by, K.N. Lee
WHAT DO YOU do when your husband asks you to kill someone? If you’re the wife of a Scarlett, you do as you’re told.
If your husband happens to also be a wizard… you don’t even ask questions.
Hugh Prince, one of Woodland Creek’s most notorious crime bosses, had a hit on his head, one that took a certain kind of skills.
One woman had those kills.
Stealth was Olivia Scarlett’s number one asset. No one noticed her when she entered the stone building on the outskirts of Woodland Creek. Not the prison guards, inmates, warden, or custodians ever suspected anything.
Not a single soul.
From the glass of the single window, she peered down at her target, contemplating how she would administer her lethal dose of poison.
The silence of the room was only broken by the inmate’s soft snore.
No longer human, Olivia could run along the walls and ceiling unseen.
She was a Spider; black with a purple stripe down her body, eight wiry legs, and a resolve to execute her mission without error.
Olivia was an assassin.
With impeccable grace, Olivia launched herself from the ceiling of the prison cell. A single strand of silver silk carried her down to the lone cot.
She landed on her target’s chest, the vibrations of his body almost overwhelming her senses. The rise and fall of his breaths, the rumble in his empty stomach, and his snores were more felt than heard.
Visions of her father-in-law’s dead body in the black coffin fueled her. She had to do this to protect the family she had married into.
Scurrying up to his neck she recited silent prayers her mother used to say whenever her father would come home drunk and ready for a fight.
The same prayers were said, but she would never be as weak as her mother. Perhaps she inherited more of her father’s character…along with his abilities.
Sharp fangs dug into the soft flesh beneath Hugh’s chin. The venom ate away at his flesh. She shot a silken thread to the ceiling, and escaped the slap of his hand.
A cry of pain erupted from Hugh’s lips as he swatted at her. Olivia disappeared into the darkness of the cell. The pain and itching was enough to drive anyone mad. This bite would do more.
It would kill.
THE GRAY SKY had yet to cast the glow of the early dawn’s sun, but soon it would, and Olivia would have to resume her masquerade as a normal young woman.
Olivia shifted back into her human form inside her car; she rubbed her pale white arms to keep the chill of the crisp October morning at bay. Her heart still raced as she tried to regulate her body temperature.
The color began to return to her smooth tattoo-covered flesh, making the black tint of her shifted form vanish.
Emptiness filled her when she was no longer a Spider. She missed the power and the thrill.
Sometimes she wished she could live as a Spider and stay away from the demands of the human world. She was safe in her shifted form, but staying in it too long seemed to weigh on her mind, leaving her disoriented for days at a time.
This particular time she’d only needed to remain a Spider for a few minutes. She was in and out.
It was well before dawn and she needed to get her clothes back on before she was seen. What would people think if they saw Olivia Scarlett, one of the top genetic researchers in Woodland Creek, sitting in her car without any clothes on?
They’d add this incident to her long list of infractions. She was a freak according to some. If tattoos and piercings made her a freak, she’d wear the title proudly. But this time she had to be discreet.
No one could know what she had done. Her cover was essential to her survival. All she wanted the world to believe was that Olivia was a scientist, artist, and loving wife.
She slid gray yoga pants back over her long slender legs, as well as a sports bra, and matching yoga shirt.
As she drove away from the parking lot across the street from the prison she glanced at herself in her rearview mirror.
When did I become an assassin again? She shook her head, looking away from her dark brown eyes. She’d thought she left her life as a killer back in Europe.
She should have expected this to be the result of marrying Wesley Scarlett. You don’t marry the son of a crime boss without losing a bit of your innocence.
Olivia wasn’t innocent to begin with. At least she knew her husband’s secrets up front. She pulled her long black hair into a ponytail, thinking there were still a few of her own secrets she’d never tell him.
Now the deed was done, and she hoped that life could return to normal. Maybe Wes would finally give her the children she so desperately wanted to bring into this world. He knew it was all she’d ever wanted; a loving home and lots of children.
The thought of getting what she wanted brought a small smile to her face. Driving back to Old Town was quiet and serene. Woodland Creek had some of the best scenery she’d ever seen.
Growing up in Paris had exposed her to so much beauty and culture, but this little town had grown on her. Something in the soil, trees, and air called to her. She’d never leave this magical place.
The day she had met Wes had been one of the greatest days of her life. She was all too eager to move to America with him and live in his beautiful mansion in the countryside. The reality was a bit different than what she’d imagined, but Wes was still the love of her life.
She looked down at her cell phone when a call came in.
Wes’ face appeared on her screen. Like Clark Kent he wore dark glasses, had dark hair and blue eyes. He was her perfect match. He happened to have the power to hurt her if she disobeyed him. Ironic that she married a man even more dangerous than her father had been.
But Wesley wasn’t any normal man, and a wizard’s love was a dangerous love.
“Hi,” she said, keeping her voice light and cheerful.
“Is it done?”
There was a moment of silence. Olivia’s shoulders tensed.
“Good,” he said. “What are you up to now?”
“I thought I’d go to the gym for some yoga.”
“Good,” Wes said. “I don’t want you to miss your class. We will celebrate our success tonight.”
“That would be lovely.”
“We will go to the Italian place in New Town that you like.”
“Thank you. I’ll wear the black dress you like.”
“I love you, Olivia.”
A tear stung her eyes. Only he could make her feel such strong emotions at hearing those words. Perhaps it was because Wes was the only person to ever say them to her.
“I love you too.”
“Olivia,” Wes said.
She wiped her eyes. “Yes?”
“You did a good thing today.”
“I know,” she said, both keeping their statements vague in case their phone calls were being screened and recorded. It wouldn’t be the first time the Scarlett family had been put under surveillance.
They hung up and Olivia continued down the country road. The sun began to rise. It cast a stunning orange and red glow on the trees whose leaves had been transformed by autumn and stretched high toward the sky.
She bit her bottom lip as it began to tremble. She couldn’t hold back the tears any longer. If she was going to cry she’d better do it now.
Wes didn’t respond well to tears. He never seemed to know what to do when people let their emotions show. She suspected he’d learned that from his father, Edward. It wasn’t Wes’ fault that his father had been into illegal activity. Cleaning up Edward’s mess seemed to rule both of their lives.
For him she’d poisoned the most powerful crime boss in Woodland Creek.
Now we wait, Olivia thought.
Would this end the war between the Prince family and the Scarlett’s?