Javier stopped at a door and shoved it open. The boy on the bed scrambled to sit up, his shirt pooling around his thighs. Sullivan Matthews had chosen well. The boy might have been a prostitute, but he was a lovely one whose big blue eyes and dimpled chin had drawn way too much attention from Javier’s men. He knew the men in his family hated gays, but he’d seen a few use femme boys in the past, treating them like common whores and calling them derogatory names to justify their attraction to someone so pretty and gay.
Kit was such a beautiful man that even Javier, whose heart was already spoken for, looked twice. He had no desire to fuck the boy. He was too slender, too pretty. A little bit of too much of everything, really. Javier wouldn’t give up his muscled lover for anything in the world. Talon’s body was hard, but the way he looked at Javier when Javier was inside him was all soft heat and warmth.
“What do you want?” The boy jutted his chin out, his lips set in a stubborn line. Talon wasn’t the only one not talking. This boy might easily be broken physically, but his spirit was strong. He hadn’t said anything about how he and Sullivan had led Ivan to his death.
Without answering the boy, Javier redialed Matthews’s number.
“You have five minutes,” Javier snapped into the phone before the boy could speak.
“I need to see him.”
Javier enabled the video call and shoved the phone at the boy. He took it, his big blue eyes staring directly at the screen.
“Baby, are you all right?”
Kit nodded. “I’m okay, but I want to come home.”
“I know, baby. I’m working on a solution right now with Javier. Are you hurt? Did any of those bastards put their hands on you?”
Kit glanced at Javier, then shook his head. “They haven’t hurt me.”
“Yet,” Javier snapped.
“Good. I have Javier’s lover, and we’re planning a trade, so rest assured that I’m doing everything to get you home. Will you be brave for me?”
The way the hitman spoke so gently to his boy reminded Javier too much of him and Talon, of how everything tough about him melted when it came to that man.
Was that what love did to proud, dangerous men like us? Rendered us useless to the cause to which we’d pledged our lives years ago?
“I love you, Kit,” Matthews said, even though he had to have known Javier was in the room.
An ache filled Javier’s chest. Should he never see Talon again, he would have one regret. That he’d never told the man he loved how he felt in words. He knew Talon was aware of how he felt, but in that moment, Javier would have given anything to whisper in Talon’s ear how much he loved him.
Javier plucked the phone out of Kit’s hand so he came face-to-face with his nemesis.
“It’s your turn to keep your word. Let me talk to him.”
“Don’t worry, Javier. I’m a man of my word.”
The call ended, and he paced the length of the room.
“Will you truly let me go?” Kit asked. “Because if you won’t, just kill me and get it over with already instead of teasing Sully with the hope that he’ll see me alive again.”
Javier turned to the boy, frowning. What made him tick? If he wasn’t on the side that had murdered Javier’s brother, Javier would feel almost respect for him.
How many people had made the mistake of underestimating this boy because of his delicate looks? Ivan had when he went off with the boy and ended up dead. How many more men had he lured and hooked for his lover to kill?
“This negotiation doesn’t concern you,” Javier said. “You’d do better to stay out of grown men’s business. Look at the position you’re in today.”
“You think I’d choose differently if I had to do it all over again?”
“If you wouldn’t, then you’re not as smart as I thought.”
Javier’s phone rang, announcing a video call. He swiped to answer. Words left him at the sight of Talon—alive. He had a nasty bruise on his forehead, and he looked pale, but he was alive. Javier took in Talon’s surroundings, the crude concrete, the single metal bed, and his anger mounted.
“Javi, what are you doing?” Talon asked.