Book Title: Covert Author: G.K. Moore Genre: New Adult/Romantic Suspense Release Date: December 2, 2014 Hosted by: Book Enthusiast Promotions
G.K. Moore loves cake, romances with alpha males and happily ever afters. When she’s not writing, she’s reading, stalking friends on Facebook, watching bad reality TV, traveling, torturing her hubby with ideas for new stories or doing all of the above at the same time. Her debut novel, a romantic suspense, is coming out December 2nd and the backdrop is one of her all time favorite cities, Chicago.
I stared at the lifeless body on the floor, thinking about the blood seeping into the wood and staining it. It would be impossible to clean. The wooden floorboards would have to be replaced.
The gun I had just fired fell from my hand. The clattering noise it made as it hit the ground startled me out of my skin. The sight of the gun, lying in a puddle of blood, and the metallic scent invading my senses made me tremble. Maybe I was going into shock. My mind raced, trying to figure out what I should do next, but I couldn’t think of anything.
Other than calling him.
After six years, I had truly believed I was free from my past. I had been sure he would never be a part of my life again. After all, he had made that choice. But, with a bleeding body on my floor, it seemed that facing him would be inevitable.
I took a slow step back, away from the blood pooling near my feet, only to stumble over my purse that still lay where I had left it when I entered my apartment. Keys, my chipped powder compact, three nickels and a quarter, an uncapped pen I’d borrowed from the bank, and my phone skidded out across the floor. Entranced, I watched as my pink lipstick tube rolled over to the door. The sudden urge to cry and scream welled up in my throat. I sank to my knees and reached for my phone—it had fallen near the couch. I cringed at the sight of the dark blotches on the couch’s white fabric. In the daylight, they would be splashes of deep, sticky red. I swallowed the lump in my throat, picked up my phone, and scrolled down the contact list. My thumb hovered over the word ‘HIM.’
Then, I pressed the dial button. It rang once.
“What’s wrong?” he answered.
I whimpered at the sound of his smoothly calm voice—a voice that had haunted me for years. I briefly listened to his breathing, wondering how he knew that I needed him. I shook my head and bit back a dejected laugh. Of course, he knew. I wouldn’t be calling unless it was a matter of life or death.
“Someone was here,” I whispered as if not to startle the corpse. My voice sounded raspy and thick with unshed tears. For the most part, up until this point, I had actually impressed myself by not freaking out. Now, my well-crafted façade was cracking. I could hear his breathing quicken slightly.
“Are you all right?”
I soaked in the alarm in his voice, letting it wrap me up like a balm to a sting. I closed my eyes and willed my voice to sound firm. “You need to send a crew,” I said.
“Fuck… cleaners?” he asked, letting out a heavy breath.
I nodded. After a moment, I realized I hadn’t actually answered. “Yes, I’m in Chicago… in my apartment on the corner of—”
“I know where you live. Sit tight. Tiny will be there in no time—”
I hung up, not strong enough to listen to his voice any longer. Sitting on the floor, I dropped the phone in another loud clatter and brought my knees to my chest. I wasn’t startled or even fully conscious of the continuous vibrating of my phone. It just danced in the dark, dangerously close to the pool of blood. I watched it, lost in thought of how naïve I’d been. I should’ve known the past would catch up to me—he would always catch up with me.
Closing my eyes, I let a sliver of happiness creep up inside.
I would see Tiny again.
The happiness lasted just until I remembered why I would see him again and was replaced by a sharp pain in my chest. I looked over at the dead body once more and shivered, the sickeningly sweet metallic scent of blood churned my stomach. It was unbearable. I started dry heaving uncontrollably and leaned on my hands for support. I hadn’t eaten all day so there was nothing my body could purge itself of, save for the acid burning the back of my throat.
When the dry heaving stopped, I sat back and wrapped my arms around my legs. Leaning my forehead on my arms, I made myself breathe through my mouth. I didn’t want to smell it anymore. And, I was pretty good at convincing myself if I couldn’t see or smell it, it didn’t exist. So, I sat there, rocking myself in the dark, repeating four words like a mantra.
He can fix this.
It might have been a few minutes, or hours, before I heard the front door creak open. Although I was in plain sight, I couldn’t make myself move from my position. The door opened, but I didn’t raise my head. I heard several pairs of footsteps treading the floor almost imperceptibly as they invaded my home.
“Clear,” several voices said at the same time.
“Stand guard. We’re coming down in a few,” Tiny’s deep voice called out from the door. The men moved around while Tiny approached me. He took a couple of steps and came to an abrupt stop.
“You left the door unlocked.” His tone was harsh, accusatory.
Truthfully, I hadn’t even considered the possibility that someone else might come to finish the job.
I could sense Tiny’s stare on me. After a moment, he spoke.
“Fuck,” he said.
I looked up to him now, but I knew he was looking at the man beside me. I followed his gaze and then averted my eyes. I sniffled, not realizing until then that I had been crying. Straining, I fixed my eyes on Tiny’s perfectly polished patent leather shoes that shone even in the dark.
“Are you okay?” he asked, kneeling down in front of me. His words had an almost affectionate undertone, something rare for him.
I couldn’t help the giggle that escaped. Was I okay? Hardly. No. I raised my eyes to his. I unlocked my arms and wiped my tear-stained face with my hands.
“I’m fine,” I said before nodding towards the body. “But... that’s going to leave a stain.”
Tiny chuckled and shook his head lightly.
I couldn’t help the slight upward curling of my lips, despite the horror I had just gone through. I had lived by so many rules, for so many years that even now, as an adult, I couldn’t help the impulse to follow them. Everything needed to be clean and in perfect order. I shouldn’t be too loud. Speak too much. Attract any attention.
And, I certainly shouldn’t have a dead body on my floor.
“Come on, Lou. Let’s get you out of here,” he said as he took my hand and pulled me to my feet.
I frowned. No one had called me Lou in years—these days I went by Livi.
I didn’t fight him; I needed to get out of there. “My purse,” I said, looking down at the black leather bag whose contents were still spilled all over the floor. It was truly absurd to worry about something so trivial after all that had just happened, but old habits died hard. Really hard. And, that was my favorite lipstick.
“I’ll take care of it,” Tiny said. He placed his hand between my shoulder blades and pushed me gently towards the door.
I suddenly panicked.
“No,” I said, shaking my head.
“We need to go, now.” Tiny pushed again, urging me to move, but my feet remained glued in place.
“I-I can’t leave like this, I have to pick up my things,” I said turning around. My eyes watered at the sight of the mess in front of us.
“Don’t worry about it,” Tiny said, now grabbing my arm.
I shook my head again and tried to pull out of his grasp, but he didn’t let go.
“I need to clean up, I’ll probably have to bleach the—”
“Lou!” Tiny said, grasping my shoulders and forcefully turning me to look at him. “Snap out of it.”
That’s when I freaked out.
My whole body started trembling uncontrollably and my breathing hitched. I chewed the inside of my cheek to try to stop myself from crying, but when I bit too hard and tasted the metallic tang of blood, my tears spilled over. A sob escaped me. I covered my mouth with my hands, startled by my reaction.
“Damn it,” Tiny said, shaking me slightly. “You need to calm down.”
I closed my eyes, inhaling and exhaling slowly, ignoring the taste in my mouth. When I felt in control again, I opened my eyes.
“Are you good?” Tiny asked. I nodded. He looked at me doubtfully, so I wiped my face and breathed in deeply again before answering.
“I’m good,” I said.
“Okay, then let’s get you the fuck out of here.”
This time when he guided me, I followed his lead. A man stood guard at the door, but I hardly looked at him. I just saw the bloody mess everywhere. Thankfully, Tiny helped me down the two flights of stairs otherwise I would have crumbled. He stepped outside first, his body tense, prepared to attack any other assassin. Then, he turned back to me and waved me forward.
Slowly, I stepped into the cold night.
Another man in a black suit stood just outside the entrance. There were four black SUVs with tinted windows parked in front of us with men standing guard in front of them. They had come like an army intent on making a statement—Don’t fuck with us.
The sight of them brought back my most painful memories. I hesitated, but Tiny pushed me forward. He walked with purpose, hovering over me.
With Tiny, there was never time for uncertainty. He opened the door and carefully, but firmly, helped me inside the car. The driver stood beside his own door, intently scanning the surroundings, and looked up at Tiny’s approach.
“I gotta go clean up. Liam will follow you,” Tiny said to the driver. Turning to me, he added, “Tate will take care of you.”
“Where is he taking me?” I asked before he could shut the door. Noticing the panic in my own voice, my eyes glazed over in shame; I didn’t want him to see how scared I was of his answer.
The way he said it left no room for arguing. Still, I opened my mouth.
“This is not up for discussion,” Tiny said.
I nodded, resigned as he closed the door behind me.
Tate started the car. I didn’t know him, and his grave face was not reassuring. He glanced a final time at the rearview mirror and drove off. I turned around and noticed that one of the other cars was following us. That must have been Liam—whoever that was. I still couldn’t believe Tiny had left me alone with a stranger. His size alone made me nervous and the fact that he hadn’t spoken to me yet was unnerving. Tate was almost too big for the interior of the car, even though he was still not as large a man as Tiny. The driver’s seat was shoved all the way back, squeezing my legs awkwardly into a twisted, painful position. When I decided to slide over to the other side, Tate broke the silence.
“Keep your head down,” was all he said.
My head snapped up to look at him through the rearview mirror. He didn’t meet my gaze.
“I will, but I need to move because you’re crushing me,” I said through clenched teeth. Tate didn’t react.
I started pulling at the buckle of the seat belt, trying to release it, but my hands trembled too much. I finally let go, defeated by the device.
When I looked back up, I noticed Tate smirking. He was a real charmer. I sighed and decided to stay put and suffer through the numbness in my legs. We finally merged onto the almost deserted I-94 highway. I didn’t want to think about what would happen next and tried to distract myself from those thoughts by examining Tate. He had broad shoulders and, beneath his suit, I knew he would be all hard muscle. I took in his blond hair and brooding eyes, color unknown in the dark, and startled when I noticed his gaze fixed on mine.
I was embarrassed to have been caught staring at him and offered a small smile as an apology. His eyes narrowed slightly. My heart sped up, though I couldn’t identify the emotion. My brain seemed to freeze at that moment, unable to process any more information.
I closed my eyes and breathed in and out several times, just like my therapist had told me to do when I felt a panic attack coming. Slowly, I calmed myself enough to open them again.
Tate was no longer looking at me.
Relieved, I stared out the window as we sped through the city. My thoughts traveled to the past.
This wasn’t the first time I had killed someone.
Six years ago, I had watched a man bleed out on a cold floor while I cried helplessly. The memory of that night was my own private nightmare—a nightmare I thought would only ever repeat itself in my dreams.
I was wrong.
It was six years ago all over again.
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