CODE NAME: POSEIDON

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A man of invulnerability.

A man of unfaltering power.

Poseidon is a force of nature, protecting all who need him.

With a name like “Poseidon,” I’m feared on the spot. I come in like a force of nature, and destroy anyone who challenges me or hurts those I love. In my country, loyalty and rage runs deep.

I know my obsession with Oleander will lead to my ruin, but every touch of her naked skin against mine strengthens my addiction to her. She’s both bellissima and brillante, with a fiery passion and a commitment, like mine, to save the world.

My machismo makes me want to help and protect her. Her pride makes her resist. But if the filthy traffickers target her, my reign of terror will annihilate every one of them. Oleander’s life and heart are in my hands now, and nobody is going to threaten that.

CHAPTER ONE

Poseidon

As much as I often wished I was the first person to call her Oleander, that dubious honor belonged to the commandant of the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. According to my grandmother on my father’s side, the plant’s flower signified the complicated nature of love and relationships. Little did she know how apropos that was at the time. The commandant bestowed it for an entirely different reason but one that was equally appropriate—the plant’s extreme toxicity and ability to kill a human with a single leaf.

Oleander, given name Jennifer Smith, made no bones about her desire to become a trained assassin. Admittedly, I couldn’t fathom that as a singular aspiration, but in her case, even at the tender age of twenty-two, it was.

I gazed out the plane’s window, peering down at the cloud bank, wondering if, after six years, my current mission would finally bring Oleander and me face to face.

I could remember the night of her surreptitious departure as if it were yesterday, as most memories you’d prefer to forget often are. I rubbed my chest; the recollection of the pain I felt would never go away.

I’d fallen into a deep sleep that night, her warm body wrapped in mine, and woke hours later to a cold, empty bed, and even emptier arms.

She hadn’t left a note. Hadn’t called. Hadn’t made any contact whatsoever. The one thing I was certain would happen, didn’t. Oleander never came back. She’d vanished, like the ghost she was. However, I knew without a shadow of a doubt she hadn’t been a victim of foul play. Instead, she became the ultimate victimizer, reigning her own brand of terror on the evil-doers of the world.

God, I missed her.

Oleander

My commander at Unit 23 once told me many of those who experience obsessions show a genetic predisposition for it. As in, it was in my DNA. Or, that a chemical difference in one’s brain made them prone to the behavior. While being able to blame what some saw as a personality flaw on things beyond my control was convenient, I embraced it as a strength, even a blessing.

It was an obsession that led to my chosen career field. Namely, assassination. Something that was to world politics as chocolate was to me. I could function without it, but why would I put myself through such agony when a solution was so bloody simple?

My preoccupation for as long as I could remember was in taking down AMPS—not that I was aware of the acronym until recently. While some weren’t certain those who hid behind the shell corp registered in Mauritius—a small island nation near Madagascar—operated one of the most extensive and complex human trafficking rings in the world, I was. I could say with conviction, I’d never been more certain of anything in my life.

Taking them down, disabling every facet of their heinous enterprise, then killing the remaining leaders in the most painful way imaginable was my sole objective.

No one, however, knew the real reason I wanted to kill them. Not a single soul. Not even Typhon.


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