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On the verge of her long-sought career breakthrough, singer Isbel Vargas has just completed the performance of a lifetime when a kidnapper demands a ransom for her father. Thanks to his car theft and antiquities operation, her father will be arrested if she involves the Acapulco police. Who can she turn to?
Isbel's ex-boyfriend, Cane Mullins, is once again south of the border, purportedly tracking down his beloved Camaro, a vintage street rod stolen years before by her father. Cane gets more than he bargains for, though, when he again crosses paths with the exquisite singer. Chased at high speed through the Sierra Madres, the former lovers search for Isbel's father and a priceless sword he has hidden away, the sole surviving Aztec maquahuitl, while sparks fly and passion reignites. But can Isbel trust Cane again...with her heart?
Page Count: 314
Word Count: 78480
Isbel swallowed hard. At the sweet age of twenty it had been easy for her to blame Hurricane. Now, she knew better.
Her father wasn’t exactly honest, but the label “criminal” didn’t exactly fit him, either. But one thing she did know: she was absolutely furious that this all resurfaced today. Today, of all days, when she should be celebrating, Cane had to return.
“Seems like old times, doesn’t it?” Isbel said. “But you know, Hurricane, just like your nickname, every time you show up there’s a huge mess.”
“It’s not my nickname.”
“Oh, yeah, I forgot. Well, stay out of my life. You don’t know anything about my father. Or me.”
“Isabella, I like your father. Always did.”
“Sure have a funny way of showing it.”
“I just want my car back.” Cramming his thumbs into his pants pockets, Cane inhaled raggedly. “And…it was…amazing to hear you sing again. There was a time when I thought I’d get to listen to you for the rest of my life.”
She turned her back on him, strode over to the refreshment table, and groped for a bottle of water. Twisting off the cap helped hide the tremor in her hands. She took a deep drink, nodded in reassurance at Octavio, who watched from the far end of the table, and then walked straight back to Cane. “Stay out of my life,” she said.
“I’d hoped that after all this time you would have cooled off and, when I finally explained why the Camaro is so important, that you could…well, that you would forgive me.”
She searched his eyes. Not a hint of insincerity. She understood better now. But forgiveness? It was too late. She couldn’t betray her badly-behaved father any more than Cane could betray the memory of his brother.
He nodded. Pulled a card from his pocket. “If you ever need me…”
She didn’t reach for the card but left his hand hanging, mid-air.
He dropped the tiny rectangle of bright, white paper and turned and walked away.
“Come on, Isbel,” Octavio murmured. His arm slipped around her waist. Grateful, she leaned into him. “You have fans waiting for autographs,” he continued.
Autographs? Fans? That meant people, crowding close. Isbel sipped more water, stalling. She hated being penned in. She wouldn’t be able to breathe. Tavio knew that. But no one would dare mob him. If she stayed beside her friend, she’d be fine.
Or maybe she wouldn’t be fine. Not ever. Not really. Sure, she could sing. Tonight proved it. She sounded better than ever, except perhaps for that night when she sang only one song. For Hurricane. The same night she found out he’d deceived her.
Isbel shook her head. She had more important things to think about than Hurricane Mullins. She had fans to thank, another show to rehearse, lyrics to write. Everything she’d fought for, for so long, was now truly possible. All she had to do was take one more step.
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