Station chief Ross Guerrero tapped a pencil on his blotter and scrutinized Kathie Belmont,
seated on a straight-backed chair on the other side of his wide, government-issue desk. A soft-
faced young woman, she had the healthy good looks of a college student or a California beach
cutie, common here in San Diego. Her mink-brown hair with tasteful gold highlights was blunt
cut at her chin, masking a strong jaw line. Wide, long-lashed eyes regarded Ross with
openness and candor.
With multiple piercings in each ear and a silver toe ring peeping from her sandal, she looked
like any girl attending San Diego State, UCSD or even Chula Vista High. In reality, Belmont was
twenty-nine years old, had graduated with honors in criminal justice from Pepperdine, then
gone on to a short but successful career as a police officer in Los Angeles. She’d joined the
agency, performing well during training and in her first assignments. Now he’d find out if she
was ready for more demanding tasks.
Her appearance was as useful as her black belt and her Glock. Living proof of the maxim
“you can’t judge a book by its cover,” Agent Belmont, who’d been orphaned as a teen, had
capably cared for her two younger siblings, fighting to keep her family together. She was as
competent an operative as any he’d encountered during his thirteen years with the agency.
“Here’s the situation.” Ross leaned forward. “There’s a group of baddies selling drugs just
over the border. Mostly steroids, but some crystal, crack, horse … you name it, they’ve got it.
Because they’re in Mexico, the usual law enforcement agencies can’t go in.”
Her hazel eyes gleamed. “But we can.”
“Yes, we can. But there’s a twist.”
She shrugged tanned shoulders, revealed by her sleeveless pink blouse. “Isn’t there
“They run their drugs and whores out of a party house.” He eyed her, wondering if she
was up for the job. “An orgy house.”
Her brows lifted. “They still exist in the age of AIDS?”
“They do. This one is in a chi-chi area called the Zona Rio, on the south side of the Tijuana
River.” He paused, tapping the pencil on the blotter. “I can’t go in without a woman.”
She cleared her throat. “Exactly what would this mission entail, sir?” Her voice was crisp
Even so, Ross noted the signs of nervous excitement. A slight sheen of perspiration
between her breasts, where their tops were displayed by the scooped neck of her shirt. She
fiddled with her hair and didn’t meet his eyes. She crossed her suntanned knees, exposed by a
blue denim mini-skirt, then recrossed them, giving him a brief glimpse of pink panties. His pulse
jumped. Had she intended to flash him?
He cleared his throat. “They won’t know you understand Spanish," he continued. "You’d
listen as well as watch my back. This is a group of evil bastards with absolutely no morals.
They’re even selling to steroids to minors, school kids with a dream of getting out of the slums
Her lips firmed. “Let’s get ’em, sir.”
“Your life could depend upon unswerving obedience to my commands. Truthfully, Belmont,
I’m not sure you can do it.”
She bristled. “Why not?”
“Remember that Mexico is mostly a third-world country. The status of women…” He
shrugged. “You’d come with me as my submissive. My slave.”
Her elegant jaw dropped. “You’re shittin’ me.”
He wagged a finger at her. “Language, young lady.”
“Pardon me, sir.” She shut her mouth with an audible snap, then said, “Is this plan
sanctioned by HQ?”
He evaded, saying, “You know that they give me considerable latitude.”
Her eyes narrowed. “In other words, no, but you think you can get away with it.”
“So why?” she asked, her voice dropping to a shaky whisper.
“I think you know why, Belmont.” He walked around the barrier of his desk and knelt next
to her chair. His face was now level with hers, and his gaze fixed on her eyes, her wide,
nervous, expectant eyes. He read fear there, as well as blatant feminine curiosity.
He’d have her exactly the way he wanted, but he’d have to take care. A single wrong move,
and she’d bolt.
He leaned closer, inhaling her cologne, a fresh, bright scent he didn’t recognize but suited
her perfectly. He let his lips brush her neck, and watched the tiny hairs shift in subtle response.
“You know why,” he murmured into her ear before nipping the lobe.
She gasped, and he chuckled. “Just let go, Belmont. Just…let go.”
She turned her head to shoot him a steady look from those compelling hazel eyes. This
time, their gazes met and clashed. Her eyes were bold, unflinching, utterly unafraid.