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Author: Kris Michaels








Copyright © 2022 by Kris Michaels

All rights reserved.

No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means, including information storage and retrieval systems, without written permission from the author, except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.

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Chapter 1


Chapter 2


Chapter 3


Chapter 4


Chapter 5


Chapter 6


Chapter 7


Chapter 8


Chapter 9


Chapter 10


Chapter 11


Chapter 12


Chapter 13


Chapter 14


Chapter 15


Chapter 16


Chapter 17


Chapter 18


Chapter 19





Also By Kris Michaels


About the Author






Author’s Note: This book takes place in the late summer-early fall before Frank’s story is told at Christmas.


Valkyrie gazed out of the window as the chauffeur-driven car sped through the dark cloak of night. Morning was still a few hours away. New York had finally settled into a state of semi-consciousness. While the city didn’t sleep, it fell into a fugue state between three in the morning and dawn.

She rubbed her hands together, removing the nerves that were building. Damn it, woman. Get a grip. Yet her mouth was dry, and her stomach flipped like an acrobat on a trapeze. She was a veteran of some of the most demanding missions imaginable. She’d done and seen things that would decimate lesser people. Yet, this … Well, it was a new type of mission for her.

Perhaps mission wasn’t exactly the correct word. True, she’d been actively planning this particular event for almost three months and playing with the idea for much longer. The entire situation had the tactical components, which required stealth, skill, and a metric fuck-ton of detailed coordination. Let’s not forget guts.

Right. Guts. She rolled her eyes and sighed. She had that trait. There was absolutely no doubt about that fact. Her intestinal fortitude had pushed her through losing her late husband, the grueling training to become an assassin, and the continued missions for Guardian.

No matter what Guardian threw at her, losing her husband would always be the most challenging thing she’d ever done. He’d been dead for ten years, and she still missed him but had let the hatred and anger go. She’d grown and moved forward.

Forward into a world of utter darkness. Guardian had trained her to make her way in environments no decent human ever saw. Now, as the assassin Valkyrie, she used her body to tempt and ensnare some of the world’s most powerful and hated men. Assassination and the allure of sex went hand in hand for her. That play, the suggestion of sex—and sometimes the actual act—gave her the advantage. She’d utilize anything within her realm of influence to complete a mission.

Yet, she was taking a calculated risk on her newest op. Not necessarily making herself vulnerable, but it was as close as she’d come to opening that door. A door she’d decided months ago she needed to open again. Vulnerability allowed for weakness. The last time she was weak was the night she’d grieved over her husband’s dead, battered body. That night, she’d discovered that the cage match her husband had died fighting in was rigged. He’d been drugged because he refused to throw a fight to clear the debt he owed. Her husband was addicted to gambling. He’d lost everything they owned and, at the end, he’d lost her respect. But she still loved the man she’d married.

His addiction had finally killed him, but not the way she’d thought it would. The trainer had seen it happen. Something rubbed onto the other fighter’s taped fists. A clench was all that was needed to deliver the drug, and then the other fighter beat her husband to death. The ref let the match continue even though her husband couldn’t lift his hands.

Val went after everyone involved and those who benefited from her husband’s murder. Her husband’s agent and promoter partner bet against her husband, who was the favorite to win the match. They’d raked in the money. She’d tracked and killed everyone starting at dawn on the one-month anniversary of her husband’s death. She took out the ref, the fighter, his trainers, and the promoters. Unfortunately, she hadn’t looked for or seen the camera in the office. The police arrested her, and while she waited for trial, Demos came to see her. The recruiter for Guardian didn’t pull any punches when he explained why he was there. She had a decision to make, there on the spot. No time to think, no time to waver.

She’d agreed to the job's terms and expectations and walked out of that jail with her new mentor. Her face was altered, and her education was enhanced. She’d learned to speak three languages fluently and was working on another. Money was never a concern since starting work for Guardian. To anyone looking from the outside in, she was the consummate socialite. She lived in a beautiful world.

But there was one problem. Valkyrie, the assassin, the trained killer, was bone-shatteringly lonely—until recently. There was a place inside her that needed personal contact with another human. She had a few friends, but she was cautious to keep them at arm’s length even as she pretended to let them in. Phoenix, Ice, Harbinger, Malice, Flack, Smoke and Reaper were in that tiny circle. But she wanted, no, craved more. That was a secret she’d never tell a soul. It was a secret that could be exploited, and she’d never put herself in that position again. Never.

She glanced up at the building they were passing. “This is it. Pull over.” Her driver, a member of Guardian Security who she’d borrowed from the New York office for the early morning logistical assist, glanced at the building and then back at her. “Are you sure?”

She nodded. “Pull over here and wait for me.”

“Are you armed, ma’am?” The man glanced around the neighborhood. “Perhaps I should accompany you?”

Valkyrie rolled her eyes. As if. “I’m good. Thanks.” She waited for the man to open her car door and exited the vehicle. Her Louboutin heels, Prada slack suit, silk shirt, and white crocodile Niloticus Himalaya Hermes Birkin purse belonged in a penthouse in Manhattan, not in one of the poorest boroughs in the city. She stepped across the stained and litter-strewn sidewalk.

There it was. But … She could turn back, and no one would ever know. “You would,” she said quietly before carefully stepping down the broken and cracked concrete stairs to the basement apartment.

“Just do what you came here to do,” she muttered. Drawing in a breath, she squared her shoulders and knocked on the door. She listened carefully, not knowing the reception she would receive.

The door jerked open.

The business end of a forty-five-caliber automatic leveled on her forehead. She cocked her head, so she could be seen around the barrel.

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