Before the Dawn
One man wants to give her the world. The other wants to burn it all down.
After a near death accident and a broken heart, Kat's lost her edge and confidence. With her best friend and business partner away, she's got to step up and solve one last case. If she fails, lives will be lost. But even with a ghostly guardian, Kat's own life—and heart—are on the line.
Fire Marshal Shawn Randal has one goal: solve a series of arson cases before heading back to his home state on the other side of the country. The pretty investigator is not a distraction he needs, but definitely one he wants.
A weekend fling goes against all of good girl Kat's rules, but she can't resist the smoking hot man holding out his hand and offering her everything she desires. Who sees her inner strength. But they've got more pressing matters than a love affair doomed from the start, like catching a madman. One who is set on setting the world on fire including his latest obsession: Kat Jones.
Release date: March 30, 2021
Publisher: Gail Chianese
Print pages: 340
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Before the Dawn
Fire had ravaged the building three days ago, yet the air still reeked of burnt wood and plastic. Neither building on either side had been touched, thanks to the speedy response of the Pawcatuck Fire Department. Or maybe to the nosy lady in the second-story apartment building currently spying on her. Kat Jones ignored her audience and snapped off a succession of pictures. The insurance company had sent over copies of pictures from the fire inspector when they hired her firm, LexaKat PI, to investigate a series of medical clinics being torched, but nothing replaced seeing the scene for herself.
“We gonna stand here all day, or do you actually plan to go into the building—what’s left of it? Maybe we could go talk to Nosy Norma up there. Bet she saw something.” Vinnie Mattetuci, former wiseguy turned PI, nodded toward the upstairs window.
With her camera draped around her neck, Kat reached into her car for her powder-pink hard hat. No sense taking unnecessary chances. “Vinnie, don’t you have someplace else to be? Like visiting your girlfriend over at the strip joint?”
“A—she’s not my girlfriend, just a friend who happens to be of the female persuasion. And B—I’m your intern. It’s my job to follow you around and learn. Besides, I promised Lexie I’d keep you safe and out of trouble while she’s gone.”
A ping of envy shot through her as she thought of her best friend and business partner. Lexie Smith, now Barandas, had recently married her one-time high school sweetheart. Kat couldn’t be happier for her, but that didn’t mean she wasn’t jealous as all get-out. While she’d never admit it aloud, Kat was thankful Vinnie kept her company. Although calling him an intern was a bit of a stretch. “Yep, I’m the lucky one, all right. While poor, mistreated Lexie is being dragged off to bask on some sunny beach in Antigua for the next two weeks by a gorgeous guy who worships her, I get to stay home and man the firm. With you.”
“Hey, some women consider me good-looking.”
Kat side-eyed her companion. If not for the baggy jeans hanging off his rear and oversize New York Ranger’s jersey, Vinnie could have been considered a good-looking guy in his early forties. Except he was dead. For the past few months he’d been trying to find himself, whatever that meant. Mostly, Kat and Lexie ignored his outlandish outfits, but not today.
“Not in that getup,” she said.
Pushing Vinnie’s buttons was only fair considering he’d made it an art form to get a rise out of her over the years. Suppressing a satisfied smile, Kat made a mental note of the companies and homes nearby. She’d need to interview the employees and residents after her inspection of the burn site. On one side sat a small strip of businesses: an insurance agency, a fish market, and some kind of health food store. She doubted anyone there would have paid any attention to the comings and goings of patients into a low-income medical clinic, but you never knew.
The other side sported a poorly paved driveway separating the burned-out clinic and the two-story apartment building where their curious friend lived. Given the close proximity, it made sense that some of the residents might also be patients. The insurance company suspected a disgruntled patient had set the fires. Kat didn’t disagree. A grudge equaled the perfect motive for arson. But to burn down three clinics, all owned by the same people? It must be one hell of a chip to shoulder around.
Standing in between two blackened pillars of what might have been the front door, Kat slipped on the hard hat and examined the inside. Most of the interior walls were gone, now piles of rubble and ash. She stepped deeper into the bowels of the building, cringing at the squishy noises her feet made in the murky wet residue.
“These boots are toast. I’ll never get this gunk off them or get the smell out.” Kat wrinkled her nose in protest of the strong aroma of burnt plastic.
Tromping through the pools of water, Vinnie walked next to her, not that he got gunk on his shoes or left any prints. “What’re we looking for? The cops and fire inspector already went through the place and there ain’t nothing left.”
Kat toed a pile of rubble that might have been a desk at one time. Hard to say for sure. “Nothing in particular, just trying to get a feel for the damage.” She grabbed her camera, capturing the destruction inside. Letting it drop against her stomach, she stood in awe. “Whoever did this wanted to make sure there was nothing left to salvage, that’s for sure.”
Ignoring his sarcasm had become a lifelong habit. Vinnie had been haunting the two girls since the day they were born, minutes apart, which also happened to be the day he died. Keeping her focus on the task at hand, Kat studied her surroundings. The medical clinic was a single-story, rectangular building. Before the fire a series of tall windows ran across the front, yet the sides had only small openings near the ceiling. Recalling the blueprints the insurance company provided, Kat walked deeper into the rubble. To her left would have been the exam rooms. The right side housed the patient files and the windowless supply room.
Everywhere she looked stood mounds of charred wood, ash, and melted metal. The fire’s hungry flames had consumed almost everything. A flash of color amid the gray caught her eye. Bending down, Kat snagged the charred photo.
Smudged, smiling faces stared back, causing her pulse to pound a little harder, a little faster, and a whole lot pissed off. “He didn’t just steal the employees’ possessions. He stole their livelihoods. With this economy how are they going to make ends meet? I need to talk to the fire marshal and we need to find this bastard because next time it might be a life he takes.”
“I agree, the bastard needs to be found and stopped, but how can you help?” A smooth, slow, masculine drawl slid over her skin and roused her senses.
Turning around, Kat found a pair of hazel-green eyes taking inventory of her. She returned the favor, noting muscular arms crossed in front of an equally impressive chest. Hey, not her fault his tee fit like a glove. Wondering if the rest of him measured up, she let her gaze drift lower to take in long, lean legs clad in well-fitting jeans. None of those baggy-ass, barely-hanging-on pants for this guy. Thank you, Powers That Be.
Still, a stranger. Big and muscular. A secluded crime scene and a blonde. It was like a hacker movie come to life.
Thankfully she had a ghost to protect her. Sort of. Hopefully. Who knew with Vinnie’s unpredictable skills?
Stepping forward, she extended her hand in greeting. “Kat Jones, LexaKat PI Services. I’m here—”
“Katarina Jones?” He stepped forward, hesitant. Surprise, followed by delight, flashed across his eyes. “Guess you don’t remember me. Shawn Randall. I worked the Big E last year at the Masonic CHIP booth. I’m the lucky guy who got to try to stick a cotton swab—which they all thought was a needle—into the kids’ mouths for DNA.”
“I remember. Kind of hard to forget, you know, with all the screaming kids. You weren’t the most popular person.”
“Hey, I was when I took them to play on the fire truck. At least you had a fun job. Some kind of kids’ charity, right?”
“Temporary tattoos and arts and crafts. I got to make friendship bracelets and ‘ink’ the kids. I was very popular.” A cheesy grin spread. “We were raising money and awareness for childhood diabetes. Pretty good memory. Sorry, I didn’t recognize you at first. Your fire marshal helmet threw me.”
Hard to forget him or her stint working New England’s combined state fair. Fourteen-hour days filled with sweat, screaming kids, and eye candy. If she remembered right, the guy liked to joke with the kids, had an incredible smile, and an easy and casual way of flirting—with her and every female around, young and old alike. Very hard to forget indeed. Also, that he was already claimed and off the market. All the good ones are.
“So, what are you doing here?” He gestured toward the wreckage around them.
“The insurance company hired my firm to help find who’s setting these fires. I was just on my way to the fire department to talk with you. Well, not you in particular, as I didn’t know you were the fire marshal, but . . . never mind. What can you tell me about the fire?” Kat slipped off the hard hat, slyly fluffing her flattened hair.
“Definitely arson.” He walked around the piles of rubble to a spot in the back and waited for her to join him. “See the dark lines here? Traces of an accelerant. From the reports of the responding firefighters, most likely gasoline was used, which would cause white flames and black smoke. “Here,” he walked across the debris to an outside wall, pointing to the small openings near the ceiling Kat noticed earlier, “these were transom windows which could be opened, but according to the staff they never did. Central air negated the need, yet first responders reported they were open in every exam room.”
“He was feeding the fire.”
Striding across the room, pointing out proof of foul play, completely absorbed in his work, his body vibrated with a passionate energy she could literally feel. When they’d met before she had dismissed him as another victim of the Peter Pan syndrome. The way he played with the kids, on their level, always joking around, smiling and never losing his humor, he could have passed as one of the Lost Boys. But now he was all business. All take charge. All alpha male.
“I like him, Kat. You should keep him,” Vinnie suggested with a shit-eating grin plastered on his face.
Kat dipped her head to hide her response. Heat crept up her neck, flaming across her cheeks. If only she looked good in orange coveralls, she’d kill Vinnie all over again.
“Whoever did this knew fires and there’s no way these were his first.” Shawn looked to her, probably waiting for her to impart some words of wisdom. It would be a long wait. Brains no longer occupied the inside of her skull. Nope, now it was pure mush. Which was bad, very bad. The last time she’d let her heart and libido take over, the outcome had been disastrous. Been there. Done that. Not doing it again.
“Okay, then. According to the insurance company, all three clinics were owned by the same group of doctors and the fires were identical—burned fast, hot, and left nothing behind, including clues.” Kat headed toward the outside and fresh air. Both man and ghost followed.
She gave herself a moment to take a deep breath, held it, head tilted skyward while she gathered her thoughts. Exhaling, she looked to the businesses and the apartment house.
“I’m going to interview the neighbors, see if anyone saw anything remotely off in the days before the fire,” she said.
“I sent the insurance company copies of the interview reports. Didn’t they forward them to you?”
“They did, but you never know what a couple of days or a different interviewer can do to jog a memory. Nothing personal, I’m sure you and the police did a thorough job, but sometimes people will talk to a woman instead of a man. We’re less intimidating or something.” She flashed him an apologetic half smile.
“No offense taken. Arson is one of the toughest crimes to prosecute, so we don’t mind the help. Care if I tag along while you reinterview the neighbors?”
Did she care? Hell yes. She had a job to do and the last thing she needed was some smoking hot inspector frying what few working brain cells she had left. She didn’t need or want a guy in her life. Been there. Done that. Not worth the frickin’ heartache or the distraction from her job.
Maybe if she said it to herself often enough, one day she’d listen.
Plastering on her professional face, the one that showed no emotions except full confidence, she said, “Of course not, but I wouldn’t want to take you away from work.”
“This is my work.”
Vinnie stood in the entranceway, a strange look on his face and his head cocked to the side. She was afraid to hear what he was thinking. With Vinnie, sometimes it was best not to know. He moved to her side and she braced herself.
“Smooth, Kat. What’s your deal?” Vinnie whispered in her ear. “You’re acting weird—oh, shit, you’ve got the hots for our fire inspector. For what it’s worth, kid, he seems like a decent guy, but then again, what do I know? I’m going to check out the mini-mart across the street. I’ll meet you at the car when you’re done.”
She ignored Vinnie’s relationship advice. “I think I’ll start with the businesses first,” she said to Shawn. “They’re probably more inclined to talk than the residents in the apartment building, even if they don’t know more than we already know.”
Shawn fell into step next to her, matching his stride to hers. Barefoot, she stood five nine, with her boots, five eleven, yet she noticed he still had a good two, maybe three inches on her in height, putting him somewhere in the ballpark of six foot two or three. Thumbs hooked into the front pockets of his jeans, shoulders relaxed, Shawn hummed a song as they walked the short distance. His persona had taken a one-eighty from when he’d showed her the site. Then the air had hummed with his energy. Now it soothed. He pulled open the door to the insurance agency and swept his hand in a welcoming gesture, allowing her to enter before him.
It was your typical setup, main office, hallway leading off to other private rooms farther back. The front office had a plate glass window and door, but unfortunately the side walls were solid brick that blocked the view to the clinic. As employees of the closest business, the two middle-aged ladies manning the desks were her best shot at finding a witness.
Holding out her hand, Kat introduced both herself and Shawn, explaining they were investigating the fire next door.
“Hi.” Both women’s eyes were glued to Shawn. “Marshal Randall, what a pleasure to see you again,” purred the redhead with the bad dye job.
Kat’s hand hung extended in front of her, ignored. Quickly she slid her fingers into the front pocket of her jeans. “Sorry to interrupt you, but we were hoping for a few minutes of your time—”
“Who are you again?” the bleach-blond grandma type asked.
“Katarina Jones. I’m a private investigator working for the medical clinic’s insurance company. I have a few questions for you—”
“Oh, we already told Marshal Randall and that nice policeman everything we know,” cut in the redhead.
Frustration at not being allowed to complete a single sentence built inside until her head felt like a volcano about to blow. Silently she counted to ten, tamping down on her temper, because once it blew the destruction would rival that of Mt. Vesuvius.
“Ladies, if you could give Ms. Jones a few minutes of your time to answer some questions, I would be forever in your debt.” A hint of a dimple played at the corner of his mouth and the gold flecks in his hazel eyes sparked with mischief.
Both women reluctantly shifted their attention to Kat, and she took them through a round of questions. Every few seconds their gazes would roam back toward the handsome fire inspector. Did they notice anyone hanging around the building after hours or early in the morning? Any patients cause a scene? Notice someone walking around with a blowtorch and a chip on their shoulder? No. No. No. Did they happen to notice what a fine backside Marshal Randall had? Kat was pretty sure if she’d asked that question, they would have given her an unequivocal yes.
Thanking them for their time and cooperation, Kat and Shawn turned to exit the small office. His arm softly brushed against the side of her breast, sending happy, excited chills down her body.
“Still think people are more open to talking to women?”
“Hmm. Those two are clearly firefighter groupies.”
A chuckle escaped from his throat. “That’s an urban legend told to entice young, naive men to sign on with the department, to give up sleep and risk their lives for low pay.”
“Nope, as you can see, they exist. But don’t worry about them, they seem harmless. I just hope you don’t mind women your mom’s age fantasizing about you though, because trust me, they are.”
His laughter changed, coming out between a choke and a snort. “They are not.”
“They are. It was written across their faces clear as a billboard ad.”
And the message, the fantasy playing out in their eyes, the feeling fueling those dreams, currently ran wild through Kat’s body as well, lighting it up from the inside out.
She’d missed this sensation, the rush of emotions, the dance of anticipation between male and female leading up to the final mating of the sexes. It’d been months since she’d experienced the elation of love and lust. The rapid pounding of her pulse brought on by hot, sweaty sex. The simple fun of flirting. What she didn’t miss were the pain and anguish that came with love’s betrayal. That not-so-joyful emotion lived with her every day.
“Shall we see if you have any more groupies in the fish market and health food store?”
A snippet of an old Judas Priest song broke his stride. Pulling out his phone, he glanced down and tapped the screen before repocketing the cell.
“As much as I’d love to find out—and what guy doesn’t want crowds of drooling fans?—I have to run. I’ve got a meeting I can’t miss, should last for about two hours or so. How about I give you a call later this afternoon and see if you found out anything new?”
She agreed. He swaggered back to his truck, leaving her to admire his long, lean legs as they ate up the ground. Heading toward the next business, she reminded herself that it never hurt to look, just no touching. Touching brought trouble.
Shawn couldn’t believe his luck when he’d walked into the site. The insurance company had called this morning and informed him they were bringing in their own investigator. He’d expected to find a guy, one as round as he was tall, reeking of smoke and with fast-food grease stains on his shirt. Apparently, he’d been watching too many B-rated movies lately. Today’s version of a PI suited him fine. A tall, leggy blonde, sexy waves of hair flowing out from under a pink hard hat. Curves in all the right places, showcased in snug jeans and one of those super soft sweaters that he couldn’t wait to run his hands over. A woman whose caramel brown eyes and easy smile sent his blood pumping.
Last year could have been a million lifetimes away. A time when he’d been blindly and stupidly in love with Debi. The two weeks at the fair had been a welcome change. Looking back, he realized he had Kat to thank for that. Putting their two stations next to each other had drawn in a lot of visitors for them both. Cool by him, he loved kids. Kids didn’t play games, not mind games anyway. Generally, they told you how it was, pulled no punches, and didn’t leave you wondering what they thought. Sometimes, brutally so.
Kat had been like that too, no head trips. From the start she’d casually mentioned her boyfriend, quickly establishing she wasn’t available, which didn’t stop him from a little casual flirtation. Nothing meant to send the wrong signals, just some fun to help pass the long days and survive the heat. He could deal with the move from the Pacific Northwest to New England about seventy-five percent of the time. The twenty-five percent summer took up he could do without. Back home summer arrived in August, left by September, and had practically zero percent humidity, at least that’s how it felt to him. Hundred-degree days with matching humidity that left you melting in the shade? Thanks, but he’d pass. He didn’t know what it was about the humidity on this side of the country but it was different, heavier, more noticeable, unbearable. If he were going to be hot and sweaty, he’d prefer to have it either be from fighting back a bitch of a blaze or a night of mind-numbing sex.
These days he didn’t see much action from either. Working as a fire marshal gave him a chance to use his brains instead of his brawn. He didn’t mind the changeup in routine. It kept his mom and gram from worrying about him as much. As for the other, since Debi, the urge to be in a relationship had simply died. The urge to get laid, you bet, it nagged at him on a regular basis. But one-night stands didn’t do it for him, just weren’t in his wiring. Too bad he’d met Kat after Debi. Too bad she was taken. And too damn bad for him, timing was everything and his sucked.
The drive time from Pawcatuck to New London gave him too much time to think of things better left alone. Visions of a leggy blonde filled his mind instead of the arsonist he hunted. This latest hit followed the same pattern as the first two. If the firebug tagged these three because of an ax to grind with the owners, then hopefully the fires were over. They didn’t own any more clinics. But if that wasn’t the motive, then they had an even bigger problem on their hands.
He needed a brainstorming session with his fellow inspectors. Both had been in the area longer than he had and perhaps they knew of an old case whose profile matched. Creatures of habit, arsonists followed set patterns, perfecting their technique, leaving few clues behind and making it damn hard to nail the bastards. It’d be nice to wrap this case up in short order. If all went well on his call this afternoon, he’d be leaving for a position with the Seattle Fire Department and be back with his family within the month.
Most of the smaller towns in Connecticut operated on skeleton crews, but not the New London fire station. Fully staffed around the clock, it also served as the base for the marshals. Today he welcomed the chaos and camaraderie the busy house brought. The station buzzed with activity between a school tour going on, the firefighters cleaning equipment, and the medical services staff restocking the ambulance. All a good distraction from a certain private eye.
“Hey, Randall, you got a call a little while ago. Some female wants to talk to the, and I quote, ‘hot fireman working the burned-up medical clinic.’ She wouldn’t leave a name or number. Called from a blocked phone.”
Stopping in the middle of the bay, Shawn knew everyone around had heard the message and he was in for a rash of shit today. “Thanks, Rodriguez. She say when she might call back or anything else?”
“Didn’t say, but did mention she thought you had a cute ass.”
Imaginative ways of killing the messenger flashed across his mind as snickers around the open space filtered to him. “You’re kidding, right?”
Many a quiet night had been passed in the house playing tricks on each other and Shawn had gotten Rodriguez a few times. Wouldn’t surprise him if this was payback. Or maybe Kat had called and mentioned his ‘groupies.’ He could see Rodriguez twisting the info into something that suited him better.
“Anyone else call?”
“What do I look like? Your friggin’ personal secretary? Check your desk, Marshal.” Rodriguez went back to polishing the chrome on engine three and Shawn headed down the hall to the marshal’s office.
Entering the ten-by-ten space, he found the other two fire marshals, John Clark and Teri Calabrese. With three desks, file cabinets, and everything else the crews had stuffed into their office, he could barely breathe.
“Hey, Shawn, did you get the message from Rodriguez?” Teri asked.
“Yeah. Is he being upfront?”
“Yep, I checked out the number. Dead end.”
“So, we have a potential witness and no way to reach her. Great.”
John hung up and kicked back with his hands crossed behind his head. “How’d it go with the PI?”
Shawn brought them up to date on the meeting and that Kat would fill him in on her other interviews later. He left out the part about the groupies. No sense adding fuel to the raging fire, the phone message and cute ass comment were enough. He’d be getting razzed for the next week. Couldn’t blame the guys. If the tables were turned, he’d fully take advantage of the situation.
“I’ve met her before—Kat Jones. We ran into each other at some charity event a few months ago. Seemed like a pretty with-it person. Not to mention drop-dead gorgeous.” Teri handed him and John each a stack of old cases before flipping open the top file on her own pile.
“Hmm,” Shawn replied.
“That’s all you’ve got to say?” Teri gave him one of those I’m on to you looks, brows raised, lips tilted upward.
“I think our boy has a thing for the PI, John.” Man, he hated when they called him a boy. As if five years’ seniority didn’t mean shit.
“We met last year at the Big E and she’s taken so it doesn’t matter. All that matters is if she helps us solve this case or not.” He kept his voice even, low and slow. Unlike his heart which sped up like a marathon runner at the end of a race with the mention of her name. “What’s with the case files?”
“All the unsolved arson cases involving gas as an igniter. Since it’s readily available, it’s the most widely used, but you should know that. I pulled all of these this morning after we talked.”
“Beside the gasoline connection, any of them resemble this current case? So far, this person has been in control, keeping the fires restricted to the clinics, but it wouldn’t take much for it to have jumped to one of the nearby buildings or to the apartments.”
Before either could answer, the phone rang, Shawn grabbed it in the hopes it was his witness. Listening to the caller, he jotted down notes, shaking his head at the information he heard. Hanging up, he grabbed his keys and the note he’d written.
“That was the captain over in North Stonington. We’ve got a possible fourth target. This time, we have a victim.”
From the picnic bench outside of Dairy Queen, he had watched the pretty blonde and the fire marshal admire his handiwork. Nothing like seeing others gaze in awe upon your creation to make your day and give your work validation. He’d watched the inspector at the first two clinics, investigating his masterpieces. Idiot. Stumbling around, thinking he could find clues as to his identity. Didn’t the simpleton know a true master of the art left no tattletale traces behind—unless he wanted to? Oh, and how he wanted to give just a little sign, enough to give the fools false hope. But his patron wouldn’t allow it. Not on this commission.
The blonde intrigued him. Called to his soul. Standing there with her pink hat and what looked like designer clothes, so out of place. A look of anguish marred her features. Such a pity. She had the face of a cover model. What was she doing poking around his creation? She definitely wasn’t one of the owners. Those three women couldn’t be bothered to take care of their appearance, always showing up in scrubs with their hair up in some messy ponytail or something. So busy and important. Thinking they’re better than the rest of us with their fancy degrees. But he knew the truth.
This woman, this muse, called to him, screamed to the artist inside of him to capture her beauty for eternity. A true challenge. The beast whispered promises of glory in exchange for her sacrifice. Who was she? What was she like? Why was she here? He needed to know in order to find the ideal location. She deserved nothing less than perfection. A place of beauty in which to spend her final glorious moments on this earth.
A buzzing zinged through his chest and he pulled out his phone. “Yes?”
He listened to his patron praise him for a splendid job, assuring him his reward would be deposited by the end of the day. His mind drifted back to the blonde, imagined her admiring his greatness, gazing upon him with pure adulation. The patron’s nasal voice brought him out of the fantasy, squelching his longing. As usual, the man demanded information: where was he, what’s the status of the investigation, even going so far as to ask if the authorities had found any evidence yet.
His hackles stood. How dare he suggest such a thing? I am a master of my craft. I don’t leave clues, unless I choose to do so. He caught the fury dripping off his tongue and reined it in. “As a matter of fact, I’m in Pawcatuck right now, was watching that fool of an inspector run around scratching his ass in confusion. He’s even called in some pretty blonde to witness his idiocy.”
Pride swelled in his heart, knowing he’d once again stumped the so-called experts. He’d been beating them at this game for twenty-plus years.
The patron demanded more details.
“I have no idea who she is. Probably some reporter or insurance adjuster.”
Hadn’t he learned not to make demands of him yet? While it was true the man on the phone paid him for the job, it didn’t make him the boss. He had no boss, answered to no one but whom he chose, when he chose. Soon he’d be done dealing with this small-minded man. The money from this job would last him for years.
“She’s tall, probably about five-ten or so. Model-pretty with blonde curly hair, shoulder length. Dressed in designer clothes, but not over the top, and she’s driving a deep blue, Lexus IS C convertible.” What’s it to him? He may be the man paying the bill, but why would he need to know about her?
“Is anyone with her—?”
An explosion of swearing and shouts erupted into his ear, followed by a pounding noise which sounded like the phone being smacked into a desk. The noise ceased as quickly as it started and in its place was the calm persona he normally dealt with. He had a request. A new commission for Peter St. Pierre and it sent a thrill to his heart.
“If she gets in the way, kill her.”
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