The sneak peek you’ve all been waiting for, now with cover reveal!
This book is being edited by the lovely Stacia Rogan (check out her website, she rocks!). This isn’t the final version of the text but I know I’ve kept you waiting for too long, so here it is. Enjoy!Read Chapter 1 here.
I woke to the sensation of something stuck inside my throat. I wanted to pull it out but my right arm was bound and when I tried to break free, it felt as if a knife went through the upper right side of my chest.
“Easy! Easy!” A woman’s voice came out of nowhere. “You’re all right.” She soothed me. “I’ll get that for you.”
I coughed out the feeling of the tube being pulled out through my mouth, trying hard not to puke. It felt as if there was an anvil resting on my forehead. Breathing was hard, and I had to blink a couple of times in order to focus my sight on the nurse looking over me. She was pretty, with dark hair and caramel eyes.
“Be calm.” She interrupted me when I was about to speak. “Your throat may hurt. Do you want to sit?”
Yeah, shutting up was probably a better option. I nodded and she helped me get into a sitting position before securing a nasal cannula around my head and under my nose. She then rearranged the blanket around my chest.
There were tubes and monitors all around me. A nice-looking, disinfectant-smelling intensive care room if you asked me.
“I’ll get Dr. Williams.” Her smiling brown eyes shone under the dark fringe.
I managed to peek through the door when she walked out of the room and saw a man standing outside, dressed in black. I figured it would be a Met officer. The whole place must been flooded with Met, Interpol, SOCA… the whole lot.
All of a sudden everything was coming back to me. Armand being handcuffed, shooting Romulus… I felt my face get hot and had to blink back the tears.
“Good morning, Miss Lang.” A doctor strode into the room, clipboard in hand, followed by the nurse. He was tall, with auburn hair tied back into a ponytail. “How do you feel?”
“I’ve been better.”
“My name is Dr. Williams and this is Johanna. She’ll be your nurse all the way through your stay here.” He checked my drips. “Are you in pain right now?”
“A bit, yes.” I tried to push myself up but my left arm protested. “How long have I been out?”
“A little over forty-eight hours. You were shot on your left upper arm, your right leg and the right side of your chest, where the bullet went through, exiting through your back. Both your left arm and right leg wounds will heal promptly since the bullets tore little muscle. The one on your chest is another story.” He and the nurse stood on each side of the bed. “Thankfully, it was a small caliber, but it did fracture your clavicle and shoulder blade. You were lucky it didn’t hit an artery.”
He took a pen out of his pocket, scribbled something on a paper, detached it from the clipboard, and handed it to me.
“Let me take a look at your stitches.” He crossed me, eying the piece of paper in my hand.
Armand is alive and well. He asks for you to be patient.
I couldn’t believe my eyes. I turned to the nurse and she smiled.
The heat came back to my face. He was alive.
The doctor had set his clipboard on the bed and was looking intently at me, awaiting my answer.
“Yes. Sure. Okay.” I let him uncover my wounded shoulder.
I reread the note before Johanna took it and threw it in a rubbish bin.
“He’s one of our top donors,” the doctor whispered to my ear. “Funded most of our pediatrics burns centre.”
Armand the philanthropist. I can’t say I was surprised.
The instinct to turn my head towards him spiked a sting-like pain that rode from my shoulder up to my neck.
“Ow.” I breathed.
“Try not to do that. And keep your arm in the sling at all times. It’ll take some time to heal completely.” He replaced my bandages and set the sling back in place. “Your leg and arm will take less time.”
I bent my right leg at the knee and, yes, it didn’t feel as bad.
He grabbed the clipboard. “You will be transferred to a private room. Johanna will take good care of you.” He scribbled something on his clipboard again, this time it wasn’t for me to see. “Get some rest now. I’ll see you again tomorrow.”
As soon as he walked out of the room, Johanna produced a syringe from one of her pockets.
“This will make you feel better in no time.” She said as she injected its contents into my IV.
“What about George?” I bet she knew.
“He’s with Mr. Sayer.” She disposed of the syringe before getting back to me. “Now try and get some sleep.”
They were both alive. The thought of it made me feel so much better. Or was it the meds?
I closed my eyes and tried not to think about anything.
But dreams don’t take orders from anyone.
The sneak peek you’ve all been waiting for! This book is being edited by the lovely Stacia Rogan (check out her website, she rocks!). This isn’t the final version of the text but I know I’ve kept you waiting for too long, so here it is. Enjoy!
“What the fuck have you done?!” I heard Sayer shout in the distance, then the shuffling of hands over me.
I guessed they were the paramedics because I didn’t want to open my eyes again. I had killed the beast, whom, to everyone’s surprise, wasn’t the drug lord that was now being held back by a Met officer, but my supervisor at the Interpol. I had shot him down in order to save the man I loved. I’d become an Interpol agent gone rogue and that would ensure chaos.
“Scarlett,” someone whispered. “Scarlett! Open your eyes. Stay with me.”
I obliged and saw Patrick, the young man who’d become the drug lord’s apprentice, walking next to the stretcher I was being transferred in.
The first thing that came to my mind was to ask him where the fuck he had been while all hell broke loose. But the mix of blood and bile in my mouth didn’t let me speak–neither did the oxygen mask covering half my face.
I wanted to drift away into some fairyland filled with light, green grass, ponds, and birds chirping in the background. Or the fiery pits of hell, I didn’t really care which as the pain burnt my limbs.
“Armand?” I managed to spit some of the blood that threatened to drown me and someone removed my oxygen mask for a moment. “Where’s Armand?”
“He’s been taken in, but don’t worry, it’s all part of the plan.”
Oh, now he told me about the plan. He had refused to do so when I asked him, before it all went berserk and the rival drug dealer, Max MacGowan, and his men got into a shooting with Met and Interpol agents outside the church where the service for Sayer’s dead sister was taking place. All I knew about the plan was to let MacGowan’s men scoop me up and then duck when the bullets started flying. And yeah, that last part I made up myself.
However, I wasn’t expecting Romulus —my now dead supervisor— to want Armand dead. Or should I had come to that conclusion on my own given the fact that Armand had blackmailed him in order to keep me by his side?
It was all very confusing.
“No, it can’t be.” My speech sounded more like mumbling, but he seemed to understand. “That officer arresting Armand wasn’t… Aaaaagh!”
One of the paramedics applied pressure to the wound in my leg and I felt as if the life was being taken away from my body. Coldness overcame me and everything went dark.
Armand wanted to stay with her. He knew she was in pain and all his instinct told him to do was free his hands so he could hold her and, by some miraculous way, transfer it to him. His mind boggled at the thought of what she must have been going through.
Nonetheless, there were other things to worry about. He knew she’d be taken to a hospital under heavy police guard. It was better that she was treated there rather than find some surgeon to do it god-knows-where and under unsanitary circumstances.
He walked towards the police vehicle feeling like the weight of the world had landed on his shoulders, sadness making his chest tight. George welcomed him into the backseat with a silent nod, his features dark while his mind fixated elsewhere. His cane sat between them as a mute witness of their mutual preoccupation.
The officer that arrested George rode on the passenger seat while the one who handcuffed Armand drove them away, waving to his colleagues as they moved aside to let the car through. Once they were away from the scene, Armand stared out the window, his mind still on Scarlett.
“Mr. Sayer?” The driver interrupted his thoughts.
“Yes?” Armand watched him through the rearview mirror as he took off his cap and ran his fingers through his hair. He was probably around Scarlett’s age.
“That was Adrian Lang’s granddaughter, wasn’t she? Scarlett?”
The officer on the passenger side turned to his partner, confused.
Armand exchanged a glance with George before answering, “Yes.”
“I knew she recognized me as soon as she saw me.”
The other officer gaped at his companion. “What the f-?” Was all he managed to say before the driver shot him in the head.
The bullet shattered the window, blood covering everything around the man that now sat with his chin pressed against his chest, a hole in the back of his head.
“You’re not a cop.” Armand looked away.
“No, sir.” The officer-turned-killer rummaged for something, then handed George the keys to their handcuffs. “I’m a contract killer, trained by Adrian Lang himself.”
The sudden revelation was unsettling, but Armand had to keep his cool. “Who sent you?”
“Let’s say my employer was just murdered by your… wife?”
“Not yet.” He drawled. “So, the paying party in your contract is dead.”
George took off Sayer’s handcuffs and his employer did likewise for him.
“Is he?” The officer-that-wasn’t grinned through the mirror. “Where to, sir?”
“My house isn’t far from here, you can drop us wherever you find convenient.”
“Very well, sir.” He grinned, then added, “He never told us who our target was associated with.”
Armand shot another glance at the man that would’ve been his murderer, but this time the latter was focused on the road.
Scarlett, he thought, you’re just full of surprises.
“I’ll see that you are well compensated for this.”
The man parked a couple of houses down from Armand’s. George stepped out first.
Armand hesitated for a second before getting out. “Do you know where I can find Mr. Lang? He should know what happened.”
“He’s retired. Living in the Caribbean, I believe. I can help you with that if you’d like.”
Retirement. That was a word he might not hear again after this.
“I would be very grateful for that.” He was about to step out when he paused again. “I didn’t catch your name.”
“Miguel, but they call me Michael around these parts.”
“Thank you, Michael.”
Both men went into the house without uttering a word. George set to packing everything he could while Armand took out his mobile and started making calls on the way to his bedroom.
He rang Patrick first and was glad to learn Scarlett was taken to a hospital he knew well.
“What’s her status?” he asked as he took off his bloodstained jacket.
“She went into shock during the ride to the hospital. They thought they lost her, but she came back. She’s lost a lot of blood. She’s in the operating theatre and they’re trying to get the bullets out.”
Armand felt as if the ground was being removed from under him, so he held onto the dresser and took a deep breath before asking, “How many cops?”
“Loads. Met, Interpol, Scotland Yard… They’ve been asking a lot of questions.”
“Don’t worry if they take you in, I’m sending a lawyer to get you out.”
“Will do, sir.”
He hung up. A sense of despair overwhelmed him. He was the one who was supposed to be there. His was the first face she should see when she woke up instead of some doctor’s. But, alas, that wasn’t possible, so he had to make sure she was safe.
Searching through his mobile’s contacts he found the perfect person to call.
“Sayer?” George peeked through the door.
The call could wait. They had to get out of there before the police realized they never made it to the station. He handed George his mobile, took off his shirt, and searched in his wardrobe for a clean one. “I need you to contact Bradley and Ollie and tell them to head to the hospital to check on her. Make arrangements with the rest for when we can retrieve her.”
He trusted Bradley and Ollie because they were two of the most serious and clever henchmen he’d ever employed. They worked as realtors for his firm as a cover-up and they had surprised him with how good they were at it. Bradley, an Australian guy that didn’t talk much and whose specialty was hand-in-hand combat, and Ollie, a London native that, whenever he wasn’t making use of his IT and forgery skills, was cracking jokes left and right, were exactly who he needed at the moment to take care of Scarlett’s situation.
George went on to make the calls while Armand changed into a fresh suit. It had been a long time since he’d found himself in a situation like this. He’d never considered himself a gangster and the fact of calling out his men and getting them together didn’t suit him. But it had to be done or not one of them would make it out alive. He’d do anything for her, and if that meant becoming a fugitive and turning into one of those blood-shedding gangsters, so be it.
He pulled a bag from under the bed and filled it with clothes and some of his guns. Once he made it down, he turned on the fireplace and threw the bloodstained suit in it to burn.
“I packed her clothes too.” George brought some of the heavier firepower with him. “They are in the car.”
There was no time to waste. Sooner rather than later the police would start searching for them. They took the Bentley down the M4 and into the Financial District, parking inside the underground of a building near Paternoster Square. He had bought the two upper floors from a stockbroker firm that went bankrupt and had converted them into a luxurious flat as part of his retirement plan. Thinking of a near future that was now slowly drifting away from him.
A future where he had pictured himself happily married to a woman whose fate was now a mystery to him. And he couldn’t help feeling guilty about this turn of events.
In my first novella, The Caregiver, we follow Interpol agent Scarlett Lang through what would be the most important mission in her career so far: pose as caregiver for London’s biggest drug-lord, Armand Sayer.
This vignette is a BONUS! In this one we meet a very important character from Scarlett’s past that will appear in Book 2: Roberto Cisneros.
Read Vignette #1 , Vignette #2 , Vignette #3, Vignette #4
Want to have them all together with a nice cover to read later? I’ve compiled these five vignettes in eBook format!
Get your FREE copy at Smashwords!
The red leather booth in the diner couldn’t contain both me and the colony of invisible ants that was crawling up and down my flesh. The memory of the meeting with that English dude and the other two agents seemed more and more surreal every time I replayed it in my head.
Cisneros hadn’t been very talkative afterwards. Not that we talked much anyway, only the necessary, which was mostly professional stuff: who to kill, where to do it, how much was in it for me… Except, of course, for the times where we’d all sit around his study talking through a cloud of cigar smoke, having a laugh over a bottle scotch or wine.
It was a whole other story with his half-brother, though. Roberto and Rafael had no blood ties, since Roberto was adopted by Rafael’s father after he married his mother. I often thought: had they been blood brothers, they wouldn’t be as close. They were as different as night and day, from their nationalities (Rafael was of Colombian ascent; Roberto, of Cuban), to their lines of work (one was a drug dealer; the other, a police detective).
Sitting with a clear view of the door is a must for everyone in a position like mine. And when the man with the brown suit, gun holstered under his jacket, badge pinned to his belt, pushed the door open, I was the first to see him. His olive eyes locked on me, and he smiled as he approached me.
“So,” he gave me a kiss on the cheek before sliding into his seat, “what’s this mysterious thing you can call me about but can’t tell me over the phone?”
“Well, hello. I don’t remember sleeping with you last night.”
His eyes shone over his sly smile. “Say the word and I can change that.”
“How’s the new wife doing?”
Jane, the old woman that waitressed there, cut in before he could reply. “You two having the usual?”
“Yes, Jane, the usual.” Roberto flashed her one of his smiles and made sure she was out of earshot before combing his dark brown hair back with his fingers and taking a deep breath. “She’s pregnant.”
What. The. Fuck.
Jane brought us our coffees, giving me some time to process the news. No, I wasn’t emotionally involved with Roberto. We had something. Past tense. Not anymore.
Get a fucking grip.
“Thank you. If it’s a girl I’m naming her Scarlett.”
“The world doesn’t need another fucked up version of me.” I swirled the sugar in my drink while he poured a considerable amount into his.
“I wouldn’t say that. But we’re not here to discuss that. Are you going to tell me what you called me for?”
“I’ve been offered a job at Interpol.”
He choked on his coffee. I was quick to hand him a napkin, and pushed his arm away before he wiped his mouth with his sleeve. “Oh, come on! You’ll ruin your suit.”
“Interpol?” He dabbed the corners of his mouth with the napkin, his eyes wide. “Seriously?”
“Did you know your brother is an informant?” He frowned, casting his eyes down without a word. “Of course you did. I bet it was you who cracked him.”
“I did know. But it wasn’t me.”
“And neither of you told me.”
“No need to, you’re perfectly safe as you are.”
“You two treat me like a child sometimes.”
“Never.” He took another sip of his coffee before gently setting the cup down. “Now, about that job offer of yours…”
“This English dude came all the way from London to offer me ‘a deal.’ To work for some program they’ve come up with, go on missions for them, and, after all is done, whatever record I have will be erased, and I’ll be free.”
Jane arrived with Roberto’s pastrami sandwich, the red basket overflowing with french fries, my philly cheese steak with their signature onion rings, and two tall glasses of coke to wash it all down.
“That’s bullshit, Scarlett.”
“I’m not kidding.”
“Give me your wrist.”
I rolled my eyes before extending my arm over the table. “Sure thing, human lie detector. The dude’s also a detective, you know? Detective Inspector. They’ve got funny names for policemen there.”
He set his fore and middle finger on the underside of my wrist, taking a glance at his watch for a moment before proceeding. “When did this happen?”
“This morning.” I answered without hesitation. He’d always do this when he thought I was lying.
“And you say he was English?”
“Yes. Very. His name’s Romulus, said he works for the Metropolitan police and the Interpol. A bit of a douchebag, if you ask me.”
“And what kind of deal was it?”
“I already told you.”
“Scarlett…,” he chided me.
“Work with an interagency program that is seeking recruits with… how did he say it? Contacts. Yeah, that. They give agent status to people who are in the business but want out. A new life, a clean slate. The chance to put everything bad behind me. At last.”
His face dropped, and he let my wrist go from his grip. If anyone knew how much I’d been through in my still-short life, it was him.
“Never heard of such a program.” He scooped a half of his sandwich, “Why bring someone all the way from England?” and bit into it.
“Your brother deals with some London people.” I took off the top of my sandwich and put a couple of onion rings inside. “And the dude said they wanted me to work away from where I’m known. I’d be travelling around, not necessarily to England, maybe some other countries. Also, he said I’d be Interpol because he’s Interpol, but that there are others with different agency credentials.”
“I don’t know, Scarlett. Doesn’t sound right to me. Interpol doesn’t recruit people that aren’t already working in some agency or police department, much less send people on missions around the world.”
“I told him, and his answer was that the credentials were mostly for travel and payroll purposes.”
“Still doesn’t make sense.” He was attacking his food with a passion, as if channeling his emotions by biting and chewing on it.
“What did Rafael say?”
“That he’d been working with them for the past year.”
“See?” He picked a french fry and pointed it at me, “I didn’t know that,” then shoved it into his mouth. “I’ll have to talk to him about it. Did he know the guy that talked to you?”
“Apparently, yes. The dude knows Adrian and had even talked to him prior to our meeting.”
Roberto rose in height at my statement, taken aback. “What?! He spoke to Adrian about recruiting you?”
“Told me Adrian tried to talk him out of it, that I was no good. Oh, and he still hasn’t let go of the Scarlett the Scumbag thing.”
I finished the first half of my sandwich, took a large gulp of soda, and set my hands flat on the table. “I want out, Bobby. I- I don’t know if I can go on with this for much longer. There’s no life in this business. There may still be time for me. I’m twenty-four, you know?”
“You saying that makes me feel like a pervert.”
“Why? You’re only forty-six.”
“Only?” He chuckled. “Thank you. That’s the nicest thing you’ve said to me in a while.”
“I think I’ll be taking the offer.” I went on eating the second half of my sandwich; it was too good to let it go cold. “What’s the worst that could happen? That it’s some bogus program and I end up having to kill them?”
The last bit of his sandwich hovered in front of him, midway to his mouth. “Probably.”
“I’ll always have you to cover my ass for me.”
“You’re in luck, then. I’ve also got a job offer.” He finished his food and wiped his hands clean. “CIA.”
“Whoa. You’ve been wanting that for some time now.”
“Yes, I have.” He leaned over the table. “I’ll always be there for you, Scarlett. I appreciate you calling me to talk this over.” His eyes trained on me, I could hear the truth in his words. With Bobby, emotions were always only skin deep. “I’d advise you to think it through, even though I know you’ve already made your mind. If this is, indeed, a way out, then I’m all for it.”
I cleared my plate before pushing it aside.
“You know I’m always a phone call away.” He continued. “If there’s anything I wish is for you to leave all this behind.”
“Step into the light?” I crossed my arms over my chest and leaned back.
He pushed himself forward. “But never let it blind you.”
Liked this vignette? Then you’ll love the book!
Or buy it, it’s only 99¢ (£0.77, €0.89)!
Available here: Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.es, Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Diesel
Melissa at The Novice Christian reviewed The Caregiver and gave it 5/5 stars (on Goodreads and Amazon) ! Woot woot!
Check out her review here:
I’ve said before that I take a lot of inspiration from movies. Then I read this post at the Park Theatre blog and thought ‘yes, exactly, we can get inspiration from odd places/things/people/whatever and it doesn’t mean we’re copying or using them as they came.’
In order to celebrate those random bits of inspiration, I’ve decided to share with you some of the many clips that have been in my mind while writing book 2 of The Caregiver.
All of these movies/series are awesome and you should watch them if you haven’t already.
From Wild Bill
From Love, Honour and Obey
From The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo
From The Bourne Ultimatum
From The Night Porter
From Things To Do In Denver When You’re Dead (the whole movie, but mostly Lucinda and Jimmy during the first 4 minutes of this clip)
From Layer Cake (no, I never get tired of this one!)
Thanks to Emily for the awesome interview. I had a lot of fun with it.
Everybody makes book trailers these days so I thought I’d make one for my book too.
Here it goes:
Music is an intricate part of my creative process and The Caregiver was one of those stories I couldn’t have possibly written without a good deal of music playing in the background, inadvertently cheering me on, helping me nail the feelings/mood of a certain character, and setting the pace for many scenes. I can’t even think of writing fight scenes without a track playing through my speakers, giving me the beat to set every shot, punch, or stab.
So, here are the YouTube versions of the songs in the playlist for the first book:
The song that started it all: The Postmarks – No One Said That This Would be Easy
(The Casino Royale credits mashup version)
The Guess Who – Undun
The Clash – Death or Glory
The Smiths – The Hand That Rocks the Cradle
The Strokes – New York City Cops
The Clash – Guns of Brixton
The Box Tops – The Letter
The Who – Baba O’Reily
The Jam – Eton Rifles
The Yardbirds – Heart Full of Soul
The Killers – Mr. Brightside
The Zombies – Time of the Season
In my first novella, The Caregiver, we follow Interpol agent Scarlett Lang through what would be the most important mission in her career so far: pose as caregiver for London’s biggest drug-lord, Armand Sayer. This vignette is about the day she was assigned the mission, days before the story on the book starts. Enjoy!
It was morning. A cold, gray London morning to be precise. I was crossing Lambeth Bridge to meet Ferdinand at the Albert Embankment. I remember how I had studied every possible map before coming here, anxious to start working in the field again…
Then I was sent to an office, filling forms and filing papers.
Fuck yeah, the Interpol agent life!
I pushed my gloved hands further into the pockets of my leather jacket, feeling the gun concealed inside, praying it wouldn’t turn into an ice cube. Thing is, I grew up in Miami, spent summers in the Caribbean or Southern Spain. Nothing as cold as this. Nothing.
I got off the bridge and turned right on Albert Embankment, down the steps, and soon enough Ferdinand’s smile came to sight. Always bright, always inviting. I often found myself dodging it as if it were throwing daggers at me.
“Scarlett.” He kissed my cheek and offered his arm to me.
“Fer.” I nodded. “I’m freezing.”
“Oh come on! You’ve been living here for how long?”
“The two most boring years of my fucking life.”
He sighed. “Let’s walk.”
So we did. I walked on his left, thinking that maybe, if things got funny, I could just push him into the water and make a run for it.
“Did anyone follow you here?” He was eyeing me out of the corner of his eye.
“You said you needed to talk to me. I don’t have all day. I have papers to file.”
“Moretti asked me to call you.”
“Moretti? He sees me every day at the office. Barking orders and making me brew his coffee.”
“Have you been in contact with Cisneros lately?”
I waited until a man jogged past us to answer that, taking my time.
They often tell you not to stay friends with your ex-boyfriends. But Ferdinand was my colleague and his ranking was higher than mine so, yeah, I was stuck with this one.
“Every time they use a sniper to kill some drug dealer I pray it wasn’t you. Then I dig up the details and see your name all over it.”
He didn’t mean that literally, of course. I knew how to do my job. In and out, quick, nothing that could be traced back to me. Then I was back to kicking the copy machine and dragging my boots on the rug, just so I could give someone a nice jolt.
“You gonna turn me in?”
“You know I won’t.”
“Are you hungry?”
“Let’s go grab a bite.” There it was again, the smile under those gleaming brown eyes. Ugh.
He liked the pub on the corner of Tinworth Street, so we went there and, to my dismay, sat at one of the tables outside.
“Tell me when my nose falls off because I won’t be able to.”
“I don’t want anyone eavesdropping on us.”
A waiter gave us the menus and I asked for a cup of coffee. Really hot coffee.
“It’ll ruin your appetite.” Ferdinand said, matter-of-factly.
“Better for me, maybe I’ll lose some weight. I should, really, I can’t carry a gun between my thighs since they rub together. There are some agents that have this huge thigh gap. One could stick an Uzi between their legs.”
He chuckled. He knew it was true. Fer never bullshitted me. I was no femme fatale, no eye candy. That’s how I liked it, though. I was a Plain Jane. I’d blend in without any difficulty.
And I wasn’t asked to fuck anyone either.
The waiter brought me a steaming cup of coffee. I took off my gloves and held it as if it was a baby chick, feeling the relief of warmth in my hands, at last. I inhaled its aroma and forgot where I was while Ferdinand ordered food for both.
“I was talking to Romulus,” he brought me back as soon as the waiter was out of sight, “we’re giving you another chance.”
“That’s very kind of you.”
“I’m being serious, Scarlett. We’ve decided to give you the Sayer mission.”
Oh. My. Fucking. God.
I had to set the cup back on the table gently. “You’re not kidding?”
“I’m not kidding. He was attacked, a single gunman surprised him as he was leaving a restaurant with his wife. Two shots to his left leg, another one to his right arm. He’s house-bound, recovering, and his sister is looking for a caregiver. It’s not just because you actually went to nursing school. She’s looking for someone that can act as a bodyguard in case anything unusual happens.”
“Aaaaand?” Something in the way he drawled on the last sentence made me think there was more to it.
“She wants someone that wouldn’t cause too much of a stir, if you know what I mean.”
Ha ha! Being the Plain Jane does pay.
“When do I start?”
“You’ll meet with his sister, Helga, tomorrow at Cisneros’s place. He’s recommending you. They’re friends.”
I picked up the coffee cup again even though I didn’t think I needed it anymore. I was going to the field again, and with no one else but Armand Sayer, London’s number-one drug lord.
“Oh,” I breathed, trying to suppress the giddy smile from my face.
“Now, Scarlett, I must warn you–”
“Here we go.” I rolled my eyes. Fer was always lecturing me. “That I better not fuck it up this time?”
“I haven’t fucked anything up. The Gibraltar mission was a fail because Cisneros couldn’t stand his ground. That deal went sour the moment we stepped out of that plane.”
“I don’t want to talk about it.”
“Neither do I.” I sipped the hot liquid, wishing now it was whiskey or something set aflame.
“What about the wife?”
“Rumor is she left. He’s alone.” He was looking at me from under his eyebrows.
“Who do you take me for?”
“You keep yourself safe, you hear me?”
His bare hand reached out for mine over the table. I set mine in his and let him squeeze it.
“I will.” I grinned, letting some of my excitement out.
Then the waiter brought our food and I tried to indulge on the flood of emotions going through my system. It had been too long since my last mission and, truth be told, there was no other place I felt more like myself than out there with my gun or my rifle aiming at a nice head, and then watching it blow up.
We wrestled for the bill and I let him win, or he’d never let it go.
“I’ll send you the details later.” He waited for me to put on my gloves, “please, be careful.”
“I always am.” His sly smile told how little he believed that. Really, who did he take me for? “Love turns people so bloody soft.”
He hugged me tight. I wrapped my arms around him, not too tight, and held still until he released me.
“Don’t fuck it.” He pointed a finger at me and gave me a peck on the lips before turning to cross the street.
How could I fuck what could be the most important mission in my entire career?, I thought as I threaded my way in opposite direction, towards Spring Gardens.
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