Please welcome Avon Gale with
It's Valentine's Day, and grad student--and male escort--Levi Barron expects to spend his evening with a client who's paying him for his services in bed... not an assassin who needs to borrow the view from his hotel room in the morning.
With nothing to do but endure the company of his unwanted guest, Levi and the assassin, Sinjin, spend some time bonding over HGTV, minibar beverages, Flannery O'Connor short stories, terrible Valentine's candy, and the necessity of lying about their jobs.
Their evening takes an unexpected turn when they decide to indulge in their mutual attraction, and in the morning Levi doesn't know if he's spent the night with a hired killer or a hydraulic engineer with a very specific fantasy. Either way, the two have enough chemistry--in and out of bed--that Levi isn't sure one night with Sinjin will be enough.
And a message left in candy suggests the feeling is mutual.
Levi studied Sinjin, trying to look past the gun and the vaguely military clothing and get a sense of the man. “So you don’t have a lot of luck with guys? I thought a lot of people would want to sleep with… y’know. Assassins.”
Levi assumed some people were into that, anyway. Not him, though. Any interest in Sinjin on Levi’s part was definitely due to his survival instinct, not any dark, deviant desires or home-invasion fantasies.
“Are you kidding me?” Sinjin sank lower in the chair. “No way. Look at me. I have the wardrobe of a Hot Topic employee and look like Pete Wentz without the hair products and self-esteem.”
Levi snorted, but he couldn’t exactly disagree.
“And it’s not like I can really talk about my job to anyone, you know,” Sinjin continued. “I mean, Levi, let’s be honest. No one would ever believe me if I told them what I did for a living. People think assassins are going to look like Jason Statham, not… well.”
“Pete Wentz without the pomade and panache?”
Sinjin’s smile showed a hint of teeth. “Exactly.”
“You do have a pretty creepy stare, though,” Levi offered by way of a compliment. “I mean, it looks like you’re good at… not blinking.”
“I am. And I know. I looked like a demon in my baby pictures.” Sinjin ran a hand through his hair again. “Does this room have a minibar or something? I’m thirsty.”
“Yeah. It’s over there beneath the television.”
Sinjin went over and opened it, finding a bottle of water and taking out two small bottles of what appeared to be champagne. He held them up, then studied Levi. “They don’t take this out of your paycheck or anything if we drink them, do they?”
If anything convinced Levi that Sinjin wasn’t going to kill him, it was the assassin’s concern for Levi being held accountable for any minibar expenses. “Uh. No. It’s like, ah, complimentary beverage service.”
Sinjin gave a low whistle. “The places they usually put me up? I’m lucky if there’s a vending machine and an ice bucket.” He downed the bottle of water thirstily, then produced a knife seemingly from thin air and expertly sliced open the tinfoil and stoppers on both the miniature champagne bottles.
“You could always get another job,” Levi suggested as Sinjin handed him one of the small bottles of champagne.
Their eyes met. Levi always thought saying someone looked dead inside was hyperbole, but apparently that wasn’t true. “No, I really can’t.” Sinjin lifted his bottle. “Cheers.”
“Cheers,” said Levi, raising his own. If he’d ever meant that expression less, he didn’t know when.
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About the author:
Avon grew up in the southern United States, and now lives with her very patient husband in a liberal midwestern college town. When she’s not writing, she’s either doing some kind of craft project that makes a huge mess, reading, watching horror movies, listening to music or yelling at her favorite hockey team to get it together, already. Avon is always up for a road trip, adores Kentucky bourbon, thinks nothing is as stress relieving as a good rock concert and will never say no to candy.
At one point, Avon was the mayor of both Jazzercise and Lollicup on Foursquare. This tells you basically all you need to know about her as a person.
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