I come around the corner, looking for the two in the front and see them leaning against the building, both smoking. They’re armed, but they’re distracted, and this will work in my favor. Again, I’ll have to be quick so that they don’t alert Alexander inside.

Crouching low, I grab a rock and toss it away from me, toward a pile of old metal barrels. Both guys sit up, on alert, and look over, waiting to see if they hear something else.


I fire two silent shots and they drop instantly, never knowing it was coming. Not another sound is made.

Cautiously, I slip down the side and to the entrance, taking care to open the door without a noise There’s a short hallway that leads to an open area in the back, and I pause, listening. When I don’t hear anything, I slowly make my way to the room.

The end of the hall is lit by a bare bulb, and as I turn, I see Alexander standing with his back to me. He’s leaning over a big table covered with what looks like blueprints and notebooks, and weapons to his right and left. An image of Paige pops into my head, and I grip the gun tighter, thinking that all this is for her. That I wish I’d done this a long time ago.

“Turn around.” My voice echoes in the empty room, and I see his jaw twitch, letting me know he heard me.

Slowly, he does as I ask. The initial confusion on his face is replaced by a sneer. “What are you doing?”

I stare into the same blue eyes of the woman I love more than anything. I wonder how she came from this man. She’s nothing like him. She thinks they share a darkness, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. She is nothing like this man. Where he has spent his life ripping people apart to get what he wants, she has spent her life fighting a battle that isn’t hers. Fighting for a mother who didn’t deserve her loyalty and devotion. A mother who should have saved her, protected her from this man and the scars he left on her.

He says it like he doesn’t have time for this. Like my presence is annoying and not threatening. I’ve got a gun pointed at him, but he has no patience to deal with me. Stupid fucker.

“How the mighty have fallen,” I tell him, glancing around the room. There’s even a cot in the corner, making me wonder if he’s staying here. Surely things can’t be that bad. Unless maybe he’s not just hiding from the Feds. Maybe some of his own have turned on him. I wouldn’t be surprised, with how everything is closing in on him. I’m sure Alexander would be more than willing to cut a deal now to keep his ass out of jail.

He stands a little taller. “All those years next to Miles and you didn’t see this coming? What was I fucking paying you for?” He points at me, his face growing redder with each second. For a guy who built an empire, he isn’t that smart. Or maybe his balls are that big. I haven’t been in contact with Alexander in over a month. Not since Miles started slipping his world out from under him. That should have clued Alexander in. No one goes dark without a reason, and mine should have been clear. He should have known I was no longer on his side.

“Let’s not beat around this. I never worked for you.” He looks even older than he did the last time I saw him.

“FBI?” he finally grits out.

I shake my head. He actually sounded a little relieved when asking that question, so it leads me to think someone bigger might be hunting him. No, if I was FBI, we would have grabbed him already. That wasn’t what my mission was. I was here for intel. To find out who Alexander worked for and worked with. Because with men like Alexander, it doesn’t matter if you take him out. If it did, he’d have been thrown in jail a long time ago. No, men like Alexander were a dime a dozen. As soon as you pulled him, another one like him would pop up like a fucking weed. You had to get to the root of the problem. You had to take them all down. Not one man in a group. In order to make real changes, the whole lot would have to go.

“I’m here for Paige,” I throw back at him. Because that’s the truth. This might have started as some job, but it wasn’t that anymore. Not since the first time I’d seen her picture. Everything changed that day. Before, I was doing a job, not even one I enjoyed. Over time, getting dirtier and dirtier, I found the lines between what was right and what wasn’t beginning to blur. It made me question who I was and what I’d been doing, and if it had been worth it to crawl around in the filth, never seeming to get anywhere but deeper and deeper undercover. Everyone and everything started to look dirty. Even myself.

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