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As a former bodyguard, it should be easy for Gary Fenris to kill, especially when the motive is revenge. But Gary has made two mistakes in his life. The first was letting the woman he loved die on his watch. The second was thinking vengeance could bring him peace.
Local bookstore owner and amateur lock pick Kate Rowan loves nothing more than a good mystery. Her curiosity soon leads her down a trail of blackmail, obsession and death. Despite the risk - or maybe because of it - Gary finds himself drawn to Kate. When danger strikes, Gary is forced to face the fact that he used love as an excuse for murder. And he's got one last score to settle.
Page Count: 322
Word Count: 74770
For a man who knew how to handle his liquor, Gary was two pints the worse for wear and on his way to finish off the job. His apartment was only a fifteen-minute walk from the pub. Cold night air rushed past him, a sudden gust that whistled down the alley farther ahead and had his ears buzzing. A cluster of teenagers jostled their way down the other side of the street. Gary heard a shout, followed by loud laughter as the tallest boy finished the joke he’d been telling, hitting the punch-line.
The shops in the pedestrian area were closed, the windows shuttered, while the pubs were coming to life. An empty crisp packet drifted past on a current of air. The wooden sign of the bookstore at the end of the street swung on rusted hinges. He was still too far away to read the sign, but it didn’t matter. He’d seen it before, many times. Fortune’s Cove Books. Kate Rowan, proprietor.
Adriana could never walk past a bookstore without going in. Hard to believe it was two years to the day since she died. He could almost hear her heels ringing against the pavement, feel her silver ring cold against his skin when he slipped his fingers through hers.
It would be easier to leave Caulden, but he doubted he’d be able to build another company as successful as Fenris Securities somewhere else. He had put everything he had into planning his revenge.
There was still a choice. He could stay home tomorrow instead. Listen to a live album, speakers turned up too loud, the bass pounding through the walls. Or he could go out, have a good time. Forget Adriana.
A door banged in the distance. A car drove past slowly, the tires rasping over the pavement.
A step fell in pace with his own.
Gary glanced over his shoulder but said nothing. He wasn’t in the mood for company.
They continued in silence, the rhythm of their steps matched perfectly over the years. The man beside him began to whistle a minuet by Mozart. The sound was clear as glass. Gary’s fingers tensed on a flash of irritation. He dug his hands into his pockets.
“Nice night, boss,” Percival remarked in his rumbling baritone.
“Go away, Perce.”
“Had a pint in the pub, eh?” The tone was easy, conversational.
It didn’t take Sherlock Holmes to make that deduction. He hadn’t hidden the fact that he had been drinking. Still, it seemed like Percy had spotted a weakness.
The familiar sizzle of violence began at the base of his skull and spread down his arms, through the tendons in his hands. His nostrils flared, his breath came fast. He was itching for a fight. “I mean it, Percival.” His voice was dangerously calm.
Other men might have sensed something off, a quiver of tension in the air and nothing more, but Percival knew the warning signs. He could read them like no one else could. He should have walked away. “Buy you a coffee?”
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