The Black Fox (The Dirty Heroes Collection) - Page 4

I blink, and realize we’re all sitting down and a waiter in a white shirt and black apron is handing us menus.

“Three As and two Bs, Mama,” Lolita murmurs, looking down the list of dishes.

Valeria shoots me a pained look. Lolita’s barely said hello and she’s already lying. As I watch, Lolita leans down to her handbag and her dress rides up her thigh. Plump, soft flesh that my fingers could dig into as she pants my name.

I snap my head to the side and glare across the square. Stepdaughter. Stepdaughter.

“I want to move tables.”


stractedly, I turn back to my wife. The petulance in her voice makes irritation prickle down my spine. “Why, mi amor?”

Valeria shivers a little in her seat, though the day is warm. “That ridiculous statue. I’m sitting in its shadow.”

The sun moved while we waited for Lolita, and a large shadow has fallen over her. The nine-foot statue dominates the square. It’s of a man, fists pressed proudly into his hips and his cape sculpted to look as if it’s fluttering in a breeze. On his head is a broad-brimmed hat and his eyes are concealed by a mask.

Lolita gasps in shock. “Mama! The Black Fox is a hero.”

She gazes up at the statue with reverence in her eyes. The town erected this statue to me ten years ago, when I saved the residents from a series of burglaries that were damaging local businesses. I was just starting to gather a following and the residents of forgotten, corrupt towns were grateful to me. I didn’t do it for a statue, though. I grew up in a forgotten, corrupt town.

“They should tear it down,” Valeria says, taking a sip of her wine. “Carrying on like he’s some sort of hero when he only caught a few embezzlers and petty thieves—something the police should have done themselves—makes this a monument to our national shame.”

Two spots of color burn in Lolita’s cheeks. “He never asked for this statue. He never asked for any reward or acknowledgment at all. The people did this for him and he gives them hope. He gives me hope, too.”

Valeria casts her eyes to the heavens. “Hope for what?”

“That there’s still justice in the world.”

I sit back, enjoying the sight of Lolita quivering in righteous anger on my behalf. How I’d like to pat my knee and invite her to have a cuddle in my lap. Maybe slide those straps down her shoulders and tell her that daddy wants to suck her nipples.

“Or he did,” she adds miserably. “No one’s heard of him for months.”

I clear my throat to distract myself. “Whomever he is, the Black Fox must have a bigger head than all Spain by now.”

“You think he’s still around then?” Lolita asks, a hopeful note in her voice.

I smile sleekly at her. “Oh, certainly. He’s still prowling the streets at night, looking for young women to snatch up and ravish with kisses.” I say this with relish, imagining pulling Lolita’s squirming body against mine in the dark and whispering that it is I, the Black Fox, I’m not going to hurt her, I’m just going to taste her a little.

Lolita swallows, and says hoarsely, “The Black Fox would never do that.”

Wouldn’t he.

“Do shut up about that idiot,” Valeria drawls. “He’s long gone, whoever he was. Sometimes I wonder if he ever existed.”

A taut silence stretches, and then Lolita says defiantly, “He did. I met him once.”

“Oh, don’t lie,” Valeria snaps.

I agree with my wife. I would remember her.

Lolita leans forward, and the cleft between her breasts deepens. “I did! I saw him. I was coming home from—from church in the dark.”

The way her cheeks turn pink makes me certain she was coming home from anywhere but church. Where was she really returning from? A boy’s house? My hands clench angrily in my lap, but I make my tone relaxed as I ask, “What did you see, Lolita?”

Her eyes meet mine, and they’re filled with gentle wonder. “It was winter, and not very late. I was hurrying, and I dropped my…my prayer book. When I turned around, he was there.”

Valeria scoffs and takes another sip of her wine.

Tags: Brianna Hale Romance
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