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Inferno : Ensenada Heat Book 1 by Tess Summers (1)


Prologue

Kennedy Jones/Ruby Rhodes

The moonlight from the ten-foot windows was the only light in the room. The petite redhead stood hidden in a shadowed corner of the ornate guest suite, still wearing her dress and heels from dinner. She loved dinners on Dante’s estate; they were always an event, and usually lasted for hours. Tonight had been no exception. El Jefe Enrique Guzman, Dante’s uncle, was visiting, and his nephew had made sure to go all-out to show the leader of the cartel a nice evening.

She took a deep breath. This was it—the reason she had gone so deeply undercover, becoming the girlfriend and submissive of Dante, El Jefe’s nephew and main money ‘advisor.’ All so she could get access to the Mexican capo himself—and an opportunity to kill him. No one else in the CIA had even come close, but she was moments away from pulling it off.

So why the fuck was she hesitating?

An image of Dante’s handsome face flashed in her mind. His crooked smile when he looked at her, warm and tender. How he’d stroke her cheek with the knuckle of his index finger while looking into her eyes, murmuring words of adoration in Spanish.

Contemplating what killing Enrique was going to mean—never again seeing the man she had accidentally fallen in love with—she almost slipped out the way she had come. Not being with Dante was going to gut her—figuratively, of course. Although if she got caught tonight, it would most likely also be literally, and probably only after she’d been tortured.

Then Enrique entered the suite and caught sight of her, and there was no turning back. He thought she was there to seduce him, which explained why he didn’t shout for his guards on the other side of the door when he noticed her.

His grin was sleazy as he looked her up and down and began to unbuckle his belt. “Ah, an ambitious whore, trying to trade up. I like it, although I must admit, I’m surprised.”

She raised the pistol from her side, the silencer already attached. The memories of her last night with Dante were going to have to be enough.

 

****

 

Dante Guzman

He looked around his bedroom suite with sadness—he missed her presence in this room already. His little assassin was gone.

He’d known she would be after tonight. He knew his time with his sexy CIA operative was going to end the minute he’d announced his uncle was coming for a short visit. A small part of him had held out hope: hope that she wouldn’t go through with her plan. That their time together had actually meant something to her, and she’d choose him.

The only thing he could do was wait and see what she decided.

Dante had found her note—which said simply, It was real—before he heard the shouts of his uncle’s guards when they’d found him dead. He had purposefully taken a business call after dinner and left her alone to make her choice.

It filled him with regret and sadness that she hadn’t chosen him.

‘Ruby Rhodes’ had fooled him for all of ninety minutes after meeting her. There was no way a woman was that perfect and just happened to sit next to him at his favorite bar, order Macallan Rare Cask—his favorite drink—then accidentally trip and fall right into his arms.

No fucking way.

She was good though, he’d give her that. She never slipped once, and her government had done a decent job at hiding her real identity. It’d taken his best IT man and more money than some countries’ entire GDP to learn that Ruby’s real name was Kennedy Alicia Jones.

In his office sat an envelope full of pictures of her life: where she’d grown up; high school yearbook photos; college graduation pictures; the professional, posed photo of the day she finished boot camp with the Marines; candid family photos… Having seen her humble beginnings, it made him love her even more every time she so effortlessly pulled off her heiress persona. But it also made him punish her harder when they played at night. She wasn’t fucking real, and he desperately wanted her to be. Keni—not Ruby. He wanted to be more than just a means to an end for her. He wanted her to love him like he loved her.

Fortunately, her assignment was also a benefit to him, so he played into her ruse and savored the time he spent with the charming actress, waiting to see what she decided. Should her CIA gig not turn out, she had a future in Hollywood.

Dante stood in his dressing room, staring at the small, black velvet box in his hand. He’d bought the ring today, just in case Keni didn’t go through with her mission. If his uncle was alive in the morning, Dante was marrying her tomorrow night. Kennedy—not Ruby. He had resolved to end this charade one way or the other, but the way it had ended made his heart hurt. Kennedy hadn’t chosen him. Now he was going to have to hunt her down and punish her—for so many things.