First Monday: Blood and Shadows

Since my last First Monday post, I haven’t succeeded in settling in to any one project for the duration. I finished the first draft of a short novella (really short, it’s clocking in at less than 20k at the moment). I started revisions on Not About Love (again. We’re on round five now). And I’ve managed to make it up to chapter fifteen on Blood and Shadows, book two in the Game of Shadows trilogy.

I managed to find a snippet that doesn’t give too much away. In this scene, Cass is alone in Nick’s kitchen, the house is dark, and Nick’s asleep. And she’s about to prove there’s a reason she gets paid to kill people.

    Someone’s picking the lock.

    The placement of the door leaves me with no way of sneaking up behind the thief. The kitchen island provides me with some cover, though, since it’s perpendicular to the door. As long as I stay where I am, I won’t be seen once the idiot picking the lock enters the kitchen, and I might stand a chance of catching them off guard.

    Stupid human, breaking into the house of a mafiaso.

    I peek around the island at the door, getting a glimpse of broad shoulders and dark hair through the plate glass. I shift my grip on the knife, hoping I won’t have to use it. The door snicks open and I let out a quiet breath.

    Soft footfalls come closer to my hiding spot, and I quit breathing. His approach drags on for a century, each beat of my heart loud enough I swear he has to hear it. My legs are going numb. His foot comes into view, and I press back against the island, brain shutting down and training kicking in.

    It takes me all of two seconds to register that this man is not here on a social call. The silencer he’s screwing on to the barrel of his gun is a pretty big fucking clue. He passes, and I spring up, launch myself at his back, and sling an arm across his chest. The blade slices through the skin of his throat in a rough tug tug tug, like the teeth of a serrated knife. Hot blood drips onto my hand, and he flails around, dropping the gun on the floor.

    I let go and sidestep him, scooping up the gun as I do. He goes to his knees, hatred gleaming in his eyes before the glaze over and he lands face first on the tile.

    I place the knife and the gun on the counter and step around the island to wash my hands. There’s some blood on the cuffs of my hoodie, but I leave it on.

    Nick’s still sound asleep, in the same position he was in when I checked on him the first time. Waking him is going to suck, hardcore. At least I won’t have to do it with bloody hands.

    I shake him until he pries open an eye. “What?” he mumbles.

    “How do you get blood stains out of ceramic tile?”

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