“CHERYL, what the fuck is going on?” Donovan shouted into the phone. “I thought for sure we’d have her spooked by now. It’s October for crying out loud. We need to do something so that Burnham puts you on her protection detail. I need to get someone close to her to get more information.”

“I know, sir. But he’s been with her almost round-the-clock. I’ve had to keep my distance so that he doesn’t catch on. I’m just as frustrated as you are.”

“Well, get it done. I don’t care what it takes. Follow her. Stalk her. Maim her. I don’t care. Just get it done.” Donovan slammed down his office phone just as a knock sounded on his door.

“What?” he shouted, his anger apparent.

“Sir,” a petite blonde woman said, cracking the door open a bit. “I’m sorry to interrupt, but Paul Flinnigan is here to see you.”

“Okay. Thank you, Susan. Send him in.”

Paul Flinnigan strode into Donovan’s office and placed his briefcase on the desk. “Let’s get down to business,” he said once the door was closed.

“Nice to see you, too, Paul.”

“This isn’t a social call, Mark,” he said, sitting down. “I’ve got a deal worked out with the D.A. in Simon MacKenzie’s case. He will agree to plea out to a lower assault charge. It’s a felony, so it will stay with him for a while. In exchange for not mentioning your name or anything else, he requests a few things. First, he wants a sum of five million dollars, to be transferred into an off-shore account before he takes the plea.”

“That’s ridiculous. He may just be jerking my chain.”

“I agree, so I got him to agree to a one million transfer as a sign of good faith, with the remainder due upon his release from prison. That brings up the next point. The only way I was able to persuade the D.A. to plea this down was to guarantee some jail time. It will be about a year, but considering he has no priors, he will probably be released early. Now, if the remainder of the money isn’t transferred upon his release, he will go back to the D.A. and tell them about your involvement, so I suggest paying up.”

“Yeah. No problem. That’s doable.” Donovan made a quick note to get in touch with his client who would be paying that money.

“One last thing. And I’ll let you deal with this as you see fit,” Paul said, standing up and closing his briefcase.

“What’s that?” Donovan asked, his eyebrows raised.

“He wants to pull the trigger. I mean, when the time comes, and he’s sure it will, he wants to be the one to, and I quote, ‘Kill the bitch.’”

Donovan sat and thought about that for a minute. Could he trust Simon to do the job correctly this time? Then he realized that could actually work. Olivia knew Simon. She may be scared of him at first, but his previous incompetence could turn into an advantage.

After a few long moments of contemplation, Donovan finally spoke. “Okay. Agreed.”


Olivia woke up on a Tuesday morning in mid-October snuggled next to Alexander in his bed. Over the past several weeks, they had gotten to know each other fairly well. They spent nearly every free moment together, and Olivia was actually enjoying being in a real relationship for once. They had even planned to get away that coming weekend. Olivia had a marathon in Newport, Rhode Island and Alexander said he wanted to go with her to cheer her on as she attempted to qualify for the Boston Marathon. His reasons for doing so were two-fold. One, he really did want to support her. Two, he was still nervous about the connection between Mark Kiddish and Simon. He didn’t want to let her go out of town unprotected, but he knew she would refuse to take any sort of protection detail with her.

“Good morning, gorgeous,” Alexander said as he looked into her big, beautiful brown eyes. “Have I told you today how much I love waking up next to you?”

“No, you haven’t,” Olivia said sleepily.

“Well, I love waking up next to you,” Alexander replied, flipping Olivia onto her back and hovering over her with a look of eagerness in his eyes. He leaned down and feathered a gentle kiss on her forehead as he placed his knee between her legs, pushing them open. “See, Love. Sleeping naked definitely does have its advantages.”

Olivia reached up, grabbing the back of his neck, and pulled him down to her lips, kissing him deeply and communicating her need for him with her mouth. He moaned into her mouth as she ran her fingers up and down his back, wrapping her legs around his waist, grinding against his erection.

“Oh, Miss Adler. You do not play fair,” Alexander smirked.

“Yes. I know,” Olivia replied, smiling.

“What am I going to do with you?” Alexander asked, kissing Olivia’s collarbone.

“I have a few ideas,” she said, throwing her head back, giving Alexander access to her neck.

He planted soft kisses on her skin and Olivia relaxed her legs around his waist. With his body freed, he slowly moved down Olivia’s body, worshiping her with his mouth.

Lowering himself to her breasts, he took one nipple in his mouth, tugging gently as Olivia arched her back, squirming under his expert tongue. She reached down and ran her hands through Alexander’s messy hair. He looked up and his eyes met hers.

“Mmmm… Your skin tastes divine, Love.”

Olivia moaned with pleasure at his words.

“I have an idea,” Alexander said, getting up from the bed. Olivia pouted from the loss of contact.

“What is it?” she asked.

“Close your eyes,” he responded. Olivia looked at him, waiting for an explanation. “I said, Close. Your. Eyes.” Alexander’s voice changed from sweet to stern. Olivia obeyed. “That’s better.” She heard some rustling from the closet and wondered what Alexander was doing.

She felt him sit back down on the bed and instinctively opened her eyes.

“What did I just say?” Alexander asked forcefully.

“Oops. Sorry.” Olivia closed her eyes again.

“Sorry, what?” he growled.

“Mr. Burnham. Sorry, Mr. Burnham.” Olivia smirked, loving the little game they were playing.

“Are you laughing at me, Olivia?” Alexander asked, leaning down, his breath hot on her neck, making her body tremble in anticipation.

“No. I would never laugh at you, Mr. Burnham,” she replied, the smirk gone from her face.

“Raise your arms over your head,” he demanded.