Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Assassin's Retirement Chapter Twenty-Two, Part One #gentleman #blogstory #amwriting

We have another untitled chapter for Assassin's Retirement. I've been swamped with all the activities for my new release, Caledonia Destiny, that I almost forgot to post this. Enjoy!!

Chapter Twenty-Two

When Zane exited the hallway to the main room, Scyld was the first person Zane searched for. Without speaking, Scyld pointed to the garage door. Zane walked through the mudroom into the heated garage. It wasn't the same temperature as the house, but still, sixty degrees was much warmer than the temperature outside.

Someone had put Ella in the bed of the small ATV trailer. They had given her a couple of blankets to lay on as well swaddling her in a couple more. Zane checked her hands and feet as she glared at him over the makeshift gag. It wouldn't do for her to escape before he was finished with her. If she was smart, she would know that no matter where she ran he would find her.

Reassured she wouldn't go anywhere without help, Zane turned off the lights and set the alarms on the garage. If any of the doors or windows were opened without the security system disabled the alarm would sound.

Back in the main room, he slowly catalogued the situation. The wounded Valkyrie were being tended by Cord and his mother. Their injuries didn't seem as terrible as he thought they had seemed from the glimpses he had gleaned during the fight. Perhaps they were already healing? The thought unsettled him.

Prince and Xander were speaking with Skyld and Saja. Zane was ready to wade into the conversation until his stomach grumbled and twisted with hunger. He scowled, remembering they were supposed to have a glorious breakfast… then Ella and her guards arrived, screwing up his morning. Glancing through the kitchen, he easily identified all the food Alonzo had work hard to make. Without a word to anyone, Zane finished setting the table, even locating the leaf, making room for more seats. To supplement the breakfast food, now cold, Zane rummaged through the refrigerator. He collected fruit, yogurt, and an assortment of cheeses, adding them to the spread. When he sat down, that seemed to be signal for everyone to join him.

Chairs scraped over the wood flooring. Zane made mental note to grab some felt to put on the feet of the chairs. The guys would have his floors scratched up in record time… the unbidden thought of Crimson Comet staying with him indefinitely was unrealistic. As soon as the psychopath hunting Cord was dealt with, the band would go back to their normal lives and that was on the west coast, nowhere near Zane's Idaho mountains.

He chewed on a mouthful of cold scrambled eggs and glanced around his table, taking a good, long look at the tableau before him. His guests were split by gender as if they were in school or something. Crimsons Comet sat to his left. A couple of vacant chairs reminded Zane who was absent. He would have food taken back to them soon. The Valkyries sat to his right, those able to come to the table at least. One remained dozing by the fire. At the end, Cord and his mother sat together. He'd never eaten at a table sporting so many people before. As an assassin for his uncle, he did not attend social functions and he never dined with his uncle. He was always separate. Invisible. Alone. Strangely, the Valkyrie nodded or gave him strained smiles. That they would choose to eat with him when less than an hour ago he'd done his level best to mow a path through them surprised Zane. Was this how all Others acted or was it a trait only exhibited by Valkyrie? Or perhaps it was some kind of I.O.N. protocol?

Skyld pushed a small plate stacked with four chocolate chip pancakes, a couple slightly burned, toward Zane. Alonzo had been flipping pancakes that morning when Zane had entered the kitchen. He pulled the plate to him and grabbed the jar of peanut butter.

Everyone quieted and looked expectantly at Zane. He paused in the middle of removing the jar's lid. "What?" Was he supposed to give a speech? Toast something?

Saja cleared her throat. "I made a call to my superiors and gave them a report about what happened."

Zane stilled. "Are you saying an unknown agency is going to storm my property in order to get Ella back?" He couldn't say her name without his voice dripping with venom.

"Oh! No! I warned them that to send more than one team would be ill advised."

Zane clenched his jaw. A team sounded like a lot of armed people. The comfortable weight of his shoulder holster did little to reassure him that he could protect the people under his care against and unknown number of Others. Especially after this morning.

"They agreed to allow my team to be the one to parlay with you. They are also assigning a special investigator into Ella's oracle house. They need first to uncover evidence of the all members of the house entrapping the bloodlines by controlling the mantles. I let them know Ella brought with her eight boxes she claimed carried mantles. They are in our hotel rooms in a safe. As a good faith effort, I.O.N. has authorized me to hand the mantles to you once I confirm they are indeed mantles." Her gaze went to Skyld. "Since you have possession of a mantle, I assume you have contact with the other bloodlines."

Skyld nodded. "I can reach out to my grandfather and he'll notify them of the recovery. They will be expecting all the stolen mantles be returned," Skyld warned.

"We are well aware," Saja replied after sipping from her glass of orange juice. "My superior advised me there was a special request placed last night for a retrieval team to pick up an El Chupacabra from this location."

Zane jolted, his chair scraping on the floor. He'd completely forgotten about the captive tied to the bed in one of the spare rooms.

Skyld placed a palm on Zane's arm. "I have already checked on him. He's dozing away."

He breathed a sign of relief. "Yes, Alonzo and I captured one last night. The second one got away."

Saja held up her hand, stalling Zane's explanation. She brought out her cellphone and placed it against her ear. "There are two—"

"Three," Zane corrected, tipping his head toward Prince. "There were three. Prince beheaded the last one. Alonzo took care of the body. The second one got away. We suspect the assassin is their master and that is who the second one returned to."

Saja looked suitably impressed as she adjusted her report. Then her expression changed when she turned her attention to Cord. "The same assassin you didn't tell me about?"

The apple of Cord's cheeks turned bright red and he smoothed out his beard in what Zane recognized as a self-soothing motion. "The same," he mumbled before taking a large bite of banana. 

Table of Contents

Chapter One - Retirement
Chapter Two - Normal is not supposed to be this hard
Chapter Three - Caught
Chapter Four - Crimson Comet
Chapter Five - Mountain Magic
Chapter Six, Part 1 - Harbinger of a Nightmare
Chapter Six, Part 2 -
Chapter Seven, Part 1 - Stolen Answers
Chapter Seven, Part 2 -
Chapter Eight, Part 1 - No such thing as heroes
Chapter Eight, Part 2 -
Chapter Nine, Part 1 - Dead is supposed to be... dead
Chapter Nine, Part 2 -
Chapter Ten, Part 1 - Gathering Allies
Chapter Ten, Part 2
Chapter Eleven - Combustible
Chapter Twelve - Standing His Ground
Chapter Thirteen - Choices
Chapter Fourteen, Part 1
Chapter Fourteen, Part 2
Chapter Fifteen, Part 1 - To kill, or not to kill
Chapter Fifteen, Part 2
Chapter Sixteen - Maricoxi Guardians
Chapter Seventeen - Coincidence?
Chapter Eighteen, Part One - Guns Ablazin'
Chapter Eighteen, Part Two

Chapter Twenty - Mercy
Chapter Twenty-One
Chapter Twenty-Two, Part One
Chapter Twenty-Two, Part Two
Chapter Twenty-Two, Part Three

Thank you for stopping by and reading!!

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