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Authors: Braxton Cole


BOOK: Blown
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Braxton Cole


Copyright © 2013, Braxton Cole.


All Rights Reserved
. No part of this publication may be reproduced, transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including recording, print-outs, information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the author. eBooks are not transferable. They cannot be sold, shared or given away as it is an infringement on the copyright of this work.


This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.


This book, or parts thereof, may not be reproduced in any form without permission.


Editor: Andi Marquette (

Cover Design: Melody Simmons (

Chapter 1

I hated undercover. No, that wasn't true. I loved undercover, especially the moment when I could say, "You're busted, bitches." But this assignment was enough to make me hate undercover, busted bitches aside.


First, what kind of sadist invented four-inch spiky he
els? Swear to God, if I ever meet the guy who invented them, I'm totally shoving one of these shoes up his tight, fashion guru ass. That thought, however, didn't help me as I teetered around, trying for sexy vamp and landing somewhere around gimpy ex-hooker.


Worse than the shoes, though, was my mark, a slimy overweight
guy named Craig. His street name was Crimson because, as he explained, blood ran fast in the streets when he was unhappy. It was the kind of statement that made me want to smack him upside the head. But I'm guessing it was accurate, since nobody pointed out how much it made him sound like a douche.


"Come here, baby." Crimson smiled his nasty, greasy smile that he must have thought was sexy
, and crooked his finger at me.


And like a good little bitch, because that was my fucking cover, I went, praying the whole time that I didn't fall on my ass and die because a quarter of an inch of heel was not enough to hold a person up. He sat inside a street race-ready Subaru BRZ with the window down and the engine idling. His race had been called and he didn't have much time. I leaned into the window and smiled while channeling my inner cheap slut. It must have worked because he grabbed the back of my head, his fingers tangling and pulling my hair in a way that might have felt good if it was anyone else. He forced his tongue into my mouth and kept it there for way too long.


Situations like this made me grateful for my training. After about three seconds of his tongue sliding against mine like he was conquering an unknown continent, I was ready to punch him in the throat to get him to stop. That would have fucked up my cover. And my life.


We were in the middle of the desert
--Needles fucking California. Too far from L.A. for me to get any kind of back up. And the tiny .22 stuffed into my purse was completely inadequate for a full-scale firefight with what looked like every major crime syndicate in Southern California. Or at least the ones that like illegal street races.


Another far too many seconds later and Crimson finally released me. He did that pull back, then dive in for another kiss thing and I tried not to gag. Fuck, I used to really like that move. Now it just made me want to


say it again. I hate undercover.


When I could breathe again, I tried to smile. "Good luck."


"Don't need it. I'm too good." Crimson dropped his glasses into place and gunned the engine. The car lurched forward and I jumped back. Asshole almost ran over my ridiculous shoes. That would have sucked, since my feet already hurt too much for words.


Crimson slammed to a stop a few feet later and I looked up to see what was holding him back.


Mateo Vargas.




"Goddamn, Puta!" Mateo slammed his elbow into Crimson's hood and left an impressive dent. "Learn how to control your shit."


Crimson gunned the engine and Mateo stood
tall, his arms stretched wide, beckoning Crimson forward. "Bring it, motherfucker."


Move your ass, Vargas. They called my race."


Mateo moved, but not very quickly.
Though street races were pretty loosely structured, this event had a surprising number of rules. I wasn't sure what was at stake exactly, but it was big because everybody fell in line. One of the big rules was that if a racer prevented someone on another team from making it to the start line, he forfeited all his future races. Pretty steep penalty.


I watched Crimson drive away and wished that I'd thought to stuff a bottle of mouthwash in
to my tiny purse next to my gun. The closest thing I had was the cases of engine coolant in the corner. It wouldn't have been very subtle to scrub my tongue with that, but I wanted to. Before I could ask one of the guys for a wire brush, someone grabbed me by the wrist and dragged me out of Crimson's camp.


"What the fuck." I smacked
on the arm and he slowed down. Thank God. I was about to trip and fall and die because of these crazy shoes.


Gum," Mateo demanded from the buddy walking with him. When he got it, he removed the wrapper and stuffed the gum in my mouth. Sweet mint bliss. At least until the flavor wore off or Crimson kissed me again.


Mateo dragged me to a trailer and pulled me inside. The place was filled with people, members of his crew
, I guessed.


," he said.


Everyone but one guy left. He looked a lot like Mateo. Tall, beautiful olive skin, and dark eyes, the kind a girl looks into and gets lost
in for days. His hair was long and pulled into a ponytail at the back of his head, whereas Mateo kept his curls cut so close to his scalp there was hardly any hair at all. It used to be longer. Both guys had tightly coiled stances, their muscles hard and defined and ready to pop at any moment. Mateo wore a snug little wife-beater that made me want to lick his chest. His arms were covered in inked designs including an elaborate scene featuring a cross, a hawk, and a dragon, plus a hell of a lot more. I'd traced every line one night, first with my fingers, then with my tongue. The other guy was tattoo-free.


"What's going on?" Not Mateo asked.


"I just want some privacy." Mateo gestured toward me and wiggled his brows obscenely. I should have been offended, but wasn't. He and I had already gone down that road and it always ended with me smiling and exhausted. I was perfectly willing to do it again.


"Are you kidding me?"


Mateo sighed and relaxed his shoulders a little. "It's important, Luis."


I knew the name. Luis was Mateo's older brother and head of all thing
s Vargas and crime related. The official reports painted him as a crazy psychopath. The unofficial reports were worse. Still he smiled at his baby brother, patted him on the shoulder, and walked toward the door.


"Don't be long. We need to have a meeting
," he said.


Mateo smiled, tight and not very happy, and escorted Luis to the door. He locked it when it banged shut behind him
, then turned to me, all pretense of a smile gone.


"What are you doing here?"


I gave him a onceover. He was an interesting guy. A total thug according to law enforcement, but an absolute gentleman when we'd been together in the past. We'd dated a few times, nothing serious, just long enough for us to get naked and sweaty together. God, was he glorious in bed. Then I'd realized who he was and he'd realized I could arrest him and that was that. All things considered, I felt pretty damn lucky that he hadn't dropped me into the bottom of an open construction site. That tended to happen with Vargas family enemies.


A small smile worked its way onto
his face, then disappeared far too quickly. "Stop smiling at me and answer the question."


In fairness, I hadn't realized I was smiling.
He had this amazing golden God effect on women, and knew it. I'd felt it too many times to pretend it hadn't happened, and I'd seen way too many other women respond the same way. For some reason, despite his edict that spending time together was bad for my health, he still showed up at the same clubs that I liked to frequent.


"I'm working."


He stepped closer and my breath caught in my throat. He stopped too far away for me to touch, but close enough that I could feel the energy emanating from his body. That was part of his charm. He was wild, with his impulses barely controlled.


He chewed on the word like he couldn't quite believe I'd said it. "Roni, you think this is a joke? Crimson won’t let you live if he figures this out.”


"That's true of most undercover assignments." I shrugged like Crimson didn't scare the living shit out of me. He did. Between him and Luis, I was two seconds from pissing myself. I'm all badass and shit, but those guys are real life gangsters. I'd spent too much time looking at their jackets to not know what I was doing when I agreed to take this assignment.


He covered the last few feet separating us and cupped my cheek in his hand. "Then tell me what’s worth dying for?"


Technically speaking, I wasn't allowed to discuss the details with
him, regardless of how good he was in bed. Funny how little I cared about technicalities when the only thing standing between me and a nine millimeter bullet was Mateo deciding my cause was righteous. "Craig is moving massive amounts of meth and funneling the cash to a known terrorist organization," I said.


shook his head. "Not good enough."


"Mateo, this is important."


"So is living." He put hard emphasis on the last word, then grabbed my face in both his hands and pulled me into a rough, aggressive kiss. He pulled away just as quickly. While I was panting, trying to settle my breathing, he said, "You're too goddamn hot to end up in a fucking landfill."


Landfill. That was useful. There were several missing people that we were able to link to Craig, but
we’d been unable to locate the bodies. If a landfill was Craig's dumping ground of choice, that gave us a place to look. Still, with the movement of refuse in and around Los Angeles, we were facing a losing proposition.


I smiled for real. Why not? He'd kissed me after voicing his concerns, however inelegantly. I was damn well allowed to be happy about it.

BOOK: Blown
10.35Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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