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“We need to try to bring her in,” Alicia spoke up. Getting May Lewis and her daughter to safety was my primary objective, but I knew Alicia wasn’t talking about that.

She was referring to the rose.

“And if she doesn’t want to be brought into the fold?”

“Then we leave her be. But we both know it’s not ideal to be out in the cold, constantly looking over your shoulder… we have to let her know we’re here. That she’s not alone.”

I scoffed. “Man… that chick tried tokillme.”

“Because she thought you were there to killher,” Alicia countered, making entirely too much sense for me. “Get May and her baby, and get them back to me in Vegas. And then…”

“Yeah, yeah,” I groaned. “I’ve got my next orders.”

There was really no use arguing it, and it wasn’t as if I hadn’t taken on much worse missions. The difference now was, I actually had an option here.

This wasn’t compulsory.

Even so… I didn’t have anygoodreasons for refusal other than being kinda pissed that the unidentified rose had succeeded in getting away from me. No, our targets hadn’t usually been equally trained operatives, but it was still a little blow to my ego that she’d gotten the best of me.

Ego had to be set aside though.

I got off the phone with Alicia to focus on my task at hand – ditching the tow truck for something less conspicuous now that I’d made it to town. I found a small car lot that appeared to be closed for the afternoon, took a few minutes hot wiring the oldest, least flashy model I could find, then headed for May Lewis’ home on the outskirts of town.

I had to get her out of here.

Ms. Lewis didn’t know it yet, but the low-level politician she’d had an affair with – her boss at the time – was running for a higher office. Once that would require vetting, and would likely result into a lot of digging into the dark recesses of his life.

A mistress and love child wereexactlythe kind of ammo an opponent could use to torpedo his campaign, and he was much too hell-bent on being the next Governor to let that happen.

I wasn’t sure of all the details – and honestly didn’t care that much – but somehow this situation had ended up on Alicia’s radar. Now, it was passed on to me, and ifIhad anything to do with it, nah.

May and Amelia Lewis wouldnotbe disappearing today.

At least not in the way that bastard intended.

I pulled the car to a stop at a nearby park, then walked the rest of the way to the Lewis house. It was a cute little three-bedroom bungalow, with a guesthouse out back according to the plans Alicia showed me. The politician had paid May to go away, and she did – she used the money to get out of Vegas and buy a house, and hadn’t sent so much as a good morning text to that asshole since.

Which made his plan even more fucked up.

At the corner of the street, I took a deep breath and cleared my throat, prepping myself for the role I was about to have to play – made more difficult by the swelling and bruising of having been in a fight. I’d changed into my corny polo and khakis already, before leavingBig Jake’sin the tow truck, but my obvious – although shallow – injuries would definitely put May on guard, if she had any type of good sense.

And I had to convince her to come with me.


If nothing else though… I was armed.

It wasn’t ideal, but most people responded however you wanted when you pulled out a gun. If I had to scare the shit out of this woman to get her to safety, well…

That’s just what I had to do.

* * *