He’s K19’s silent, but deadly weapon.
She’s been beaten and bruised.
His lips may be sealed,
But with MONK by her side, she’s screaming for more.
I keep my head down, and my mouth shut. I’m silent and deadly, always getting the job done. Guilt-ridden and numb, I’m a dangerous loner. But my partner’s sister awakens something in me, something that wants so much more.
Nothing surprises me in this business. It’s all private operatives, and hush-hush happenings. I grew up around it all, with a brother on the inside. Still wasn’t enough to keep my ex’s fists off of me. Battered and broken, I’m slow to trust. But Rhys “Monk” Perrin reignites my fire. He gives me reason to burn with passion. This business won’t relent. With my life in jeopardy, and a fight on my hands, I need MONK to finally say what he really wants.
The ICU nurses were used to me showing up each morning without saying a word to anyone and then leaving the same way. So, like every other day of the last twenty-three, I walked past the desk silently when I left to get some dinner. Sure, it was Christmas, but I really didn’t give a shit about holidays, especially this year, with my friend in intensive care.
When I got off the elevator on the main floor, I buttoned up the peacoat that had belonged to my grandfather, put on my beanie, and pulled it down over my ears. I reached into my pockets, took out my gloves, and put the left one on first. I was about to put on the right when I felt my cell phone vibrate. I got it out and swiped the screen.
Look up, it said; I did.
“Hi,” said the woman who’d sent it, slowly approaching me.
“Saylor.” Given I was unable to decide whether to tell her how good it was to see her or ask her what in the hell she was doing there, I said nothing more than her name.
“Merry Christmas, Monk.”
“What are you doing here?”
“My mom, the girls, and I are spending Christmas in Annapolis again this year.”
Last year, I’d been with Saylor and her family at the same place. One of the founding partners of K19 Security Solutions, a private security and intelligence firm where I was a junior partner, had hosted a Christmas celebration. Not only had I been there, but Onyx had too.
“How is he?” Saylor asked, as though she knew what I was thinking.
“I’m sorry, Monk. I was praying for a Christmas miracle.”
I eased the glove off my left hand, put them both in my pocket, and then stepped forward. I gripped Saylor’s nape with one hand, wrapped my other arm around her waist, and kissed her. It wasn’t a chaste kiss. I didn’t waste time with shit like that. Not with her. I tightened my hold so Saylor’s body was flush with mine and deepened our kiss.
I pulled back and looked in her eyes. “I’m sorry—”
She put her fingertips on my lips. “Don’t.”
No one was ever as easy on me as Saylor. And no one deserved to be hard on me more than she did.
“Where were you going?”
She tucked her arm in mine. “Good. I’m hungry.”
My loft was a ten-minute walk from the hospital. If I were alone, I’d stop and eat somewhere on the way.
“I’m okay to walk,” she said, snuggling up against me when we went outside.
In the almost year and a half since I met Saylor, we’d been apart far more than together, and yet she was able to read me like no one else ever had. Two words, and she knew what I was asking. It always surprised me, but it shouldn’t.
“This is nice,” she said when I opened the door to my loft and invited her in.
“Thanks.” I’d gotten the three-bedroom unit because I wanted to be on the top floor of the building, and I wanted a view. I didn’t care about it being too big for me or about the price.
When the listing agent offered to throw in the staging furniture for a nominal fee, I took her up on it. Everything else in it, I’d ordered online. I didn’t have time to shop, not that I would’ve anyway. I spent every day at George Washington University Hospital, waiting for my friend to come out of the coma he’d been in since surviving a plane crash almost a month ago.
I took Saylor’s coat and hung it in the closet with mine and then walked into the kitchen and opened the fridge. I kept it well stocked, again by ordering online and having the groceries delivered.
Saylor came up behind me and wrapped her arms around my waist. “When did you last eat?” she asked.
“Lunch. You said you were hungry.”
“I can wait.”
I closed the refrigerator door and led her into the master bedroom.
— Saylor —
Sex with Monk had always been incendiary. From the first time and every time since. I’d never been with another man who lit me on fire the way Monk did. It was as though an electrical current ran from every part of his body and traveled directly through my bloodstream whenever and however he touched me.
I watched as he undressed, like I always did. There was no pretense with this man as he unbuttoned his white dress shirt, revealing so much that I didn’t know where to look first.
Around his thick neck, he wore four chains, each increasing in length. The first was an Aztec medallion on a thin piece of leather. I walked closer and fingered it, remembering the first time he’d explained its meaning.
“It’s a tonalpohualli,” he’d said. “It’s a divination tool, keeping the delicate equilibrium of the divine forces residing inside of me.”
The next was black braided leather with what looked to me like black onyx resting in patterned silver.
“Is this new?” I asked, running my fingertip over the black beads.
I walked my fingers lower, to the next—a blue-beaded rosary I’d seen before, but I didn’t remember the silver cross that hung from it.
Last was the thick platinum chain from which hung a simple wedding ring that he’d told me had belonged to his mother.
The Aztec sun tattoo covering his right pec was one my brother, Razor, had too. It symbolized a belief in an afterlife. The ink continued in a sleeve of intricate symbols that abruptly ended at Monk’s wrist. His other pec and shoulder were bare, as was his back, but the same ink that covered his right forearm, covered his left.
Monk eased the shirt off his arms and shoulders, revealing his thick, dark chest hair that narrowed as it trailed down his stomach.
When I unfastened the heavy copper buckle on his jeans, Monk grasped my small wrist in his big hand and stopped me.
“Wait, Saylor. We need to talk.”
Talk? If there was anything Monk didn’t do, it was talk. “Okay,” I said, backing up to sit on the end of the bed.