Never Kiss a Bad Boy

By: Nora Flite
- Chapter 1 -


Thin as a rail, the man looked distinctly like he never ate. The hot dog he held was out of place in his bony fingers. He turned too fast, ketchup staining his neck collar.

That red splotch was foreboding.

I wasn't worried he'd notice me. I didn't duck or dive or anything so ridiculous. Surrounded by the crowd that had gathered for the marathon, I was essentially invisible.

A ghost.

“You spot him yet?” The voice buzzed in my ear, feeding through my bluetooth earpiece.

Reaching up, I acted like I was scratching my nose. I never took my attention off of my target. “Just enjoying the sun at this point,” I whispered. “Hope you're not falling asleep over there.”

Jacob snorted. “Race is about to start.” He paused, a smile coating his voice. “Sorry you'll miss the action.”

“I'm about to see plenty of action.” Lowering my chin, I tightened my grip on my gun. The target—sorry, I guess I should use his name—Frank had changed directions. I'd need to adjust my route. “How long until it starts, exactly?”

The earpiece crackled. I pictured Jacob weaving closer to the starting line. “Announcer is out there, everyone is in position and doing that leg-stretch thing they always do. Fifteen seconds, max.”

In my chest, my heart was broadcasting its familiar music. All drums, all going full tempo.

Cutting across the grass, I took long steps to make sure I could get in front of Frank. Timing was everything, anyone who said otherwise was just excusing their own fuck ups.

“Count down for me when the Starter's hand is up,” I said. It was a hushed demand. No one around me would hear.

Frank was slowing, his eyes—everyone's eyes—pointing at the end of the park. I could see the milling group of runners, the packed sidelines. I couldn't see Jacob, but I didn't try to. I was stuck like a magnet on Frank's approaching figure.

I'd been behind him earlier, now I circled in front.

“Four seconds,” Jacob stated flatly.

A cool darkness settled over me. It crawled from my belly upwards, then out; it made my fingers tingle on the gun. Frank wasn't seeing me, he'd slowed on the path. The hot dog hovered by his lips.

The last thing he'd ever eat.

I never blinked, my lungs didn't even flex. One breath was all I needed.

“Three,” the voice said in my ear.

I guided the pistol—my Ruger—from my inner pocket.

“Two,” Jacob insisted.

This was it, this was the finale to our years in the hitman business.

Minutes from now, everything changes.

It always amazed me, the way a single second could stretch like chewed gum, going as far as your arms could spread before finally snapping. Clear headed, I switched off everything but the hyper-senses I needed.

“Starter's hand is up,” Jacob hissed. “Go. Now.”

Frank grunted, turning my way when I bumped into him. My nerves were cresting, I could taste the battery acid on my tongue. The tip of the noise suppressor jammed into Frank's chest. I aimed without looking; I knew exactly where his heart was.

He met my stare, and I wondered—as I always did—what his final thought would be.

“Bang,” Jacob whispered in my ear.

A thunder-crack, all eyes were on the runners as the Starter's pistol went off. No one was watching me, no one saw or heard my weapon fire simultaneously.

And no one would see my lashes flutter with the thrill.

Fuck, I thought to myself. That rush. That fucking rush. Nothing compared to this. Nothing from this bland world, anyway.

Believe me. I've tried every other high.

In my palm, the recoil was negligible. The bullet's casing clinked in the tiny catcher, confirming I'd leave no evidence behind but the unidentifiable lead slug in Frank's flesh.

He stood there, too shocked to respond. He didn't even drop his hot dog. I didn't linger, the gun was back in my pocket and I was already walking away.

Four seconds, that was all it had taken to erase another human being.

So easy—too easy.

Killing was what I was good at, it was simpler than opening a beer bottle. Long legs, calm strides, I strolled over the plush grass towards the street. I was in no hurry, the job was done.

I was at the front gate before I heard the first scream.