Chapter 1

"This is the guy?" I ask and look over the picture that's handed to me. I try to look at him with an unbiased manner, but it's difficult. The photo is just of his upper body. He smiled warmly, a grin that reached from ear to ear. His hair is short and the color is a strawberry blonde. His eyes are a chocolate brown. I can't help the smile that creeps onto my face at seeing him.

"Yeah, we just got that picture from Cayden. He arrived at the house yesterday."

I hand the picture back to Walt who puts it in the inside pocket of his jacket. We are sitting in a hotel looking out onto the ocean. The hotel is only about a mile from the airport, and I was already growing anxious waiting for our plane to come in. We're going to take the next flight out to San Francisco the next morning. I take in a deep breath and try and let it out. I've never been a big fan of traveling, and even less of a fan going through airport security. Nothing put me more at ease than knowing I was unarmed, but my job requires me to travel frequently and I can't help getting on a plane now and again.

"Why are we doing this again?" Walt asks and leans back onto his own bed.

"Because he's a threat to the business and his brother has already taken out one of our hideouts in that area. His brother should have done a better job at checking his tracks. He'll find out pretty quick that we don't play nice."

He just rolls his eyes at me. "I meant why are we doing it. Couldn't Cayden do it or someone else?"

"I want to do this personally."

Walt just mumbles to himself and turns on the television. I fall back onto my own bed and try and think of how to pass my time. I would have driven instead of flown, but I saw no real reason to. The almost nine hour drive just didn't seem very appealing and even though I want to kill Jimmy Fletcher quick, I also don't want to be cramped in a car. I try and read the book I brought with me but I couldn't get my mind into it. My thoughts drift back to the boy in the picture and I wonder what his laugh sounds like. I bet it would make my knees weak. Too bad I have to kill him.

There's a soft knock at the door and Walt is on it in a flash. He's a pretty heavy set guy in his mid thirties. He's more bald than a newborn child and his skin is the color of dark chocolate. He's a big bear most days, when he doesn't see you as a threat. When I don't tell him to shoot to kill.

He answers the door once he checks to see who it is. A girl a few years older than me walks in with her blonde curly waves flowing behind her. Her name is Deanthia and she's usually a ball of joy. Her clothes are on the wild side and speak volumes. I always tell her black is better in our line of work, but she doesn't listen. She wears skinny red pants, a rust colored jacket and layers of shirts and scarves. You would think we were leaving the north pole instead of Los Angeles.

"I can't believe you chose the hotel that doesn't give you a warm cookie when you check in. When I asked at the front desk, I got a death glare!"

I just roll my eyes are her. "Sorry I didn't choose a better place."

She comes over and sits on my bed in a mad huff. "I don't even know why you're staying in a hotel, there's no need. Someone would have given you a ride to the airport, and you have your own jet! How long are you going to be gone?"

"I don't know, I felt like getting away from everyone for a little bit. I like to feel normal sometimes, believe it or not. I guess I'll be gone as long as it takes."

"Come on Claire. Give me a rough estimate."

"I don't know? Probably just a few days. It won't be hard to track him down and kill him. Plus I need to meet with some clients to."

She gives me a bemused look and smiles. "I saw his picture. What's his name?"

"Jimmy Fletcher," I tell her.

She winks at me. "Sounds like he fits his name, nice and cute."

All I could do was let out a long sigh. Deanthia was always trying to set me up with guys she sees in random places. I've gone on a couple crazy double dates thanks to her, but we always manage to have a fun time. She knows this time it won't work out though, seeing as I'll be the last thing Jimmy Fletcher sees. Walt goes back to channel surfing and Deanthia does her best to drive him nuts. They've never been on the best terms but I've always thought he secretly had a crush on her.

"Well, I hope you make this trip quick. We have bigger problems to face right here."

I give her a look and roll my eyes. "I don't think we need to worry about that. The police searched our fake cargo, we're in the clear. Don't worry about it right now."

"I wouldn't worry about it if it hadn't happened twice in the last month. We can't have our shipments looked through or suspected. Someone is tipping them off to our loads and our docks."

All I can do is rub my head where a headache is growing fast. Deanthia is right. I have my own issues down here to worry about, and up north could be taken care of by one of my trusted people. I don't really have the time to deal with it, but my gut was telling me to handle the situation myself and so I was going to follow it. It had never let me down before. Our line of work consisted of drug trading and stolen merchandise. Definitely not what you would call blue collar work. I inherited my fathers business when I was fifteen and have been running it with the help of my inner circle for the last seven years.

"Can you look into it until I get back?" I asked her and she just gives me a huff.

"Yes, but you need to make sure to come back quick. I don't like getting my hands dirty."

"Whatever, you're hands are almost as filthy as mine. Another blood stain won't make or break you."

She mumbles to herself something I can't hear. I just smile at her and she tells me good luck and leaves. I lay on the bed and try and force myself asleep. I end up laying there for a long time instead just thinking of the boy in the picture and wondering what the boys voice would sound like. I try and shake my head to clear those thoughts, however. He and I are enemies even if he doesn't know it yet. Too bad for Jimmy Fletcher, he won't know what hit him.