An Assassin’s Holiday
Author: Dirk Greyson
Series: Stand Alone
Genre: M/M, Contemporary, Adventure
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: Dec 2015
Edition/Formats: eBook & Print
Brick Colton has been hired to kill Santa Claus—or at least the kindhearted accountant playing Santa for the kids in an orphanage. Brick grew up in an orphanage himself, but that isn’t the only thing bothering him about the contract on Robin Marvington’s life. The details don’t add up, and it’s looking more and more like someone has set Robin up. As Brick investigates, Robin brings some much-needed cheer into his life, the light in Robin’s soul reaching something in Brick’s dark one. But all of that will end if they can’t find the person who wants Robin dead.
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Santa's sneaks away to his hide out in his secret quarry with his spiked eggnog and rum fruit cake awaiting to round up his reindeer for that magical crazy day. To his surprise the reindeer are drunk on cake dancing to oldies and the elves are passed out from the nog. Not a very secret hideaway after all.
My quarry is just ahead. I can see him (1) ______ out of his office the same time tonight as he has for the last week. He’s a model of clockwork and predictability. I love guys like that—it makes my job so much easier. Know your target, get into his head, watch him, know his routine, and when the time comes, get in and out fast, clean, invisibly. Then disappear into the city with no one the wiser.
He turns right, coming toward me, and for the first time with this guy, I’m (2) ______. I expected him to go left toward home, like he always did. Not this time.
I’m careful not to make eye contact, focusing on a Christmas tree in the window of one of the buildings ahead of me, every window lit, bright and cheery, even as the wind and snow try their best to dampen that spirit.
“Do you have the (3) _____?” I ask just as he passes me.
He gets his phone out of his coat pocket. “Twenty to seven. Crap, I’m going to be late.” The (4) _____ shoves his phone into his pocket, and with a mumbled, “Merry Christmas,” he races down the sidewalk as though he has fire licking the bottoms of his feet.
I grin for a second and wait for him to turn the corner before following. It isn’t like he’s going to remember me, anyway. He’s too wrapped up in whatever has him so frazzled to register that he even talked to me. Just what I needed.
I swear under my breath, a fucking (5) _____ streak, when I don’t see him at all. “Fucking hell.” I’m going to have to do this another fucking night. I can do that. It isn’t like I’m near my deadline to complete the contract I hold. But I’d been hoping to have this over and done with.
Then I see him, running like a rabbit across the street, down by the other corner. I pick up my pace, determined not to lose him again. My heart races. You’d think it wouldn’t be a big deal any longer after all the men—and women, for that matter. I don’t discriminate; I’ll kill anyone if the money is right—whose lives have lethally crossed my path. But every time, the (6) _____ builds and I can feel my heart hammering in my chest.
My quarry yanks open the door to a building and rushes inside. Light spills from the huge windows out onto the sidewalk, making patterns on the pavement as well as on the falling snow.
I approach and stop just outside the squares of light. The room is decorated for the holidays with paper snowflakes hanging from the ceiling. There’s a Christmas tree with child-made (7) _____ clustered toward the bottom. Obviously the kids decorated the tree as well. Little kids, by the looks of it.
“What the hell is this place?” I step back and look up for some sort of sign on the building. There is none.
Just as I figure I might as well go home for the night and finish my contract tomorrow, when my quarry is (8) _____ normally, a bus pulls up in front of the building. The door opens and children stream off, talking, laughing, and squealing with delight as they file inside, their faces wide with smiles. The (9) _____, often ill-fitting clothes provide another piece of the puzzle, as does the lettering on the side of the bus: Saints Mary and Martha Home for Children.
“Shit,” I swear as I watch the last of the kids file past, followed by (10) _____ and a nun with a kind expression, a black veil flowing from her head down her back.
“Children, let’s all gather around—”
Whatever else she says is cut off as the door closes. The bus pulls away, and once again I’m alone on the sidewalk. I think about going home, but my feet are locked to the concrete. Instantly I’m transported back to a similar Christmastime (11) _____, years ago.
Dirk is very much an outside kind of man. He loves travel and seeing new things. Dirk worked in corporate America for way too long and now spends his days writing, gardening, and taking care of the home he shares with his partner of more than two decades. He has a Master’s Degree and all the other accessories that go with a corporate job. But he is most proud of the stories he tells and the life he's built. Dirk lives in Pennsylvania in a century old home and is blessed with an amazing circle of friends.