Copyright © 2008 Rae Lori
All rights reserved, Freya's Bower.
By reading this excerpt, you are stating that you are at least 18 years of age. If you are younger than 18 years old, you must exit this site at once.
Alex pulled up to the five story apartment complex in an unmarked van. She turned off the engine and retrieved the suitcases from the back storage. The larger suitcase held two levels: real plumbing equipment on the top and an unassembled sniper rifle under a foam cover in the bottom. The second suitcase housed another set of plumbing tools. Stepping out of the van, she slammed the door. A dark green shirt and matching shorts covered her curvaceous build, both rolled up to reveal her warm, glowing complexion. She'd lightly covered her body in lavender oil, hoping it would distract her target enough for her to get the job done.
She started toward the front of the complex. Her Browning Hi-Power nestled in her boot and tapped against her leg. This would be a quick job. Get in and get out unnoticed. She pressed the call button next to the typed name beneath the plastic covered panel: BOB DILLAR.
"What?" The voice came from a window on the side of the building.
Alex craned her head and looked up to the third story window. She raised her sunglasses to meet the stranger's gaze. Smiling, she put the charm on full force.
His scrunched expression softened once he saw her. He smiled, revealing a set of ragged teeth. Some shone bright silver, clashing with those of an ivory yellow stain.
"That's me, baby. What can I do for you?"
"I'm here to check the plumbing in your apartment. We got a call you were having problems."
"Oh, yeah. Yeah. You don't look like a plumber from where I'm standing, though." The man winked and smiled. His charm was definitely on full force.
Alex shrugged to downplay the attempt at sexual tension. "Blame my father for giving me a love for water pressure at a young age."
He chuckled and ran a hand over his slick, gelled black hair. "Well, come on up. I'll give you a little tour."
The door buzzed. Alex collected her items and entered the building. Nice complex. Not a place she'd expected this Bob Dillar character to live, but nowadays, anything was possible. A man stood at the front desk talking to the caretaker. Walking toward the elevator, Alex tried to keep an eye on the pathway to the door, but the visitor kept her attention.
Tall, nicely built, a slight tan with neck-length, silky brown hair. He turned around, and their eyes locked like magnets through stylish, dark designer shades. He removed them, his stance cool and relaxed, his face structured with a strong, defined jaw line. His mesmerizing eyes denoted model-worthy good looks, and those eyes awoke a spirit within her that had been dormant for months. She wanted him, the attraction like an electric storm of fire in the coldness of her heart.
The loud ding of the elevator snapped her back to reality. She shook her head to focus back on the job at hand. There wasn't any time for this now. She couldn't be distracted.
Alex broke the gaze and rushed into the elevator hoping the doors wouldn't stall. Alone now, she exhaled, realizing she'd held her breath the entire time. She was here to do a job, not get sidetracked by a pretty face. Go in as soon as possible and get out even quicker. She inhaled and exhaled a few times and slowed her breathing.
"Easy girl," she said.
Alex tapped the '3' button, and the elevator ascended. She knelt down and began the usual preparations. Retrieving the gun from her black boot, she slipped it into the hidden holster at her hip for easier access. The elevator chimed once again, and the doors opened. She peeked out of the elevator, relieved to see the area devoid of people. A long, slightly dingy oriental throw rug in putrid green, red, and beige lined the hall in front of shiny white doors. She picked up her cases and walked along the hall, keeping an eye on the descending numbers hanging on the doors. 25...24...23.... 22. Bingo.
Alex cleared her mind, took a breath, and knocked on the door. Footsteps pattered on the other side, pursued by loud whispers. Orders were given, and a whispered argument followed. Her adrenaline spiked to full alert as the footsteps approached the door. The light on the peephole eclipsed before the door opened just enough to give her a full view of Bob Dillar, a pale man dressed in a thin, close-cropped tank top and beige pants around three sizes too big. He flashed his tainted smile again.
"Welcome, pretty lady plumber."
She chuckled. "You can show me where the problem is now."
"I would, but you see, it was a problem I reported days ago. A gentleman from Root Plumbing came by with a van much like yours. Only it had the company name on the side with a little blue wave logo under it." He gestured the lines of the design in the air. "So either you guys got your jobs crossed up back there, or you're not really who you say you are. And judging from that van and the call I made while you made your way up here, I'm thinking it's more the latter."
Okay, stay calm. This situation is easily adaptable. Just need a Plan B.
Dillar reached to his side, out of her view. And pointed a pistol in her direction. Alex stepped back and launched a kick, knocking the weapon from his hand. Another kick to his torso sent his body flying across the front room of the apartment. She stepped inside. The click of a barrel sounded to her right, and she turned. A man aimed a large grenade launcher right at her. Quick to retrieve her gun, she fired, knocking the man backwards, but not before he fired off one solid round.
Alex turned and dove outside the door, an explosion of red and orange fire breaking through the apartment, following her into the hall. She hit the side of the wall with a brute force that rendered her body limp. Her eyes grew heavy, and the heat of the explosion rose around her. The last sound she heard was the distant chime of the elevator doors opening and the thumping of footsteps coming toward her.