When one killer falls for another
Profile: Highly trained in every method the assassins guild has to offer. Always goes by the book.
Profile: Rogue assassin who kills only to rid the world of hardened criminals. Hates organizations. Always does it her way.
Love becomes a matter of life and death
Misha’s mission is to get Rikki to join the guild or give up her guns. He completely underestimated the effect she would have on him…and what heat and chaos they could bring to each other…
- Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
- Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca; Original edition (March 6, 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1402262825
- ISBN-13: 978-1402262821
ABOUT THE AUTHOR…Kris DeLake is one of writer Kristine Kathryn Rusch’s many pen names. In addition to writing as Kris DeLake in romance, Rusch also writes romance as Kristine Grayson (who specializes in paranormals) and Kristine Dexter (who prefers romantic suspense). In mystery, Rusch writes as Edgar- and Shamus-nominee Kris Nelscott. In science fiction and fantasy, Rusch goes by her real name. Under that name, she’s a bestseller in many countries, and a double Hugo winner. To find out more about Rusch and her various names, go to her website, kristinekathrynrusch.com
FROM THE BOOK FAERY REVIEWS…Oh is this one a mind(and body)-blowing futuristic hot tale filled with danger, passion, multiple identities, and discovered truths! Right from the beginning all the way to the end I wanted in on the action (all the action…heehee). Rikki is one bad-ass woman and Misha- well, let’s say I wouldn’t mind being tracked down by this hot assassin! Can two assassins from different backgrounds with different goals learn to trust the other in order to find out the truth? Could they ever give up all they’ve known and trust their hearts for their future? You’ll just have to read it. Oh yes, I recommend this fun and steamy adventure. And I’m definitely look forward to reading more about Rikki’s “Jack” when that’s ready which I believe is next in the Assassins Guild series.
READ AN EXCERPT
Hands fumbling, fingers shaking, head aching, Rikki leaned one shoulder against the wall, blocking the view of the airlock controls from the corridor. Elio Testrial leaned against the wall at her feet. She hoped he looked drunk.Things hadn’t gone as planned. Things never went as planned—she should have learned that a long time ago. But she kept thinking she’d get better with each job.She completed each job. That was a victory, or at least, that felt like one right now.The corridor was wide and relatively straight, like every other corridor on this stupid ship. Every floor looked like the last, which had caused problems earlier, and all were painted white, as if that was a design feature. She didn’t find it a design feature. In fact, it was a problem feature. Because any dirt showed, and blood, well, they said blood trailed for a reason. It did.
So far, though, she’d managed to avoid a blood trail. Of course, she’d thought about avoiding it, back when Testrial really was drunk. And because she thought about avoiding it, she had.
But there was no avoiding this damn airlock.
Her heart pounded, her breath came in short gasps. If she couldn’t get a deep lungful of air, her fingers would keep shaking, not that it made any difference.
Why weren’t spaceships built to a universal standard? Why couldn’t she just follow the same moves with every piece of equipment that had the same name? Instead, she had to study old specs, which were always wrong, and then she had to improvise, which was always dicey, and then she had to worry that somehow, with one little flick of a fingernail, she’d touch something which would set off an alarm, which would bring the security guards running.
High-end ships like this one always had security guards, and the damn guards always thought they were some kind of cop which, she supposed, in the vast emptiness that was space, they were.
Someone had fused the alarm to the computer control for the airlock doors, which meant that unless she could figure out a way to unfuse it, this stupid airlock was useless to her. Which meant she had to haul Testrial to yet another airlock on a different deck, one that wouldn’t be as private as this one, and it would be just her luck that the airlock controls one deck up (or one deck down) would be just as screwy as the controls on this deck.
She cursed. Next spaceport—the big kind with every damn thing in the universe plus a dozen other damn things she hadn’t even thought of—she would sign up for some kind of maintenance course, one that specialized in space cruisers, since she found herself on so many of them, or maybe even some university course in mechanics or design or systems analysis, so that she wouldn’t waste precious minutes trying to pry open something that didn’t want to get pried.
She cursed again, and then a third time for good measure, but the words weren’t helping. She poked at that little fused bit inside the control, and felt her fingernail rip, which caused her to suck in a breath—no curse words for that kind of pain, sharp and tiny, the kind that could cause her (if she were a little less cautious) to pull back and stick the offending nail inside her mouth.
She’d done that once, setting off a timer for an explosive device she’d been working on, and just managed to dive behind the blast shield (she estimated) fifteen seconds before the stupid thing blew.
So she had her little reflexes under control.
It was the big reflexes that worried her.
“Need help?” Male voice. Deep. Authoritative.
She didn’t jump. She didn’t even flinch. But she did freeze in place for a half second, which she knew was a giveaway, one of those moments little kids had when they got caught doing something wrong.
“I’m fine, thanks,” she said without turning around. No sense in letting him see her face.
“Your friend doesn’t look fine.” He had just a bit of an accent, something that told her Standard wasn’t his native language.
“He’s drunk,” she said.
“Looks dead to me,” he said.
She turned, assessing her options as she did. One knife. (People were afraid of knives, which was good. But knives were messy, hard to clean up the blood, which was bad.) Two laser pistols. (One tiny, against her ankle, hard to reach. The other on her hip, obvious, but laser blasts in a corridor—dangerous. They’d bounce off the walls, might hit her.) Fists. (Might break a bone, hands already shaking. Didn’t need the additional risk.)
Then stopped assessing when she saw him.
He wasn’t what she expected. Tall, white-blond hair, the kind that got noticed (funny, she hadn’t noticed him, but then there were two thousand passengers on this damn ship). Broad shoulders, strong bones—not a spacer then. Blue eyes with long lashes, like a girl’s almost, but he didn’t look girly, not with that aquiline nose and those high cheekbones. Thin lips twisted into a slight smile, a knowing smile, as if he understood what she was doing.
He wore gray pants and an ivory shirt without a single stain on it. No rings, no tattoos, no visible scars—and no uniform.
Not security, then. Or at least, not security that happened to be on duty.
“He’s drunk,” she said again, hoping Testrial’s face was turned slightly. She’d managed to close his eyes, but he had that pallor the newly dead sometimes acquired. Blood wasn’t flowing; it was pooling, and that leached all the color from his skin.
“So he’s drunk, and you’re messing with the airlock controls, because you want to get him, what? Some fresh air?” The man’s eyes twinkled.
He was disgustingly handsome, and he knew it. She hated men like that, and thought longingly of her knife. One slash across the cheek. That would teach him.
“Guess I’ve had a little too much to drink myself,” she said.
“Oh, for God’s sake,” the man said as he approached her.
She reached for the knife, but he caught her wrist with one hand. He smelled faintly of sandalwood, and that, for some reason, made her breath catch.
He slammed the airlock controls with his free fist. The damn alarm went off and the first of the double doors opened.
“What the hell?” she snapped.
He sighed, as if she were the dumbest person he had ever met, then let her go. She did reach for the knife as he bent at the waist and picked up Testrial with one easy move.
She knew that move wasn’t easy. She’d used an over-the-shoulder carry to get the bastard down here, after having rigged the corridor cameras to show footage from two hours before. Not that that did any good now that this asshole had set off the alarm.
He tossed Testrial into the airlock itself, then reached inside and triggered the outer door. He barely got his hand back into the corridor before the inner door closed, protecting them from the vacuum of space.
“What the hell?” she asked again.
The man gave her a withering glance. “He was dead, you were going to toss him out, and then you were going to go about your business as if nothing happened. I just helped you along a little.”
“And now every security agent on the ship will come down here,” she snapped.
“Yeah,” he said. “But it won’t be a problem.”
“It won’t be a problem?” she asked.
But he already had his arm tightly around her shoulder, and he dragged her forward. The movement felt familiar, as if someone had done this to her before.
Except no one had ever done this to her before.
“C’mon,” he said. “Stagger a little.”
“What?” she asked, letting him pull her along. Her hand was still on her knife, but she didn’t close her fist around the hilt. Not yet.
“Do you know any drinking songs?” he asked.
“Know any… what?”
“Stagger,” he said, and she did without much effort, since he was half-carrying her, not allowing her feet to find a rhythm.
They stepped onto the between-decks platform, which she loathed because it was open, not a true elevator at all, and he said, “Down,” and the stupid thing jerked before it went down, and suddenly she was on corridor cameras.
“Do you know any drinking songs?” he asked again.
“No,” she said, ready with an answer this time. “I don’t drink.”
“No wonder you lack creativity,” he said and added, “Stop,” as they passed their third deck. He dragged her down the corridor to the airlock, and slammed it with his fist.
Another alarm went off as the inner door opened, and he reached inside, triggering the outer door.
“What the hell are you doing?” she asked again.
“Is that the only question you know?” he asked.
“Just answer me,” she said as he turned her around and headed back toward the between-decks platform.
“Weren’t you ever a teenager?” he asked.
“Of course I was,” she said.
“Then you should know what I’m doing,” he said.
“Well color me clueless,” she said, “because I don’t.”
His eyebrows went up as he looked at her. “Color you clueless? What kind of phrase is that?”
“The kind of phrase you say when someone won’t tell you what the hell they’re doing.”
“Watch and learn, babe,” he said. “Watch and learn.”
He took them to the platform again, and as it lurched downward, he pulled her toward him using just his arm and the hand clutching her shoulder. A practiced move, and a strong one, considering how much resistance she was putting up.
He held her in a viselike grip, and then, before she could move away, kissed her. She was so startled, she didn’t pull back.
At least, that was what she told herself when he did let go and she realized that her lips were bruised, her hand had fallen away from the hilt of her knife, her heart was pounding rapidly.
That was a hell of a kiss, short but—good God, had she ever been kissed like that? Mouth to mouth, open, warm but not sloppy, his tongue sampling hers and hers, traitor that it was, responding.
“Yum,” he said, as if she had been particularly tasty, and then he grinned. He was unbelievably h…
A NetGalley ebook was provided in exchange for an honest review.