Last Kiss Goodnight (Page 4)

Last Kiss Goodnight (Otherworld Assassin #1)(4)
Author: Gena Showalter

“Location of the agents?” Blue asked.

“Scattered. We haven’t yet acted because we aren’t yet sure if they’re dead or alive.”

A few more buttons were punched, and a picture of each agent flashed over the screen.

“So you have no idea what Star wants—or does—with those agents,” John stated bluntly.

“Correct.”

“But you’re sure it’s him?”

“We are. We had him under surveillance for something else and overheard a few phone conversations. While we can pin him to the crimes, we can’t figure anything else.”

“Well, I’ve spoken with him at several parties, and I gotta say, I’m baffled,” Blue said. “He’s a wealthy businessman with an eye for the pretties. Gambling is a weakness and drugs are a hobby, which is probably why the kids are addicts. Bodyguards are a staple, and mistresses as disposable as underwear, but he seems harmless enough.”

Solo snapped, “Yes, and everyone is always exactly what they seem, aren’t they? Why don’t you think before you speak? Idiot.”

Blue, who sat in the middle of the boys, twisted to face him. “Why don’t you say hello to the cherry slushie I’m about to make from your brain?”

He could do it, too. He possessed extraordinary abilities no human, and very few Arcadians, could even dream about.

“Go for it,” Solo said, unconcerned. “Unlike you, I’ve got a few cells to spare.”

“Children,” Michael said, clapping his hands. “Enough.” If they decided to reenact the gimpy-gazelle-versus-hungry-lion scene from Animals of Old Earth, Michael would be down two agents and probably missing a few limbs after trying to pull them apart.

Hired guns were such babies.

“Just let them play,” John said, his tone now edged with an emotion Michael couldn’t name. Something spiked with poison . . . deadly. “They need to get it out of their systems. They’re due.”

“Uh, that’s not happening.” Blue knew how to play; Solo did not. Blue would unintentionally insult Solo (more than he already had), and Solo would leave—with carnage in his wake. Nothing and no one would be able to bring him back until he was ready. But he would never be ready. “If it does, I’ll have to pull all three of you from this case and assign you to work with my daughter, Evie.”

“Enough!” John shouted, and the other two immediately zipped their lips.

They might be able to dismiss Michael, but they’d dance through fire for John.

“We good now?” Michael asked.

Blue nodded.

Solo ran his tongue over his teeth . . . teeth slightly longer than they’d been a few moments ago.

Michael knew Solo had been insulted by people all of his life. Because of his height and muscle mass, the kids at his elementary school had called him Ogre Boy—until his temper had gotten the better of him and he’d partially morphed into his other form. Then they’d called him Monster Mash and Ugly-O and had even thrown rocks at him.

Once, to protect himself, he’d nearly beaten a kid to death.

His mother had been phoned, and she’d arrived in time to calm him before he’d harmed another child, but the damage had already been done. He was pulled from the school system, and would have been locked away for life if Michael hadn’t intervened.

“We’re good,” John said, his face pale. “Evie is now off the table.”

A well-known secret: John would protect Evie with his life as long as he didn’t have to talk to her. It was Michael’s fault. He had spoiled his youngest daughter, and she now felt as if it was every man’s duty to do the same.

“I mean this in the nicest way possible, Michael,” Blue said with a shudder, “but Evie needs to be put down.”

“I’ll take that under advisement.” Michael cleared his throat. “Now, as I was saying, the agents were snatched while on the job.”

“Human? Otherworlder?” John asked. His color hadn’t yet returned to normal.

“Both,” he replied. “Male and female, too. The only common thread is the fact that they work for AIR.”

“Are they young? Good-looking?” Blue asked.

“Some of them, yes.”

“Maybe they’re being sold into the slave trade. That’s the best way to hide multiple living bodies, as well as the best way to make fast cash when you’re trying to support a drug habit.” Blue worked two fingers over the smoothness of his jaw. “Have any civilians been taken?”

“Yes,” Michael said, impressed by the jump his quick mind had made. It had taken Michael two days to connect that particular dot. “We don’t think this has anything to do with trafficking, though. We have men on the inside of every major auction and whorehouse, but none have seen any hint of the agents or the civilians.”

“What do you have?” Solo asked. “How do you know the victims were snatched by the same guy?”

Another excellent question. “Mr. Star has a calling card. He uses the victim’s blood to draw the Chinese symbol for revenge somewhere in their home.”

Blue rolled his eyes. “Are you sure the symbol is for revenge? A guy I know got a tattoo of what he thought was the symbol for strength, but it was really the symbol for indigestion.”

“A guy you know? Dude, I’ve seen your back,” John quipped. “The tattoo is yours.”

Unapologetic, Blue said, “I thought the story had more spice the other way.”

Anyway. “Yes, we’re sure,” Michael interjected. “We think he uses it to throw us off and confuse his motives. There’s no reason for him to seek revenge against the seventeen people who were abducted. None of them have any connections to him or each other. Outside those from the agency, of course.”

John pursed his lips. “Let me guess. You want us to find out what Star has done with all seventeen people before we kill him. Well, forget that. If we end him now, no one else will be abducted, and the problem will be solved,” he said, spreading his arms. “You’re welcome.”

“When one of those people is a senator, we don’t take out the only man who might know where she is.” But there was no question Star would die when all was said and done. “So here’s how this will go down. John, you’ll join the New Chicago AIR team as a transfer from Manhattan. They’ve lost two agents to this catastrophe.”