If you missed last week’s first installment of my new paranormal romantic suspense, BULLETPROOF, you can find it here. With only three weeks left before Bulletproof hits a virtual book store near you, here’s another glimpse at the story – and of course another giveaway to celebrate! (details below) Nook and Apple readers, be sure to pre-order your copy of BULLETPROOF today!
Since escaping that hellhole south of the border, John had spent a good part of his time indulging in man’s every known vice in hopes that one damned thing or another would kill him. He hadn’t gotten that lucky.
Maybe, he considered, he’d kept on breathing for just this moment. The opportunity to stick it to this SOB. Screw the redemption.
“Explain,” John snapped. “Without all the bullshit.”
Messenger gave a nod of acquiescence. “Keep the woman safe for as long as it takes. That’s it.”
Yeah. Right. “I’m a construction worker, not a bodyguard. I haven’t done that gig in years.” He was rusty as hell – at a lot of things.
He took the jobs he could get that kept him under the radar. Construction crew leaders didn’t care where a guy came from or what he’d done in the past, as long as he showed up and worked hard for ten or more hours.
Apparently his under-the-radar strategy had failed big time.
Messenger withdrew a business card from his jacket pocket. “I’m certain it will all come back to you.” He placed the card on the table. “Her name is Amelia Bennett. She will call you. Remember, John, all you have to do is keep her alive. That should be inordinately simple for someone who has survived death so many times.”
Responding to that would be a waste of energy.
“As usual,” Messenger went on, “under no circumstances are you to divulge the details of your employment to this woman.”
John picked up the card that boasted his name, proclaiming him a personal security specialist, and listing the number of his cell. He could change numbers and carriers, names and addresses a thousand times and the bastards would always find him.
“Why me?” This didn’t make sense. He’d done his time. Hadn’t worked a mission since Mexico. Besides being rusty, he’d lost his edge to booze along the way down to his present position in the gutter. “There are others.”
“You are aware,” Messenger allowed, “that you have always been a favorite.”
Resentment tightened John’s lips. “Actions speak louder than words.” He rubbed at his wrists… at the scars inscribed there. “I wasn’t feeling the love on my last assignment.”
Messenger turned up his palms. “What else can I say to sway you? We have complete confidence in your capacity to attend to this task. Otherwise, I would not be here.”
Oh, now he got it. John shook his head slowly from side to side, had to laugh. “Confidence has nothing to do with it.” He should have known. “For some reason it has to be me.” This just got better all the time. Whatever Messenger was leaving out would come back to bite John in the ass in the end.
“Redemption, John,” he implored, dangling the bait and disregarding the accusation. “It could be yours. Finally.”
He wanted to say no. Hell no. But he wasn’t a fool. Messenger knew which buttons to push, but there was an opportunity here that didn’t have jack to do with the sales pitch about redemption.
“I want payment up front. Two mil, not a penny less, wired into my account. The one you emptied,” he added, “while I was in prison. Once I confirm the transfer, I begin the mission. No negotiations.” With that kind of capital he could disappear the right way.
These bastards would never find him again.
Messenger hesitated. He didn’t like losing the upper hand. “That’s far more than the usual compensation. And you know full well that when someone has to be sent in to tidy up a situation, you forfeit payment.”
John wasn’t arguing the point. He shrugged. “Take it or leave it.”
Messenger removed his cell from the interior pocket of his jacket and tapped a few keys. His attention settled on John once more. “Done.” He tucked his phone away. “As I said, she will call you.”
The vibration in his back pocket alerted John that he had received a text confirmation of the transaction. He didn’t bother to check it. If Messenger was desperate enough to cave so easily on the terms, they needed this done now. And they needed John.
“However, there is just one small,” Messenger held his thumb and forefinger close together “condition. One we know you can certainly handle.”
“What condition?” The other boot was about to hit the grimy floor. Hard. Maybe he should have asked for five million.
“If during the course of this mission circumstances change,” Messenger said, the look in his eyes empty now, like the bastard’s soul, “your orders will change accordingly.”
Like the bonus features of a second rate movie, more of those long banished memories washed over John. “Including, of course, tidying up,” he added what the other man left off.
“Agreeing to that condition is absolutely essential to the success of the mission.”
No wonder he’d forked over the two mil so easily. This was no simple assignment. Whatever this Bennett woman was into, it was big, deep, and bad.
The series of events required to ensure the crossing of John’s path with this woman’s would already be in motion. They were that certain of his cooperation.
And they were even more certain he wouldn’t survive long enough to get the job done.
He wondered how long it would take Amelia Bennett to realize she was totally fucked.
This week’s giveaway is a $10 gift card (for Amazon or B&N) and a signed BULLETPROOF can cooler! To enter just leave a comment and tell me your favorite genre for escape reading!
Live the adventure!
ps: Tomorrow marks the start of a new blog tour for Justice Incarante and the Shadows of Justice series. I hope you’ll come visit me at the first stops along the way:
27th September – Book Feature at Peace from Pieces
28th September – Guest Post at City of Book Reviews
29th September – enjoy a special Q& A session on Twitter – just follow @ReganBlack
The full blog tour and event list will be posted on Saturday!