Book 2, Chapter 59

Ean spun around before his opponent could recover from the surprise of being called out. Unfortunately for him, though, his surprise at seeing it was Sakura – and at seeing Sakura in a skintight cat suit – let her seize the initiative back.

Sakura lunged across the bed, a set of long, steel claws leading. Ean yelped and twisted aside – and the blades just nicked his shoulder. Blood stained the torn sleeve of his shirt.

“What the hell?!” Ean protested as he scrambled back. “Sakura, wait! We can work something out!”

“Sorry, Ean,” Sakura said. “It’s just business – you’re not even the target. I just thought it would be easier all around if I got you out of the way first.”

Ean gaped at her and shuffled backward as she swung off the bed and faced off against him again. She dropped into a crouch, preparing to rush him.

Ean took my warning to heart and flung himself sideways before Sakura even started moving – but he was out of shape, and slow and sluggish compared to her. Sakura’s blades scored another hit across his side. Fighting her was a losing game.

Ean bolted for the bedroom door, but his feet wanted to trip over themselves. He stumbled into it instead. “Ow,” he groaned – even though he didn’t feel it. In fact, he wasn’t feeling much of anything: the poison from Sakura’s claws was rapidly overwhelming his system.

Horrified, Ean twisted around to face Sakura and flopped back against the door. Without leaning against it and bracing himself on the doorknob, he couldn’t even stand. “What was on those?” Ean choked out.

Sakura sauntered up to the door and leaned in close against Ean. “Relax. It’s a paralytic. For interrogations, really: I said you weren’t the target, didn’t I?” Her lips hovered close to his, in unconscious mimicry of their last encounter. “This is just to keep you out of the way while I’m busy with the real job.”

Ean’s head pounded. The Family had a nasty habit of targeting the friends and family of people who’d pissed them off. And he’d gone into one of their front companies with Rachel… and they knew him from before he’d decided to wuss out and be ‘normal.’ They’d never gotten the opportunity to pay him back for everything he’d done back then, either.

“That’s enough,” he growled at me.

Sakura hesitated. “Oh? Still going to be so cold?”

“But Rachel isn’t here,” Ean muttered to himself as he tried to make sense of the situation. “They wouldn’t have sent you here if the target wasn’t…. JD. They hired you to take out my best friend?”

Sakura smiled at him a little wanly. “Sorry,” she said. “It’s nothing personal, though. I mean: a girl’s gotta make a living, and they were going to get someone to do this, so….”

“Yeah,” Ean said. “Nothing personal. Except that he’s been my best friend since I was three.”

Then he used what motor control he had left to twist the doorknob. The door he and Sakura were leaning against swung open, sending them tumbling into the living room.

“JD, Run!” Ean yelled – and then his head collided with the floor.

Et Alia, Book 2: Black Magic, Secret Agents, Shakespearean Tragedies and Interoffice Dating

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