Unedited Draft: WARNING: Intended for Mature audience

| La Mano  Part 3 |

"So what limb will you be cutting off?"

La Mano arched a well sculpted eyebrow. "So you do remember me." She was even more beautiful than Arillion remembered.

Arillion looked around the dark room well decorated with dark woods, comfortable looking chairs and a big wooden desk. "I haven't been able to think of anything else since."

She placed her glasses on the desk and pushed herself up but stayed behind the desk. "Please sit." She gestured to a chair in front of the desk.

Arillion took a seat keeping his eyes on her just in case he needed to make  a sudden move to escape. That’s what he told himself anyway. In reality he just wanted to take her in. She walked over to a countertop embedded in the wall with dark wood cupboards below and above the granite surface.

"Drink?" She poured a brown liquid into a short glass.

Arillion shook his head. "No thank you." He watched her intently as she capped the glass container, swirled the liquid, and took a sip. She faced him.

"Too bad, it's an excellent brandy."

"I'd expect nothing less."

She smirked strolling closer to him. Suddenly the space got smaller. It wasn't that she made him uneasy, which she should, it was that she made his blood stir. She was wearing a black pencil skirt that went up to her small waist. Tucked in the skirt was a lime green blouse. She wore flower colored pumps on her small feet. Her face was pleasantly flushed by her make-up her lips painted a pretty plum purple.

"How was your plane ride here? I trust you were comfortable that the accommodations were to your liking." She strolled behind him grazing a finger across his shoulders and up the nape of his neck getting tangled in his low cropped hair. He knew better than to relax around her to let her intimate touch force him off guard, but he couldn't help it. That light floral scent that clung to her before calmed his mind in the present he lowered his head enjoying her touch. It was irresponsible to let his guard down. She was a viper and he knew she would strike him down once given the chance, but for now she was disguised in lamb's garb and he liked it.

Giving the rouse of letting down his guard could make her feel like she had the upper hand make her feel comfortable. Arillion greatly doubted she ever let her guard down, in fact he couldn't even imagine what she would look like if she did. Despite himself his mind created a scene with the two of them wrapped in silk white sheets light from the moon caressing their bodies. The luxurious room open to a large balcony the curtains billowing from a Caribbean breeze.

The beautiful woman walked around the chair still touching his shoulders, his collar bone, down his jaw as she nestled her well shaped back side on his lap. She leaned back into him. Making sure he felt every movement when she pushed herself securely onto his lap. She draped the hand holding the drink over Arillion's shoulder she used her free hand to stroke his jaw. She was so close he could smell the liquor on her lips. He could see the bursts of colors that made up the liquid brown green of her eyes.

"You are more handsome than I remember. Then again it was over a year ago wasn’t it?" She brushed a piece of fallen hair from his face her intelligent eyes examining him. It took everything in Arillion to stay still because the things he wanted to do to her were...inconvenient considering his situation. He had to stay calm play cool even though she had him burning up, near exploding with want and desire.

"I doubt you flew me all this way to boost my ego." Arillion licked his lips his eyes falling to hers. "What do you want from me?"

A smile pulled up at the corner of her full lips. "Direct. I like that. But..." She let the word hang in the air bringing her face closer to him. "Maybe I don't want to be direct." Arillion's resolve wavered. He struggled to keep his composure.

"Why do you fight it so? I can see it in your eyes the way you look at me that you wish..." She held the last word nibbling his ear. "That I was naked." He could hear the laughter in her voice as his heartbeat picked up. She knew she had the upper hand. She knew that he had no cards to play and she was playing hers well. But Arillion also knew that there was always a bargain to be struck. "Don't worry." She placed a kiss on his collar bone. "I do not blame you for what you did for my brother. Water under the bridge."

Arillion pulled back getting a gap of space, much needed space between her lips and his skin. "You don't strike me as the kind of person who would forgive so easily."

Her mood shifted quickly her dark eyebrows pulled together. "And you know me?" She pushed herself off his lap leaving Arillion feeling, cold, bare, empty. She strolled over to her desk her back to him. He half expected her to pull a grenade launcher from behind her desk and blow him to smithereens; however, he knew that she brought him here for something. She needed him to do something for her he knew that handsome or not she would have gut him otherwise. He had an idea what she was after. It pained him to see her wrestle with her own pride.

She took a sip of her drink her back still to Arillion. Slowly, she turned around her lips pulled up at the corner. On someone else he might have considered it a smile. Slowly she lowered herself in the chair behind the desk. She set her glass down her pointer fingers steepled as she sat deep in thought.

Arillion pushed himself out of the arm chair and strolled up to her removing a picture from his coat pocket. He tossed it in front of her. She picked it up then looked up at him under lashes then set back in her chair.

"What do you know?"

Arillion reached in his coat again and pulled out another piece of paper that he tossed on her desk. He'd heard things anybody who was listening would have heard something. Arillion had to keep his ear to the ground it was good business practices. He'd heard rumors about Faust a while back, but just recently heard his sexy female companion was after it.

"I know that you want it. I know that you would have it already if you could get it yourself."

The beautiful woman before him cursed in Spanish and tossed the picture back on her desk toward Arillion.

"You're clever enough to know that who ever has Faust is at the top of the food chain."

Arillion smirked finding it quite pleasing watching the woman's chest rise and fall in her frustration.

"Cleaver enough to know the man whose possession it is currently in is no one to be taken lightly."

La Mano sneered. "Pretty boy never got his hands dirty a day in his little life."

"That's not what I heard."

She smirked crossing her legs. "Really? Then what did you hear?"

"Giovanni Bianchi is a monster with a handsome exterior and an excellent tailor." Arillion strolled over to the hutch with the fine liquor and poured himself a glass.  "Merciless some say, vicious, calculating, charming, dashing, dangerous just some words used to describe him. One thing all my sources agree on is he's a force." Arillion turned to face LA Mano the glass pressed to his bottom lips. "He is the reason why you will give me whatever I want in order to get Faust. So, what's it worth?"

"Ah so you have it all figured out do you?"

"Please let's not pretend I'm here for some other purpose."

"Two million."

"Not even worth the jet fuel to get me here."

She pierced her lips. "Fine, twenty million."

"You're beginning to get my attention."

Her nostrils flared. "Fine fine." She ran her fingers through her long, wavy hair. "One hundred million."

"More."

"What is it that you want?"

Arillion pushed himself off the counter and strolled over to her desk. "More." He placed his palms on the wooden surface and leaned toward her. "I've seen you be very creative."

She made a quick movement and before Arillion could react something sharp, metal, and cold was pressed solidly to his throat.

"Do you know what greedy gets you?"

Arillion clasped her wrist and pressed the knife harder to his throat blood sliding down his neck. "More."

Her lips parted her dark eyes met his. If Arillion wasn't mistaken he thought he saw desire in the depths of her dark orbs. "You have a lot of enemies. We would offer you protection."

Arillion nodded. "Now you're starting to peak my interest but, I still want more."

There was a pause where she looked down at her desk then back up at him from under her lashes."Me?"

Arillion barely recognized her voice, quiet and meek. He didn't think she had a submissive bone in her body. Arillion frowned. "I'm listening."

"A weekend with me."

Arillion let her wrist go the offer rolling around his mind. "One hundred million dollars, protection from the one and only La Mano de Diablo and a week end with the most beautiful woman I've ever had the honor of laying eyes on." He tapped his chin. He could never admit that he was excited about spending a weekend with her. Part of him was terrified that she might gut him open in his sleep but the other part of him that dumb male side was more than excited about the thought of charming the beautiful snake. "Now those are terms that I can work with."

Continue to Part 4...