Coming for You (Dirty, Dark, and Deadly #3)


by J.A. Huss

PART ONE

Prologue

Sasha - Last Christmas Eve

I see him, but he doesn’t see me.

I’m practicing for the future. That’s how hunters work. You gotta be sneaky.

His friend, who I have seen before—but who ignores me like I’m dust—goes into the back room to meet my dad. It’s a gun run, so I don’t pay any attention to him. But this guy, the guy who looks like he could be a hunter, but whom I’ve never seen before, which makes it unlikely (though not impossible), that he is a hunter, stops to look at stuff after his friend tells him to wait.

He picks up a knife.

“That knife sucks,” I say from my seat across the aisle. “I wouldn’t buy that one.”

He checks the brand, then the blade. “Yeah, this is crap.” He puts it in the basket and I make my move.

I set my Little House book down and walk over to him. “Wanna see the good ones?” I ask. He turns and looks surprised that I got so close without him hearing me.

I’m good at being sneaky.

I show him the good knives and he looks at me like I’m weird. They all look at me like that once I let them into my world. They know I’m different. This guy—Ford, he says his name is—he knows I’m different. He jokes with me about grownup stuff. He laughs and listens to me when I help him shop for his mom and girl-who-is-a-friend. I gift-wrap his two presents, and while I do that, I realize something.

I’ve known almost from the moment he walked in that he’s a good guy.

His friend peeks out of the back room and tells Ford to leave. Things are getting complicated. My stomach does a little turn at that word. I don’t like it. I like things to be simple. Complicated is bad. I switch my frown to a smile before Ford catches it. “You have time for me to gift-wrap your knife.”

“It’s for me, Sasha. It doesn’t need to be gift-wrapped.”

“It’s like a present to yourself, Ford. Just go with it.”

He laughs. I keep my back to him and concentrate on my gift-wrapping as he asks why I’m working today.

Why am I working today?

Buddy, I think to myself, you would not believe me if I told you. I reach in my pocket and palm the little hard drive I took from my dad last night. He was drunk. My dad hardly ever gets drunk. And as much as I’d like to believe my Christmas Eve is going to end up with me sleeping soundly at my grandparents’ ranch tonight, I’m pretty sure that’s not what’s happening today.

When the hunters show up, bad things happen.

I pull the flash drive out of my pocket and slip it inside Ford’s knife box. When he opens this tomorrow, he’ll find an old battered piece of plastic covered in stickers. If he plugs the drive into his computer, he’ll see photographs. All my best moments in my short life.

And maybe that’s the end of it. Maybe he tucks it inside a drawer somewhere, laughing at the little girl up in Wyoming who got attached. Maybe he never thinks of it, or me, again.

I can only hope.

But I don’t think that’s what’s gonna happen.

I think that by the time this is all over, he might wish he never met me.

Chapter One

Sasha - Present Day

Some people look peaceful when they sleep.

James Fenici is not one of them.

He doesn’t talk, or thrash wildly from nightmares. Only stupid people do that. Weak people.

James Fenici is not weak. He’s a lot of things, but he’s not weak.

No. James has this little twitch. It’s almost not noticeable, and it only affects the one eye. But it’s there. I’ve been watching him for about an hour. I’ve been on a private plane twice now—once on my way to Vegas, and this time, on my way home from California. But let me tell you something. They are pretty fucking boring.

Fracking. Fudging. Flucking. I should not swear in my thoughts. James hates it when I swear and if I swear in my thoughts, I’ll swear in real life.

But fuck it. This plane ride sucks. There are no drinks because Harrison was too busy fishing me out of the ocean after James shot me to stock up the cooler.

Yeah. This stupid plane has a cooler. Like something you put ice in. Not like a refrigerator that even our stupid nineteen seventy-eight RV had back when I was a kid. A cooler. I’m not impressed.

So no soda. Not even a fracking, fudging, flucking bag of pretzels.

God, I’m so hungry.

“James?”

He’s across the aisle from me, but that’s like two feet away tops. I kick him when he doesn’t answer.

“James?”

“Kick me again, and I’ll break all your toes,” he says without opening his eyes.

“I’m so hungry.”

He cracks one eye open. “Do I look like a vending machine? I told you, we’ll stop in Burlington after we get the truck.” He closes the one eye like this matter is settled.

“How far away is Burlington?”

“Go ask Harrison.”

And that’s it. I watch him for a few minutes to see if he’ll apologize for not having food. But he doesn’t. He’s asleep again because there’s that twitch.

I don’t want to ask Harrison. He’ll say something with coordinates that make no sense without a map. If it was light I could look out the window and at least see if we passed the mountains yet. Burlington is on the prairie.

I slump down in my seat and pout. I know that’s very childish and I should man up and stop doing it. But I’m not a man and I’m still a child. So hey, might as well enjoy it while I can.

I think of Nick instead.

I can’t believe he never told Harper about me. Is that weird? She didn’t even know I was his promise. That’s not weird. I don’t think, anyway. Promises are supposed to be secret. I shouldn’t know Nick and I are promised. But he told me last year when he started coming to see me in Wyoming.

Well, he came to see my dad. But he took an interest in me and it was very hard for me not to take an interest back because Nick Tate is what girls call hot.

He and Harper have some similarities, obviously, since they are twins. But Nick is taller than Harper. He’s got nice muscles for a boy of only eighteen. Not like James. James has man muscles. He’s a big guy compared to Nick. But Nick is quicker than James. Harper is quicker than James too. I saw her fight a little while we were together.

Nick is smart too. He knows so many things. He knows secrets for one. Secrets that even James doesn’t know.