Undercoversurrender, p.1

UndercoverSurrender, page 1

 

UndercoverSurrender
 


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UndercoverSurrender


  Undercover Surrender

  Angela Claire

  Interpol agent Vik Pillay is on the verge of shutting down a sex-trafficking ring. Working as a member of a crew that hijacks luxury yachts and delivers them to the ring, he’s been under deep cover for a year. The last thing he needs just as he’s about to make a breakthrough in the case is Samantha Reynolds—a spoiled little rich girl—complicating matters.

  When Vik’s crew captures Samantha’s yacht, he can’t risk telling her the truth. But he fights to the death to claim her as his exclusive property in order to protect her. Now if he can just manage to keep his own hands off her.

  Samantha doesn’t know what to make of this hard-eyed criminal and his restraint. But she’s nobody’s damsel in distress. She’ll save herself and maybe lure her mysterious captor to her bed while she’s at it.

  UNDERCOVER SURRENDER

  Angela Claire

  Dedication

  To CEG, my very imaginative and supportive story consultant and research assistant. Writing is so much more fun with you around. Thanks!

  Prologue

  January 2011

  The dim light in the bar did nothing to disguise the thin coat of grime that layered every surface of the place, from the scarred counters to the plastic seat covers to the worn linoleum floors. Maggie Nosalsowksi should have gotten used to dirt long ago, but somehow she never had. It always just made her want to grab a rag and start putting a little elbow grease into it, as her ma used to say. Of course her ma had long ago kicked her out and was probably even now lighting candles in church back in Philly praying for her soul, a million miles away from this shithole in Jakarta. So Maggie never actually did pick up a rag, too late for that. But she still had the impulse, even if she never acted on it anymore.

  Like a lot of her impulses.

  For instance, in her younger days, she may have told the man sitting across from her in the booth to fuck off and go do his own dirty work. But she’d been backhanded too many times for giving that kind of response to resort to it these days. Since she mostly just wanted to get through her days without suffering concussions or broken bones—free to down her whiskey and wonder where she had ever gone so very wrong—she exercised a little more caution when responding to requests from the thugs who surrounded her nowadays, whether they paid her bills on a regular basis or just for an occasional few hours. Or not at all, like Bobby Vincent.

  “If you don’t trust the guy, Bobby, don’t bring him on. I don’t see what the big deal is.”

  “I told you, Gunny thinks he’d be a good addition to the crew. But something’s not right.”

  Maggie finished her drink and poured another from the whiskey bottle on the table. She probably wasn’t too far from not bothering with the glass anymore, but she wasn’t quite there yet. After pouring herself another whiskey, she held out the bottle to Bobby. “You want a drink?”

  “No.”

  Bobby didn’t drink. He didn’t fuck either, not women anyway and she couldn’t care less about anything else since it didn’t make her any money.

  “So what do you need me for? Am I supposed to be screwing the truth out of him? Because you might not know this, Bobby, but when a guy pays to fuck, there’s usually not a lot of conversation involved. They kind of want their money’s worth and don’t bother with the small talk.”

  “I’ll pay for it.” Bobby slid a wad of bills across the table at her.

  “That’ll be a first,” she muttered under her breath, picking them up and stuffing them in her purse.

  “And I don’t need you to screw the truth out of him. I just want to do a little experiment.”

  “What kind of experiment?”

  Without answering, he said, “This guy’s an American, like you. Or at least I think he is.”

  Bobby, for all his American-sounding name, had never met the G.I. who’d given it to him, or for that matter the Vietnamese girl who’d dropped him off at a Saigon orphanage and then walked out of her infant son’s life forever.

  “Gunny’s convinced he’s a badass. Me, I’m not so sure. He smells…clean. So I want to put him to the test.”

  Now that the bills were safely in her purse, Maggie was seeing less and less what this had to do with her. “My screwing him is going to be some kind of test? I don’t get that.”

  “Just shut up so I can explain. He’s going to be here any minute. So here’s what we’re going to do. I need you to pretend we’ve had a fight or some shit and go flirt with him and I’ll come over. You stalk upstairs and then I’ll tell him I want him to teach you a little lesson.”

  “I’m not getting the crap beaten out of me just so you can prove to yourself this guy’s as much of an asshole as the rest of you.”

  “Shit, would you listen already? I’ve already seen him beat the crap out of somebody. Cops do that all the time. I promise, I won’t let him beat the crap out of you. I just want to see how far he’ll go. You pretend you’re pissed at me and go upstairs and then play along when I come up with him. Pretend you don’t want it. Got it? Oh good, here he is.”

  Bobby nodded toward the entrance to the bar where a man was coming in.

  Maggie considered herself immune to handsome men. It had been a handsome man who’d taken her in hand as an eighteen-year-old girl and so bedazzled her that she had followed him right across the globe, somewhere along the way graduating from being his lover to being his main source of income by turning tricks to being his punching bag while she was at it. Now at twenty-nine, stuck in the middle of nowhere—that handsome man long since overdosed on drugs she had paid for on her back—handsome just didn’t do anything for her anymore.

  But she sure as hell could recognize it when she saw it.

  If her long ago lover-slash-pimp had been a sunny surfer-type blond god, the man who had just entered the bar was like a living illustration of tall, dark and handsome. Broad shoulders and narrow hips accompanied a lean six-foot-four or five frame, dark brown wavy hair and, now that he was close enough she could tell, piercing green eyes.

  He passed by them with a slight nod for Bobby and then went to the bar.

  She doubted this guy was any kind of policeman or agent at all, as Bobby suspected. Too handsome for that. Undercover work usually involved guys more nondescript in her long experience on the wrong end of the law. But a job was a job. And if Bobby wanted to throw his money away, whose business was it but his?

  “Okay, I’ll see what I can do.” To start off, she slapped Bobby’s face, enjoying the fury her unexpected move caused him. “You said a fight,” she whispered.

  She slid out of the booth and went to the bar, taking the stool right next to Mr. Tall-Dark-and-Handsome.

  “Hi.”

  He glanced at her, taking in her waist-long blonde hair, her thigh-high skirt and her plunging neckline. “Hi. And not that I’m not appreciative, but I’m broke. Sorry. Down to my last drink or so if I don’t land a job soon.”

  She grinned. “Don’t worry about it. I’m off the clock and that asshole Bobby there just lost his chance for a date. Anyway, he said you were an American, so I thought I’d come over and be hospitable to one of my countrymen.”

  “Oh yeah? I wonder why he thought I was American.”

  “You sound like one, at least when you speak English. I can’t comment on that other shit as I never did get the hang of it myself. Just a few essential words. So you’re not American?”

  The guy shrugged, without answering. “Anyway, I don’t think your pal there is much of a fan of mine.”

  “Wouldn’t know. He didn’t say. Just said his boss was considering you for a job.”

  “I get the feeling he won’t be thrilled if I get it.”

  Maggie ordered a vodk
a and tonic this time. “Why? What’s he got against you?”

  The guy shrugged again. “Let’s drop it.” Fingering in the pocket of his low-slung jeans, he extracted a bill. “What will this get me?” he asked the bartender.

  “My treat,” Maggie insisted and after thanking her, he ordered whiskey, straight, and downed it.

  “I’m Maggie by the way.” She held out her hand.

  “Vik.” His hand was big, with long fingers, but it looked rough enough to be a workman’s. She held his hand longer than the shake merited and met his eyes when he questioned it wordlessly.

  “Sometimes a girl just wants to have fun,” she explained, which undoubtedly was not too unusual for him, given how good-looking he was.

  He glanced back at Bobby, who was watching them intently.

  “Don’t worry about him,” she offered. “I’m an independent contractor and I decide who I go with. So anyway, I got a little apartment upstairs. You want to go have a private drink?”

  Those light-green eyes skated down her body and, surprising herself, she felt a shiver of anticipation that almost made her back out of the whole deal. She was much happier feeling numb. But she had been paid and there was more than one way to deaden feeling.

  She ordered another vodka and downed it as he said, “I really don’t have any money.”

  Unaccountably pissed off that she was so easily taken for what she was—a working girl—she snapped, “I said I’m off the clock.”

  Bobby was suddenly there at her elbow. “You’re taking this guy upstairs instead of me?” he demanded.

  “Fuck off.”

  He backhanded her. Hard. So much for not getting the crap beaten out of her. Tall-Dark-and-Handsome didn’t lift a finger to stop it, by the way, calmly continuing to drink.

  Wiping the blood off her lip, and not really having to act much, she spat out, “Fuck you both.” Then she stalked off, not even bothering to collect her half-full whiskey bottle from the booth.

  Bobby Vincent watched the American beside him at the bar, a little unsettled. He thought the guy would have jumped to Maggie’s defense. So that was a surprise. But letting her suffer a little slap was a far cry from rape. Let’s just see how he reacts to that.

  “That whore has it coming,” he muttered.

  The American shrugged, as if it wasn’t any of his business.

  “She charges twice what she’s worth. Just because she’s got all that blonde hair and white skin. Like she’s better than all the other girls around here.”

  Bobby ordered them both another whiskey, which the guy accepted wordlessly. Then another. By the third, he managed to interject a little slur into his voice. “You know what that bitch needs? She needs a cock shoved up her ass and another in her mouth. For free.” He laughed. “What do you say? What was your name again, anyway?”

  “Vik.”

  “Well, what do you say, Vik? You want to give that bitch a cock she ain’t looking for and I’ll fill her smart-ass mouth.”

  He waited, sure the guy would say no. And he was right. Kind of.

  “I don’t like to share,” Vik finally said.

  Bobby slammed his glass down. “Jesus, what a wimp. Fine. How about I hold her down and you give it to her, whatever way you want? How about that?”

  Vik looked around.

  “Nobody cares about a whore,” Bobby said. “She can scream her head off and nobody’ll come.”

  The American shrugged. Shit, he really was a closed-mouth son of a bitch. But if Bobby’s instincts were right, this could prove some solid evidence to talk Gunny out of including him on this upcoming job.

  “We don’t hire pussies, Vik. You don’t do me a little favor like this, then fuck you. I can’t trust you to watch my back out on the water, you know what I mean?”

  “Does that mean if I do this, I’ll get the job?”

  “Yeah,” Bobby promised, still sure the American wouldn’t live up to the test.

  “Okay.”

  The door burst open as Maggie was holding a washcloth full of ice to her lip to try to counteract any swelling. Her face was her fortune, after all, as they said.

  Bobby, smelling noticeably of whiskey, grabbed her and wrenched her hands behind her back. God, she had thought the bastard didn’t drink. If she was wrong about that, what the hell else was she wrong about?

  Her struggling came naturally, even though she told herself she was playacting. Bobby had paid her for this. It was no different than when some sick john asked her to dress up in a school uniform and put her hair in pigtails. Just pretend.

  But somehow, it didn’t feel like that.

  For one thing, this Vik’s eyes looked ice-cold green and he seemed perfectly calm. She really was right about good-looking men. They were bastards, every last one of them. She glanced back at Bobby’s drunken features and amended her thought—all men were pretty much bastards, the good-looking, the ugly and the in-between.

  Vik reached behind him and extracted a knife from the back waistband of his jeans, a long, sharp, no-nonsense knife. Christ. Bobby hadn’t said anything about this. Maggie struggled in earnest now, frantic the game wasn’t really a game after all, but Bobby’s arms, skinny as they were, were like bands of steel and she could not break free. She heard Bobby’s breath catch in excitement behind her. “I like how you think, Vik. You going to cut her while you fuck her?”

  Vik approached steadily until she could feel his breath on her cheek. Even as she struggled, she tried to keep track of where the knife was and failing to do so, let out a frustrated little sob. Slowly, gently, so softly that the pressure didn’t even hurt her bruised mouth, the stranger leaned over her and pressed his lips softly to hers, the most unexpected of gestures.

  Almost as unexpected as the piercing yelp of pain Bobby let out right at that moment, practically fracturing her eardrum as his arms suddenly let go of hers and she was shoved out of the way.

  What the…?

  “No, I’m not going to cut her, you sick fuck. I’m going to cut you.” She barely heard the stranger’s whispered words, noting that Bobby was hunched over now, howling, and clutching one bleeding arm. Vik yanked him up by the collar of his sweatshirt and held the tip of the knife to the smaller man’s throat.

  “You got the nerve to subject me to some bullshit test, you paranoid prick? You think raping a terrified whore takes guts? You’re the pussy here and you can tell that to your boss.” He pushed him away and Bobby sank against the wall.

  Behind them, Maggie heard a slow clapping.

  “Excellent,” a huge blond man in the hallway said. She hadn’t even noticed the apartment door was still open.

  Vik stepped back, glancing down at the crumpled, bleeding Bobby and then at the man in the hallway. “Was this whole setup your idea, Gunderson?”

  Rolf Gunderson, a big blond man Maggie knew only by reputation, all of it bad, came into the apartment, a couple of thugs behind him lingering out in the hallway. “No, this was Bobby’s idea. He was so psyched about it, he invited me to see the evidence for myself. He was sure you wouldn’t rape the girl.”

  “He didn’t!” Bobby cried dejectedly from the floor.

  “No, but Vik here knew he was being set up. So I’m not sure it proves anything.”

  Vik glared at the man.

  “How about another test, though, Vik? You put Bobby there out of his misery and you can have his spot on my boat.”

  At the suggestion, Bobby began to struggle to try to get to his feet. The thugs moved forward, but at a sharp shake of Gunderson’s head, they halted. This was apparently going to be one on one.

  “What do you say?” Gunderson prompted.

  “You want me to kill your own man?”

  “Look, boss—” Bobby croaked, leaning heavily against the wall, clutching his bleeding arm.

  “Funny thing about Bobby is, he was so all fired up about proving you couldn’t be trusted, he forgot I don’t trust nobody.” Gunderson stared pointedly at Bobby. “Yeah, that
s right, you stupid fuck. You think I wouldn’t notice you taking a little extra off the top now and then?”

  Bobby’s face lost even the little bit of pasty color it had. “I was going to pay it off. I swear. Every bit!”

  “You’re a dead man.” Gunderson’s voice was flat at the pronouncement. He turned to Vik. “You do it and you got a spot on my boat. You don’t and my boys out there’ll take care of both of you.”

  “They could try,” Vik said calmly.

  “I’m starting to feel you might be a little queasy about wet work, Vik. Am I right?”

  Maggie had no idea how this was all going to shake out or how she had somehow ended up in the middle of their little drama. Jakarta was filled with criminal activity, but her golden rule was to stay out of it and she said with more confidence than she felt, “Look, everybody out. Now.”

  The fact that they all ignored her was maybe a good thing in retrospect, she immediately realized. She was wise to just try to fade into the background.

  Bobby, who had more at stake in the matter, apparently did not feel the same. He lunged at Vik, a knife in the hand that wasn’t bleeding. What good that would do him, when the two other thugs were standing by to finish him off anyway if Vik was not so inclined, was not clear. But Bobby never struck her as much of a clear thinker at the best of times and now he was bleeding like a stuck pig. Maybe he was just pissed.

  Vik deftly blocked the blade and shoved the other man away, so hard he staggered again, but quickly recovered. Vik’s own knife was now prominently held aloft as he watched Bobby circle again.

  Stuck pigs were dangerous after all.

  When Bobby lunged again, Vik jumped back a little. But the third time, Bobby sealed his own fate. He had gotten too close. Without hesitation, or further debate, Vik seated his knife in the other man’s chest.

  Maggie couldn’t suppress her gasp.

  Vik pushed the body away from him and wiped his knife on his jeans, staring at Gunderson.

  With a nod to his two cohorts, Gunderson instructed them to carry the fresh corpse out, presumably to dump in the nearby sea.

 
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