Authors: Kodi Wolf
Having survived a childhood full of very real monsters, assassin Case Jacobson is now a master at her profession—a killer in the employment of one of the mob's most powerful figures. Existing from day to day, with neither home nor family, Case's life is her job. She completes her assignments with deadly professionalism—never allowing emotions to get in the way... But that is about to change.
Rebecca Raines has been working for the mob for three years, slowly making her way up the ranks. Known as Rain to her mobster bosses, the FBI agent has been taking her time in building the case she hopes will eventually bring down the whole Carlotti empire. All the while she's had to do things that have tested her heart and soul, but her latest promotion will be the toughest one of all.
Ordered to train Rain as an assassin, Case attempts to do so with her usual detachment, but as Rain slowly chips away at the walls her new teacher has erected around her heart, Case finds herself dealing with emotions long buried. Drawn together as if by destiny, the two are soon fully submerged in a relationship deeper and more passionate than either has ever known. It's a relationship that will challenge everything they know about themselves and the world they live in—indeed that will endanger their very lives, as they soon find themselves spiraling toward an inevitable confrontation both with the Mafia and the federal government.
To survive and try to protect the one person who's made her feel again, Case must put into practice her considerable skills as a master assassin, but can Rain overlook her duties as a federal agent, knowing that if she does so, she may be turning her back on everything she believes—but if she doesn't, she could very well be signing a death warrant for a young woman who's come to mean everything to her.
CASE JACOBSON STOOD at the window, arms folded across her chest, white surgical gloves and close-cropped blonde hair standing out against the jet black T-shirt she wore tucked into equally black jeans.
She watched the stage being set up for the afternoon rally, from her seventh floor hotel room window. She had a clear view of the entire platform, as well as the surrounding parkland. The day was overcast, making everything seem damp somehow, but the stagehands diligently went about laying the tarp over the cables strewn across the wood and metal framework. Several people started bringing chairs up onto the stage to prepare for the guest of honor and his entourage.
She stepped away from the window and turned back to the room. It was the usual setup; a double bed against the middle of one wall, a nightstand next to the bed on the left, a TV in a wooden cupboard against the opposite wall, a table with two chairs in front of the window, and a small standing closet near the TV. Off to her right was the door to the bathroom, which contained its standard allotment of two semi-large white bath towels and two small hand towels.
She took the two short steps to the bed and opened up the briefcase that was laid out on it. Then she bent over and unzipped the black nylon bag resting near her feet. Her eyes fell on the weapon nestled in foam. She lifted out the pieces of the small tripod that came with the gun and set it up in front of the window. She turned back to the bed and pulled out the various pieces that went with the long-range rifle and snapped them together with the cool precision of someone who had done this more times than they wished to count.
Case set the gun on its mount and returned to the bed. She removed the headgear that would allow her remote control of the setup. It fit over her head like a pair of heavy-duty wireless headphones, except for the little extra piece, which fit over her left eye. She tapped a green button on the tiny control box near her left ear. The eyepiece lit up. She reached up to the control box at her other ear and rolled the horizontal-control dial. She watched the tripod move to the right as the image relayed by the eyepiece did the same. Using her thumb, she rolled the vertical-control dial. The tripod's gears silently repositioned the rifle's aim upward, and the picture moved up with it. She moved a similar dial near her left ear to bring the picture into focus. It worked perfectly, so she hit the green button again to turn it off and removed the gear, placing it on the bed. She closed the empty briefcase and dragged the black bag over to the window.
She rummaged through the nylon bag and pulled out what looked like gray clay. She pressed the clay-like substance onto the gun until she was sure it would stick. She reached back into the bag again and retrieved a small electronic device, with two wires protruding from one end. She pressed the tiny box into the plastique and pushed both wires in as well. Her hand reached into the bag again and pulled out a small box studded with several buttons and a switch. She pressed the first button, then flicked the switch and saw a green light come on in the top of the small box embedded in the plastique. She nodded to herself and flicked the switch back and pressed the button again. The green light flickered off.
She set the device on the bed, next to the headgear, and zipped up the nylon bag. She went back over to the window and looked out. A podium had been setup and speakers were being placed around the stage, while the cables that had been laid out under the tarp were connected to the backs of the speakers. A crowd was gathering in front of the stage.
Case turned and grabbed her jacket off the back of one of the chairs. She slid it over her arms and settled it over her shoulders. Then she picked up the headgear and little black box and shoved each one into the pockets on the outside of her jacket. She reached down and grasped the nylon strap of the black bag and slung it over her shoulder, then reached for the briefcase and picked it up off the bed. She walked to the hotel room door and opened it with her free hand. She took one last look around the room and then closed and locked the door behind her. She pulled her gloves off and stuffed them in her jeans pocket.
She walked down the long vacant hallway and fished out her sunglasses from the inside pocket of her jacket, while she waited for the elevator. It arrived, empty, and she got onto the elevator alone. The walls were mirrored and she looked at her reflection. White skin, muscled body beneath the stylish hip-length black leather jacket and black jeans, green eyes behind the black shades, short blonde hair. She wasn't very tall, but she'd found that to be an advantage. No one ever considered her a threat until it was too late to do anything about it.
The elevator doors opened and she walked out into the lobby. She made her way out the front and arrived at her black SUV. She thumbed her remote and opened the rear door to throw in her bags. She slammed the door closed and walked around to the driver's side and got behind the wheel and keyed the ignition. She didn't go very far. She parked on the street in front of where the rally was about to take place.
Case pulled out the headgear and unfolded it, then placed it carefully over her head. She tapped the green button again and the eyepiece lit up. She fingered the dials to realign the image back on the stage. She barely had to twitch the dial under her left thumb to bring the picture into focus.
She watched as the people were led onto the stage. Finally, a tall, older man, slightly pudgy from a little too much deskwork, was shown to his seat near the middle of the stage. He flashed his artificial smile around and was rewarded with several camera flashes in return.
Case let her attention drift to the rest of the attendees still filing onto the stage. They were a mix of older and younger men, all colleagues and underlings of the Senator. She rolled the dials at her ears and brought the crosshairs overlaying the center of the picture back to him. She looked across the street to see the crowd settling down. Then she heard a deep voice come over the loudspeaker and returned her attention to the image filtering through the eyepiece.
A young man stood at the podium and began to address the crowd. She only half-listened to what he was saying, waiting for him to introduce the guest of honor. He finally did and she rolled the dials under her fingers, expertly keeping the image in focus and on target, as the older man stood and moved forward. He smiled and raised his hands in greeting to the crowd, as he walked to stand before the podium. She rested her left index finger lightly on the red triggering button that was positioned conveniently next to the green 'on' button.
The Senator waved his hands at the crowd again, this time trying to stop their cheering, so he could speak. Finally, they calmed down and he lowered his hands to the podium. He stood there for a moment, to gather his words, and she pushed the button. His head slammed back and he fell backward onto the stage. Several people rushed to his side.
After zooming in for a close-up to make sure the bullet had hit him square in the forehead, Case tapped the green button again and the eyepiece went black. She slid it off her head and folded it back up, then placed it back in her pocket. Then she reached into her other pocket and pulled out the small black box with the switch. She pressed the middle button this time and then flicked the switch. She could hear a muffled boom behind her and then she shoved the box back into her pocket. She keyed the ignition and pulled away from the curb.
"I DON'T APPRECIATE your interference," Antonio Carlotti said with a slight Italian accent. "You put me in an uncomfortable position and I don't like it when I'm uncomfortable."
He sat at the head of the table in the darkened restaurant. His second cousin, Franco Rossi, sat at his left, while his female bodyguard stood tall and alert behind him. Antonio's own bodyguard stood behind his right shoulder, also ready should the need arise for his services.
Leonardo Spinella sat across from Antonio, a lackey on each side of him, and four of his own bodyguards looking smug at their greater numbers. Leo was pretty sure he had the upper hand, but he knew Antonio deserved a certain amount of respect due to his position as head of the organization.
"That's unfortunate. But I should remind you that we do now have the backing of Senator Stone, so..."
"No. You don't," Antonio cut the man off. "Leonardo. You should know better than to go behind my back. I told you that territory was off limits to you. Why did you disobey me?"
The tall woman kept her eyes moving around the room, staying alert for any possible threats to her charge, Mr. Rossi, while inconspicuously recording the conversation with her ears. The man Carlotti was speaking to paled noticeably, and she recognized the first signs of desperation entering his eyes.
This was Rain's first encounter with Mr. Carlotti, and she was beginning to realize that his reputation as a ruthless crime lord didn't do him justice. She could see the glint in his eyes. He was playing with the man.
"Senator Stone has most definitely agreed to..."
"Senator Stone is dead by now. So, I will ask you again. Why did you disobey me?"
Leonardo lost the last bit of color remaining in his cheeks. He darted his eyes around and could feel the prickly sensation of fear-induced sweat sliding down his sides and back. He felt little beads of water grow on his forehead and he dabbed at them with his suit jacket's cream-colored handkerchief.
"I meant no disrespect. I just thought..."
"No. You didn't think. And how could your disobedience show anything but disrespect and contempt for me and my family?"
"Ah, now you try to show respect."
Antonio was thoroughly enjoying himself. Leo was about to piss his pants. Unfortunately, he had pushed just a little too hard. Leonardo dropped to the floor and his four bodyguards took that as his signal to open fire.
Rain had her guns out before the first of Leo's men could clear theirs from their holsters. She jumped in front of Rossi just as she was taking down the third man. Carlotti's guard brought down the fourth and then immediately put slugs through the two shocked lackeys and the cowering man under the table. Antonio clapped his hands.
"Beautiful! Beautiful! Franco, where have you been hiding this one?"
Franco grinned at his cousin.
"Ah, well, she just came to my attention a few months ago. She was a courier for Emiliano. One of my boys took a liking to her, but he was rather rude about it. She flattened him beautifully, so I took her as a replacement. She has the fastest reflexes of anybody I've ever seen," he bragged.
"Ah, I think I might know someone who's faster," Antonio countered.
His bodyguard stood a little taller at what he thought was a huge compliment.
"I'd be happy to test my skills against your man any day, Mr. Carlotti," Rain offered.
She knew she could beat his brute silly.
"Ah, Eduardo? No, no, I was thinking of someone else." Eduardo lost his puffed up demeanor, as Antonio continued. "But I don't think I want to see you two fighting. Why waste talent like yours? No. I think I will send you for training instead."