Benedict Montgomery stepped inside the dirty bar, trying not to show his fear as the few people inside all turned to look at him in the doorway.
The Corpus Christi heat outside was stifling, and it wasn’t much cooler inside the dim bar.
Tugging at his shirt collar, he walked past the tables to the bar as the Mexican bartender raised the bar’s divider, coming to stand in front of him.
“I’m looking for Cade Reed.”
“What do you want to drink?” the bartender asked, moving back behind the bar, making it obvious he wasn’t there to give out information for free.
“A beer will be fine.”
Once a beer was set down in front of him, Benedict laid some money down on the counter. When the bartender remained silent, he added several more bills to the pile.
“He’s out back. It won’t take long. Have a seat.” He moved away to wait on someone at the end of the bar.
Benedict took a table at the side of the bar where he self-consciously sipped on his beer while he waited.
Moments later, a door on the other side of the bar opened, and a tall man appeared with his arm around a pretty Mexican woman. They took a seat at one of the tables against the wall, obscuring them in shadows.
The bartender nodded his head in their direction, letting Benedict know that was the man he was looking for.
Benedict rose from his table, trying to talk himself out of leaving. Only the desperation he felt made him cross the bar to face the man sitting in the shadows.
He had to clear his throat before he could get the name out. “Cade Reed?”
Dark eyes studied him impassively. “Who’s asking?”
“I’m Benedict Montgomery. I’d like to talk to you privately, if I may?”
“I would like to offer you a job.”
“I’m retired. Leave before one of the locals decide to take that wad of cash in your pocket. I’m not interested.” With that, he started to nuzzle the neck of the woman he had come in with. Her sensuous whispers made it obvious the couple had a sexual relationship, something he and his wife hadn’t shared in far longer than Benedict cared to think about. It had been a long time since his wife and he had even talked cordially to each other, much less communicated as lovers.
Benedict could understand Cade not wanting to leave the beautiful woman running her hands over his chest.
“George Connell sent me.”
An aggravated sigh came from Cade before he lifted his head and stared at Benedict balefully. With a nod toward the bar, he said, “Martina, give me ten minutes.”
“That’s all it ever takes you,” she giggled, standing up, and Cade spanked her retreating ass for the comment.
Once she left, Benedict took a chair across the table from the man who didn’t look like he was happy with the interruption.
“What do you want?”
“George gave me your name. He said you could get my daughters back for me.”
Cade raised a sardonic brow. “Exactly where are your daughters?”
“Peñuela. It’s a city in the south of Mexico.”
“I know where the fuck it is, and the answer is no. Tell George to find someone else who wants to die. It’s a suicide mission.”
Benedict went pale at his response. “There is no one else. Connell only gave me your name because I wouldn’t leave him alone.”
“Then you’re shit out of luck.” He motioned for Martina to come back.
“Please. I’ll pay you anything you want. I’m a rich man. I would go in after them myself, but I’m prohibited from going to Peñuela because I occasionally work for the Government.”
Cade waved the woman away again, and Benedict paused, taking a deep breath.
“How much money are we talking?”
Benedict licked his dry lips, taking a drink of his beer before asking, “What would it take?”
“I don’t know. Let me think. It’s dangerous. Hell, a dead man can’t spend money, no matter how much it is, but there is a number that would make me willing to take the chance…”
“What is it?”
“A hundred grand.”
“Okay,” Benedict answered immediately.
Cade’s eyes narrowed on him. “I’m thinking I should have asked for more.”
Benedict set his beer down on the dirty table. “If you get my daughters out, I’ll give you an extra hundred as a bonus.”
“We’re talking about U.S. dollars, right?”
“Damn, that’s hard to turn down. One woman may be possible to get out, but two is going to be close to hopeless,” he mused to himself. “I’ll be dodging the gangs and the Federales. A man disappears down there in the blink of an eye.”