Shadow keeps to himself, never mixing business with pleasure. Business is killing. Pleasure is the girl next door.
Riley never had help growing up, but she’s determined to make something of her life. She used her own blood, sweat, and line of credit to buy her home and bakery. Everything is perfect—only it’s not. She’s lonely and can’t stop obsessing over her sexy, mysterious neighbor.
Shadow has perfected his self-control over the years, so ignoring Riley comes naturally. But when the curvy temptation becomes entangled in his world, targeted by a group of assassins, he takes personal responsibility for her safety. She’s cute, feisty, and he plans to show her just how dark and dirty he can be. If they can stay alive, they may just have the love of a lifetime.
Be Warned: anal sex, sex toys
He didn’t have time to babysit a girl determined to get herself killed. And he sure as hell didn’t need her digging around his private life. He’d lived in his house on the same street for almost ten years without issue. He refused to move. Boss had mentioned on numerous occasions that the best place for a hitman was a secure condo downtown or a stand-alone off the grid. Shadow knew he was playing house, trying to create the life he’d craved since childhood. It was all a fucking illusion, but it was a part of his humanity he refused to give up.
So his brave little neighbor needed to learn her place. The rest of the neighborhood kept their distance, and she needed to do the same. He had her on security camera at least a dozen times trying to snoop in his windows or peek over the backyard fence. Shadow hadn’t thought much of her meddling until today. He hoped this scare had put some sense into her.
After finishing up his usual Thursday session at the gym, he headed home. He’d pushed himself harder than ever, and he knew Riley was to blame. He couldn’t get her off his fucking mind. She only came up to his chest, and her curves were even thicker up close and personal. He ground his teeth together, trying not to think about digging his fingers into her rounded hips as he fucked her from behind. She was way too young for him, and he wasn’t in the market for a woman anyway. His solitary life suited him.
It was nearly eleven, only the streetlights and faint glow of the moon illuminating his street. He pushed his entry fob and the garage door opened as he approached his house. His cellphone vibrated moments after entering the garage and cutting the engine.
“I’ve left you alone for a while, but I have a job for you,” said Boss.
It had been well over a month since Shadow had heard from Killer of Kings. The clean-up after they took down part of the Dead Angels MC was a fucking headache. He’d appreciated the time off, but he was ready to get back to work. His trigger finger was itching, and he needed an outlet stronger than the gym for the darkness growing inside him.
“You want to text me the details?”
“This job will require a bit of recon. I want to be sure we’re getting the right man. He’s used body doubles in the past. Can you handle that?” asked Boss.
In all the years Shadow had worked for Killer of Kings, he’d fucked up one time, giving Boss some bad intel. It wasn’t like him, and sure as hell wouldn’t let it happen again. Boss would probably hold that mistake over his head for years.
“Yeah, I can handle that.”
“Good. Then I’ll text you the details,” said Boss before hanging up.
As much as he would love to direct his anger at Boss, he couldn’t. Shadow had been a foster care runaway since before he could remember. He’d been a skinny, broken teen living on the streets, fighting to survive, when his guardian angel found him at seventeen. The older man had taken him in, showed him the first kindness he’d ever known, and taught him how to fight. He owed Mr. Karpenko everything.
After his tours of duty, his mentor had introduced him to Boss, and the world of Killer of Kings was opened up to him. Everyone working for Boss had to be fearless, ready to go to hell and back for a contract. Shadow wasn’t afraid to live and die by the sword. His fear of death ran deeper, starting with his earliest blurred memories of his mother dying slowly from lung cancer. Mr. Karpenko had been one of Boss’s many informants, and he respected the owner of Killer of Kings—that fact spoke volumes.
Shadow pushed his thoughts away and got out of his car. Just before he hit the panel inside the garage to close the door, he saw a shadow watching him. He immediately reached behind him, getting a good grip on his gun, keeping his hand at the ready.
“Sorry, it’s your neighbor. I wanted to apologize for earlier.”
He adjusted his stance, leaving the gun in his waistband. “For what?”
“You were right. I was following you. It was stupid, I know, but my curiosity got the better of me,” she said.
Shadow narrowed his eyes, staring at Riley Church under the glow of the streetlights outside. She didn’t know who she was fucking with. He’d lost count of his contracted kills. “Curiosity killed the cat, no?”
He refused to turn on the lights in the garage. Darkness had always been a friend in his line of work, and he didn’t want to face her right now. Or ever.
“That was a really bad part of the city,” she said, ignoring his comment.
“Why were you there?”
This time he chuckled; he couldn’t help himself. This chick wasn’t his girlfriend or wife. Their only connection was the proximity of their houses. She either had balls of steel or a death wish. “You just apologized for following me, and now you’re giving me an interrogation? Good luck with that, sweetheart.”
“Right. Not my business,” she said. “Thank you for saving me from those jerks.”
Shadow needed to put an end to this before it got out of hand. He didn’t need a friend, a woman, or a private eye invading his life. The only way to ensure she kept her distance was to put a little fear in her, because obviously the scare at the gym wasn’t enough to set her straight.
He slapped his palm on the wall panel near her head, making her yelp. The double garage door began to lower. “Those gangbangers weren’t your real problem,” he said, slow and steady. “You should be worried about being alone with me.”