King of Sloth (Kings of Sin #4) by Ana Huang



Breaking into a ten-thousand-dollar-a-night Greek villa hadn’t been in my plans for the day, but plans changed and people adapted, especially when they had clients who insisted on making their life as difficult as possible.

My knees scraped against concrete as I hauled myself onto the terrace ledge and over the railing. If I ruined my brand-new Stella Alonso dress over this, I’d kill him, bring him back to clean up the mess, then kill him again.

Luckily for him, I landed on the terrace without incident and slipped back into the heels I’d tossed over earlier. The heavy drum of my heartbeats followed me to the sliding glass door, where I tapped the master key I’d “borrowed” from one of the maids against the card reader.

I would’ve gone through the front door, but it was too exposed.

The back terrace was the only way.

The card reader whirred, and for a single terrifying second, I thought it wouldn’t open. Then the reader flashed green, and I allowed myself a breath of relief before I set my jaw again.

Breaking in was the easy part. Getting him to another country by sunset was another.

I made a quick detour to the kitchen, then crossed the living room to the primary suite. I winced when I saw the empty beer bottles littering the kitchen counter, and it took every ounce of willpower not to toss them in the recycling bin, sterilize the marble, and spray the room with air freshener.

Stay focused. My professional and personal reputations were on the line.

The villa was cool and quiet despite the early-afternoon sun splashing through the windows, and the bedroom was cooler and quieter still.

Perhaps that was why, when I walked to the bed and unceremoniously dumped a large bowl of ice-cold water over its slumbering occupant, the speed of his response startled a rare gasp out of me.

A strong hand shot out and grasped my wrist. The empty bowl clattered to the ground, and the room tilted as he yanked me down, rolled over, and pinned me against the bed before the gasp fully left my mouth.

Xavier Castillo stared down at me, his handsome face etched with a scowl.

The only son of Colombia’s wealthiest man (and my least cooperative client) was usually laid-back to a fault, but there was nothing laid-back about the way his forearm pressed against my throat or the one hundred eighty pounds of solid muscle trapping me beneath him.

His scowl relaxed as anger gave way to recognition and a touch of horror. “Sloane?”

“That is my name.” I lifted my chin, trying not to focus on how warm he was compared to the damp mattress against my back. “Now, if you could release me immediately, it would be appreciated. I’m ruining a seven-hundred-dollar dress.”

“Mierda.” He spit out the curse and relaxed his hold on my neck so I could get up. “What the hell are you doing here?”

“My job.” I pushed him off me and stood. Was it just me, or was it exponentially colder now than it’d been five minutes ago? “It’s the twelfth. You know where you’re supposed to be, and it’s not here.” I glared at him, daring him to argue.

“I thought you were an intruder. I could’ve hurt you.” Now that we’d established I wasn’t here to rob or kidnap him, a familiar grin replaced his frown. Xavier retook his spot on the bed, the picture of insouciance. “Technically, you are an intruder, but a very beautiful one. If you wanted to join me in bed, you only had to say so. No need to go to all this trouble.” He arched an eyebrow at the bowl on the floor. “How’d you get in anyway?”

“I stole a master key, and don’t try to distract me.” After three years of working with Xavier, I was used to his tricks. “It’s one in the afternoon. Your jet is waiting for us at the airport. If we leave in the next half hour, we’ll make it to London in time to get ready before tonight’s gala.”

“Great plan.” Xavier stretched his arms over his head and yawned. “Except for one problem—I’m not going.”

My nails dug into my palms before I caught myself. Breathe.

Remember, murdering a client is considered unprofessional.

“You will get out of bed,” I said, my voice chilly enough to freeze the droplets of water lingering on his skin. “You will board that jet, attend the gala with a smile, and stay for the entirety of the event like a good representative of the Castillo family because if you don’t, I will make it my personal mission to ensure you never have another second of peace. I will crash every party you attend, warn off any woman stupid enough to fall into your orbit, and blacklist any of your friends who enable your worst impulses from my events. I can make your life a living hell, so don’t make an enemy out of me.”

Xavier yawned again.

This had been our dynamic since Xavier’s father hired me three years ago, right before Xavier moved from Los Angeles to New York, but I was done going easy on him.

“So, you’re my new publicist.” Xavier kicked back in his chair and propped his feet on my desk. White teeth flashed against tanned skin, and his eyes sparkled with a slyness that made me bristle.

Ten seconds after meeting my most lucrative client, and I already hated him.

“Remove your feet from my desk and sit like a proper adult.” I didn’t care that Alberto Castillo was paying me triple my usual fee to look after his son. No one disrespected me in my own office. “Otherwise, you can leave and explain to your father why you got dropped by your publicist on the very first day. I imagine that’ll have a negative impact on your cash flow.”