Soon enough, Hector was at her side, planting a moist kiss in the curve between her neck and shoulder. “My darling Marie,” he said, drawing out the precisely pronounced syllables of her name. “Mi preciosa. I have missed your beauty.”
He drew his chair nearer to hers while raising her fingers to his lips. “I see you received my gift. The pearls pale next to your delicate skin.” He lightly touched the strand, his fingers encircling her neck, and rested his mouth against her ear. “Do you have it?” His sultry whisper barely concealed a sinister note.
She gripped the black velvet evening bag on her lap, willing herself to match his flirtatious mood. “Of course,” she purred. “A small price for such a lovely prize.” Withdrawing her hand from his, she twisted the pearls between her fingers.
Hector laughed and leaned back just enough to see her eyes, the tip of his nose practically touching hers. “Did the Brit show you a good time in my absence?” He laughed again, clearly amused. “I’m told you barely left his flat.”
Marie remained poised and calm, but her stomach flip-flopped. “Spies, Hector?” she said, grateful her voice didn’t crack. “Did you really think that necessary?”
He shrugged. “I guard what belongs to me, querida.”
She willed her eyes to stay soft and warm while her heart pounded out its mantra. This isn’t me. I’m playing a part. This isn’t me.
Without taking her eyes from his, she drew the tiny camera from her bag and placed it on his knee. With a barely perceptible movement, Hector pocketed the camera.
No one watching them could have seen the transfer, not that it mattered in this room full of Spanish officials and their guests. Marie could have placed the camera on the table in plain sight of whoever cared to look. But that would have robbed Hector of a story to tell those he wished to impress.
He laughed again, leaned back in his chair, and signaled for a waiter to pour them more champagne. Within minutes, they were joined by two more couples, strangers to Marie but obviously important to her escort. Between their dinner courses, he encouraged both the gentlemen to dance with her while he either danced with their ladies or, more frequently, watched her from the table.
Sensing his predatory eyes upon her, Marie inwardly squirmed, feeling as helpless as trapped prey. Except instead of a steel snare, she was held captive by a luxurious strand of expensive pearls, bubbling champagne, and the vague promise of additional presents.
And a sense of duty to her mission.
Christian Fiction Friday is a weekly blog hop where authors post snippets from their current works in progress. It is hosted by Alana Terry and Hallee Bridgeman. Click here for a full list of rules and suggestions.