After almost losing her Uncle Phen during the investigation of her mother’s murder, Felicia “Lucky” Fascino cut all ties and ran away, hoping her family would move on and forget the promises they made. Putting the past behind her has never been easy, but Lucky knows the job is slowly destroying her already fractured psyche. Staying away, especially now that her family is in danger, is the only way to keep everyone safe.
Kenji Zinn, determined to locate his ex-lover, tracks Lucky to a small island with her family’s help, and finds her in a miserable and self-destructive condition. His connection to her is strained after months apart but his feelings haven’t change, and he attempts to persuade her to come home, to protect her family and keep her promise. Despite her obvious mental fatigue, only Phen is able to convince her that the way to get closure is finding an elusive man named Quimby and take him out permanently.
Once home, Lucky breaks it off with Kenji, and agrees to go back to work if Phen promises to let her go when it’s done. While her family continues to track their target, Lucky returns to work for the network—struggling through each job, aware that pushing her family away won’t bring anyone the peace they deserve. As she begins to repair her shattered relationships, her true feelings for Kenji are tested when she almost loses him completely. Before it’s too late, Lucky realizes he’s her best ally to help her finish what she started and find Quimby before he strikes again.
Kenji is at ‘the compound’ recovering…
Kenji jerked up, waking the instant the doors shut. Looking over, he saw her walk in. His heart thumped. His stomach churned, causing the wound to throb. It felt like he was dying a slow, poisonous death.
Wearing a sports bra and tight spandex shorts, Felicia moved to the mat and stretched. The thick, curly locks pulled back to reveal her stunning face and bright golden, catlike eyes. She appeared healthier, vibrant again. Filled out, with the curves he loved to trace.
Kenji shuddered, attempting to ignore his natural response to her as he stood up. Noticing immediately, she spun around and gawked at him.
“Didn’t know anyone was here.” She turned, picked up her towel, and went for the door.
“Felicia,” he said and crossed the room, forcing his body to move faster than it liked. He winced near the treadmill, paused, and grabbed the rail. She lurched forward.
“Easy,” she chided and bit her lip.
“I am fine,” he said. “I will be leaving shortly.”
“Okay,” she said while hanging her head. “As long as you’re well enough.”
“Irrelevant. I have stayed too long.”
“Don’t let me being here stop you from getting better. You won’t see me again.” Her tone turned tight, sharp.
He bridged the distance slowly, nearing the weight bench. “Until you sneak into my room again.” Felicia whipped around, storming toward the exit. “How long will you ignore what you feel for me?”
“What?” She seemed genuinely shocked by his question but didn’t miss a beat with her retort: “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“Why did you come to my room?” He followed her to the exit.
“To say good-bye,” she said.
“Every word you speak is a lie. You do not want me to leave anymore than I want to go.”
“Keep telling yourself that, maybe you’ll believe it one day.”
“Is it so hard to admit you care?” She paused at the door and stared at him, emotionless. “No, you are too stubborn. You will realize you want me, and it will be too late. I hope you are willing to live with your choice.”
“I am,” she said.
“Go. All you do is run away.” He wave at hand to the door and shook his head.
“Do you fear what I make you feel that much?”
“Listen, I just wanted to tell you my side, okay? That’s all. I know what I did was wrong. I tried to make that perfectly clear. It was despicable and hurtful. The drinking wasn’t an excuse; it’s just an explanation. I wasn’t myself. I don’t expect you to accept my apology. I just wanted you to have it because it’s the right thing to do. Gives us both a clean break.”
Kenji wasn’t getting through; Felicia ignored everything he said. He didn’t care about that anymore. He wanted her to admit the truth. Confess what he saw in her eyes. Want him to stay. “You think a few words etched on a sheet of paper are a proper apology? Why not tell me to my face?”
Her pitch rose. “You didn’t want me to know you were here. Why would I think you’d want to see me?”
“You were on assignment. I know you did not need another disruption.” He looked knowingly into her eyes; she glanced away. “I said I would never trouble you again, and I have stayed true to my word. You approached me.”
“You barged in on my family!”
“They offered help if I ever needed it. I left you alone,” he said, the anger seething like an overcooked broth, rising to the rim. “If not for you, this injury would not be here!”
“Oh, so it’s my fault you did a shitty job?” She placed both hands on her hips in defiance. His blood boiled, but he didn’t dare move closer. Then she laughed. Kenji almost snapped. “It’s all over your face; you fucked up all on your own, fella.”
“You know that is a lie. Have you been flawless these last few months?”
“I’m fine,” she said, slapping her thighs.
“You have wanted to tell me how sorry you are, for this long, and I am supposed to believe you are fine? The shame must have been torture for you; a confession only helps so much.”
“It was an explanation.”
“How long have you wallowed in your suffering?” When she glared at him, he smirked. He had ammunition to use as well. “I know you, Felicia.”
“You used to.” She crossed her arms over her chest.
“I see through your armor, remember?”
Felicia tilted her chin higher, eyes narrowing. “I’m bulletproof now.”
“I waste my words on you,” he said and approached. The slight trembles in her body told him the truth. Yet she stood there, resistant as ever. He looked down at her before passing. “Sayōnara, Felicia.”
Lucky and Kenji regroup after taking out an obstacle…
“That’s about as bad as it gets. Most of my marks are from a distance,” Lucky said with a shrug of her shoulders. “Up close and I tend to get….”
“Brutal, Kenji. I wanted him to hurt. I had to walk away, afraid I was going to pummel him just for the hell of it.” Her body shuddered under his hands.
“You were not brutal. You did what you needed to do.”
“I didn’t need to kill him. I wanted to.” She stepped back out of his grasp and walked to the bed. “I’m not some sadistic fuck who gets off on hurting people, but sometimes…and with you there this time….” When she sat down, she pulled her legs to her chest. “Everything that happened yesterday, being with you in the field and letting you see me that way….”
“The last few days have been taxing,” he said, sitting beside her. She reached the edge of every thought but held back, afraid to speak her mind. He kept his distance despite the desire to hold her.
“I’m still trying to wade through it all.” She put her head on her knees. “What were you thinking, after I killed him?”
“I thought you extracted all you could from him and finished the job.”
She turned her head to face him, seemingly agitated. “Then what were you feeling?”
“Satisfied it was over and impressed with your methods.”
Felicia huffed, got up from the bed, and started to walk away. He grabbed her wrist. “Let go.”
He held tighter and stood. “What do you want to know, Felicia? Stop being vague.”
“How did you feel toward me?” Her voice was heated, sharp. “You were watching me like a hawk.”
“Mostly, I admired your abilities and thought of little else. There were moments I felt intimidated, other times aroused. Watching you overpower and manipulate that man was invigorating.”
“Why were you intimidated?”
“The way you handled the situation astounds me. I was not needed, yet you allowed me to help.”
She broke from his grip and walked to the opposite side of the room. He stood, silently waiting to see what she’d do. Rubbing the back of her neck, she turned around with wide eyes.
“After all that, you still want me.”
“I have never wanted you more.”
Author Bio: Jenn’s love of writing started the year she received her first diary and Nancy Drew novel. Throughout her teenage years, she kept a diary of her personal thoughts and feelings but graduated from Nancy Drew to other mystery suspense novels.
Jenn often adds a thriller and suspense element to anything she writes be it Romance, Science Fiction, or Fantasy. When not writing, she spends her time reading, observing pop culture, playing with her two dogs, and working on various charitable projects in her home state of New Jersey.
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