Still, trying to charm the man in front of him would be useless. Maybe a more direct method would work, so Marco asked, “Okay, so where does that leave us now? Are we going to sit here and dodge questions, trying to outsmart the other into revealing information, or can we discuss how to help this person you’re protecting?”
“I was never a fan of beating around the bush. I think it’s time to take a little trip and meet Eduardo.”
Cam sat next to Marco in the back seat of an old jeep, their wrists cuffed together with some kind of special handcuffs. She didn’t know how it worked, but they prevented her from using her abilities. She reckoned that the same went for Marco, but with his elemental magic.
Diego had offered them a now-or-never ride, and since they’d predicted this might happen, they’d taken it.
The prep work she and Marco had put into place last night and this morning should pay off, and help them survive no matter what happened to them. While Diego had confiscated her weapons earlier, he hadn’t found the tracker hidden inside one of Marco’s buttons. Unless Diego had a signal jammer in the jeep, Zalika and Jacek should be tracking their location.
The jeep went over another rough spot and she resisted leaning against Marco to help keep her balance. They were still playing the role of friends, and they needed to keep it that way to avoid becoming weaknesses to one another. The thought of Marco being tortured in front of her to gain her cooperation made her sick to the stomach.
She tried not to think about how quickly he’d come to mean something to her.
Assuming Cam was merely battling carsickness, Marco tapped her foot in sympathy, and she resisted a sigh. She usually had no problem riding in cars, but they were on something she’d call more a path than a road, and the ride wasn’t pleasant.
They’d been at it for hours, traveling through the mountains. She’d had little else to do than to watch the scenery and keep track of how far the sun had sunk in the sky. Even the foliage was different now, which told her they had traveled to a different elevation.
Diego finally turned onto a slightly smoother road, sparsely lined with small shack-like houses. He stopped at one that was at least a mile from all of the others, and said, “We’ll rest here and eat. Then we’ll continue on.”
Because Diego had appreciated Marco’s straightforward manner earlier, Cam decided to try that tactic again. “If we have to go back onto that road again, I’d suggest getting me some motion sickness medicine, or I might throw up in your car.”
Diego turned around in his seat and asked Marco something in Spanish. When Marco replied in the same language, she decided then and there that she was tired of not being able to understand what was going on. As soon as they were free again, she would ask Marco to start teaching her Spanish. She’d need it if she were to make any sort of good impression on his family.
She resisted a frown. That was the last thing she should be worried about right now.
Diego switched back to English. “The rest of our journey is on foot.” He exited the car and opened her door. “Now, come on.”
She gave Marco a quick glanc
e, and he gave two slow blinks, telling her that he was ready to attack if she gave the right signal. She blinked in return to confirm the same, and climbed out of the jeep with Marco right behind her.
Diego shut their door just as some frantic Spanish starting blaring from the in-car radio. He reached in and said something. Judging from his facial expression, the radio reply wasn’t good news.
Marco listened as the man on the other side of Diego’s radio detailed a recent ambush by one of the drug cartels in the area. Apparently, some trucks filled with gun-happy lackeys had spotted them, and were nearly at their location.
When Diego started to reply, Marco took advantage of the distraction to lean over and whisper in Cam’s ear. “Some angry drug cartel guys are heading in this direction. Blink twice if you’re ready to fight.”
He leaned back and saw Cam blink twice right before Diego signed off on the radio and turned toward them. “Promise me that you won’t run, and I’ll release you. One of the local cartels is heading this way, and I need your help in case we’re ambushed.”
Marco wasn’t about to agree to something without question. “How do we know that you won’t use us as bargaining chips to secure your own safety?”
“You don’t. But unless I remove those special cuffs, you’ll be facing the cartel guys at a serious disadvantage.”
He was right, of course. However, as long as he removed the cuffs, Marco would agree to anything. “Fine. But if you turn on us, don’t expect me to go easy on you.”
Diego shrugged. “I’d like to see you try.” He unlocked their handcuffs, and then headed toward the small shack. “Come on. We need to grab some supplies and get out of here ASAP.”
As soon as Diego turned around, Marco touched Cam on her lower back and said, “If you’re captured alone, play up your American-ness. That way you have a chance of being held for ransom, giving you time to contact Neena via dream-speaking.”
Cam touched his arm and whispered, “But what about you?”
He grimaced. “I’ll have to find a way to use my elemental magic without them noticing. Of course, I hope it doesn’t come to that.”
Diego opened the door of the shack and Marco reluctantly moved away from Cam. He wanted to kiss her and tell her, well, something. “Good luck” was inadequate. So was “be careful.”
In reality, he wanted to tell her to protect her ass so he could kiss the living shit out of her later. But that would reveal his doubts about surviving capture.