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After her daughter’s death, ex-assassin Sei fled to the Ardennes forests of Belgium to try to find peace. But a mysterious source contacts her, promising to return her daughter. Simply take on one last job: break a notorious assassin out of jail.
Diyarbakir Prison is the most dangerous place in Turkey. If torture doesn’t kill a prisoner, the guards will. Breaking out is impossible. Breaking in is insane. But if Sei ever wants to see her daughter again, she’ll have no choice but to agree to the plan.
Contract: Bait is an action-packed, page-turning thriller with one hell of a twist. They messed with the wrong mother.
Read An Excerpt
Read An Excerpt
The massive beast charged out through the tangle of brush. Its two front hooves dug deep into the soft forest floor, propelling it to top speed in only a few feet. It had dark eyes, small and deep set, and a thick neck that held its mammoth head steady like a battering ram. Four-inch tusks curved upward from the sides of its mouth, popping against the coarse coat of black bristles. The mane running down its spine, a pronounced Mohawk, signaled its aggression. Its throaty growls grew louder as it closed the distance.
In an instant, my senses erupted.
The wild boar stood larger than any I had seen in the forest. From my estimate, it had a shoulder height of at least forty inches and a weight in the high four-hundred-pound range—nearly the size of young brown bear.
The attack triggered a tingling in my skin and threw the beats in my chest into overdrive. I lowered my head and ran toward the snarling animal. I had enough time to take the few steps needed to leap upward and tuck my body into a tight ball, rotating once before landing squarely behind it. The boar’s size didn’t hamper its agility, and it deftly pivoted, resuming its attack.
I had expected that.
The momentum from my somersault propelled me forward toward a birch tree, allowing me to run straight up the smooth silver trunk before pushing off with my second step. As I rotated back over the black beast, I withdrew a razor sharp knife from a sheath I had strapped to my hip. I timed my rotation perfectly and landed on the back of the boar, driving the seven inches of hardened steel into the base of its skull. The blow crippled the animal, causing its forelegs to give way, but I hadn’t killed it. And I didn’t want to leave it to suffer.
Still thrashing its head from side to side, the boar could easily shred my arms with its sharp tusks. A throat slash to the neck would be too risky.
Instead, I yanked the knife out and reached back to its hind legs, severing the tendon. The boar fell over to its side. I quickly grabbed the exposed front leg, lifted it up, and drove my knife deep into the soft, vulnerable armpit and into the animal’s heart. The end came quickly.
I removed my blade and used the boar’s hair to wipe it clean. It had been only minutes ago that I ran peacefully through the forest. I couldn’t understand why the animal had decided to attack me. I looked the boar over carefully and discovered a small bullet wound near its hindquarter. It was the case of a novice hunter using an inadequate gun for such a large animal—a small caliber, most likely. Had they hit the boar anyplace else, the bullet probably would have bounced off. But it hadn’t, and the animal had run off. And into me.
Barking dogs in the distance told me the hunting party was near, and I didn’t necessarily feel like explaining why I’d finished their job. I wasn’t that big of a meat eater, but I was sure someone would enjoy grilling the animal’s carcass. They should be thanking me, I thought as I hurried away.
It was early autumn and colorful leaves blanketed the floor of the Ardennes forests. Mostly narrow birch trees populated the region, which sometimes gave certain areas an almost impenetrable thickness, but I knew the area fairly well and could thread through them easily. Pine trees made up the other half of the forest. Other ground vegetation consisted of lush ferns and grasses.
That day, thick, gray clouds padded the skies, giving the forest an appearance worthy of a Grimm’s fairytale. But it was those very days that I found the forest to be at its liveliest and most serene. Experience that, and it was not hard to understand the attraction to the woods surrounding Saint-Hubert, Belgium.
Unlike most residents of the town, I chose to live away from the center. My cottage sat on a large patch of property near the forest’s edge. I had no neighbors, well, none close enough that I would be bothered. No need to explain my existence, what I did, or why a single woman chose to live alone in the woods. Those were questions nosy individuals asked, and I had no intention of revealing information about myself to anyone. I relished my privacy. Living like a hermit was justifiable if I wanted to stay alive.
I picked up the pace for the remainder of my run. Boar blood had splattered on my insulated running pants, and I was keen to wash it out. At about two hundred yards out from my property, I slowed down. It was the same careful approach I had always taken when returning home.
With the cottage in view, I stuck to a thicket of waist-high ferns and slowly circled the property. My skin prickled, thanks to the chilly autumn weather and the diminishing effects of my run. My body had cooled faster than normal, and I wanted badly to jump into a warm bath, but I stuck to my protocol.
From behind a tree, I scanned each window carefully, looking for movement. It wasn’t a big house: two bedrooms, two baths, an office, a cozy living room, and kitchen. I had the attached garage remodeled into a training space: mirrored walls and padded floors. Various punching and grappling dummies, even a wooden Wing Chun training dummy. Free weights and a stationary bike rounded out the remaining equipment.
I was confident that those who knew of me didn’t know I called this idyllic town home, but still, I took precautions as I moved closer. I had gone through great lengths to establish this safe house, and I preferred not to leave anything to chance.
Satisfied, I moved toward the back door. I never entered from the front. People get killed entering their homes from the front. Happens all the time.
Sei is the "Assassin Mama."
Contract: Bait is the start of an action-packed, page-turning series. They messed with the wrong mother.
"I never thought I would cheer on an assassin." ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ — Reader Review
Series: Sei Assassin Thriller #1
Ebook: 296 pages