A pair of brown eyes watched as she danced. These were set into the face of a man who stood in the shadowy doorway. He did not move, only stared unblinkingly as the fiery woman danced.
The music came crashing down – one, two, three! – and then stopped. On the final note, the woman collapsed in a precise movement and froze.
Stepping out of the shadows, the man clapped. With a gasp, the dancer looked up at him. It was obvious she had not realized she had been observed.
“You dance very well.” the man spoke in flawless Spanish, but with a heavy American accent.
“Thank you.” the dancer said in English. “I do not know you.”
“I’m here on behalf of Philippe.”
The dancer’s dark eyes widened. “Philippe MontCarl?”
She scowled. “Why does he not come himself?”
“Business detained him.”
“Ah, yes, business.” the dancer said scornfully.
“But he sent me with a message for you.”
She did not ask what it was, but the man continued anyway.
“He wants you to dance for him.”
Tossing her head, the dancer replied: “I dance no more.”
“But I saw you--”
Eyes flashing, the dancer repeated: “I dance no more. For Philippe MontCarl, for no one I will dance. You tell him that. You go back to Philippe and tell him I am not a dancer.”
She closed her eyes.
“Because it is dangerous.”
“I’m sorry,” the man said, walking towards her, “MontCarl is not one to accept excuses.”
She stepped away from him.
“I will not go with you. I will not hurt no one.”
“Come with me.”
She turned to run, but the man snapped his fingers and she froze in her tracks. He moved to stand before her. He was just an ordinary American man, dressed in Wrangler’s and a leather jacket. Just an ordinary man with the ability to stop her movement with a snap of his fingers.
“Now, what say we try this again?” he said.