The Place Where Danger Meets Desire…
Enter a shadow world of espionage and counter espionage. Where killing is a career path that pays according to your level of expertise, where you are only as good as your last hit.
Enter a world where competition is fierce and growing eyes in the back of your head is a requirement, where you could be the shooter one day and the target the next.
Enter a world where this moment, this breath could be your last.
Warning: Each episode ends in a cliffhanger
Someone is killing Department hunters one-by-one. Dark Man, the Department’s best hitman, is determined to find the assassin and take him out.
The Archangel is known throughout the globe for her body count. Now her employers, the Chernyy Group, Russia’s super-secret counter intelligence agency, have aimed her at its rival, the Department…and DM.
When DM captures the illusive Angel, sparks fly and passions explode.
When she asks his name, he replies, “I’m your future.”
But is he her future lover or executioner?
He has questions. She has the answers. He knows what he should do, but why not do what he wants—seduce her and get the answers that way?
The soft cough of Gamer’s gun as he double-tapped the target finalizing the contract, an octogenarian with a paunch and bald head, brought DM out of his stupor.
“Did you catch my shadow?” Gamer’s voice sounded in his ear.
DM’s gaze tangled with the woman’s. He watched a single dark eyebrow lift in question and scowled in response. He was torn, and furious that he found himself torn. He shouldn’t feel conflicted. Hell, he should turn her ass over to the Medic, whoever the fuck she was.
“Dark Man—?” Gamer hissed.
“Dark Man?” she gasped.
His scowl deepened. DM’s exploits had become an urban legend in the small world of assassins and hitmen. Hell, they’d been embellished to the point you’d think he could frickin’ sprout wings and fly while shooting laser beams from his eyes.
She attempted to slide from his loosened grip. Automatically, he tightened it, crushing her to him. She exhaled, then went slack as though saying, Do what you want.
DM’s jaw flexed once, twice.
“No,” he answered, eyeing her. “Your shadow got away.” He inexplicably loosed his grip, freeing the woman and stepped back. He was setting her free. Why?
She reached up on her tip toes and pressed her lips to DM’s, running her tongue lightly over his bottom lip. Then she stepped back and disappeared into the night.
“I just don’t get it,” Gamer said for the thousandth time running a gloved hand over his close cropped head.
DM clenched his teeth and breathed heavily through his nose. Breathed—not sighed. He did nothing so limp wristed as “sigh”. He hit the door when the security light turned green, lengthening his stride to fit his six foot six inch frame hoping to leave Gamer and his questions behind.
Gamer’s stride wasn’t far off DM’s still he quickened his pace to keep up with the bigger man, his rubber soled boots squeaking on the polished tile floor. DM’s heavier boots thundered out a steady military-smart rhythm.
“You say you had the tracker in your sights…and he got away?” Gamer asked in that incredulous tone that had DM grinding his teeth in frustration.
DM picked up the pace, his black ankle-length duster flapping behind him like the cape of the super-hero he was supposed to be. More like anti-hero he thought darkly.
“I didn’t let him get away,” he growled. Better to let Gamer think the person tailing him was male. Much better.
“See…that’s where it doesn’t make sense,” Gamer insisted. “My shadow escaped untouched and unharmed…from you.”
“Dammit, Gamer, you act like I’m fuckin’ Wolverine.”
“But you never miss a target.”
DM stopped so suddenly the skirts of his coat circled his calves. Gamer continued a couple steps further before stopping. He turned to face the big man his expression expectant.
“Listen,” DM growled, “I don’t know what you want from me. I guess I zigged when I shoulda’ mother fuckin’ zagged and the son of a bitch got away.” His big hands curled into sledge hammer-sized fists.
Gamer lifted his hands, palm side out. “Fine…okay…sorry.”
DM exhaled again and no, it sure as hell wasn’t a sigh, before continuing down the hallway with Gamer trailing him.
“Still…you have to admit that isn’t like you, DM.”
“I’m not fuckin’ Superman, dude,” DM growled and paced off leaving Gamer at the desk to sign in his equipment.
DM’s scowl was aimed squarely at himself. How the fuck did he think he’d possibly convince the Chief that Gamer’s shadow had the chops to escape him when he couldn’t even convince Gamer? This had to be the first time his legendary reputation worked against him. Another deep breath. Why? Why had he let her go?
Just once Dark Man would like to go a day without having to dodge bullets. Just freaking once. However, since Angel crash-landed in his life, that’s all he’s been doing.
Angel feels pulled in opposite directions. On the one hand, she wants to admit the truth to DM, but on the other, she knows she must remain loyal to Damien, her boss and DM’s identical twin. What troubles her most is can she trust Damien or will he put her head on the chopping block? Then there’s one small problem.
She’s attracted to both men.
The leader of the super-secret Guild, Damien has cut all ties with his estranged brother. Or has he? One thing DM knows for certain, if Damien is stirring this pot then it’s poisonous.
When the Department and Chernyy start to doubt their agent’s loyalty, then Dark Man and Angel have no choice but to trust each other and hope their skills will keep them alive.
DM plucked a champagne flute from the tray held by a waiter and offered it to Elle.
“I see one, two… make that three of Moto’s lieutenants and several representatives of the Columbian growers’ conglomerate,” Elle whispered through the link, the glass masking her mouth.
The security detail scattered so obviously around the mansion and grounds weren’t the real danger. High powered cameras with the ability to zoom in and count the hairs on a flea’s back were. Not to mention the lip reading software now standard in most high level systems.
Have you located the target?
“He’s at the foot of the stairs, greeting guests,” DM said, dropping a kiss on Elle’s shoulder.
That was a bit of luck there. With a little more they could get the job done and be away well under the allotted time.
Proceed, the handler said.
DM followed Elle, his eyes sweeping the room, searching out the nooks, looking for enemies and cameras, but the laser lighting and the crushing crowd made it difficult. Instead he focused on the welcoming committee.
Moto had two bodyguards flanking him. One shifted and DM saw the glint of his pistol in the shoulder holster beneath his tuxedo jacket. Both men had the hard countenances and shifting gazes that bespoke serious training. For once, it was nice to see the briefing for this job had been on target, he thought sourly. Bad intelligence made his job harder. Not impossible, just harder. Tonight, he’d like easy.
They continued their downward trek, trailing an older man whose arms were around two teens – a boy and a girl. Descending the wide stairs in fits and starts, the old sod passed the time running one hand over the girl’s breasts and the other fondling the boy’s bottom. The girl giggled nervously while the boy tried to step out of the pervert’s reach. DM eyed the old goat. It would take two, three seconds to break the man’s wrists. While that would offer a welcome diversion besides give new meaning to the axiom: keep your hands to yourself, DM could not. He was on the Department clock. Maybe he’d visit the pervert another night and have a little heart to heart. He looked away, exhaling a long breath. It wasn’t a sigh. He did nothing so limp wristed as sigh.
Moto waited to meet his guests at the foot of the stairs like a gracious monarch. Dark hair swept back and gelled into place, coffee colored skin, blue eyes, average height, and stocky build, he was dressed in a white silk shirt unbuttoned to reveal a paunch worthy of a hibernating bear and tan linen pants. Grinning around a cigar clenched between his teeth and the curvy woman hanging on his arm, Moto yucked it up with the old pervert before sending him and his underage sex toys on their way. Change the face and location and Moto could be anyone of a thousand narcissistic killers DM had offed, he thought huffing again. He was so ready to get this job done.
“Remember, he’s not stupid so don’t you be stupid,” Elle hissed as they stepped forward.
“You watch yourself, rookie. I’m not runnin’ a daycare,” DM growled, giving her a level look. He’d have a talk with the Chief about pairing him with inexperienced smart asses when he got back to the Department.
“Welcome, welcome, friends to my humble home,” Moto said in Spanish. His unique dialect, a blend of Mayan and Spanish, pegged the Yucatan Peninsula as his home.
“I am honored to have been invited, jefe,” DM replied in the same language, if not dialect, gripping Moto’s hand.
Moto nodded at the compliment DM had given him in his choice of title. By calling Moto boss, DM was recognizing the man’s status, his power.
“And I am honored by the presence of a representative from my dear Venezuelan friends. Your lovely lady is very welcome as well,” Moto added, reaching for Elle’s hand.
Time seemed to slow as DM focused in hard on the exchange. This was it. Go time.
Smiling, Elle stretched out her hand to grasp his. The ring on her middle finger was large, spanning from knuckle to knuckle. Sparkling in the light, its deadly cache of poison was cleverly hidden in the twists of silver. The poison was fast acting, once delivered to the target’s bloodstream via the hidden needle it would set to work immediately; causing tachycardia, a rise in temperature, confusion, vomiting, unconsciousness, and finally death. From beginning to end, it would take an hour. Tops.
Elle murmured some platitude, her fingers brushing Moto’s as she stepped forward. DM maintained his smile. All that was needed was a single, firm squeeze. He watched Moto’s hand begin to close around his partner’s. Almost there.
“Gloria, I can’t believe you’re here!”
A blond haired bimbo exclaimed, bumping into Elle with enough force to break her contact with the target. The goblet of red wine gripped in the bimbo’s fist, splashed Elle full in the face causing her to sputter and stagger under the deluge.
The blonde was hot, her four alarm body encased like sausage in a skin-tight spangled red dress that almost covered her round ass. She spun about on strappy platform sandals to face a frowning Moto. The red wine splatters on his white shirt looked like blood. “Ooo, sorry hun. Did I butt in? Gloria and I went to high school together.”
Moto’s body guards moved in front of their employer putting a wall of brawn and firearms between him and DM, Elle, and the blond intruder.
What’s happening, team one? The handler’s voice drilled in DM’s ear.
“Geez, I’m such a clumsy ass. Sorry!” The woman shrugged, her blonde curls bouncing on bare shoulders. She glanced up at DM, her up-tilted amber eyes gleaming in the light. Familiar up-tilted amber eyes. The muscles in his jaw flexed.
Elle stood like a deer caught in headlights, her inexperience flying high and wide while the wine dripped down her chin soaking her clothes.
Report… Team one… copy?
Moto shouldered a guard aside and tilted his head. “I apologize for this insult,” he said to DM then turned to his arm candy and said, “Maria, querida, escort the young lady to the powder room and help her get cleaned up.”
Dammit, Morace! What the hell’s going on?
Elle balked, staring at DM who dropped a chin in agreement. Reluctantly, she followed the woman, gazing back over her shoulder until they disappeared through a door.
“Pablo, take this puta. Find out who she is and what she’s doing here. No, find out who she is with. That’s the idiot I want to speak to.”
DM gripped the woman’s arm so hard she cried out in pain. “If you’ll allow me, I’d like to handle this clumsy puta.”
Moto looked from DM to the struggling woman and chuckled. “Bueno, I’ll let you… how you say… take care of her.” He waved the guard off, turning back to the line of guests.
With a short bow to the Mexican drug lord, he gripped the blonde’s upper arm and dragged her away. It was impossible for the smaller woman to match his long stride so she stumbled after him.
“You’re hurting me,” Angel remarked, her tone disinterested.
“Good,” he snarled. What was it with this woman following him, fouling up his missions?
Things have gone from bad to worse for Dark Man. First, he was set up to be the fall guy for the Guild, the family who’d named him pariah and turned their backs on him. Next, his current employers decided to terminate him with extreme prejudice. And then there’s Angel—the fact she’d called him by his brother’s name when they made love was the cherry on top of this crap cake. It almost made being the Medic’s new lab rat a relief. Almost.
He’d like to bury his feelings for Angel, but he hadn’t signed on for what the Medic planned: to turn him into a robot with a pulse.
Add another covert group with its own agenda to the already crowded field of adversaries and the conspiracy web grows wider. With his list of enemies multiplying by the minute, Dark Man’s chances of surviving are slim to none.
He needs a miracle. He needs his Angel.
Angel sat at a small table inside the Sixty-first Street Starbucks on Galveston Island, studiously avoiding eye contact with the elderly couple on her right while her stomach growled at the fragrant scent of cinnamon rolls and fresh scones.
The old woman’s face had drawn up in a mask of disapproval, her nose crinkled like she smelled an open landfill instead of the heady aroma of freshly ground coffee beans and pastries. She shot a barrage of narrow-eyed glares Angel’s way while her husband’s gaze was altogether different. The old man looked at Angel like she was a three-inch thick New York strip steak. She’d watched him swipe a strand of drool from quivering lips before his gnarled hand retreated beneath the table to do God knew what.
Once more she fought the urge to tug at her skirt. What was the point? It wasn’t like pulling on it was going to make it one millimeter longer.
The old lady sniffed then turned her attention back to her ensainada. She took a bite and Angel’s stomach growled so loudly the table of teenage surfers on the other side of the old farts heard it and snickered. Angel sighed. She’d wanted to order the yummy coiled sweet bread topped with powdered sugar with her coffee, but sadly could only scratch up enough coins to pay for the iced caffe Americano.
She didn’t dare use her credit cards. The last thing she needed was a Chernyy headhunter showing up which would be the first thing to happen if she used her plastic. Anyway, she needed the caffeine more than the Danish so her empty stomach would just have to suck it up. Unhappy with the arrangement, her stomach complained again. Geez, where was her coffee? Angel glanced back at the barista, saw her cup was now third in line and sighed again. Who would have thought Starbucks would be this busy on a Sunday morning?
She crossed her legs and mentally rolled her eyes when she heard the old man slurp in a breath while the sour old lady hissed, “Shameless hussy.”
Yeah. Well, she’d just have to suck it up, too. Angel peered out the wall of glass. The surf was as gray as the morning sky. It reflected her mood.
She was a legend in the assassins’ community. Her reputation as lethal and invincible was almost universal. Why did she feel so helpless? Worse than that, she felt fragile, like she’d shatter into a zillion pieces at the slightest touch.
Starting, she looked around to see the young man at the counter. Her order was ready. She’d forgotten that she’d given him her true name. Tugging again at the disobedient skirt, she rose to her feet.
“Sweet Jesus on a donkey.” The old man’s voice was hoarse. With her peripheral vision, Angel watched his wife lean over and give his arm a smack.
“Oww… whaddidya do that for?”
“C’mon you old coot. We’re leaving.”
“Why? I haven’t finished my breakfast.”
“Oh, yes you have,” she snapped. Draping her purse over her shoulder, she marched him to the door, her gnarled hand gripping his wrist while he cast longing looks back at Angel.
After adding sweetener to the coffee, Angel returned to her seat, sipping contentedly as the strong brew hit her stomach and silenced its demands at least for a while. With the dual distractions of hunger and lecherous old men taken out of the equation, her thoughts returned like homing pigeons to what was really bothering her. DM.
Angel picked at the neon pink fingernail polish on her thumb, her coffee forgotten. Why… why had she left DM that way?
Dark Man is screwed. Captured by the Department hounds, he was handed over to the Medic as a sacrificial lamb—or lab rat. The brain surgery to turn him into the perfect killing machine (the emphasis on machine) has left him reeling. With his emotions disabled, DM has entered a very dark place. Scientific data claims that without the distraction of emotions, DM will be more focused, more productive—an assassin without a conscience. The problem is he won’t cooperate. He’s focused on finding one person: Angel.
Angel’s act first, think later attitude has gotten both her and DM’s identical twin brother, Damien, into a world of trouble. Her plan to rescue DM majorly blew up in her face. Taken captive by the Guild’s enemy—the super-secret Omicron—she has learned the true meaning of pain. Bearing both physical and mental scars, Angel joins forces with both friends and enemies to free DM.
From Houston to Bucharest, trouble follows DM and Angel. With attacks from every side, they must find a way to overcome their differences and come together or risk being torn apart.
Will DM and Angel survive? Read WetWork, Dark Man Case Files, Episode 4 for the exciting conclusion.
“Who am I?”
DM’s voice was a husky whisper. It did crazy things to her insides.
“I’m your future,” he said with the finality of a slammed door, not giving her time to reply before fencing her in against the scarred wooden bar with between his long, hard arms and thick, muscular thighs.
Her pulse kicked up, making her shiver like a spooked horse as he moved into her, invading her personal space. Spooked. That was an apt description. Everything about this dangerous man spooked her. He was imposing, standing over a foot taller than her five-foot four-inches with a shredded build that complemented his superior height. Not to mention the fact he possessed looks that would make any woman between the ages of 13 and 93 swoon. Truth was, just looking up into his smoldering gray gaze made her lightheaded, made her weak in the knees, and made her more than a little wet between the thighs. Truth was, she wanted nothing more than to follow this man to his bed. When he leaned in, his chiseled lips parting as they approached hers, her eyelids drooped. She stretched up in anticipation, tilting her head back, almost breathless to taste his lips, and felt…nothing.
Rusted metal flakes rained down coating her skin as Angel jerked awake. She’d been dreaming of DM, David Morace, the former crown prince of the Guild. Her lover.
Her wrists also awoke and began to bitterly complain of their abuse—being forced to support her weight and suffer the tight bonds of the handcuffs. Her shoulders also objected, stating they had taken more than their fair share of the load. Seeking relief, Angel pulled her feet under her and put weight on her legs. A high whistling gasp of misery escaped her lips. She had forgotten about Spider and his electric carving knife. Almost she regretted contacting DM’s identical twin brother and the new Crown Prince of the Guild. Asking Damien for help in getting DM released from the Department’s creepy version of the Island of Doctor Moreau had been beyond foolhardy. How could she possibly rescue DM when she could do nothing to save herself?
I’m an odd mixture of one part dreamer, one part realist, and two parts stubborn—which can be a positive thing if you’re a writer. Not content to write in just one genre, I write dark paranormal romance, time travel, light science fiction, romantic comedy, and gritty romantic thrillers. Told you I was stubborn (that and a little crazy!). Besides, doing the same thing day after day can become boring and we can do with a little less boring, right?
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