By Vicki Williams
Luca Quai excelled at three things: seduction, sleight of hand and assassination.
Rarely did Luca meet anyone, male or female, who couldn’t be tempted into his bed. Partly that was because of his striking looks. Slightly above medium height, his lithe slenderness belied his strength. He was lean and hard and quick. His thick black hair curled down his neck. Mysterious eyes the color of pewter, the somewhat slanted shape of them hinting at a long-ago Mongol ancestor, were framed by thick brows and long lashes. The rest of his face featured high cheekbones, a straight aristocratic nose and a firm chin. His skin color was deeply tan. He could pass for Latino or Arabic or even African-American if the occasion called for it. Add to that a gleaming white slash of a smile and Luca ignited lust like a match ignites tinder.
Even more than his looks though was a kind of magnetism that surrounded him like an incandescent aura. It lured people into wanting to share in the sensuous golden glow of it.
His mastery of sleight of hand most often manifested itself through cheating at cards. He could palm a card, replacing it with another, with movements so smooth and quick that no one even noticed. His favorite game was poker although he’d play others if a high roller suggested a friendly wager.
And lastly, killing – almost always with a knife. Luca could smile while sticking a stiletto in your heart so that you were knocking on the Pearly Gates before you realized you were under attack. (Sleight of hand played a part in that too, of course). He was the favorite assassin of those who had a strongly emotional animus against the target, when a bullet from a distance simply wasn’t personal enough.
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