“Can I quote you on my dating profile?” I quip.
Giantman snorts at that one, and I glance up at him, since I really didn’t think he’d been amused by me thus far.
Still smiling at me, Antonio Castellanos tells me, “The debt your husband owed me didn’t disappear with his death. That’s not how debt works. It passes on. Rodney’s debt? That’s yours now.”
I can’t lie and say I’m not disappointed, but I square my narrow shoulders, nodding. “That’s fair. I don’t know how much he owes you, but I’m working on a payment plan to get us out of the hole he left us in right now. Me and Ol’ Blue Eyes, actually,” I say, jerking my thumb toward the kitchen. “I’m sure I don’t have it all right now, but if you can give me a balance, obviously I’ll prioritize paying you off first.”
Castellanos shakes his head, popping his hat back on his head. “I don’t want your money. You ain’t got that much.”
Watching him warily, I ask, “Then what do you want?”
I don’t get involved in this shit myself, but it’s not hard to guess a favor doesn’t come cheap in his world. This isn’t going to be “water my plants while I’m on vacation.”
“I’m not sure I could be of much use to you. I live a very straight and narrow life. I’m not my husband. I don’t do the kind of shit he does—did,” I amend, shaking my head at the slip.
“You don’t need to. You don’t need any special skills; a pair of tits, your smart mouth, I think you’ll be good to go.”
“And what mission, exactly, is this?”
Antonio Castellanos smiles at me, his creepy not-a-smile again, and my skin crawls, but I keep my cool, ‘cause I’m good at that. “Seduction.”
Rolling my eyes, I say, “Ugh, seriously? No thanks. Men are gross.”
He looks a little thrown by that, his eyebrows rising. “You eat pussy?”
I manage not to snort. “I might start, if the Rodneys of the world are what’s left out there.”
I’ve finally caught Antonio’s interest, despite being fun, I guess, but now Giantman is the one staying focused. “This isn’t a request,” Giantman tells me, lifting his foot and stomping the framed picture of Lily beneath his shoe, shattering it this time.
Sobering, I swallow, looking at Antonio Castellanos. “Okay. I need more information. Who am I seducing? And to what end?”
I get the feeling he’s reveling in what he’s about to say, but it doesn’t make me any less comfortable—because I’m already fucking uncomfortable, I just don’t see the point of cowering. If they want a favor from me, they want a favor—let’s get down to brass tacks so I can agree to fuck some asshole and get them out of my house.
“I was a little misleading. I mean, you’ll have to seduce him, but that’s not where the job ends.”
Of course it’s not. Remaining stoic, I ask, “So, what’s the job?”
His mouth catches somewhere between a smile and a sneer, and despite insinuating he likes me, I get the feeling he very much doesn’t as he says, “You’re going to kill Mateo Morelli.”
I don’t mean to laugh.
Really, it’s not funny.
It’s horrifying, and impossible, and a lot of other things—but not funny.
“No, I’m not,” I say, shaking my head.
“Yes, you are.”
“What next, you want me to blow OJ?” I ask, eyes widening. “He killed the last woman he fucked. His wife or whatever—I don’t know, someone he was fucking, that bitch sleeps with the fishes now. No way.”
Reaching into his pocket, Antonio draws out two photographs. I expect this to be some kind of blackmail, some added “incentive” to do his bidding—or at least a picture of Mateo Morelli, in case I don’t already know about his dreamy eyes and muscular build. Obviously that makes me feel better about the wife-killer thing. Obviously.
“That’s not true,” he says, showing me a picture of some girl instead. “This is the last girl he fucked. She’s alive and well over in Evanston. I can’t get to her though, she’s with some nobody family member of his. Anyway, you look alike,” he says, holding her picture closer to my face.
I take it, frowning at the picture. “I mean… not really,” I say. We’re both thin and pretty with good hair and blue eyes, but that’s really not looking alike. I’m also older than this girl; apparently, he’s also cradle-robbing these days.
“Close enough,” he says, taking the picture back. Then he shows me another picture of another girl at a club, dancing in a strapless black dress, more tanned with dark hair. “This is the one he killed. You don’t look like her.”
“Oh, well, good; I’m sure he won’t kill me then.”
Antonio nods, like this logic makes sense, but probably just because he doesn’t give a single fuck. I’m super expendable.