Retribution Excerpt

Praise for Retribution

“Retribution keeps a rapid pace with turn of events that kept me at the edge of my seat. I highly recommend Retribution but if you haven’t yet read Relentless, please pick that one up before this one. Retribution is full of suspense and the events that took place took me off guard.” –The Romance Reviews

“The tension that rages between these two characters is intense and passionate. Winter has managed to create beautifully developed storylines and characters that keep you guessing.”—Romancebookworm’s Reviews

Chapter One

Under normal circumstances, after completing a hit, The Assassin took the first flight to nowhere. But part of this contract killing was to stick around and wait for the body to be discovered — however long it took. Two days wasted. Cursing greed, The Assassin shifted under the camouflage canopy.

A fat bead made a slow trek along corded arm muscles. Sprawled on a Dallas rooftop during the middle of the day in ninety-degree heat was borderline suicidal. The last few days of April were not kind to the residents of Dallas. Yet this was nothing compared to the jungles of South America or the African deserts. The Assassin went where the money paid.

This hit had come in with a special request, one without rhyme or reason. The target, a nobody as far as the recon had revealed, was unconventional: A defense lawyer with no known connection to anyone of importance. Lately, the contracts for the nobodies were coming in faster than the somebodies, it was a scenario The Assassin quickly adjusted to.

From the chest, a quickening of the heart. Four buildings away, the equivalent of almost six hundred yards. Through a thick windshield, The Assassin had placed a single bullet to the center of the target’s head. A beautiful shot. No one did better.

Bringing the binoculars up, The Assassin leveled the sights on the lone car. Finally, this special condition of the contract could be marked off. The cops were there. Patrol officers, crime techs decked out in paper getups, and two men in suits swarmed the rooftop parking lot.

A familiar face made The Assassin hesitate in lowering the binoculars; adjusting the sites to zero in on the man in the gray suit. Dark brown hair, and the weathered features of … a Frenchman.

Gripping the binoculars tighter, like they were the gray-suited man’s neck, The Assassin watched him stride across the roof. He was supposed to be dead; so The Assassin had heard through the network. Killed by Hurricane Katrina. His body swept away in the flood waters.

The Assassin ripped the binoculars down. Yet, there he stood. Remy LeBeau, formally of New Orleans, now of Dallas?

Muscles twitching, The Assassin gave a grunt. This was the reason for sticking it out until they found the corpse? This was worth the one hundred thousand?

With LeBeau here, things got problematic. The Assassin brought the binoculars up again and watched him. If he wore a suit and was visiting a crime scene, could mean he was a detective here. Heat simmered in The Assassin’s veins. As a detective, LeBeau would begin to piece together the death of the Dallas lawyer with a similar death in New Orleans he’d seen when he was a patrol officer.

LeBeau and the man next to him — his partner? — spoke with a woman suited up in typical crime scene garb. All three moved to the car. They examined the car and the victim.

“Shit,” The Assassin hissed.

After the brutal murder of his wife, why had LeBeau remained in law enforcement? The Assassin interpreted his gestures as stiff, worried. He rotated until he faced the direction from where the bullet had actually traveled.

Eyes narrowed, The Assassin growled. LeBeau beat a path from the car to the edge of the roof and back. Did he suspect more to this murder?

The Assassin stashed the binoculars in a black, military-style bag, crawled out from under the canopy, broke it down, and placed the folded mesh inside the bag. With a gray-and-black camouflage boonie hat in place, The Assassin shouldered the bag, vacated the position, and entered a stairwell, proceeding down the steps at a fast clip.

There would be no leaving Dallas. Not with this new development. The contractor who paid for this special hit must have known LeBeau was still alive; why else would he make the special conditions of sticking around after the kill?

Spitting another curse, The Assassin resisted the urge to slam a fist into the stairwell wall. This whole thing stank of a setup. One that could expose The Assassin.

Remy LeBeau had almost ruined a powerful man in New Orleans more than six years ago, and his meddling led to the death of his young wife. Older and wiser, LeBeau could be considered a deadly threat. And for all who were involved in the events that occurred in New Orleans all those years ago, it meant facing the firing squad.

The Assassin didn’t like problems.

Maybe it was time to take matters into hand and put the crosshairs on Remy LeBeau.