Home > Behind the Hands That Kill (In the Company of Killers #6)(10)

Behind the Hands That Kill (In the Company of Killers #6)(10)
Author: J.A. Redmerski

But in her eyes I see nothing but pain; no accusation, no confusion, no more desperation. Just pain. And it tears me up inside.

Apollo wants more than my death as revenge for his beloved twin sister—he wants the woman that I love to know the real Victor Faust; he wants to expose me to the one and only person in the world who can hurt me; he wants the woman whom I love to suffer in place of his sister who loved me deeply, and died because of it.

He wants me to suffer. And on this day, he will get it.

“You have the stage, Victor Faust,” Apollo announces, pulling me out of a guilt-induced trance.

Izabel shakes her head, her way of telling me that I don’t have to do this.

I nod at her once, slowly and with repentance, telling her that, yes, I must.

Softly she closes her eyes.

Softly I close mine.

And regretfully, I open the doors wide to my past, and let in the sterilizing light.


Two years before Artemis…

Safe Houses, to me, were not exactly what they were meant to be. In the beginning, I used them for their purpose, I hid out in them in various parts of the United States, and the world, while on missions, and I took advantage of their benefits the way many men, and women, would. But when I met Marina in Safe House One, hidden deep in the Oregon wilderness, I got my first taste—since I was a child—of what the outside world was really like. What I was missing from it.

Marina was a beautiful woman of twenty-nine, with a voluptuous figure like a 1940s movie star, and long, curly blond hair like Marilyn Monroe. I had never seen a woman like Marina before; I had never been bewitched before, but Marina, emerging from the doorway of her tiny house like a goddess from a bed of feathers and gold, cast such a spell on me that I came close to losing everything I had worked so hard for.

“Why do you always come to me, Victor?” Marina asked in a voice of silk; she nuzzled against me in her bed; the smell of her perfume mingled with our sex made me want to take her all over again.

Her fingers danced along my chest, over my collarbone, and found my mouth.

I held her hand and kissed her fingers.

“I like coming here,” I told her, and kissed her fingers again. “You make me forget about…everything out there.”

Marina raised her blond head from my chest; I could feel the cottony softness of it tickling my side.

“I know you probably won’t tell me,” she said, “but what exactly is it that you do out there? You know, that makes you want to forget.” She batted her thick black eyelashes at me, but it was in no way an act of seduction; Marina always batted her eyes when she spoke.

Running my fingers through her soft hair, I looked up at the ceiling, and I thought about telling her. I wanted to, more than anything in that moment, because it was just she and I alone in the house, far away from the world, and I felt like I could trust her and could tell her anything. I had never had that before. I could not even talk to my brother about my life.

But I told her nothing I had not already told her.

“Does anyone really enjoy their job?” I moved around the truth. “Unless it’s a billionaire, or one of the lucky few who make a living doing what they love, no one likes to work, and everyone complains. I am no exception.”

Marina smiled carefully at me, leaned over and pressed her plump lips to my nipple, and then sat up on the bed next to me. I watched with admiration—and lust—how her long hair fell around her powder-white shoulders; my gaze secretly took in the fullness of her breasts, the roundness of her hips and butt—I always wondered what compelled women to be so thin. Not that’s there is a thing wrong with thin, but…well, there was just something about Marina.

“You always say the same thing,” she said, but did not hold it against me.

“And you are paid to know only what I tell you,” I say, also in a kind manner.

She smiled again and got up from the bed, slipped her soft arms into a white see-through robe that fell to the middle of her thighs. She lit a cigarette. I never liked cigarettes, or women who smoked them, but…well, like I said, there was just something about Marina.

“How do you feel about me, Victor?” she asked, and it surprised me.

I sat up on the bed too, watching her as she gazed at herself in the mirror on the vanity, patting down her sex-frizzed hair; a coil of smoke rose from the end of her cigarette.

When I did not answer soon enough, she turned from the mirror, looked right at me, and then said, “You don’t have to answer that. But if I were to ask you to help me get away from here”—she stopped abruptly, her big sultry eyes becoming more childlike and afraid—“I mean…would you help me if my life was in danger?”

I got up from the bed immediately, and walked naked across the room toward her, but she put up her hand and took two steps backward.

Shocked by her fearful reaction, I came to a dead stop.

“Marina, what is it?” I tried to approach her again, more slowly, but for every step I took forward, she took one backward, and so I gave up.

“Please don’t kill me,” she said.

“What?” I was so shocked that for a moment it was all I could say.

She took a long drag on the cigarette and then set the rest in an ashtray on the dresser, left it burning. I noted that her hands were trembling—she was shaking all over.

“I know that if I ask too many questions,” she began, “and especially if I ask you to help me, there’s a good chance you’ll kill me for it.”

“I’m not going to kill you—”

“How do I know that?” she cut in.

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