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Authors: K. Victoria Chase

Tags: #The Santiago Brothers - Book Two

Alejandro

BOOK: Alejandro
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Alejandro

 

by

K. Victoria Chase

 

 

 

Published by K. Victoria Chase

www.kvictoriachase.com

 

 

This is a work of fiction. Names, places, characters, and events are fictitious. Any similarities to actual events and persons, living or dead, are purely coincidental. Trademarks, service marks, product names, or named features are assumed to be the property of their respective owners, and are used only for reference. There is no implied endorsement if any of these terms are used. The reproduction of this book in whole or part, electronically or mechanically, without the express written consent of the author constitutes a copyright violation.

 

 

ALEJANDRO

Copyright © 2013 K. VICTORIA CHASE

ISBN 978-0-9890651-0-8

Cover Art Designed by For the Muse Designs

Edited by Dawn Kizner and Faith Williams

 

 

I can’t believe this is actually happening. My first self-published work! A special thank you to my family for believing in me and instilling in me the will to accomplish my dreams. And thank you to my fans for your continued support. Enjoy!

 

 

Additional Titles by the Author

 

The Santiago Brothers

Rafael

 

Virginia Justice

Serial Games

Marked by the Mob

 

Untitled Series

From Across the Divide

 

 

Chapter One

 

 

THERE always has to be a complication.

Alejandro Santiago frowned as he spotted the gold sedan in front of Lana’s house. He didn’t recognize the vehicle as belonging to any of Miguel’s men. With any luck, they hadn’t searched the place before now. He checked his rearview mirror. No sign of surveillance. The street lamps barely lit the darkened neighborhood, and with only a sliver of moon, the night afforded him much-needed cover. He reached behind him and removed the Sig Sauer from his back holster, and pulling the slide back slightly, he checked for a round in the chamber before replacing the weapon. His US Marshal badge lay concealed behind the waist of his jeans.

Behind the front window, the faint glow of a lamp and the shadow of a small figure told him someone else had access to the house. Lana didn’t inform him of that fact the last time they met. He considered the situation. Whatever Lana hid from Miguel was important enough to get her killed. Did she tell anyone else about it?
I can’t return to headquarters without checking the house first.
He’d just have to deal with whoever was in there.

Ale breathed out slowly to calm the quick pace of his heart. He wanted out. Undercover gigs usually lasted only a few months, but he’d been under for almost two years. If he didn’t find something to break this case… if he didn’t get out soon, he feared more than just losing his life — he feared losing himself. Ale exited the car, shutting the door as softly as the heavy metal of his 1969 Buick Wildcat would allow.

The sounds of crickets and other night insects he couldn’t readily identify greeted him as he scanned the quiet residential street for movement. Although a few house lights illuminated their porches, the neighborhood remained still, its residents retired for the evening.

Ale jogged to the house belonging to the mistress of Miguel Trujillo and avoided the porch, opting instead to enter through the back door. Rounding the corner, he ducked just before his head hit the wind chime. A small glass replica of a toad held fast to his station near the farthest corner of the screen door on the cement slab that served as the porch. Ale squatted and lifted the heavy ornament, feeling beneath it for the key taped to the bottom.
So far, so good
.

Lana trusted him. Several days before her disappearance, she came to him, wild with fright. Miguel wanted her back. She refused him, telling Alejandro things were different now; she was different. Ale recognized her need for protection — and she’d do anything for it. He introduced her to his boss, and she became an informant for the US Marshals. The knowledge she had on Miguel’s narcotics operation would help bring down the mid-level drug lord and secure her freedom forever. She loathed returning to her former life, but believed he’d keep her safe and in a few short days, as he promised, it’d all be over.

In a few short hours, she’d disappeared.

Ale snatched the key from the tape and set the frog back in its place.
Focus or Lana’s death will be in vain.
His gut told him Miguel didn’t discover Lana’s secret either, or he’d have moved his operation down to Laredo last month as originally planned. Instead, he and a few members of his trusted inner circle, including Ale, remained in San Antonio.

Ale carefully pulled back the screen door, grateful it didn’t squeak along its track. Slipping the key into the lock, he turned it, and then paused after hearing the soft click of the bolt, listening for any movement from inside the house. The closed blinds that hung inside over the door blocked his vision, but no footsteps sounded in his direction. Ale expelled a quick breath, opened the door, and slipped inside.

 

****

 

Audrey Hughes groaned as she eyed the mess in the living room. Her sister Penny didn’t know the first thing about organization. Audrey put a hand on her forehead as she scanned the various stacks of bills, school notices, and college textbooks littering not only the table, but also the couch and the loveseat. “Penny, why didn’t you just leave the folder in the lockbox?” she asked out loud before grabbing an arm full of books from the couch and placing them on the floor near the table.

Audrey expected her sister to surprise her at the airport in San Antonio, but she didn’t show. Fighting tears of frustration, Audrey hailed a cab and gave him the address to her sister’s place. Penny hadn’t contacted her in years; both had said their last good-byes in anger, each too stubborn to yield to the other’s demands. Audrey, older by two years, obtained legal guardianship of her sister after their parents died in a car accident when they were both teenagers. After high school graduation, Penny floundered, bouncing from job to job with no plans to attend college or start a career. When she began socializing with vagrants and dealers — and using drugs — Audrey gave her an ultimatum: get clean and go to college or move out.

Penny chose the latter.

Audrey did her best to keep the lines of communication open, but after a couple of years, Penny refused to let her know where she lived and later changed her cell phone number. Audrey nearly fainted when the cab pulled in front of the charming one-story stucco in a secluded cul-de-sac. Her prayers for Penny had been answered, and she regretted the years of silence between them.

I’ve got to find that folder.
Audrey glanced at her watch. It was close to ten p.m. She’d spent all day traveling and had wanted to stop by Mrs. MacGruber’s house before now, but that visit would have to wait until tomorrow. Dropping onto the empty sofa cushion, she reached for the closest stack of papers and leafed through a bunch of bills, stopping on the envelope marked by a mortgage company.
Penny owns this house.
Not just a renter but a
homeowner
. Pride for her baby sister surged through Audrey.

Audrey reached for her large leather hobo bag for the letter she’d received from Penny. After retrieving the paper, she scanned the few lines penned by her sister, but didn’t read anything about needing money. Audrey placed the mortgage envelope in her purse, along with Penny’s letter. She’d pay this month’s mortgage as a peace offering. Resuming her search for the manila envelope, she spotted the name “Angel” written in black permanent marker on one of countless folders on the table. Audrey picked it up, her fingers trembling.
Why are you shaking? You don’t have anything to—

A sound from the kitchen caused her breath to catch.
Lord, please let that sound be the house settling or something…

A light step nearly gave her a heart attack. She reached for her purse and then stopped, remembering she’d left her cell phone on the mantel above the fireplace. She stood slowly in an effort to make as little noise as possible. Hoping the intruder would raid the bedrooms first, Audrey came around the table and dashed to the fireplace. She snatched her phone and her eyes rested on the poker. A thought sparked and she eased the poker from the stand.

Unable to describe the feeling that came over her the moment she gripped the poker, Audrey placed the cell phone back on the mantel, her fingers tightening on the weapon. Wetting her lips, she let out a low, slow breath to calm her racing heart as adrenaline pumped through her. Never one to back down from a fight, she quietly edged toward the kitchen.

She stopped at the corner of the wall near the kitchen and the hall leading down to what she assumed were the bedrooms. The kitchen’s back door and the bay window encircling the sitting area were hidden from her view.

Don’t be stupid!

Audrey ignored her inner common sense. She’d had a long day; her sister was nowhere to be found, and the last thing she needed was some petty thief breaking into her baby sister’s lovely house. Her sense of smell noted the faint fragrance of spice and musk in the air. She stilled. The intruder smelled good, but his aftershave wouldn’t save him. Audrey stepped into the hallway near the wall closest to the kitchen. She brought the poker back and swung it around the corner. Out of her mouth came a yelp as she felt herself being pulled into the kitchen. Holding fast to the poker, she pushed it forward, hoping to impale her attacker. Instead, he ripped the poker from her hand and tossed it aside.

Bad idea, Audrey, bad idea!
She dashed in the direction of the living room.
Get to your cell!
Powerful arms came around her waist and lifted her off the ground, halting her progress. His hand over her mouth muffled the sound of her scream. She twisted and turned until her elbow caught flesh and the man groaned at the impact. His arms loosened enough for her to turn around and land a solid knee to his groin. He cursed and landed on his own knees. She swung her right foot back, his head in her target area.

“Whoa, whoa, US Marshal.” He held up his hands for her to stop.

She halted, her breath rapid. Realizing her foot still hung in the air, she brought it down and stepped back. The man grunted as he eased himself off the floor. Audrey sucked in a breath when he stood to his full height. A soft wave of light from the living room behind them flowed over the massively dark figure, which towered over her by almost a foot. Audrey fought a smile, knowing she brought this brute to his knees.

“You know, I might have wanted kids in the future.” He shook a leg to emphasize his point.

“Oh, well, isn’t that just too bad.”

He smirked.

“Who are you?”

“US Marshal,” he said a bit more slowly and with annoyance.

She crossed her arms over her chest. “I haven’t seen a badge.” He reached a hand into his jeans. Audrey sharply turned her head away, one hand covering her eyes, the other held out for him to stop. “Hey, I don’t want to see you adjust—”

“My badge?”

Swallowing a nervous chuckle — why did she think he was going to…? Oh, never mind — she gradually rotated her line of sight until she saw the badge resting in the palm of his hand, a silver star gleaming in the soft light. A wicked curve of a grin shaped one-half of his face. Her cheeks burned. He tucked the badge back into his jeans, the clip resting on the outside of his pants.

His smile disappeared. “Now, who are
you
?”

“I’m Audrey Hughes. I… I have a key to this place.” She motioned toward the living room, where her purse sat on the floor. “I didn’t break in and start snooping around in the dark.”

“I didn’t break in either. I also have a key.” He held up a small piece of metal and wiggled it casually.

“Oh.” Audrey blinked her surprise. “And, um, you’re entering through the back of the house?” He shrugged as if it were something he did every day. “Who gave
you
a key?”

“Lana.”

“Lana? Who’s Lana?”
Penny didn’t mention any other names in her letter other than Angel and Mrs. MacGruber.

The man crossed his arms over his thick chest, eyeing her beneath hooded lashes. “Don’t you know? You’re standing in her house.”

Audrey’s mouth dropped. “I’m standing in my sister
Penny’s
house.”

“Penny?” His head jerked back. He scanned the room before walking to the kitchen sink. Grabbing a framed picture from the window seal above it, he looked at it for a few seconds and then turned the image toward her. “This woman here? This is Penny?”

BOOK: Alejandro
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ads

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