Read Into the Blackness (Blackness Series Book 4) Online

Authors: Norma Jeanne Karlsson

Tags: #Romance, #romantic thriller, #contemporary romance, #Romantic Suspense

Into the Blackness (Blackness Series Book 4) (5 page)

BOOK: Into the Blackness (Blackness Series Book 4)
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“You gay?”

“What?” I snap.

“I got no problem if you are. But I figure I should know goin’ in on the op.”

“I’m not gay,” I growl. I don’t give a shit if people are…to each their own.

“Are you blind?”

“What the fuck are you talkin’ about?”

“Katherine Russell is stunning, smart, funny, deadly and gettin’ ready to share a bed with you for the foreseeable future. You got nothing to say about that other than she’s good at her job? Either you’re gay or blind,” Jake says pointedly.

“I’m not gay or blind. I’m a professional. She’s an agent just like anyone else in the company. It’s called respect. Learn it before I’m forced to teach you,” I threaten.

“Acknowledging a woman’s beauty is nothing but respectful when done appropriately. I may be young, but I’ve learned in life that women enjoy bein’ complimented and admired when it comes from a place of genuine appreciation. Kat is a woman meant to be admired, often. If you’re gonna play her husband with any believability you’ll need to learn that skill quickly. Other men’ll be sniffing around her at every corner in Maybelle, Connecticut. She’s grade-A in any world, but playing the role in this op she’ll draw a shit load of attention.

“And this will be the first and the last time you threaten to teach me anything in life. I’ve learned my lessons the hard way and any-fuckin’-thing you believe you can teach me I’ll school your ass in. I may not be a full agent yet, but I’m not some stupid kid you need to educate. We clear?” he finishes curtly.

The look in his eyes has changed from young sweet kid to the heartless killer I now have no doubt he can be. Okay, the day is full of surprises.

“Noted.”

He offers me a chin lift before slinging his backpack over his shoulders and leaving the room. I wait for a moment and then climb to my feet. I make my way out of the corridor, across the suspended walkway beyond the elevators to another suspended walkway that leads to our offices. I glide into mine and close the door with a soft click.

I flop into my chair at my glass desk and get to work researching every classified document that I can get my hands on about Kat Russell and Jake Rivers. I’m hit with a severe lack of information that tells me my team members come from the same fucked up background that I do. The “Johnson” family is made up of three people without a past looking for a future.

Kat

“Silk PJs and wine may be the best present I’ve ever received,” Jess says through a sleepy long stretch on the couch.

“I’m a pretty good gift giver,” I state confidently.

“You gonna give Nick Cooper some of your gifts?” Jess says through a tipsy smirk.

“I don’t think Nick Cooper has any interest in my gifts. He practically shut down at the idea of havin’ to share a bed with me.”

“Really?”

“Yup,” I pop my
p
remembering the pale shade his face turned when I told him about my last op.

“You think he’s gay?” Jess asks with a furrowed brow.

“I don’t know. He could be.” I shrug. I don’t care if he is. Actually, it would make this next year even easier if he is. He never checked me out or acted suggestively toward me. Jake was sweet and genuine in his compliments. Someone has taught that boy how to swoon the ladies. Look out Maybelle High School, Jake Johnson is coming to town.

“No sex for a year. That sucks, Kat.” Jess pouts on my behalf.

“I’ve gone longer.”

“Did it close back up?”

“No,” I say through a chuckle.

“I’m glad you’re not takin’
those
ops anymore. It’s not good for you,” Jess says seriously with a little sadness on her face.

“I knew the job when I started. There have only been a handful like that, but I’m glad to be done.”

“Be safe this time, Kat. These people look like
Stepford
, but they’re really a fuckin’ horror movie.”

“I’m not alone this time, Jess. I can take care of myself and with Nick and Jake with me, I’ll be even better. No worries.” I rub a comforting hand across hers.

“Shane said a year, maybe more,” she huffs.

“We work until the job’s done. If the Bookers have lasted this long it’ll take time.”

“You’re gonna miss the wedding,” she whispers.

“I’ll be there in spirit in one of those hideous pink dresses you’re forcing your bridesmaids to wear.”

“They’re really bad. I can’t be upstaged on my big day,” she says definitively.

“That logic is baffling.”

“You love me,” Jess states with a mischievous smirk.

“You know I do.”

“Okay, let’s say goodbye now so I can cry all night and make Shane feel really bad for hours on end.”

She stands up and pulls me to my feet squeezing me tightly around my middle. I constrict around her even harder knowing I’d wear one of those ugly fucking dresses if I could be by her side. A sob breaks through her chest and I steel the emotion bubbling within me. Only one of us can crack at a time and this time it’s her turn.

Jess tips her head up to peer at me through wet lashes, a small smile playing on her lips.

“See you soon, Jess,” I whisper.

She nods unable to speak for fear of tumbling into a state of uncontrollable blubbering. I let her go and leave her home without looking back because I have the same fear as Jess.

As I slide into my sheets, I release the tension of saying goodbye to my friends for the millionth time, knowing my life works this way. I hate saying goodbye, but I love my job. I’m brilliant at my job. Agent Kat Russell is who I’m meant to be.

Welcome to Maybelle
the ornate sign reads as we pass by in my white BMW SUV. The town is something out of a postcard. The streets are lined with towering full green trees. Lawns are manicured to perfection in front of colonial and Georgian houses. As Jake and I drive down Main Street (because these people are imaginative), we enter the downtown space with Nick following behind. The store fronts are homey and inviting with a good deal of foot traffic on the sidewalks. There are cafés and restaurants all locally owned, not a Starbucks in sight.

As we move through the small quaint downtown and beyond a lush park, the roads begin to turn and sweep with the landscape giving way to sprawling estates. I follow the GPS only a few minutes further before it informs me I’ve reached my destination. I pull in the driveway of a massive colonial palace.

“Holy shit,” Jake mutters.

“I second that.”

We smile at each other and put on our Maybelle faces. Jake is wearing a turquoise polo shirt and khaki shorts with leather sandals. He looks cute and fifteen. I’m wearing a white halter cut dress with a pale violet flower print that sports a banded waist and a pleated A-line skirt. I look the part with comfortable wedge sandals.

Nick is at my door before I’m able to swing my legs out offering me his hand and a broad smile.

“We’re already bein’ watched,” he says through his smile leaning in for a brush of his lips against my cheek. I squeeze his hand to let him know I heard him and plaster a bigger smile on my face.

Nick leads me around the hood of the car with his hand on my lower back, guiding me toward the massive gleaming black front door. He moves around me to unlock it and gestures for Jake to go ahead. I make my way to follow when Nick sweeps me off my feet bride-style and carries me over the threshold careful to keep my skirt hiding my business from the neighbors. I giggle genuinely because this is one of the sweetest things a man has ever done for me, real or fake.

Nick kicks the door shut and rights my feet on the glossy parquet floors. A grand staircase is just in front of us with a formal living room to the right and a library with solid thick wood shelves lined with books two stories high to my left.

“Fuck me,” I whisper taking in the grandeur of the space.

The entryway we’re in is open all the way up three stories with a stunning modern chandelier glistening in the sun streaking through the windows above the front door. Nick pulls my hand and leads me beyond the staircase toward the back of the house. We enter the most magnificent kitchen with light marble countertops white cabinets in some areas and dark ebony wood in others. The mix is complementary and modern, but works perfectly with the home. With the size of this kitchen, we could entertain hundreds of people easily.

Off to the left is an eating area with an eight person espresso-colored wood table and white upholstered chairs. The French doors and windows on the back wall show a glorious view of our deck, in-ground pool and basketball/tennis court with a few acres beyond rolling with trees placed perfectly throughout. Beyond the breakfast area is a relaxed family room with two large couches and two large chairs facing a fireplace with a TV hung above it. The furniture is plush and inviting, a light cream color for the chairs a warm chocolate for the couches. I’ll definitely be napping in here.

On the other side of the kitchen is a formal dining room with seating for at least twenty-four. What the hell do you do with that many seats? It’s stunning and pretentious, with no comfort in sight. I hope to never have to be in this room for more than a few minutes. Yuck!

There are a few more doors on this floor. One leads to the finished basement that houses the home theater, gym, game room, wine cellar and storage. Another door opens to a humongous laundry room and another to the three car garage. There’s a home office between the dining room and the formal living room. This is too much house for the three of us. I get that it’s defining we have money, but it’s definitely too much.

Nick leads us up the staircase where we come to the master bedroom. It’s gigantic. It must cover half of the first floor in size. There’s a freaking sitting area in here! A large bed occupies the main wall with an ornate wooden mahogany headboard and white and navy patterned linens. There’s a bathroom off to the left that could house most New York apartments. Separate sink and vanity areas on either side of the space ensure limited interaction with my spouse. There’s a large jetted tub that could fit at least four people comfortably and a walk-in shower sporting more nozzles than I would know what to do with—two sets.

At the end of the bathroom there are two doors leading to his-and-hers dressing rooms. I feel like I’m on
Cribs
. My dressing room is completely full of every clothing item known to man ordered in color and garment type. There’s one wall housing only bags and shoes. In the middle of the room is a large light marble topped island with drawers full of lingerie and sweaters and a whole bunch of other shit my brain is too overwhelmed to deal with right now.

Moving back out of our room we head across the hall where there’s another home office and a nursery already fully prepared for a newborn’s arrival. Gorgeous pale greens and creams adorn the room.

“That’s a lot,” Jake whispers in my ear as we make our way to the third floor. Jake’s room is on the opposite side of the house from ours. It’s a typical teenage room for a boy who loves basketball, which Jake does. He’ll play on the team at the high school if all goes well. A black queen-size bed, a desk and chair, two dressers and a TV, it’s very normal and still very high-end. Jake makes his way around the room with an emotion on his face I can’t quite place. He looks pained by whatever he’s thinking.

“You good, Jake?” I ask trying not to belittle him since he’s really an adult, not my nephew.

He shakes his head free of wherever he just was and clears his throat before giving me a quiet, “Yeah.”

The doorbell rings sending us all into op mode instantly. The three of us hurry down the stairs before I move to answer the door. I swing it open wide with a toothy smile plastered on my face.

“Hi!” the woman says excitedly. “We’re your neighbors from across the street. I’m Trish Booker and this is my husband Tony. These two are Bradford and Annabelle.”

And so it begins.

“It’s lovely to meet you. I’m Kat Johnson,” I introduce politely and offer my hand. She grips it limply making my stomach turn at the weak behavior, but I smile through it. Nick slides his arms around my waist from behind as I release her wet noodle.

“Nicky,” I admonish his forwardness sweetly. I feel his body tense behind me for a millisecond before he’s back on his game. He brushes his lips on my bare shoulder before moving to my side wrapping an arm around my upper arms.

BOOK: Into the Blackness (Blackness Series Book 4)
10.13Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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