Excerpt for Burning for an Assassin by , available in its entirety at Smashwords

This page may contain adult content. If you are under age 18, or you arrived by accident, please do not read further.

Published by EVERNIGHT PUBLISHING ® at Smashwords


www.evernightpublishing.com




Copyright© 2017 Serenity Snow



ISBN: 978-1-77339-348-3


Cover Artist: Jay Aheer


Editor: Katelyn Uplinger



ALL RIGHTS RESERVED


WARNING: The unauthorized reproduction or distribution of this copyrighted work is illegal. No part of this book may be used or reproduced electronically or in print without written permission, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in reviews.


This is a work of fiction. All names, characters, and places are fictitious. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, organizations, or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.



BURNING FOR AN ASSASSIN


Assassins Trilogy, 2


Serenity Snow


Copyright © 2017


Prologue


Veda Price cut through the park to get to her apartment faster despite the darkness intensified by the towering trees. The pale light was too thin to illuminate the spacious green place, but she was too tired to take the longer more well-lit path.

She tugged her keys from her pants pocket and gripped the small spray bottle in its leather case. She shivered as the wind blew around her and through the thin jacket she wore more for fashion than function.

A muted scream slithered around her and she jumped, starting and covering her mouth, realizing if someone was out here committing a crime she’d be next. Heart pumping Veda headed to a nearby clump of bushes for cover.

She slammed into a harder body and screamed as she stumbled backward. Veda landed in a graceless pile on the twig and rock strewn ground and grimaced when something sharp bit into her palm.

“Got to be careful out here in the dark,” a low voice said and Veda’s head jerked up.

Her eyes fastened on a tall figure in blue jeans and a black t-shirt that pulled taut over a feminine chest. The black hair was cut short and spiky and the mouth pulled into a thin line.

A black gloved hand extended to her while the other hand lifted the shades giving her a look at golden brown eyes in a tanned face. They shone with humor, intriguing her, making her pulse jump.

Veda took the hand though she knew the woman wouldn’t be able to pull her up. She was already twenty pounds overweight in addition to the ten she’d packed on in the last three months. A black booted foot was placed in front of hers and she was tugged forward.

Using that momentum, she leaned forward and stumbled into the stranger who curved an arm around her waist to steady her.

“As skittish as you are you shouldn’t be out here alone,” the low voice said and the woman released her to retrieve something from the ground.

“I—” Oh no. Her pepper spray!

“You dropped this,” she said and held the keys and its precious cargo out to her.

Veda’s hand shook as she took the spray. “T-thank you.”

“Do you live far?” she asked, and her gaze took a slow stroll down Veda from her side-swept bangs to the toes of her sneakers.

Veda’s heart thudded, and her nipples peaked. The hot stare left her breathless and in clothes that were suddenly too warm. Confused by her body’s reaction, she took a slow step back, but Veda knew she was too fat to be of any real sexual interest to anyone. That didn’t mean the woman didn’t have an interest in causing her some other kind of harm.

She gripped the leather, savoring the comfort of it in her hand. “No. In fact, my boyfriend should be showing up any second now.” She tipped her chin up.

The woman lifted her brows in mocking. “Little girl if I wanted to fuck with you, I’d have left you on the ground and kicked your brains out,” she said tonelessly. “Now, get your ass home before someone less friendly happens upon you and turns you into meat.” She pushed her shades up on her nose and stomped off.

Veda exhaled shakily and rounded the bushes. Not far, a couple of trees leaned close to each other and what looked like a pair of ripped pants littered the ground.

Veda took a step back, but she realized there was something, a person? She crept closer, her breath held. In the thin finger of light, she made out a body.

Veda moved closer wondering if that woman had attacked someone. Closing in on the body, she saw a stream running away from it. Her blood froze in her veins and she stared at the crumpled form knowing the person was dead.

“Hello?” she called tentatively. “Are you okay?”

She stopped inches from the body and opened her mouth to scream but the terror died in her throat.


Chapter One


The present day…


With the pale glow of candles the only light in her office, Veda Price stood before her tabletop altar in a corner with the moon’s light slipping in through the window from the shades she’d left up. A metal disc with a spiral triskelion carved into its face served as the centerpiece and apple-cinnamon wafted from a diffuser filling the room with its delicious aroma.

To her right was the rose gold memory locket bracelet she’d bought especially for this project. It was bold and daring for her, but she was ready for a change and not sure how to make it happen except through magic. To her left were the items—the rose petals that would dry, the tiny red heart, and the ruby gemstone chips. All she needed now was a small bit of wax from the burned female candle she’d cleansed and charged.

She focused on the female candle and began her ritual. “I invite lust into my life and it transforms me into the true self-confident woman I was meant to be.”

She chanted the words twenty-seven times, her voice soft and filled with determination. As she did, her energy rose in a powerful cone forming a thick fog around her.

Doing lust or love spells to taint a person’s free will could have unexpected and disastrous results, and it was always unethical. It crossed the realm into black magick, but she wasn’t focusing on any woman in particular. She wasn’t looking for a life-partner just a temporary lover who’d help her realize her own feminine power as a sexual being.

The woman wouldn’t change her. She could help her break through that last barrier of her own fear of not being worthy of true love because of her weight.

“This is a kiss of heat, lips to lips. This is a caress of lust, body to body,” she said as she held her hands over the items to be placed in the memory locket bracelet.

“By petal one, the spell’s begun.” A rose petal was dropped over the items. “By petal two, the spell cometh true. By petal three, so mote it be. By petal four, tomorrow my fling cometh through my door. I conjure lust using the moon’s radiant allure.”

The items glowed as if engulfed by pink fog and the candle’s flame flared. The light filled the entire room, a bright beacon and then it was a thin flame again.

****

“Sabrina, don’t do this to me.” The words came out a harsh whisper and the brown eyes gazed at her imploringly. “I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t need the money.” The young woman standing before her clasped her hands together in front of her chest. Her blouse was rumpled, her jeans were fashionably worn, but she stank of stale dope smoke.

Her blonde hair had been haphazardly pulled back from her heart-shaped face, and she looked as if she’d put on a few pounds since she’d seen her last time. Sabrina Cain let herself go cold inside.

Up until eight months ago, Pam had been knocking on her door every other month for rent money and food. She couldn’t keep a job because she was an addict. Some days Pam had been sober enough to think clearly, but most she was a walking disaster too out of it to know her own name.

“Pamela, I really don’t have it.” It was time she stopped being her enabler. Pam had been to four rehabs in the last two years and nothing was working, but Sabrina knew why. She and Pam had been brought face-to-face with a demon no kid should have to face.

Neither of them had walked out of the fire whole, but she just wore her scars better. More correctly, she’d accepted and dealt with the darkness that was their past.

“You’re lying,” Pam snarled and began to pace before Sabrina’s desk.

“You’re right, I am,” she agreed, head starting to hurt from the exchange. “I’m not giving you any money, so pull yourself together and stay clean.”

“Who are you to preach to me?” Pam demanded, stopping to glare at her. “You think your fucking life is so perfect? Well, you’re wrong! You’re a butch, and you can’t even keep a girlfriend. So you’re as bad at that as you are at being a sister.”

Sabrina clenched her hands on her lap and bit back the scathing retort on the tip of her tongue. Circumstances had brought them into the same family, but they’d never been real siblings and never would be.

Yeah, her bed was cold, but she wasn’t in hell. Well, hiring two more reporters and a photographer was becoming a bit of a task that was keeping her late at her desk these days.

“Yeah, my life sucks, Pam, but I’m keeping my money in my pocket.”

“Next to your fake dick?” she taunted

“Right next to it, so they can keep each other company,” she agreed coolly. “Do you need a ride?” Sabrina got to her feet and reached for her suit jacket.

“I need money, you selfish bitch,” she snapped. “For the last eight months I’ve been selling for this dealer, but I’ve been keeping some of the product without paying. He said he’d give me four months to pay him back the five thousand, but I need a thousand tonight. If I don’t get it, he’s going to pimp me out until he’s gotten his money’s worth. If I refuse, he’s going to kill me.”

“I’m not giving you the money, Pam,” Sabrina replied quietly. She wasn’t sure she believed her story, but Pamela had been doing something to get by since she hadn’t been calling her. “So, I guess you’re going to have to make it on your back.” She started to walk around her desk when her office phone buzzed. Sabrina picked it up never taking her eyes from the glaring woman before her. “Yes, Miss Lacey?”

“I’ve got your calendar updated with tomorrow’s interviews and all on-going assignments,” the other woman replied. “I’m going home now. Shall I call security first?”

“No. I’ll see you tomorrow.” She replaced the phone in its cradle.

“Charlie’s been out of town for work, and he doesn’t get back until tomorrow. Otherwise, I would have gone to him,” Pam muttered.

Sabrina sighed. Charles was Pamela’s older brother and had been as much of an enabler as Sabrina had.

“You’re going to have to wait for him then.”

Pam’s expression contorted to one of ugliness. “I’m not a whore and I’m not about to turn into one. You better give me the money, or I’ll go to the police. I know what you did that night. I know where the bodies are, and I have a video tape of every single moment.”

The smug look on her face cut through Sabrina along with the words, effectively severing the thin tie between them. But there was no blood, no hemorrhaging of emotion, just a frost that quickly began freezing.

“Then, go,” Sabrina said coldly with a wave of her hand. She wasn’t sure about the tape, but she had known he was using one that night. The sick twisted bastard had taken to shooting every single encounter and watching them. He’d make her watch too.

She’d cleaned out his little playhouse but…

“You don’t believe me?” Pam asked softly. “I made you a copy, but the other one is tucked away nice and tidy. There is no statute of limitations on murder. Charlie told me.” She laughed. “Two murders.” Pam uncurled the fingers of one hand to reveal a small plastic case. “Don’t say I never gave you anything.” She grinned.

Sabrina took the case and walked back around her desk to insert the card into her computer. She brought up the file and watched the scene unfold.

Her confrontation with her stepfather had been very nasty that night. She had been in a rage, and she’d been fed up especially after what she’d found him shooting Pam as she was being shared by two of his friends. She had tried to close her mind to his depravity, allow herself to believe she could live through it for six more months. Then, she could escape. She’d gained early admission to Harvard and was going on a scholarship.

But her heart had been too tender then despite being so badly savaged. She hadn’t wanted to leave Pam behind at the mercy of her father’s sickness.

She’d put that all behind her though. She’d put the Cains behind her, but the mess of her childhood was all rushing back to her now in black and white.

“And you’ll give me a thousand a month until I’ve paid him back,” Pam said coldly.

Pamela—”

“Or Charlie will get a copy, and you know he’ll rip you apart. He was devastated when our father went missing,” she murmured. “He loved him.”

Her stepbrother had worshipped the fucking ground his father walked on. That stupid bastard had been exactly like Billy Cain. Charles hadn’t liked her much because Sabrina and her mother had been little more than intruders in his family, but Charles hadn’t been depraved like his father but she had glimpsed darkness in him too.

Sabrina swallowed tightly. “Pamela, listen to me. Your father—”

“You were always jealous of my relationship with him,” she cut in softly. “You hated that he loved me and not you. You and your mother didn’t belong in our family. Your mother wrecked his life and you took him from us. Now, you can pay for that with money or with your life.”

Her freedom, financially and otherwise had been hard won, and she would not let this fucked-up-in-the-head Cain steal that from her after what she’d done for her.

“I can only get five hundred from the ATM,” Sabrina said.

“That’s fine for tonight,” Pam told her. “You can bring the rest by tomorrow and while you’re at it, my rent is due in two days. You can write a check.” She grinned and clapped her hands together gleefully at her apparent victory.

Sabrina studied her with dispassionate eyes and knew beyond a doubt that she hadn’t been tied to Pam through any kind of love. She’d pitied the younger girl and had hoped she’d find her way out of the darkness that had become the black hole of her life.

It was clear that was never going to happen and there was nothing she could do, no solace she could give the creature before her. Pam’s pain was a prison that was Pam’s destiny, but Sabrina wasn’t about to allow this wraith of the girl she’d known drag her down with her.

“Are you riding with me?”

“No. I’m with Wes,” Pam replied. “Let’s go.”

“Was it even the truth about your dealer?”

“It’s all true.” She shrugged, her face a mask of honesty. “Now, let’s go. I’m starving.”

Sabrina gave her a disdainful look, all the pity she’d once felt for her sister had died a hard and fast death moments ago. It wouldn’t rise anew as it had so many times, but she would kill Pam if it became necessary.

No Cain would ever again destroy her life or turn her soul into a rotting shell.


Chapter Two


Veda Price studied the top page of the file she’d brought with her, so she could go over the proposal that had come across her desk. Her father had out right vetoed the idea of them creating a perfume line to go along with the lingerie, but she wasn’t totally against it herself.

She thought it would make a fabulous idea. She wanted the company to be able to provide everything the bigger size woman needed from lingerie to the business suit. She no longer had the vision she once had, but she still had an eye for color.

All the same, she merely collaborated with one of the company’s designers while handling advertising and marketing. That’s where she excelled and was more than happy to do her job.

She turned the page and read through it noting a sample of the scent was ready for her should she decide to ask for it. She sat back in her chair deaf to the soft murmurs of the lounge. She’d have to sell her father on the idea, but she didn’t think that would be too difficult as long as she came up with a marketing plan that worked and the scent wouldn’t cost too much to produce.

He was looking at the bottom line a lot lately. Though the company had lost money in the last two years they were by no means in trouble. In fact, with her revised marketing plan sales were showing definite signs of improvement.

She reached for her glass of white wine and activated the calendar app on her phone. She wanted to meet with the chemist as soon as possible to discuss things. And she had to meet with the designer to discuss fabric choices for the fall line of business wear.

Veda made a few notes and checked to see when her appointment was with Feminine Confidence magazine. She wanted to place an ad with them.

Veda took a sip of wine and rolled the bouquet around in her mouth unconsciously as she made another note and closed the calendar.

She had almost everything a woman could ask for. Money to live on, a job she enjoyed, nice clothes, and a place to live, but she didn’t have a lover. She was looking for someone special, but she’d settle for Ms. Hot One-Night Stand.

Hence the spell before leaving work tonight. She rarely did lust spells because they were kind of unpredictable and if done incorrectly created more problems than pleasure. At least that’s what her mother had told her.

Her mother had been witch-born, a New Orleans girl who’d grown up casting and cursing with the best and the worst of the magical community. However, Veda hadn’t been exposed to too much of the darkness of the supernatural world as her father, a practicing witch, moved in a small circle and had ensured she’d been sheltered from ugliness of magick.

Veda glanced around, drinking in the dim light of the well-appointed room decorated in rich muted gold and black. Some women were here alone, but—her gaze landed on an attractive woman tossing back a shot at a table in a corner.

She tapped her fingernails on the table as she tried to place the face. She’d seen her before. The woman lifted her gaze from her bottle then to meet Veda’s. Her skin warmed and her pulse rushed like the first time they’d met.

It must have been a fundraiser or something like that, she mused taking in the unblemished russet skin of her lovely face. Her thick ebony hair was cut in a soft face-flattering ear-length cut with layers adding depth to color and interest to the style. The strands were straight as a poker though. Her hair had been shorter the first time she’d seen her.

Yes. It was in a magazine not in person now that she thought about it, but it felt as though she she’d seen her before that. Just looking at Sabrina’s picture had made her heart skip a beat.

The woman tipped her glass to her and Veda smiled. Sabrina Cain, as she recalled the article had said her name was, stroked her fingers down the bottle but she didn’t pick it up. She looked over again and Veda decided to take a chance.

A little company or something more, it didn’t matter tonight as long as she wasn’t alone. Of course, she didn’t really have to be. No Dice was a lesbian sex club, so all she had to do was leave the lounge and head for the main club where there was a dance floor and plenty of Dommes looking for a sub for the night.

She grabbed her phone and file and put them in her purse before heading over to the table. The woman looked up at her with tired yet questioning hazel green eyes.

“Mind if I join you?” Veda asked, shaking inside.

Those eyes took her in from the wavy hair she’d left to fall around her shoulders to the tips of the wedge heel shoes she’d paired with the violet dress she’d worn to work.

“I don’t bottom,” she said coolly.

“That’s okay,” Veda said and pulled out the chair next to hers. “I’m Veda.”

“Sabrina.” She indicated the bottle with her fingernail. “Drink?”

Veda looked at the bottle. “I don’t drink anything harder than wine,” she said with a smile.

Sabrina inclined her head and signaled for the waitress in her short black skirt and white blouse. “Stopping off for a drink after work?” Sabrina’s gaze went to the purse still on her shoulder.

“Yes.” Veda draped her purse over the chair back. “What about you?”

“Something for your guest, Ms. Cain?” The waitress chose that moment to appear.

“Nothing for me, thanks,” Veda told her.

“Let me know if you change your mind,” she said giving Veda a smile before disappearing.

“The lounge is quiet tonight,” Veda said.

“Seems as though,” Sabrina agreed with a shrug. “I’m off the clock so if you want to talk shop you’ll have to make an appointment.”

Veda laughed softly. “Are you drunk already?”

“I don’t get drunk, baby,” she murmured.

Veda smiled and leaned toward her. “Neither do I.” She shifted, crossing one leg over the other and brushing Sabrina’s leg in the process.

“Do you want to play?” Sabrina asked in a quiet tone that stroked her, awakening every nerve in her body.

Those hazel eyes were knowing, but Sabrina didn’t lift a hand to touch her as she watched her, waiting.

“What do you like, Veda? Easy or rough?” Sabrina asked softly.

She caught her breath. She liked a woman who knew how to hit just hard enough to make her wetter. She loved a woman who wore a dildo and could fuck her brains out.

“A little of both,” she heard herself saying even as she pushed that sensible voice of reason to the back of her mind. She really shouldn’t go up with her. She was too intrigued by her for a mere one night to be enough.

“Which do you prefer, fingers or a toy?”

“Either, both,” she answered leaning closer and her hard nipples brushed the cups of her bra forcing her to bite back a groan. “I really love the girth of a dildo shafting inside me, making me so wet, I want to scream.”

“Really? I think I have the right tool for the job. You want to give it a try?”


Chapter Three


Veda licked her suddenly parched lips. Her blood was hot, making her dress too tight and too hot. She’d already acted a little bolder than normal. Was it the spell?

Was this beautiful woman bringing out the true seductress inside her?

She let her gaze drift down over the other woman’s lean build in a blue shirt, top three buttons undone, revealing a hint of black silk beneath. The masculine lines of the shirt were an interesting juxtaposition next to the delicacy of the lingerie. The look translated to nonchalant feminine confidence and that made Veda nervous.

She could stand to lose a good fifteen pounds, twenty if she was honest, but who was really counting?

Sabrina would take one look at her and cringe because she didn’t have that fashion model body unless she was talking plus size.

“I’m disease free,” Sabrina told her, but she made no move to get up. “And you?”

“I’m clean too.” She was learning to be comfortable with her body. Just looking at Sabrina made her self-conscious. She looked like a woman who took more pride in her body, worked out.

Sabrina leaned toward her, her hand reaching out to grasp a strand of her hair. “Do you often work long hours, Veda?”

“A few days a week,” she admitted huskily. “What about you?”

“Frequently,” she answered. “I like that scent you’re wearing. What is it?”

“Fantasy.” Her stomach tightened and her breath quickened.

“Let’s take the elevator up,” Sabrina suggested. “I’m eager to see you naked and splayed out waiting for me to make you scream.”

Her breath stalled as her lungs stopped working. Sweat dewed her palms making her feel like a high school girl with her first crush.

“Okay.”

Sabrina gave her a slow smile and withdrew her hand before getting to her feet. Veda rose too, nerves fluttering in her stomach as they exited the room.

They made their way down a narrow corridor filled with the delicious scent of chocolate mingled alcohol. They must be near the small restaurant that provided five-star cuisine.

The aroma faded and silence reigned supreme as they reached the elevator. Sabrina pushed the button and doubts swam through Veda’s mind as she covertly checked Sabrina out. She was lean in tailored steel gray suit slacks and shiny black shoes.

She had a perfect ass, tight and round like the one she wanted to have someday. Her trainer said she was on the right track.

The elevator doors swished open revealing an empty car and Sabrina put a hand on the door. “After you.”

Veda hesitated staring in, voices from her past—jeers and taunts at the fat girl. She’d always been in a battle with food and her weight it seemed. She’d lost it a few times but she’d stopped being mindful and ended up packing the pounds back on.

She’d been treated for bulimia, been in therapy for binge eating, and nothing had really worked until six months ago when she’d made up her mind to lose fifty pounds. She’d decided a nice size twelve was her goal and she was almost there.

“Begging off?” Sabrina murmured from her side.

Veda met Sabrina’s gaze wondering what the other woman saw when she looked at her. Most of the women she’d been with had seen dollar signs, not her. They slept with her because of the financial rewards they thought they’d reap.

“Not even,” she said in a husky tone and climbed in.

Sabrina followed and the moment the doors closed she turned to her, eyes sliding down her with a hungry light in them. “Good.”

Veda shivered and the folds between her thighs moistened in anticipation.

They rode up the rest of the way in silence. When the doors opened, Veda climbed out and followed Sabrina down a narrow hallway to door number three of four. Sabrina unlocked it, and Veda’s stomach knotted, some of the bravado fading.

She hadn’t been with anyone in six months. That’s how long it had taken her to lose twenty pounds and bounce back from her latest slip in her battle with bulimia brought on by the very nasty break-up with her last girlfriend.

She’d gone off women and sex with anyone but her favorite dildo.

Veda stared inside the room, taking in the queen size bed dressed in black and a spanking bench with a black scarf trailing down one side. The soft smell of cinnamon drifted to her and she closed her eyes letting it wash over her, draw her in.

Her heart beat faster as she stepped into the room, a hand on her belly, nails lightly scraping the fabric of her dress.

“I thought you wanted to play.” The voice behind her was cool, almost controlled.

“I do.” She turned to meet mocking hazel eyes. “No ropes, but I don’t mind handcuffs.” She loved the rush of no control. “No ball gags though.” She needed her lover to know how much she was enjoying or not enjoying what was being done to her.

Sabrina brushed her fingers along Veda’s jaw and heat licked her flesh sparking fire in her blood. “Nothing I can’t work with,” she said. “Safeword?”

“Play me.”

“Slow down?” Sabrina asked.

“Not now.” She rarely used it. She didn’t mind having her limits pushed most nights and tonight was one of them.

“Undress, pretty baby,” Sabrina told her. “Go over to the bench when you’re done.”

“Yes, ma’am.” She turned to look at said bench and fire sparked brighter in Veda’s blood as she stared at the bench with its leather covering over wood.

She glanced over her shoulder. “Sabrina, can you unzip me?” Veda asked demurely not meeting Sabrina’s gaze.

The carpet masked her footsteps, but Veda knew she was there by the flares of heat through her from the back of the finger that casually caressed her back as Sabrina dragged the zipper slowly down.

“Thank you,” she murmured. Veda pushed the fabric slowly from her shoulders and rolled it over her bra, a soft silky material. Fear snaked through her at the memory of the sexy lingerie she’d pulled on. Part of her therapy had been to do things to strengthen her self-esteem and body image.

A soft moan from behind her made it clear Sabrina wasn’t unhappy with her rounded butt or the cheeky panties that fit close and rode up high to leave the lower curves of her globes exposed.

“Turn around, Veda,” Sabrina ordered. “I want to see your eyes as you undress for me.”

Veda did as ordered and reached up, taking her time releasing the hooks of the blush pink bra that matched her panties.

She tossed the fabric aside and Sabrina’s eyes darkened and the gold flecks stood out in sharp relief. Sabrina closed the distance between them and glided her finger down the valley between Veda’s breasts and flattened on the rounded rise of her belly.

“Your nipples are like melted caramel,” Sabrina murmured. “I want to lick them up.” She lowered her head then slowly drew her tongue over one nipple and lifted her eyes to meet Veda’s.

Veda shivered as the flames in Sabrina’s stare burned her.

“I want you,” Sabrina whispered.

“Take me.” Sabrina nipped her bottom lip and drew back from her.

Sabrina turned Veda and kissed the back of her neck before leading her to the spanking bench.

“Climb up.”

She stepped onto the stool and climbed up, positioning her knees on the buttery leather before leaning forward. Her wrists were immediately secured, the metal clasping her just below the memory bracelet. Then Sabrina moved behind her sliding her hand down the middle of her back to hook a finger in the band of her panties.


Purchase this book or download sample versions for your ebook reader.
(Pages 1-20 show above.)