Frozen Desires (Asylums for Magical Threats 2) - Page 19

Considering she didn’t have any other options at the moment, she’d have to take Petra’s offer. But not before she’d had some time to think about a detailed list of requirements. “If you hold up your end with the call to Jax, and promise to keep me in the loop with information for the entirety of the assignment, I’ll promise to think about it.”

“Fine, Ward. Come back here tomorrow morning, fifteen minutes after Larsen leaves.”

Chapter Ten

The next morning, as Cam reached Santa Lucia Park, she resisted the urge to curse Marco Alvarez for the tenth time.

The message she had translated in pieces said, “In Merida on Sunday, at the park full of big heads, find the old Spanish coins and ask for the Great-Tailed Grackle.” While she’d put together that the “park full of big heads” was Santa Lucia Park with its collection of busts, she wondered about the rest of the message. Considering she’d done the translating in bits, and not together, she could be following a literal translation when she should be following a figurative one.

If only Marco hadn’t crossed the line last night, she would’ve asked him to take a look at the message and voice his opinion. But shushing her lips had been the last straw, and without thinking, she had sent him to his knees.

Men, in her experience, expected a woman to sooth their hurt ego when needed, but Cam had never been very good at doing that. She held everyone to the same standard as herself, expecting people to buck up and move on. Because most people misunderstood the reasons for her attitude, the rumors within DEFEND had built up her image as a ball-busting ice queen. While it hurt on some level to think that was how people saw her, unless someone spoke directly to her face, she ignored it.

For exactly that reason, it had taken her years to find a team she could work with. Jacek and Zalika understood her brusque manner fo

r what it was—high expectations. She would never ask someone to do something that she wouldn’t do. In return for their dedication, Cam would lay down her life for Jacek and Zalika. And deep down, she knew they would do the same.

Marco, on the other hand, was a wild card that she didn’t know what to do with. He wasn’t her superior, nor was he her subordinate. Colleague might be the closest description, but even that seemed off. Few of her colleagues had ever tried to provoke her, let alone trap her into a situation where she had no choice but to comply, like Marco had done with the dancing last night.

He was far more intelligent than she had initially thought. Maybe she should just refer to him as a nuisance.

Drumbeats started up in the distance, but she ignored their call and focused on the small collection of stalls in Santa Lucia Park. There were handicraft and clothing stalls, secondhand books, and even a blanket full of Mexican antiques. But nothing to do with coins.

Because it was still early, there were a number of empty tables she presumed would be filled later. She decided she had time to head toward the crowded main plaza to check in with Jacek and Zalika before she came back to see which vendors filled the vacant spots. Santa Lucia was the only park she knew of in Merida with “big heads.” If one of the empty vendor tables ended up not being a coin booth, she might have to grit her teeth, find Marco, and ask about the correctness of her translation.

She exited the small park and walked out onto one of the streets that were closed to car traffic on Sundays. This section of Merida was part of the historic district, and the old colonial buildings made her wish she could be a tourist for a day. Truth be told, she couldn’t remember the last time she’d taken a vacation. DEFEND was her whole life.

Yet she couldn’t imagine it being any other way. Her sister was now a member too, which meant she might actually have a chance to get to know Kiarra again.

Cam had made a vow upon joining DEFEND that she would find a way to be reunited with her siblings if it killed her. She’d succeeded with Kiarra, but she wasn’t so sure if she could get her brother Giovanni out of James Sinclair’s influence.

After their parents had died fourteen years ago, their maternal uncle James Sinclair had adopted her brother Giovanni. James Sinclair had one purpose in life—to accumulate enough power to change the Feiru way of life to his liking. Based on the rumors she had heard, Sinclair wanted to find a way to end elemental magic, no matter how far-fetched that idea sounded.

She only hoped that her brother wasn’t too indoctrinated with Sinclair’s views, and he could still be swayed to Cam—and DEFEND’s—way of thinking.

Once she had a minute, she would call Kiarra and check in with her. She’d put off calling her sister for various reasons—mainly because she was afraid Kiarra would believe the rumors inside DEFEND about Cam—but it was time to step up and face her sister’s questions.

Cam reached the edge of the main plaza and did a quick scan. Food carts and ad-hoc tent restaurants lined the outer edges, with a maze of vendor stalls in the actual plaza itself. There were some musicians belting out songs, and a few people were even dancing at the edge of the crowd. One couple was dancing steps similar to what Marco had taught her the night before, and she itched to join in.

She nearly started at the thought. She never danced in public. Giving her head a shake, she walked on.

Between deciphering the clue and keeping an eye out for any possible enemies—such as the shadow-shifter—Cam needed to push her experiences from last night out of her mind. She wouldn’t let Marco distract her. He’d been secretive about learning the old language, and she wondered what else he was hiding from her.

Her cell phone vibrated and she reached into the pocket of her skirt and took it out, only to find a message from Marco: Look behind you.

Scowling, she looked over her shoulder and saw Marco waving at her. She was just about to turn back around and ignore him when she noticed a tall, blond man off to the side. Cam’s heart skipped a beat, and she froze.

It was him.

Four years had passed since she had last seen him, but Cam would recognize Richard Ekstrom anywhere.

Richard caught her eye and a look Cam knew all too well—one of steely determination—came across his face. That look had never bode well for the man’s targets in the past, and no doubt, it meant trouble for Cam too.

Richard smiled and moved toward her. However, just as Cam turned to flee, a warm hand cupped her elbow and urged her to go left. She looked over and saw it was Marco.

Marco leaned down to her ear and whispered, “Come with me. I know where we can go.”

She was still battling the shock of Richard’s appearance, so her usually sharp mind barely said, “Fine,” before letting Marco guide her down a side street.

Tags: Jessie Donovan Asylums for Magical Threats Paranormal
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