Authors: Katheryn Lane
Escape from danger with HER LATIN LOVER
When Mary Delaney is offered an all expenses paid, luxury holiday in South America with her journalist boyfriend, the last thing she expects to happen is to find herself stuck in the middle of nowhere with no boyfriend, no money and no way of getting back to London. When an irresistibly sexy landowner, Don Paulo de Castile, tells her that he has just won her in a game of poker, should she believe him, or try to find out what has happened to her missing boyfriend?
Paulo didn’t realise at the beginning of his poker game that he was playing to win Mary, a woman who bears a striking resemblance to a person he once loved. However, it takes more than a game of cards to win Mary’s heart and Paulo isn’t the only local man interested in her. As well as battling for Mary’s affection, he has to fight off the attentions of the local mafia in a fight that can have only one outcome . . .
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works full-time as a teacher, mother and wife, but somehow also finds time to be a part-time writer as well! She loves to write contemporary romances set in exotic locations. Her highly acclaimed first romance,
THE ROYAL SHEIKH
was inspired by her experience of living in the Middle East and her second novel,
HER LATIN LOVER
takes readers to the treacherous towns and countryside of South America. In her free time (on the rare occasion that she has any!) she likes to lose herself in a good book.
HER LATIN LOVER
Katheryn Lane on Amazon
Her Latin Lover
Copyright © 2012 by Katheryn Lane
All rights reserved
Cover art by Judy Bullard at
This is a work of fiction. All characters, names, places and events depicted herein are either a product of the author’s imagination, or are used fictitiously.
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Nick had promised her a luxury, all expenses paid holiday with him, so why was she lying alone on a flea-ridden bed in a dingy hotel room? Mary stared up at the dusty ceiling fan that creaked above her. It did nothing to relieve the clammy, tropical heat in the room. She flung aside the damp bed sheet and tried to ignore the faint yellowish stains on it. They certainly were not from any love-making that she had had with Nick. They had not had sex since the first night they had arrived in Latin America. Since then, Nick had spent every evening drinking late into the night with whoever would join him. He told Mary that it was a necessary part of his job, as it would help him to get leads for his story – the story that would make his name in journalism. Mary thought that the only name Nick was making for himself was as a drunken foreigner in a strange country.
She slipped out of bed and threw off the T-shirt that she had worn in the night, more to keep a distance between herself and the musty bed sheets, than out of any sense of modesty. The carpet felt sticky under her bare feet as she strode across the room towards the bathroom. Once in there, she pulled the mildewed shower curtain aside and stepped into the cubicle. Turning on the large rusty tap produced only the smallest trickle of lukewarm water from the corroded shower head above her. She did her best to wash her body and shampoo her short, golden brown hair. She had a well-toned body, which could be described as either skinny or as slender, depending on one’s preference.
She wished that she was back in the five-star hotel in the capital, La Puesta, where she and Nick had stayed for a couple of days when they first arrived in South America. With its huge swimming pool and spa, it had been bliss. Now, they were in the best room of the best hotel that the small town of Corazon had to offer. It was grim. Although her flat in London was small – perhaps “cramped” was a more accurate description – and in a rather insalubrious location (“An up and coming neighbourhood,” the estate agent had said), it was all luxury compared to this. Mary could not even get properly dried here. The towel was damp, like everything else, and as soon as she had finished using it, she was sweating again so much that damp patches quickly formed on her blue T-shirt and her trousers stuck uncomfortably to her thighs. She opened the large sash windows in the bedroom and stood out on the balcony in search of a cooling breeze. However, the air on the balcony was as still and as heavy as the stale air in the bedroom.
Below her, Mary could see the town plaza. It looked like a stage set out of a Zoro movie. In fact, Mary would not have been surprised if a masked man suddenly rode across the square, pulled out his sword and cut a large Z into something. Sadly, it was more likely that she would see a real-life bandit drive through in a truck, pull out a gun and shoot someone. Violence was rife. Nick had explained to her how poverty, drug barons, corruption, the government and coffee cartels all clashed against each other to produce a deadly cocktail in which more people were murdered every day than killed on the roads, and no small number of people were killed in traffic accidents every year.
However, now everything seemed tranquil as Mary gazed down on the scene before her. Two fat women were walking up the steps to the entrance of the local church in which there was a huge altarpiece said to have been made out of Aztec gold. On the other side of the square a group of old men sat outside a café next to the old courthouse, smoking and drinking coffee; at least Mary presumed it was coffee. The local café also doubled up as the local bar and it was quite possible that the old men were drinking brandy even though it was only nine o’clock in the morning. It was also quite possible that Nick was still in there. She had left him last night playing poker in one of the back rooms with a group of mean-looking, local men. They had seemed like the type of men that would rather pull out a gun than debate whether someone was cheating at poker. Mary did not want to spend her evening getting drunk with local bandits and had left Nick to it. He was probably either asleep under a table or still drinking. Both were quite possible with him. Mary just hoped that he had not tried cheating at cards.
Mary left the clammy confines of the hotel room to head off to the café. She told herself it was because their coffee was better than the hotel’s, but she knew that the real reason was that she wanted to find Nick. She hated the idea of acting like the nagging girlfriend, asking questions like, “What time do you call this?” and “Where have you been all night?” but what else was she meant to do? Stay in the hotel room all day waiting for him to turn up? Also, the coffee at the café really was better than the hotel’s. It was served hot for a start.
Mary walked through the dark reception area and was just about to push open the heavy wooden door and step out into the main square, where she heard someone call out, “Señora!” She did not think anyone would be calling out to her, but since she hadn’t seen anyone else in the hotel lobby, and partly out of pure curiosity, she turned round to look.
The hotel proprietor was standing behind the reception desk. He must have seen her from the back room as she walked past. The proprietor, Señor Marcos, was a tall, bony man with thick oily hair and dirty clothes. He rested his knobbly elbows on the worn leather top of the desk.
“Señora, por favour?” he called out. His voice was unnaturally high-pitched. Mary wondered if he’d been castrated like the young boys of Renaissance Italy, the castrati, who had part of their genitals removed so that their voices could continue to resonate through the cathedrals with a pure sound. Mary giggled at the ridiculous thought of the greasy Señor Marcos singing in a church choir with a white starched ruff around his neck.
“Si?” Mary said, a broad smile across her face.
“Quantos noches . . .” Señor Marcos began squeaking.
“Sorry, I don’t understand. No Spanish.” Mary explained.
She had done French at school, which wasn’t much use out here. In the capital most people had spoken at least some English, but here in the middle of nowhere, people not only spoke very little English, they didn’t speak very standard Spanish either. Even Nick, who had studied Spanish extensively at school, seemed to struggle to understand the strange local dialect, not that he would admit it to her. However, she could tell he found it difficult from the intense look he sometimes had on his face when he was listening to what the local people were saying. However, he certainly understood enough to get by, so Mary left him to deal with everything, though she had learnt how to order two beers in Spanish.
The hotel owner tried again. “Credit card? Money?”
“Oh, I see. Nick, Señor Kingsley has the credit card. He will pay you.” Actually, the newspaper he worked for was paying for the trip and it was the newspaper’s credit card that Nick was using and rather extensively too, but she didn’t think it was necessary to go into all the details with the greasy hotel owner. She was about to turn around and head out the door, when the owner called out to her again.
“No Señora. Señor Kingsley, he go La Puesta. Bus. Six o’clock.” The hotel owner made a bus noise and lifted six of his nicotine-stained fingers up in front of her to illustrate the point. “Señor Kinglsey pay finished. Now, you pay. You stay one night? One week?”
“Two weeks,” Mary replied automatically. They were meant to be in the town for three weeks while Nick worked on his story and one of those weeks had already passed. Mary was not sure what was going on. She guessed that Nick had gone into La Puesta to follow up on some lead for his story.
“Two weeks. $160 one night,” the hotel owner said. He brought out an over-sized calculator from underneath the desk. He punched in a few figures. “$2,240!” he said, showing her the sum on the large screen. Mary noticed that the plastic screen was cracked.
“Now you pay $500,” he announced, his voice higher than ever. “You pay more later.”
“No, you don’t understand. Señor Kingsley is paying. Señor Kingsley has the credit card.” Mary was getting irritated. The owner was vastly over-charging them for the room. Nick had been a fool to agree to the ridiculous rate that he’d been quoted, and now the hotel proprietor was asking her for $500. She wished the horrible man would stop annoying her. She wanted her coffee and some breakfast.
“No, Señor Kingsley, he go,” the man insisted. “You pay!” He stabbed his finger at her. It was close enough to her face that she could smell the stale tobacco on it.
“I don’t have any money. No money,” Mary repeated. It was true. Nick had said that he would cover everything as a sort of gift to make up for some of his recent behaviour in London. Mary had only brought with her a tiny bit of spending money, of which she had about $20 left in local currency. As a newly qualified, twenty-four-year-old primary teacher, she barely earned enough money to survive. She certainly didn’t have enough money to pay for holidays. However, Nick had said that he would pay for everything and Mary knew that he would. He might be a bastard at times, but he had always been a very generous bastard.
“Señora, you have no money, you have no room,” the man said slowly as if he were talking to a child.
“Can I get into my safe, please?” Mary asked, getting the key out of her bag. The hotel had a couple of safe deposit boxes in the back room, behind the reception desk, which guests were allowed to use. Mary and Nick had deposited their valuables in one when they arrived a week ago, including the newspaper’s credit card. Mary hoped that Nick hadn’t taken it with him to La Puesta. However, even if he had, there was $2000 in the safe, which Nick had withdrawn from a bank in La Puesta before they had set off for this horrible little town.
Señor Marcos lifted up the flap of the desktop so that she could get through and go into the back room. The room was dark and the air smelt of stale smoke and whiskey, like the bar she had been in the night before with Nick. Mary looked around for the safe boxes. They were up on the wall in an inside corner, hidden from view from the main reception area. Underneath the large metal boxes was a small plastic table that Mary didn’t remember seeing when she had first been there to use the safe box. The table was covered in cigarette burns. In the middle of it was a gun. Mary looked at the hotel owner. He looked back at her, but instead of moving the gun or saying anything, he just pointed at her safe box, which was near the top of the wall, in the middle.