EXCLUSIVE EXCERPT: Nicole Castle’s Greatest Hits Teaser
As we countdown to the release of Nicole Castle’s Les Recidivists, (the sequel Chance Assassin) on May 19th, we’ve (somehow) managed to get our hands on this fun little teaser. Set during the days of Chance Assassin, it’s a great reminder of what we loved about wonderfully deranged Frank and Vincent.
Killing the Competition
Frank slammed the door, which was a far cry from his usual ‘honey, I’m home’ and an even further one from ‘rise from your slumber, my beloved, it’s time for me to fuck you and feed you lunch simultaneously.’
“How’s Charlie?” I yawned, rolling over and rubbing the sleep out of my eyes.
He threw the envelope in the trashcan and sat on the bed with a huff. He hadn’t brought lunch. I draped myself across his back and put my arms around him. “That good, huh?”
“Why are you still in bed?” he said accusingly. Normally he wouldn’t care what I did while he was out with Charlie, but he was obviously looking to take his bad mood out on somebody and I was the only one around.
“Back in bed. I took a bath, got some breakfast, and cleaned the guns. What have you done today?”
He flung me to the mattress, raising his hand to me but pausing before following through. I hadn’t seen him this livid in some time, but a hint of light found his eyes when I smiled and tilted my cheek toward him, chewing on my lip. He granted me my slap, then aggressively kissed his handprint to apologize. I set my hand on the back of his head, turning my face away and urging him lower. If he was going to be pissed off, he may as well channel his anger into something constructive. Like bite marks.
When he stopped to kiss my scar, I realized what all the fuss must be about. “Charlie mentioned me?”
Frank rested his cheek against my side, his face scratchy with stubble. “He said the mark looks like you.”
“What?” I sat up, flinging him onto my hip. “I wanna see!”
“He doesn’t look like you. He’s just blond and…pretty.”
I pouted. “You think he’s pretty?”
“I didn’t mean it that way. He has an attractive face. If that’s what you’re attracted to.”
I held out my hand. “Gimme.”
Frank rolled his eyes and slinked off the bed, retrieving the envelope from the trash. I tore it open with a glare. The mark looked like he was in his early twenties but I imagined he was older, definitely blond, with good bone structure and a thousand watt smile. He looked cocky, which probably helped what little resemblance there was. “Do you think he looks like me?”
He lit a cigarette. I could see that his pack was nearly empty. “I already said I didn’t.”
“Charlie obviously has a vision problem if he thinks we look alike, which means you never had to cut my fucking hair!”
He flung me to the bed again. This time he was the first to smile.
“So what did he say about me?”
For a moment Frank didn’t speak, just staring at me like he was searching for something. “He said that he hoped I shot you in the face because that was the cause of all your problems.”
I’m sure he saw me flinch at the cruelty of Charlie’s words, but lying there beside him I felt completely secure, unable to even think that it could’ve come to that in other circumstances. “If that were the case you would’ve done just as well shooting me in the ass. I get plenty of attention there too.”
He cracked a smile and leaned down to kiss me. “Now that would be criminal.”
“What did you tell him?”
“I didn’t. I left.” Without even knowing I was alive, Charlie really knew how to press Frank’s buttons.
“Is that what we’re doing to our mark? Shooting him in the face?”
“Do you want me to do it?”
He traced his fingers over my face, his eyes tracking the movement of his hands. He smoothed his thumbs over my eyelids. I could feel him studying me, knowing what he must’ve been imagining while my eyes were closed. He quietly said, “Yes.”
“I’m okay, Frank. Charlie was just trying to get a rise out of you. Which is my job, by the way.” I squirmed beneath him until I heard him laugh.
He took his hands off my face and I opened my eyes. I had a feeling he’d be watching me sleep tonight. “You look nothing alike.”
“But you do think he’s pretty.”
“He’s aesthetically pleasing.” Frank put his arms around me, hugging my body to his. “You’re heartbreaking.”
“What would you do if he came on to you?”
“He isn’t gay.”
I rolled my eyes. “Hypothetically.”
“Shoot him in the face.”
“That would be personal.”
He held up our money. “I got paid for it.”
“Still hypothetically. If you didn’t know me, and he came on to you.”
“Run away. Or pretend I didn’t speak English.”
“Have you been hit on by a guy before?”
He blushed. “Yes. One of Charlie’s clients actually.”
If he hadn’t been on top of me I would’ve sat up, eager for information. “Really? I thought you never met the clients.”
“I was young and foolish. And curious. I went to talk to him. He’s an English fop, old enough to be my grandfather.”
“And you didn’t kill him for seeing you? I mean, if he was Charlie’s client then he knows what you do…”
“The situation was a bit…different. But no, I had no reason to kill him. Have no reason.”
“I have a reason.”
He smacked me. “You absolutely do not. I told you, there could never be anyone but you. There’s no reason to be jealous. And honestly I didn’t even realize he was flirting with me until I met him again a few years ago.”
That wasn’t surprising. Frank had barely realized that I was flirting with him, and I spent most of my time naked in his presence even before he started fucking me. “I bet it’s happened more than you realize.”
“I no speak the English,” he said with a pronounced accent.
I laughed. “You didn’t speak at all when we met.”
“Well I was mad at Charlie. Now I’m mad at him again. And we have no time with this job. It’s to happen this weekend.”
“Good. I wanna shoot that motherfucker in the face.”
Frank held my face in his hands, proudly admiring me. “I love you.”
He rolled his eyes. “You mean ‘blow me.’”
“Oh, babe. You know me so well!” He would also blow me so well.
I rummaged under the bathroom sink of Mr. Perfect-hair-soon-to-be-dead-stupid-asshole as carefully as I could, desperately trying to prove a point and reassure myself that he didn’t have better hair than me. “It’s not natural.”
“He has no styling products in his bathroom.”
“It can’t be natural.”
Frank shrugged, then turned at the sound of the front door. “Keep looking, I got him.”
I nodded and slid aside some Comet, hoping to find the holy grail of hair gel hidden behind it. No such luck.
“Son of a bitch.” I glared at his blow dryer and got to my feet, angrily pulling out my gun as I headed after Frank. “Tell me what you use on your hair!” I demanded to the terrified and not unattractive blond sitting on the living room floor.
He glanced nervously to Frank, then recited, “Nothing. I just, uh, shaved it once. When I was a teenager?”
I put my hands on my hips. “That isn’t funny, Frank.”
“Worth a try. He said it was natural.”
“You asked him?” I pouted, taking Frank’s inquiry as evidence of whose hair he preferred.
“I look more threatening than you. I thought he’d be more inclined to tell the truth.” He stroked my cheek. “I was just trying to help, baby.” I closed my eyes and leaned against his hand, feeling Frank sweep my far superior hair off my forehead with his fingertips.
“Uh, guys?” our mark asked from the floor.
My eyes snapped open and I shot him in the face. “Uh, don’t be rude, we were having a moment.”
Frank sighed and shook his head. “I knew we should’ve used the hollow points.”
“So what if it takes a little more effort to achieve the right look?” I shot him until it looked like we had used them. Or replaced his face with steak tartar. “Tell me I’m pretty.”
“His hair wasn’t even that great,” he said, knowing what I was really demanding. “And yes, you’re pretty.”