Shit. That should’ve worked. Between the twirling ice rings and the restraints, she started to wonder if there was something more to this man than his charm and muscles. His elemental magic was like nothing she’d ever seen.
Marco jumped up and faced her with a satisfied smile, almost as if he was pleased that she’d failed. Again.
Cam decided it was time to ask him point blank about his abilities. “That fall should’ve broken your concentration long enough for me to get free. Are you going to tell me why it didn’t work?”
“Are you going to ask nicely? Considering you tried to slit my throat, and then bust my knee, I think that’s a fair exchange.”
She made a noise of frustration. “If you think I’m going to be nice to you after what you’ve done, then you’re insane.”
He shrugged. “Then I’m not going to tell you anything.” He turned and raised a hand. “See you tomorrow, beauty.”
Cam watched him fade into the jungle and decided that Marco Alvarez had just been added to her shit list.
As Marco rode his motorcycle toward the village of Pistè, his mind kept replaying the fight he’d had with Cam. He was more than a little irritated that she wouldn’t accept his help, but a part of him had enjoyed the challenge. He couldn’t remember the last time he’d been able to show the extent of his powers. It’d been even longer since his temper had affected his playboy persona act, to show the man he was beneath the façade.
Of course, he needed to be careful. She’d proven to be both smart and observant with her little silence and kick-him-in-the-knee move. He couldn’t risk her finding out about the Elemental Masters.
If she knew about shadow-shifters, she might just know more of the old, outlawed Feiru legends. Maybe even those about him and his friends. He’d adopted his playboy routine to keep anyone from guessing the true extent of his powers. And no matter how much he enjoyed tossing aside that routine, he would never put his fellow Elemental Masters in danger. If that much power fell into the wrong hands, bad things would happen.
He finally entered the village of Pistè, and focused on finding the correct street. He parked his motorcycle, and started walking.
As he passed the restaurants and small shops full of customers, he couldn’t help but notice all of the people talking and laughing with one another. They were living their lives unaware that any of them could be the next victim of the attacks he was here to investigate.
A group of unknown arsonists was targeting Feiru houses and businesses. All of the Feiru victims had one key thing in common, namely that they all had concrete connections to AMT compounds. Until recently, the fires had been amateurish and riddled with mistakes that had ended in innocent casualties, including the death of at least eight children so far.
Marco clenched his fist. Who fucking killed children? Just like his cousin Isa, those other children’s lives had been stolen, leaving behind only grief for their families.
Anyone who targeted the weak was weak themselves, and since he couldn’t rush down to Colombia to help his family find Isa’s killer, he could at least find the people responsible for the deaths of the children here.
He flexed his hand and pushed down his anger. He needed to question a witness about a fire that had happened here in Pistè, and it was easier to get people talking if you didn’t look like you wanted to rip off their heads.
By the time he reached the restaurant he was looking for, his face and demeanor were once again calm, or at least would appear that way to strangers.
He headed around the back of the building to where the family who owned the restaurant lived. He stopped and knocked on the screen door before saying in Spanish, “I’m looking for my dog, have you seen him?”
A man in his sixties, black hair streaked with gray and skin tanned dark by the tropical sun, came to the door and said, “The spotted beast is asleep on my floor.”
The man had given the correct response; Marco had found his witness. “Then I’ll wait until he wakes up before I take him home, if you don’t mind.”
The man opened the screen door and motioned Marco inside toward the far corner of the kitchen. Once the man joined him, Marco didn’t waste any time on small talk. “Tell me about the fire.”
“You sure you don’t want something to drink first?” After he shook his head and gave a polite refusal, the man took a seat at the table and crossed his arms over his chest. “Well, I was visiting a cousin at the edge of town, where most of the locals who want to avoid the tourists live.”
Marco knew that most of the Feiru population of the area lived in the southwest corner of the village. “The southwestern edge?”
“Just as I was leaving my cousin’s house, a stranger appeared on my cousin’s doorstep asking for Ana. But, you see, my cousin was sick, so I tried t
o tell the man to come back later when Ana would be awake. After a few more minutes, I finally convinced him and he left.”
“Could you describe the man?”
“Tall, white, and blond, with a scar across his throat. His Spanish was hard to understand because of his accent. He looked like just another American tourist to me.”