As Reese continued working with Dallas to renovate the landscaping at the mysterious estate, she wondered about the man who had just purchased it. Some rich guy with a family maybe he wanted to stash somewhere private while he set out to conquer the business world. So many power brokers like that around, those who dealt in both legal and illegal trades, others blurring the lines in between by doing both.

Like Rodrigo and the men he had employed.

Carlos had continued to issue them curt instructions, some verbally but most in writing, some said to be straight from the new estate owner himself, named Gunthor. Definitely a European sounding name, possibly from what had once been the Eastern Bloc. She wondered what business he worked in and then asked herself if she really wanted to know. She and Dallas were hired to do the work and not ask questions, at least not those involving the landscaping job.

But she hadn't even seen any photos of the lord of the manor as he might be called during different times. She stood there wiping her brow after preparing a plot of land to grow some perennial seedling that would be planted, which next year would produce rows of flowers in different shades of the rainbow. The soil had to be turned over and some fertilizer mixed in with it to have the nutrients required for the plants. Dallas had let her pick up a hoe and shovel and handle that part of it while he surveyed what would be a mini rain forest around the waterfall and lagoon pool. He hadn't said much to her but then that'd been par for the course since they started the job. Probably would rather be paired up with Clover so they could fool around on breaks, there were certainly enough nooks and crannies on the property to guarantee privacy, not to mention what looked like an orchard that had overgrown itself with old growth but still had some fruit trees trying to survive inside its stone walls.

She wouldn't mind taking on that challenge as she thought it held some potential and Rodrigo had an orchard on his island that grew figs, olives and some wild grapes. She had met up with Dallas several times in the shadows near the corners where no one could see them…just for a few stolen moments away from their assigned covers. Looking back now she couldn't believe the chances they had taken because if they'd been caught…

No she couldn't think back to those days even as her sessions with Serena she had relived some of them.

"How's it coming along?"

She looked behind her and saw Carlos dressed in more casual attire than he usually favored standing and watching her. She brushed the dirt off of her hands on her jeans and looked back at him.

"I just finished prepping the dirt," she said, "I'll water it down a little and the seedlings will be arriving and ready to plant tomorrow."

He nodded as if the answer pleased him and she believed him to be older than she first had thought, in his forties and it was clear that the guy who he worked for had put a lot of trust into him and his abilities to oversee the renovation of his new property. He started to leave and she thought of something.

"I noticed the orchard…though it looks like no one's noticed it for a long time."

Carlos studied her and then nodded.

"Used to be mainly peaches, plums and the like," he said, "but Gunthor wants to tear them all out and replant it with other types of trees, olives and some tropical fruit."

She frowned.

"That might be tough in this temperate climate," she said, "It's cloudy too much of the year."

Carlos didn't seem too concerned.

"My boss…what he wants, he gets," he said, "You…you look smart enough to find a way to do that."

The man sounded resolute in what he told her and she knew that Gunthor would expect her to try. Maybe she could talk to Adele about some ideas to make that work when she returned to the nursery.

After Carlos nodded again at her and walked away, she looked up across the grassy lawn and saw Dallas walk away from the area of the lagoon. He had taken off his shirt exposing his muscular chest sprinkled with dark hair and tanned by the sun. His jeans caked with dried dirt. She saw him talk with Carlos a moment and then head in her direction. She took a deep breath preparing herself for whatever he threw at her. It had gotten to be a way of life for her.

As he approached, he appeared to be inspecting her work. She arched a brow at him waiting for him to say something.

"How much do you have left to do?"

"Not much…it'll be ready when the seedlings arrive tomorrow."

He nodded so maybe he liked her answer.

"You'll need help planting them?"

She shook her head.

"Nah I'll be fine," she said, "I'm not the one who has to turn the pool area into a tropical paradise."

He grimaced at her words and she figured he wasn't having an easy time of it. But he could commiserate with Clover about it later on, she didn't want to listen to it.

"It's coming along," he said, "I might be able to talk Carlos into telling his boss that maybe subtropical might work better in this climate."

She wondered if he'd have any luck.

"That would work better but this Gunthor guy seems to have his mind made up on how he wants this place to look before he arrives."

Dallas didn't look too impressed.

"He'll see that it's the right alternative," he said, "So what are you doing next?"

She wished he wasn't standing there talking to her like that with his shirt off. After all, she might have broken it off with him but she was still a woman, and he looked damn sexy with his jeans hanging low on his hips exposing even more of his impressive muscles.

Breathing became a little bit more difficult much to her annoyance so she looked away for a moment before answering.

"I'm going to start in on the orchard," she said, "I guess it was pretty much abandoned by the previous owner and Gunthor wants different trees put in there."

"Figures..he buys an estate and wants to remold it into something else from another place," Dallas noted, "Easier said than done."

"Well he's paying us good money," she said, "to get it done."

Dallas looked towards the house.

"He's having a lot of renovation done inside," he said, "Lots of movers in and out the past couple of days and construction. I heard the place needed work all the way down into the basement."

She shrugged.

"His money…probably pretty loaded it looks like."

Dallas nodded obviously agreeing with her assessment.

"I wonder what he does to make so much money," he said, "and if he's really moving here."

She looked at him sighing.

"I think we'd better stop speculating about our boss and get back to the work he's given us to do."

He just looked at her for a long moment with an expression she couldn't quite read before nodding and walking away from her. She just watched him thinking that it'd be too easy at least in a physical sense to walk after him and show him at least how much her body missed him. Especially remembering about the orchard back on the island…but then she'd remember other things she had pushed out of her mind.

After all, her affair with Dallas had come at a very high price.

She felt herself beginning to sweat as the sun warmed the humid air and she got up to fetch a bottle of iced tea.

Dallas had walked away from her thinking how much he had wanted her just then and how she had just looked so uncomfortable to be around him. Did she really hate him that much?

He had been watching her when he had left the lagoon to fetch supplies and she had been so diligent in her work she hadn't noticed him. But he couldn't work hard enough not to notice her.

He knew he'd have to convince Carlos that tropical landscaping in the pool area might be too difficult to pull off. Maybe Carlos could convince him to change his mind but from what it seemed, Gunthor had his own idea on how to do everything, from his business to his property renovation. Dallas wondered what it'd be like to finally meet him. Hopefully when Gunthor did inspect the property, he'd like the work. Dallas looked at his watch and saw that he had several hours still to put in before he'd head back to the nursery. Clover had wanted him to go with her to the club to hear a jazz act tonight but all he wanted to do was go home and soak under a long hot shower…or looking over at Reese, maybe it'd have to be a cold one.

Rodrigo looked over at the photos that Milan had tossed on his desk.

"Very lovely," he said, "The perfect place to keep a whore."

Milan smiled at his boss.

"He's dumping a lot of money fixing it up," he said, "to be the place to hide his secrets."

Rodrigo knew the importance of that, because there were certain areas of a man's business and his life he couldn't share with anyone else not even family. Especially not family and Rodrigo kept a lot of secrets from his own wife and children who really didn't need to know more than they were told anyway. His wife never asked any questions about where he went most of the time he was away and what he was doing even now that the law had come after him. She simply remained quietly in the background in some faraway estate taking care of the children he barely knew. He had to put them away in his mind so he could focus on what he had to do to extricate himself out of this legal mess. His lawyers kept warning him that it'd be tough that he needed to lie low and lay the successful and very legally minded businessman and distance himself from his other pursuits.

But Rodrigo couldn't take that advice just yet. He had loose ends to take care of after all including that involving the traitorous bitch and her lover. As long as they lived and walked the earth as if what they'd done to his life was little consequence, he would plot their downfall until he could carry out his plan, which would be very, very soon.

Milan sighed putting the papers back in an orderly stack.

"It's a shame I could have had use for a woman like her."

Rodrigo smiled knowing that Milan had enjoyed his time with her, a gift for his loyal service but neither of them needed her at this point, all they needed for her was to pay for her crimes against them. Just the thought that it would happen soon and he'd have his signature on it made Rodrigo giddy.

Enough so to think about throwing a party, maybe the man who purchased her at auction would like it if Rodrigo threw him a housewarming. Yes, the more he thought about it, the more he became invested in that plan.