I am the thing that goes bump in the night. I am a liar, a protector...a killer...I am Noah Blake.
There is only one light in my darkness, one bright ray in the storm of my life. Lucia DeMarco. And I’ll do anything for her. Anything except show her who I really am...an assassin. Well, former assassin. I don’t really do that anymore...usually.
It would be easier if she didn’t call me names. Asshole, control freak…shameless. It would also be easier if she didn’t look at me with those trusting gray eyes. If I didn’t dream about the perfect curve of her — never mind all that. The point is she’s digging into my world, my secrets, and it’s going to get her killed.
But first, we have another more immediate concern. Lucia is going on a date—With someone else...
“Guys, we’ve got a runner. He’s going out the back.” Matthias sounded as annoyed as Noah felt, his British accent coming across as clipped. Suddenly, he could hear Matthias in his other comm unit, on the secondary channel. “Noah, head’s up. Lucia has a date tonight. You want me to do the usual?”
Son of a bitch. If he wasn’t chasing assholes, he was making sure some grab-handy dipshit didn’t get his grubby little paws on his best friend’s little sister. “Yeah, the usual. I’ll get to her as soon as I can.” Noah quickened his pace. He could hear the sound of Jonas’s breathing in his other earpiece and knew he wasn’t in position yet.
“Jonas, he’s probably going to cut over to the next street. Go around and cut him off.”
He could hear a variety of sounds that were hard to decipher: Jonas’s breathing, the clang that could be a metal fence, and then the unmistakable sound of scuffling. A few muffled curses later, it was quiet.
When he rounded the corner, Jonas already had the guy on the ground with one arm twisted behind his back.
“Good work. I didn’t really feel like sweating today.”
Jonas made a face. “Fuck you, Noah. These shoes were not meant for running.”
The guy on the ground craned his neck, trying to see over his shoulder. When he caught sight of Noah, he struggled against Jonas’s hold and got a knee in his back for the trouble.
“What the fuck, man? Get off me!”
Noah squatted next to him and then pulled out a small picture of a pretty redhead. Clara Spencer. Although she looked nothing like Lucia, it wasn’t a mystery to him why he took these cases so seriously.
Lucia was a good girl; Nonna DeMarco had made sure of that. But even good girls had to grow up some time. And since Rafe wasn’t here to protect her like a big brother, Noah would have to do it. There was going to come a day when Lucia started dating seriously, and just the possibility that one of those fuckers might treat her like this dickhead, terrorizing her with the threat of what he might do, made Noah want to put his fist through a wall…or this douchebag’s face.
What if something had happened to him? What if he’d died the same day as Rafe? Lucia might have ended up just like Clara Spencer. There were so many girls out there with no one to stand for them. It was his pleasure to stand for as many of them as he could.
He flipped the photo around. At the sight, William blanched and then started struggling anew. Jonas twisted his arm higher until it was clear that he wasn’t going anywhere.
“Do you recognize her? Hmm? I think you do.” Noah spoke softly, having learned over the years that a soft voice could often convey menace more convincingly than a loud one.
“No. I’ve never seen her before!”
“You’re a terrible liar, William. Almost as bad as you are at listening. Because Clara has told you several times not to contact her again. Since you didn’t seem to be getting the picture, we thought we’d stop by and make sure we’re all on the same page.”
Casually, Noah reached in his pocket and pulled out an apple. Then his knife. He ignored the other man’s whimpers and sliced a bit of skin off the fruit.
“Now there’s several ways this can go down. Option number one: You agree to stay away from Clara. My buddy over there—” He pointed at Jonas with the edge of the knife. “—goes home and finishes wanking to Britney Spears videos.”
“Fucking hell,” Jonas mumbled under his breath. “You know I prefer Christina Aguilera. She is dirty after all.”
“And I go home and pretend I didn’t spend my morning in the shittiest part of the city waiting on you. But honestly, I’m feeling a little cranky and you don’t look that bright.
So we’re going to stop wasting time and just get on with option number two.”
“I didn’t do anything, I swear,” William mumbled, his face half pressed into the ground.
“I know. And we’re going to make sure it stays that way.”
Noah sliced off the last bit of skin and then took a bite out of the apple before handing the knife to Jonas.
William let out a low whimper. Once he realized that there was no way to escape Jonas’s iron-tight grip, he went slack and a dark spot appeared on the front of his jeans.
Noah sighed. This was about to get messy.
NYT & USA Today Bestselling author M. Malone lives in the Washington, DC metro area with her three favorite guys, her husband and their two sons. She holds a Master's degree in Business from a prestigious college that would no doubt be scandalized at how she's using her expensive education.
Independently published, she has sold more than 1/2 million ebooks in her two series THE ALEXANDERS and BLUE-COLLAR BILLIONAIRES. Since starting her indie journey in 2011 with the runaway bestselling novella "Teasing Trent", her work has appeared on the New York Times and USA Today bestseller lists more than a dozen times.
She's now a full-time writer and spends 99.8% of her time in her pajamas.
USA Today Best Seller, Nana Malone's love of all things romance and adventure started with a tattered romantic suspense she "borrowed" from her cousin.
It was a sultry summer afternoon in Ghana, and Nana was a precocious thirteen. She's been in love with kick butt heroines ever since. With her overactive imagination, and channeling her inner Buffy, it was only a matter a time before she started creating her own characters.
While she waits for her chance at a job as a ninja assassin, in the meantime Nana works out her drama, passion and sass with fictional characters every bit as sassy and kick butt as she thinks she is.
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