Excerpt for Claiming 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: 978-1-77339-497-8


Cover Artist: Jay Aheer


Editor: CA Clauson



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.



CLAIMING AN ASSASSIN


The Assassins Trilogy, 3


Serenity Snow


Copyright © 2017


Prologue


Blade watched the last of the players pull into the warehouse from the roof across the street, the night vision binoculars held up to her eyes, though she didn’t really need them, thanks to her keen cat shifter eyesight.

“Heads up, we’ve got all the players live,” she said, as she got to her feet and headed for the ladder that crawled down the side of the four-story building in the warehouse district. This was an ideal place for a drug buy, especially since little activity was going on in the buildings around them.

She slipped the binoculars into the black pack, but the weapons she’d brought in it were already holstered and on her person. The dealers were the notorious Five by Five, so crashing this party was no hardship to her. This was only one of their two biggest deals going down and one of the men running the cartel was supposed to be on site, which meant Mojo would be closer to bringing them down for good.

Mojo was a covert agency of mercenaries for which she worked. They wanted to see the cartel destroyed, but running them out of town would do.

She noted the muscle taking up residence outside the building at the entrance, and the four men who moved around to the side of the building.

“We’ve got six outside. I’m not picking up anything more serious than handguns and semis. Semis are located at the sides, and I’ll take them out when it’s time.”

“Hold positions.” The voice of her boss came over the communications link in her ear.

“No visual?” she asked. They’d known the deal was going down, thanks to some stolen intel a few weeks ago, so they’d been able to get into the warehouse ahead of time and plant surveillance equipment.

“Visuals are fine, but there seems to be a little problem with the deal. It might not happen.” Ace Baker’s voice held an edge that echoed in Blade.

She moved toward the rifle she was going to use already set up on its tripod. She’d made the adjustments for wind speed that could interfere with a shot.

The shadows cast over this side of the building had made this an ideal vantage point for her to take. She’d run a few simulations over the past days during both daylight and late evening hours to ensure she’d be able to hit marks from as many positions across the street as possible.

Right now, the cat inside her was tense and ready to pounce. If she’d gotten all decked out in her best guns and Bowie knife for nothing, she was going to be so pissed. She could have been at home on patrol in the employees’ apartment complex watching Kya as she jogged in the complex park.

Kya was average height and perfectly built, from her lean legs that seemed to go on for miles to her pretty face. Her green eyes marked her as one of the calico breed shifters, but that sweet little bow mouth marked her as a woman of too much innocence with more sensuality than she should have.

At least for Blade’s sake.

Kya was a cat shifter like her, but Kya was a distraction to both woman and cat since her animal couldn’t stop craving Kya.

“Start moving in,” Ace said, her voice breaking into the treacherous thoughts that had Blade’s body heating and tightening. “The buy is going down.”

Blade put the night glasses aside and adjusted her position again. She put her finger on the trigger and lined up her shot. She took out the first man quickly and moved on to take out the next two before something pinged on her cat’s senses. She rolled onto her back as a man came around the exhaust vent shielding her from view on one side.

Blade quickly jerked a Glock from her holster. She grimaced as his shot whizzed by her ear, the hot gust kissing her flesh. She came into a sitting position and squeezed the trigger.

Her target grunted, taking the bullet in the shoulder as he fired off another round at her. Blade leaned to one side, but the projectile burned over the top of her leg in a graze that drew blood. She chuckled darkly.

“Get up,” he ordered, and she came to her feet in a cat-like move.

He fired again, and Blade leaned to one side, but grimaced as the gun sliced at her skin.

“I had a feeling one of you bitches would be up here,” he said coldly. “You can’t stop us from taking over this city.”

“You won’t be around to test that theory,” she replied coldly and waited for him to go for the trigger. He did. She jumped and kicked, her foot catching the bullet just right, so it spiraled backward and slammed into his chest.

He gasped, eyes wide, and she gave him an amused smile as he slumped to the ground.

She raced back to where her rifle lay and peered across the street to find the fighting in full swing. Blade got into position and looked through the scope. She picked off a shooter as he prepared to take out one of her teammates.

Watching, she decided she’d be better help down on the ground. “I’m going down.”

“Blade, Ace wants you to hold your position and see if you can get a license when or if the cars come out.”

The voice in her ear was cool, but it hit her a little lower than she’d have liked. Her clit throbbed and her juices dampened her pussy.

Damn her.

“Understood,” she said icily.

“Bitch,” she heard Kya mutter.

Rather than responding, she let the matter drop, staying focused on the fight. A car peeled out, bodies moving aside. She tried hitting the tires—the car swerved and hit the curb.

Jumping it, the driver moved out into the street, hitting an oncoming car in the side. It came to a halt and the driver climbed out.

Recognizing the driver as one of the men from an encounter two weeks ago, she attempted to fire when a cat came out of nowhere, jumping on him.

“Fuck, get out of the way,” she muttered.

The cat was thrown off and the man turned his head as a car pulled up next to him on the street. Blade caught a view of his face and her finger froze on the trigger.

Before she could recover, he climbed into the car and it sped away, tires squealing. Blade cursed, broke her gun down, and put it in its case before hurrying toward the dead body.

She searched the man, taking the only thing he had on him besides his weapon—his cell phone. She scrolled through it, finding a few numbers she could do some follow up on. Then, she shoved it into her pants pocket and climbed down the ladder.

She hurried across the street despite the sirens blaring in the distance.

“Move,” Ace said coming out of the warehouse. “I got the dope and the buyer’s dead, but The King of Clubs is still on the move.”

“Did you see his face?” Blade demanded.

“No, I was hoping you had,” Ace said. “Tell me you got something.”

“Yeah. Sabrina’s fears were well founded. It’s her brother.”

Chapter One


An hour later, sitting in his favorite chair in the study of the home Black Jack rented under an alias for their use as a meeting place and safe house, he studied his glass. The colors around him were dark and comforting to them both, but he hadn’t chosen the décor.

The King of Clubs swirled the ice in his glass around, fingers gripping it a little too tight. The burn from the scratches on the back of his neck had subsided, but his fury had only increased.

“What happened?” Black Jack, demanded quietly.

He didn’t know exactly, but he was certain the information he’d been worried about leaking had leaked, or rather, was stolen. He had hoped when he’d killed the sources, that would be the end of it, but deep down he’d known better. Now it was about to bite him in the ass good and hard unless there was a way to turn this around.

“I’m not sure,” he said. He lifted his head and his gaze fell on the abstract art painting on the wall near him. The colors were muddied, but there was an odd appeal to the shape they formed.

“You better figure it the fuck out pretty quick because we just lost a cool two million,” Black Jack muttered.

He threw the glass across the room, taking satisfaction in the sound it made as it smashed against the wall. King of Clubs got to his feet then and blew out a harsh breath.

“I think Sabrina had more information than we thought.”

“She knows about the next deal,” Black Jack murmured. “Well, there is a way we can save this.”

“What?”

“Breakers. The heads of the cartel are in town with a few of their staff,” Black Jack told him. “Calissa is getting married to a banker who lives in town, and I met with them three weeks ago with The Hatter. He told them to keep their asses out of this city, or he’d kill them. But with him gone, they’re here.”

“They want the city as well,” he said. The Hatter had been the last leader of Five by Five, and he’d decided to claim this city after the last cartel leaders had been killed along with some of their employees, while others had been arrested.

Now, Five by Five was theirs if they could beat back the enemies attempting to encroach on their territory.

“Yes, I’ve told them ‘no’. However, they’re not accepting no for an answer. They’ve already set up a temporary shop in the Green Acres neighborhood.”

“We can’t allow them to stay,” King of Clubs said.

“We’re not going to,” Black Jack told him. “And tonight probably had more to do with them than anything Sabrina might know. If Mojo had any information, they’d have just turned it over to the DEA and FBI or local law enforcement.”

“Unless they wanted revenge,” he murmured. “Merely turning this intel over to DEA or FBI won’t do them any good without our faces and names of the cartel employees. But if they come after us, they might get enough information to go with what they have to get us both fried.”

“I die on my own terms,” Black Jack told him coolly. “And I’ve made peace with the fact it will be violent and nasty, because I’m not going to jail.”

“I know what you mean. So, what are your plans for dealing with Mojo and Breakers? With no FBI access we’ll be out of the loop.”

While they were both FBI agents, there was no active investigation into Breakers for them to gain intel on.

“We’ll let Mojo do the work for us,” Black Jack replied with a wicked grin. “All we have to do is set this up carefully and your contact can pass us all the intel we need to get Breakers’ leaders killed and their organization ended.”

“I’m listening. “

“We need to go after Justin’s fiancé forcing him to hire Mojo to protect her. Right now, Justin doesn’t see us as a threat because we haven’t given him any reason to.”

“We take some shots at Justin?”

“No, his fiancé, Allison Caldwell. Her father is a wealthy man, and he’ll want to protect his daughter, but Justin will get the message.”

“We can’t be sure he’ll choose Mojo,” King of Clubs said, studying his friend with brows drawn.

“Caldwell is a man who wants the best for his daughter and Mojo is the best,” Black Jack said with a gleam in his eyes. “Another thing. I want to replace you as the girl’s liaison.”

“You think I might get caught up in her womanly web?” he asked with a bit of amusement. The woman wasn’t his type, but she was attractive, and he could be blinded by lust.

“Who do you suggest?”

“We need a woman,” Black Jack replied.

“I think a man would be more successful here, though,” King of Clubs said with a frown.

“Too much of a risk of him falling for her,” Black Jack replied. “We need a straight woman who’s also a hell of an actress to lessen the risk of attraction, i.e. major problems for us.”

“A straight woman could never pull this off,” King of Clubs murmured, shaking his head. “She’ll be too repulsed to do any amount of wooing.”

“I have someone in mind. She’ll be a perfect back door into Mojo if she acts with care.”

“True, and we’ll ensure she understands that Breakers is a very successful drug cartel with ties to the Western Yakuza.”

“And it won’t take them long to start snooping around. While they’re doing that, we’ll be finishing up our deal here and offloading those damned kids. They’ll have nothing to hold over us,” Black Jack finished with a smug look.

In theory he agreed, but in his experience, women like Sabrina and Ace of Spades did their best work when they were pressed for time and between a rock and a hard place.

Fucking strong women.

“You have doubts already?” Black Jack demanded.

“No, I say let’s go for it. I’ll even take the shots at Calissa. The worst that can happen is we start a war with them for the turf.”

****

“We’re not going to tell her right now,” Ace told Blade after they’d made it back to the complex.

“Are you serious? Sabrina is going to kill you when she finds out you knew and didn’t say anything.” She got to her feet and paced Ace’s small office restlessly.

Her mind wasn’t exactly on Sabrina or Ace and the power plays afoot. She was wondering what Kya was doing, if she was wearing that tiny little thing she’d had on last night.

“She’ll get over it. Besides, she’ll just want to help bring him down, but I don’t want outsiders involved in this in case this goes south.”

“Good call,” Blade said. “Our handler isn’t exactly taking our word for shit these days.” The CIA operative they worked with to take down criminals the government couldn’t get to for one reason or another—mostly political—had told them they were on the government’s list of most wanted cartels themselves.

He was more or less keeping his distance because no matter what they did for the government, they were on their own if someone made the wrong call which resulted in them being put on the shit list.

“So, we need incontrovertible proof that an FBI agent is dirty as the night is long,” Blade growled. “Just like the damn government to ask us to do something and then try to fuck us with the biggest dick they can find.”

Ace gave her an amused look. “So, we’ll get the proof on the next bust which means you won’t be killing everything you see.”

“I need a target to capture not a street full of bad-asses.”

“I’ve got Kya combing the DVD for anything we might not have noticed along with a few other people. It’s the best we’ve got right now.”

“Okay, yeah,” Blade said. “I’m going to my apartment. I need to clean the blood off.”

“Are you healing? Carissa said your clotting factor was off.”

“I’m good. It was just a couple of grazes.” One of the healers they kept on staff had already healed her.

“Not what I asked.” Her friend’s voice held a note of concern that made Blade meet her stare directly, though she was eager to get out of there.

“I’m not lying,” she replied. “There was never any issue, just a wound that she had trouble healing.”

“So, your natural healing abilities are at fault?”

They healed faster than humans, especially those with the uncanny ability to change into more than one form of cat. They started as housecats and changed to a jungle cat form.

“Temporary issue,” Blade retorted. “I think it was due to something I came into contact with.”

She had a long family history of strange evolutionary changes. Her body was changing, but she had no idea in what way. It would remain to be seen until she’d changed.

“’Night.” She headed for the door, knowing Ace wouldn’t say anything else about it unless it came up again.

She strolled across the complex soaking up the dark, her mind on the things she’d like to do to Kya. The little housecat shifter only had the one form and she wanted to possess it. However, she wasn’t about claim staking.

Once in her apartment, Blade headed to her bedroom and pulled out her computer and logged in to check the hidden cameras.

Kya was in bed reading, wearing that skimpy blue thing that bared the creamy skin of her thighs.

Her waist length hair was swept to one side, falling over her breast. The perfect handfuls of paler skin with little pink nipples she fantasized about sucking. Kya should be hers, but on her terms, not those dewy-eyed school girl fantasies floating around in Kya’s head.

She ran a hand through her hair and headed to the bathroom to shower. Damn, but she had to find a way to work the woman out of her head without taking her to bed again.

Fat fucking chance.


Chapter Two


Two days later

Kya Tangas tuned out the crude jokes being made as her boss, Ace, made her way to the holographic projector over the circular table in the spacious meeting room at the Mojo office.

She sneaked a glance at the other two women. Cattail was gorgeous, her gray eyes sparkled with humor and her black hair was cut short, but growing out.

Just a few chairs away from her, was five-foot-eleven-and-a-half-inch tall Blade. Her hard brown eyes held a slight up-tilt and were set in golden brown skin with reddish undertones. Her glossy black hair was cut short at the back with the top falling to the top of her cheekbone. She found herself wanting to run her finger through the tantalizing waves.

Blade turned her head a fraction and their gazes locked. Kya’s breath caught and her heart stopped. For a moment, they were alone in the room, sun seeping in from high octagonal windows. Blade’s eyes bled to the gray-green of her cat form and then she looked away, leaving Kya feeling bereft.

Why did she let the woman get to her?

The indifference and coldness cut her to the bone leaving her bleeding every time.

“We’ve got a new job,” Ace told them as she clicked the projector remote at the conference table. “It is connected to Five by Five, but not purely by accident, thanks to King of Clubs. He sent Kya intel on a new cartel called Breakers. Their leaders are in town looking to take over the drug trade here.”

“Along with Five by Five?” Blade asked.

“Instead of,” Ace said. “The male leader, Justin Felix, is getting married to Allison Caldwell. Her father is investment banker Stephen Caldwell, and yesterday Allison was shot at, her wedding planner killed.”

“He hired us to handle security for her wedding?” Cattail asked. “Does he know about Felix?”

“There’s no way to tell at this point, and it’s not like he’s mentioned it,” Ace said and her gaze slid to Kya.

“KC didn’t mention it,” Kya answered.

“According to research, Allison’s a charity-work star who’s done plenty of work for the gay community. Sabrina’s been invited to the wedding as well as doing an interview with her concerning her wedding and her work with teens, gay and straight,” Ace explained.

Sabrina Cain owned a magazine called Feminine Confidence that was a lifestyle magazine for lesbian women. She’d stumbled upon some intel just two weeks ago that had helped bring down The Hatter, the former leader of Five by Five, a drug and gun cartel that dabbled heavily in human trafficking.

“Kya, you’ll be working with the back-up team as well as dealing with the contact KC wants you to work with. This can be very dangerous. Five by Five will kill you if they find out you’re playing them.”

Kya swallowed tightly, her stomach churning furiously. She knew that, and she knew she might not be ready to handle a job of this magnitude. She was used to playing bait, not being a real agent in a truly life or death situation with other lives connected to hers and easily lost if she made a mistake.

“If you can’t handle this Kya, beg off now. I can replace you. You’ll just tell KC that I don’t want you on the team. I’m sure he only wants intel on Breakers.”

“I can do the job and he does,” she replied softly. She’d killed before. Surely, she could do this. “Besides, he doesn’t fully trust me yet as it is. That’s why he assigned someone else to work with me. If I’m not on even the back-up team he’ll be suspicious.”

“Who is this new person?” Blade asked, features taut.

Blade sat too far from her and Kya wished she was giving her a reassuring look rather than that patent indifferent stare. The brown eyes were cool and made her want to spit nails.

Instead, she clenched her hands into fists beneath the table. They’d only spent a few nights together, so why did she keep expecting Blade to treat her like it had meant anything?

Every woman Blade took to bed was nothing, a nameless face she forgot as soon as she walked out the motel room door.

The fact that she’d already been fascinated and attracted to the woman was her problem.

“I don’t know yet, he wants me to meet him tonight and pass off information on the team and back-up team handling the security for Caldwell. He was certain her father would hire you, so they’re obviously behind the attempted hit on Allison Caldwell.”

“Can’t think on your feet, kitty-kitty?” Blade teased mockingly. “You should have demanded more details before accepting his new terms.”

“Screw you. Oh, wait. Been there done that, got a bad case of indigestion. I guess I should be glad it wasn’t crabs.”

“Snippy little kitty, if you got issues then spit them out,” Blade retorted coldly.

“As interesting as that may be, this is the wrong place and wrong time,” Ace commented, amusement clear in her tone.

“Just make sure you don’t fall for his games and get one of us killed,” Blade muttered.

Kya hissed in her direction, the sound coming from the animal core of her.

Turning away, she caught the smirk on their colleague Cattail’s face. She wanted to slap it off, but settled for glaring at her.

“Blade, chill.” Ace threw her a warning. “When’s the next meet?”

“Tonight.”

“I’ll give you a partial list later,” Ace told her. “Also, Five by Five wants us to know Breakers is doing a big drug deal here.”

“More than likely so we can do their dirty work for them,” Cattail muttered.

“We’re not letting a turf war occur here even if we have to take both sides out,” Ace said coldly.

“If Miss Kitty plays her cards right, she might get the dickhead contact to reveal the information about Black Jack.”

“Blade’s right,” Cattail jumped in before Kya could protest. “You might be able to seduce it out of him.”

Kya was part of Mojo’s small division of tracking and killing pedophiles and child predators who escaped the law for whatever reason. However, she hadn’t had to kill many of the men she’d reeled in. Her partners had done most of the work.

“I can try,” Kya said. She’d met the King of Clubs in a chatroom while cruising for a predator. They’d hooked up in a private room, and she’d found out he was into selling, not using, kids.

She’d thought he was a pimp and was prepared to take him down when she learned he was part of a bigger operation. And just like that, she’d graduated from the minors to the big leagues.

“Why so vague?” Blade asked, concern in her voice. The concern warmed her and angered her at once. That was part of the contradiction and mixed signals that was Blade these days. “Is he on to you?”

“I played it the way Ace told me to,” Kya said. “He thinks I’m a disgruntled employee looking to cut Ace’s throat.”

“You’re right, he doesn’t trust you, that’s why he decided to send a stand-in to deal with you,” Ace said. “He’s not ready to show his face yet. He’ll save that for the ultimate test of her loyalty to them.”

“Just from talking to him, I know this guy’s slick, Ace, and I’m certain his reasons for going after Sabrina were personal, not professional. He asked me if she was part of Mojo. As part of this last message he sent me, he wants me to find out if Sabrina has more information on the cartel.”

“Tell him Sabrina came to us for help because her woman was being threatened and she wanted to be part of the case, so we let her.”

“Got it,” she said, thinking back to two weeks ago when she’d first met Sabrina Cain and her girlfriend Veda Price. Kya had been part of Veda’s protection detail when The Hatter targeted Veda and they’d almost been killed.

“Blade, you and Cattail are with me handling security. We’ll be spending a considerable amount of time with the client, which means we’ll likely come into contact with Felix’s security team. So, expect to be looking over your shoulder.”

“More like working side-by-side with him,” Cattail commented. “We’ll have to really watch our asses on this one.”

“Damn straight,” Ace agreed. “All information, including pictures of our client, her family, fiancé, and estate has been downloaded to your phones. Go over them and let me know if you have any questions. Kya, stay behind a minute. We need to talk.”


Chapter Three


Across town, Sax studied her boss in the spacious study bathed in afternoon sunlight. His handsome face was taut, eyes hard as he leaned back in his chair.

She still wasn’t sure why she’d been called away from her normal duties of watching The Hatter’s wife. Security had been tightened on Susan since her husband’s death, but it was business as usual even for her. She was planning the auction that would allow them to dispose of the last crop of teens her husband had procured for sale.

That was her area of expertise and she planned to keep working it, but she was heading back to Dallas to take care of that part of the business while the drug trade was handled by someone else.

“I don’t understand why I’m here,” she said blandly despite the cold eyes studying her.

“You’re here because I summoned you,” Black Jack told her icily. “With The Hatter gone, there’s been some changes and your assignment is one of them.”

She gave him a cool stare. Men like him were dangerous to not only others but themselves. Self-preservation was key in dealing with and working for them. Any sign of weakness could cost an employee their life.

“Mojo’s been engaged for a security detail at the wedding of an enemy of Five by Five’s,” he told her. “Your job is to seduce one of the women assigned to work the case.”

Mojo?


Purchase this book or download sample versions for your ebook reader.
(Pages 1-19 show above.)