E X C L U S I V E E X C E R P T
“Is it done?” the disembodied voice on the phone asked.
He slammed the door to his house, surprising himself with the violence behind it. He was a violent man by profession, by necessity. Not by nature.
“It’s done,” he lied. Another necessity in his profession, lies. They, like blood and bullets, were his bread and butter. Though he only lied to targets. Or people he had to go through to get to targets. It was as easy as killing at this point. And killing was as easy as breathing.
But not to the people who paid him. There was no need to lie to them. It would not be fiscally responsible. It was unnecessary. And dangerous. Especially considering this particular client.
A life of lies was easier to unravel than a life of truth.
That’s why he lived invisible. No truth. As few lies as possible.
But here he was, breaking whatever passed for rules in his life.
“Good,” the voice said.
He poured himself a vodka.
“The money will be in your account. It’s been a pleasure working with you, Brat.”
He took this as goodbye and then hung up. He didn’t do pleasantries.
Especially not with this particular client.
He had majorly fucked up.
He’d never done that before.
And now it was because of her. The pathetic, broken and weak woman who was devoid of terror, of self-preservation, of dignity.
He sipped his vodka.
No, not quite devoid of dignity, he thought as he wandered to the black oak door off his personal library. The one hidden away at the end of the house, not the one boasting grandeur and wealth, something the original owners of the estate had been overtly preoccupied with.
There had been a quiet dignity about her. In her acceptance of her death.
He walked through the room, opening the door hidden in the bookcases. The light went on, dimly illuminating the frames that cluttered the intimate space.
He made his way to his favorite specimen, running his fingers over the glass thoughtfully.
She wasn’t beautiful. No, something stopped her from being simply beautiful. Her dull hair, sallow skin, dry lips. The lingering scent of death and sorrow that followed her. That was attached to her. That had whittled her down to the nerve, making her almost painful to look at. But her eyes, violent against her gray skin. They kept him from finishing her.
Was that what stopped him from completing it? That painful gaze?
He inspected the creature beyond the glass.
Or was it because he’d found something to add to his collection? Something rare? Something that likely didn’t exist in high numbers in this world?
He didn’t quite know what she was, but she was somehow unique.
He might yet kill her. It would be the sensible thing to do, before word got around to the right ears.
It would be smart to do so.
He sauntered to the leather chair in the middle of the room.
“Yes, it would be smart,” he muttered to himself, glancing at the dead things on his wall, imagining her completing the room with her frozen and trapped beauty.
He wasn’t done with her, that was for sure. He couldn’t be, even if he wanted to be. She was a complication. A loose end. He didn’t do loose ends. Or complications.
Her death would be simpler.
A B O U T T H E A U T H O R
Anne Malcom has been an avid reader since before she can remember, her mother responsible for her book addiction. It started with magical journeys into the world of Hogwarts and Middle Earth, then as she grew up her reading tastes grew with her. Her obsession with books and romance novels in particular gave Anne the opportunity to find another passion, writing. Finding writing about alpha males and happily ever afters more fun than reading about them, Anne is not about to stop any time soon.
Raised in small town New Zealand, Anne had a truly special childhood, growing up in one of the most beautiful countries in the world. She has backpacked across Europe, ridden camels in the Sahara, eaten her way through Italy, and had all sorts of crazy adventures. For now, she's back at home in New Zealand and quite happy. But who knows when the travel bug will bite her again.
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