As for Fredrik, the women still love him, but I grew bored with trying to figure him out a long time ago. Why women practically drop their panties when they see him. I figured the only way to know that is to sleep with him, and since that will never happen, I decided to leave it a mystery. But Fredrik is like a brother to me, and, like Victor, I can’t imagine not having him in my life. Without realizing it, he does try to run after me with those damn Band-Aids every now and then, whether it’s after a brutal training session with Victor, or the night I was stabbed in the shoulder while on a mission. I have to remind Fredrik, in my most unforgiving Izabel Seyfried voice, not to treat me like a frail little girl. But deep down, I like that he’s so protective of me. I’ll just never tell him that.

Dina, the mother that I should’ve been born to twenty-four years ago, now lives in Fort Wayne, Indiana. We set her up in a safe-house as small and humble as her house back in Lake Havasu City had been. Victor tried to get her into something large and immaculate because he wanted her to have the best, but she refused. “I like things simple,” she said that day.

Dina still doesn’t know everything about what we do, but it’s safer that way and she accepts that. And as far as her safe-house, it’s open only to Victor and me. I visit her once a month. But her health is failing. I worry more about her than I do about myself or Victor. But she’s a tough old woman and I think she still has many years left in her.

And as far as Amelia McKinney, Fredrik didn’t kill her. Killing innocent women isn’t his style. He set her up in another safe-house on the other side of the country, somewhere in Delaware. New identity. New everything. But he never visits her. The last thing he wants is for some woman to think he’s interested in something other than sex.

That’s the story of Fredrik’s life.

As promised, after we were done with Hamburg and Stephens, we started devising a strategy to kill Javier Ruiz’s brothers and to free the girls imprisoned in the Mexican compound. I went through six months of grueling training, real training, not being dropped off somewhere to let strangers teach me, before we set out on the mission. Unfortunately, most of the girls at the compound who I had known had already been sold off, or were dead by the time we got there. I killed Luis and Diego Ruiz, slit their throats just like I did Hamburg, after Victor, Niklas and Dorian took out the guards around and inside the compound with a barrage of bullets. I’m not as good with firearms and still have a lot of training ahead of me. Years of it. But I get the job done with my ever-growing collection of blades. And I’m learning more every day.

When the mission in Mexico was over and we saved who we could—a total of six girls who were so broken that although they are free, I don’t expect them to make much of their lives—we went on to the men who did the buying. And still today, just as it will be tomorrow and next year, we seek them out and we eliminate them. It will be a long road, tracking them all down and giving them what they deserve, but I’ll never stop until it’s done.

But more important than anything, to me especially, is taking out the Order. It’ll be a long time before I can truly sleep soundly at night, knowing that there are men looking for Victor every hour of every day. It’s a much more dangerous and complex feat than probably any mission we’ll ever take on.

The Order is massive, with thousands of members and it is one of the oldest assassin organizations in existence. It will take some time. But it will be done if it’s the last thing I ever take part in.

Victor is my life and I will die helping to protect him.

Though that mission will continue to be a difficult undertaking now that Fredrik had to leave because of suspicion, and we no longer have dependable eyes and ears on the inside. We have new moles placed within the Order, but they have yet to prove they’re trustworthy like we know Fredrik had been.

And Victor…Victor is still all business. All cold-blooded killer-for-hire with little to no conscience when it comes to fulfilling a job. He is still seemingly emotionless, ruthless and deadly by all accounts. But behind closed doors, when it’s just me and him alone, he is a different man. He loves me without having to say it. He cherishes me without having to prove it. When he touches me I know what he’s thinking, how he truly feels beneath that mask he wears in the face of others. I’m the only soul he’s ever let into his life completely. And the only one he’ll never let go.

He became my ‘hero’, after all. The other half of my soul who could never let anything bad ever happen to me. I trust him with my life, no matter how often he tells me to always trust my instincts first. The truth is that everything we do is risky. Taking a step out a door. Making a phone call. Eating a bagel in a café. Everyone we come across is a threat until proven otherwise. Either one of us could die at any moment. But at least I know that Victor will always put me first and do everything in his power to keep me safe, just as I will always do for him.

Staying one step ahead of death, it is our way of life. It is my way of life, and I believe it was always meant to be this way. But as strange as it may seem, I feel perfectly safe in the company of killers.

Tags: J.A. Redmerski In the Company of Killers Book Series