asshole, I trust him.

He answered right away. “I’ve got her.”

“Any sign of trouble?”

Vance sighed, and I wanted to reach through the phone and punch him. “No. In the fifteen seconds she’s been out of your sight there’s been no sign of trouble.”

“Fuck you.”

Vance’s laughter filled the large room I was in, and I stood up to stretch my back and groaned. The only pieces of furniture in the whole house were an air mattress, two lamps, the chair, and a small breakfast table with a computer. That’s it. But it was all we needed. This wasn’t a home; this was a stakeout house.

“Anything happens to her and it’s your ass I’m coming for.”

“Sensitive.” Mirth still filled Vance’s voice. “You gonna go sniff her panties before work? Bet her pussy smells like baby powder and tastes like sugar.”

That pissed me off. “Don’t you ever fucking talk about her like that. Got me, brother?”

“Easy, Smoke. I got you.” He was silent for a moment and a horn beeped in the background. “You talk to Beach yet?”

“Yeah.”

“And?”

“He wants me to bring Swan in.”

“Are you going to?”

In yet another sign that I’d totally lost my mind over this bitch, I bit out, “I’m not going to disrupt her life just because of some fucked up shit her mom did.”

“This isn’t just about her mom, Smoke. If it was just about that old bitch I’d say fuck it, but if we don’t find Sarah soon, Beach is going to lose his fucking mind. And we all know bad shit happens when Beach loses it. Think about how many people would like to get back at Beach by fucking up or killing his old lady ... or her identical twin sister. If anyone, anyone at all, touches Swan ... there’s gonna be hell to pay.”

I rubbed the space between my eyes, then paced to the back door and opened it to a blast of hot Texas summer air. Even having lived in Austin for the past nine years I was still momentarily stunned by the humidity that seemed to blanket Houston. I took a deep breath before I shut the door behind me and crossed the short distance between my house and Swan’s little hovel. Okay, so maybe her home wasn’t that bad, but I had a deep and abiding need to get her the fuck out of there, take her away from that working class ghetto, and give her the kind of life she deserved. I wanted to spoil her, to love her, and I wished with all my fucking rotten heart that this shitty situation she was currently and unknowingly in was different.

“Look,”—I glanced out the window to make sure no unexpected guests had shown up at Swan’s—“I gotta go. I’ll be at the titty bar in a couple hours.”

“Roger that,” Vance said, and we hung up as I fit my key into the back door of the house where the most innocent woman in the world lived.

As soon as I was inside, I shoved my phone into my pocket with one hand and disabled her security system with the other. While I approved of the ornate wrought iron bars covering all of her windows and doors, I didn’t like her security system. It was cheap and easy to hack into, but I understood that it was all that she could afford. As soon as the beeping stopped, I took a deep breath of the air that smelled like her delicate scent and began my daily stalking routine. Even on my days off I came and visited her home to check for any contact from her relatives. It wasn’t that I didn’t trust the men and women who worked for me to check her home in a professional manner, but I didn’t want anyone breathing Swan’s scent but me.

A quick glance around showed the usual cheap-ass plywood furniture mixed with second-hand items that she used to decorate her place. She made decent money as a server, but most of it went toward paying for school. I knew that little fact because I hacked into her computer and looked through her bills and bank account. It pissed me off that she lived like this because her dad was loaded, but for whatever reason, she didn’t want anything to do with his money. Maybe she knew it wasn’t legally earned. I had found ripped up checks for tens of thousands of dollars from him. Just thinking about Swan’s dad pissed me off, and I shoved him from my mind. Motherfucker was one of the biggest arms dealers in the country, and from what I’d learned from Sarah, he was a complete psycho who loved his daughters more than anything in the world, but was just as ruthless with them in his own way.

Then again, some might consider me a bit fucked in the head, because I spent every day trying to learn as much about Swan as I could by going through her home while she was at work or out running errands.

A year ago if you’d told me that I’d be going through the house of some bi

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