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Danger's Heir(8)
Author: Mari Carr

Anger leaked into Rodrigo’s voice, making it hard and sharp. “You can’t be here.”

“You shouldn’t be here,” Casson countered quietly. He opened his mouth, prepared to say more. A flicker of movement caught Rodrigo’s attention. He looked over just in time to see a gorgeous woman in cat-burglar black raising a small gun and firing it.

Casson jerked, falling to the floor before Rodrigo could catch him.


* * *


Giada held the trigger of the modified stun gun, keeping the voltage flowing, until the stranger dropped. When she released it, he lay still, eyes half closed, only a sliver of white showing.

She shoved the stun gun back into her thigh pocket, and for the first time met her fiancé’s gaze.

“Hello, Rodrigo. I’m Giada.”



Chapter Three



Rodrigo was gorgeous. She’d known that from pictures. But his current expression, shocked and maybe a little pissed, made him seem approachable in a way he hadn’t been in photos she’d seen.

“You’re welcome,” she said, after an awkward silence.

“‘You’re welcome?” He looked from the man on the floor to her. “Why are you here?”

“I came to talk to you. But apparently I rescued you.”

Rodrigo leaned back against the wall and scrubbed his face over his hands. Hmmm. He didn’t seem grateful for the rescue.

She paused, considering what she’d heard of their conversation. They’d been whispering, except for toward the end, when Rodrigo had said, “You can’t be here.”

Giada thought about that for a moment, then looked at the man on the floor again. “Wait, you know him?” She looked up, but Rodrigo, who’d dropped his hands, was crouching beside the man, not looking at her. “Who is he? How do you know him? Why is he here?”

When Rodrigo didn’t answer immediately, she reached into her other pocket for her phone. She’d call her security team—Rodrigo’s was apparently shit, though hers hadn’t stopped her from sneaking out, so really they were probably equally ineffective.

“Stop. Please.” Rodrigo was on his feet, hand outstretched.

She paused. “Who is he?”

Rodrigo looked down at the man, then at her. “Can I trust you?”

“Probably not, but give it a try.”

Rodrigo laughed, surprising both of them. “This,” he said when he was done chuckling. “This is Casson.”

“And Casson is…”

Rodrigo merely looked at her, his face that unreadable mask she’d seen in pictures.

“Unless he’s here to assassinate someone in my family, I really don’t care.”

“And if he was here to assassinate me?” he asked.

Giada raised one shoulder in a shrug, lifting her hand palm up at the same time.

Rodrigo’s brows rose.

Giada crossed her arms, still holding her phone. “Who is he?”

“He’s not an assassin.”

Okay, enough of this game. Giada lifted her phone, unlocking it to call her security team.

“Stop,” Rodrigo ordered.

Giada looked at him, eyes narrowed. “Attento a come parli.”

Rodrigo took a step toward her, not exactly a threat but not a friendly gesture either. But to do it, he had to step over the legs of the man on the floor, who still hadn’t moved. Whoops. Maybe she’d held the trigger a little too long.

Rodrigo looked down at him, then back to her. “Casson is…”


“Casson is my ex.”

“Your…ex?” Of all the things she’d imagined, that had never crossed her mind. “Oh shit, are you gay?” Armani misogynistic-faux-religious-conservative-asshole Capello’s son was gay? Poor man.

“Bi,” Rodrigo said. “But my father doesn’t, can’t, know. Please.”

She snorted. “Of course your family can’t know. The same way mine doesn’t know that one female ‘friend’ I brought home for a summer in college was actually my lover.”

There was a moment of mutual understanding before they both looked at Casson, who was rousing.

It was only then that she saw the bouquet of flowers on a side table and remembered the man she’d seen in the hall, clearly looking for a lover. It turned out, she did know the person he’d been looking for. Worse, she was engaged to him. That thought led her to another one. A tragic one that any good Italian would react to.

Giada looked up sharply. “Oh no.”

Rodrigo was crouching beside the man again, but he watched her.

“You had to break up…you had to break up with him because of the engagement, didn’t you?” Secret lovers, doomed to never be together as Rodrigo’s family wouldn’t approve, finally torn apart by a forced marriage. Yet the other man…Cassan? Casson?…followed his beloved, hoping to win him back. Or maybe convince him to run away, to flee to the other side of the world where they could live in peace and be safe from the Capellos.

Goddamn, but this was romantic.

Rodrigo nodded slowly, and then the man on the floor opened his eyes and sat up.


* * *


Rodrigo stared at Casson for a moment, praying his suspicions were correct, that Casson had been aware and paying attention long enough to hear at least a small part of his lie.

He’d come too far now to lose his grip in this world. He’d committed to this latest lie, and now he had to sell it.

Rodrigo, still kneeling, cupped Casson’s face. Mercifully, Giada was too far away to catch sight of Casson’s reaction—the slight narrowing of his eyes, the “what the fuck are you doing” expression.

“I have missed you, mi amor.”

“Rodrigo,” Casson murmured. To Rodrigo, it sounded like a warning. To Giada, it could hopefully be misconstrued as a long-lost lover pleading.

Rodrigo closed the distance, leaned forward, and kissed Casson.

It had been his intention to keep it short, to play off the brief touch as hesitance, uncertainty after a painful split.

That plan changed quickly.

Perhaps it was Rodrigo who’d mistaken Casson’s reaction because the man held nothing back in his kiss. Clearly, the rumors about Casson Serrano’s abilities as a top-notch undercover operative hadn’t been exaggerated. With his lips and his hands, Casson was creating a history so intricate that Rodrigo could almost believe they had shared a past love, a painful heartbreak.

It was too much. Rodrigo tried to pull away, but Casson stopped him, gripping his upper arms, as he deepened the kiss, which was surprisingly gentle, little more than an open, honest exploration.

Rodrigo groaned—the sound escaping before he could think better of it—when Casson’s tongue stroked his. What had begun as a show, a mere ploy, backfired quickly as Rodrigo’s cock began to thicken. He tilted his head, hungry for more.

It had been too long since he’d felt this kind of closeness, this sort of connection to another person. He’d spent days…weeks…months surrounded by the worst humanity had to offer. Alone and adrift in an endless sea of violence, suspicion, paranoia, fear.

Casson’s soft kiss felt like aloe on a burn, soothing, comforting, and he responded to it more readily than he would have expected.

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