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Clean House

Clean House

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If Plan A is your best shot at staying alive, Plan B is winging it.

Can Sei keep it together while making decisions on the fly? Find out in Clean House.

" Sei is back in all her amazing glory." ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ — Reader Review

Series:  Sei Assassin Thriller #7


With a $50 million bounty still flashing over Sei’s head, the goal remains: Hunt down Carmotte and kill him. That’s Plan A.

However, an assassin named Kazmer is now managing the contract, and he intends to draw Sei out of hiding by squeezing the people close to her.

Sei will have to face him head-on or risk seeing the people she cares about die. Say hello to Plan B.

Read An Excerpt

One second, Jeong-Ja was walking toward Sei. The next, Sei had disappeared from her sight.

“Sei?” Jeong-Ja called out in a whisper.

In the wee hours of the morning, the streets were empty and quiet in Ljubljana.

“Sei?” she called softly once more.

Jeong-Ja had carefully made her way along a gravel pathway in Tivoli Park. She’d seen Sei enter the park earlier, but quickly lost sight of her. She thought she picked up movement in a cluster of trees, but Sei wasn’t there when Jeong-Ja arrived at the spot. She continued to follow one of the pathways until she spotted the outline of a figure sitting on the edge of a fountain.

That’s got to be her. What’s she doing here so late at night? Is she waiting for someone?

Jeong-Ja and Sei had been sharing a small room in town. They had planned to stay a day at the most and then move on. All Jeong-Ja knew was that they were supposed to be heading to Iceland. But instead of flying there, they flew to Croatia and then traveled to Slovenia. Why they were in Slovenia was still a mystery to her, and Sei hadn’t provided an explanation.

The room had two separate single beds. Sei must have thought Jeong-Ja was asleep, but she was a light sleeper and had heard Sei leave. Jeong-Ja’s curiosity got the best of her, and she had quickly put on jeans, a sweater, and a light coat and left in search of Sei with the only weapon she had: a knife.

Sei had given her explicit instructions not to leave the room under any circumstances. Obey the rules. Those were the conditions set for Jeong-Ja to tag along. So much for listening.

Jeong-Ja stood next to a tree, away from the fountain. The cloudy skies above kept the moonlight to a minimum, and the decorative lamps throughout the park were just that: decorative, casting barely any light. It also didn’t help that a layer of fog had drifted across the town that night.

She studied the lone figure, wondering if it really was Sei. Maybe Jeong-Ja had been following someone else all along. But who would sit next to a fountain in a park in the early hours of the morning? Jeong-Ja blinked to clear her eyes. When she refocused, the figure had disappeared.

Where did she go?

Jeong-Ja slipped out from the shadows and walked toward the fountain. The gravel crunched under her shoes with every step. As she got closer, she heard what sounded like someone humming or mumbling. She couldn’t quite tell—the sound seemed to come and go.

When she reached the edge of the fountain, Jeong-Ja searched the ground for boot prints in the gravel. There were none.

I know I’m not crazy. I saw a person sitting here, even if it wasn’t Sei.

Jeong-Ja slowly circled the fountain but found nothing indicating someone had been there.

Maybe I imagined it. I’m tired, and it is late. And I really shouldn’t be out anyway. If Sei finds out, I’ll be in a lot of trouble.

The humming resumed, this time much clearer. It sounded like someone chanting softly. Jeong-Ja spun around quickly. It took a moment or so before she spotted the person, a woman, standing on one of the five pathways leading to the fountain. It definitely wasn’t Sei.

Jeong-Ja stood still, unsure of her next move. Could it be a local roaming the park? Perhaps a homeless person? An instant later, the woman disappeared. Jeong-Ja looked around for the woman, but it was like she’d vanished into thin air. That’s impossible.

Jeong-Ja placed her hand on the sheathed knife attached to her belt as she hurried to the spot where the woman had been standing. She picked up a faint scent in the air that smelled vaguely of potpourri with a touch of sour. I knew I didn’t imagine it. She listened for the chanting, but that had gone silent.

As Jeong-Ja turned to head back to the fountain, the shadowy figure appeared in her path. The floral smell was stronger, and the low sound of chanting returned.

“Who are you?” Jeong-Ja asked.

The woman didn’t answer the question and continued with her chanting.

Jeong-Ja drew her knife. “Tell me who you are.”

The woman stopped chanting. “Maybe you’re the one who should answer that question.”

“Why should I? I’m not the one sneaking around.”

“I beg to differ. You’ve done nothing but since entering the park.”

“I’m looking for a friend.”

“Maybe we’re looking for the same friend.”

“I doubt it. You have no idea who I am and what I do,” Jeong-Ja answered quickly.

“And neither do you of me.”

The woman moved closer, and a bit of moonlight caught her face. Jeong-Ja drew a sharp breath. She recognized Esmeralda, an assassin who used voodoo to kill her targets, or so it was said. Jeong-Ja was well aware that voodoo wasn’t real. At least she hoped it wasn’t.

Esmeralda’s black dreadlocks had been pulled back into a ponytail, and she wore dark robes. But the one thing that had Jeong-Ja at a loss for words, even causing her to hold her breath, was the woman’s eyes. They seemed to glow a faint yellow.

“Esmeralda,” Jeong-Ja said. “I know who you are. There’s only one reason why you’re here tonight.”

“As are you?”

“I don’t have a fight with you.”

“How is that possible?” Esmeralda began to slowly circle Jeong-Ja. “We are after the same target.”

“We are, but you are much more skilled than I am. You have a better chance. I defer to you.”

“Too late, child. You’ve already seen me.”

“So what? I told you, I defer. You can have it.”

“That’s not how I operate.”

A second later, Esmeralda shot forward, knocking Jeong-Ja off her feet and onto her back. Within seconds, Esmeralda was on top of Jeong-Ja’s chest, with her hand tight around her neck.

In a flash, Esmeralda threw something into Jeong-Ja’s face that instantly made it difficult for her to breathe. Jeong-Ja began to gag and hack.

Esmeralda took the knife from Jeong-Ja’s hand without any resistance and threw it off to the side.

“What was that?” Jeong-Ja asked between labored gasps.

Esmeralda leaned closer. “Death.”

So long as Jeong-Ja could draw breath, she still had a fighting chance. She swung a fist, catching Esmeralda off guard and momentarily dazing her with a solid blast to the side of her head. Again, Jeong-Ja swung. She continued to pummel Esmeralda with fist strikes as best she could. But it was becoming more difficult to breathe, and her eyes burned, forcing her to keep them shut.

Esmeralda began blocking the strikes and, one by one, pinned each of Jeong-Ja’s arms under her knees.

“You are inexperienced,” she said. “To think you had a chance at taking on Sei was foolish of you.”

“I would say the same of you,” came a voice from the shadows.

* * *

“Sei!” Esmeralda said as she let go of Jeong-Ja, who was still struggling to breathe. “I thought the girl was interference until I realized she was an amateur.” Esmeralda got off of Jeong-Ja and stood. “We met once before. Do you remember? You moved in on my contract.”

“It was an open contract,” I said as I appeared from behind a tree. “You lost it to me.”

“You haven’t been active for a while.” She laughed. “This will be easy.”

Esmeralda rocketed forward, throwing a cloud of dust directly at me. I held my breath as I jumped out of the way. Esmeralda was well trained in poisons, but she was no match for me if I could avoid her trickery and toxic dust.

Esmeralda reached into her robes and drew something that she placed against her lips: a blow dart. I cartwheeled into a series of backflips to avoid her darts. She reached into her robes once more, but I wasn’t about to give her a chance to use another toy. I drew my knife and threw it at her, striking her directly in the center of her chest. I shot forward and slammed my palm into the handle of the knife, driving the blade in as far as it would go.

Esmeralda let out a gasp.

I yanked out the knife and slit her neck with it before kicking her in the chest and sending her to the ground. I moved quickly to Jeong-Ja, who was still choking for air on all fours. I lifted her by the arm, dragged her to the fountain, and threw her in.

“Clean your face and rinse out your nostrils and mouth,” I said.

Jeong-Ja did as I said, and eventually, she could breathe easier and open her eyes.

“If I recall correctly, I told you not to leave the room.”

“But you left the room. I went to cover you.”

“Is that so? Well, it’s a good thing I didn’t need you to step in and save me.”

Jeong-Ja climbed out of the fountain as I turned on my heel and walked toward Esmeralda’s body. 

“What are you doing?” Jeong-Ja asked, her voice raspy.

“Help me move her to that tree over there.”

We each grabbed an arm and dragged Esmeralda’s lifeless body off the pathway and over to a tree surrounded by bushes.

“Maybe we should look for a better place to hide her body.”

“This is fine.”

I turned and walked away.

“Hey, wait up,” Jeong-Ja called out.

“No. You need to catch up.”

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