I have a brand new dark mafia piece out, but…with a twist. He’s an assassin as well as in line for a throne of very influential and dangerous men. She’s an FBI agent hell bent on taking him down. When they meet? Sparks fly. Will she cross the line or will the cat and mouse game end in incarceration? Hmmm… You’ll have to read to find out.
Foreboding to some. To him, the ominous shadows were comforting, allowing him complete anonymity in order to perform the jobs he’d been paid well to execute. Tonight was no exception and he was exhilarated, adrenaline flowing. He craved the chase, the moment when he locked onto his target. Every assignment was unusual. Different countries. Powerful individuals. Beautiful women. Incredible food and drink. His skills allowed for careful selection, the very reason he was still alive.
Even though there were strict requirements.
He moved through the darkness, finding the house with ease. The mark had evidently caught wind there was a contract on his life, leaving his usual environment in utter disarray. And somehow, the man thought he’d remain safe in the countryside, a little house in the woods that no one was supposed to know about. Snickering, he eased the gun from his jacket, adding the silencer as he headed toward the rear, all the while scanning the perimeter. Surprises he didn’t need. At least the fucker would be alone, an easy target.
The entire back of the house was full of windows, the massive set of sliding doors peering out onto a lush garden. There were no other houses in close proximity, another perk of this particular job. He inched closer, able to see the mark sitting in an overstuffed chair directly in front of a roaring fire.
Like taking candy from a baby.
He moved into the most optimal position, holding the weapon in both hands. A split second before he pulled the trigger, he jerked back, cursing under his breath. The man was supposed to be alone. Fuck!He shoved the gun back into his pocket and headed straight through the woods toward the awaiting vehicle. Yanking out his phone, he studied the reception. Just enough. The call was answered within two rings.
“Mission aborted,” he half whispered as he opened the driver’s door.
There was a long pause.
“I have my reasons. To be completed at a later time.” Ending the call, he tossed the phone onto the passenger seat. He was a cold-blooded killer but even he had his scruples, no matter what the blessed consortium required of him.
He would never complete a contract in front of a child.
* * *
Eight days later
“Do you know what I want?” she purred as she slipped first one then her other arm around Wrath’s neck, her red lips glistening even in the shadowed light.
Ricardo ‘Wrath’ Constantino had been with many women over the years, devouring several varieties, but French girls were usually far more discerning about their tastes in men. Cherry certainly didn’t seem to understand that if she accepted several drinks then invited a killer to her condo she could face the ultimate demise. Granted, she wasn’t his target, nor would she know of his profession. However, the irony was delightful. “Now, what could that possibly be?” he asked as he brushed the backs of his fingers across her cheek.
“I love your commanding manner. So sexy.” Cherry clung to him, her eyes holding the haze of intoxication. “I hunger for a taste of that hard body of yours.” She kissed his lips, darting out her tongue and dragging the tip across the seam of his mouth.
He allowed her to toy with him, teasing as she slid one hand down his chest. Sadly, he’d grown bored of the evening. Even winning at Blackjack didn’t have any effect on his sour mood. What did entice him was the gorgeous redhead sitting at another Blackjack table, the scarlet dress the perfect complement to her stunning long legs and hourglass figure. He was hungry, having played the perfect gentleman during his time spent in the amazing city.
What he could easily see was that she was an expert at a slight of hand, kiting the system. He was amused as well as aroused by her brazen attempt at winning. If she was caught, the punishment would be extremely harsh.
“Cherry, you are a lovely woman, but I believe I see someone I know. An unexpected surprise. I’m certain you can understand.”
Pouting her ruby-stained lips, she lifted a single eyebrow, her index finger sliding back and forth across his Adam’s apple. When she knew he was serious, she huffed. “Merde. Fine. Have it your way, but you’re missing out.”
He waited until she walked away, flipping him her middle finger in frustration, her next set of words spoken with a nasty tone. “Je m’en fous!”
She’d consumed one too many glasses of champagne. She didn’t give a fuck, eh? Well, then neither would he.
Wrath studied the lovely redhead at the other table as she worked, taking her time and winning only small bets. Even the card dealer, a trained expert, seemed to have no idea about her exceptional skills. He took a sip of his bourbon, debating exactly what to do. His cock ached, throbbing against his tuxedo pants, a clear sign that he needed to meet her. Few women had any effect on him, fewer still holding his interest for even this long.
After she won yet another hand, he polished off his drink and moved in the direction of the table, taking the last spot, which happened to be on her left. He acknowledged the players, waiting to greet her last. “Madame.” His French accent was one that the majority of women found endearing. He had a feeling this woman couldn’t care less simply by her caustic body language.
“Miss.” She gave him a once-over as the dealer positioned the new cards, yawning after a few seconds.
His amusement turned into raging hunger, his balls tightening.
“Fascinating,” he whispered so only she could hear.
“Are you flirting with me?” she asked in a haughty tone.
He chuckled, darting his eyes in her direction. She was American and appeared to be all alone, although looks could be deceiving. “I rarely flirt because I usually get what I want without question.”
“Ah, you’rethatkind of man.”
“And which kind is that?”
“An asshole.” Purring, she took a sip of her wine, shifting her stool and allowing him a more captivating look at her legs.
Wrath gave her a slight nod of respect. The woman was tough as nails. He could only imagine her behavior in bed.
As the cards were turned, he watched her intently, studying the way she was able to cheat. There was something odd about her mannerisms, so polished and perfect. He was more than impressed, her abilities surpassing some of the best he’d known. She was truly magnificent.
Drinks were brought, the players dropping out one by one after mere minutes.
After she won yet another hand, Wrath leaned over, whispering in her ear, “You’re very good at what you do. I’m impressed and that never happens.”
She only slightly tipped her head. He could easily tell that she was aggravated at the interruption. The bet she had on the table was the largest of the night, one that would easily net her a cool fifty G’s. “And what might that be?”
The sound of her voice was alluring, seductive in the soft inflections. “You’re a cheat. How do I know this? Because I was hired and trained to spot even those with utter finesse.” He allowed the words to sink in, his cock throbbing as her porcelain face flushed, turning a lovely shade of pink.
“How dare you! I’m no cheat,” she whispered, reaching for her wine in her usual confident manner.
“And you and I both know you’re lying.” Wrath gathered his meager winnings and moved away from the table, tossing a hundred dollar chip toward the dealer. “Thank you, sir. This table is far too hot for me.”
“Thank you,” the dealer said with a smile then glanced at the remaining players, the tip understood.
Wrath slid his hands into his pockets, taking long strides out the main door then leaning against the wall. There would be no more winning for the lovely lady tonight. If his calculations were correct, she would be coming through the door in…
The redhead was on cue, bolting through the door. Instead of any concept of fear on her face, she was furious, her eyes scanning the corridor. Seconds later, she jerked up her long dress, cursing what the Americans called a blue streak as she strode in the opposite direction. “Goddamn motherfucking asshole.”
Wrath moved out of the shadows, following closely behind. She wasn’t a true card shark, or if she was, she was certainly taking calculated risks. Perhaps he needed to get to the bottom of her true identity. The last thing he needed was trouble prior to fulfilling his contract.
Especially since the mark was MIA.
His long legs were more than a match for a woman in shockingly high heels, his hand wrapping around her arm and jerking her to the side.
“You. What do you want?” she snapped, struggling to get out of his hold. “Who the fuck do you think you are?”
“Shh… Such language. Now, we can handle this situation one of two ways, which will be entirely your decision.” Wrath kept his voice low, certainly not loud enough to register to anyone in close proximity. He crowded her space, drinking in her exotic perfume. Visions of shackling her naked to his bed popped into his nefarious mind.
Hissing, she yanked again, almost getting out of his grasp. “I’ll ask you one. Last. Time. Who the hell do you think you are?”
She certainly carried an air of arrogance, something he did appreciate, especially in a woman. Time to call her bluff. “Someone who knows a thief when he sees one. As I was saying, you can come with me now or I’ll simply call in the local policia.”
The single tic in the corner of her mouth was the only giveaway that she was bothered in any manner. Otherwise, she played the situation as she had the cards.
“Policia?” she mused, her eyes flashing.
He’d made a single mistake, one that could cost him. Tonight, he was a Frenchman, the terminology entirely different than his native country. “The Monte Carlo police division is well known throughout the world as being brutal.” The lie sounded plausible. The second shimmer of her eyes indicated she wasn’t entirely certain whether he was telling the truth.
“You have the situation wrong. I need to see some identification, Mr. Know it All,” she barked, throwing out her arm, beckoning with her fingers.
Chuckling, he was becoming more and more fascinated with the woman.
Well, what do you think? Imagine the chemistry!
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