Another sneak peek! 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!
“Come on, scumbag. Blow that motherfucker’s head off!” My grandfather’s voice was always grave, always loud.
The famous Adrian Lang couldn’t drop the attitude for nothing.
I pulled the machine gun’s trigger. Ratatatatatatatatatatatatatatatat. Clickclickclickclick.
I shot him a glance. He was standing close behind me, sucking on a cigar as he walked towards the card and studied it.
“You know better than talking to me like that.”
Anger made my face go red. For a moment I thought he’d stride to my side and slap me across the face, like he usually did. This time he stood his ground.
“You’re not quite there yet.”
The machine gun felt hot in my hand. I looked down, saw my distressed jeans, and realized I was no more than sixteen years old.
He shifted towards me on the balls of his feet, his hand making a fist. Here it comes, I thought. However, before I knew it, the machine gun went off again. I couldn’t stop it as it shot a whole round directly into his belly, cutting him in half. Blood splattered the card and the floor as both his halves slid to the ground.
“Nice one.” A voice came from behind, one that made my knees wobble.
Ferdinand —my ex-boyfriend, coworker at the Interpol, and messenger of my guilty conscience— was standing behind me, his eyes fixed on me.
“Ferdinand? You’re dead.”
“You just can’t help hurting the ones who love you.”
“He hated me. You knew that.”
He shook his head slowly. “Not at all, Scarlett. Not at all.”
Then the machine gun went on again and…
I woke up with a jolt, gasping for air. I frantically surveyed the place with my eyes. It had been a week already and I was out of the intensive care unit and in a private, more comfortable room.
“What the fuck?!” I tried to sit but my left wrist was bound to the bed.
“Whoa!” Johanna jumped to my side. “You’re all right.”
“I am not! I’m tied to this…” I trailed off as another face came to view, one that made me frown.
“You were pulling on your bandages in your sleep.” Jimmy stood at the feet of the bed, one hand on his hip, pulling his suit jacket back and giving me a clear view of the gun holstered inside.
“How long have you been here?”
“And hour maybe? You were already bound so don’t go thinking it was my idea.”
“I was worried you’d actually rip it off.” Johanna hastened to release me.
Once my hand was free I rubbed my wrist. The bandage around my right shoulder didn’t lend me much mobility, but it didn’t hurt as bad anymore. My left arm, on the other hand, didn’t hurt at all. The bed was already in an almost sitting position, so I just pushed myself up with my left hand while keeping my right arm close to my torso.
“What time is it?”
“Almost noon.” Jimmy answered before Johanna could even look at her watch. “I don’t have much time.”
“I’m starving.” I said under my breath as I tried to pull the blanket over my chest.
“I’ll see what I can do about that.” Johanna grinned at me, but I could tell Jimmy’s presence was unsettling for her.
“That would be very nice of you.” I smiled back, trying to ease her. “Mr. Gordon won’t be here too long. Right?”
“Not at all.” He looked annoyed.
Johanna nodded at him and scurried away.
Jimmy waited until the door was completely shut to stand on the spot Johanna had vacated and speak. “Got yourself a lackey?”
“They let you bring your toys in here, Jimmy?”
“I’m an agent. Remember? Heard Armand made it out alive. Is that true?”
“So they say. I bet you knew about Romulus’ plan.”
“No. I didn’t. Never thought he’d try to get Armand killed.”
“Some people don’t take blackmailing lightly.” I avoided his glance and proceeded. “Are you here to arrest me or something? Bet the hospital is surrounded.”
“It is, but, no. I’m not here to arrest you. Still undercover. Desmond is alive and giving orders from jail.”
“Is that so?”
“We’ve already had to deal with a lot of fallen men. But you wouldn’t know anything about that, would you?”
“Not a thing.”
He scoffed. “Armand’s forgotten about you so quickly? You’ve been here what? A week?”
“He’s just waiting for the right moment to get me out of here.”
“What makes you so sure?”
I twisted my head towards him and, even through the pain in my shoulder, held his stare. “What makes you think he won’t?”
“Come on, Scarlett. You can’t possibly think he’s in love with you.”
Now that made me angry. “What the fuck, Jimmy? What did I ever do to you?”
“I’m not here as a cop or as one of MacGowan’s henchmen.” His tone turned grave as he spoke through his clenched teeth. “I’m here as Ferdinand’s best friend. You hurt him, Scarlett; never forget that. He worried about you even when he knew you didn’t love him as much as he loved you. I’m here because he made me swear I’ll protect you if he was gone. He knew he’d die, he felt it coming. And even then, he only thought of you, of your safety. Is this how you repay him? Killing Romulus so you can run away with that bastard?”
“You better not talk about Armand that way ever again.”
“What are you to him, really? Any female agent we sent into that mission would’ve ended up in bed with him. Haven’t thought about that, have you?”
“Fuck you, Jimmy. I don’t need this.” I tried to hit him with the back of my left fist but he caught my wrist midair.
“No, Scarlett. You have to wake up. You’ve fucked yourself and I can help you.”
“Fucked myself? More like saved myself.”
“You have no idea what you’re talking about.”
“We’re expendable, Jimmy. Never forget that. Romulus was a piece of shit.”
I tried to free my arm from his grip but before I could do anything the heel of his other hand connected with my right shoulder.
“Aaaagh!” The pain made my eyes water as I jerked back, gasping for air. “Fuuuuuck!”
“To this day I still ask myself what the hell it was Ferdinand saw in you.” He rummaged in his pocket for something, produced a photo, and held it to my face. “This is what he was saving you from. This is the reason MacGowan wanted to abduct you. And this is the reason you’ll be dead soon enough if you don’t accept my offer.”
I recognized Cisneros’ and MacGowan’s faces in the picture, yet it was the third one that made my insides churn, making me want to run for the bathroom and puke my guts out. Only that getting on my feet wouldn’t be an easy thing to do and I knew I wouldn’t make it on time if I tried. Measuring my options, I opted for swallowing hard.
“That’s right.” Jimmy shoved the photo back into his pocket. “Xavi Pontevedra is in London and he’s here to kill you.”
This changed everything. Xavi Pontevedra, the man who had held me captive in a brothel during the Gibraltar mission, was out of jail, seeking revenge, while I was bound to a hospital bed.
“There’s so much you don’t know, Scarlett.”
“And you’re going to tell me?”
“All in due time.”
“Fuck off then!”
Jimmy left, leaving me huffing and puffing both from the pain and the desperation that overcame me.
At least he won’t get to me here with the police guarding this goddamn place, I thought as I pressed the nurse’s call button.