COME BACK – Release Blitz
Dirty, Dark, & Deadly #2
By JA Huss
“Secrets keep the darkness alive,” Harper tells me. But that’s not how I see it at all. Secrets keep me alive. The truth is overrated. Honesty is never the best policy. And when your job involves killing the most dangerous men on earth, knowing more than you should, will get you killed.
Death is a business deal,” I tell her back. And I shake his hand every chance I get. Secrets are currency in my world. I pay my debts with them. I feed on them. They ground me in the present and they promise me a future.
But Harper Tate is everything I’ve ever wanted. She is my promise, she is my past, she is my future. She can be mine. She will be mine. All I have to do is complete the mission.
There’s just one problem.
I have no idea what it is.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
JA Huss is the USA Today best-selling author of the Rook and Ronin series, the epic science fiction I Am Just Junco series, and hundreds of kid-friendly science books in subjects such as biology, physics, anatomy and physiology, astronomy, and forensics. She has an undergraduate degree in equine science and a master’s degree in forensic toxicology. She has never taken a creative writing class and she hopes she never will.
Merc picks up on the second ring too. I love consistency. “Jasus fucking Christ, where the hell have you been?”
“Traveling. You think I have hidden wormholes I can pop in and out of to get places or what?”
“Yeah, well, Twifter is not happy, asshole.”
“Twifter can kiss my ass. None of that shit this morning was me. But anyway, we’re here. Thanks for the beer.” I take a swig and let out a long, “Ahhh,” trying to piss off Merc, but that’s when I see the Smurf watching me from the jail cell up on the foyer terrace. “Call you later,” I say, and then I press end on the phone. “What the fuck you doing up there?”
“Who the hell were you talking to?” she snarls back.
“Merc.” I hold up my beer and give her a pretend cheers.
“Obviously that phone call was Merc. Before Merc, who the hell were you talking to?”
“My secretary.” She stares at me and then gets up and walks to the jail cell door. That little shit was sleeping up in that jail cell. What a freak. “Why? I ask her. “You got a problem with me making calls?”
She walks towards the steps and stops at the top. She’s all sweaty and flushed from the heat, and her hair is still wet from her earlier shower. The scratches from the thorn run-in this morning are still there, but now that the dried blood has been properly washed away, they are not so bad. She looks better and worse all at the same time. She looks unstable.
“When you make a call to an associate from a phone that’s supposedly not secure, a phone that had some cryptic message you tried to blame on me, then yeah. I have a big fucking problem.”
“Watch your fucking mouth around me, kid. Or I’ll smack the shit out of it.”
She reaches behind her and pulls out a gun and points it at me. “Is that right?”
“You better shoot me right the fuck now. Because if you don’t, I’ll kill you just for pointing that weapon at me.”
She reevaluates her target and decides on a spot above my head. Smurfette is clever. “Who were you talking to?”
I eye the diameter of the chamber on her weapon and guesstimate .40. “You sure you can handle that thing? It’s got a nice kick to it. And if you miss me, I won’t miss you.”
“I don’t miss. And I’ve been shooting this Glock for a while now. So I’ll happily take my chances. Now, who were you talking to?”
“I already told you. My secretary, checking for messages. And Merc, returning a call.”
“You were checking in. Who’s running this operation?”
“I thought you knew?”
She thinks about this for a few seconds. Gives it some consideration before she answers. “I know who I’m working for. I know who sent you to get me. And I don’t think we’re on the same side anymore.”
“That’s too bad then,” I tell her with a shrug of my shoulders. “I was just beginning to like you. I was starting to hope I wouldn’t have to kill you.”
He takes three quick steps towards me and I back up instinctively, but I hit the sink. And then before I can come up with another plan, he’s pressed up against me, standing over me almost. His stare is captivating because everything about his expression, his body language, his breathing—all of it says this moment counts. His hands hover over my shoulders and then he give me a crooked smile.
“Harper,” he says calmly.
“What?” I snap again.
“I want you. I’m going to touch you. I’m not fighting with you anymore. It’s a waste of time. I’m going to fuck the shit out of you right here, right now. In this goddamned desert shithole bathroom even though you deserve to be fucked on a tropical beach or somewhere with a mountain view, or, hell, even the goddamned Hummer would be better than right here. But you know what?”
I swallow down my surprise. “What?”
“You gotta make the most of what you got. And we’re not on a tropical beach or in front of a goddamned beautiful mountain. And fucking Smurfette is probably out in the Hummer. So this is all I got.”
“None of this has anything to do with the fight we’re having.”
He smiles and then nods at me. “Oh yes, it does. Because here’s the thing, Harp. We are about to have makeup sex. Right the fuck now. And if you don’t want me to do that, then feel free to finish this fight properly. You ready?”
“So you’re gonna force me.”
“I’ll count to three so you can have a few more moments to decide. One.”
My heart begins to beat wildly. “What the hell—”
“Two.” His hands are still hovering above my shoulders but now they slowly descend to rest on my upper arms. “Three.”
I expect to be turned around, pushed against the sink, and fucked from behind.
But that’s not what I get at all.
His hands descend down my bare arms, stopping at the elbow for a brief moment to caress the soft skin on the underside. And then they continue down to my waist. He eases them underneath my tank top, and then places both palms flat against my skin. “I’ll take that as permission to proceed, but feel free to stop me at any time.” And then his strong hands grab my waist and place my ass on the edge of the sink. He cups my face and leans in, his lips lightly touching mine.
I kiss him back. With tongue.
I can feel the smile on his lips. Because he knows I gave in with that tongue. He won this fight hands down. I am out for the count before the bell even rings.
“I win,” he whispers into my mouth. “I’m not here to fight with you. I’m not here to trick you. I’m not here to kill your pain-in-the-ass piece-of-shit brother. I’m here for you, Harper. And that’s all there is to it.”
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