Authors: Lara Swann
A Bad Boy Romance
2016 Lara Swann
All Rights Reserved
This book is a work of fiction.
Names, characters, places, dialogue and everything else are products of the
author’s imagination. Any similarity to people or events, living or dead, is
This copy of Hitman’s Captive
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HARD! This means that Hitman’s Captive ends
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always, I want to thank all my Advance Readers and fans who’ve supported me
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I stood silently in the
bedroom of the luxury hotel suite, muted sounds from the corridor beyond only
highlighting the quiet stillness around me as the smooth handles of the garrote
hung easily by my side. Relaxed and unmoving against the wall like this, it was
easy for my presence to fade into the overpriced furniture around me - my
custom tailored suit certainly belonged, even if I didn’t.
I’d let myself in with
the housekeeper’s keycard two hours ago and I wasn’t expecting my target
anytime soon, but I didn’t mind the waiting. Patience was part of the game, and
this unnatural stillness was second nature to me. Born from a childhood on the
streets spent hiding, waiting, disappearing - and then honed over years of
practice as a killer for hire.
Though that term had always struck me as too civilized. I preferred the cold,
harsh truth of it.
And anyone who couldn’t
face those labels had no business doing what I did.
Alone in this dim space,
the movement and noise of hotel guests filtered through to me easily as they chatted
and laughed, unpacked or moved around. Doors opened and closed.
I’d always liked this -
being so close to others’ lives and yet oddly detached from it all.
Watching and listening.
Waiting beyond the imagination of most people.
It was probably why I
still did it, long after I’d earned enough to live comfortably.
I just couldn’t resist
pitting my instincts and skills against different jobs. Testing and challenging
to keep myself hard and fast and invincible.
That, and I’d never known
anything different. I knew who I was, what I was good at, and I sure as hell
couldn’t picture myself as one of the innocent, naive people I preyed upon.
A door opened nearby and
I tensed in readiness, but it wasn’t this suite. The suite next door maybe -
or a few doors down the hall. Standing in the bedroom instead of the
main part of the suite made it a little harder to be sure, but I preferred
having the extra few seconds to prepare. It meant I took the risk that my guy
might not come through to the bedroom for a while, but I’d never known anyone
to enter a hotel suite and not check out all the rooms immediately.
And I quite liked
catching them here - there was a natural alertness to entering a new place that
would fade by the time they’d looked through the main room, and then they’d
move on to the bedroom…where most people felt safe. There was something amusing
about being the monster under the bed.
My eyes - long ago
adjusted to the dark interior of the room - flicked between the door beside me
and the window opposite as I monitored the room’s only entry points. That was
automatic after years of training, even if it was hardly necessary here - the
window wasn’t going to be a threat unless someone wanted to try scaling sixty
feet of sheer glass. And if they were doing that, I’d be more than happy to
greet them after the climb.
Somehow, I didn’t think
my financial guru would be entering that way.
Martin Feber was a
boring, straightforward kind of guy. The only interesting thing he’d ever done
was to sleep with another man’s wife - and since I was here to rectify that
mistake, it probably would have been better for him if he’d stayed quiet and
boring. So when he came back from his bankers’ conference tonight, I was pretty
sure he’d walk straight through that door and never even notice the shadow
waiting behind him.
At least it made the job
easy. No connections to gangs or mobs, so no retribution to worry about. No
bodyguards and paranoia. No high security locations.
Just a simple in-and-out.
Good thing too, since this needed a quick turnaround - Martin was leaving NYC
tomorrow, and my client had only engaged me a couple of days ago.
Not the worst I’ve done,
but I preferred to prepare properly. Get to know both client and target, track
their movements as much as I can before I make the hit. This time I’d had to
rely more heavily than I liked on another source for the information, timings
and location that I’d needed.
Luck had been with me
though - it was a simple guy, simple job. Even the hotel’s security cameras
happened to be down today, making it simplicity itself to walk through the
hotel and slip into this room.
The only irritation was
the client’s insistence on making it look like a professional hit. I preferred
a little more subtlety and to leave the
who, what and how
ambiguous. But it made sense for my client - it would be hard to trace
to a simple jealous financial investor with a score to settle, and I think he
was a little too attracted to the idea of fouling Martin’s reputation by
implicating him in NYC’s underworld.
At least the pay was more
than enough to cover that inconvenience.
Enough for me to start
thinking about moving on, too. I’d been in NYC for long enough now - a few
months, a dozen jobs or so, and my feet were getting itchy. People were
starting to get to know me in certain circles, and that always made me
wary. Maybe some thrived on their reputation and connections, but I
preferred anonymity. I worked alone and I needed no one. It was better that
Made me invaluable for
some of my clients, too - I could disappear after a hit, with a solid guarantee
that no one would be left behind to name me or recognize my kill.
Yes, after this hit I’ll
take a few days to relax - have a couple of well-earned drinks, enjoy a woman
or two - and then I’ll start looking for another city.
The sudden sound of a
heavy hotel door opening cut off my thoughts, narrowing my focus to a single
was this suite.
It had started.
The brief sound of voices
made me frown as I readied myself, taking the garrote off my belt and gripping
through thin leather gloves.
My source had been sure
that Martin wouldn’t invite colleagues back to the hotel - and I’d agreed with
his assessment of the man. Still, there was always a risk. You could never be
completely certain. This wouldn’t be a good day for Martin to break his usual
The muted conversation
stopped, and the door closed to silence. I took a small breath, every sense alert
as I listened to the heavy footsteps in the room next to me. They came closer,
and I felt a small amount of relief as the silence continued.
The voices could have
been another passing couple, which would make my target alone and easy. As he
The door opened beside me
- that sudden movement at odds with the unnatural stillness I’d settled into,
but the anticipation and readiness it prompted set my whole body on edge.
Martin walked through it,
not noticing me tucked against the wall behind him as he flicked on the light
and moved forward to take in the large, four-poster bed.
Exactly as predicted.
He fit the profile I was
expecting - a squat build, average height and perhaps a little overweight,
though it was hard to tell from this angle. The suit he wore was nice enough,
but I was amused to note that mine probably fit the clientele in this place
Your average boring
banker right there.
I sized him up within the
space of a second and made my move before he could turn to head back to the
main room, darting forward on silent feet and raising the garrote. Practice and
instinct had it around his neck and tightening before I could even think about
it, and I felt the shock go through his body. He tried to turn his head to the
side to avoid it, but I had his neck caught far too quickly for him to deflect
me, and I was tightening it as he started trying to lash out.
I avoided his blows with
ease, even as I silently applauded both his reflexes and his obvious instinct
to fight back. Most financial types had no idea what they were doing, with body
parts flapping uselessly as they choked. Martin felt like he might have caused
a little trouble for an amateur - enough to impress me, but nothing else. I
wasn’t an amateur.
The garrote cut off any
noise from his opening mouth while I counted the seconds as his strength
started to fade under me. That was one nice thing about the weapon, even if it
professional hitman -
no noise, no mess
“Should’ve kept your
pants zipped, Martin.” My voice was quiet, just a murmur in his ear as I
delivered the message my client had insisted on. Such dramatics.
Martin redoubled his
struggles, even though his frenzied energy was weakening, and I chuckled
silently to myself as I shook my head.
Sure, now he regretted
I’d never been able to
understand how otherwise sensible people could let their vices override all
good judgment. Women, riches, drugs, power. It was all the same.
I might’ve enjoyed plenty
of those things, but understanding moderation meant that I was still around to
enjoy them - and nights like this just served to remind me of that.
Watching Martin die only
made me appreciate that the women I’d have later tonight would mean nothing
more than a hot night of pleasure and passion.
His body finally went
limp, with just my strength holding him up as I kept the pressure around his
throat and waited until I’d given it enough time to be sure.
Then I lowered his body
to the ground quietly, rolling him over and checking for any small flecks of
blood that might have caught on me. Once I’d established that I was clean, I
pressed my fingers deep enough into his neck to register his lack of pulse,
even through the leather gloves I wore.
His eyes were staring
sightlessly up at me as I went through the standard motions. The dirty blond
hair and broad face matched the photo I’d been shown, but as my eyes wandered
over the body that was now fully displayed before me, I felt a slight flicker
I reached for his wallet
- my usual final check that everything was as it should be - while considering
that. This had all gone exactly as I’d planned, and I should be pleased. But
those instincts were all that had kept me alive for years, and that was enough
to set me on edge.
Then I pulled out a credit
card and froze, my eyes on the name.
Mr Viktor Kovalski.
I immediately flicked
through the other credit cards and ID, but they all said the same thing.
Martin Feber was nowhere
to be found.
And I knew
Viktor Kovalski was.
The Russian mafia.