I looked to my right, past the man with the huge, ugly, rope-like scar ripping down from his forehead through his eye down his strong jaw and disappearing into the scruff of his perpetual five o’clock shadow and wondered for the thousandth time how the most dangerous man on the planet could also be the hottest. But I looked past him. Right past him. Right. I didn’t even see him. I saw the robin’s egg blue sky and fluffy white clouds and skeleton-gray wing. The luxury jet had the most beautiful, buttery leather seats I’d ever seen, which was great because I wanted to enjoy every minute on a plane, especially if I had to jump out of it.
I’m Irish. No. I mean my name is Irish. Which was ironic since I was born in Argentina and raised in Brazil. Which was where we were heading right now on the Werther’s private jet.
I looked at the dossier in my lap for the fourth time since we boarded this flight. Like every time I looked at so far, I wasn’t processing all the information. I knew the basics. I stared at the photo of a handsome man in his late fifties, Javier Alejandro Borden, known as Border. He had gotten himself into a…how do they say…a cluster-fuck that was going to require the delicacy of a surgical precision and the explosive destruction of a full-scale demolition performed during a Richter 8 earthquake to fix. Which I suppose explains why Ward sent me and Slade. How did Border get himself into such a mess that I had to go back to my least favorite country?
A slight tick throbbed near my left temple. I closed my eyes for a second as I tried to organize my thoughts. I still had some time, but as the linguist in the Ward Squad I had to understand all the information and have my mind clear, which I obviously didn’t.
It all started ten years ago. Ward Werther, who can be one scary motherfucker in his own right, had been there.
Ward had been on that mission in Brazil. Ward was there with his brother Rex, who although I’ve known him for nine and a half years manages to still be a mystery to me. They were on a job in the Amazon jungle. I don’t know much about it. What I do know is Border, a fancy lawyer of some kind, helped finance them when they ran out of funds. That was when Turk’s father got captured. I know Rex had to go on one part of the mission and Ward the other. Ward’s job was to rescue Turk’s dad. When he got there, he got Turk’s dad out but her dad was so injured he died before Ward could get him medical help. Turk was fifteen or sixteen at the time. She went to live with Ward and Fiona and sort of became an honorary member of their family although now she’s dating Nate, their younger son, which is beyond loco.
Now Border needed our help. Considering I was the only member of the Ward squad who speaks Portuguese that put me on deck. So I was on the way back to my former hometown, Sao Paulo.
Well, shit on a stick.
The only good thing about this assignment was I was going with Slade. If Rex seemed mysterious, Slade was Batman. I couldn’t think of one single fact about his past. Or his present for that matter. To say he was fierce was a gross understatement. We didn’t have a word in the English language to explain how lethal he was. Or any of the other languages I spoke either.
Yet…I felt oddly at home with him. Amazingly comfortable. Safe. Maybe it’s partially because he never asked about my past and I sure as hell am not going to ask about his and maybe instinctively he knows it. Maybe it’s because when I’m with him it’s obviously clear to any being on the planet that no one could possibly hurt me. Maybe it’s just…him. It’s like he gives out this pheromone that’s pure predator but around me it’s quiet. That’s it. Around me, everything seems quiet for both of us. Meditative almost. Zen Slade. That’s somehow comical coming off a man who looks like he eats his dead.
He’s so calm it’s reptilian. I on the other hand feel a little like my skin is slowly being stripped off with a cheese grater.
This is going to be a mission no one will ever forget.
If you love Irish, Slade, Turk, Nate, Effie, T, and the gang, don’t miss Book 7 in the flesh series.
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