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Assassin – Chapter 1 Preview

“Stop moving, Teags,” Alanna says and smacks me on the leg.

“What, I can’t sneeze?” I reply. “Jesus, woman, that’s just cold.”

“Shut it,” she says and the whirring continues as a million very sharp needles prick my skin. Okay, maybe not a million, but that’s what it feels like.

My mom died two months ago. She had cancer. So today, I’m in Alanna’s shop getting a tattoo in her memory. For specificity, mom had breast cancer, so the tattoo will be a pink ribbon and it’s going on the inside of my right forearm, near my wrist. She’s added some Celtic knot work into the ribbon for me too. It’s going to be awesome.

“Where the hell is Nemy?” I ask as I look out the window. “She’s supposed to be here for this.” When my mom died, Nemy and Clancy happened to be in California visiting her parents. She felt horrible for not being here for me, but they did cut the vacay short to come home. I love them to death for that.

“Cut her some slack,” Alanna says. “The woman’s nearly as a big as a house now.”

“I am not,” Nemy says from the doorway. Then she gets that look, the one I haven’t seen on her face since she and Clancy hooked up. The insecure one. “Am I?”

“Good job, Lan, you gave a pregnant woman a complex,” I say. “You’re like so my new BFF for that.”

“Fuck you,” Alanna snaps and that damn tattoo machine grinds into my skin. Rule number 43 when getting a tattoo is not to piss off the tattoo artist. They hold your pain in their hands and determine the amount of infliction. Alanna is very good at inflicting pain, and she doesn’t need a tattoo machine to do it.

My face twists in agony. “Okay, okay, lighten up, Iron Fist. Fuck.” I look up at Nemy as Alanna giggles. “Where’s Toni?”

She sits down in the chair against the wall and fans her face. “Clancy’s watching her. They’re having a father/daughter day. Watching some fucking show that drives me batty.” She blows out a breath. “Fuck, it’s hot in here.”

Alanna stops inflicting pain on me for two seconds to point a fan out to Nemy. “Just turn it toward you, chica.”

Nemy repositions the fan and sighs. “Oh, that’s much better.”

“It’s freezing outside and she’s acting like it’s summer,” I say to Alanna, who laughs.

“You don’t even know what freezing is,” Nemy snaps. “Move to the east coast for a couple of winters, then come talk to me about freezing.”

“Oh, somebody didn’t take their mommy happy pill today,” Alanna chides.

“Don’t fuck with a pregnant woman, Alanna,” Nemy threatens.

Alanna just laughs at her and continues with the tattoo.

“So you never told us about California,” Alanna mentions.

“What’s there to tell? It was just a quick little getaway to visit my insane parents. That’s all.” Nemy picks at the hem of her shirt and this small action is what has me thinking. She’s been awfully quiet about the trip. Usually when she goes somewhere, she tells us all about it, every minute detail—with exception to her honeymoon in Italy—but not this time.

After that whole fiasco with James and the detective questioning Clancy all night, I’m a little curious if she’s not talking. Oh, and then there’s the whole who-her-father-is thing. Yeah, that was a shocker. Who knew Nemy would turn out to be a goddamn mafia princess? Makes me wonder what really happened to James, that bastard. I’m not saying he didn’t deserve whatever he got because he beat the hell out of Jada, but damn, and I don’t think I really want to know the truth.

Speaking of Jada, she’s doing all right. She’s back to work now, since it’s safe and all because that bastard boyfriend of hers is dead. Jada is like this cute little porcelain doll, and right now the girl is irretrievably broken, but I think Nemy has hopes that she’ll get better. I say that’s a long time coming.

How do I know? I live with the girl.

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