The sheikhs twin baby su.., p.34
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       The Sheikh's Twin Baby Surprise, p.34

         Part #1 of The Sheikh's Baby Surprise series by Holly Rayner
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  It didn’t take Morgan long to find El Gato Negro, the next closest bar across the border. The building was dilapidated, the flat roof slanting to one side and looking like it could collapse at any moment. A billboard-sized black cat was propped against the building, with an outline of blinking purple neon just flickering on as dusk began to settle.

  Ignoring her growling stomach, Morgan locked her car door and headed into the establishment, repressing a cough.

  The whole place reeked of cigarette smoke. Round tables full of sketchy-looking men peppered the warehouse-sized room, and in the back she glimpsed a series of pool tables with green lights suspended above them. Even from the front door Morgan could see smoke dancing under the distant light, slinking past into the otherwise shadowy corners.

  The place was a dump.

  Morgan took a seat at one of the tables and pulled a crusty menu out of the condiment holder. In spite of herself, she thought about ordering some food.

  A shadow fell across her menu, and she looked up to see its owner.

  A tall man in jeans, a denim shirt and a fringed, leather vest was staring down at her, a hungry expression in his dark-brown, almost black eyes. His hair was past his shoulders, unwashed and unbrushed.

  Morgan stared him down for some time until the man shifted his foot and cleared his throat.

  “We don’t get a lot of women in here…or strangers, for that matter. Who are you?”

  So direct, Morgan thought. How pleasant of him. She tried not to grimace as the man straightened his belt, like he was trying to put his crotch even closer to her face.

  She leaned back in her seat, assuming a posture of nonchalance.

  “I’m looking for a man named Daryl Trent. You know him?”

  The man’s dark eyes bored into her face, but Morgan met his stare with determination. She wasn’t the type to be cowed by silence or intimidation; she was ready to bust this place up in a moment’s notice if needed.

  At the sound of footsteps approaching, Morgan allowed her gaze to dart behind the man’s shoulder, and she held back a gasp.

  A huge skinhead had strolled up to the table, and was standing menacingly behind the dark-eyed man, who could clearly feel his presence.

  Without hesitation, the first man stepped aside and moved along, not looking back. He slinked back into the shadows of the bar as the skinhead took a seat at Morgan’s table.

  He was so large he barely fit in the chair. His blue eyes were cold—colder than any Morgan had ever seen, and she had seen a lot of darkness in the world.

  “Now, here I am, minding my own business, playing a game of pool, when I hear my name from the lips of a beautiful woman from across the bar. Isn’t that interesting?” he said, his gaze running up and down Morgan’s body.

  Morgan sat up, leaning in. “You’re Daryl Trent, I assume?”

  “You assume correctly. Now, how can I help a pretty little thing like you?” he asked, leaning in as well.

  It took everything Morgan had not to slap him and run from the bar. Her skin was crawling, shivers of warning slinking up and down her spine. This man was evil, and she wanted to get out of his vicinity as soon as possible. As usual, the best way to do that would be blunt honesty.

  “You can tell me where I can find Hassan Al-Khali,” she said.

  Daryl shot backward, nearly tipping his chair over as he did. His tattooed face was contorted with rage. “You dare bring up that name to me? Who are you?”

  Morgan held firm, her face neutral. “I’m looking for him, and I hear you’re the one to talk to about finding him. I heard you were a friend of his.”

  Daryl spit on the already filthy wooden floor. “The Sheikh has no friends here,” he sneered. “The guy’s a snake. I paid him good money to come through on a…deal, shall we say? The bastard took the money and disappeared. He’s marked for me, and me alone. So tell me, what do you know about his whereabouts, ma’am?”

  The way he hissed out that last moniker was enough to make Morgan’s knees tremble a little. She didn’t know anything about Daryl Trent, but it was pretty obvious he was willing to do whatever it took to achieve his purpose, whatever that may be.

  On the surface, however, she was cool as a cucumber. “A friend of mine was hoping to reunite with him…romantically. You were my only hope of a connection, but it looks like I’ve barked up the wrong tree. Thank you for your time, Mr. Trent,” Morgan said, rising to her feet.

  Daryl rose too, grasping her arm.

  Morgan tensed, ready to attack if necessary, but Daryl only grinned menacingly at her.

  “You’re lying. I can tell. I’m going to let you walk out of here, but if you do find the bastard before I do without telling me, you’ll both pay the price on his head. Understood?”

  Morgan moved closer and glared up into his eyes. “Don’t threaten me with a good time,” she said, gently prying his hand from her arm before strolling out of the bar.

  She didn’t look back, but she kept her ears perked for the sound of a gun being cocked. Sometimes this kind of job just didn’t pay.

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